If stress has totally worn you down and you desperately need to get away from it all, there’s no better place than the paradisiacal Cancun. Aside from its world-famous night life, the Riviera Maya is also a wonderful place for a few days of R&R, eating delicious dishes made with local ingredients and getting a bit of exercise while actively exploring the beauty of nature either on land or under water… it’s up to you!
A few days ago, Expedia asked me to map out (and better yet, experience) a healthy weekend, so of course, I said yes, and this was the result. I can guarantee that by the end of these two days, you will feel exactly like I did: much more focused, relaxed, happy and full of energy.
We arrived at Cancun Airport, which just seems to get bigger and nicer every time I’m there, where an Expedia Local Expert van picked us up to take us to the Westin Lagunamar Hotel. My choice of hotel was based on the Westin chain’s strong focus on providing its guests with a full well-being experience.
Their famous (and absolutely wonderful) Heavenly Beds, healthy food, yoga at the beach and smiling employees waiting to greet you with a towel and a bottle of ice-cold water when you come back from jogging are a must! This hotel also has rooms with fully equipped kitchens where you can prepare your own healthy meals, saving you money and letting you get the most of the quantity and quality of every single ingredient you use. We had a little bit of fruit, yogurt and a cup of tea, and went off to sleep.
The next morning, we had fruit, bagels with lox and coffee for breakfast, then boarded a tour van and headed to the ruins of Tulum, an archaeological site surrounded by the white sands and turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean…an absolute beauty. We toured the ruins for about an hour, and then we walked down to the beach to play in the waves before lunch. We returned to Cancun relaxed and ready to take a shower before we headed out to dinner at a wonderful place in Cancun called La Orgánica.
Avenida Yaxchilán Mz 2 Lote 6
+52 998 883 9920
This is a local, very affordable, non-touristy restaurant for organic health food lovers. Here, the chef creates and continually redefines fantastic dishes in a very successful attempt to fuse global food trends with typical local recipes and ingredients. The result is downright amazing. After an intensely active day, our bodies were craving protein, so we started off with a beef carpaccio with extra virgin olive oil, followed by a fresh tuna tartar with avocado, “pico de gallo” (Mexican salsa made with chopped tomato, onion and hot peppers), cilantro and quinoa, and finally, salmon with passion fruit sauce and a side of grilled zucchini, eggplant and tomato. All of this with fresh fruit drinks and a cup of organic coffee with latte art to finish on a high note. All in all, we had a delicious, affordable meal, and we absolutely loved their outstanding service. We were definitely all set for a good night’s sleep.
I woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed for the second day of my Cancun / Tulum Break. I made myself a cup of coffee with the coffee brewer in my room and ate a plum and a granola bar before I headed out for a 16-kilometer run as part of my training for the Boston Marathon next April. Although winters in Cancun bring cool breezes that makes it easier to cope with the heat and humidity, I would still recommend heading out early in the morning and taking along a bit of spare change to stop along the way for something to drink.
First, I took the bike lane that starts a few yards from my hotel, all the way to the Puerto Cancun housing complex, where I hopped onto the sidewalk and kept on going until I reached the sea: the sun was beginning to come out and the view was so awesome that I just had to stop for a moment to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.Then I took a flat trail for a couple of kilometres more until I got to the hotel strip beach, where I ran another five kilometres on firm sand. I went out to the bike lane again and turned around until I got back to my hotel, for a total run of 16 kilometres.
As soon as I arrived at the Westin, a nice young man greeted me with a big smile, a bottle of water, and a damp, ice cold towel. Needless to say, I was very, very grateful. I went to the hotel gym for a while for a bit of strength training and stretching. Then I took a shower and headed down for breakfast. My timing was perfect for the hotel breakfast buffet, which includes lots of great superfood dishes. A green smoothie, two eggs with toast and a cup of coffee later, I went back to my room to get ready for my next adventure: a visit to the “cenotes”.
Cenotes are natural sinkholes in the Yucatán Peninsula thought to have been formed hundreds of years ago by the impact of meteorites. The state of Quintana Roo has hundreds of them, but we chose some of the most beautiful ones for our visit. The Kantun-Chi Ecopark has five gorgeous cenotes, as well as archaeological vestiges. At the cenotes, we swam, floated around, explored the caves, and simply let go of all our worries. I’m not sure why, but being inside the cenotes gave me a profound sense of peace and made me feel the happiest I’ve felt in a very long time. I wish I could have stayed there forever! I kept on swimming but my fingers started to shrivel up like an old prune, so I knew it was time to start heading back.
We headed out to go a few kilometres down the road to the town of Tulum, to get to our reservation at The Real Coconut (therealcoconut.com), an amazing restaurant at the Sanará Hotel, which we had already fallen in love with on Instagram.
We were starving, so we started out with a plate of Mexican appetizers including guacamole, coconut cheese with chipotle, a pumpkin seed dip and their famous coconut flour tortilla chips (all the food in this restaurant is wheat flour-, dairy- and sugar-free). Then we had coconut tortilla nachos topped with organic chicken marinated in natural spices that gave it a spicy “pastor” and barbecue-like flavour, with a huge side of leafy greens, guacamole and “pico de gallo” (Mexican salsa made with chopped tomato, onion and hot pepper). Absolutely scrumptious! To drink, we had an activated charcoal lemonade and a lavender lemonade… both delicious! We also had fresh avocado gazpacho and ended the meal with Baja-style fish tacos. I can’t even begin to describe how tasty the meal was, but the best part of it was how light we felt when we left the restaurant. Every ingredient in every dish was a treat, not only for our bellies, but also for our souls.
Carreterra, Boca Paila Km 8.1
After talking and laughing for a while, we went out the beach to play and ended the day with a little bit of yoga while we watched the sky light up in shades of lilac and pink… a truly spectacular sight.