THE GILDED FILES: CANCUN, MEXICO
We changed up the vibrations this spring break, traded in the unruly routine that is Cabo and packed our bags for a place intertwined with Mexican and Caribbean flare. Bursting with culture and unmatched seclusion we found ourselves lost in the resort town of Playa Mujeres. The Finest Resort, tucked away in a jungle sanctuary with a pristine beach lined with miles of powdered sugar sand and the warm turquoise bath water you dream of.
A forty-five-minute drive south of Cancun, we explored some of the Yucatan's cenotés; ancient magical caves where Mayans used to communicate with the gods. We escaped to hidden locations and enjoyed secret swims into cool, transparent, fresh-water underworlds.
One afternoon we ventured to Tulum, an hour-and-half drive from Cancun, a bali-esque, boho beach town full of boutique hotels and chic restaurants. Most notable are the historic Tulum ruins, perfectly situated on a cliff overlooking a rugged coastline above the Caribbean Sea.
People who know me, are aware I’m always in a position to eat, even if I'm not actually hungry and that I’m forever planning the next meal in my head. But, by the time we got to Tulum, we were all starving, so as we passed slowly through the unpaved streets full of locals and tourists alike; I noticed a sign that caught my eye. Maybe it was the aesthetically pleasing way “Margaritas” was written out in addition to the words “happy hour” and 2 for 1 – but hey, I felt an instinct. We immediately pulled over and followed the pattern created by all the others who had parked their vehicles sporadically along the road wherever they pleased. We had arrived at Hotel Mezzanine, a minimalist and elegant boutique hotel with an authentic Thai restaurant that was to kill for.
We sipped on guava margaritas and indulged in the freshest shrimp ceviche; marinated in lime juice, basil, and habanero. We also enjoyed Thai dishes from the recipes and techniques learned from the chef's mother while she was growing up in Bangkok. I had to pinch myself as I looked around at my surreal surroundings.
Another unforgettable meal took place when I was lusting after traditional Mexican food. After much research and yelp-stalking, I found Tacun, a little hole-in-the-wall gem. Very easy to miss as it's tucked away on a street corner in the Hotel Zone of downtown Cancun. Comparable to finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, from the rich chicken molé to loaded pork nachos layered up to perfection, it was exactly what I was hoping for.
After a week in paradise, being sedentary under the sun between our adventures, drinking margaritas like it was our job and voluntarily overstuffing our faces with food with the only justification being that we wanted to get the most out of our all-inclusive benefits, it was time to go back to reality. Reality isn't as fun as being best friends with the bartenders who believe it's socially acceptable to start serving you at 9am, pretending you can speak Spanish with cab drivers who nod and smile but have no idea what you're talking about and scuba diving by life-size underwater statues. Nothing compares to being immersed in a different culture and every time I return home, I crave for more.