By Sarah Sweeney
The cliché “heaven on earth” is subjective. Lots of places can be paradisiacal, right? If you’re a musician or a dancer, New York City may be your Shangri-La, your promised land. But mine has always been Mexico. Narrowing down a favorite geographical proximity in this country has been a challenge, as there’s so much to love, but I think I’ve found my spot, my tried and true blue heaven that I’ll keep returning to, and possibly you, too. “Where?” you ask.
Tankah and Soliman Bays.
My journeys took me first to Tankah, a southerly bay just a scant north of the Tulum ruins, at a gorgeous, modern villa called Casa Rosa, available for rent through Akumal Direct. This chic property offers all modern conveniences such as air conditioning, a fully-furnished kitchen with all the necessary appliances, swimming pool, and choice bedding. Yes, bedding. The beds, sheets, and pillows in this house are plush and extravagant, and since there’s four bedrooms, perfect for up to 9 people, rest easy that you and your guests will be quite comfortable.
Tankah is a calm bay, with glassy and turquoise water that’s ideal for snorkeling or kayaking. There’s a few restaurants and dive shops nearby, as well as Casa Cenote, a gorgeous outdoor cenote. What I relished most about Tankah is the location--it’s close enough to Tulum so you can make a run for groceries or other errands, but it feels secluded and unknown. It’s kind of place where you take a gaggle of your friends or family members and no one can bother you. And that’s rare.
I next landed in Soliman and at one of my favorite properties, a beach house called Yamulkan. This is your classic beach house complete with a rustic, shabby-chic vibe but with all the modern comforts like air conditioning and TV--a contrast to the wood furnishings and lush tropical vines inching up Yamulkan’s white stuccoed walls. There’s no pool, but you won’t miss it. The water is flat, thanks to the outer barrier reef that protects the bay, and my favorite activity here was waking early and immediately heading out for a snorkel, which is my form of meditation. No matter how far you snorkel, the bay remains shallow as you weave in and out of reef and sandy areas. I found multiple sand dollars while snorkeling, and the endless amount of conch shells, fish, and rays that I saw make this one of my favorite snorkeling spots.
Yamulkan felt well-lived in, and well-loved. Good memories were made at both of these villas, and it’s easy to understand why. These bays are tucked away, but within driving distance to Tulum and Akumal, and are perfect for families or large groups of friends. These are villas and locations to return to year after year, and I know I will.