Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
We stayed here on our first night and it would have been amazing, but I had a splitting headache and we'd just come off a ten-hour flight, so I went for a lie down after we arrived, and slept right through until morning! That meant we didn't have dinner, only breakfast the next morning - so I was quite hungry and made up for not eating the night before!
The breakfast buffet was in the World Café, one of their nine (nine!) restaurants. It's an all-inclusive resort and I know that buffet dinners are quite common where there are chefs at different cooking stations as well as pre-prepared food, but I didn't expect that at breakfast.
I also didn't expect to see an elaborately carved fruit sculpture... or four brands of vodka to mix your own bloody Mary.
I always want try everything at a buffet and would rather have small portions of more dishes than regular sized portions of one or two. And since we hadn't eaten dinner- and the previous meal had been on a plane - I decided to make the most of it. For my first course I had a sort of ham and cheese toastie in French toast, which was delicious (why have I never thought to do that?) and a chicken enchilada. Is that breakfast food in Mexico? Who cares!
For my second course I tried a pulled pork open taco and a folded-over cheese quesadilla. These are actually quite small I promise!
Third course I moved to something sweet: waffle and pancake with chocolate and toffee sauce. I only had a couple of bites of this and let my boyfriend finish the rest!
Fourth course: I wanted something savoury after all that sugar so had some bread (two slices as they were different types of bread but I only ate half of each slice) with ham and cheese, continental style.
Fifth course: really full by now but I had to have some fruit. I needed something refreshing and healthy; I also suspected the fruit would taste different out here and I was right!
The hotel itself - what I saw of it - was amazing. We were upgraded to a swim-out room, which meant a ground floor room with a patio and hammock that led right into a small pool. It was a narrow pool in a square shape running around the sides of the building as you can see below with a grass area in the middle. These rooms were for adults only and meant you could have a more secluded swim than going in to the main pool.
We woke up at about 4am due to the time difference so watched sunrise from the beach, where the hotel has four-poster beds to lounge on!
The pool bar has swings as well as chairs to sit on which was cute - maybe not a great idea after a few drinks though!
A view of the main pool - this was taken around sunrise
We set off on our Kuoni tour with a local guide from a company called Hola Tours complete with a minibus whose air conditioning was barely functioning and dripped dirty water on us... our first stop on the tour was the Mayan walled city of Tulum.
After Tulum we stopped for lunch while the driver shoved some cloths inside the air conditioning unit, which at least stopped it dripping water even though it didn't help the heat.
As I'd had a lot of Mexican food for breakfast, and my stomach felt a bit dodgy after the stifling heat in our minibus, I decided to stick with something safe and ordered a burger, as did my boyfriend (no surprise there!). The waiter misunderstood which item from the menu we had ordered and brought us the burger with ham - not a hamburger, but a beefburger with a slice of ham, which looked like a slice of the wafer thin ham you get in Tesco. Very odd! It also came with chips and tasted pretty good in a fast-food way; the meal with a soft drink only came to about 60 pesos (less than £2.50) so we weren't complaining!
After lunch it was back into the sweltering minibus and off to the Museum of Mayan Culture in Chetumal. It was interesting to find out everything in the museum is a replica rather than real - I was disappointed at first but realised that it meant that the original artefacts were hopefully all in situ and hadn't been taken from the archaeological sites and placed in a museum. Either that or they are all in museums in other countries. There was a really interesting exhibit on the Mayan calendar and counting system but we only spent about an hour in the museum before going to our hotel across the road.
The website for this hotel makes it look a lot nicer than it actually was, but judging by the outside it was one of the better ones in Chetumal. It had a very small pool but I did get to go for a nice swim. The room was fine though the shower wasn't very good and the hair dryer didn't work.
There was no choice of food at breakfast but that may have been because we were there in low season (even though it was only the beginning of May). We were brought a plate of fruit and offered tea or coffee, though I had to ask twice to get milk. Then we were asked if we wanted scrambled or fried eggs; I don't like either so instead was told I could have pancakes instead and was brought a plate of bone dry syrup pancakes (which looked and tasted like they were out of a packet) with a few slices of apple on top.
We had dinner here with our group and I was looking forward to some Mexican food, but our guide had chosen an Italian restaurant, and because the meal was included the price of our tour, it was a set menu. The starter was meant to be mushroom soup but as a few people were allergic to mushrooms we all got broccoli soup instead, which was nice but not the sort of thing I really wanted in this hot temperature! The main course was a chicken escalope covered with spinach and melted cheese inwith a small pile of mashed potato. It was quite nice though the mash was lumpy and my boyfriend doesn't eat spinach so he wasn't thrilled, but I actually really enjoyed my meal. For dessert we had a huge slab of chocolate cake which was very dense and dry.
The restaurant seemed popular and was busy but I found it quite strange that there was a TV on the wall opposite me playing a movie, as that's not something you see in restaurants in the UK!
On the tour we travelled to Belize and Guatemala next which I will cover in separate blog posts. As we returned to Mexico we travelled by boat to Yaxchilan, an ancient Mayan city on the banks of a river.
The hotel restaurant has a buffet costing 150 pesos (£6) that they repeatedly tried to direct us to, but we figured the food had been sitting there a while (it’s an open air restaurant) so we went for the a la carte. It was a pretty extensive menu over several pages but all in Spanish so we got on the free wifi with our phones and pulled up Google Translate! When the waiter eventually came he asked in English if we needed any help but we had already chosen by then.
The next day we visited thePalenque ruins which were very impressive. It's very well preserved and you can climb up many of the temples for a closer look at some of the carvings. It's a whole city, smaller than Tikal or Chichen Itza which we also visited but with many different buildings that are in good condition including the palace in the centre.
Unfortunately the steak was quite fatty and had an odd texture more like gammon- one of our group said the steak had been brined, I don’t know if that’s right but it did taste a bit salty too. My boyfriend ate a lot of steaks while we were in Mexico around the Yucatan peninsula and they were without exception dreadful – often more fat than meat. This one was better relatively, but still far worse than anything we would have at home.