I started 2016 off with a bang, by heading to Tulum, Mexico, for a week of great food, warm turquoise water, and exploring, with a friend. 

Flying into Cancun, we headed south to Playa del Carmen for the night. I hadn’t been to the area in six years and, though I remember it being built up, the mall filled with American spring-breaker stores, which now took up the middle of Avenida 5 Norte, came as a bit of a shock. Time to head farther south, farther from Cancun. 

The next morning we took a bus one hour south to Tulum. Tulum- built up in its own Eco Chic way, full of tourists, expensive, gorgeous, but where you can still find great tacos and practice  your Spanish…all that I want in a quick, beach getaway. 

   
 
We rented two places ahead of time, for two nights each, out of fear that showing up without a reservation, during the post- holidays high season, might leave us sleeping under a palm somewhere. 

The first, Las Palmas Maya, would have been great for a third of the price.  But, Tulum at high season is something I am not used to, so it was what it was. We used the provided earplugs to shut out the generator noise, payed the nearby hotels to use their beaches, and overall had a splendid time. And we met Ben and Lucy, a British couple staying there. The four of us shared a taxi to two different Cenotes where we snorkeled through underground caves. That was followed by lunch at  Chamico, an outdoor grill on the beach, serving ceviche, grilled fish and lobster. With cold beer. That lunch was a highlight of the trip. 

The second of our two hotels, Mi Amor, went above and beyond our expectations and, from now on, all of my traveling will be capped off by splurging on one or two nights in the kind of hotel you see pictures of in Vogue and Rolling Stone. 

  
Biking to get get fish tacos, walking along the beach to the beautiful stone ruins of Tulum, reading on our daybed, fresh fish daily (The Kitchen Table was excellent!), negotiating with taxi drivers, eating tacos and shopping for embroidered dresses in the town of Tulum, and feeling my skin rehydrate from its normal desert existence, all made for a truly exceptional week away and for a spectacular start to 2016. 

  
And, just when I thought it was perfect… Food poisoning on our last night in Playa deal Carmen, which made for a very long and almost impossible day of traveling back to the States. 

Now, as I sit in a cafe, wearing a puffy jacket, it is January outside. Piles of snow lie next to the road and my lip is numb from the two fillings I just got. I am on my way to buy something to unclog my tub and then to start my taxes. But, it’s all good. I’ll think about that turquoise water and, at least for another few weeks, I’ll have a tan.