Oh I am SO happy to see this TR started and just love your poetic writing style.... More more more!! Xoxo Gem!
Think of Tulum!
We left our house in Los Angeles at 3:45am and arrived at the Cancun Airport at 4:30pm. It was a smooth trip with just a bit of a delay in Dallas on our connecting flight. We had only forgotten our cameras (so sorry about that!!) and my wallet (but I had my passport!!). Easyway Rent a Car picked us in their white van, we signed our papers and we were on our way down the 307 headed for Tulum.
The cast shell sculptures outside of the Cancun Airport were familiar; I recognized them from the trip home after my year living on the Yucatan Pennisula 1987-88. I had been back a few times since but nothing could have prepared me for the modern looking businesses on either side of the highway as we passed Playa del Carmen. It was definitely a surprise!
We made our way rather cautiously, adhering to the speed limit, to Tulum. We turned off the main road and headed for the beach road. I was shocked again at all of busy-ness in the beach town by Cabanas la Conchita. Restaurants, lights, cars and lots of tourist. It was very different from when I had stayed there with my daughter in 2003.
This trip was a first to the Yucatan for my husband and a return trip for our daughter (age 14) and myself. We had reserved eight nights at Nueva Vida de Ramiro and planned to stay a few nights somewhere else. We made reservations and paid our deposit and then my husband lost his job. He assured me that we would still go and to keep thinking about Tulum. That sort of became my anthem, Think of Tulum! I would stick my head in the sand and, Think of Tulum! There was nothing that I could do to help my husband find another job and stressing out would make it much worse for him, so I spent nights that I could not sleep, reading trip reports on Tulum Info and browsing the internet, Thinking of Tulum!
We arrived at Nueva Vida in great shape. We were all excited to be there and Roger, whom I had corresponded with for months was waiting for us. He is even nicer in person! Our bags were transported by wheelbarrow to our room, Proa Al Mar, #9, we were shown the features (and safe) and then we changed for dinner. Our room was rustic but we were prepared for that by the lovely Westy’s intrepid photos.
Our first night’s dinner was to be at Om. We walked along the windy beach in the dark to Om. It was fantastic to be on the glowing, moonlit beach and to know that we had arrived! It was very windy and so the plastic curtains were down at Om and Angelo was nowhere to be found (which was a bit anticlimactic) but our dinner was fantastic! My husband had the fish prepared with lemon and our daughter had the pasta with shrimp, calamari and fish. Both loved their dishes and might have traded. I had the Pizza Hawaii which was delicious but also huge. My husband did not mind and finished it off for me.
It was pretty quite at Om and we were afraid that we might be keep them open late; so we headed back to NVR after our excellent dinner, rum punches and lemonadas.
We marveled at the stars on our way back to our cabana and settled in for a wonderful night’s sleep with all the doors and windows open. It was even a bit chilly with the windy-wind.
aww, thank you Westy. I love hearing from you! I had held off writing a report because we did not have any photos (and our lives got suddenly verrrrrrry busy) but a few very nice TI'ers inquired and said that it was okay to post without photos. xox to you Westy!!!
Yeah! A Sparkle trip! How stressful to leave wallet and cameras behind, but you seemed to handle it in stride. More please!!!
Settling in and La Nave
Day two greeted us with perfect weather and time on the beach. We seem to spend a lot our trip alternating time on the beach with eating so I may condense bits and pieces.
We loved the beach at NVR and had lot of fun in and out of the water. We had the continental breakfast every day at NVR. Even though it was light it seemed to work well for us. My husband likes espresso for breakfast which they had and he said that it was very good. Our daughter usually has a hearty Japanese breakfast at home. She brought some great Japanese soups and would have one each day with her fruit and toast. I would eat fruit and toast sometimes having a hot chocolate or giving my espresso to my husband, which he appreciated. So, it all worked out well for us. Especially since we were trying to not spend a lot. Oh, and we all enjoyed the freshly squeezed orange juice.
After more time at the beach, we went to El Camello Jr. for lunch. Why it is called that I do not know but it is recommend in many places as the best place for fish. I don’t eat fish but my family loves it and they loved El Camello Jr! My husband had lobster (so much for conserving our pesos!) and my daughter had the shrimp diabla. We were served freshly made chips and terrific salsas; so I was happy with that and a chaya-orange juice.
La Nave was our choice for dinner and one of our favorites of the trip! My husband had the pizza this time (it was really good! ). I had the handmade ravioli that was filled with a local green and ricotta cheese and tossed with butter. It was perfectly balanced and incredible! Our daughter had pasta with shrimp, squid and octopus. I loved the design of the restaurant with all of its nautical themeing, flotsam and jetsam. Our waiter that night was wonderful. We really hit it off and promised to visit his girlfriend at their recently opened bakery the next day.
After dinner, we walked around in the pueblo and looked for La Gran Mosca Verde. We looked and looked. We even went back to Le Nave to try to get better directions but we could still not find it. We walked around the pueblo a bit more, my husband and daughter had a gelato and then we headed back to the beach for another great night’s sleep.
I wish I could tell you how to get to La Gran Mosca Verde, but it took me forever to find it EACH time! It was closed and closed again for the hurricane and then finally open and I still have no idea how I found it. It was next to a little park/open lot. Sorry, not helpful. Interesting decor for certain! Good luck finding it!
Om, La Nave and El Camello's are my favorites!
Thank you Minnie and Libelula! I like that my report can be retro! And, I just received some photos by email this morning from one of our outings! Could anyone please pass along the link for posting photos? Hopefully I will get that part figured out by the time I am up to that day xox gem
Akumal and New Friends
Our third day we were excited to meet up with our new friend Marko and to meet his girlfriend, Paolo at their bakery, Non Solo Pizza. Since the bakery is just north of the beach (and west of the 307) we decided that we would combine it with a trip to Akumal. We arrived at Non Solo Pizza but there was no Marko. Paola immediately knew who we were. She was very excited to meet us as well. Marko had shared the homemade chocolate chip cookies we had given him with her. She pantomimed that she had a sweet tooth and that she had loved the cookies. She apologized that the pizzas were not ready to be baked yet. Then she pulled all kinds of wonderful breads from the oven. Marko arrived and we had a second breakfast of hot, fresh bread and ice cold cokes. Then we hit the road to Akumal.
My husband had gotten sunburn the day before and did want to chance making it worse, so he claimed a table with an umbrella at Lol Ha. My daughter and I left him ordering a cerveza and headed out to see if we could see a sea turtle. We had an amazing time! We only had goggles as we did not want to have to pack masks for this one outing and did not want to wear fins as we were afraid of damaging the coral. The goggles worked great. We swam out with a plan to swim where the most people were. When we were out towards the rest of the snorkelers we heard two young girls call out that they had found a turtle. We saw that beautiful turtle, and another. On our way in saw two more, with one swimming right next to us and surfacing. It was amazing!! We relaxed at Lol Ha, drinking limonadas on the beach. Then we browsed the shops and visited the center with all the information about the turtles- I am not sure what it is called but it was interesting.
We stopped at Non Solo Pizza for lunch on our way back. Paola and Sonia were just taking the pizzas out of the oven. Our timing was perfect and the pizza was delicious.
After lazing the rest of the day away on the beach, we decide to head to town for dinner. The sun was setting, the sky was pink and it was beautiful. We made a detour and stopped at Zamas for dinner as I had been there years ago and had recently seen the photo and review of a TI’s favorite cheeseburger. We had a great table and a charming server. The cheeseburger was as good as reviewed. Then my husband started getting bitten like crazy. We all had mosquito repellent on but it did not deter. The wind had died down and the bugs were biting. The large group sitting next to us were being eaten as well. We decided that it was a good time to leave. We headed for town, ready to try to find La Mosca Verde and to get away from the bugs. (HA! The Big Green Fly!)
We finally found La Gran Mosca Verde after several tries. It seemed, again, to be magically hidden. This makes sense if you ever happen to visit this unusual establishment. The owners Mario and Reimon are two of most the wonderful hosts! They are so passionate and genuine; it was wonderful to spend the rest of the evening with them. We also bumped into AMOC, from the Tulum Info boards, and her husband, at Mosca. It was nice to meet them and fascinating to learn about her research and time in the Yucatan.
When we returned to our cabana, the wind was completely gone and we were all quite tasty for the mosquitoes.
Saying Goodbye to Slowteria
We were pretty warm that night and we heard an animal skittering around on roof. I was imaging big jungle rats. It was a little scary when the rustling that I hear in the cabana was not my daughter eating her chips!!
Our fourth day was Thanksgiving Day. We had NVR make reservations at Slowteria for dinner. We spent our day on the beach. We stopped at Non Solo Pizza on our way to the pueblo, for a snack for our daughter, and to chat with our friends.
We arrived at Slowteria’s pueblo location and had a wonderful conversation with the charming chef/owner Hugo. Instead of asking us in, he asked if we would mind coming back later. It turned out that the clock in our rental car was an hour off! We were very early and he was not ready for us. It was nice that we had not needed to think about time until that moment. We walked across the street and had a pre-dinner paleta at Flor de Michoacan. It was a very nice place to spend an hour. I had a pistachio paleta, my husband had nance ( a delicious fruit with black pellet like seeds) and our daughter had gazpacho. The gazpacho paleta had fruit, jicama, lime and chili powder. It tasted just like the fruit in a bag with chili, salt and lime that we buy from the fruit man here in LA. All were refreshingly delicious.
After paletas, we were ready for Thanksgiving dinner! I had been looking forward to visiting Slowteria for months. I was sad when the beach restaurant closed and then excited when I heard that Slowteria had re-opend in the pueblo.
Slowteria was now directly behind the ADO bus station, but once you passed though the funky little gate you felt as if you were in another world. Hugo had created a little paradise with a garden and hanging sprouts using found and recycled objects whenever possible.
There was one other couple already seated and it turned out to be AMOC and her husband. Hugo seated us and went to the open kitchen to hack open some coconuts. Hugo brought us coconut waters and coconut water with tequila. Along with the cocktails came a plate with grasshoppers, coconut meat and black salt. It did not look like there would be a menu but Hugo was so wonderful that we decided to trust him. Next came foi gras, with apple served on a sprouted wheat tortilla. The next course was a deconstructed American Thanksgiving Dinner: smoked turkey, sprouted wheat and herbs that tasted just like stuffing, greens, and roasted pumpkin with a cranberry reduction. It was all very interesting and made fantastic by Hugo’s wonderful presence. It was also a bit sad as we learned that we were the very last diners on his very last day. Hugo had gotten an opportunity to work in New York. He was packing up and heading to New York. We were very excited for him but also knew that Tulum would miss him.
Next we headed back to La Gran Mosca Verde. My husband’s bites from the night before were really bothering him. We had all been bit, and had worn long pants and mosquito repellent tonight. When we got to Mosca my husband showed Mario and Reimon his bites because they were really, really bothering him. We were all quite shocked at how hugely swollen they were! Mario and Reimon said that they were not mosquito bites but were the dreaded Tabano! We had wanted to stay but my husband was really not feeling well at this point; so we headed back to NVR.
Thanks for the report, Sparkle!
I really hate to ask, but does anyone know where the Slowteria chef landed in NY? I live in the general area, would love to find a taste of "home" up here.
October 2012: Random Shots
December 2011 Tulum: La Zebra, La Luna and the Search for Angelo
December 2011 Holbox: Holbox Casa Tortugas
September 2011 trip: Beachreading, not Raiding
February 2011 trip: Do You Do Anything But Read and Eat When You're Down Here?
I wondered what happened to you. You just faded away after your trip. Nice to hear from you.
Can you tell me what you liked about Mosca?? We saw that place and stood outside of it one day wondering what it was like. My husband gets his hair cut 2 doors down
Hi Barb! Thank you; it is nice to hear from you, too I am sorry that I faded away. We had family staying with us from the minute that we returned through New Year's Eve and also threw three very large parties over the holidays. And then, my daughter's birthday is in the beginning of January. It has been lots of fun but I have not had any time to do anything else. This is the first week that I have had a chance to think about our trip.
My favorite part of Mosca is the kindness and enthusiasm of the owners. Also, they show films outside and have some cool DJs on different nights.
Back at our cabana, my husband was really getting worried. His bites had swollen to the size of cantaloupes and had scary red gashes. He looked terrified as he told me that he thought he needed to go the hospital. I raced back to the front desk and described what his symptoms were and was reassured that it was the tabano and it was a normal reaction. I brought him down to the front desk and they looked at his crazy bites: 5-10 tabano bites and 47 mosquito bites below the waist. We looked it up on our i-pad and I saw photos of a reaction just like his. So, I cleaned all the bites with alcohol, put Neosporin, benedryl and cortisone on them and gave him some oral benedryl. We decided that if it was worse in the morning that we would take him to the hospital.
this is why I thought we didn't hear from you again. You didn't want to scare anyone off from upcoming trips because of what happened to your husband.
He is all fine now! I do not want to scare anyone off!
We had never heard of tabanos but there were lots around when we were down there. My daughter and I were chased into the ocean by tabanos twice. I only got one bite. It swelled and really hurt. I can still feel it but it did not get the crazy red gash that my husband's had. I had never heard of tabanos but the owners of Mosca Verde had and so had the people at the hotel. From my research the tabano seems to be a type of aggressive horsefly.
Well, because of your report while down there we came prepared with benadryl and stuff and a watchful eye out.
I think my friend got bit by one on her knuckle. It swelled and was painful and irritated her for most of the trip, but does not sound like she had an allergic reaction like your husband did.