A Tulum Love Affair: Jungle Keva Tulum May Be The Place Where Your New Life Begins
Alongside the glam x spiritual image of Tulum, promoted by the hoardes of instagram influencers, there is a community that still resonates with Tulum’s real vibe. Hidden into the lush landscapes of the jungle, this local community adopted open minded Westerners, who managed to quickly blend their fast paced DNA within the pure mindfulness that Tulum has been unconditionally offering since the dawn of time.
One of these persons who brought these values to Tulum is Kendall Inman, a successful business woman and entrepeneur who managed to achieve the most in a career-driven world like the U.S. Yet, it is all about balance in life, and Kendal came across the laid back and present vibe of the Yucatan Peninsula, a place she fell in love right from the start. This happenned 25 years ago, on one of her trips to the Mayan Riviera. Fast forward in 2018, when we found Jungle Keva, a 5 lodges mini complex nested inside the jungle, that can accomodate up to 19 guests. Maybe it’s the tasty breakfast, maybe it is the yoga classes guided by Kendall herself, maybe it is the jungle mist that surrounds you in every given morning, the thing is that Jungle Keva placed itself in top 10% accomodations (as rated by Trip Advisor) in just 8 weeeks from the official opening.
So, it was about time to find out the Jungle Keva Tulum story, unraveled by the soul that has imagined all this. We sat down for a insightful talk with Kendall and talked about Tulum, the jungle, the humans and their cultural diversity that each of them bring to this holy land we call Tulum.
Essential Tulum: How was your life before the Tulum experience?
Kendall: In my twenty some years of experience in stressful workforce conditions, operating as a sales executive in the fashion industry and then a business owner in Dallas, nothing could have fully equipped me for what it took to bring this Jungle Keva vision to life. I understand that with each new era of life comes unfamiliarity and adjustment and I am wise enough to know now to embrace the good, along with the bad. I would say, looking back, my life in the United States rolled at a pace I was geared for. My successes in the business world and in motherhood, while being accompanied by their own unique challenges, came almost naturally. When I needed to recharge, I traveled, and Tulum became my favorite escape. Around 1999, I finished building a vacation home in Akumal, but spent a lot of time in Tulum. Living on an off in the Riviera Maya for twenty-five years, (Playa del Carmen most recently for the past decade) prepared me somewhat for the many wonderful and challenging intricacies of life in Mexico. My Tulum experience has required the biggest adjustment of my life, but after motherhood, has been the most rewarding.
Essential Tulum: Do you remember your first contact with Tulum?
Kendall: About 25 years ago, around 1994, I had heard about the Mayan ruins and had a longing desire to visit them. I was staying in at a hotel in Cancun and rented a Volkswagen Beetle with my boyfriend at the time. It seemed to take a full day to get to Tulum from Cancun, on the narrow two-lane road. When we arrived to this impressive, sacred ground with its structures perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, I peered down to the beach and was in love at first site. It was very hot that day. We hiked down the cliff and found nothing on the beach but a few huts with hammocks that you could rent for the night. There were modest little restaurants with plastic chairs. Together we sat with our feet in the sand and ordered a lobster dinner for around 5 or 6 dollars. It was so good, I ordered a second plate. There was no one there, so we were just able to take this magical place in to ourselves. As I walked down the beach, I was in awe of the turquoise-coloured water. It was the most beautiful beach I had ever come across and was in love with Tulum from that moment on.
Essential Tulum: Why is Tulum like a magnet for people who are usually on a spiritual journey?
Kendall: It’s difficult to answer or put that into words for people to understand. I do know that there is a tangible vibration, a truly magnetic energy, which pulled me towards Tulum 25 years, until I finally moved here. I remember going to the beach and falling asleep. I’ve always been a pretty intense individual, so to be able to find a place where I could relax and be at such ease, was divine. After having the opportunity to explore the region’s cenotes, the jungles and local lagoons, I definitely felt a connection to nature that is quite rare. We are incredibly fortunate to have the ocean and the jungle here to merge with and feed off that rejuvenating force of nature. Also, people from all over the world unite here, that is a big draw. There is a delightful diversity and people are very accepting of those from different nationalities. I host these amazing community dinners at Jungle Keva and dining together at the table, are a variety of guests with differing nationalities on any given night. A beautiful sense of connection develops as everyone sits around the table and tells their stories. We always tend to find a common ground in the end, as we discuss our love affair with Tulum. There is a definite vortex here, a realm of spiritual journey for those willing to go through the fire, ready for transformation. Life here, in all of its beauty, will also push you to your limits. It is not a place for the idle man. You must be willing to get up and put in the work in order to reap the rewards Tulum offers.
Essential Tulum: How did you come up with the idea of opening a place such as Jungle Keva?
Kendall: I can reflect back to every single thing that happened to get to this stage of my life. I remember conversations with friends in Dallas, encouraging me by telling me that I needed to create a special place in the land I loved, doing what I was born to do. People who know me well always remarked about how hospitable I was and I truly did love entertaining, making people feel comfortable and inspired to be free to be themselves. When I started doing yoga retreats, bringing groups to the Riviera Maya, word got out that I was somewhat of a local expert. So people would constantly contact me to ask me for suggestions about the best things to see and do in the region. Eventually, a friend mentioned an affordable plot of land in the area. I became very excited about having my own venue to host retreats, as well as a hub to bring people together for positive, life-changing events and fellowship. After purchasing the land and speaking with my mother who helped me come up with the Jungle Keva name, this extraordinary vision was born. As the months and the development progressed, I became so motivated and excited to be creating a legacy of giving back, leaving the world with something special. My space would bring community together and bring individuals together, providing a platform to share their gifts with the world. What better place to do than in this tropical paradise that had stolen my heart so many years ago?
Essential Tulum: Describe Jungle Keva in 5 words.
Kendall: The name was inspired by Kevala, which in Hindi means Peaceful, pure and simple.
Essential Tulum: What to expect as a guest at Jungle Keva?
Guests can expect a warm welcome from a team of grateful hosts. The lodges are well appointed and the property offers the perfect amount of amenities, while keeping things simplified. Unique touches such as purified, fresh rainwater and delicious home-made breakfasts made with a lot of love and intention, keep guests well nourished. Each mattress and linen used at Jungle Keva underwent weeks of personal testing and was carefully selected to ensure a great night’s sleep. There is an exquisite yoga studio overlooking the verdant landscape, outdoor showers, an open-air gourmet kitchen and dining room, as well as a stunning, infinity pool. This sanctuary is an escape to the jungle. Guests are surrounded by lush gardens and centuries-old native trees, which dispel the notion of new construction. Instead, the each inventive design element, which is immaculately laced within the natural environment, give the impression that this luxurious jungle haven simply claimed the spot that it was naturally meant to thrive in. It is a fresh experience intended to reduce the intensity of everyday life through thoughtful, intentional yoga classes, healthful foods and exceptional local encounters. Jungle Keva is about helping guests foster a connection to nature, while supporting and nurturing each person on all physical and emotional levels.
Essential Tulum: A breakfast at Jungle Keva you’d eat on countless mornings.
Kendall: I am all about great food! I will not shove something into my mouth just because it is healthy, it has to taste amazing as well. One of my favorite dishes is the Avocado Toast. The eggs are poached to perfection, garnished with fresh fennel, and served on an artisanal Italian bread. On the side is a salad robust with flavours, incorporating nuts and dates. I also love my Sweet Toast recipe, which was inspired by a breakfast I used to make for my friend, recognized yoga teacher Rod Stryker.
Essential Tulum: Your favourite place in Tulum to watch the sunrise.
Kendall: I love to sit on the beach at the south end of beach road in Tulum’s hotel zone, close to the entrance of Sian Ka’an biosphere.
The place that encompasses the true local spirit of Tulum, away from the commercial image and the ordinary tourist eye.
I may be a bit biased, but Jungle Keva Tulum is just that. This place captures the true essence of Tulum. It was built by local Mayan craftsman, using regional woods, natural stones and chakuum resin. We carved out a little piece of the jungle and built spacious luxury lodges with palapa roofs, yet exuding simple elegance. Additionally, beautiful tropical plants surround the lodges, further reflecting a peaceful, low intensity vibe. Jungle Keva loves to host events, but we are not about raves. Guests come here to relax, slow down and be in tune with themselves and nature.
Essential Tulum: Do you think you need a local guy to discover the essence of Tulum?
Kendall: Having a local guy can be advantageous because the best information comes from locals. My most memorable excursions and places that I’ve discovered have come from recommendations from locals who I’ve met over the years. You can certainly explore the area on your own, but it definitely requires that you do a bit of research (with locals) to get the most out of your Tulum experience.
Essential Tulum: The thing you love most about Tulum.
Kendall: The diversity, a conglomeration of so many different ethnicities from around the world. The local Mayan culture – visiting nearby towns and getting the chance to meet some of the ancestors of the people who first inhabited the area. We can learn so much about community and respect of the environment from this beautiful culture.
Essential Tulum: The thing you hate the most.
Kendall: The disrespect of developers and some government officials towards the environment saddens me. People are caught up in this frenetic, crazy development has caused an unfortunate disregard for nature and the natural cycle of life that should be able to persevere and exist in harmony with the residents and visitors that come to the area. I know there are developers and architects that place a lot of care on working with nature, because I worked with one who protects the environment. Each morning, my team and I go out into the neighbourhood with trash bags and collect garbage left by work crews because we love our neighbourhood and want to help it not only survive, but thrive. When you are carving a haven in the jungle, it is impossible to avoid at least minimal destruction of the natural habitat. However, there are systems you can use that do not pollute and little sustainable steps have a big effect. I am vigilant about working with government agencies regarding surrounding developments, to make sure builders adhere to the laws in order to preserve peace and nature as much as possible. It is not just the resident humans that deserve respect, it’s nature in general that require a sense of tranquility and connection to the peace of nature to thrive. I am disappointed when I see complete disregard by city officials and developers for the local people that live here and the eventual state of the planet.
Essential Tulum: What’s planned for Jungle Keva in 2019?
Kendall: We officially opened 2 months ago and sit in 14th spot out of 207 or so on TripAdvisor’s list of best boutique hotels in Tulum. That’s pretty cool to be in the top 10 percent in Tulum, since it has not been an easy feat. But it is so satisfying to know guests are experiencing everything that I envisioned for this place. I would like to keep that trajectury and continue to expose as many people to Jungle Keva as possible through group events, retreats, the yoga classes or just a relaxing weekend getaway for locals. We are excited to be accepting bookings for boutique weddings, anniversary and milestone birthday celebrations. I don’t think there is anything like what we offer in Tulum. For dinner parties with 15 plus guests, we offer the ideal venue, a memorable, elegant, dining experience tucked in the jungle. Everything was built on a less is more concept. We don’t want to be a giant in the Tulum hotel industry, we want to stand out as a totally customized, unique travel experience that people will be touched by. We strive to create a trip, on which every detail will be remembered by travelers, one of their best trips ever. We want to stand out as an intimate, comfortable, enriching space. Jungle Keva is a place for community and fellowship, which nurtures and develops elevating and positive relationships between tourists, locals and local businesses.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Essential Tulum: Your favourite personal mantra.
Kendall: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, a Sanskrit mantra meaning “May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts and actions of my own being contribute to the happiness and freedom for all.”