Exploring Tulum - Part Three

When planning my trip to Tulum, I knew that I wanted to visit at least one Cenote while I was there, and we were able to see on when we went to the Yucatan , but I was more excited to visit the cenote Nicte ha, which was located about 20 minutes from our hotel at the Dos Ojos park. 

This cenote is shallower then most cenotes and the water is crystal clear that you can see the bottom. I loved watching the small fishes moving around and swimming among the lily pads. I would definitely recommend visiting this centoes. We did not go with a tour, which was better for us because it allowed us to spend all the time we wanted. There were a few tours that came through, but for at least thirty minutes we had it to ourselves. 

Thank you, Cassy for capturing this wonderful moment of bliss!

We wanted to spend our last night on Tulum having fun, therefore I wanted to get dolled up. What better way then to throw on that red lipstick?

The one nice thing about going during the off-season is you do not have to wait in long lines to get into places. I read tons of reviews how you had to plan ahead in order to get into Hartwood. We did get there early (I think it was close to 3:00PM) in order to make a reservation, because the restaurant does not open up until 5:30PM. I would say we waited for maybe about 15 minutes before the line started moving. We got our reservation time and headed back to the hotel to relax until it was time for dinner. 

Was it worth it? Yes, completely. I never tasted food quite so good. The restaurant which is completely open kitchen style lived up to its word of mouth. I regret not taking pictures of our food, but we were just enjoying the experience way to much. My friend and I loved the food so much that she immediately ordered their cookbook once we got back to the states. That way she could replicated a lot of the same dishes that we had while we were there. The great thing about the food in Tulum is it's all local and fresh from the fish to the fruits and vegetables. It's what your body needs!

It was a wonderful experience, and will definitely be a place that I would love to visit in the future again! 

Exploring Tulum - Part Two

We decided that trip we had to the Yucatán was great, but we had yet to have a full beach day! Again, we woke up at the crack of dawn (beautiful, right!?) and did our own yoga session on the beach.

We had an early breakfast at our hotel, and then found our spot on the beach to lie down and take in sun. We alternated between dipping in the ocean, walking the beach, napping in our cabanas and catching up on our reading.

After what was probably a good seven hours just laying out on the beach, we decided to walk into town.

How beautiful are these blankets? I was really regretting not bringing an extra suitcase with me.

We ended up at our favorite taco place on the beach, Taqueria La Eufemia, where I could have hung out all night just drinking beers and eating soft tacos.

I am quite happy that my girlfriends could be in Tulum with me!

I did not get a chance to check out Gitano, but if you are ever in Tulum. I heard good thing about it. Many of the locals and tourist end up their later in the night to dance the night away under the jungle. 

Venturing to the Yucatán

How beautiful is this sunrise? I loved waking up to the sound of the ocean and the sunrise coming through our window. It was perfect! When you are in paradise it's better to let the sun be your wake up call. We woke up early on our second day to take a tour to the Yucatán. I recommend booking tours once you get down there because mostly likely more will be included. For our tour to Chichén Itzáit cost about 1950 pesos ($130 USD per person), which seems like a lot but it included getting to the ruins, snacks, swimming in a cenote, touring Valladolid and dinner and return trip back to our hotel. It is a full day excursion so plan accordingly.  On the tour, there was only six of us therefore it was nice and intimate. The drive to Chichén was about 2 hours, but we were able to see and learn a lot from our tour guide about the Yucatân area and the history of the Mayan people.  

The designs on one of the platforms at Chichén Itzáit.

Me with our lovely tour guide, Alberto.

Grand Ballcourt from El Castillo (Has anyone else seen the Road to El Derado? It's sad that that is my reference to what this was when I saw it)

Kukulcán pyramid, which apparently many people visit at the time of the Spring Equinox (which happened to be a few days after we visited it) because of a special attraction: on the northwest corner of the pyramid a shadows depicts an appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase.

When visiting the park, I would suggest getting there as early as possible. It gets packed around Noon, which was about the time we finished up in the park. We were there for about two hours, and there was a lot to see. There is a Sacred Cenote that the Mayans used for sacrifice. You cannot swim in this one! Many vendors selling handmade dresses, jewelry, pottery, carvings and more! This is a great place to buy any of these items that you want to take back home. 

Afterwards, we drove about 45 minutes to visit the Cenote Yokdzonot. I should explain what a cenote is first...there are thousands of miles of underground, water-filled caves interconnected by rivers underneath the Yucatán peninsula. When the roof of one of these caves collapses, it produces a sinkhole or natural well, filled with fresh water. Many of them are used as water sources for a lot of the Mayan villages around the Yucatán. It was beautiful! There was a bathroom area, where you can shower and change before you enter the cenote (it is recommended that you wash off any sunscreen before you enter). We headed down the stairs to reach the cenote.

Now, I have to admit I was a bit scared. I love swimming and I enjoy swimming in pools, but oceans are different story for me. I do not like swimming in large bodies of water where I cannot see the bottom (at least I learned this about me when I saw the cenote). I did not get in at first, but seeing my friends enjoy themselves made me change my mind. My body hated it, but I am glad I went in and had the experience, but believe me I was in just as quickly as I was out. Plus there was a group of scuba divers filming a travel commercial there, therefore we could not swim to long. There is a restaurant attached to the cenote, which allowed us to do a quick lunch before heading back into the van and driving to Valladolid.

We finally reached Valladolid, and our first stop was at Hotel El Meson del Marques, which has a wonderful restaurant. The woman in the picture above is making flour tortillas from scratch. My dish of orange chicken fell off the bone quite well was very savory and it was wrapped in a banana leaf. It was delicious and there was nothing left on my plate this time.

We enjoyed some dessert and then our guide let us walk around the city. You can definitely feel the Spanish influences around the city and the pop of color made each building stand out in their own way. My friend and I wanted a traditional Mayan Mexican embroidered blouse (she got a dress) and we found a lovely woman who was making them in her shop. She and her mother quickly hemmed a dress for my friend and helped me pick out a blouse which I love (you can see me wearing it pictures below)! I received many compliments from people in town who loved how it looked on me, and I cannot wait to wear it in the summertime.

Loved going to this grainery shop to see all the different dried pepper and spices. 

We finally headed back to Tulum around 4:00pm in the afternoon. It took us about a hour and half, and we were exhausted after we reached home. I think some of us took a nap and laid out on the beach, and watched the sun go down with a Corona in our hands, and just felt happy that we were here. We were definitely asleep by 9:00pm though!

This was only Day Two...still more to share this week!! Stay tuned!

Coffee Shop Dreaming

I love walking around my city, but the other thing I love seeing and spending more time in are coffee shops! Boston has grown when it comes to the artisan coffee shop (nothing like Seattle or New York City though) and it's nice to see small coffeehouses be unique to their own style, such places like Gracenote and Loyal Nine.

Curio Coffee in Cambridge is one of those places. It is a great spot to go to when you have time on the weekend and can get early enough to trek it out to the Lechmere Station (I live on the opposite side of town and this is the nearest T station to Curio). I love the set-up and the openness of the shop. You can see that every nook and cranny is looked at by the people who work there.  The day that I went I watched as they used a stamp to brand their cups and bags that the put their items in. The store only just recently opened up and is less than a few months only. The best thing about this place is the Belgian Liege waffles. They are made right their in the shop. They are so tasty that with a cup of coffee you will be quite content (but you might crave another one by the time you are ready to leave). If it wasn't for the distance, I might just spend every morning there.

Read more about Curio here from the Boston Globe.

Curio Coffee
441 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141
(857) 242-3018

Ladies' Night at Tiger Mama

As you know I love connecting with other bloggers and yes, we see each other at events, but sometimes just being able to come together and have dinner without any demands for advertising is a beautiful thing.  We decided to try the new restaurant, Tiger Mama, Tiffani Faison's second restaurant in Boston (she also owns Sweet Cheeks - the best Barbecue joint around...that I have had so far), that just opened up recently. I am glad I made the reservation because it was packed on a Friday night. We had a great time! The drinks were amazing! I definitely loved my drink, the Indo Fizz (old monk 7 year, tumeric-coconut milk, lime, ginger honey syrup, whole egg), which was so tasty. It was almost like drinking a milkshake. I need to learn how to make it! After dinner, we decided to do a photo op, since my extraordinary friend, Kiana  had her DSLR with her. I loved how they came out :)

Billie looking gorgeous.

My dish from dinner was the Hokkien Mee, which was an Udon type noodle-dish, which was braised in Oyster sauce, topped of with some crispy pork and onions. I was glad to have leftovers!

Jess from Champagne Thursday and I. 

She already has a ring on it. 

All photos courtesy of Kiana Gibson. Check out her Instagram.

Check out the menu below, and be sure to visit Tiger Mama. Located at 1363 Boylston Street in Boston.