Turn your focus away from food to get in some outdoor activity. Start the day with coffee and a crusty chocolate croissant (about $1.50) at Mot Mot Café (Avenida Tulum between Orion and Beta Sur) before driving fifteen minutes north on Route 307 to Dos Ojos Cenote, a constellation of flooded sinkholes filled with clear, temperate water. Grab a snorkel and check out the stalagmites and stalactites, or suit up in scuba gear ($130 for a two-tank dive) and explore the networks of underground caves and lakes. Then ride back to town and stop for a quick snack at Tacos al Pastor (Avenida Tulum near Luna, just past the Weary Traveler Hostel), where hunks of pork are sliced off a vertical spit kept moist with the juice of fresh pineapples. Follow it up with one of the 50 types of fresh fruit paletas (about 50 cents to $1) from Flor de Michoacan (Avenida Tulum, between Calles Alfa and Jupiter), where you’ll find unique flavors like mango with chili and lemon-pineapple-jicama. Once you’re full, cruise along the beach road toward the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, but watch out for potholes along the dusty road which becomes a bit rough past the gates. Once inside the site’s 1.3 million acres, embark on a three-hour, naturalist-led kayak tour ($50) to spot tropical birds and cross the Caapechen Lagoon. As an alternative, just hike along the lagoon to spot sea turtles at your own pace and stumble upon still-unexcavated Mayan ruins. End your adventure with a mound of tangy ceviche ($13) and a couple of Negra Modelos ($4) from the bar on the third floor of the ecological center (at km 4), a prime spot for watching the sun set over the tropical canopy.
5. Oddball Day
Published on Jan 20, 2012 as a web exclusive.