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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

La Zebra

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
You don’t mind if we go back and visit Mexico again, do you? I still have things to share with you.

After we left our all-inclusive luxury resort we headed down the Mayan Riviera to Tulum. Our destination was an eco-friendly cabana-style hotel: La Zebra. We were supposed to leave early afternoon and arrive before dark, but it didn’t work out that way. We found ourselves driving in very unfamiliar territory in the dark. After a harrowing drive down a pothole-filled road, passing hotel after hotel without any lighted signs, the brightly-lit neon sign of La Zebra was a welcome sight. It wasn’t obvious where to check in, but we followed a sandy path illuminated only by candle sconces and eventually figured it out. We were soon settled in our little cabana: Number 6.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

A short while after settling in our stomachs told us it was time to eat, so we walked the sand path to the cantina-style restaurant on the hotel grounds. The open-air room was already bustling with people. We soon realized that they drew many people from nearby hotels that did not have eateries on their grounds. And after we had finished a delicious meal we knew why! What could be more relaxing that enjoying an authentic Mexican repast with the music of the waves crashing against the beach in the background?  Here is what it looked like in daylight.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Since we arrived in the dark we really had no idea what our cabana looked like on the outside. We couldn’t tell much from the dim light emitted by the sconces that lit the pathways, and our room key with a small flashlight attached didn’t help overly much either. Ours was one of nine little cabanas tucked into the palms in a row (the bright blue one). I liked how ours had a palm tree growing through the thatch on the porch.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Inside it was a work of art; from paintings on the walls to the beautiful stone work in the bathroom. Take a look.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

There were other works of art scattered all around the grounds. Lovely carved ladies held lanterns and posed by menu boards.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Carved wooden heads rested in the soft sand.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Sand was everywhere. On our porch there was a foot bath for rinsing off our feet before entering the cabana, allowing us to track in as little sand as possible. We quickly “went native” and abandoned any thoughts of wearing shoes again while on the hotel grounds and simply went barefoot—everywhere. Even in the cantina. Everyone else did. When we left my feet rebelled against putting on shoes again after being so liberated.

Paradise did have a few downfalls. Being “eco-friendly” meant our hotel had a limited supply of electricity. No hair dryers were allowed. We did have 24-hour electric which is rare on this stretch of beach since they have to generate what they use. Sitting in the cantina you could hook up with wireless internet service. The big downfall was the toilet paper. You were not allowed to put any paper whatsoever in the toilets because of their septic tank system. This is not fun! Each cabana had their own hot water system fueled by a small propane tank. Wouldn’t you know that when we got up on Monday to take our showers before leaving for the airport our propane bottle was empty. No hot water = no shower. In such a sand-filled environment we had to leave feeling gritty and sticky. No one was up at that hour of the morning to help us.

Unfortunately our time at La Zebra was very short. Arriving on Saturday evening, we only had Sunday for enjoying and exploring before we had to head back early in the morning on Monday to catch our flight. Originally we were to spend several days there, but due to conflicting business meetings for Rick it just didn’t work out. So, with such a short amount of time we had to choose between just relaxing on the beach or exploring the Mayan ruins at Tulum, which are the only ruins situated on the Caribbean Sea.

Since the weather was iffy and overcast, we chose to see the ruins in the morning and come back and relax around La Zebra in the afternoon. In my next post I will share photos of the ruins, but for now I will include some beach shots taken that afternoon around the hotel.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I wish we could have spent an entire day relaxing around the beach and the hotel. The food was absolutely wonderful. One dish, a fish soup, was prepared table-side by tossing a very hot rock into a large bowl and letting the heat from the rock cook the soup.

We agreed that next time we would do the hotels the other way around. First the rather primitive environment of a hotel like La Zebra, followed by the pampering luxury of a hotel like Dreams Cancun. All in all, Cancun and the Mayan Riviera are places I could return to over and over again.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Comments:

GREAT pictures. Next time I’m in Tulum, I will be sure to check out this hotel. Was your room quiet or did you hear a lot of noise and music? Thanks.

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