I really lucked out with my resort choices on the beaches of Tulum. The resorts along the beach are much more expensive than those in town and need to be booked in advance during key vacation times. On my first night, I stayed in Uno Astro Lodge, at the advice of some random girl I met in Playa Del Carmen. It's not well known by the cab drivers and I wasn't even able to find it on Google Maps, but for those trying to find it - it's one resort North of Ahau Tulum. Aside from the location being absolutely stunning, I got a fantastic deal - they put me in one of the artists' tents because everything else was booked. I didn't have electricity and had to share a bathroom that was outside - but for $70 a night, that was a small price to pay for such a special place.
The hotel is perfect for yoga, meditation, or anyone interested in a having a bit more spiritual self-reflection while sunning themselves on the beach. The crowd was a mix of hippie artists, yoga instructors, New Yorkers, a young student on an extended trip, German families.. quite a range but generally those who are fairly zen and free-spirited.
I only spent one night there but felt my entire being shift to a more relaxed state during my stay. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's a magical place. There's a peacock named Phoenix who likes looking at himself in the mirror regularly (self reflection?), free-spirited children running around - enthralled by the ocean rather than their electronic devices, and regular meditation sessions led by the resort.
I met two women, both named Alison and both living in Williamsburg (weird) but otherwise, kept to myself. There was really no pressure to become part of any of the activities or talk to those around you. And the actual beach was equally free-spirited. Technically, it's illegal to go topless or skinny dip in Mexico (Catholic country), but according to the internet, rules along the Tulum beaches have relaxed with an influx of Italian tourists over the years, accustomed to topless bathing. Along the beach near my resort, there were a few who went topless (me included), and one guy who jumped into the water naked but had his bathing suit nearby. I still regret not doing the same.
While I felt off the grid, I didn't feel lonely or disconnected. Rather than stress over figuring out life's meaning or my high purpose, I was able to just be. Feel the white sand under my feet, the sun on my body, hear nothing other than the waves. Ironically, my wifi connection was excellent - better than any other place I stayed. There's something surreal about checking Facebook while in a candle-lit tent, listening to the guy next to you play his guitar. Of course at some point, I turned my computer off and read a book.
But if I was there longer, I could see myself finally tackling the better part of my novel. Their breakfast is well-known and according to the manager, Nicole Kidman once ate there. I took a yoga class in the morning which turned into a private lesson for only $15.
They have a beautiful covered, outdoor space which they use for various classes, ranging from meditation to African dance. The yoga instructor was excellent and the setting might have ruined me for all future yoga classes in New York City. I also explored other hotels and shops within a ten minute walk from the resort. There's one, long road which features shops, trendy restaurants and other resorts. While they mostly featured clothing and gifts native to Mexico, there were also a few upscale stores reminiscent of Nolita in their selection and clientele.