Before it was cool to jet off to Tulum, Mexico, mystic holistic Angela Shore of Jiva-Apoha was a regular on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. As in, had her own Mayan Shaman on-call.
Lounging on Tulum’s white sand beaches is almost all you need to know to have a perfectly lovely vacay, but if you want to know how a hardcore holistic wellness pro does Tulum, here’s Angela on the must-see, do and eat experiences…
I love Tulum. Being one of the last cities inhabited by the Maya, there is no coincidence why the spirit is so special there. My first trip to Tulum was during the nineties when my group and I decided to trek down without any reservations over a two-week break during Christmas and New Years – something that one would have a hard time doing today to say the least!
Back then, thatched huts on the beach were $20-$30 bucks a night, and Maya Tulum was the only wellness resort along the beach; not to mention the Mexican military used to have a base on the beach, and patrolled that stretch. Needless to say, the compound of Pablo Escobar Casa Magna still stands.
We took our time getting to know the history and culture, while visiting the villages and back road travel to the ruins of Coba and Chichen Itza. The Mayan society has natural healers; shamans that still honor their ancient remedies and perform ceremonies passed down for centuries. This is everything that Jiva-Apoha believes in, and lives by. As always, I’m in deep fascination of the eco beauty there and the ancient Mayan healing energy that welcomes me every time. I used to have a powerful Mayan shaman there, one who I would visit on every trip until he moved on. There was only one Temazcal (indigenous sweat lodge), now there are many along with one yoga retreat and eco-wellness hotel after the other.
I was so inspired on each trip to Tulum as I watched it grow and flourish over the years. I had always imagined doing something involving healing and wanted to do a wellness project. I knew one day it would come together. Last month, my partner arranged the time for a last minute getaway (she did very well!). We were so fortunate to experience the Be Tulum Hotel on this trip. Be Tulum is removed and the furthest away on the Riveria Maya, making it very private for its guests. It’s an exclusive hotel nestled in the jungle on the beach with about 20 bungalows and outdoor showers; which happens to be one of my faves – showering outside!
Here are a few other unique, below-the-radar spots in Tulum, and a few travel tips from my own experiences visiting…
What most people don’t realize… about Tulum is that it used to be an ancient Mayan port city, and now it’s a protected place for nesting sea turtles.
Essential experiences:Traditional Mayan healing, cenotes, and the ruins.
Tulum uniform: Very little! At least two bikinis, a sarong, pair of cut-offs, a couple of little sun tops, a beach cover up, yogi linen pants and a flowy cotton dress…
Perfect lunch spots: Be Tulum beachside service. The tuna and steak tacos are out of this world! The best guacamole!
What makes the landscape unique: It’s an ecological paradise between the low floral jungle, blue lagoons, lakes, white sand beaches, natural limestone ruins and the blue blue Caribbean sea.
Best cocktail: Smoky 100% resposado mezcal with muddled pineapple, rosemary, basil and jalapeño. My kind of holistic spirit!
Favorite dinner spot out: Posada Margherita.
Best meal ever ate there: Fresh lobster, clams, shrimp and homemade pasta; a classic Italian-profile spot that’s been around for some time….
3 must pack items for Tulum: A straw hat, dark eyewear, protective sun block.
local artisans: I love supporting the natives who weave textiles and the potters. Also Coqui Coqui; their curated boutique is a must-see.
Wellness staples in your travel pack: In Tulum they grow tons of aloe vera plants. I love using local resources and remedies for all needs. I did pack: Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters, pure essential lemongrass to help fight off for mosquitoes, an immunity mix of clove, lemon, cinnamon leaf, eucalyptus and rosemary essentials that I ingest for air travel (natural antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-viral).
Which oils you pack: I made a personalized body oil with organic macadamia nut and coconut oils with sandalwood pure essential oil for cooling. Also traveled and tested Jiva Apoha’s new Holy Grass Body, which is organic hemp seed (cannabis sativa), sesame oil with pure essentials of sweet grass and rosewood. Both oils complement the heating factor (pitta) skincare. Great for treating the skin after sun, salt, and beach.
Favorite spa:Yaan Wellness Energy Spa is one of the most beautifully designed and well-thought-out spas to ever experience. They grow their medicinal herb garden on top of the roof to pick from for the healing services. I watch my medicine woman climb the ladder to carefully select what she was using for our session. It goes without saying, it’s within our top 10 best spas today. One of a kind! I could have stayed here for a week alone.
I had a traditional Maya healing with a Mayan medicine woman who used RUE herbs and natural oils to clear energy, cleanse, and restore balance. My body was submerged in herbs and rubbing oils, along with a full body copal smudge with Mayan prayers.