Tulum - The Heart Of The Yucatan

We almost skipped Tulum, as it looked a bit beyond our budget - what a mistake that would have been.Eventually though the pictures of the beach were just too good to skip, so we took a chance and booked a hostel in the town. We arrived at the bus station and upon exiting it really didn't look too bad. OK so it was on a busy road but there were lots of budget restaurants and shops about, it looked fine. There were 3 things we wanted to do in Tulum - see the ruins, see the beach and swim in a cenote. More on the last one later. On our first day, together with another couple Victoria and Russ who we had met at our hostel, we ventured out to try to rent bikes to get to the ruins. They were only 5km or so away so it seemed easily doable to cycle. The bikes took a bit of getting used to, as they were fixed gear with no handbrakes, instead to brake you had to peddle backwards. When we'd practiced a bit we headed out. The road was wide and busy but luckily there was a paved path leading all the way to the ruins so we only had to dodge other people instead of trucks. After heading through the car park at the ruins you hit a confusing mini town full of restaurants and souvenirs, with no indication of where to buy tickets. It took us a while to realise you had to head straight through all this and walk/cycle along a road again for around 1km where we could lock our bikes up and buy our tickets. When we got in our first reaction was WOW. Palm trees and grass surround the ruins which are spread out over a wide area, in various states of repair. Some are just foundations. It was easily the most beautiful ruins site we have seen. We wandered over to the ocean side and saw this incredible beach, empty because it is reserved for turtle eggs, but still what a beach!We hadn’t expected to be able to go onto any beaches or swim, but further down there were some steps down the cliff to a rather packed but equally stunning beach. After an hour getting rather hot exploring the ruins we couldn’t wait to jump it and had luckily come prepared.All that swimming and sunbathing made us hungry though, and with no eating options inside the archaeological site, we hopped back on our bikes and followed a path along the seafront to the public beach.Our second day though was potentially even better. Ever since we had been in the Yucatan we had wanted to visit a cenote. What is a cenote? They are limestone sinkholes filled with crystal clear fresh water and lots of marine life. They are (as far as I know) unique to the region.
There are countless cenotes dotted around the peninsular but around Tulum they were supposed to be especially nice. The problem was, which to choose? A lot are famous for their caves and are best for diving, but as none of us dived, we just wanted to swim and snorkel.