Last September my new husband and I set off on our honeymoon adventures to spend two weeks in the lovely locale of Tulum, Mexico - a chic hippie haven homesteaded by many a fashion folk, and particularly exhausted New Yorkers. Tulum is located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, an hour and a half away from Cancun, on the Caribbean Ocean with gorgeous white sand beaches, yoga studios, beach bungalows, and eco-sophisticated restaurants spilling over with fresh fish, guacamole, and mezcal tasting cafes. Among the many places, we chose to stay at Coqui Coqui, a seven room spa/perfumery with architectural influences by the surrounding Mayan ruins. I've been to Mexico many times before, but this part of the country has charm unlike anything else. Upon arrival in Tulum, I was already smitten by the lifestyle. People riding bicycles barefoot. Women dressed in lovely local fabric draped as sarongs. Men surfing the small wave or fishing roadside.
A bit of a ways down the only road that occupies coastal Tulum, lies Coqui Coqui. We parked our little beater rental car and carried our luggage down a sandy path to the beach. Before we even entered reception, we were welcomed by the sound of the ocean, candlelight, and a lovely waft of fragrance I had yet to put my finger on, but was the smell of Coqui Coqui's signature Orange Blossom fragrance. Upon entering the residence, I was blown away how beautiful the decor is. Vintage Bell Jars covering handmade Coqui Coqui candles and fragrances. Gorgeous silk scarves draped over antique tables, and a glass cabinet full of authentic and locally made hats and accessories.
And it just keeps getting better and better. My love affair completely blossoms as we check into our room and are greeted by a sea of red rose petals all over our mosquito netted bed and hand carved stone bath tub. Candles were lit and a bottle of champagne awaited us. Just what we needed after a long year of wedding planning - and a rainy, somewhat stormy night in Tulum.
Our first day in Tulum was low key. We had a little wine and a snack, took a quick snooze and woke quickly before restaurants closed for a bite to eat at Casa Violetta just down the road. The rain went from a slight drizzle to a heavy pour. Although not ideal weather for our honeymoon, we were taking it in stride, decided to go back to our room and catch up on much needed sleep.
At about midnight we were woken up to severe thunderstorms and lightening, like I've never experienced in my life! So scary I held on to my new husbands hand, but we were both SO exhausted we slept through what we soon realized the next morning, was a tropical storm/hurricane. We quickly dressed and went downstairs, not to check out the weather, but to get a bite to eat. We were greeted by our frantic receptionist bailing water out of the Coqui Coqui lobby and a tour bus checking into every hotel to evacuate the temporary residents of Coqui Coqui. We didn't want to leave this little luxurious oasis, so we passed on the bus ride into town, and opted for a bite to eat. Amanda, the receptionist was shocked at how calm we were, fed us, then INSISTED we leave Coqui Coqui and go inland to their residence in Valladolid as this was not a "honeymoon" type of situation. We were really hesitant, but urgency set in as I saw the beach disappear, so we jumped into our rental car and headed out on an adventure to a place we had never heard of. We had no idea how severe the storm was until we reached the flooding that had wiped out the only road leading to coastal Tulum.
About two hours inland, we arrived into a very battered, but charming colonial town, where Coqui Coqui's main perfumery (an old rum distillery) and residence existed, and the owners called home. Coqui Coqui Valladolid has only one room, and it's more like a bed and breakfast. We checked in and again I was instantly charmed by this hotel. It's decor inspired by the Valladolid's Colonial Architecture and Belle Epoque decor. We checked in, relaxed, and once we had wifi, we realized the entire Yucatan Peninsula was under Tropical Storm watch, and even if we decided to go back home, we couldn't as the airports were closed. We were "stuck" in Valladolid until at least the storm subsided.
We were starving, so we requested a little food from our "private" chef that was on staff 24 hours. She whipped up an amazing authentic Yucatan "breakfast" of Huevoes Rancheros (the best I have ever had, and so simple) and fresh fruit and juice. We sat in the small restaurant, ate our food, as we listened the rain pour down. The best thing to occupy our time was to schedule massages, get a little wine, and relax, until we figured out our next move.
After massages, great food, another good night's rest, and awaking to sunshine, we decided to head out to Chichen Itza, the Mayan Ruin for the day. It was beyond stunning and I highly suggest if you ever do go, to get a tour guide to learn about the history of the Mayan's and the ruins. After a few hours on our tour, we headed back to Valladolid, checked out of our hotel, in promise that the sun has also hit the coast. Although we knew Coqui Coqui would not be hosting us, we took our chances, and headed into Playa del Carmen for a few nights for refuge at the Viceroy Hotel. We spent a day on the beach, but my husband was itching to get on the water and fish. The next day we woke up at 5 AM (#wifepoints) headed south, back into Tulum to charter a fishing boat. As we reached town, we noticed that life had gotten back to usual in Tulum. No rain, just remnants of the storm with a washed away road, and seashell scattered beach. Although we only caught a few fish that day, we got to rescue hundreds of baby sea turtles and let them loose into the bay. It was such a magical experience! I felt like I had 100 new babies.
After a few days in Playa we were longing for our experience at Coqui Coqui and knowing that the storm had passed, we packed up our cars, drove back to Tulum and took a chance that they would let us back in for the remainder of our stay. Nothing was going to stop us from going back to finish out another week of our honeymoon! As we arrived Amanda and the owners, Nicolas and Francesca, were cleaning, wiping, and airing out the lobby of the hotel. It took a few days for them to recover after the storm, and they allowed us to stay knowing that there would be no power for a few days. We didn't care, we just wanted to be back in our eco chic oasis. What I have failed to tell you is that Coqui Coqui and all of Tulum are run on a generator. Spotty wifi, no fresh water, and no toilet paper can be flushed. Although this sounds very backwards, it's actually a part of the romance of Tulum. Getting out of your comfort zone, off the map a little, not able to check Instagram or your email every five seconds, you truly get to relax and enjoy the simple and beautiful surroundings. We were elated to be back "home".
We spent the remainder of our trip relaxing on the beach, eating fresh mexican food, drinking delicious margaritas, another day fishing where I caught a Mahi Mahi, and was able to feed all of the guests and the staff with our catch of the day on our last night. So grateful for our experience in The Yucatan, even more grateful for that storm as I would never have visited Valladolid, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. We also met an amazing couple and their children who we now call friends and hope to visit with them in Australia soon.
Tulum and Coqui Coqui are very casual, but chic. Laid back, hair on top of head, barely a stitch of makeup or clothes, but you don't want to run around naked. This is not a spring break type of establishment. The key is wear pieces that are body skimming as it's very hot and humid, that also multitask. It's rare that you see anyone over dressed in Tulum, and if you do, you know they are a "tourist". Be sure to pack things that dry and wick moisture easily like cotton and silk. You could pack a tiny bag for a week and get away with it. I wore a caftan that could be mistaken for a dress, my bikini, Birkenstocks, a baseball cap most of my time there.