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Tulum Day 1

Thursday, March 17, 2022

I was pretty excited to leave Mahahual this morning. So excited that I went to the colectivo station 2 hours early. I found a taco stand nearby and ordered two tacos. The owner and her husband served up two delicious carnitas tacos and a liter of Coke. The tacos were served on a plate wrapped in a plastic bag. I think that’s a covid measure, but I’m not 100% sure. Either way it made me smile. I haven’t seen anything like that before.

The green salsa is VERY spicy

After downing the two tacos I asked for uno mas, 1 more. After all, I had absolutely no idea how long it would take me to get to Tulum. The colectivo way is to show up and see what happens.

Colectivo 1

I got to the colectivo station 30 minutes early. Good thing, because it departed 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I really don’t know if they keep a schedule at all, or just go from one stop to another whatever the time is. But my ticket was for noon and we left around 11:45am.

On the way, I witnessed a man on the side of the road collecting wood. He beat the tree limbs on the side of the car to break them down to trunk-size pieces. Everything here in Mexico is about function. No one seems to be concerned about what their cars, homes, etc. look like. It’s purely about necessity. Oddly refreshing.

Colectivo 2

I got off in Limones where I had to wait for a second colectivo to take me further north. I asked a man at the stop if I needed a ticket (boleto). He said no, just wait for the next colectivo and flag them down. (This was my interpretation from his 30 second spanish response.) In the first ten minutes of waiting, he spit no less than 30 times. I let it go since he was helpful. There were a few instances where he would summon me to get ready before realizing the passing white van was not our colectivo. I realized I wasn’t alone in not knowing exactly when the next van would come.

Colectivo – source

Eventually, a random white van that apparently is a colectivo came and the man told me to get in. He climbed in the passenger’s seat while I scoped out the back. Unfortunately, it was full. The driver pointed backward. I wasn’t sure if that meant I should put my bags in the back or what. I stepped out and slid the door shut. The van drove off. I guess pointing meant there will be another one coming. Sure enough, only a couple min later another colectivo came by so I flagged it down as I was taught. There was a nice empty seat for me right by the door. I climbed in and waited the 45 min to Felipe Carrillo Puerto. 50 pesos.

Once in Felipe Carillo Puerto, I got out with everyone else before the driver told me to get back in. He’d take me to a station for Tulum. On the way there he asked if I lived in Mexico. I explained I was visiting for another week and complimented the beautiful country and friendly people. He accepted my compliments and informed my new driver I was going to Tulum. He also told me my next ride would cost 45 pesos.

Colectivo 3

I climbed out of one van and directly into another. Unlike the first two vans, I was the first person in the third one. After sitting down I realized this van probably doesn’t leave very soon. That’s ok. I’ll be ready when it does. 40 minutes later we left for Tulum.

I reached out to John for advice on my last 3-4 days in Mexico. Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, or Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres it is. Once I get to Tulum I’ll need to book my final accommodations.


Upon making it to Tulum, I jumped out at the second stop. My driver questioned me to make sure I was at the right destination before I walked the dusty main road to my Airbnb. My initial glimpse of Tulum was not what I expected. It was fairly industrial with a lot of large construction vehicles loudly rolling through the center of town. It was also dustier and more of a concrete jungle than a real jungle. I’ll make a better judgment after I get a chance to explore more.

Quickly I realized I had to cross the primary 4 lane road that had no stoplights or crosswalks and endless traffic. Me and my luggage successfully played Frogger across the road.

After about 10 minutes I made it to my Airbnb. Like my hotel in Mahahual, it has a beautiful outdoor oasis and a wonderfully modern interior design. 3 walls were all windows, 2 with 10 foot wide sliding glass doors. It also has a lumberyard next door that is open daily. I hoped it wouldn’t be deja vu.

Lumberyard next door


One of the reasons I was excited to get to Tulum was for the food. There are 100x more options than in Mahahual and I was excited about the variety. Mahahual had all the same stuff (tacos, ceviche, burritos, burgers, wings, etc). In Tulum, I could get more fruits, vegetables, greens, breakfasts, brunches, and dinners than I previously had access to. I opted for fish tacos, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a cold pressed spinach juice. Yum.

I walked the main drag for a few blocks before heading back, showering and sorting my clothes to be laundered tomorrow. All in all a great day and very optimistic about the change of scenery.

Daily Expenses

Amounts in Mexican Pesos

Total Spend$1828(~$90 USD)
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