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Tulum—The Love Affair Continues

By Jessica Bellofatto | Posted on April 21, 2015

I first traveled to Tulum way back in 1998, before I had kids, before I owned a house, before I really had many responsibilities to speak of, and not for a yoga retreat, but for a vacation. My boyfriend at the time (who later became my husband and then my ex-husband) booked a flight from New York to Cancun, with a return flight about three weeks later. We knew we didn’t want to stay in Cancun, with its high rise hotels and a Señor Frogs on every corner, but we didn’t have much of a plan in mind. We rented a car at the airport, and started driving. Stopping along the way, we explored Akumal, Playa del Carmen, and other smaller, less developed towns, staying for a night here and a night there. When, about a week later, we pulled into what was once the sleepy village of Tulum, we found a hotel room for $30/night right on the beach and stayed a week.


I was completely enamored with this town, with the stretch of fine white sand on which I could take long morning runs, then strip off all my clothes and plunge into an ocean that seemed to instantly heal me and absolve me of all of my worries, all of my anxiety, just like that. We explored the oceanfront ruins, drove down into the Sian K’aan biosphere, snorkeled in cenotes (underground caves) and ate fish plucked out of the ocean moments earlier. I knew then that it was a place I would return to over and over again.

Fast forward almost 20 years and I have since led about 20 Yoga retreats to Tulum. There was a time about 10 years ago that I almost stopped, right around the time that Tulum was starting to turn into what it is now—hipper and trendier, with a food scene that rivals NYC, and prices to match. But, when I did return, and drove down that skinny strip of road just past Zamas, with its colorful chairs and yummy cappuccino, the same feeling of well being, peacefulness, and happiness overcame me once again, and I knew then that I would never stop coming here.


So, year after year, with whatever other wonderful locations or commitment I put on my calendar, there is always a yoga retreat in Tulum! Held at the eco-chic Amansala resort, with close to four hours of yoga a day, Mayan clay treatments, a Temazcal (sweat lodge), guacamole, great shopping, and the constant sound of the ocean right outside your door. My life now is so much different than when I first traveled to Tulum—a mortgage, three kids (including one teenager and one highly energetic baby), a yoga studio and retreat business to run. But Tulum for me still has the power to drop me into the center of my being, settle me into stillness, and put a smile on my face that lasts for weeks after my last run and jump in the ocean.

This past trip turned out to be one of my favorites yet. With 23 awesome individuals we laughed and yoga-ed our way through 6 days in paradise.

My Favorite Moments

  1. The first yoga class. The welcome circle, at which everyone gives a brief intro about why they are here. Injuries are shared, intentions are set, and I can already see people visibly softening.
  2. Sharing the magic that is Posada Margherita. Whether it is for afternoon cappuccino or gelato, or fish in sea water for dinner, this place is always a treat.
  3. SUP Yoga with Nancy Kyd of Sup Yoga Tulum in the most beautiful lagoon I have ever seen. Nancy is a fellow Boga Yoga Ambassador, and what she has created is beyond special. And, she treated us with organic homemade juice and energy balls afterwards!
  4. Daily ocean swims. Two of my favorite people that come on this retreat year after year are Peter Turino and Ana del Castillo. Ana is a big open water swimmer and is always ready to go.  Every day of the retreat, we throw on our goggles and take the most amazing swim, about a mile total.
  5. The stars. There seem to be more stars here than I have ever seen anywhere, glittering over the ocean and the sand, making me believe in a world in which magic is everywhere and anything is possible.

Tulum - The Love Affair Continues // JB Yoga

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