Traveling the Sac-be 2011 – Part One

By Lydia Linton Pontius
Photos are clickable to see larger images.

At least once a year we take off on the sac-be and visit old friends and make new ones.  We use these trips to write articles and reviews, and to take videos, as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of what is new, or what new places there are to explore.  

This trip it was my partner/husband, Mike, his son, Matt, and Matt's friend Lisa. This trip had the usual requirements, but it was also to celebrate Mike's 60th birthday.  His son Matt had been as far south as Xel-Ha in 1998 when we took a family vacation to Cancún.  Mike had not been down to the Costa Maya since 2001. Lisa had been to Cancún as a young teenager, staying in the Hotel Zone and seeing sights such as Xcaret.

I was excited because I knew that the changes, or things that didn't change, were going to be exciting. Seeing things through new eyes always gives me a renewed appreciation, and I see things I would ordinarily miss or take for granted.

I had been in Akumal for several days attending a WaterART Fitness training program, so I hopped in the car and drove up to Cancún to meet the family.  I sat outside the terminal sipping my coffee and talking to the two cats that kept me company. They were on an early flight and the airport was relatively quiet. With the two men being over 6 feet tall, there was no problem spotting them.

We had to make one quick stop to get a larger car. The arrangements were made ahead of time and EasyWay had us off and on the road in no time. Heading south on 307, the first shocker is the size of Playa. For Matt, it was a tiny fishing village with dirt roads when he saw it. For Mike, who travels more frequently, it was the new fly-over that impressed him. We were heading to Tulúm but decided we had to stop for lunch at Akumal, so Matt and Lisa could see our home away from home.

We stopped for lunch at Lol-Ha and the kids had their first peek at that Caribbean blue water. Cheers with a cerveza and a quick bite to eat. We ordered, among other things, the lionfish tacos—which if you have never tried lionfish, you don't know what you are missing. The lionfish literally are speared fresh by the owner and her family!!

Off to Tulúm for a quick visit to that beach. I chose Ziggy's Beach for a walk on the beach and a margarita at El Bistro's swing bar! We were so impressed last year with this place that I had to return even if it was just for a moment. The vista, the atmosphere and, most of all, the pleasant staff make it so inviting. It is a great place to spend an afternoon, even if you are not staying. Great public facilities and we highly recommend it. Renovations are almost complete at the Cabañas Tulum.

A quick stop at Zama's for photos and we were off up to the beachfront entrance to Tulúm Ruins and down the little road to the public beach, where we had some of the best guacamole and chips and another cocktail. This is a great spot to get a reasonable drink on a magnificent beach with an incredible view of the Tulúm Ruins.

A quick stop at the new Chedraui and we were on to the village of Macario Gomez and our first night at La Selva Mariposa, an amazing bed and breakfast in the jungle which is the loving creation of Moe and Lou. We settled in, wandered the property, relaxed, and all decided this is the perfect spot to decompress!

That evening we had dinner  across the street in Macario Gomez. It was a lovely restaurant, with great fresh food and the owners had just arrived within months from Mexico City. They serve some of the best mole! The next morning we did more wandering through La Selva Mariposa's property and down to the village. It was exciting to see the local farmers' market. They had just butchered a cow the night before and people were lined up to get their fresh meat. You don't experience moments like this if you stay on the touristy paths! These are the moments we love and why we encourage others to explore the sac-be!

Back to La Selva Mariposafor an amazing breakfast! (Click the link to watch video.) We were not the only ones staying and dropping in and it was quite an international group with people from the States, France, Germany and South America. Moe cooked breakfast this morning, but apparently they take turns and each one is equally good. Following breakfast Lou took us on a tour and pointed out the things they are doing to help limit the carbon footprint of their place, as well as the number of plants that can be found along their own little sac-be.

Too soon we were on the road to the Costa Maya. Read more about these places in our reviews and find out more of the great places we visited in upcoming issues.

Tulum Beach Matt Pontius