Posts Tagged #travelblog

The Broad Museum, Los Angeles

Los Angeles has been abuzz with curiosity about its newest contemporary art museum, The Broad, and so has this curious fishy.

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The Broad is located in downtown Los Angeles and it was designed by Diller and Schofido + Renfro. The Broad houses the extensive art collection of Edythe and Eli Broad, who are Los Angeles-based billionaires and art philanthropists.

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My visit at The Broad was amazing. Just viewing the building alone was worth the trip. Each artwork was unique and special and should truly be seen by all contemporary art lovers. I especially could not stop marveling at Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” That was by far my favorite exhibit.

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Note: that there were some LACMA content overlap, but nevertheless, it was nice to see some familiar pieces again.

If you plan on going, the museum is free but it does require a reservation, so make them early because it is a popular ticket in town these days! If you are unsuccessful at making a reservation, do not worry because The Broad staff will admit people on standby, so long as the museum has capacity, but go early.

Additionally, to view the “Infinity Mirrored Room” you also need to do a separate registration to see the “Infinity Mirrored Room”. Also, the museum only allows you to stay in the room for 45 seconds maximum, so if you plan on taking pictures take them quickly.

Here are some photos from my visit to The Broad. I hope you enjoy and message me if you have any questions!

 

Overall though I was super impressed by the sheer breadth of the collection.

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xx, M

(Thank you Kyan for this spectacular date to the museum)

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Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Have you ever been curious about what kinds of creatures live in the Pacific Ocean? If you have then the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is the perfect place for you.

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This Aquarium provides so many exhibits to see and so many animals to watch. Moreover, in these interactive exhibits, you can do anything from watching sea otters  to touching the sharks, stingrays, and/or jellyfish. The aquarium is a great place for people of all ages.

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The Aquarium of the Pacific is a public aquarium that features about 11,000 wildlife. The exhibits display the inhabitants and seascapes of the Pacific. Furthermore it focuses on three major locations: (1) the sunny waters of Southern California and Baja; (2) the chilly waters of the North Pacific; and (3) the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.

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The aquarium tickets are about $14.95 for children and $28.95 for adults. But I found discount tickets for $14.00 for adults online, the only catch was that they were only for 3:00 – 6:00pm. However, I was able to see everything within those three hours, and even left early; therefore, I would recommend getting the discount tickets.

Below I shall share with you some of the many awesome photos I took while at Aquarium of the Pacific. I hope you enjoy and visit this aquarium soon!

The Jellyfish

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The Fish

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The Seal Lion

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The Seahorses

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The Sea Otter

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The Sting Ray

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The Penguins

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Additionally there is a neat 3D theatre where you can enjoy watching a short documentary about the tuxedo penguins life. But it is $5 per ticket. I went and I thought it was neat-o to watch.

This aquarium is also located near the Long Beach harbor and the famous Queen Mary ship, so be sure to check that out. I recommend taking a stroll along the harbor and enjoy the view of the actual Pacific Ocean.

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I had an amazing time exploring the Aquarium of the Pacific and I would sincerely recommend everyone to visit.

xx

M

PS – Kyan my darling thank you for experience this day with me.

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Portland, Oregon

Are you curious about where might you retire while you are young? That’s easy…Portland, Oregon. My recent visit to Portland was exceptionally amazing and I am so excited to share my experience there with you.

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I shall discuss: (1) Pine State Biscuit, (2) Apizza Scholls, (3) Voodoo Doughnut, (4) Blue Star donut, (5) Lan Su Chinese Garden, (6) the Nines Hotel, and (7) Public Transportation.

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Pine State Biscuit

First check out Portland’s Farmers Market favorite: Pine State Biscuit. This place is known for their homemade biscuit and fried chicken.

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There are several locations. I would recommend going to the one closest to you because they are all equally great and they all serve the same homemade meals. I happened to be at the waterfront so I went to the Pine State located at 2204 NE Alberta St. When I arrived there was a line that wrapped around the restaurant. I generally do not have the patients to wait in line for food, but I happened to be standing next to a really sweet guy who had just moved to Portland who gave me the most amazing recommendations as we waited in line. On that note most people I encountered in Portland were super nice and a pleasure to talk to.

So anyways, when I finally entered inside the store, I saw that there was a window that looked into the kitchen where a man rolled, cut, shaped, and buttered the biscuits in front of you. I thought this was a lovely feature to display to the customers because they showed that their biscuits were truly handmade.

When it was my turn to order I decided to order the famous heart-attack-inducing Reggie Deluxe. The Reggie Deluxe includes fried chicken, egg, gravy, cheese, and the famous homemade biscuit. I also was pleased that they served southern sweet tea. Sweet tea and fried chicken just make such a lovely couple. Furthermore, one of the staff told me that the marmalade jam was to die for, so I ordered that too and I was so glad I did!

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As far as seating goes, it was first come first serve and there was also patio seating. Most of the tables were taken, so I ended up sharing a table with some strangers.

When my Reggie Deluxe was served I was so excited to bite into it; especially given that I waited 45-minutes in line on an empty stomach. Upon my first bite I was not able to get everything inside my mouth; therefore, I had to cut it in half and mush it with my hand to make it fit in my mouth.

The biscuit was really amazing. It tasted like a homemade southern buttermilk biscuit: super-flaky on the outside and warm and soft in the inside. I took a piece of my biscuit and ate it with the marmalade jam and OH BOY that was good! As for the fried chicken, it was crispy and golden, but a bit salty…. actually really salty. It tasted like a lump of salt and it just made me really full and bloated. In the end I was unable to finish it and I felt super heavy.

My overall thoughts though were good, I enjoyed the biscuit and the marmalade, but I have had much better southern fried chicken.

Location: Pine State Biscuits

2204 NE Alberta St.

Portland, OR 97211

(503) 477-6605

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Apizza Scholls

BEST PIZZA EVER! Reputable pizza lovers, such as Anthony Bourdain and Rachael Ray, have praised the pies at Apizza Scholls. After dinning with them, I can understand why they have an amazing reputation – it was one of the best pies I have ever eaten.

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The greatness of the pizza here is not due to anything innovative or complex, but rather it is due to the simple quality of the ingredients. First the dough is handmade in the kitchen and baked to a crispy-outside and a tender-inside perfection. Second, you are only allowed to add three toppings to the pizza (no more). This is because they believe that a true pizza should be judged based on the bread, cheese, and sauce.

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Additionally, it was recommended to me to try the ceaser salad as well and boy was I glad I did. The romaine lettuce was chilled and crunchy and the dressing was creamy and flavorful. It complemented the zesty pizza very well.

As for the décor of the store, it was rather plain. In fact it seemed like it was two stores. You must enter the door on the right to put your name down for a table, and then when your table was ready, you had to exit that door and then reenter the store from the door on the left where you shall be seated. It’s a bit goofy but I get the sense that the owner doesn’t care about the décor but rather focuses all his attention on the pizza, which I actually appreciate because the moment I took a bite of that pizza I felt like I was in heaven.

Overall this was the best pizza in the city.

Location: Apizza Scholls

4741 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd.

Portland, OR 97215

(503) 233-1286

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Voodoo Doughnut

If you are feeling silly and in the mood for an immature donut, well then head over to Voodoo Doughnut, where they make the weirdest donuts you will ever lay your eyes on. This donut shop looks like a dusty old magic shop. It is decorated with crazy gizmos and gadgets all over the place – even the walls outside the shop are painted with glitter.

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The donuts itself come in all sorts of shape, color, and toppings. Some silly donuts include a blunt donut, a penis donut, and even a voodoo doll donut. They make for fun pictures with friends and a great story to tell others.

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But the donuts do not taste as good as they look. Also this place is cash only, so be prepared to count your dollars because there is no credit card machine to do it for you.

Overall this was a fun place to see. I had many laughs with the staff and I am glad I came here.

Location: Voodoo Doughnut

22 SW 3rd Ave.

Portland, OR 97204

(503) 241-4704

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Blue Star Donuts

Now here is a donut shop that knows how to make good tasting donuts. Blue Star Dounts took a creative spin to your ordinary donut and boy does it taste good.

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Some of the scrumptious donuts flavors include: (1) blueberry, bourbon, and basil, (2) valhorona chocolate, (3) dulce de leche & almonds, (4) meyer lemon and key lime curd, and oh so many more.

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Similar to Voodoo, these donuts are also fun to take pictures of, but unlike Voodoo, these donuts actually taste delicious. In fact, these are a classic brioche, and have a bit more weight and texture to them unlike the typical Krispy Kreme generic donut. Moreover, the flour is organic Shepard’s Grain flour and they use cage free eggs, which creates an overall organic healthy donut (can I say that?).

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If you are in town and near a shop give them a try – just be prepared to wait in line because this donut shop is very popular.

I had an amazing experience and will definitely go back. Also for all you LA donut lovers, Blue Star is coming to LA! It will be in Venice beach on Abby Kinney. Check out instagram @bluestarsocal where you can find my picture reposted on their instagram! Yay!

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Location: Blue Star Donuts

1237 SW Washington St.

Portland, OR 97205

(503) 265-8410

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Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland is known for their majestic gardens. They have a famous rose garden, which was massive but it was out of the city and then there was the Chinese Garden called the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was in the middle of downtown.

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I decided to check out the Lan Su Chinese garden just because it was close by. Once inside the garden, I forgot about the hustle and bustle of the outside world. I felt as though I had entered in the aristocratic Chinese era. Inside the garden there was a huge koi fish with lily pads and swimming koi fish. There was also a mini water fall and a zen garden. This garden also had a tea room, which faced the pond, where you could enjoy sipping on organic Chinese tea – it just really expensive. When I went, it suddenly rained, which was perfect because it made the garden feel extra spiritual and zen.

I loved it here and will definitely visit it again soon.

Location: Lan Su Chinese Garden

239 NW Everett St.

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 228-8131

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The Nine’s Hotel

The Pros:

The Nines Hotel is located in downtown Portland and comes with an excellent rooftop bar called Departure that has a spectacular view of Portland’s skyscrapers in downtown. Furthermore the room that I stayed in had the view of the courthouse, which looked really majestic at night and day. Also they provided slippers and bathrobes, which were plush and comfy.

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The Cons:

Although the room was pretty and had a great location, the staff on the other hand was completely rude and snobby. For example, on my arrival to the building I entered into the elevator and a bellman followed me inside the elevator jamming his cart into the elevator and hitting my luggage without saying he was sorry. When I arrived at my floor, the bellman rudely said to me “this is your floor, you should get out” but did not move an inch and made me squeeze through the elevator while he starred at me in the most creepy way. This service made me so uncomfortable that I was never comfortable about being in that hotel. I will never go back, especially given that it cost me $600 per night to be treated so rudely.

I do not recommend anyone to go to this hotel.

Location: The Nines Hotel

525 SW Morrison St.

Portland, OR 97204

(877) 229-9995

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Public Transportation

The public transportation system was honestly the best system that I have ever used (and I have used a lot all around the world). The passes were super cheap and the trains and buses stop every 10-15 minutes. Inside the buses and trains are very clean and air conditioned. Furthermore, the people were not gross homeless people, but rather local prestigious people who were friendly and minded their own business. I also thought that it was really nice that most of the locals would thank the bus driver before they got off the bus.

Overall the public transportation system was really nice and I would recommend the bus and train over a taxi. It’s easy, fun, and safe.

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Conclusion

Overall I had a wonderful time in Portland! It was such a wonderful place to visit and perhaps to live in. I will definitely come back and bring more people with me so they too can experience this wonderful place.

xx,

M

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Ps – Thank you Kyan for making my dreams come true.

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Route 66

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As the summer season comes to an end, I decided to hit the roads and drive up to Nevada this week to soak up the last remaining sizzling summer heat before its gone. I rented a sweet Toyota Corola LE from Enterprise and hit the sandy desert roads of Route 66.

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Route 66 had a beautiful desert scenic road, but it was so stinkin hot that at times I felt like I was driving down Dante’s Inferno. Along the way I stopped by Barstow, CA and I check out the Route 66 McDonalds. They had cute trains that you can go inside and eat your happy meal inside.

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I also took a detour at Baker, CA where I saw the worlds biggest thermometer with my very own eyes. That day the temperature read 113°. Yowza!

The moment I opened my car door, I immediately felt the sun’s rays sizzling on my skin and into the depths of my soul. It was so hot that I literally jumped out of the car, took a picture and jumped back in the car in a matter of 10 seconds – it was way too hot to care if the picture came out alright.

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Route 66 eventually lead me to Sin City and I could not be more excited. I decided to stay the night in Las Vegas and have some fun.

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I stayed at the Cosmopolitan where I got a nice suit overlooking Bellagio’s water-fountain show. The view made the room so glamorous, especially at night when I would sit outside on the balcony, sip on some whiskey, and take in the view.

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Staying at the Cosmopolitan has always been fun because this hotel has THE best restaurants inside. Some of my favorites include: the cold noodles and spicy margaritas at China Poblano, the blue fin tune at Blue Ribbon, the Cheese Burger with Bacon (duh) at Holsteins, and the pepperoni pizza from Secret Pizza (try to find the hidden door inside the hotel).

Also the Cosmopolitan is conveniently located near all of the clubs and venues, which made it super easy for me to see Britney Spears in Concert. Oh baby baby!

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The next day I decided to check out Downtown Las Vegas and see the original Fremont Street. I imaged this place to be full of lights and excitement; however, I sadly discovered that Downtown Las Vegas has not been as well kept as I had hoped for.

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Downtown Las Vegas was beyond scary and gross. There were drunks and homeless people walking on every street corner and Fremont Street was so old that I felt like I was walking into my grandmother’s closet. I was so grossed out that I left quickly, and I do not think I will ever be back.

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After my 24 hour vegas trip, I hit the road again and headed back home. Overall, I had a great time, traveling through Route 66 and I will definitely do it again soon!

If there are any questions regarding your road trip on Route 66 please feel free to email or message me. I would be very happy to answer any questions.

xx,

M

PS – Thank you Kyan for making this trip possible, cannot wait for our next adventure.

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Tulum, Mexico

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Tulum is a little magical beach town located along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. There are 3 parts to Tulum: (1) the beachside resort town, (2) the downtown, and (3) the ruins.

First, Tulum’s beachside resort town is about 12 km, which incorporates several charming bungalow hotels, candlelight restaurants, beachside bars, and tiny shopping boutiques.

Second, Tulum’s downtown is where all the locals hangout and where you can find the most delicious al pastor tacos, local gift shops, and several hotels and bars.

Lastly, Tulum has several Mayan ruins nearby. The two well-known ruins are (1) Chichén Itzá and (2) Coba – both of which have the most amazing Mayan Temples and the most beautiful cenotes.

Tulum’s Beachside Resort Town

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Tulum has several beachside boutique hotels, which most of them look like little tiny bungalows. I stayed at Posada Lamar, which was absolutely spectacular. The rooms over look the ocean and each of the rooms have balconies where you can sit or layout on. This hotel also provides boogie boards and kayaks which was a treat if you wanted to enjoy the water.

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My room was an ocean view bungalow with a tropical palapa roof. There was a patio area with a swinging hammock where I spent most of my evenings sipping on my cerveza while listening to music.

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Inside the room, my bed had a mosquito net, which made the ambiance of the room super romantic, and I had several windows (with screens), which I kept open to fill the room with the cool ocean breeze.

The room did not have AC, but I honestly did not need one given the way the room was built to allow the ocean breeze to flow through the room.

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Posada Lamar’s staff was also amazing. They would deliver fresh fruit and coffee every morning to our room and they gave me the best recommendations for restaurants and sightseeing. They would also call the cab for you and speak to them in Spanish if you need assistance.

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There were just 2 things that were a bit awkward (which seemed to be common amongst most of the hotels here):

  1. This was an eco-friendly hotel, so I did not have electricity during most of the day (so I would have to charge my phone at night and I was unable to  blow-dry my hair).
  2. The bathroom did not have any walls (super romantic when taking a shower, but not as romantic when you had to use the toilet).

But I ended up loving my naturally curly hair in the end and we worked out a bathroom system, where each one of us had our own “private time” to use the loo.

Coqui Coqui

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The “it” hotel in Tulum, is called Coqui Coqui. Initially I tried to get a room here; however, all of the rooms were all booked. Nevertheless, I decided to go there for drinks and to check out the hotel. Here is what I found:

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Coqui Coqui was a very nice boutique hotel. The hotel was mostly made out of stone and wood, and they had a pool, a popular spa, and cute shops. However, based on other people’s reviews, the rooms at Coqui Coqui did not have air conditioning, and because the rooms were made out of cement and stone, it apparently became super hot inside. Otherwise, this is a great place to stop by for drinks and/or get a relaxing massage by the beach.

Tulum’s Beachside Restaurants 

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I had the most romantic candlelight dinner at Posada Margarita. This restaurant served fresh, handmade pasta and the most delicious fish. The restaurant is on the beach (literally) and the entire place is lit up with candles, which you can later purchase at the shop nearby.

There was a long wait to get a table, so I would recommend to get there early, but if you have to wait, I then recommend getting a cocktail from the bar. I celebrated my birthday here and I had the most amazing night eating good Italian food and sipping on the most delicious red wine. I can still taste it!

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If you come here during the day time, then try the chocolate gelato. It was super delicious and it cooled me down after spending several hours sunbathing under the sun.

Hartwood

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Hartwood is THE restaurant to go to, but unfortunately when I arrived in Tulum, Hartwood was under construction, so I were unable to go. Sadness. But based on other people’s reviews, this restaurant uses fresh and organic ingredients and everything is cooked over natural fire.  I hope to one day come back to Tulum and try this place.

La Cocina de Corina

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La Cocina de Corina is a little bar/ restaurant right next to Posada Lamar and Posada Margarita. I would go there during the day time and order Coronas and freshly squeezed Margaritas.

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Additionally, the people who work here are absolutely kind. They allowed us to take our drinks to our room next door and to the beach. They even gave us an ice bucket so we can keep our beers cool while we laid out on the beach. I highly recommend this place.

Tulum Downtown

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Downtown Tulum was the best place to get Tulum’s traditional al pastor tacos.  I would literally order about 15 tasty tacos for about $10 total.

Note though, unlike American resturants, the local Mayan taco shops do not serve beer, which was a bit of a bummer, but you are able to order the tacos to-go and take them to your hotel where you can enjoy it with a case of beer.img_0188

When it came to food, I preferred to go to downtown as opposed to staying in the resort town, because the resort restaurants were incredibly overpriced compared to downtown.

My absolute favorite taco shops were El Ricon Chapaneca and also Antojitos La Chapaneca.

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Also try the popsicles! They were soo yummy, especially when it is hot outside. All of the popsicles were made out of fresh fruit and they were super colorful, which made it fun to eat and take pictures of!

Mayan Temples 

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There are two well known Mayan ruins near Tulum: Chichén Itzá and Coba. 

Chichén Itzá was the famous temple that was built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The temples there were HUGE; however, they do not allow people to climb up the temples. It was also about 2 hours away from Tulum’s town.

Coba was the other Mayan temple. The Coba temples were also built by the Mayan people, and there were several temples that you can touch, walk, and climb on. The benefit of going to Coba was that it was about 45 minutes away from Tulum’s town, so you can visit the ruins during the day and then enjoy the evening back at the beach!

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Cenote

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In addition to visiting the Mayan temples, I recommend seeing the cenotes as well. A cenote is a natural sinkhole or pit that has exposed groundwater underneath.

The Mayans use to sacrifice people in the cenote to give thanks to the Gods.

Today, there are several cenotes near the Yucatan Peninsula, where people go inside to swim and refresh themselves after a hike.

I personally jumped into the freezing waters of the cenote and I would do it again. It was such an amazing and unique experience.  This was an absolute must see!

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Overall I had the most amazing experience at Tulum. I truly encourage everyone to visit this magical place!

If there are any questions about your next visit to Tulum, please feel free to email me and I would gladly help guide you!

xx,

Maysa

PS – Special thanks to Kyan for making this birthday dream of mine come true! xxoo

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