I was so excited when Laura Shippey, design director for girls at Crewcuts, suggested to report on her family getaway to the Yucatan for BozAround. Not only have I not covered this part of the world, but I am also a HUGE fan of Crewcuts, a brand you would only know if you have spent time in the USA. That’s about to change..yeahh! So in case you are not familiar with it: Crewcuts is the kids line of American superstar brand J.Crew, an excellent mix of quality, long-lasting styles with a good dose of hipness and great pricing. Something very rare for a large established brand. And they do it season after season, with many exciting brand collaborations too (remember this old post about mini Steve McQueen?).
Tell us about your family:
We are an English family living in Brooklyn, New York since 2007 when I scooped a job with J. Crew designing their Crewcuts line. My name is Laura, my husband, Simon is a musician and our son Noah is 8 and is a Lego enthusiast, bookworm and aspiring rock star! As for Crewcuts, it is probably best described as classics with a modern and playful twist. The focus is on quality and colour with a simple sophistication that aims to appeal to the kids as well as their parents!
What is special about The Yucatan Peninsula:
It holds an incredible mixture of both ecological and archeological richness. The Caribbean coast has pristine white sand beaches and a wonderfully laid back atmosphere. For us, it was the perfect combination of relaxation and a sense of discovery and adventure. It’s less than 2 hours south of Cancun, a not-so-exciting place but a large airport with many international connections.
Your suggested itinerary:
We spent 5 days at the beach area of Tulum, where the Caribbean sea is usually very calm and safe for kids to play in. We were all very happy just to chill on the beach, play in the sea and generally unwind for the first couple of days.
And at the end of a beach day…
From Tulum we took a day trip to the beautiful Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a nature reserve that covers over 1.3 million acres.
We arranged our tour with Mexico Kan Tours, and our guide Miguel was excellent; incredibly knowledgeable about the wildlife in the biosphere as well as the anthropological history. The trip included a wonderful float down a shallow, crystal clear channel through the grassy coastal wetlands on a life vest, so peaceful!
And on the 3rd day we hired bikes and cycled to a small cenote along the Tulum road. Cenotes are naturally formed sinkholes in the pourous limestone shelf that makes up the Yucatan Peninsula. We splashed about and snorkled admiring the beautiful fish resting there.
From Tulum we hired a car and headed off to Merida, the largest city in the region with beautiful colonial architecture where the houses are painted fresh colours every 3 months. We stopped by the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza on our way. While undoubtedly awe – inspiring, this site is slightly marred by the huge amount of day-trippers from Cancun, and the resulting fact that you can no longer climb any of the structures.
This is Muyil:
The following day we drove through many beautiful villages with fruit stalls selling fresh mangos, coconuts and papaya towards the gulf coast and town of Celestun in the hope of seeing Flamingos. After a morning splashing on the beach we took a fascinating boat trip through the mangroves and lagoons, seeing spectacular herons, king fishers and huge termite nests but sadly no flamingos!
On our final day we went to the most incredible Mayan ruins called Ek Balam near the town of Valladolid. These ruins are fairly recently discovered and amazingly well preserved. There are some incredible life size carvings of warriors with huge wings on their backs. Noah loved climbing the very steep steps to the top of the palace complex from which we got a fantastic view over the surrounding jungle.
We had many wonderful meals in Tulum!
Tierras Del Sol is an Argentinian restaurant with no menu but 7 small appetizers brought one after the other and your choice of grilled meat for the main course. We went twice because we loved it so much, one evening choosing the fish and the other the steak. I will never forget the accompanying potatoes with caramelised garlic!
As featured on The Selby, Hartwood was set up recently by Brooklyn chefs Eric Verner and Mya Henry. The food is organic and comes from the farmers market in Valladolid. Noah particularly enjoyed the coconut cake. There’s a feast of photos on the Selby website.
For a more casual meal we ate often at Las Ranitas which is also a family friendly hotel.
For ice cream Posada Margherita further up the beach is pretty special.
We loved our cabana at La Via Latkea, which literally means the Milky Way in Spanish. It was at the quiet end of the beach, had comfortable beds and a clean bathroom with hammocks outside to read our books and take our siestas in!
Merida is famed for its hats and hammocks and there are many shops selling all kinds of traditional artifacts. Noah was very happy to find a shark tooth necklace at the beach in Celestun.
A few words of advise:
My first recommendation is to take advantage of the incredibly knowledgable guides at both the nature reserves and the archeological sites. Their expertise makes the experience of exploring so much richer. Secondly don’t drink the water and avoid ice in your drinks.
Crewcuts is available online with shipping currently within the U.S, Canada and Japan and to the UK starting this Autumn. See the website for store locations across the U.S.
New York Flagship stores:
Tribeca: 50 Hudson NY10013 – Madison: 1190 Madison Avenue NY10128 – Soho: 99 Prince street NY10012 – 5th Avenue: 91 5TH Ave NY10003