Travel Diary: Riviera Maya
Tulum, Quintana Roo

Hey there,

I am so excited to share with you my trip to the Riviera Maya. If you follow me on instagram and you watched my stories you know that I was there in mid January, I went with my boyfriend and friends. I had been wanting to go for quite some time now. There is so much to do, see and experience, I am so ready to go back but definitely with more time.

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We arrived to the Cancun International Airport on a Thursday night, rented a car and headed to our Airbnb in Playa Del Carmen. We freshened up before heading out to 5th avenue on the quest for good food.

We walked a lot and took to long to decide where to eat so when we actually wanted to sit down somewhere every place was closing it was past midnight at this point. We finally found a place that was open. There we ate some good tacos and tortas. I was too hungry to take any pictures but the place is called El Portal, its on Carretera 6 Norte and Avenida 10. Since thats the only thing we did that night lets just say that Day 1 starts Friday. 

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Day 1

We started our Friday morning with a trip to Tulum. The Tulum Ruins were our first stop. Beautiful place! The beach looks amazing from part of the walk. We didn't go down into the water because we purchased a package that included three different activities, which meant we were in sort of a schedule to be able to get to all three that day. 

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After the walk through the ruins we were able to see the Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the flyers). It was very cool! We stopped to get a bite on our way out also. We were starving! To be honest if you go there I suggest scheduling time to eat somewhere else. Don't get me wrong the food was good but I personally dot think it was great. When I go out on vacation I really like to enjoy the best food possible, and for the sake of time we ate at the first place we found which was right next to where the Danza de los Voladores takes place. 

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Right after lunch we headed to Aktun Chen which is a Cenote. ( A cenote is a super cool under ground sinkhole that is formed by collapsed limestone bedrock that exposes water underground.) 

This is definitely one of the coolest places we visited. We took a group guided tour first through the caves. As you walk through the caves the tour guides talks about the history and all the elements that create these natural sink wholes. I believe he told us there are over 7,000 of these in the area and they continue to discover more and more. I definitely recommend taking this tour, we really enjoyed it. At the end of the tour he took us to the amazing location on the picture below, this picture does not give this place any justice its a must see in person. This is the only cenote we were able to visit, I can't speak for any other ones but I have seen amazing pictures of other ones, if you come to the Riviera Maya one thing you must do is visit a Cenote!

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The cenote on the picture above is the great Aktun Chen, you are not allowed to touch the water at this particular location because they are trying to preserve it as natural as they can.

 How many deer can you spot?

How many deer can you spot?

Right after our guided tour, it was time for us to jump into the water at a designated cenote/under ground river! So, if you are in the area and heading to a cenote I recommend being ready with a bathing suit to enjoy the whole experience. Our tour package included snorkel gear, so it was a lot of fun! I also highly suggest packing water shoes/ sandals because you will be stepping on rough rocks and you could possibly hurt yourself. I only say this because I did notice someone who had to step out for a minute because they hurt their foot, it wasn't anything major but it will definitely be a lot more comfortable. 

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At this location there is a deep section for experienced swimmers and there is also a shallow section for those who are not so experienced, like me. I really didn't do much moving while in the water to be honest, but my entire group swam and explored a lot of the river and had an incredible time.

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We lost track of time while at the river, so we didn't get to our third activity of the day. But the place we bought the tours from told us we had a couple of days to get to them so it was no big deal. Instead of rushing we headed back to Playa Del Carmen. 

 

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Again, after so much activity we were starving and ate at Señor Frogs. I will be honest, this was also not a place where I wanted to eat but it had a nice view and we were hungry so we had to do it. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with my food and drink.

I ordered Ceviche, it was actually really good and my drink was a coconut but don't be deceived it was a mixed drink. I also really liked this one. I can't say the same about my boyfriends dinner (also in the picture below). I actually didn't try it but he did say it was average. Moral of the story, take a little more time to look for a restaurant or order ceviche if you go to Señor Frog's in Playa del Carmen.

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Day 2

We started day two bright and early and headed to Isla Mujeres. What a beautiful place! We took a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Isla Mujeres. Once we arrived the first thing we did was rent a golf cart, its the easiest way to get around the whole island. 

We like to get a feel of things, so we first drove around the outskirts of the island and soon after, headed to the turtle aquarium.

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We continued driving through the outskirts of the island and enjoying the scenery, it doesn't take to long to go around. We headed back to Isla Mujeres Centro, we found a cool little sport called Taco Bar and stopped for a drink and tacos before relaxing at the beach. Loved this place. Service was great the bar tender was very nice. I like the arrachera tacos here.

 Bob Marley Drink

Bob Marley Drink

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The water here was amazing and the sand is so soft! We hung out at the beach for a while before heading back to the ferry. We spent most of the day in Isla Mujeres. 

A couple of tips:

  • Restrooms are not public or free it costs $10 pesos each time you want to use them.
  • We didn't see any changing rooms here, we used the restroom
  • If you want to drink alcohol or anything for that matter there are bars along the beach but there is also a little store next to the Taco Bar where you can buy beer/soft drinks and snacks
  • People pass by selling little snack like coconut candy, merengue and other sweets.
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Headed back to our airbnb to freshen up and get ready to end the day with an amazing meal. 

WARNING!

WATCH pICTURES BELOW AT YOUR OWN RISK!

YOU MAY GET HUNGRY!

 They say pictures can say 1000 words. 

They say pictures can say 1000 words. 

Needless to say this was my absolute favorite eating place in the Riviera Maya!

  Cachapa 3 quesos

Cachapa 3 quesos

  Patacon Mixto

Patacon Mixto

  Arepa Chevere

Arepa Chevere

  Pabellon Criollo

Pabellon Criollo

  Quesillo de Coco

Quesillo de Coco

You are welcomed to scroll up again to take a look at everything we ate! I know I will be coming back to these pictures again and again.

Okay, okay this place is called KAXAPA FACTORY, and if I am completely honest with you I actually am a bit embarrassed to have gone there. The truth is that every time I travel, I want to indulge with food that is originally from the place I am visiting and I gotta tell you this restaurant is not Mexican. It is actually Venezuelan.

I know there is nothing wrong with eating there but I guess I am a little bothered because I was really looking forward to eating Mexican food and antojitos non stop on this trip. Pan dulce was at the top of the list and antojitos like corn on the cob, esquites and what not, quesadilla, churros or snacks as such were all I wanted to indulge in. But I didn't really see them anywhere.

I am originally from Mexico city, and all of these snacks are sold at every corner and I thought it would be the same here but it wasn't so if for some reason you are thinking that you will find these type of antojitos in every corner you are bound to be disappointed. Take my advise and search for places with good reviews like KAXAPA Factory. I found it on trip advisor and I immediately said I have to go there, I noticed it was Venezuelan food afterwards but I didn't care because all the food looked so good. The only thing we hoped for was to be served because we arrived soon before they were supposed to close. We were pleasantly surprised because they actually closed later than we expected. 

The food was absolutely amazing! Okay I think I said that. The service was also amazing. The server explained everything to us and brought out samples of their traditional juices which were all really good but I went with one of my favorites Guanabana. 

We actually have a funny story from this place. because we were actually very hungry, so my boyfriend said lets try everything he the server had talked about and share it. i thought Okay lets do it whatever we don't finish we can actually take home because we have a microwave. When the server found out what we wanted he tried to convince us to was too much food and we would not be able to finish it. 

We ordered it any ways! The look in his face was... lets just say I think he thought we were crazy. Guess what? We finished it! Everything! But wait, on top of that we ordered dessert and finished it too. Now I will let you imagine the look in the servers face by that time. 

I was actually also surprised I ate so much but I loved everything. Honestly if you try this place you won't go wrong with any of the plates shown above in the pictures. If you ask me what I would defiantly order again if I had more space in my stomach would be the Cachapa 3 quesos and the Patacon Mixto. I wish I could have brought some of those with me back to the U.S. or at least for the plain ride. The quesillo de coco reminded me of a flan but with a hint of coconut and a little more creamy or dense, if you like flan you will like it, I loved it.

 

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After eating so much, we had to walk around bit. The night was beautiful, the weather was perfect despite the chance of rain. I loved this place because it was lively at night, people walking and plenty of bars and restaurants open. 

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Day 3

Day three Its our last day! We started in Tulum again, bright and early and full of good energy. We are back to do the third activity from day 1 but unfortunately due to the rain the night before we were unable to do it so instead we stayed and enjoyed the beach. 

 Didn't eat here just took a picture lol. They weren't open yet otherwise we would have had breakfast.

Didn't eat here just took a picture lol. They weren't open yet otherwise we would have had breakfast.

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The water was amazing, I was a bit hesitant to get it because we were going to head to Cozumel Island later and we weren't going to be able to freshen up. But I finally gave in and had a great time in the water. We explored the beach a bit, and went on a walk. There are beds from resorts and hotels that you can rent along the beach. 

One thing I did expect on our walk was to see women topless. Yeah, I found out some of the beaches or private areas here in the Riviera Maya are Topless. Just FYI, so it doesn't catch you off guard or if you would like to enjoy being topless at these beaches or in case you are taking kids. 

It was time to eat!

The theme for choosing a place to eat in this trip was definitely first thing we saw, for the most part. 

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This time it was a place called Playa Ezperanza. Seafood is their specialty of course and I ate ceviche. This place is actually really good. I ordered the Ceviche Capulina and Sangria Margarita with Mezcal also good but I got to try the Maracuya Margarita with Mezcal and I may have liked that one better. 

My boyfriend liked this place so much he wants me to try to recreate the Ceviche, I'll let you know how that goes on a later post or on Instagram.

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 "To be able to fly, we have to let go of all the things that way us down" Loved this quote, found it on the way to the restroom in Playa Ezperanza Hotel.

"To be able to fly, we have to let go of all the things that way us down" Loved this quote, found it on the way to the restroom in Playa Ezperanza Hotel.

 At the playa del Carmen Pier on our way to Cozumel.

At the playa del Carmen Pier on our way to Cozumel.

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After Tulum, we went straight to Playa del Carmen Pier to take our ferry to Cozumel. It was raining on our way, so when we arrived most shops and locations were closed. Cozumel looks like a beautiful place and I think that when it is not raining it is full of life, if you are planning on going hopefully it is not raining because it definitely take away from your experience there. 

We still explored the island by foot, as you can see there are beautiful places for pictures. We still had a lot of fun exploring and seeing all the beautiful scenery but we definitely want to come back another time to fully experience this island better. 

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We ate dinner at one of the few places that were open but to be honest nobody really liked the food or service. 

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We stayed in Cozumel until the second to last ferry went back to Playa Del Carmen just to make sure we could get a ferry because unfortunately due to the rain we did experience the cancelation of some ferry. So be aware if you go during a rainy day/season.

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Our trip has come to an end. I had an amazing time, I loved that we were non stop through the days we spend at the Riviera Maya. If you are planning a vacation here I would recommend trying to stay as many days as you can. There are so many things to see and do all over the Riviera Maya that you definitely need more than three days.  I definitely want to go back already but next time I will spend more time there. 

 

Hope you enjoyed this diary, if you are planning a trip there and you have any question feel free to send them to me I try to answer and help in the best way I can.

 

XOXO,

Yerenid

 

P.S. Should I do a post about small tips I didn't mention here in regards to this trip?