Mission in Tulum: Finding the perfect resort.
By David Domeniconi
Contra Costa Times Correspondent, Posted: 10/17/2010 12:01:00 AM PDT at MercuryNews.com
If you have a serious thing for long stretches of crowd-free white sand and warm ocean water, then the Mexican beaches of Tulum should top your must-visit list. And if you plan a trip to Tulum, you will face this challenge: picking the right resort from about 75 located on miles of the Caribbean’s finest sand.
Once remote but now well discovered, Tulum is a 1-hour, 45-minute drive south of Cancun. The pueblo is a mile from the famous beach and the beach resorts. Most of these resorts bill themselves as “eco,” all are off the grid (wind, solar, or generator power only) and none stands higher than a palm tree. And even though Tulum’s beaches are well known, the size of the resorts (small) and the length of the beach (endless) keep the sand free of crowds.
My wife and I were recently in Tulum, and we made it our mission to find the perfect resort. Our assignment — walk the beach every day, poke our nose into any place that looked promising, and bother any and all people until we found the best place.
To fit the bill, the resort had to be small, with a handmade feel, not too funky, in no way stuffy — zero attitude was a must — and include an excellent beach and a few other intangibles. And we wanted all of this within a price range of $100 to $200 a night. If we sounded picky, well, we could live with that.
Eventually, we did find two places. But neither one was actually in Tulum, and one of them wasn’t even on the beach.
We had read good things online about a place in the Yucatan jungle, 12 miles east of Tulum on the Coba Road. La Selva Mariposa (The Jungle Butterfly) is nestled in the town of Macario Gomez, a pueblo you would not notice except for the speed bumps. The bed-and-breakfast sits behind the local liquor store (turn right at the Sol Beer sign) and 50 yards down a dirt road.
A gate in a stone wall opens to a tropical paradise — waterfalls and pools and paths winding through green gardens. Each of the four rooms at La Selva is a unique hand-carved stone cottage. Every room is tastefully decorated with local crafts and textiles and has its own deck with a private or shared pool. A couple of the cottages feature one of our favorite tropical amenities