Living Like Rock Stars

Hi Again,

The end is almost here, but luckily we managed to fit in plenty of excitement in our last full day here in Tulum!

We started with a treat that was part work/ part fun, and visited the Hard Rock Hotel on the Riviera Maya. They are well known for their amazing destination weddings, so I wanted to do a tour around so that I could learn a little more about what they do. Rob tagged along since he was interested to see the inside of this extremely fancy resort, so off we went.

I’m pleased to say that it was pretty damn awesome right away, and the whole thing reminded me of Vegas a little in how very over-sized and extravagant everything was. The first lobby that we came to was also totally stunning, of course:

Heaven indeed

It was made even lovelier by the fact that the above is in the ‘adults only’ section of the hotel 🙂

After seeing the main lobby we went straight ahead into the nightclub, which was pretty darn awesome. There is a conventional club area where you can party away, but we were way more interested in the club/ pool/ bar chill-out zone:

If they’d let me we would’ve stopped the tour here and just reclined the day away

We then headed outside into the beach area, for those who insist on sunlight, sand and sea. It was being used as a relaxation area while we were there, but you can also get married at several points along the beach including here:


Again, probably would’ve taken a quick break from the tour here and taken a nap if they would’ve let me!

We then moved over to the alternative wedding space, for the more traditional people. They have a chapel which is surprisingly tasteful for a rock hotel:


The shades were down to keep it cool when we were there, but normally they open it up so that everyone can see the ocean. It was very lovely.

After the wedding specific stuff we went and looked at the more generic hotel stuff including one of their several ridiculous pool areas:

Because the ocean is a whole ten meters away

And their fancy hotel rooms:


The resort is very big, so it was actually a nice time to be inside looking at the rooms. It took us about 90 minutes in total to walk around the whole thing!

Once we were done with the tour we also took some time to check out the rock merchandise, and I definitely had a favorite:


These are the cannons that AC/DC fired during one of their shows at Download in Donnington! I’m not sure of the year, but was impressed by how sturdy the cannons are. Given that Donnington is right next to the airport I’m pretty surprised that these were allowed, but I’m guessing they didn’t get a lot of advanced notice :p

I’m also going to give an honorable mention to Elvis’s Pajamas, since I know that my mother would never forgive me otherwise…

A bold choice of robe, to be sure

The final cool thing that I thought deserved a mention was the webcams that they have in the gift shop. They are constantly showing live footage from other stores around the world, so it’s a little window into other hard rock hotels. I liked it, and would definitely set up a little ‘window to England’ in our apartment if there wasn’t laundry all over everywhere all the time 😉

I’m trusting that this footage is actually from these locations, for how big the resort is it’s definitely possible that these were just other gift shops within the hotel…

Anyway, we had an excellent time visiting the hotel and I’m glad that we went. I’m also very glad that we were able to resist the frequent offers of strong, alcoholic drinks that persisted throughout the tour (okay, I had one…) because I think we would probably have missed our next day flight. It’s great that they’re complimentary and I’m sure the guests love them, but my poor liver!

After our tour we headed back to Half Moon Bay since we’d had such a nice time relaxing there before and we were hoping to drink a couple more coconuts before we left. We dug in among the fabulous hammocks there and read in the sun by the sea, which was very relaxing. The bay is also great for snorkeling so Rob did some more swimming with the fish, while I remained semi-conscious in my hammock home. The only pause in the lounging around was the tasty cake we had as a snack, to sustain ourselves:


You would be horrified to have watch me eat that chocolate brownie, it was gone in seconds. Rob had a strawberry cheesecake, and the guy brought us two spoons for each just in case we wanted to share. We did not!

Once we could lounge no more we headed over to Akumal bay next door, which is the place that is home to the turtles. The water was a little clearer today so visibility was better, but we weren’t too optimistic since I’d been very lucky to see the turtles the day before.

It’s still a lovely beach though so we set our stuff up and then went for another lovely swim in the sea. The turtles were poking their little heads above the water again which was so very cute, so we stood there for a little while and watched them.

Then, lightning struck again! I guess the turtles really like the Sea Grass on the people side of the rope, since another little turtle friend swam over to snack away. This was later in the afternoon by this point so there were not many people around, so I guess that’s why he didn’t mind swimming over. As you can imagine I lost my mind a little, and half drowned Rob by forcing him to get the snorkel on and go see the turtle. Again I don’t have any underwater pictures, but it was almost exactly like this:

Rob named him Philip ❤

It was a definite treat on the last day!

After we were done bothering Philip (we actually stayed way back since we didn’t want to scare him off!) we headed back to the hotel to tidy ourselves up. I’d booked us a tasty dinner for the evening, so we thought it would be good not to be totally covered in sand.

For dinner we went to the Kitchen Table, which is in the south of Tulum near the beach. The restaurant itself is actually in the jungle next to the beach, and the whole place is pretty much outside. As well as that the kitchen is out in the middle of restaurant instead of being tucked away, so every table is basically a chefs table.

There were regular bursts of fire, which was excellent!

As you’d hope from a beach-side restaurant they had some tasty fish options, and I had the very delicious Tuna Steak:

It’s like steak and sushi had a baby

I then focused entirely on eating my meal, and failed to get a picture of Rob’s Pork Ribs. They were equally beautiful though, and he assures me that they tasted delicious!

We ate ourselves very full, and then sat there and digested for a little while whilst listening to the noisy jungle birds. Definitely a meal to try if you’re in Tulum anytime!

After our meal we had been thinking of going out to get a drink somewhere, but we were so tired that we ended up just heading back to the hotel and going to sleep. We had to get up pretty early for our flight and wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss it by accident – intentionally missing it was still up for debate 😉

We did end up making the flight okay, and without any complications thank goodness. We’re now back home and getting back into the rhythm of day to day life, and our sunburn is almost totally gone! Looking forward to our next adventure though, and we’ll be sure to keep the blogs coming from Fort Collins 🙂

Much love! Xx

Getting to know the Mayans!

Hello again!

Today we decided to take in a little history, so we spent the morning exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum that we saw previously from the beach. The site at Tulum was originally a fort that supporting the trading port there, as well as being the location of several temples and the local population. It’s actually pretty big, and a lot of the layout is still clear and intact. We were excited to get started!


The first thing that we came to is one of the most famous structures, the Templo Dios del Viento (Temple of the God of Wind). It’s pretty stunning, and overlooks the bay:


Since this temple overlooks the bay and is close to a small beach entryway it’s very likely that this was used as a look out post for anything approaching.

It’s actually not that big itself, and you can see that it’s surrounded by several even smaller structures. The theory is that these smaller structures acted as alters, since they are replicas of the temple itself but far too small to fit people inside:


We next moved on to The Palace, which was definitely looking the worse for wear compared to the other buildings which were reasonably intact. It was still looking very nice though, and we were very impressed to see that it was being guarded by several Iguanas:

New game – spot the iguanas!
The iguanas up close, looking very regal

You can see that the building originally had pillars on the front in very traditional style, and apparently at the time all of these buildings would’ve been very spectacularly painted.

The most interesting building by quite a long way was the Castillo (castle), which was massive and mostly intact:


Both the building and the additional walls that guarded it are still there, as well as several of the carvings on the building. The main god that was worshiped in Tulum was the Descending God, also known as the Diving God. He is depicted with his head down and his legs above him, and you can see his mural in various places around the site. It’s most prominent in the Temple of the Descending God, which is in the picture above but hidden behind that tree… Here’s a close up picture to redeem myself, and a sketch from one of the info boards for comparison:

This meant that we got to keep an eye out for this fresco, but our interest was still primarily in iguana spotting:

Such aloof creatures

After we had finished having fun we headed down to the also lovely beach at Tulum to relax. We were pretty warm after walking around this site in the sun all day so my lovely husband broke every rule we’ve learnt in Fort Collins and bought me an extra large Starbucks Frappuccino with caramel and whipped cream. Was that special enough to deserve a mention in our esteemed blog? Perhaps not. Did I enjoy it very much, and feel hydrated for the first time all week? My goodness yes. As an extra treat while I drank this, we were able to continue our game of spot the iguana. This is because one had apparently escaped the ruins, and was sitting next to the table near us glaring at us:

“Stop Starbucks, support local businesses”

After that we wandered around the local shops looking at the trinkets, and I bought myself a little replica Mayan temple to remember the trip by. We also looked at the very strange assortment of other gifts… I was very disappointed to pass up the Denver Broncos Luchador Mask, although I’m sure that if I were to wear such a thing in public it would only cause alarm.

Finally, we spent the rest of the day relaxing away on the beach. It was still warm way into the evening, so we hunkered down with our towels, bounced around in the sea a little, and then relaxed and read our books like the old people that we are in our hearts 🙂

More soon! Xx

Adventuring around Tulum

Hi Again!

I hope you’re keeping up with the blog posts, sorry that they’re coming a little thick and fast! We’re trying to stay on top of it so that we can remember all of the details for you 🙂

So, another day and more exploring to be done. Yesterday we decided to check out one of the most famous attractions in the area, the Grand Cenote. As I mentioned yesterday there are lots of underwater lakes in the area since the erosion exposes the groundwater, and the Grand Cenote is one of the most well known of these lakes. As well as being very cool geologically, these are a great place for snorkeling since you see lots of fish and sometimes turtles.

We got there in the morning before it got too busy and were pleased to discover that the Cenote is surrounded by some really lovely gardens.


We had a quick stroll around, and found yet another bird. We’re a little low on birds in this post, so take your time to savor this round of ‘name that bird’:

Not quite as exciting as the other birds, but he did pose nicely for this photograph

I’ll admit, we were taking our time walking around since there was a mandatory shower before entering the Cenote, and the showers looked pretty damn cold. Sadly though after our walk it could be avoided no longer, so we braved it and made only a few squeaking sounds when the water hit us…

Plus a whole lot of pulling silly faces

Unpleasantness over, we were off! We rented ourselves some snorkeling gear, and got ready to start exploring.


The water in the Cenote was somehow even colder than the shower, so I faffed around and insisted on taking more pictures while Rob bravely entered the depths:

And then lied to me about the water temperature…

As you can imagine I decided not to take our fancy camera into the water, and instead shamelessly borrowed this photo from another website!

Kudos to for being more committed photographers than us!

Anyway, as you can see it’s basically underground caves that you can paddle around in, and they were really quite spectacular. There were lots of fish swimming around (in fact fish spotting was so easy that we kept bumping into them by accident…) and the stalactites and stalagmites were beautiful. As well as that there were also scuba divers exploring the area, and watching the scuba divers was really interesting. They were a lot deeper than us, and so we couldn’t really see the area unless they were there because they would then light the area up with their torches. It was very beautiful seeing the caves illuminated, although I don’t think I’d like to be that deep underwater myself!

As well as the interesting fish I was also really interested by the bats in the cave. They were hanging from the ceiling in little groups, and occasionally flying around to move positions. They were very fluffy and cute, plus occasionally some of the more delicate tourists would see them and freak out with is always amusing.

After exploring the Cenote we headed to the beach for a little more snorkeling, further up the coast. I was very excited to explore Akumel beach, since apart from being stunning it is famous for the Sea Turtles that live there! Until a year ago you were able to swim right up with the turtles, but they have since put a stop to that since understandably it was not doing the turtles much good to have people messing around with them all the time. You can still swim near the area where they eat and usually catch a glimpse of them though, which was still plenty exciting for me!

Plus Akumal is not a bad place to be generally


Despite the slightly wonky horizon 😉

We parked down in the shade and swam on out, and it was freaking awesome! The turtles are apparently missing the attention of local tourists since they were swimming up and down just on the other side of the no-swim line, so we got to see their little heads bobbing up and down in the water! Again, sadly no pictures for the sake of our camera so here’s one I borrowed earlier:

turtle 2

They were literally that close, just swimming up and down and looking fabulous. This was extremely exciting, and got even better a few minutes later. I was looking underwater with the snorkel to see if I could see anything, and one of the turtles swam under the rope and started eating the seaweed on our side of the beach! I was floating about two foot over him, watching him slowly chow down on sea grass. The water was actually not very clear, so I could only see him from that distance, but it did mean that no-one else was crowding around and bothering the poor turtle. I followed him around as he ate for a few minutes, but then I lost him when he crossed back over into the turtle zone. Still, good times! He was pretty big at about three foot across, and seemed very relaxed. A definite treat, despite the murky water!

After that excitement (and me possibly perforating Rob’s eardrums with my squealing) we decided to head on further down the beach. The neighboring bay is called Half Moon Bay, so we walked on over there to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. We found a bar that had hammocks, tree-houses and a mariachi band, so that was us very much set for the rest of the day. I spent a little time exploring the wildly unsafe tree-houses, and then settled down to read. Pure Bliss ❤



More soon! Xx

Welcome to the Jungle…

Hi Again!

We’re continuing our Mexico adventures, and had an amazing time yesterday exploring the jungle at the Punta Laguna!

Punta Laguna is a small village about an hour away from our hotel, and part of the Ma’ax Yetel Koo nature reserve. This translates to “House of the spider monkey and the jaguar” from Mayan, which is the language spoken in this very traditional area. The Punta Laguna village specifically is very small with many of the residents having never visited larger cities, and the area only recently got electricity. As you can imagine their lives are very closely tied to this nature reserve, and they do a great job protecting it. Happily, they also do guided tours of the area, which we took part in!

It was pretty darn hot and humid when we got there, but we liberally applied our sun screen and bug spray, loaded up with water, and off we went. We had been told that the guides are both very knowledgeably, as well as being insanely good at monkey spotting. Our lovely guide demonstrated this almost immediately by spotting a Spider Monkey about 40 seconds into our walk:

Can you see the monkey yet?
Found him!

Our guide pointed him out and walked us over, and told us a little more about the monkeys. Apparently they live in small groups of eight or so, and they constantly move around the forest throughout the day. They very much enjoy eating Elephant Ears, which are the pods you can see in the tree above. Our monkey friend looked very relaxed as he ate, and didn’t seem to mind us taking pictures from below.

Now very bouncy and excited, we made our way deeper into the jungle. As well as the monkeys, the actual jungle was very interesting. Firstly, the jungle itself was very beautiful:



It was also extremely relaxing to walk through, since it was very quiet apart from little birds chirping away. Speaking of birds, we also saw some of these! They were extremely fast little things though, so this is the only one I managed to catch on camera:

Still everything to play for in name that bird round 2!

We also saw several other little friends, including these leaf-cutter ants:

I’m taking a stand on this, leaf-cutter ants are pretty cool

Plus these pleasingly easy to photograph iguana friends:

I still failed to spot them without the guide – thank goodness for Max

As well as the wildlife the jungle itself is actually virtually unchanged since Mayan times, so there are lots of old ruins dotted about that are really fascinating. Apart from being extremely old, these ruins are unusual in that the area around them is similar to how to was at the time (so you get a better idea of context) and they have also not been restored in any way by archaeologists. So these temples and dwelling were building by the Mayans over a thousand years ago, and they’ve been basically untouched ever since! It blew my mind a little.


Plus the natural lighting through the trees really does a good job of making them seem even more epic

So anyway! We walked around the jungle for around two hours, and saw all of the cool stuff above, plus the laguna itself:

“Swim at own risk, contains crocodiles”

This includes both the big lagoon/ laguna, as well as the various cenotes dotted around the place. Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes/ pits that form due to the limestone bedrock collapsing to expose the groundwater, and while most are fun the ones in this forest looked a little hardcore…


So anyway, there was lots to see, with the exception of more monkeys. This was totally understandable given that the whole reserve is around 5000 acres, and we told Max that we’d still had a great time. Max, however, did not think that only seeing one monkey was an acceptable monkey tour… In case it’s not already clear, Max is a total hero.

It turns out that Max’s brother is one of the biologists who studies the monkeys, and apparently the monkeys often like to hang around in his garden and eat the fruit there! So, out of the reserve and over the road we went to search for monkey’s in peoples gardens. We were allowed to sit down for a quick water break while Max searched ahead, which is good since we were both sweating pretty profusely.

I think the fact that we’d both turned very red was also a little alarming

Very quickly Max was shouting at us to come over though, and there they were! More Spider Monkeys:

Once again snacking on Elephant Ears!

They were in a tree just 20 feet or so away, so we were very excited. It was the closest we had ever been to wild monkeys, and we felt extremely lucky to get to see them. This record for monkey closeness was broken almost immediately when they bounced over to the tree above us, and started eating fruit over Rob’s head!


We stood there for about ten minutes watching them chow down on fruit, and it was pretty darn adorable:

Please don’t drop seeds on my expensive camera, Monkey friend

It was very excellent. We babbled away excitedly to Max, took 10,000 more pictures, and then headed back to our car to desperately re-hydrate. Our conversation on the drive home was basically just the word ‘monkey’ over and over again, in varying pitch.

That evening we’d finally calmed down a little, and we’d booked an authentic Mexican restaurant for dinner at a place called Cetli. It was describe as a very small restaurant that served very amazing food, and that was definitely the case. We parked up outside in the conventional Mexican way:

Stop car at your exact destination, apply handbrake, walk away

We then went inside. Right away it was pretty clear that ‘small’ was being a bit generous. There were only three people working the whole place, a family, and they had clearly converted their house to make the restaurant:

I’m not sure why the kitchen was behind bars, but I’m sure it’s fine

There were also only eight tables, and we were told that food would take a little while to come out. We assured them that this was totally fine, and they gave us a starter of traditional Mexican dishes to tide us over:


Starting at the bottom, and then ascending left to right we have: Mince meat and cheese on a little bread thing, cheese empanadas, whole grain bread made in house, a spicy green dip, some garlic bread wrapped in a piece of dried leaf, cheese in a beetroot relish, orange sprinkled with fried crickets and finally some more cheese.

I am sure that these dishes all have correct names, but I absolutely can’t do better that the info above. Sorry!

I can tell you that it was all stupidly delicious, and that I wolfed down most the plate. Rob flat out refused to try the crickets, and also wasn’t a big fan of the grainy bread. I was a big fan of everything but the last cheese, and sadly whilst I did try the crickets they were not great. Cricket really does not have a lot to offer as a meat, in my opinion…

Anyway, already stuffed we ploughed on with the main courses – I had the Istak, which was fish in a white almond mole, dark chocolate and sesame seed sauce, and Rob had the amazing chile en nogada, which is poblano chilis stuffed with meat and spices. Rob definitely made the wise choice here, his food was unbelievable.

Finally, we decided to finish the night off with a cocktail at one of the local bars. There was a place nearby (strangely called Batey) which we were told did outstanding cocktails, and boy was that the case. I had a Mojito and Rob had a Caipirinha, and both were amazing – the highlight was definitely the fact that there was a guy there chopping up sugar cane, so each drink came with a freshly chopped up, sugary stick.


Despite being tasty, anyone who has tried Caipirinha’s knows that one is generally enough. Stuffed full and tired out from our adventures, we headed home and passed out like fatties 🙂

More soon!

Welcome to Mexico!

Hey guys!

Very sorry for the long delay since we have last posted, we’ve been living the life of boring adults instead of going on fun adventures (boo). Enough of that though, we’re now back up to our exploration of the new world and visiting Tulum in Mexico!

Tulum is about an hour South of Cancun, and is on the Caribbean Coast:

Map for Blog

You can see that it’s quite a distance from Colorado, but they do direct flights from Denver and it’s pretty inexpensive so off we went!

As well as being on the Caribbean Coast Tulum is famous for it’s many Mayan ruins, as well as lots of exciting wildlife in the many jungles. We landed Saturday afternoon, and we’re very excited to get exploring 🙂

On flying into Cancun we rented a car, and drove our way down to our hotel in Tulum. Rob bravely did the driving, which is a pretty exciting experience here in Mexico! It’s most definitely anything goes, but apart from having to pump the breaks whenever anyone cuts us up (which happens pretty regularly) we haven’t had any problems. I’m ashamed to say it was a little tricky to get used to driving a manual car again, but it all came back quite quickly!

Our first full day in Tulum we got off to a very exciting start when we got the chance to view some of the local wildlife from the comfort of our own bed. This happened when poor Rob went to pick up his shoe, and found a little friend guarding it:

Don’t let the great magnification on the camera fool you, I was a long way away when I took this picture…

Rob then did a great job of not freaking out and running around screaming (which I absolutely would have) and instead went to get the maid while I stood on the bed taking pictures and not helping in any way. Sadly our rudimentary Spanish did not furnish us with the phrase ‘there is a scorpion in my shoe, please make it go away’ but we did manage to usher her into the room and point at it. Thankfully it seems like this was not our lovely maid’s first Scorpion since she very calmly went and got her broom, whacked the scorpion with it, and then swept it out of the room. Rob and I then argued about who’s job it was to check the rest of the room for any little friends (I lost, since as Rob put it ‘I was the one who booked the scorpion hotel’) but fortunately I didn’t find anything. We are now keeping a towel pressed against the gap in our door, to stop anything else making it’s way inside…

Anyway, after that excitement it was time to go relax on the beach!

Playa Paraiso (Paradise Beach) is a famous beach just a short drive from our hotel. We were extremely excited to see the sea for the first time in a very long time, and it did not disappoint!


We started out with a quick lunch on the beach in one of the many beautiful restaurants:

After admiring one of the many beautiful totem poles!

I had some great shrimp tacos while Rob enjoyed the chicken fajitas (this was quite an expensive restaurant for Mexico, and our meal came to about $25/ 21 pounds for everything! – the food here is both delicious and very inexpensive), and once we were nicely full we headed off to walk along the beach.

The most famous Mayan ruins in Tulum are the ruins that overlook the beach, and after a short walk we were able to see them and we were very impressed:



Don’t worry, touring these ruins in full is definitely on our to do list!

As well as looking at the landscape we got to see some excellent birds, although I’ve failed my parents completely by not being able to name any of them… And so, once more, we play name these birds 🙂

Sanderlings, maybe?
Pelican thing

After our lovely walk we decided to relax for a bit, and staked out a palm tree to call our own:


Then, into the sea!


It was pretty windy at the start so the sea was extremely choppy, but it was nice and warm and we had a great time bobbing up and down on the waves 🙂

I’m going to finish the blog here since we’re now off to go explore the jungle, but we’ll be sure to keep you all posted on our time in Mexico so more soon!


Rob & Cat xx