Learn From My Mistakes: Tulum, Mexico

Flying over Cozumel

I flew from LAX to Cozumel with several miserable layovers in between. A trip that should have only taken six or seven hours took a total of 15 + hours; but, being the deal hunter that I am I chose a flight that was a few hundred dollars less using skiplagged.com, which is a great flight source, but in this case it really wore me out and I wish I had just paid the normal fair.

After landing in beautiful Cozumel I took a taxi (57 Pesos = approx. $4 USD) to the ferry (135 P = $9) to get across the water to Playa Del Carmen. The ship was beautiful and I would definitely recommend it for fun, but if you’re exhausted and trying to get to Tulum, flying into Cancun is probably smarter.  Then I lugged, what yesterday I considered “light packing,” but in reality turned out to be closer to some kind of unnecessary fucked up Iron Man training, across several blocks looking for the collectivo/combi (a public shuttle bus that takes you to Tulum, Cancun and wherever you want to stop in between).

So the combi is great (40 pesos= $3), but if it’s your first time in the Riviera Maya and your Spanish is choppy like mine, then it’s better to take a taxi to save yourself the stress, unless you’re staying at a huge resort between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, because the driver kind of announces each one as he or she approaches them.

There was a super friendly taxi man who offered to take me to my hotel in the town of Tulum and help me find a phone store for $45 USD, but a friend had advised me that the combi was an experience, and being a writer I thought hey I want the authentic experience (and like I said, I’m a sucker for a bargain). Stupid move.

After about an hour of  trying to poke my head between the other passengers to get a clear look at the signs through the window, I started to panic and told the driver the one landmark that I knew was near where I was staying. I would have said it earlier, but the shuttle was packed and everyone spoke Spanish, so for the first hour I though it would be better to keep my eyes peeled for the landmark rather than yelling from the back of the van “Take me to Scotia Bank!” Anyways, he dropped me off a few blocks from my hotel, which led to more lugging of my stupid unnecessary baggage.

I spent the next three hours trying to get my phone on a Mexican cell phone carrier called Telcel, which kept me walking back and forth between this one stop cell phone shop and my hotel because for some reason they kept asking for more money and they didn’t speak English; but of course, when you’re traveling you can’t expect the people of another country to speak your language. I will definitely be spending tomorrow brushing up on my Spanish and exploring this beautiful place.

This is my first time travelling to another country alone, and all I can say is, I wish I hadn’t exhausted myself by trying to save those asinine copper pennies, because the stress was definitely a result of my own doing and not worth it.

Portia Leigh

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