When travel writer Mark Shanahan packed up the family to head south and discover the Caribbean paradise of Tulum in Mexico’s Riviera Maya,he had no idea what to expect. As it turns out,reality was better than the entire family could have ever imagined as they became well versed in the simple joys of doing simply… nothing.
“Outstretched on a chaise lounge beneath a rugged umbrella of dried palm leaves,I was gazing upon an emerald ocean and sand so fine and white it could have been cake flour,” writes Shanahan in a special for the Boston Globe. “As my two children tumbled gleefully in the crashing surf,a tawny young woman who’d misplaced the top of her tiny bikini strolled past.”
This is just a taste of what Shanahan,his wife and two children found when they arrived in the ancient town of Tulum,which they had dreamed of for years. This time it was really happening,however,and the timing could not have been better because it was helping the family escape the frozen landscape of New England in the winter.
“We had indeed done it,packing a few T-shirts,a pad of paper and pastels,and the Kindle,and decamping to Tulum,a beach-town-turned-resort on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula,” Shanahan explains. “It was like heaven on earth,with ceviche.”
Originally,uncertainty about where to go had prevented the couple from making plans. Doubt about the authenticity of the destinations in the running,coupled with a desire to experience “something else.” Fortunately,they opted for Tulum,which fulfilled all of their expectations and more.
Of course,the beach is really what Tulum is all about. While there are plenty of adventures to be had throughout the region,this family was interested more in relaxing and unwinding from the stresses of daily life in a warm tropical environment.
“The plan,enthusiastically endorsed by our children,who are part seal pup,was to find a beachside bungalow and kick back,” writes Shanahan.
While they occasionally set out to explore,visiting the seaside ancient Mayan ruins,walking the eclectic avenues of downtown Tulum and taking a dip in one of the area’s freshwater sinkholes known as cenotes,the overall goal was to enjoy a getaway that amounted to “the opposite of demanding.”
From Boston,Shanahan says one can fly directly to Cancun,which is the main hub for travelers headed to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya,in about four and a half hours. Also,he says the 90 minute drive south from the Cancun International Airport was a breeze,thanks to the modern highway.
Want to know more about what life is really like in Tulum?
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