The Journal  

13 December 2005


Author: Jeremiah

Photographer: Holly


Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

December 1-3

From Mérida we took the Cancun expressway towards the Yucatán's east coast, before heading south east on a little arrow-straight unmarked road. As we crossed from the state of Yucatán to Quintana Roo, the pavement changed from reasonable to a road that looked like it had been carpet bombed. Throw in a little construction to add some gravel, mud and heavy machinery to the mix. About 15 miles outside of Tulum the odometer on the Guzzi turned over 10,000 miles. We had traveled 4,000 miles since we left Virginia and put 7,500 miles on the Guzzi since we purchased it in late September. Right as the five numbers were rolling over on the odometer it started to rain.

In nearly a month of riding we had been lucky when it came to weather. Besides a few sprinkles and some wet roads, we hadn't encountered any rain. On the way to Tulum the rain lasted about three miles, a steady, gentle shower. For the first time on the trip, we were happy to be wearing our hot and bulky, waterproof riding suits. Our saddlebags are waterproof and everything that needed to stay dry was packed away in dry sacks. The only problems the rain caused were the deluges of water thrown on us by oncoming trucks and making it hard to predict how deep potholes were.

In Tulum we cruised down beach roads through wet sand to check out the little ocean side cabañas, built with stick walls and thatched roofs, before deciding to get a hotel. As soon as we got the bike parked and unloaded we headed back to the beach. The east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula is called the Riviera Maya and the playas at Tulum were the kinds of beaches that I had spent my whole life dreaming about, with white sand, coconut trees and blue water that was so clear you could swim out above your head and still look down and see the ocean floor. We swam and took pictures as the sun set. On the walk back to our hotel, it started to rain again, the shower punctuated with short, violent down pour bursts.

  We cruised into Tulum late Thursday afternoon, looking at several cabañas that were on the beach, but due to our need for electricity and rainproof roofing for our equipment we settled for a hotel about a 20 minute walk from the beach.

Ahhh...yes...the beach.

  We bought a green coconut, good for the milk that was opened for us by a man with a machete on our way to the beach. Jeremiah found a brown coconut, good for the meat inside, and using his Gerber tool, proceeded to open it.

In the morning we visited the Tulum ruins, walled on three sides, with a jagged and rocky coast forming the fourth side. The town was once a Mayan port, before being discovered by the Spanish. Although the buildings are small and unimpressive compared to the other ruins we had visited recently, the setting is beautiful along the eroded limestone coast.

  Tulum sits right on the coast of the Caribbean Sea , the stone ruins contrasting with the turquoise waters.

  The ruins were just a short walk from our hotel.

  The beach is accessible from the ruins that are built upon a rocky cliff, but stairs give tourists a chance to dip their toes in the water.

  This hermit crab was climbing over the rocky ledge at the ruins. Iguanas were also scrambling to sunnier perches away from spectators.

  Jeremiah disembarks to take one last look at the Caribbean Sea at Tulum before we headed off to Belize.

All photographs © Holly Marcus / Page design by Robin Marcus