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A LITTLE TAN IN THE YUCATAN

Posted on January 31 2017

Deprived of vitamin D this cold, wet and dreary Seattle winter, we needed a break. So, what did we do? Grabbed the first non-stop flight we could find to somewhere sunny, interesting and of course with great food.  Mexico seemed logical, so Playa Del Carmen it was.  Just south of Cancun and a bit north of Tulum, it was the perfect blend of getting away, but not too far away.  Being the adventurous types, we need a good balance of beach and hotel for our excursions abroad.

We set up shop at the Thompson Beach House to the backdrop of palm trees, beaches and modern amenities.  All tucked neatly just off the main pedestrian walkway in town, giving us great access to everything we’d need.  Our quest of sunshine was ready to kick off.

Four nights of exploring local taco joints made for a great way to cap off each day.  Local favorite El Fogon was first on our list.  A bustling joint on the edge of town filled with locals and tourists alike, its central grill was busy churning out non-stop tastiness all night.  Next up, Tacontenedor for some seafood centric tacos.  A neat little joint comprised of two shipping containers with a robust central condiment bar to add that little extra something to your tacos.  It was so great, we went back again on our last night to ensure we exhausted the array of condiment options.  Not to be outdone, Los Aguachiles, also a seafood joint, matched the flavors of the previous night, but added in some specialty Mezcal based drinks to help us wash down the grub.  Our little taco adventures have pretty much ruined it for our taco taste buds back home. 

Image via Trip Advisor

We did make a taco exception one night, which happened to be Erin’s birthday.  A chill evening at a quiet little place called Imprevist helped us to celebrate another year around the sun.  Just the kind of place we’d frequent if it was in our own backyard.  Great service coupled impeccably prepared and plated food made for a perfect celebration.  Upon arriving back at our hotel, Jesus (the concierge, not the prophet) had a nice bottle of champagne and desert waiting for us in the room.  Kudos to him and the whole crew at the Thompson for going the extra mile during our stay.

Lunch most days was at a tiny little spot called Madrez, across the street from our hotel. The kind of spot we wish was next to our house at home.  Their super tiny kitchen churns out simple breakfast and lunch dishes packed with flavor and freshness.  Service was awesome and the food was always on point.  

Another favorite was Chez Celine,  a little French bakery we discovered by smell alone! This place was our respite from the mid-day sun when a snack or iced coffee was needed.

It wasn’t all beach time and tacos of course (though, that’d wouldn’t be half bad).  We did manage to set aside a day to get out of town and explore the surrounding area. Picking the locals brains for ideas that we’re off the beaten path, but not so far that we’d end up losing a kidney, we had our list.  With the itinerary set and a driver at our disposal, we headed up at Coba, where the dilapidated ruins are tucked up amongst the jungle in their natural state.  The allure of climbing to the top of the ruins, coupled with sparse crowds and It ended up being the perfect stop. It gave us exactly what we wanted, a birds eye view high above the jungle that others don’t get a chance to see at more touristic centric locations. 

From the top of the world, to underneath it, we headed to some “cenotes”, or caves, where the natural waters carved out a spot deep under the earth.  Crisp clear waters hidden from view deep beneath the surface through an unassuming hole in the ground.  It’s hard to put into words, so the pictures will have to suffice. 

Since we shunned the crowds in our first two stops, our final activity was to visit Tulum for a seaside romp amongst the ruins.

Even with the overwhelming crowds, tour buses and even a Starbucks (an iced coffee did hit the spot), the place was impressive and beautiful.  Set against the backdrop of the ocean, it’s a photographers heaven.  A full day bouncing around the countryside definitely earned us some pool time back at the hotel to round out the day.

That about wraps up the highlights of our little getaway.  With some color on our pale skin and a touch of tequila still lingering in our veins, we made it back to the soggy PNW relaxed and ready for spring!

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