WOW. What a crazy last 7 days here in Playa del Carmen. It’s our very last day in our apartment today and we’re excited to move on to other adventures! But before we leave…we made sure to cram a ton of fun stuff in over the last week. Seriously – we did more in the past week than we did over the first 8 weeks we were here. Where do I even begin?
My mom and her man, Gary, came in last Saturday for a 3 day visit. They were such troopers for wanting to live the “locals-lifestyle” with us. They even took the bus down from the airport! Super proud of them. It was so nice to see family and break up the normal routine we had established for ourselves. I think the realization of where and how we are living here was a bit shocking to them at first – but they got right in the mix!
Trying to decide what to do with them over just 3 days was a bit tricky since there’s so much to do and see in this area. So the solution? Let’s do everything!
Day 1 of their visit we kept it super local. Walked to the grocery store to stock up and hung out at the beach right outside our apartment. They made us realize just how much we walk here – we’ve gotten so used to trekking around on foot that we forgot just how much mileage we actually put in. Again – major applause to them for rolling with it!
Day 2 of their stay, we hopped on the colectivo once again to head down to Tulum! We explored the ruins and took in the glory that is Tulum and its beaches. Had some lunch and some beers on the beach then played in the ocean for a bit. It really doesn’t get better than that.
Finally – for their last day in Playa del Carmen we hopped back on the ferry to visit Cozumel once again. Mom and Gary had never been there so they offered to rent a car to drive us to the east side of the island – which we missed last time.
My mom chauffeured us around and maneuvered the island like a pro (thanks Mom!) We headed east and found some of the most amazing beaches we had ever seen. It was so peaceful, so quiet – we actually had a beach all to ourselves at one point. Pretty unreal. This side of the island has a bit more current and waves too – so we all had a blast playing in the surf for a while.
And just like that – their visit was over. We made the most out of the 3 days, that’s for sure. Great beaches and amazing food. It was sad to have them go so quickly, but the good news is we’ll get to see them, along with more family, in just a few weeks when we head to L.A. – so that helped take the sting out of their departure.
For the next couple days, we recovered from running around and had some downtime at our apartment. Since we’re leaving Playa and not sure if and when we’ll ever return – we hit up our friend Julie for one last hang out session. We had no idea just how much of an epic day she would treat us to. Yesterday we hopped in her car and headed south again to some incredible beaches that we had no idea even existed.
First stop was lunch at a little area/beach called Paamul. We took a turn off the highway down a dirt road and ended up in total paradise. We had a way-too-expensive lunch at a gorgeous restaurant and soaked in the views. They even had this beautiful house for sale for only $79K one block from the beach! Daydreamed about that for a bit.
After spending way too much money on quesadillas and lime soup, we hopped back in the car. Next stop was a beach called Xpu Ha – again, another small dirt road that led to super white sands and gorgeous water. We were a bit surprised how many people were here but it still felt really removed from Playa or even Tulum. It felt like we’d run into celebrities or something at this place – felt very exclusive.
After a nice dose of vitamin D at Xpu Ha – we got back in the car! Yet again – one more small dirt road, leading to another insanely stunning beach called Xcacel (pronounced “shka-cel”)- this one even had a cenote! Swam in the ocean for a bit then had a quick dip in the fresh water of the cenote. It was the most perfect combination.
Since we were already so far south, we figured – what the hell? Let’s go to Tulum again! We are so glad we did. Julie took us to a spot in Tulum we had never been to before – turns out, it’s probably where most people go when they vacation here. Tiny boutique hotels. Lots of yoga retreats and vegan restaurants. You can definitely tell this was the “hip” area to be – we found the cutest restaurant ever, called Las Estrellas, and enjoyed some wine overlooking the ocean. They were even playing Pink Martini over the sound system which just made it so much better!
After some good conversation, and a few “pinch me” moments, we took one last walk down the beach. We stumbled across some kite surfers, a wedding on the sand, and a cutesy little taco bar that we made our last beach stop for the day.
After a LONG day of beach, sun, and spending way too much money, we wrapped up our day by grabbing some Thai food in downtown Tulum and headed back home. What a day. We’re now trying to convince Julie to come hang with us in Isla Holbox next week since she has the week off.
Playa del Carmen has been a blast – it’s certainly 2 months that we will never ever forget. We’ve learned a lot – about the culture, about ourselves, and about how to travel “better.” We’re so very excited to bring on the new experiences!