Half way into the spring semester I was dying for a break from studying calculus equations and thermochemistry everyday of the week. I was ready for Spring Break. A week filled with sunshine, happiness, bottomless drinks, good food and most importantly no school work. Being a mature student, we opted for a relaxing and low-key spring break rather than a party-filled one that younger students would enjoy. We decided that it was time to finally visit Tulum, Mexico, a place that I have been wanting to visit for a long time.
Arrival in Mexico.
When planning your trip to Tulum, remember that the closest airport is Cancun International Airport, which is roughly 1.5 to 2 hours away. We were battling with the idea of riding with the ADO Bus or private transportation and we are so happy that we chose the latter. We booked with Canadian Tours and Transfers for transport to and from the airport for convenience and relaxation. Carlos, our private driver met us at the front of the arrival area, took our bags, provided cold towels and beverages. If convince and post-travel relaxation aren’t big concerns for you, you can opt for the ADO Coach bus which runs a few times daily with direct transport in-between their Tulum station and the Cancun International Airport. For total freedom, there are many rental companies located in and around the Cancun International Airport.
The ride is literally a smooth straight shot from the airport to Tulum Pueblo. This allowed me to catch some rest before our final destination because I knew we would be hitting the ground running after we stored our suitcases in our bungalow.
On our way to Tulum, huge luxurious resorts with outrageous entrances lined each side of the highway., a resort town. In-between each resort were little towns, shops and town squares where local Mexicans lived and it reminded me so much of my islands homes Jamaica and Tortola. Fortunately for me, I was reintroduced to tropical landscapes after a brief hiatus while living in the USA. It got uninspiring seeing weird, shape-less and unanimated trees not dancing in the wind, especially when its an everyday encounter.
As we drew closer to the bungalows, a sudden shift from a Resort Town to local living became quite evident. After two years of research on where to stay in Tulum, we decided to stay in the “jungle”, rather than the main Pueblo (town) or Beach side. As we got closer to the jungle, we were not greeted with a grand entrance reminiscent of staying at the Four Seasons. Instead, it was a bumpy dirt road with beautiful homes lightly scattered around the area. A sense of community yet a sense of isolation.
The Ikal Bungalows.
As I slowly stepped out of our private transportation, and wiggled my cramped butt cheeks, I began to see first hand, the charm of the Tulum Jungle and why we chose to stay there!
Welcome To Ikal Bungalows. Ikal (which means Spirit in Mayan language) Bungalows is an eco-friendly group of apartments owned by Leslie Lynch which is located on the outskirts of the Tulum Pueblo. The Mayan name is just the beginning of the Mayan inspiration. From the artwork, to the design elements to the philosophy, this place was inspired by the Mayan culture, its people and nature. The staff is dedicated to making sure your stay is as personal and perfect as possible. Eshan, the property manager will be your life savior. Ikal Bungalows is their name and Concierge service is their game! Anything you need, whether it be a private chef or a taxi driver to get you home safely after a wild night, they have your back!
As you open the gate, you are greeted by balinese and mayan inspired structures. As said before, Mayan culture and nature had a huge hand in the inspiration and building of these bungalows. Local wood accents add to the charm of the bungalows. Minimalist concrete counters and furniture are scattered throughout the bungalow, adding a much needed modern look. Palapa grass roofs made by local Mayans rest on top of high ceilings and large windows, allowing you to feel apart of nature and Maya. Lush greenery caresses the Off-white walls bringing the Mayan charm and coziness together, allowing you to feel like you stepped into your own home.
Ikal Bungalows has three different units named KA’AN, HA and XEL, each uniquely designed to fit your needs. They can be individually rented or collectively for a big party of 11 members! Two loft units are available but if you’re not a fan of floating stairs, there is a one-level bungalow that will be perfect for you.
We chose the Ikal HA (Water Spirit) Bungalow because of its outdoor bathtub, because, why not? It was a lovely experience being able to shower with the early birds while they danced with the palms swaying in the breeze.
The loft is equipped with a full kitchen, air conditioning, closet, a pool, yoga shala space, WIFI (for us millennial who can’t seem to separate from the World for too long) and other amenities you find necessary in your own home.
The Ikal Surroundings.
After checking out the interior of our Ikal Bungalow and rolling on the bed, we decided to walk around the property briefly before heading out. Lined with tropical plants and trees and a Koi pond, the pool is up first. Its geometric shape cladded with concrete brings a satisfying modern element to the Mayan and Balinese styled bungalows. It is the perfect size for a quick dip before you head out on a day of explorations or after.
To the right of the pool up some wooden stairs there is a yoga shala spot located on the property which, unfortunately I did not get to use because I forgot to bring yoga clothing! I did however fine time to fall asleep in the hammock in the shala spot. It is fitted with yoga mats, candles, a hammock and other little knick knacks to help with your yoga experience.
As the end of the trip creeped up on us and it was time to leave paradise, we found it very difficult to leave. Having to face final exams is one thing but when that is paired with “feeling at home”, it is very hard to get rid of me. A Huge thank you to Leslie and the beautiful staff at Ikal Bungalows for the amazing stay in Tulum. I enjoyed every minute of my stay and I guarantee anyone who stays here will enjoy it just as much as I did! Let me know in the comments below what you think of this property and if you will ever stay here! Stay tuned for more blogs about what I did in Tulum, Mexico! In the meantime, check out Skylar Marshai’s Tulum itinerary for ideas!