Day 384 - Tulum, Mexico - 7151 km

Tulum is the place where the beautiful people come. The exotic nature, the warm sea and its white sand beaches. It’s the bohemian side of the touristic Caribbean province, Quintana Roo. Before my loop around Yucatan, I was here already for a week to do some work and explore places. There was zero motivation to go cycling. Sometimes I wonder if I can finish this bike trip, these thoughts are plenty. But somehow I always find something new that drives me. You can only cycle these distances if you really, really want it. I’m back in Tulum to see someone again, and then head south towards Guatemala.

Tulum, originally a Maya settlement, is now a little town on the main road towards Cancun in the north of the peninsula. There is just one road along the sea that cuts through the thick rain forest and connects the beach bars and boutique resorts to the town. The persistence of the jungle always wins, which to me is the ultimate beauty of this place. It’s also the main source for construction materials, like mangrove wood, bamboo and palm branches. It's what gives all the bars and resorts its unique vibe. Usually not higher than one level. Other than the concrete high risers in Cancun, the Las Vegas of Mexico, 200 km north on the Peninsula. I was one night in Cancun and I hated it. Tulum has its own character and attractiveness, which I hope it will keep, despite the amounts of eco-hotels that shoot out of the ground so plentiful that it can't be 'eco' anymore. The jungle has to fight a bit harder for nature to win back territory. Currently the sea helps a hand by polluting the pristine shores with piles of seaweed, which rot in the sun and make it unpleasant to swim. I like the idea that nature fights the rise of tourism.

My favourite place is no bar or resort, but a stretch of empty shore of about half a mile in between the resorts. It's fenced off from the road, but from one beach bar you can climb some rocks and you're in paradise. I come here almost everyday to read or if I just want to be by myself. Now I'm here with Ariadna. She's Argentinian and is here for modelling work for a few months. To explore new worlds. It's a pleasant place to hang out. There are coconuts that have fallen from the tree which are ready to chop open and drink. The humidity is actually very pleasing if you keep it calm. It soothes the mind and the sea wind masks any distractions. I ask if she's OK with being photographed. No problem. Photographing girls is always an intimate interaction. I've done plenty on this trip, it's always different. Curiosity from both sides. A woman's raw beauty comes from within, something rare to notice. If they show it to you, you're one of the lucky ones. 

In the evening we go to Boa, a beach bar not far from our private beach. There's a musician preparing his set underneath some sort of tipi. People sit and eat on low tables. It reminds me of Bali, and Goa in India. An older man lights up fires on the rocks, which look like sacred beacons. Beats from Fever Ray blow through the speakers. The wind deforms the acoustics and sweeps up the flames. Purple lights colour the rocks. I shouldn't linger here too long, it's dangerously good.