Monday, March 3, 2014

Mexico Vacation

Ohhh Mexico.... we miss it already :) The weather was absolutely beautiful the whole week we were there. It was in the 80's every day, overcast some days and sunny and hot others. I loved it all! We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, the Bel Air Collection Resort and Spa, which was just south of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. The resort included a buffet-style restaurant, a sushi/martini bar, a pool bar, aaaaand a ZOO! There were crocodiles, lions, a tiger, pumas, apes, monkeys, leopards, tortoises, beautiful birds and more. Karson and Chloe would have loved it... but this vacation was just for Cris and me :)

We spent the first afternoon enjoying our resort. To our dismay we found out very quickly that the drinks were pretty bad... for the most part. Cris ordered a margarita that didn't have any lime flavor and had the aftertaste of a diet soda....what a bummer! Most of the fruity beverages, alcoholic or not, had the diet taste which I have always hated. I had envisioned this vacation as a week of sitting by the pool/beach drinking margaritas... which obviously was not going to be the case. Fortunately the food wasn't too bad (if you're not expecting 5 star meals), and you can't go wrong with cervezas :)
Thursday morning we got up and had breakfast, which was delicious. The main restaurant had a woman making omelets, and they were soooo yummy! We spent the rest of the day in Playa Del Carmen trying to fend off the aggressive vendors all over the streets. They were quite relentless... and if you didn't want what they were selling in their shops they tried talking you into buying drugs instead! It was a little bit overwhelming, but after making our way out of the market we were able to spend a few (minimally interrupted) minutes on the beach. Playa Del Carmen has such beautiful beaches with super fine white sand, and amazing blue-green water. It was quite the site... but we were all getting hungry so we didn't spend much time there. 

Friday was spent at Xplore.We swam through an underwater cave full of stalactites; drove amphibious vehicles through similar caves, over bridges and through the jungle; and we did "the highest zip line in Latin America," which zipped you all across the park, through water, over crocodiles, etc. The first zip line was scary, but after getting the feel for it we had a blast! We did lots of climbing to get to the tops of the towers, but it was definitely worth it! To end our day we paddled through the underwater cave in a kayak/canoe thing, then headed back to the resort. That night the resort's entertainer hosted a competitive game of movie trivia that Cris really enjoyed :)

Saturday was spent doing exactly what I wanted to do in Mexico... lounging by the pool. I love the heat! Cris and I made some new Canadian friends and hung out at the lobby bar. We played Bingo while we were there and I won, which seemed great...until I got my "prize." They gave me a shot of tequila, shook my head while I was drinking it, then made me spin in 2 circles, squat down, stand back up and say "Chaca chaca." After who knows how many tequila shots later and practicing Spanish with some guests from Mexico, we finally went to bed. 

Needless to say, Sunday was a day of rest and recovery... I felt awful and definitely paid for the fun I had the night before. I slept in, ate, took a nap, ate some more and didn't do much else. We spent a little bit of time at the pool, then just enjoyed each others company for the rest of the evening. Regardless of my hangover, I enjoyed the time spent with my husband :) 

Monday we drove out to Chichen Itza, one of the Mayan ruins. It was a neat experience. The downside was that they allowed vendors inside of the park and they were constantly haggling us, which really took away from the experience. On our way back from the ruins, we found this amazing little restaurant that served delicious food and yummy margaritas! Yay!!! I could have stayed there for the rest of the day, but we were still about two hours away from our resort. We decided to head into Tulum and watch some dancers at a street festival. We had a couple more margaritas (which were pretty terrible) and cervezas, then went back to the resort. 

Tuesday morning was the last chance we had to enjoy Mexico, so we had breakfast, lounged by the pool (Cris hung out at the pool bar), then went kayaking in a cenote at the resort. We were told there were manatees in there, but we didn't see them. 

When the time came we were reluctant to leave the nice weather, but we were starting to miss the kids and our comfy bed :) Overall, we enjoyed a much needed vacation and can't wait to do it again! Next time we will do things differently, but we had a pretty good first experience with Mexico.

This cute little lady was hand stitching kerchiefs, which we bought from her at Chichen Itza

Cenote at our resort

Pretty peacock

These monkeys were so sweet. They would come to the side of the cage and let you pet them, or they would hold onto your finger with their adorable baby-like hands. They were our favorite!

This guy was a ham... he obviously got lots of attention and enjoyed every second of it

Fox of some kind...??

Cute little tortugas :)

Five crocodiles were right off the side of the road to the restaurants

Iguanas were everywhere!

These parrots were right outside of our pretty! (but quite chatty early in the morning)
Entertainers...reenacting scenes from Titanic LOL!
Ready to go home... notice the nice family sticker on the back of the van we rented LOL

What i learned from this trip
  • Take bug spray... we got eaten alive by mosquitoes
  • Get an upstairs room when possible... our room was upstairs and we had no spiders, but our friends were on the ground level and they encountered 3 spiders that were not small
  • Bring shoes that you have already broken in and know that you can tolerate walking around in for a whole day
  • Headlamps would have been convenient. Our friends brought theirs and it was a great idea!
  • If you're staying at an all-inclusive resort you most likely will have to ask for extra alcohol in your drinks...
  • Have a basic idea of what types of activities you want to do. If the purpose of your vacation is to relax then don't plan on doing many activities. Everything you do off of the resort pretty much takes up a whole day.
  • Perks of all-inclusive: having most of your expenses paid for before you get there, not having to find places to eat, not carrying money everywhere you go, and onsite activities/entertainment.
  • Cons of our all-inclusive resort: crappy drinks; feeling "stuck" at the resort (which is fine if you just want to hang out at the pool/beach); some of the food wasn't that great but there was always something that was good enough; our resort had a crappy rocky beach... but you could walk about 100ft to a prettier beach, we just never got around to it 
  • Bring tank-tops... t-shirts are too hot. I honestly spent most of the trip in my swim suit and shorts. I planned on getting a swim suit cover, but it just never happened.
  • When bartering with the Mexicans they will try to rip you off, especially if you're paying with US dollars. Once you start walking away they usually cave and take whatever amount of money you will offer them (within reason)
  • We took beach towels, but really didn't need them because the resort had towels at the pool.  So if you need to free up some space when packing I would recommend leaving towels at home.
I'm sure there's more... but that's all I can think of for now :) 

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