One of the greatest things about attending a friends wedding in your 30's is that there's a good chance it's a destination wedding. I know, I know... some of you might disagree and think it's too expensive or inconvenient, but I whole heartedly disagree! In this day and age when we work so hard, our lives are jam packed and it's hard to just slow down for a minute, I love that our friends lay down the law and say, this is where you gotta be and when. That's when it's time to surrender, it's out of your hands, cross your fingers and hope they pick paradise so you can set yourself up for a mini-break or a full blown vacation!
One such fabulous incident occurred to my husband and I, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Our good friends Brandon and Nicole were getting married in Tulum.... talk about paradise. I had only heard stories of the white beaches, hammock swinging, happy hours filled with fresh squeezed margaritas near the pool, and had been wanting to visit for some time. The wedding landed right about the time our first baby was going to be about six months. It was perfect, Momma and Daddy were going to be in need of some serious down time to reconnect, so we were delighted to attend and bought tickets to Cancun as fast as we could (after making sure the grandmothers were set for a marathon babysitting weekend!) I had never been to the Yucatan Penninsula and didn't know what to expect. I had heard about Cancun, which is where you fly into and that it was a huge tourist destination, not usually my cup of tea but Tulum was supposed to be different. A bit further away from the crowds of Cancun, and with friends like ours we knew we were going to be shown a great time. I had total confidence this trip would be top notch.
The thing with Tulum is that it's the more local feeling, boutique style, off the beaten path kinda vacation spot near Cancun. The beach doesn't have the high rise, inclusive resorts, one after the other, those are on the other end of the beach. You have to drive about an hour and a half away from the airport to get to Tulum and you pass lots of hotels on the way.... but once you arrive, you totally get why you've gone the extra distance. It's quiet, private, untouched and feels like a gorgeous, jungle escape. It has the most beautiful beaches I've ever been on.... really, it's breathtaking, and I've been on a lot of beaches around the world. I kid you not, the sand is like powdered sugar, light, fluffy and white. Oh, and the water, the water you can see through and it's aqua blue or bright turquoise depending on the season. It's such a view to bestow when you take your first walk out there.... to see water and sand for miles and know you'll be walking through them, virtually alone.... Tulum is paradise indeed.
The hotel becomes your sanctuary for your stay and there are several to choose from. Lucky for us, our friends were married at Be Tulum. This charming resort was both rustic and luxurious, placed right on the beach. Our reception desk built of rock was outdoors and sand was beneath your feet when you were checking in. We had our own private suite, which came with it's own pool and hammock. In order to get there we had to walk through a candle lit path of overgrown forest... it was just a dream. The decor was a perfect play on mayan traditional folk art and high end, lux style, a blend of sophistication.
Because our friends were to be married there on site, our group owned the place. Literally, only wedding guests were staying there, I believe that's their policy. It sounds like a rather large request of a hotel, but I must say, it really made the wedding. The hotel is a boutique size, not many rooms, so it doesn't take a large wedding to fill it. The intimate feeling we all had throughout the weekend because we were there was irreplaceable. It was like we were all staying in someones home. Friends and family were there for breakfast, lunch and dinner and only people you knew were across from you in the comfy cabanas on the beach.
You're were also not far from adventure if that's what your looking for. There were caves to explore and dive into as well as local Mayan ruins to see and climb. However, this was not what we were looking for. We had plenty of day to day adventure figuring out how to raise a newborn at home. What we wanted was to sleep in as much as we could everyday and read books under palapas on the beach while sipping pina coladas...... and that's just what we did for 3 days and it felt like a week. And did I mention the food? Spectacular! Every meal was amazing.... I couldn't believe it. My husband and I like to explore new cities and like most, when staying in a hotel, we rarely stay to eat. We want to walk, find street food, look for the gems. But our cook was the gem to find. The food was outstanding and I hear this was no surprise. Many hotels nearby had the same set up and have world class cooks serving up local delights. Because you're off the beaten path in Tulum there isn't many options that a city would have. There isn't a street full of restaurants, or even that much walking traffic. So, hotels provide the great meals and service themselves. It really was the relaxing place we needed. You didn't have to go anywhere everything you wanted was a request away. It was so special and ridiculously fun! If you're planning a wedding, this type of event is really an amazing experience and Be Tulum was the type of destination that would satisfy the needs of any world traveler. I highly recommend it and look forward to the day I get to dip my toes in the sands of Tulum once more.
Our friends were wed at sundown followed by a cocktail party just a few feet away from the party. We were serenaded by the local Mariachi musicians and snacked on amazing finger foods while waiting to be seated.
The local fish caught hours before, prepared 'a la plancha' with herbs and spices was just one of the many tasty items on the menu.