Last Friday we took a short afternoon day trip to Tulum. With the excellent public transportation system here in Mexico, hopping on a first-class ADO bus for a very reasonable rate makes it super easy to take quick, spontaneous trips as well as longer overnights. So we went to Tulum for a late lunch!
Here's a map of the area so you can see the various cities in Mexico's Quintana Roo state. We're staying in Playa del Carmen, which is well-located to visit many other cities and a couple of islands as well.
You can see Tulum not too far south of Playa on the map. We previously blogged about our day trips to Isla Mujeres (Part 1 and Part 2) and Puerto Morelos. And we used to live in Ambergris Caye in Belize, at the very bottom of the map.
After walking over to the ADO bus station on Avenida Quinta (5th Avenue) and purchasing our one-way tickets to Tulum for 62 pesos apiece (just over $4 USD), we had a little time to kill, so I walked over to the beach. I can't believe this is the first photo I have taken of this huge, and well-known sculpture!
When we arrived in Tulum, we realized that our tickets only went as far as the "Zona Arqueologica", i.e., the Maya ruins, not into the city itself. There's an ADO bus station right downtown, several kilometers farther south, but I guess you have to ask specifically for "Tulum Centro" when you purchase your ticket, since most tourists only go to the ruins for the day.
Hmmmm...we must look like tourists.
Since we'd already been to the Maya ruins on our first trip to Tulum in 2012, we didn't need to go back again. But we did need a baño, so we headed into the touristy complex near where the bus let us off.
We were dismayed to see a Starbucks and a Quiznos, but we did enjoy seeing these guys in colorful garb spinning round and round up on some sort of a Mexican merry-go-round way up off the ground.
After finding a rest room (a free one at that; pretty unusual here), we headed out to the highway and hopped a colectivo southbound into the center of town. The short ride was reasonably priced at 20 pesos apiece; however, from reading an article I found online afterwards, we may have gotten "gringo pricing". According to the article, the cost to go all the way from Playa to Tulum in a colectivo is 40 pesos per person, and we went only a small fraction of the way.
Once we got off in the center of Tulum, we hoofed it to the south side of town to our favorite "cheap eats" seafood restaurant, El Camelo Jr., as we were starving for lunch. Still not sure what the camel has to do with Mexico or Tulum, but the sign is cute!
Barry had a big plate of grilled fish, rice, and beans, and I went with the fish tacos. Yum!
This drummer played for the restaurant patrons, so we gave her a few pesos afterwards. This is a common practice at the many open-air restaurants in Playa del Carmen as well.
This adorable little guy was sitting in his person's lap and catching a snooze while she had lunch!
Well-fed, we headed out to walk back to the center of town.
We passed a fruit market on our way back to the bus station and couldn't resist stopping. We bought a papaya, pineapple, and a few mangoes. Pretty, aren't they?
Some street art on the way back...love the creativity.
ADO bus terminals had to install new clocks for our new time zone in Quintana Roo, which I blogged about earlier. For a few weeks, we were synchronized with eastern time in the US, but now the US has gone to Daylight Savings Time, so we're one hour behind the east coast once again. We're on either Central Daylight Time, Eastern Standard Time, or the new Southeastern Standard Time for Quintana Roo and Quintana Roo alone! Aren't we special? ;-)
A couple final shots of downtown Tulum from the ADO bus station.
You may have noticed that there are no shots of the absolutely beautiful Tulum beach. We had thought we'd head over, but it would have been a taxi or another colectivo ride since the beach is several kilometers from Centro. We were pretty tired of walking and it was a hot day with full sun, so we ended up bailing on it this time. But here's a teaser shot from our 2012 trip.
I mean, just look at this beach! Might just have to head back there another time....
We bought our ADO tickets back to Playa, and after a very short wait, we hopped onto the bus and headed back north. Another walk from the bus terminal in Playa, and we were back at our rental.
There's nothing like busing it to another city for lunch!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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