What I did in Tulum and What I Recommend: A Guide

May 22, 2019

My boyfriend Isaac is living in Mexico City until July interning at World Wildlife Fund so my family and I used the opportunity to go visit him for Easter break. During our trip, we stayed in Mexico City but we also decided to go explore the region of Quintana Roo as it has been one of my most sought after travel destinations for the past years. We didn’t have too much time so we decided to stay four nights and five days in Tulum. During the trip, we decided to stay in an Airbnb as we were a big group together and we found a beautiful villa in the town of Tulum. After having been in Tulum I would recommend staying rather by the beach than the town as most restaurants and stores are by the beachfront, even though we had a wonderful time in our house. When I visit a new place I love to do a lot of research on places to see, do and eat so I wanted to share with all of you some tips I gathered throughout my stay.

To do

The Beach
Tulum is famous for its beautiful beaches with white sands and turquoise waters. There is really no secret to where you should go to enjoy their beach but if you are not staying at a hotel by the beach as we weren’t, I highly recommend paying yourself in to stay at one of the amazing resorts. If you keep reading I’ll list the ones I recommend!

If people are not going to Tulum because of their beach, they are going to experience the Cenotes.  Cenotes are a natural pit or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes water underneath and it is amazing. The main reason I wanted to go to Tulum was to see the Cenotes and they didn’t disappoint. The Cenotes are beautiful to see but you are also able to swim in most of them, the water is refreshing and super clear. You have to pay to go into the Cenotes but it isn’t so much and with that money, they protect it as well. I recommend bringing your own towels and snorkelling gear as it can be quite expensive to rent!

We went swimming in two Cenotes that were:

Cenote Dos Ojos
My sister Margrét has a diving licence so she wanted to use the opportunity and explore a Cenote diving and Dos Ojos was one that got recommended a lot for that purpose so she went and loved it. The other members of the family like me still went to the Cenote of Dos Ojos to go snorkelling and take in the beauty and it was really nice. There are two different Cenotes at Dos Ojos and they were very different from each other so make sure you check both out if you go! The day we went it was pouring rain but it didn’t affect our time there so much as it is of course in a cave so that doesn’t need to stop you.

Grand Cenote
This Cenote was a bit smaller then the Dos Ojos but I enjoyed this one a bit more, even though they were both amazing. With the Grand Cenote you can swim between two different Cenotes through a cave, looking at all the bats so that was very special. There were also loads of turtles around there so that was fun to see!

Other Cenotes:
There are hundreds of Cenotes and lagoons all around Tulum so it would be impossible to go to them all but here are some more I saw got recommended a lot but I would think most of them are absolutely amazing.

Casa Cenote

Cenote Nicte Ha

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Choo-Ha

Cenotes Labnaha

Yal-Ku Lagoon

Muyil River Float / Sian Ka’an
Something we wanted to do but didn’t have time was the Muyil river float. Maybe it is a bit touristic but it’s supposed to be a very nice activity while in Tulum. There is a boat you take from the first lagoon and then through a narrow canal to the other lagoon. After you cross the second lagoon you will enter the area where you will start the Muyil river float. After your river float, you get to see ruins from the Mayans.

Mayan Tulum Ruins
I highly recommend going to the Mayan Ruins while you’re in Tulum. It was amazing to see the well-preserved ruins right on the beach overlooking the ocean. You could possibly spend a couple of hours there but we had a tight schedule for the day so we spend around 1 hour there which was enough for us and to see most of the site. When we went we didn’t know you can go swimming right in front of the Ruins in the ocean so if you would be interested in that then now you know!

Cobá Ruins
We didn’t get to see the Cobá Ruins but it is on the way to many of the Cenotes so maybe it’s a good idea to go to do some sightseeing before or after your swim as it is one of the most popular ruins in this region.

Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is one of The Seven Wonders of the World and we were around 2 hours away from it so we knew we had to take a road trip to see the Mayan built city. We decided to go there on our last day in Tulum and after we drove to Cancun as our flight back to Mexico City was from there. I recommend anyone to go see this site if you’re in the area!

There are a lot of beautiful stores at the beach strip of Tulum. The prices can be a bit overpriced but the selection is very unique and beautiful so don’t miss out taking a look at some of the stores there.

Beach Clubs & Hotels

Most of hotels and resorts in Tulum are quite small and with a sustainable and eco-conscious mindset. What my family and I were saying the whole trip is that everything goes so perfectly together, the style of the hotels, restaurants and shops give a very strong “Tulum” vibe that you will later recognise after spending time there. Most of the hotels in Tulum offer a deal to non-guests if they want to use the accommodation for the day that you can pay for when you get there. We looked at a couple of different ones and I wanted to stay in all of them so it’s not hard to find a place to enjoy the beautiful beach.

Casa Malca
For our day at the beach, we decided to spend the day at Casa Malca which is a previously owned villa from Pablo Escobar. It was very interesting to see how they renovated the housing, the style was a bit over the top but you wouldn’t expect anything else from a villa made for Pablo Escobar. When we went to Casa Malca the entrance was free and we would only have to pay for drinks and food but I had heard previously its more common to pay yourself entrance.

I’d heard a lot about Nomade and when I go again to Tulum it would be a dream to stay there or use the accommodation for a day at the beach. The style of Nomade feels very much of how you’ll imagine Tulum so at least go there for lunch, dinner or drinks as it is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen.

Be Tulum
Be Tulum Hotel are the same owners of Nomade Hotel and are right next to each other. The style and vibe of both places are very similar but I would say Be Tulum feels to be a bit more luxurious. We had drinks there on the beach and it was absolutely amazing, be sure to take a look when you go!

Papaya Playa Project
Papaya Playa is also a very popular hotel in Tulum but they are also great for using as a beach club.

Restaurant & Bars

There are so many amazing restaurants in Tulum that it’s difficult to decide where you want to eat. We went to as many as we possibly could fit into our short stay in Tulum but I’ll also mention other restaurants that I saw got recommended a lot. Tulum was very vegan-friendly and everything I ate was great, so I just wanted to mention that every restaurant I’ll mention will have vegan and gluten-free options as I know that often takes a bit of extra research to find!

The Real Coconut – Breakfast & Lunch
The Real Coconut is a restaurant overlooking the beach at The Sanara Hotel. The restaurant is perfect to go for breakfast or lunch as they offer great healthy meals that are all gluten-free.

Matcha Mama – Breakfast & Cafe
Matcha Mama is a small cafe that offers a range of smoothies, acai bowls, coffee and of course Matcha. A good place to go for a quick breakfast or between meals.

Raw Love – Breakfast & Lunch
Raw Love is the perfect place for a healthy breakfast or lunch as they offer a wide range of vegan raw food. The restaurant is tucked between trees on the beach for a relaxed atmosphere.

Charly’s Taqueria – Lunch & Dinner
One of the most casual options on my list as it is a taqueria which is always a bit more laid back. The good thing about this restaurant is that it’s completely vegan!

Habitas – Lunch & Dinner
Habitas is a hotel but has a very nice restaurant right on the beach with a very calm and trendy vibe to it.

Safari – Lunch & Dinner
Safari is a more casual restaurant as their whole idea is eating around a campfire but Mexican style. The menu is small and simple and a good place to have some quick tacos!

Gitano – Dinner
We went to Gitano for dinner and it was amazing. The food was Mexican inspired and we were all very happy with our meal. The vibe of the restaurant was very nice and they were playing live music!

Arca – Dinner
Eating at Arca was an experience, if I had to choose one restaurant out of my list to go to it is Arca. The taste of everything was amazing and they had loads of vegan options to choose from. The style and the atmosphere is very cool, a very “Tulum” restaurant. Arca is only open at night so its a perfect place to catch dinner!

Azulik Hotel – Dinner
If you have ever seen anyone go to Tulum you have most likely seen pictures of the amazing Azulik hotel. There are no words to describe it as it is very unique to anything I’ve ever seen. Azulik looks like a huge tree house where you get an amazing view of the forest, beach and the ocean. There are two upscale restaurants at Azulik, Kin Toh and Tseen Ja which are always fully booked so I recommend reserving in advance, my family and I went for drinks at the hotel so we were able to enjoy a little bit of what Azulik had to offer.

Mur Mur – Dinner
We didn’t get to go to Mur Mur but we walked past it a couple of times while walking around and it was always very busy and the atmosphere seemed very nice!

Casa Jaguar – Bar
We were going to eat at Casa Jaguar but we realised they had no vegan options except salads so we decided to go elsewhere. The restaurant seemed very nice though and we got especially recommended to go there for good cocktails and music.

Well, that concludes my guide for what to do, stay and eat in Tulum, Mexico. I hope you got some good tips for your trip there or if you hadn’t heard of this beautiful place before then I’m sure it’s on your list now!

Our trip to Uganda

Going to Uganda for the third time in seven years was another beautiful and memorable experience. My parents, sister and I went for the first time in 2011 as the year before my parents met Michael, the eldest son of a landowner near the town of Banda, Uganda, who told my parents all about his family’s land. Nichole who is Michael’s former wife came to Uganda for the first time in 2004 where she was warmly welcomed and inspired by the sense of community she experienced but also challenged to see the deep sense of poverty. Michael was committed into improving his village so Nichole and he decided together to put the welfare of children first and with the help of the local community, a primary school was built. After a couple of years, they saw the need for affordable health care services in the area. Mothers were dying giving birth, children and families were suffering from easily treatable diseases and in 2010 the Grace Family Health Centre was built.

After hearing the story behind Buiga Sunrise my parents knew they wanted to go and just 12 months later, my whole family went together for the first time to Africa. It was, of course, a shock for all of us how different it was from anything we had ever experienced before but in the best way possible. Everyone was so welcoming and open to show us their daily lives and struggles. One our first time there we wanted to explore and get a feeling for Uganda rather than having any sort of huge goal in mind to try and help the community. Saying that we still were able to get donations to harvest and plant around 500 different trees, mostly coffee and fruit trees that were to help benefit the community as they could use the products to sell and use for themselves. We also used the donations to build an extension to the health clinic and for health care supplies. We also brought loads of school supplies, shoes and clothes for the kids and their families. My mum was also asked to give a talk to some of the women living in Banda. When it was time for the talk we walked in to a classroom full of women and men and my mum started talking about herself being a woman being from Iceland, talking about the equality of living she experiences in her work and daily living, she discussed to them that there aren’t specific roles women and men do in Iceland as for example that my dad, her husband does the cooking in the family. The women cheered and many of the men were offended by this talk. We got many responses from the men that I didn’t agree on, some said they didn’t think it was right that the money they earn would go to their wife and children and wanted the wife to work and provide for himself and their children so he could use his own money on themselves, which really opened my eyes that not everyone thought the same as me and the people in my country. Cultures are different and I’m not saying the culture of Uganda is anyway wrong but being a woman from Europe I know my worth and I wouldn’t let anyone make me think anything else. We enjoyed every part of our first trip to Africa and went back to Iceland with a strong love for the Ugandan culture and excited to come again later.

Then in 2015 and we had gathered a big group of people to come to join us to experience Uganda as we did a couple of years prior. The whole trip was another exciting adventure and to be able to go through it again with so many more people was exhilarating. As a group, we were able to save a lot of donations that went into two extra classrooms in the Sunrise school, a playground for the kids, supplies for the health clinic and the school. It was so amazing to see how these little things made so many people really happy, the kids from the school had never seen a playground before and wanted to spend all their time playing. We were also able to build desks, shelves and chairs for the school and painted it all. We also donated around 500 kg worth of items for example shoes, clothes and toys. One person that was in our group was a filmmaker and had been filming our time in Uganda without really knowing at the time what would be done with the footage. In the past year, they have been working on making it into a documentary style movie and will be shown at the end of April. 

Fast forward again to earlier this year, there was another big group of us that were so excited to experience Uganda again, my family and I for the third time and others for the second or just their very first time. In both 2011 and 2015, we have had people of all ages, 5 years to 50 and everyone got something amazing out of the experience. This time we did the same thing as the past two times and tried to donate as much money to Buiga sunrise as possible. With the donations we were able to build a whole new maternity section to the health clinic as before the health clinic had to often share the same rooms with a sick patient and a woman giving birth, which can be extremely dangerous for the mother and the newborn baby and would not have any time to rest after the delivery and had to be sent home within a couple of hours. With our new clinic that got named the Aurora Birth Clinic, mothers will have a safe space to come to give birth, receive help and guidance throughout their pregnancies. Elfa one of the girls that were on the trip and only 15 years old raised and took from her own savings enough money to buy a motorcycle ambulance for the health clinic, which is highly beneficial as most people can’t afford to take a car to the clinic and are unable to walk or go on a normal motorcycle because of their illness or physical problems. We were also able to plant a maternity garden for expecting mothers that can walk around, help maintain or just sit and take in the beautiful flowers and plants which can all help them have a calmer and more relaxed birth. Through the donated items we all gathered for the trip we managed to make over 100 gift bags for new mothers. With clothes for their babies, toys and extra things they may find useful and the bags will be given to any new mother that gives birth in the Aurora clinic or is in need of clothes for their baby. Some other things we were also able to do was repaint the Grace Family health clinic, repaint the furniture for Sunrise primary school, build new desks for the students and teachers, give one pair of shoes to each kid at the school and a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep at school as if they would take it back home other members of their family would use it instead. We spent a lot of time with the students of Sunrise and the other kids of the community and seeing their perspective on going to school is inspirational, for a lot of the kids their life revolved around going to school and they understand that not all kids get the opportunity to attend school so they make a big effort to do well and get good grades. Many of the kids walk for a long time to get to school, for example, Michael a 7th-grade student at Sunrise walked for nearly two hours every day to get to school. Isaac and Pablo that were with me on the trip decided to put their money together and buy a bike for Michael so it would take much less time for him every day to go to school, often its just the little things that make the biggest difference. For the kids, they often don’t know if they can proceed in school the following year because of money reasons and often need to start working to help their families.

Another big issue in Uganda and other countries in Africa are social issues, mostly being issues at home. They can have a difficult home life as there isn’t as much respect for women and girls in their culture. Sadly it is very common that kids and women get abused and its most often always looked past it. Many young girls from the ages of 13 have kids and have no time for school as they need to provide for their babies. The reality is most often that men want to be with virgins and they leave them when they are pregnant. Nichole the co-founder of Buiga Sunrise always tries to support these women and girls as much as she can and she is starting a girl empowerment program within the Sunrise school. The program will start with trying to get the girls in supporting each other in different issues and controlling a stronger bond between them and hopefully in the future involve the boys of the school to understand the strong importance of equality.

There are so many important things that can be done when you go on a trip like this but what feels the most important is all the knowledge you gain from experiencing them. Every little thing you do matters and gaining inside on how other cultures live their lives is fascinating in every way. Buiga Sunrise is a community that wants to create a brighter future, educate people and mostly create positive change through strong community-led initiatives.

If you want to learn more about the Sunrise Centre you can keep up with them on http://www.buiga-sunrise.org/ or we have made an Icelandic Sunrise website https://www.buiga-sunrise-iceland.org/ to reach as many Icelanders as possible. 

All my film photos of our stay in Uganda can be found here and if you’re interested in purchasing items from the trip you can find it here



What I did in Mauritus and What I Recommend: A Guide

April 1, 2019

My life was in Mauritius was very different than my life in Europe. When I was there I mostly spent my time relaxing during the week as Isaac my boyfriend was working at Reef Conservation during the day. During the weekends was when we did more activities and explored the island. We were able to see a lot of the island during our 4 months stay, but of course, you can still see most of the island in a much shorter time. We were living in the beach town of Pereybere, which is in the North of Mauritius. It was absolutely beautiful and I was very happy living in such a short distance from the beach. I wanted to give some ideas if you were thinking of going to Mauritius, on what I enjoyed while staying there and what I recommend seeing and experiencing.

I would say it is very important to rent a car while you’re in Mauritius, the island is very small and you could easily see most of the island if you decide to drive yourself. Driving in Mauritius is very easy and anywhere you want to go to the island is very accessible. It’s hard to say where you should start your trip and where you want to stay on the island. I recommend staying in different areas while on your trip, it gives you a better feel for the island and there are many beautiful hotels and houses all around. I will divide the guide into four different areas of the island so you can choose or decide what to do first on your stay in beautiful Mauritius.

South Mauritius

Temple Ganga Talao
One of my favourite attractions in Mauritius is around the holy lake Ganga Talao and the surrounding area. The lake rests in the crater of an extinct volcano and beside it, you will find a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and other Gods including Hanuman, Lakshmi and others. The Ganga Talao area feels very serene and calm and its a must to walk around the area to take in all the beauty it holds. There are also two large statues before going into Ganga Talao which really take you by surprise. Also if you’re lucky you will be able to see some monkeys, so if you have any extra fruits with you they would love to have some.

Black River Gorges National Park
The Black River Gorges National Park is the largest protected forest of Mauritius. This beautiful area is ideal for those that are interested in doing some hiking while in Mauritius. There are numerous scenic hiking trails that you can find in the national park, just be careful of the sun and the heat so I recommend going in the morning or in the afternoon. If you are lucky during your walk you might see Mauritius’s rare plants, Java deer, wild boar, monkeys and birds.

Seven Coloured Earths

Chamarel is inside the national park and you pay to go inside, but it is worth it if you are going to be around this area already. In Chamarel you can see the Seven Coloured Earths, which are a geological formation and a natural phenomenon. It is also a popular tourist attraction of Mauritius so except not being the only ones there. The colours of the formation are beautiful and have evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals.

Waterfall Chamarel
While you’re there in Chamarel I recommend going to the waterfall and taking in the beautiful view of one of the best and most recognised waterfalls of Mauritius.

Le Morne
Le Morne is my favourite beach in Mauritius, maybe my favourite beach I’ve ever been to anywhere. You would be amazed by the soft and white sand, with vibrant turquoise waters and the mountain of Le Morne behind you. It’s one of the most surreal places I’ve ever been to. There are many resorts in this area but even if you aren’t staying at one of the hotels the public beach by Le Morne is just as beautiful and you are allowed to take a walk on the beach where the resorts are and I recommend having a drink or some lunch at one of the beautiful hotels.

Baie Du Cap Maconde
Between Le Morne and Baie du Cap village is where you will be able to see a stunning coastal view from up above on the Maconde View Point. The viewpoint is quite easily accessed, just need to climb a couple of stairs and then you’ll be able to admire the remarkable ocean, the nearby coastal village and the fishermen on the shore.

Bel Ombre
Isaac went snorkelling at the Bel Ombre beach and said it was the most amazing corals he had seen his whole time investigating the corals while in Mauritius. I went to the public beach of Bel Ombre which I don’t especially recommend but the resorts in this area are supposed to be very nice and the better beaches are mostly accessed by the hotels there. The ocean there is protected by the coral reef, but it’s still very close to open waters, so this area is very popular with kite surfers because of its strong wind and current.

West Mauritius


My family and I stayed in Tamarin for a couple of days over Christmas and enjoyed it very much. There were many activities to do around Tamarin and also it is close to the south of the island. The beach in Tamarin was not one of the best but you can swim with dolphins in the ocean that come around there in the morning to sleep so it’s a perfect time to go see dolphins in the wild if you are interested in that.

Flic en Flac
Flic en Flac is a very popular town with a very nice beach, the beach is very long and can get very crowded. The atmosphere is nice with a lot of Mauritian people coming and having picnics and playing together in the ocean. We only went to watch the sunset there and it was beautiful.

Port Louis
I don’t think it is a must to go to the capital which is Port Louis. It doesn’t have too much to offer, not many historical areas or shopping but if you want to go I recommend going to the local market and then walking around the harbour and to the Le Caudan Waterfront, which has many boutiques where you can find restaurants and souvenirs.

North Mauritius

Trou Aux Biches
Trou Aux Biches is a small town with a wonderful public beach. I think it is one of the nicest beaches in Mauritius and if you don’t have accommodation by the beach I would recommend checking out the beach club La Plage, which is a very nice place to go and spend the day soaking up the sun. It’s also a good idea to ask at the resorts if you can spend a day by the pool & beach as they often don’t cost too much money, I recommend the Beach Comber Resort in Trou Aux Biches for a day of good food and relaxation.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden
The botanical garden in Mauritius is a very nice activity if you want a break from the beach, which I find quite unlikely but I find it a must while visiting the northern region of Mauritius. You can walk around the garden by yourself for a tranquil experience but you are also able to hire a guide by the entrance which is a good way to know more about the plants and history of the garden. Don’t miss out seeing the giant waterlilies!

Grand Baie
While on my stay in Mauritius I lived in Pereybere which is only a couple minute drive from Grand Baie so I spent quite a lot of time in that area. Grand Baie is a beach town where it’s very to go have some lunch, dinner or out to a bar, the Banana club is very popular in Mauritius and seems to be the most popular place to go to for a drink or to see a live band. One of my favourite restaurants in Mauritius is called Eat With Fingers and is in Grand Baie. They offer amazing vegan food when you need a little break from the local food. The beach in Grand Baie is not my favourite but I do recommend going to La Cuvette public beach, it’s just a couple minutes walking from the beach in Grand Baie and much prettier. There is also a really nice boutique called Macumba at Sunset Boulevard that offers many handcrafted and locally made souvenirs, different from all the other markets around Mauritius. From Grand Baie, you can also book any sort of boat trips you would be interested in. There are a couple of small beautiful islands around the north coast so if you are interested in doing something a little bit different then this is it!

Pereybere & Cap Malheureux
There are many beautiful public beaches around the area of Grand Baie towards Pereybere and Cap Malheureux, which I recommend exploring for yourself. Also, there are many hotels and houses to rent around this area, which are in one of my favourite parts of the island. Cap Malheureux village is nothing particularly special but the red church by the beach is the reason why this town is so popular among tourists. The view is beautiful and its a nice place to come to have a picnic or take a little break from laying on the beach.

Grand Gaube & surrounding area
Grand Gaube and the surrounding areas are perfect for finding a calm and relaxed environment for deciding on your hotels or accommodation in general. This area does not have as many towns so there is a more relaxed environment for resorts. Paradise Cove and The Lux Hotel are very popular and nice hotels which are located in this area but I highly recommend thinking of renting a house while on your trip to Mauritius as there are many people accommodations all around the island.

East Mauritius 

Belle Mare
Belle Mare has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius, as it is a very long beach with white sand and turquoise waters. This area is also very popular for diving if that is something you are interested in. I forgot to mention before but diving in Mauritius is very accessible and can be organised yourself in any of the public beaches or coastal towns and of course in any of the hotels.

Grand Port District
This area of the island is one of my favourites as the landscape in this part is very unique and quite different to other areas in Mauritius. There are many beautiful mountains around such as The Lion mountain, offering many hiking trails and activities. I recommend just driving around the coast and taking in all the beauty and stopping by any of the hotels surrounding this area for some lunch or drinks.

Otentic Eco Tent Experience
Otentic is an eco tented glamping site in the small village of Deux Freres and staying there for a couple nights was one of the most memorable activities I did in Mauritius. Otentic offers free boat trips to the beautiful island of Ile aux Cerfs & Ilot Mangenie, which we did and it was incredible as you can just relax or there are many watersports to choose from. They also offer a kayaking trip to a waterfall nearby, while on the trip you are also very likely to spot some wildlife such as monkeys. The experience of going to Otentic Eco Tent was very special and I would recommend it to anyone going to Mauritius, it’s completely a must do!


Food in Mauritius 
The food in Mauritius is quite good as it has many influences and a mix of cultures which of course bring many different cuisines together. As I was renting an apartment during my stay in Mauritius we cooked almost all of our meals ourselves which was very easy as they have a lot of produce to offer from their land with many fruit and vegetable stands all around the island, they also have a wide selection of food in their grocery stores. I also recommend trying some of the food vendors all around Mauritius. Mine and Isaac’s favourite street food is called Roti and it’s some sort of nan bread with bean curry in the inside and it’s amazing, you have to try it while on your trip. Also from reading my list about Mauritius, I think you have gathered that there are many hotels & resorts on the island and they all have many restaurants to chose from so I recommend going to any of the nicer hotels and eating there for some of your meals.

Being in Mauritius for four months was a very positive experience for me as it allowed me to take time for myself and slow down the fast-paced lifestyle of bigger cities. Mauritian people are extremely friendly and most of them all speak very well English and French so it is very easy to get around and communicate with everyone. I hope you got some inspiration and tips if you are planning on going to the amazing island of Mauritius. It is hard to include everything in this post but this was my must do and see while on the island. 

And don’t forget to enjoy all the beautiful sunsets!

P.s. all my film photos of my stay in Mauritius can be found here.