There’s no denying Tulum is beautiful. That white sand and turquoise sea—it’s like something out of the first half of The Beach. In fact, it has a few things in common with the movie: The place is filled with Tilda Swinton-esque yogis, leggy French women, and tanned men in sandals. But just as Leonardo Dicaprio ‘discovered’ that magical bay, so has the rest of the world now discovered Tulum.
But if, like Leo, all you want is a stretch of sand all to yourself, you're in luck. Only a few miles east of Tulum lies Soliman Bay, a tranquil cove with that same turquoise ocean and white sand, but without the hordes. The beach is just over a mile long, lined with only a few houses and fishing boats—you won’t find any vegan restaurants or juice bars here. What you will find are a few locals splashing in the sea and quiet couples walking along the sand, but mostly you'll find a whole lot of beauty and tranquility. Here's how to really get away from it all.
While all the crowds fight it out for a table at Hartwood, grab yourself a sea-facing seat at one of the best seafood restaurants in the area, Chamico’s. Chamico’s is as rustic and laid-back as it gets, with an assortment of plastic chairs and tables scattered in the sand under a grove of palm trees. In a makeshift kitchen on the beach, the seafood is cooked on an open flame and the tortillas are handmade. Time is no issue here, and you’ll be lucky if you manage to flag down a waiter. When you do, he or she will narrate the menu in Spanish. If you don't understand Spanish, who cares—everything is fresh from the sea (grilled fish, lobster, ceviche) and accompanied with fresh tacos, and all of it is good. Order whatever they’ve got going on, along with a Corona or margarita, then dig your feet into the sand, feel the ocean breeze on your face, and get into that holiday mode.
Stay in a boutique hotel
One of the many great things about Soliman Bay is that, because there aren’t many lodging options, the place isn’t crowded with tourists. In fact, it’s likely you’ll come across more locals than spring breakers. But luckily, the only hotel on the bay also happens to be one of the nicest in the area. Phew! Jashita is a boutique hotel tucked into the eastern side of the bay. It’s small and sophisticated, with only a handful of rooms and a refined, but low-key restaurant, Sahara. The location is brilliant—it’s right on the beach so you can frolic in the bay and laze on a sun lounger all afternoon, just steps from your room. At low-tide, the bay is usually calm, which makes it easy to paddle board and kayak out to the reef, where there is excellent snorkeling and an array of colorful tropical fish to spot.
If you can tear yourself away from your lounge chair or afternoon piña colada, you’ll be pleased to know that the area has loads of natural beauty to explore. Whether you want to swim in a cenote, hike through the jungle, or sea kayak, it’s likely that Yucatan Outdoors will be able to cater to your adventure preference. The guides provide a personalized experience, helping you access various parts of the Yucatan (depending on what you want to discover). Kayaking through the mangroves and swimming in a remote cenote are unique and special Yucatan experiences that really shouldn’t be missed. And don't worry, your piña colada will be waiting for you when you get back to your hotel.
© 2016 AFAR Media