Finding white sand, blue sea, empty beaches is a given in Tulum, Mexico. The beach is miles long, giving plenty of room for anyone's desires to breath and take it in how they want to.
We drove down a dirt road then followed a public trail to a beach that was covered with chunks of white coral. I could not believe my eyes. The sea took on a different look as the reef was not far away. Hence, instead of the coral breaking down to sand as it reached the beach as in most parts of Tulum, rock size coral was the ground covering.
I could hardly move without ohing and awing in utter admiration. I barely moved five feet in thirty minutes. Instead I bent over taking one photo after another of the different patterns of coral underfoot.
My mind race with how many could I pack into our suitcases. My fingers traced the lines as I imaged how I would incorporate them in a large urn back home. My designing thoughts were interrupted with fat tinges of guilt, "You cannot take these home... they belong to the beach."
And so it was as I took photos of the white coral and pink based sea fans along the beach that my thoughts battled back and forth:
"Yes I will only take a few."
"No, you won't take any."
"Yes I will, Gee, look the entire beach is full!"
'"But it won't be if everyone thinks like you."
As I bartered with myself I saw we were not alone on the beach after all, a man was approaching us. I was glad I hadn't stocked piled a bunch of coral, nor stuffed my pockets. Though I felt guilty as if I were trespassing, I assumed he would tell us we would have to leave.
Though when I saw his eyes I knew he was a kind soul. He asked us if we had seen a large turtle? French Husband and I shook our heads no, then asked, "How big?"
We introduced ourselves, Skip turned out to be a native Californian. He and his wife Jeanette bought a piece of Tulum's beach front property back in 1994.
As the waves brought in more coral Skip told us his story about how they came to Tulum, feel in love, bought property, had children, saved money, and eventually turned the land they owned into a home with a few holiday rentals.
He asked us where we were staying. French Husband and I looked sideways at each other as we read each others minds, "Do you have a room?"
When we left Merida, we rented a car knowing eventually we would arrive in Tulum. We stopped here and there, admiring everything Mexico had to offer on our path, you might say we kind of forgot about the day passing into night. We didn't have a room reserved thinking we would find one along the beach... we arrived at the beach in Tulum late at night.
The few rooms available along Tulam's Boca Paila (beachfront) were incredibly expensive ($495) or expensive holes. The expensive hole had a room without a window, next to a bar where the music made the bed bounce and a shared bathroom for $160 a night. I could not fathom how that could be better than sleeping in the car.
That is not to say that the beach in Tulum is expensive or full of holes. Because it isn't. Unless maybe arriving without a reservation late at night. Tulum has plenty to offer at any price, and most places are well worth the money you want to spend.
We drove into the center of town. Away from the beach. We figured we would stay one night or two and find place on the beach later. We found Nadet, a simple good hotel, offering studios with a kitchen for $40 a night.
And so the next day instead of looking for a hotel on the beach, we were admiring coral when we met Skip and Jeanette, serendipity on the beach.
We left the coral, and followed the directions Skip and Jeanette had given us:
"Drive down the road, take the next left, when you come to the entrance tell them you are going to "Nah Uxibal", see that roof in the distance? That is our place.
As we drove French Husband asked me, "What is the name of their place?"
I shrugged, "You know I cannot remember anything unless it is said in basic English."
We drove down the road, we took a left on a dirt road, we came to the entrance and said, "Skip and Jeanette?" They opened the gate, we saw their roof and found our happy place.
Photo Source Nah Uxibal.
Instead of coral my suitcase is going to be full of wanting to come back.
Skip and Jeanette are the type of people I feel I have known my entire life. Have you ever met someone and knew you could be friends forever?