In April I was off once again to a hot destination, this time to Mexico, with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday.
We stayed at the very grand Barcélo Maya Beach Resort, an all-inclusive, just an hour south of Cancun.
Our rooms were lovely, and the hotels (yes, hotels plural, there were 5 hotels on the resort property!) were huge! The grounds, numerous pools and white sandy beaches were well kept, clean, and superb!
We lounged in either the pools or ocean all day, slathering on sunscreen...no avail, since most of us get a little red or pink after a day or two.
We snorkeled with tropical fish and sea turtles, we drove ATVs on the beach and through some jungle trails, we swam in one small and dark and one big and lit up freshwater cenote caves.
We roamed the ruins of Tulum in stifling, almost-passing-out heat and tried to cool down with piña colodas under giant fans at the evening shows back at the resort.
From buffet meals to fancy restaurants to the pool-side grills, we always found some yummy food for every meal.
I loved our week on the beach but I'm not sure if I need to venture back to Mexico again. However, if I did, an all-inclusive sure is an amazing way to go! Everything you might need is taken care of and this resort in particular, had a lot to offer!
|The front of one of the hotels, over looking the pools and ocean.|
|My lovely room. We even had a mini fridge stocked with cold drinks that would be replaced daily.|
|The resort had many wonderful and tranquil water features including a few of these sitting areas that feature furniture that lights up at night. We sat out in these mini seating islands a few different evenings.|
|Pools, shady palm trees or pergolas, hammocks, lounge chairs...sounds like a perfect day in Mexico to me!|
Here are a few more snippets of my favourite parts of our days in Mexico:
- Standing in the clear and clean, chest-high, blue-tiles pools, with a cold drink in one hand, laughing and chatting with my friends.
- Sitting at the in-pool tiled bar seats to wait while our friendly resort bartender made up our cold slushy piña colodas. We met some interesting people in the pools, including some outspoken and funny Americans!
- Swinging in a hammock in the shade of the pergolas above, overlooking the white beach
- Exploring the buffets at breakfast or dinner and finding amazing displays of fresh fruits and veggies, some unrecognizable from the intricate carving into shapes or animals. Every meal had a different theme with a few different items, but we could always find some delicious to eat. The roasted chicken was always a favourite!
|Biggest shrimp I've ever seen!|
|Yes, yes, that indeed IS a breakfast DONUT BUFFET!|
- The bathwater-warm waves we enjoyed standing and jumping in! Our beach had a nice smooth sandy bottom with a few areas or rocks for good snorkeling.
- Snorkeling! I had never been snorkeling before and we spent hours in front of our resort getting up close and personal with the local tropical fish as well as going on a tour that included snorkeling with SEA TURTLES! I was super glad I'd brought my own mask and snorkel. It was used a lot!
|My new friend, Hector the sea turtle. He and I spent a nice quiet half hour together at Akumel beach.|
|If you know me, you know I love fish! I've had numerous aquariums over the years. |
Snorkeling with real tropical fish was amazing!
|Tulum ruins, excellent tour with our guide, but the HOTTEST day of our week!! |
(Notice the iguana in the foreground soaking up the sun. They were everywhere!)
- I also took advantage of the dolphin exhibit inside our resort to spend an hour actually swimming with a couple DOLPHINS! Dream come true! (Even if I don't agree with how small of an enclosure these beautiful animals are being kept.)
|I'm the one petting the dolphin as it swam by.|
- Gecko spotting in the evenings—on walls, floors, ceilings, pathways
- Iguanas everywhere! Yes, there were resident iguanas living on the resort, both small and large. Some came close to our table at lunch one day so we offered them a few small treats of banana or bread.
- At some point we wondered why we never saw any seagulls or sea birds on or near the beach. There wasn't any big bird mess on our lounge chairs or around the pool. Then one morning as we walked towards the beach we came across two bird handlers carrying two large trained hawks. We got a chance to pet them and ask some questions. They bring the hawks out to the beach a few times a day to fly over the resort and "claim" the airspace so no seagull or other messy birds make it their home.
- The Entertainment—we only caught a few of the evening shows, but the Michael Jackson tribute show was pretty good, with excellent dancers. The best show I enjoyed was the Fiesta Mexicana with live music, dancers and singers. We also noticed a lot of the show dancers would instruct Pool Zumba earlier in the day, which was also a riot!
- The exceptional homemade guacamole! We would wait for a fresh batch to be brought out and enjoy with some freshly made crispy tortilla chips.
- My lovely air-conditioned room with cool tile floors!
- The market—our resort had it's own outdoor market and indoor mall, but we also had a chance to shop a bit on our tour day at some local touristy shops. We all found a few little souvenirs and mementos to take home.
- The Japanese restaurant for my friend's birthday. Out of all the "fancy" dining bookings we went to the Japanese was our favourite. The chef entertained us, flipping bits of cooked broccoli into our mouths and bouncing a raw egg from spatula to spatula finally cracking it in one last swipe. The food was excellent (I had the red snapper) and was cooked on the grill right in front of us.
|Birthday surprise napkin bow!|
|(Notice a few sunburns?)|
- Our waiters and guides. We had a few funny characters who served us over the week. Some of the waiters were quiet but our favourites were friendly and loud and kept us supplies with cool drinks. Our friendly guides on the short ATV & Cenote tour gave us a cool look inside the deep dark underwater cave by swimming down with a flashlight to shine around the dark corners. (He also saved one of our cameras by diving quickly to get it when it was dropped into the cenote!)
|The small centoe - yes, that's a cave we climbed down into and swam through a tight crevasse into the dark pool beyond!|
|The larger cenote, very well-lit and HUGE! We wore flotation belts so we could just relax and snorkel around. On the way out our guide tossed fish food over us and hundreds of small black fish came up all around us to feed! Freaky but fun!|
- The best thing about being in Mexico with friends was...being with friends! We had such a great time, relaxing, chatting and laughing together! I'd love to do another trip with friends again someday.
|Our amazing 4 km beach! We walked the entire length one morning and saw the resort workers up early to groom and clean the beach.|
|Just one of the many pools around our resort!|
|After our ATV ride and small cenote swim. Amazing afternoon!|
|We went to the resort club one evening for another birthday and had a blast dancing and learning some fun line dances from the resort dance instructors.|