Mexican Caribbean Road Trip - Detour to Tulum, Lo Siento Mucho Calakmul

In our last episode, Canucka and Max were leaving Mahahual, embarking on part two of their road trip, next planned stop, Calakmul in Campeche.

Uh oh, that is not a happy face

Aaaaaand, Calakmul isn't happening. After leaving Mahahual, we took a little pit stop on the highway for ahem, a visit to the bushes (it's not a road trip til you've peed in the bushes). I noticed smoke or steam coming up from under the car, opened the hood and was whacked with a wave of heat. I topped up the oil and coolant (we were literally in the middle of nowhere) and slowly made my way to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the closest town. The kind mechanic basically said "you are screwed" and I made the decision to NOT drive 6 hours into the jungle with no cel service nearby. Sorry Campeche, next time!

Zazil Kin Cabañas Tulum

So what's a girl and her son to do with cancelled plans, no place to stay and a car in trouble? Start driving towards home. Slowly. Stopping to cool down every twenty minutes. 

Tulum beach at Zazil Kin

We made it to the town of Tulum and the crowds of semana santa visitors. I didn't have much hope in finding somewhere affordable to stay on the beach, but took a chance and headed to my fave little cabañas at Zazil Kin with fingers crossed. LUCK. They had ONE cabaña left and at a decent price. Bad luck with the car, good luck with the hospitality gods, thanks universe, I owe you one.

Where the dawn is born, sunrise in Tulum

Sunrise is early. Yep, stating the obvious

We enjoyed the rest of the day on the beach then hit the hay. We woke up for the sunrise because YOU MUST see the sunrise in Tulum. The archaeological site of Tulum was originally called "Zama", meaning "the place where the sun is born", you miss the sunrise, you miss the magic.

Canucka in her happy place underwater

Max boogie boarded, I chilled with my book and we wasted the day away on the beach. On one of my lazy beach walks I asked a boat captain "How much?" for a snorkel trip to the reef. We chatted, we smiled and I got an AMAZING price and set us up for the next day's first tour out. First stop was a spot right in front of the archaeological site for picture time with the pyramids, then off to the reef.

CHEESE. Dang we look good in orange

We were accompanied by a group of tourists from Spain, lovely to meet them, frustrating to snorkel with beginners. I know, I know, we all have to start somewhere but being kicked in the face by flailing out of control fins just isn't cool. Max and I got away from the cluster, fought against a strong current and killer waves and had ourselves a blast. The captain promised us a private deep sea fishing trip, next time Capi!

Straight shooter under the sea

It was now time to go home to Cancun. Carefully. Slowly. Not overheating the car on the highway. Max was a perfect road trip partner, his adventurous spirit and instinct to help, his lust for new experiences and his laid-back attitude when things don't go as planned made this trip a dream. We bonded together as well as finding time for ourselves to be individuals. Frankly, I am tearing up as I close this out, oh sentimental Canucka! Sharing this time with my son, the good and the bad, is an experience I will remember forever and I hope he will too. My little dude is becoming a little man and I am blessed to be witness to the growth of this incredible person. As with all great road trips, this was not just about what we saw and did, it was a spiritual, life-affirming experience. (I promised myself I wouldn't cry, damn!)

Best Road Trip Ever.

Thanks so much for following along in our journey! I do hope it has inspired you to do something incredible with your loved ones, just take the leap and go, the return is far greater than the risk.


It's funny but the stuff like having your car break down is the stuff my kids remember and talk about. I loved going camping with my kids, doing road trips, making memories. Giving children experiences is a better gift than giving them stuff.

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