When the new year rolled around, I decided to make a vision board of things I wanted to achieve this year. Little did I know that putting the quote “Mexico is always a good idea” on it would actually help that dream come to fruition. It has been a destination in my top 5 for as long as I can remember. I have always had a fascination with the Spanish culture, with family in Argentina, studying the language throughout high school and University and just the sheer fact that it is the official language of 19 countries (alot of which are on my bucket list).
The opportunity arose at work to do a photoshoot in Tulum and Sayulita with two of Billabong’s team riders and I almost had heart palpitations on the spot. After a lot of rigorous research and organising we set off to capture the magic of the Central American destination.
Carved from the jungle less than 50 years ago, Tulum was exactly how I had imagined; completely back to basics with a simple laid-back and carefree vibe floating through the salty breeze. There are no signs of high-rise luxury resorts and only eco-chic cabanas plonked on the beach. Don’t expect many rooms to have air conditioning, much electricity or power outlets because Tulum is completely self sufficient when it comes to energy production, the nearest power lines are miles away.
Everything had a bohemian beach feel about it with yoga retreats and studios, spas and sham-mans everywhere you looked, oozing a sense of spirituality. A road-sign reading ‘Be Present’ continuously reminded me of Tulum’s allure.
We spent our days exploring and discovering an abundance of picturesque locations to shoot at. From the dusty pueblo or village, the Tulum ruins, the beautiful Caribbean beaches with water as clear as a fishbowl, to jaw dropping cenotes, and turquoise green lagoons, it was safe to say we ran out of product before we ran out of beautiful backdrops.
We dined on smokey wood-fired tacos packed with the freshest fish I have ever tasted, ate our weight in guacamole and now think we are connoisseurs of ceviche. In the ambience of fairy lights slung over palm trees and tables perched precariously in the sand we sipped on pineapple and coconut margaritas after long days shooting in the sun.
Drifting off to sleep at Coco Tulum listening to the slight lapping of the Caribbean was the perfect end to each day. The all white wooden bungalows were super cute, with woven hammocks on the balcony, beautiful bathrooms with conch shells as water taps, a huge seaside chest to lock belongings in and a elaborate 4 poster bed. Although we didn’t have much spare time, it was nice to envisage sitting on the swings at the beachside bar sipping on fresh coconuts… with a cheeky dash of rum.
We also stayed a few nights at Boho Hotels, an eco-chic boutique style accommodation in between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. It is plonked right in the lush jungle of Akumal, and has minimalistic yet styled rooms, a dreamy pool, offers healthy and organic food and is away from the hustle and bustle of the “hotel zone.”
What a magical experience it was. Grateful doesn’t even come close to how fortunate I feel that I get to call this my job. We came back with some great content, a slight burrito belly, and an over-whelming urge to turn around and go straight back there. I left a piece of my heart on those Caribbean shores and i hope I can go and pick it up again one day….
Oh to be a beach bum in Tulum