Your Vacation in Lights

Romancing Tulum

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Andrea Knutsen, 25, of Arlington, is the latest contributor to our Your Vacation in Lights feature, in which we invite Travel section readers to share the dish about their recent trips. It's a big, confusing travel world out there, and you can help your fellow travelers navigate it. Your hot tip can be the next guy's day-maker; your rip-off restaurant, the next family's near-miss. To file your own trip report -- and win a Travel section tote bag and become eligible to win a digital camera -- see the fine print below.

THE TRIP: Romantic Adventure on a Budget

WHO WENT? My boyfriend and I (both in our mid-20s).

WHERE? Tulum, Mexico

WHEN? June 2005

WHY? Tahiti was too expensive.

HOW LONG? One week.

I GRITTED MY TEETH HARDEST WHEN . . . our car rental rates doubled after adding the mandatory insurance.

BEST/WORST THING(S) ABOUT MY HOTEL: The friendly atmosphere, intimate setting, homemade breakfasts and the perfect-if-tiny beach made the Cabanas La Conchita stand out as the coolest place we've ever stayed. The lack of air conditioning in the open-air palapa-roofed cabanas also made it one of the hottest. Literally.

FAVORITE MEAL: Dinner at Posada Margherita down the road. The food was incredible, the open patio seating overlooking the ocean was about as romantic as you can get, and the waiter treated us like old friends.

COOLEST ATTRACTION: A "Mayan Encounter" tour that took us through the Mayan ruins at Coba (awesome views), the Mayan village of Pac Chen (great food) and the surrounding jungle (outdoor adventures), and gave us an opportunity to make friends with some really cool people. Although the beach at our hotel -- where we spent a good half of our time -- pulls a close second.

I CAN'T BELIEVE I . . . rappelled down a tiny black hole in the ground into a very dark cave full of water 60 feet below.

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