On our first trip to Tulum, we picked up a hitchhiker on the road from town. She was from Spain and had been living in Tulum pueblo for a few months. We compared travel notes and after a few minutes she asked, "Have you seen the sunset from Cesiak?"
Cesiak. The word hung in the air. So lovely. We hadn't heard of it. "What's Cesiak?"
"It's in the reserve. It's magical," the hitchhiker said.
A few days later, we pulled ourselves away from the beach with an hour of daylight to spare and hopped in our rental car, our hair and faces still sticky from the sea. We drove to end of Tulum's beach road to the stone archway that marks the entrance to the Sian Ka'an reserve. "She said to go through the arches, right?" We eyed the narrow dirt road and thick jungle ahead of us. To our right, the sun was getting lower in the sky.
We moved forward, though the road ahead was bumpy and super muddy. It was slow going. The light was fading. Then, just as we were about to give up, we saw a weathered sign partly obscured by palms. Cesiak.
We parked and sprinted up the forested path. A tall, white building, like something out of Santorini, loomed above us. We bounded up the stairs to at a time, making it to the roof just as the sun was about to hit the horizon. Ahead of us was the thin Punta Allen peninsula, and to the left, the vast Caribbean. To the right, swallows flitted over the surface a deep blue lagoon. Beyond that, just wild skies and jungle stretching out as far as the eye could see. It was windy and quiet. The sun disappeared, and the sky glowed orange. Below us, the trees lit up with the twinkling lights of a million fireflies.
We got back into our car and headed back to Tulum. We turned the headlights off, watching the fireflies as the zoomed past our windshield in the dark.