There is only one acceptable reason to wake hours before the sun rises, and that is to travel. Otherwise, let me sleep as long as the sun. Our scheduled Uber arrived timely at 4 AM. We flew Southwest to Los Angeles. It was a full, but fast flight. A little bumpy too, so no drinks or snacks. We grabbed breakfast at Rock & Brews inside LAX. $45 later, we filled the hole with microwaved eggs. Yep, that's right. Served right in the microwavable dishes. No glassware or silverware either, all plastic.
Southwest's route to Cancun is pretty new, not only did we secure a great fare; only 53 were booked on our flight. We were able to stretch out, the extra room was much appreciated. LA was drenched and the rain didn't let up for our departure so we were stuck on the runway about an hour waiting in the longest queue I've ever seen. The flight improved once we were airborn.
Construction seems to be complete in Cancun. The airport is quite modern now. We were among the first off the plane, and our bags were already on the carousel when we made it to baggage claim so it was very quick to pass through customs. There was only one couple ahead of us and they got the red light, I was pretty confident ours would be green - and it was.
Past trips we've rented from Thrifty. I had difficulty making a reservation twice, so I gave up and opted for an automatic compact thru Alamo. We've always gotten manual so I thought I'd splurge since it was only $6 per day (+$18 for TPL). The shuttle took us right over, it didn't seem too busy so I figured we'd be on our way in no time. Boy, was I wrong. They prepped a vehicle, but at the last minute they changed it out for another that was "grande" and had a full tank. An hour later, we were greeted with our ride. It was not at all large. It was an automatic and it had power windows - so it was the most luxurious rental we've had to date, but the doors still did not lock.
My original plan was to stop in Playa del Carmen for a bite and groceries, but we lost so much time with the delays and to worsen matters I had completely forgotten that Quinta Roo no longer observes daylight savings and switched to EST two years ago. Our Airbnb's location was just north of the Tulum Ruins near the Tankah Beach Resort. We thought it was best to drive straight thru and not waste anymore time. Road conditions improve with every visit - now, there are far less topes, but an extra traffic light or two. We made good time and checked in about 8 o'clock. I picked up the key at the beach club, but it was up to Frank and I to locate the building & our unit. It was pretty dark so it was a relief that it was well marked. We were pleased with the accommodations and we were stoked for morning to see the beach and the glorious Caribbean sea. We were starved and we worried that restaurants would be closing soon so we headed out straight away. We had no destination in mind, we parked on Av. Coba and walked until we found a place that grabbed us.
Malevo lured us in, the scent from the grill was intoxicating. But first, we were in need of a cerveza stat. Two Montejo's were downed in record time. They were cold and we were THIRSTY. Their housemade bread was yummy and the appetizer sampler followed. Which had three selections, the empanadas were our favorite. We shared the entree, which was pork shoulder, yucca fries and onion jam. It was fantastic! We were pleased to stumble on such a wonderful spot.
After dinner, we stopped at the market (Super San Francisco de Asis), but we were chased out because it closed at 10 PM. The third convenience store we tried, finally, allowed us to buy beer. We enjoyed Barrilitos under the stars while we waited for morning. Then, slept wonderfully, the king bed was cozy and the A/C kept the room perfectly chilled.
Morning came, the view was indeed beautiful, but the beach was a bit rough with rocks, shells and debris. Not ideal for bare feet. It was windy and the waves were unrelenting so we knew we wouldn't be logging much time in the water. So we didn't mind that a trip back to the grocery store would occur sooner than we intended because we quickly realized I failed to pack toothpaste. It's always something, isn't it? This time we went to the Chedraui. We were able to get all we needed, including a sharp chef's knife and omelet pan. We went a bit overboard spending almost $90 US. Cheese and meat to throw together a charcuterie platter was far pricier than we anticipated. All was well, we had quite the haul.
Frank was going to whip up one of his amazing breakfasts, but the hot plate didn't seem to work. No matter what we tried, it wouldn't warm. We opted for yogurt, with granola and honey instead. It was mighty tasty. With full bellies, we situated ourselves outside to do absolutely nothing - it was wonderful. I decided to shoot the airbnb host a message about the hot plate and he quickly responded that the pan we were using might have been too small to trigger the heating element. Later, for lunch, we gave it another go. Sure enough, the omelet pan was too small. We improvised a bit to make it work, but eventually gouda and ham omelets with a side of bacon were had.
We noticed there was a pool so Frank took a dip, it was clean and refreshing. You could still hear the waves crash poolside too. Then, not far off the pool was a cenote. Most of it was exposed to the sunlight so algae was rampant, not good for snorkeling. We lounged under the palapa enjoying the sea breeze until the sunset.
We showered and dressed for dinner. We planned to drive to Playa del Carmen for Chicago style pizza at Don Chendo. There is a long dirt road from the sea to the highway, about midway, Frank slammed on the brakes. I didn't see what stopped him in his tracks, he reversed the car hopeful that he did no harm. "An iguana?" I questioned. "No, it's a coconut!," I screeched, answering my own question. Before Frank could speak, I'd eat my words as it shimmied ever so slowly. I leaped out of the car for a closer look, "A hermit crab!" Who would've guessed?! Good thing, Frank's eyesight is better than mine.
They were fully booked when we arrived, so we decided to walk over to El Fogon for a taco appetizer while we waited. The tacos al pastor were amazing as was the margaritas. By the time we returned to Don Chendo there was plenty of seating. The pizza was just as delicious as we remembered it. It's the real deal.
That night, Frank suggested we spend the next day in Xpu-ha or head south for an adventure. We were intrigued by what what lies south of Tulum. We've only gone as far as Kanlum Lagoon right outside there. Mahahual had piqued our interest which is 2.5 hours beyond Tulum. I opted for adventure. It was time to find a new beach!