Our family discovered Tulum in 2010, when, having heard a quiet buzz about the place for several years, and seen an article here and there in National Geographic, we finally made the trek, speeding quickly past the Cancun city limits on our way to our hoped-for paradise. As soon as we drove into Tulum, in our rental car, even before we found the beautiful beach, we were in love. Tulum is small and still largely 'undiscovered,' but nonetheless (or maybe because of this) alive with culture and fresh possibility. It has a safe, friendly, but still edge-of-the-world paradise feel to it. As much as we love traveling to new places, we knew Tulum was a place we wanted to return to many times, and, as luck (opportunity met with preparedness!) would have it, circumstances fell into place around our desire. Our family- Erika, Kris, Tristan (15) and Chloe (10) now resides in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Virginia for most of the year, and escapes to Tulum when we need a refresher, or at times a reminder, of the breadth and depth of the ocean, and of history, culture, and the broad horizons of our world... or just some family time in the sun and surf!
Erika Johnson purchased this house in 2012
At home, in the mountains of Virginia, we live in Yurts- a ancient design of round, canvas 'tents,' of a sort, dating back to the Mongolian tribes, who would pack them on their yaks when they moved to stake out a new place in the desert. We love the worn wildness of the Appalachian mountains, and the simplicity of yurt living. For us, Casa Blanca, with it's polished concrete, un-curtained windows, and four floors of stark, artistic simplicity, represented an opposite form of the same things we liked- uniqueness, simple lines (or, in the case of our yurts, curves), and the clean, natural salt-washed beauty of the ocean and it's surroundings. Tulum itself reminds us of the small community of Floyd, Virginia, that we call home in the States- a mix of friendly locals and engaged visitors, drawn to a place for the quality of life it represents. At home, this 'quality of life' takes the shape of a community of organic farmers, music and art as integral aspects of daily life, and an effort to live intentionally. In Tulum, these qualities also exist, in a similar-but-different way; we love the 'international' feel of the Tulum community- the visitors that come from the States, Europe, other parts of Mexico and South America, Australia and many other parts of the globe. We love the emphasis on healthy living, but also the friendly groundedness of the pervasive laid back vibe.
When we brought our kids from Virginia, in the United States, to Tulum to show them the house, and get their blessing on the place, Chloe, 10 years old, ran straight upstairs in her polka dot dress and jumped from the second story balcony into the pool! Although she is something of a daredevil, it didn't make us nervous, as we'd done it repeatedly ourselves! The former house owner had built the balcony, and indeed planned the depth of the pool, with this sort of fun frivolity in mind. It's that 'lightness-of-being' that drew us to this particular property, with its view of palm leaves shimmering in the slight breeze from the stairway window, and the prehistoric, peeling, banana-loving iguana that invariably saunters across the concrete wall every morning, as we sip coffee by the pool, entertaining us as he makes short shift of the fruit that is nearly as big as he. Casa Blanca is pure tranquility. It's simple modernity, with the lovely twist of being located off a dirt road. It's quiet and private, while completely accessible to some of the best restaurants you can imagine. It's beach life, amidst a uniquely cultured community.