Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tulum, Mexico

Jason's Birthday Trip this year was to Tulum. We caught a super early morning flight from Dallas, made a quick transfer in Houston and arrived in Cancun around noon. After managing the ridiculous timeshare salesmen and annoying taxi drivers, we located our airport transfer and caught an hour and a half ride down to Tulum.

We could have easily stayed in Cancun, but the further away we drove, the more enjoyable we found it. Arriving in laid-back Tulum, it was like we were in a different world. Tulum isn't on the power grid, so all power used has to be generated by the hotels/restaurants/etc. We were lucky because our hotel had A/C every night between 7pm and 7am. It wasn't hot when we went though (around 78F), so a fan was plenty.

We arrived at our hotel, Villa Pescadores (house of the fishermen), and grabbed lunch at the beach restaurant. We ate so much guacamole in 3 days, it was unreal! We walked along the beach and catch a quick cat-nap on some lounge chairs. The beach was incredible and it was literally right outside of our doors. The sand was the softest we can remember. It was heaven!

We had dinner reservations at Kitchen Table, which is apparently the "new Hartwood". We can't compare as we only tried one, but we did enjoy our time here. The service was actually really great, but unfortunately, the place is super tiny and we didn't get to sit at our table for around 1.5 hours. We ended up chatting with a couple from St. Louis though, so time did fly. The food was really yummy and the (comped) drinks were great!

The next morning, we woke up and grabbed breakfast at our hotel. We got a taxi to take us to Gran Cenote and he waited for us while we swam around for the next few hours. I liked this one because there it was easy to rent snorkel gear (80 pesos) and lock up our things in a locker (15 pesos). The cenote was beautiful and the water was crystal clear. I think scuba divers would be in for a big treat! I would definitely advise getting there early as they got more packed as the morning wore one. By noon, we were ready to escape the crowds. 

In the afternoon, we biked into Tulum town. We wandered around for a while, finding a random place at the end of the strip. We only saw locals there and picked food by randomly pointing to things. It was delicious and less than $10! After, we grabbed some paletas at Flor de Michoacan. After some shopping, the skies opened up. We ran to a restaurant and waited out the rain with a few beers and queso (literally...melted cheese and nothing else, haha!). We grabbed a bottle of wine at the supermarket on the way back to the hotel and enjoyed the rain while we sat on our balcony.

Our last morning, we biked over to the Tulum Ruins. While we enjoyed walking around up top, we really loved walking down to the beach and swimming for a few hours. Make sure to bring your swimsuit!!

We checked out of our hotel and headed back to our beach restaurant. We ate a slow and leisurely lunch, soaking up our last little bit of paradise. We had a few drinks at the beach bar as well, passing the time until our airport transfer arrived to collect us. We did so much, but so little in our quick weekend away. I think it was a pretty great way for Jason to bring in the next year! Southwest flies to Cancun now, so I know we'll be back. Hopefully it remains the same amazing place we left it!

Up Next: In a few weekends, we'll be headed back to one of our favorite places - Russian River Valley!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Legian, Bali

We spent 3 days in Legian. The majority of our days were some mix of sunbathing at the hotel, getting massages, eating some amazing meals and working out in the gym. It was a really lovely time and all we could ask for for our last few days in Bali.

Once evening, we caught a cab ($3 - gotta love Asia!) to La Plancha Beach Club for sunset drinks. The atmosphere at this place was electric. We loved sipping cocktails, relaxing in bean bag chairs and watching the sunset with music pumping in our veins. We followed this up with a fancy dinner at Mama-San.

Every morning started with a complimentary breakfast, complete with freshly squeezed juices, ice cream, 4 types of yogurt, waffles, pastries, pho, dumplings, etc...It was quite ridiculous honestly.

We hired a driver on our last full day to take us on an evening tour to Uluwatu Temple and Jimbaran Beach. The monkeys at Uluwatu Temple were MUCH more aggressive than the ones we had seen at the Monkey Forest in Ubud. We even saw one steal a flip flop off of a little girl's foot! We stayed vigilant, but I think I was still able to get some great shots of some of the residents.

We finished our night at Lia's Cafe on Jimbaran Beach. We had some shrimp and fish that Jason selected and washed it down with a few Bintang beers. 

Dinner was really delicious and I was super happy with our last night - until I woke up at 4am with Bali Belly. No details necessary except to say that our last day didn't go quite as planned. Luckily our plane didn't leave until 9:45pm and I was feeling much better by then. Thus began our 30 hour journey home.

All of the END of the trip aside, Bali was amazing. We love Asia because you can get so much for so little. We spent less on this trip (with confirmed airline seats) than we do on other trips where we nonrev! Like I've said before, Balinese people are some of the friendliest we've met on our travels. The food was incredibly delicious. The landscape and natural beauty is unrivaled. I just wish is wasn't so dang far away! Definitely jealous of the Australians who have this place in their backyard.

You can count on us going back to Bali in our lifetimes. Ubud has a special place in my heart and I would love to get to explore more of the Northern end of this beautiful island.

Next up: Our recap from a wonderful weekend in Tulum!