Amira and I had an amazing time at the ancient Mayan ruin of Tulum.
We'd been there with our kids ten years ago, but on a dark, cloudy and rainy day. This time, we were greeted by blazing blue skies and puffy clouds.
We arrived at around 3:30 pm. That's late for Tulum, because the beach closes at 4:30 and the whole site at 5pm.
Amira noticed that by paying extra you could stay longer. So we paid. And because we had been hot and sweaty for hours, we decided to hit the beach first.
Tulum is on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean. The site allows one tiny beach for visitors, and it was crowded. I went swimming while Amira guarded our stuff.
After a while, the lifeguards closed the beach, shooed away all the visitors except us (flashing our ticket granted immunity from ejection). The lifeguard swept the wooden steps before vanishing over the cliff.
So there we were alone on the beach. The setting sun cast the shadows of the ruins over the beach and water, while Amira and I just swam and goofed around and took some pictures.
There were probably around 10 other people total who had paid extra to stay late, but they weren't on the beach at the time, so they never came down.
Eventually, we climbed the stairs to see the site. And so for about an hour and a half, we checked out Tulum with the setting sun lighting up the ruins in a golden light. (On our first gloomy visit, everything was a shade of grey; this time, everything was on fire.)
The site is so large that we barely saw anyone else. It was totally quiet, and the only movement was the occasional scampering of an iguana or exotic bird.
At one point, Amira was invited by a guard to step over the rope and take some pictures up close of the Castillo, which is the most imposing pyramid at the site. He even took pictures of her and us.
Eventually, we wandered out of the site. When we got to the huge parking lot, our rental car was the only vehicle.
What an experience.