It could be lingering jetlag, or just the unaccustomed early dawn over here. Whatever the reason, it seems to be impossible for us to sleep past 6am without waking up. We’re then exhausted before 10pm each night. This morning was no exception, and once more we were up and about before the alarm went off to get ourselves an early 7am breakfast coffee and croissant. ITour is an eclectic mix of hotel and hostel. One of the bonus features about staying there (apart from nice clean mosquito-free rooms, super-friendly staff, free breakfast and wifi) is that you can take a rental bike out for the day if you want to. By 7.30am we were wobbling off down the road on two decrepit, but relatively functional bikes. The sun was already starting to heat things up as we slowly made our way along the highway, watchful for any crazy car antics behind us.
It’s about a 20 minute leisurely cycle to the Tulum ruins that bring many tourists to Tulum in the first place. Workers were just starting to get set up for the day. We eventually found our way to the ticket booth, locked up the bikes, handed over 57 pesos each, and were one of the first few into the ruins when the entrance was opened up at 8am. We spent almost an hour wandering around with the odd other person in sight. The ruins are very picturesque – lots of trees and vegetation carpet the interior, and the fourth wall is replaced by the coast itself. The sight of the ruins perched above the ocean is stunning. So idyllistic that It looks like it must be fake in photos. The sea breeze is also very welcome to keep you cool while you walk around instead of sweltering in the heat like yesterday in Chichen Itza. Once you’re finished exploring the ruins above, a wooden walkway brings you down to a beach where you can swim. The sea along the coast is quite wild and wavy at the moment, but still coloured in beautiful shades of blue. It’s like an ancient summer palace by the sea. Peaceful and serene with breathtaking views.
By the time we were done the tourist buses had started arriving and large tour groups were on their way in. It was definitely worth the early start to avoid the crowds and see everything without the noise and bustle. The sun was really making its presence felt now too, so we were glad to get back off the bikes at ITour with both them and us still in one piece. We had nothing else planned for the day other than to stay out of the sun. We only ventured out for food. Lunch was excellent paninis in El Gourmet, an Italian cafe a couple of blocks up the road. We escaped the worst of the afternoon heat back in ITour sitting in the shade and reading, while sipping coffee and tea.
Dinner was in La Gloria de Don Pepe… a small Spanish tapas bar. We had a number of tapas, and paprika fish cooked wrapped up in green leaves. The owner spoke virtually no English, but grinned from ear to ear at the sight of any happy customers complimenting his food. The quality of the food was much better than you’d expect looking at the restaurant and its staff. Definitely recommended for some good home cooking. The ‘chocolate bomb’ dessert was excellent too. We’re moving on to the beach part of Tulum tomorrow, but will definitely be returning to the Pueblo when it comes to finding good food for dinners.