Tulum, Mexico

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Tulum, Mexico

A beautiful, eco-friendly, and heritage rich city.

I have been to five cities (Cozumel, Cancun, Cabo, Playa De Carmen and Tulum) in Mexico, and it is safe to say that Tulum is now my favorite. I was first introduced to Tulum in 2016, when I was planning Joe and I’s first international baecation but opted to visit Playa instead. Although I didn’t visit Tulum then, the things I found while researching it coupled with some of my Instagram friends highlighting their time in Tulum, made it an easy choice this go around. Tulum is the perfect place for those looking for a laid-back tropical setting in relaxing surroundings. The whole of the Riviera Maya has beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters, but in Tulum, you don’t have to share them with many people. Tulum is relatively small and intimate, but offers many attractions. Please be advised that the area is growing so this may change, I suggest visiting within the next two years if you like less touristy vibes.

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One of the most frequent questions I receive about my travel is, how do I plan my trips and do I use a travel agent. I do not and have never used a travel agent. I am a planner by nature and the process adds to my travel experience. I always start with the where and then move on to transportation and lodging. I used to be a heavy scheduler pre-trip, but found that often left me exhausted and disappointed if I missed an item on my schedule due to unforeseen circumstances. I know make a small list of activities I am interested in and executing them once I am in country and have felt things out. The purpose of my Tulum trip was relaxation and exploration. Tulum is about 80 miles from Cancun or a 2 hour car ride, Cancun International Airport is where we flew into and so should you if you plan on visiting Tulum. 

 La Zebra Hotel

We wanted a chill first day, so we spent it on the beach via La Zebra Hotel. La Zebra Hotel was a boutique hotel located about a 20 minutes from our Airbnb. It has amazing food, drinks, and views. If you also walk the hotel you will find it’s design and boho vibes breathtaking.

https://www.lazebratulum.com/

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Local Food Shack

I am an advocate of genuinely experiencing the culture of the city I am visiting and contributing to their local community. There are amazing restaurants with star ratings in Tulum— but the best meals I had were served on the side of the road with a smile.

Cenote Cristal

A few years back when I visited Playa I was hell bent on going to a Cenote, which is a fresh body of water.  Unfortunately, the one I went to there was dark, scary, and down a sink hole.  Luckily, in Tulum I found another Cenote bear our Airbnb that was the complete opposite. We took a 20 min bike road to Cenote Cristal also called Escondido, and swam and jumped into the beautiful body of water via ropes. 

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Pablo Escobar’s Mansion

One of the most popular attractions in Tulum, is Casa Malca which was once Pablo Escobar’s Mansion. It is now an art-filled boutique hotel located in Tulum, and a prime beach destination in Mexico. Pablo’s mansion was abandoned in 1993 when his empire came to an end and was restored by Lio Malca (a prominent New York-based contemporary art dealer) in 2012. We spent a few hours roaming the grounds checking out Kaw art pieces, and sipping margaritas in a Bar with Kieth Haring on the walls.

 http://www.casamalca.com/

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Loco Tulum

This was by far my favorite restaurant .  The food was so great we asked to speak to the chef to personally thank him.  Unfortunately, they served $1  Guadalajaran  reposado and I was way too lit to take pictures of the food. 

 http://locotulum.com/

Raw Love Tulum 

I feel like majority of cuisine overseas is healthy or at least healthier than the states, but if your looking for a vegan friendly or clean eating choice— check out Raw Love Tulum. It is located in the Ahau Tulum hotel and has some great smoothies and açaí bowls.

 http://www.ahautulum.com/

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Azulik

Azulik is one of the most popular bungalow hotels in Tulum. They are super expensive but if you buy a few drinks or dinner you can roam the grounds. Their bar was closed when I attempted so I just observed the grounds from the door and walked next door to Ik Lab.  

 https://www.azulik.com/

Ik Lab Tulum 

One of my favorite moments was visiting the breathtaking @iklabtulum , an environmentally conscious design studio, that pays homage to the indigenous and Yucatan heritage. Their current exhibit is entitled, “Alchemistry”, which focuses on alchemic forces that influence art and human evolution. This is a serene place with amazing energy. FYI shoes, bags, and professional cameras are not allowed in.

 https://www.iklab.art/

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 F ollow That Dream Sign

If you’re looking for an instagramable moment, check out the Follow That Dream Sign. There are two located on the main road but this one was about a half mile hike from Raw Love.

 Coco Tulum Hotel

Another popular boutique hotel we visited was, Coco Tulum. It is known for its swings and cabanas. We spent an evening here drinking, getting massages on the beach, and just relaxing.  

 https://cocotulum.com/

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Local Shop 

Found some great eco friendly hand sewn dresses and crystals from a little shop on the main strip.  

 La Chiapaneca

Once again, fancy eating is cool but really experience the local cuisine is where it’s at. Joe asked one of cab drivers to take us to the best local spot and we ended up at La Chiapaneca, a bright orange restaurant on the corner. The food was great, cheap, and this place had the hottest hot sauce I’ve ever tasted. 

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Airbnb- Soho Residence Villas

As mentioned I love staying near the community. My bf prefers resorts but we compromised with this modern villa in the jungle. It was $45 a night, secure, and had a private pool. It was about a 20 min taxi ride into the main areas but perfect for our relaxation. If you stay here, please note there is a lot of construction in the surrounding areas.

 https://abnb.me/I4GzzNDAyW

These photos have nothing to do with nothing, it’s just my King and I being extra on our last day. Enjoy! 

Additional Info provided by our Villa host:  

Dinning at the beach 🔝🔝

⚫ Rosa Negra 🥩🥗🌮🍤🐟🍖 (Top)

⚫Casa Banana 🐟🍖

⚫ Casa Jaguar 🐟🍖

⚫Mina Restaurant 🍖🍗

⚫ Mezzanine Hotel (best Margaritas) 🍜🍗🐟

⚫ Kitchen Table 🍗🐟

⚫ Posada Margarita (must) 🍝🦐🐟

⚫Arca 🥗🥘🍝🍜

 

Drinks at the beach 🍸🍷🍍🍹

⚫Gitano Bar

⚫Casa Jaguar

⚫I Scream Bar

⚫Mateos

 

Lunch and beach day 🌴🏖🍉🥗🍹

⚫La Zebra Hotel (a must)

⚫Casa Malca ( a must)

⚫Taboo beach club

⚫Boa Beach club

⚫Posada Margarita

⚫Papaya Playa Project

⚫Nomade

⚫Coco Hacienda Tulum


Public Beach 🏄‍♂🏄‍♀🤽‍♂

⚫Playa Paraiso

⚫Playa Esperanza

⚫Caleta Tankah

 

Town 🏡

Main Avenue

⚫Burrito Amor ( Great Breakfast) 🍍🍳🌯

⚫El Camello ( Ceviches, fish etc) 🦐🐟

⚫Don Cafeto (Breakfast) 🥞🥓🍳

⚫Babel (Breakfast) 🥞🥓🍳🍉🍏🍓🍌

⚫Los Aguachiles 🍤🌮🥗

⚫La Barracuda 🦐🐟🐙

At Calle Centauro

⚫La Malquerida (mexican) 🌮

⚫El Milagrito (mexican) 🌮

⚫ El Bacaro (Italian) 🍝

⚫Batey (live Music) 💃

Calle Satelite

⚫El Asadero (Tacos & Meat) 🍗

 

DELIVERY SERVICE

⚫tomato.mx 🛵🛵🛵🛵🛵🛵🛵🛵

Bali, Singapore, & Hanoi

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If you have been following my blog for sometime, then you know I have a great love for traveling. I am currently in a career transition phase bka not really working and thought this would be the perfect time to take a long excursion to a foreign place, that place was Asia. From July 7-July 19 I visited the great continent of Asia where I visited Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Please see below for some amazing photos *dust shoulders off* and all of my trip details! 

Balinese Local Merchant

Balinese Local Merchant

Why Asia? Well, the people first and foremost. Whenever I travel it is very important to me to interact with the natives and learn something from them. Most people of Asian decent are kind and friendly, with a love for life. This was especially true in Bali, Indonesia. Also, if you don’t know Asia makes up 60% of the world population, so you are sure to meet plenty of interesting characters on your travels there. Secondly, I chose to visit Asia, because it is breath taking and full or culture. Lastly, since it takes forever to travel to the continent, I thought it would be smart to visit multiple locations. As mentioned above, I visited Bali, Indonesia, Singapore, Singapore, and Hanoi, Vietnam (please don't ask me how I decided on those locations and didn't include Tokyo or Thailand). 

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Rice Terrace Tegalalang, Bali

Rice Terrace Tegalalang, Bali

Bali, Indonesia

Details:

  • Trip Duration- Jul 8-14
  • Airline- Alaska & Eva Airways 
  • Travel Time- 24 hours (19 hours in the air, 5 hours in lay overs) 
  • Currency- Indonesian Rupiah (1 IDR =
    0.0000690890 USD)
  • Cost- $ 2,458 total (breakdown below)

airline- $724 (flight there)

                               $823 (return flight AirChina) 

activities- $71 total 

                               $ 10 or free/donation Rice Field

                               $ 25 Bali Swing 

                               $ 4 Tanah Lot Temple

                               $ 2 Uluwata Temple

                               $ 5 Fish Pedicure

                               $ 15 Henna

                               $ .69 Padang Padang Beach  

                               $ 10 Sketchy Massage (I had 4) 

                               $ 0 Market

                               $ 0 Beach

lodging- $ 590

                                $ 356 Airbnb in Ubud    

                       https://abnb.me/odnxYgEcTO

              $ 234 Airbnb in Simemyak

    https://abnb.me/LIzRmLYcTO

food- $100 (an average meal was about $25) 

transportation- $150 ($75 for taxi from airport and $75 split between four people for travel between Ubud and Simenyak)

  • Recommendation Rating- 9 out of 10
  • Additional Facts- Go to Bali!! It is extremely beautiful, super cheap, and the people are so hospitable! Shopping is also amazing, I bought a swing (don’t ask why) . Lastly, if you’re a black traveler be aware of the stares and constant picture request. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Bali, I never quite adjusted to the stares, people rubbing our skin, or reaching for my hair. I know it’s innocent but it’s also sad to know that the only interaction some people have had with black people are the ones they see on tv. #travelingwhileblack
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Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Simenyak, Bali

Simenyak, Bali

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Singapore, Singapore

Details:

  • Trip Duration- Jul 14-16 (2 days) 
  • Airline- Scoot
  • Travel Time- 3 hours
  • Currency- Singapore Doller (1 SGD =
    0.733047 USD)
  • Cost- $ 998

airline- $73

activities- $ 73

                                   $ 0 Gardens by the Bay 

                                   $ 11 Cloud Forest

                                   $ 32 One Altitude Roof Bar

                                   $ 30 Fleek Hip Hop Club 

lodging- $ 577 (per person/2 people) 

                                 $ 257 Park Royal  https://www.panpacific.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/pr-pickering.html

                                 $ 320 Marina Bay Sands

 https://www.marinabaysands.com/

food- $ 200 ($35 average meal & drinks)

transportation- $75 (Uber & taxis)

  • Recommendation Rating- 9 out of 10
  • Additional Facts- I highly recommend Singapore for your travels. Singapore is very clean, modern, hi-tech (automated fast food kiosk), and a bit western. It is definitely the most expensive country in Asia so more your dollar won’t go as far as it did in Bali. The main language is English so it’s easy for Americans to communicate. Singapore is also very diverse, we found a hip hop club! I also highly suggest staying at Park Royal when you visit. 
China Town, Singapore 

China Town, Singapore 

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Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam 

Details:

  • Trip Duration- Jul 16-19 (2.5 days)
  • Airline- VietJet
  • Travel Time- 2 hours
  • Currency-  Vietnamese Dong (1 VND = 0.0000431209 USD)
  • Airbnb-  https://abnb.me/Mw9i68lqSO
  • Cost- $525

airline- $126

activities- $ 188

                                   $ 5  Karaoke  

                                   $ 98 Ha Long Bay Excursion

                                   $ 40 ($10 a meal) 

lodging- $136 

food- $75

transportation- $ 45 (taxi to & from airport) 

  • Recommendation Rating- 5 out 10
  • Additional Facts- Vietnam was probably my least favorite of the places I visited on this trip. While I find beauty in it, I was still a little disappointed with a few things. One of the main reasons we choose Hanoi was to visit Ha Long Bay which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Well, after a 3.5 hour bus ride to see the floating village we were informed that the government shut it down due to weather. It really sucked to waste a whole day traveling and only see the bays from afar. We were only on Hanoi for 1.5 half so time was very important. We end finding a karoake bar and club that was fun. Just be aware that Hanoi isn’t as developed and that shows. I also couldn’t take the smell of fish heads and whatever else smell that was happening in the Hanoi streets. I will say though, a highlight for me was visiting an art center on our way to Ha Long. The center only employs disabled and low income individuals to create these amazing pieces of art,  some pieces can take up to 10 years to complete. 
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Antelope Canyon

I tried to visit Antelope Canyon in Jan when I went to Horseshoe Bend but it didn’t happen due to time and lack of preparation— and I’m grateful it didn’t work out then. This time around I was able to take my time and truly appreciate the wonder. The land is also owned and operated by Natives, and that made it that much more sacred to be guided through the Canyons by our indigenous people and the rightful owner’s of this here land we enjoy.

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I said it a few years ago but I’ll say it again, I LOVE ARIZONA!! I’ve made it annual trip since 2015, the landscape is literally breathtaking. 

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Often overshadowed by the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon has gained major popularity since the social media boom. Created by rushing and powerful water, Antelope Canyon was discovered many centuries ago by Najavo tribes and given the English name ‘Antelope’ due to the many antelope that grazed here during the winter season. There are two canyons; the upper and lower. I visited the lower canyon because the upper one only has light at certain times. As mentioned above, the land is owned by natives so it cost a fee to visit, I paid $8 Navajo permit fee and $40 for the actual tour via Ken’s Tour. 

I visited in June so it was hot AF but none the less still beautiful. The actual tour was about 45 minutes. Our tour guide was a very well informed native thatade sure to point out certain angles and tell us origin stories. 

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I highly recommend everyone visit the canyons!! 

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Diamonds: Madison Rose Editorial

I’ve heard the term, “Diamonds are forever” countless times, but it wasn't until recently that the expression began to make sense. The diamond is a symbol of deep, everlasting love, and is also the hardest substance known on earth. Diamonds are such timeless pieces because they are complex and paradoxical beauties.

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Over the course of history, society has focused mainly on the beauty of the Diamond and not its power. The diamond is more than an adornment piece worn on fingers or gifted during anniversary’s, it’s a symbol of perseverance and strength. Ancient Greeks named the diamond "adamas,” meaning “invincible,” “indestructible,” “proper,” and “untamed.” Warriors in ancient Greece wore diamonds as the stones were thought to strengthen the warriors’ muscles and bring them invincibility.

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The diamond is also associated with activating the seventh chakra, Sahasrara, uniting the mind with the body. While a diamond is regarded as the strongest precious stone, it is also regarded as a stone of exceptional power as it’s able to reach into us and open many spiritual doors. The stone also attracts abundance, strength, power, courage, fortitude, creativity, imagination, purity, harmony, faithfulness, innocence, increased feelings of self-respect and love, and relationships full of pure love.

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Recently, photographer Jassieou teamed up with songstress Madison Rose, creative director Laci Jordan, and stylist Leticia Hunt to bring the true essence of the diamond to life. The editorial was published in FGUK Magazine, is entitled “Diamonds”,  and the images are attached for your viewing pleasure. Also, Madison’s debut single is entitled, “Diamonds” and the lyrics capture the power of the diamond perfectly as it relates to female empowerment and self love, check the song out on all streaming services.

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