Sian Ka'an Proposal Photographer
Playa Del Carmen Photographer Jorge Rodriguez
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Sian Ka'an Proposal Photographer

From Party Encounter to Engaged Travelers: How Tulum Captivated Our Love Story.

Relationship Background

Pooja and Brendan were both college students who met by chance in 2013 at a house party. Brendan went to Kansas City to visit some friends and the plan was to go to another party later in the evening. Instead, Pooja caught his eye and they both stayed to hang out with each other and talk late into the night. It’s safe to say Brendan never made it to the other party.

Since that night, their relationship has flourished, and their love remains unwavering. They have raised their “fur baby” Ares, a black Pomeranian, shared over seven homes including a cross country move, vacationed together in several states, Pooja earned her M.D., Brendan started a business, and all along the way they’ve been supportive of each other’s goals.

Their engagement trip to Tulum was a celebration to signify their love for each other and a trip well-earned. Their engagement was always a when not an if. When you are with the right person and it’s an open secret you want to get married, it gives you the chance to take your engagement trip exactly where you want and at the most convenient time in your life.

We got officially engaged on 5/1/2024. This was a symbolic date for us because it was our 11th year of being together.

Travel Experience in Mexico

Our travel experience to Mexico and the adventures we had while in Tulum made the entire trip a fantastic time. We flew into the new Tulum International Airport - Felipe Carrillo Puerto which simplified our travel logistics greatly and stayed at the equally new Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club.

We decided against flying into Cancun as the drive would be around two and a half hours south to Tulum, and instead chose the new airport which was only about forty-five minutes away and the taxi cost roughly seventy dollars.

The airport was clean, relatively small, and still under construction in certain places, but will surely be impressive once finished. We did note that there were no restaurants or food vendors in our terminal except for a small shop that sold packaged snacks and sodas.

Security to and from as well as customs was very smooth, and we made it through with all of our luggage with ease. We found the currency exchange kiosk immediately and noticed that the rate was better at the airport as opposed to exchanging domestically.

Next, and conveniently located, were the several transportation options that employees were generously offering to provide for us. We already knew that we would not need to rent a car since our resort provided all the necessities regarding transportation.

Thus, we spoke to a taxi company employee who had a driver ready, we negotiated a price, and we were off to our resort in no time. We felt safe and confident with our driver during the entire ride, and he even gave us some helpful tips and recommendations about the city.

The “rules of the road” were very different than the United States and we were happy we only used taxis. Locals told us that the bus also known as “colectivo” was cheaper, and we would consider using it next time because taxis were fairly expensive.

The shops in downtown Tulum offered every souvenir you could want. The owners were very friendly but being fluent in Spanish would be very helpful. We went downtown to shop around 2 pm and had a great time looking for gifts for our families, buying hats and beach bags, and experiencing the city.

There were several restaurants recommended to us and we would have normally tried them, but with the afternoon heat, we decided to go back to the resort to relax before dinner. One shopping tip – if you are buying multiple items, most of the shop owners were willing to negotiate the total price.

Our resort offered a shuttle to their private Secrets Beach Club located on the main beach area in Tulum. There were plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, and nightclubs that were much higher scale than what we saw in downtown Tulum.

We did not have a chance to walk around this area on this trip, but everyone told us this was the main tourist area in Tulum. The private beach club had a restaurant, pool, bar, and private seating area on the beach with full service.

We had a wonderful time relaxing and meeting other travelers. As we walked down the beach to explore, there were plenty of hotels with similar private sections of the beach.

You should expect the locals will come up to you even in the private areas of the beach trying to sell their souvenirs, but they will be respectful if you politely decline. The beach itself was very clean, the water was refreshing, and the seaweed was minimal for this time of the year.

As much as we enjoyed the sanctity of our resort, we wanted to see even more. We were easily able to book a 3 in 1 excursion package through our resort where a driver and tour guide would pick us up at 9 am and bring us back by 6 pm.

Our first excursion was a tour of the Mayan Ruins in Tulum which was about twenty minutes away. We had a wonderful tour guide who was very knowledgeable about the Mayan culture and the history behind the ruins.

She told us traditional oral stories such as the spiritual Mayan offerings and “the rabbit in the moon.” The ruins are located on a ridge overlooking the beach so it is very scenic.

The walk from the parking lot is further than you would expect so we would recommend going in the morning to avoid the heat. You’ll see plenty of iguanas!

After the ruins, our next excursion was a swim in a cenote. We were very excited to swim in a cenote since they are a natural wonder in this region. The cenote we swam in was almost entirely enclosed which was slightly spooky but we loved it!

We learned about how cenotes form from natural limestone, how the locals still today believe the water has anti-aging properties for the skin, and that there are thousands of them in the region. The water is much colder than the ocean but we would highly recommend swimming in a cenote.

Next time we plan a cenote excursion, we want to swim in one that has a wider opening to the jungle. Our guide told us about other cenotes that you can jump into from the ground level and we thought that would be fun!

Our final excursion was snorkeling with turtles! We love snorkeling and the opportunity to swim with turtles was an excursion we knew we had to find time for.

Playa del Carmen is a region known to be a turtle breeding area and depending on the time of year you will see turtle eggs on the beaches. Our snorkeling tour did not disappoint, we lost count of how many turtles we saw including several adolescents.

Rightfully so, they are extremely strict about how close you can get to the turtles and you can never touch them. You need to be conscious of them coming up for air to avoid touching them, but it is a very cool experience to be floating on the surface and a turtle pops their head out of the water a few feet away from you!

The area where we snorkeled was not very far from the beach but still required us to take a short boat ride, and this is not a snorkeling area to see coral reefs or fish, you are there exclusively to see turtles (and seaweed!).

Secrets Tulum Resort provided everything we wanted including all food and drinks and the atmosphere we wanted. It was an adults-only resort with several pools and restaurants but with a very relaxing vibe and no nightlife activities.

The staff was friendly, helped us book excursions, and answered any questions we had about the area. We toured the Secrets Akumal resort around thirty minutes away, and it was a much larger and established resort directly on the beach.

After the tour, we made sure to discuss plans to stay there in the future because it seemed livelier. For what we wanted on this trip, Secrets Tulum was a perfect fit.

Photo shoot in Sian Ka’an

The photo shoot for Sian Ka’an was very scenic. We took pictures on the beach, on the jungle trails, and even in the lagoon. Sian Ka’an provides a wide variety of backdrops and Jorge could not have been more professional and a joy to work with.

We hired Jorge based on his great reviews and photos online so that gave us confidence throughout the shoot to just be ourselves and trust Jorge’s ideas. His positive and happy-go-lucky attitude helped us loosen up and have fun. We would highly recommend Jorge to future couples.

The only thing that we were unprepared for on our way to shoot in Sian Ka’an, was the drive. We had to arrange to rent a taxi and driver from our resort for three hours because the location of Sian Ka’an was so secluded.

However, that does not mean we wish we had a rental car. Past the main city strip, the roads are extremely worn, we did not have cell phone coverage, and with this being the first time in the area we would have thought we were lost if we had driven ourselves.

To future clients, we would highly recommend doing ample research on how to get to Sian Ka’an and scout specific locations within the nature reserve before driving yourself.

At the end of the day, everything worked out as planned without a hiccup! These are just helpful tips for all of Jorge’s future clients.

All in all, Tulum was a magical experience from start to finish. It will forever be engraved in our love story, and we can’t wait to visit again in the future!

Location: Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka'an.