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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Sanchez

Tulum has a new secret spot: Libelula

This week I was supposed to be in Tulum but COVID-19 cancelled my plans. Now what?

I was scheduled to fly to Tulum but like many others the impact of COVID-19 is affecting my travel plans so here's what I'll do instead. A flight by United was scheduled to leave next week to Cancun and now we are on home lockdown in California and many other places in the United States so instead of traveling to one of my favorite places on Earth I will write about it and my last visit for New Years 2020.

If you have read my blog or know me a little bit, you'll know that Tulum is one especial place to me for many reasons. Last December we got to travel there for the New Year's holiday and to celebrate the coming 2020. It wasn't just a regular trip, this time I was especially excited to visit as my best friend and her husband, Karla and Memo, had just opened their new version of eco-chic glamping and restaurant right in the Sian-Ka'an biosphere reserve in Tulum.

The reserve is protected from any large developments, taking care of its nature and all species that inhabit it so my friends went through a very long process of obtaining the proper permits to build a place that wouldn't affect the biosphere and still allow guests to experience the reserve, in a sustainable and respectful way, taking care of nature and providing jobs for the locals.

Driving through Tulum beach road you'll get to the entrance to the Sian Ka'n reserve with a big stoned-arch and drive about a mile after that to find Libelula Glamping (libelula translates to dragonfly in Spanish). You won't think there's anything behind the palm-leaves-covered gate, with a surprise that as soon as they open you'll see a minimal, small but chic-decorated front desk, simple, humble and feels like you have arrived home.

The minds behind this, Karla and Memo, have put a lot of thought and emphasis on the design, location, and construction of the huts that host nine guest rooms: one master suite, two upstairs beachfront suites, two on-the-beach cabanas, two downstairs beach dune rooms, and two jungle cabanas in the back. The kitchen is located in the center of the property where you can see inside and witness all the dishes that the chefs and cooks work on continuously throughout the day. I'm not a foodie but I know good food and this was amazing. A fusion of traditional Mexican dishes and Mayan ingredients, with locally sourced produce as well as a mix of new cuisine. Obviously there's fresh catch of the day from fish to octopus and absolutely delicious mezcal. If you're in the mood you can request of a mezcal tasting which helped me understand how to drink good mezcal.

The most powerful yet sense-like space in the property is the communal table. Right next to the chef's kitchen there's a wood table that sits at least fourteen people in a communal style, on top of some handmade palm tapetes (local mats) and a pergola above the table that filters the rays of the Mayan sun through bougambilleas and other local colorful plants. At this table you can eat any meal, work on your blog or any computer work, listen to music, mingle with the other guests, talk to the local staff and the owners. It's a magical spot where you get immersed in the culture, feeling like you're at some relative's home and get to meet all these interesting people from all over the world. At this table we had some of the best Mexican food that I've ever had like Mayan lechon (brick-oven roasted pork), octopus, fresh fish, handmade tortilla tacos, and even chocolate tamales, to die for.

Our room was the master Suite and it was master. Whenever you hear the word "glamping" you get it, it will be fancy camping, but Libelula is more than that. The room had locally-sourced hardwood floors with really high ceilings covered with authentic local palm-weaved roof. Linens and furniture are on point by being clean, modern but nothing minimalist or cold, they still embrace the design vibe that prevails throughout Tulum, sophisticated and understated. Very comfortable king size bed with excellent quality linens. So with all these amenities you feel like you're in a nice boutique hotel, and this is the best way that I can describe Libelula, as a trending boutique hotel in the Sian Ka'n biosphere reserve.

Obviously the best is the beach and the Caribbean sea, only a few steps away from the rooms located right on the beach. Once you step outside in the water you look back and notice that there are no neighbors, no other hotels, only the small homes of Mexican visitors that have been there for decades, understated and simple, nothing big or elaborate. Simple wooden platforms to host some beach goers and campers that you see in between the jungle and palm trees. The view is flat, nothing comes up above the jungle so it makes you feel like you're on your own deserted island.

Libelula also has the advantage that even though is secluded and quiet, you can take a walk on the beach and get to the other Tulum hotels in fifteen minutes, all the big names that I have mentioned before with good restaurants, bars and beach parties that you can hear in the distance at night. I'm saying this so you're not discouraged that you'll be isolated from everyone, you can be as isolated as you want to be, and having the option to interact with more people only about a mile away.

So many big hotel names are in the process of coming to Tulum and opening more boutique hotels, I couldn't believe how crowded it was there during our stay, the main road on the beach was backed up with traffic, yes traffic in Tulum. So being away from it all at Libelula was paradise, a slice of paradise indeed. With all these developments happening in Tulum I'm so glad that Libelula is now open and greeting visitors looking to experience the authentic vibe of Tulum, quiet, connected with nature and a perfect space to absorb the Mayan energy and reconnect with yourself. The energy of this place keeps making me go back I think it will continue for the rest of my life.

For more information on Libelula Glamping go to Karla and Memo will make you feel at home. They have truly made this place a magical slice of paradise.

Owners above, Karla and Memo. Best friends in Tulum.

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