Yes I am back to the ‘Hola’ greeting as my recent adventures had me back in a Spanish-speaking nation. As I previously mentioned, I headed to Mexico for a family visit and a wedding (the two were unrelated). Therefore, I stayed 3 days in Cancun, and 4 days in the Mayan Riviera. Due to the overwhelming differences between the two, I will be creating two separate posts. So let us begin with a review of Cancun…
Upon arriving at the airport, I instantly felt a giant heatwave hit my face. It felt like I was taking slow, long strides in the Saharan dessert, accompanied by a stunning camel (okay maybe it wasn’t so extreme). I was travelling in a group of 10 people so we had previously arranged for my uncle, that lives in Mexico, to pick us up. Driving through the Hotel Zone brought back so many flashbacks from 4 years ago; however, it all looked the same with the addition of one or two or 10 more hotels…but who’s counting?
We rolled up to the Riu Palace, which is an acclaimed, all-inclusive, 5-star resort. The Riu brand has 3 hotels just in Cancun and multiple other hotels around Mexico. It was super big but very modern and simple at the same time. It wasn’t like a very naturesque, jungle-style, resort (stay tuned for post #2), but rather sleek and sophisticated. We were greeted with a lovely lady serving us virgin pineapple drinks. I know what you’re thinking, why start the experience with a virgin…but good things come to those that wait and trust me my family took full advantage of the booze shortly after.
After immediately hitting the buffet, we ran up to our purple and pink rooms that were fully equipped with a bathtub and every type of liquor you can imagine hanging upside down with a fountain attached…trouble…that’s all I have to say. Can we please just take a moment to really appreciate the view? From our balcony we had clear sight of all 4 pools and the turquoise waters filling in the ocean.
After waiting for the mothers to wear ridiculous matchy matchy outfits from head to toe, we headed out for an evening swim. The pool water, as well as the beach water, was sizzling hot. I was especially excited for the cabanas and the hammocks. If only we had such awesome chill spots in Toronto… Imagine after school coming home stressed out and treating yourself to a hammock ride beach-side. Besides swimming and frolicking around, I also ran into multiple Iguanas/lizards/ mysterious reptiles that kept diving into random holes in the rocks when you got too close…thank goodness because i was stupid enough to get too close.
That night ended with a simple, yet very wise decision, to go to the buffet and call it a night (following one or two more glasses of champagne of course). We were exhausted after all, and I really wanted to get some quality time in the room with the tv playing Spanish soap operas (my guilty pleasure).
The next day started off with…you guessed it…the buffet. We then headed out to one of my favorite outdoor malls, La Isla Cancun. It’s fully equipped with an aquarium and trampolines centered in the middle of the mall. I was especially excited to finally be able to visit one of my favorite stores ‘Pull and Bear’, which I have only tracked down in Mexico and Europe. Shopping time 🙂 Me and some of the kiddos also literally jumped on a boat, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but was actually really dumb considering how hard it was to get off when the boat started drifting! -_-
Next, we went back to Riu where we pranced around the pools again, played a competitive game of volleyball with some locals (my team won!), watched a belly-flop competition and made one more trip to the buffet…obvi.
During the evening we definitely did something a tad more exhilarating than watching Spanish soap operas. My uncle picked us up and drove us 1 hour away to Playa Del Carmen, which is a stunning city equipped with restaurants, shops, and hotels. We were two men down though due to the aftermath of too much excitement surrounding all inclusive drinks. In Playa Del Carmen we ate some Mexican food (fajitas in particular), and got bit by the first series of bugs we were going to encounter. My bug bite count by the end of the night was approximately 15…this may sound bad but wait till you read part 2. On the drive home pretty much everyone slept except for my uncle (the driver) and I, who cracked jokes for the whole 1 hour (very typical of us two troublemakers).
The next day was a big day! It was the Euro Cup 2012 Finals with my team Espana playing Italy. I was so beyond excited, but I was sad that I would have to watch the game sans my friends and fellow Spain fans. My family decided to go to one of the other Riu resorts in Cancun (you’re allowed to visit any Riu resort if you’re staying at one of them). With my flag in hand everywhere I went, I managed to remind all beach-side loungers what day it was. I watched the finals in a theatre with a projector, which wasn’t too bad. There were probably 30 people there, some Spain fans, some Italy fans. Not surprisingly, Spain won 4-0, but celebrations were pretty dull around the hotel minus my jumping and momentary yelling. My sister also made me a sugary Spain-inspired daiquiri!
I finished off my final night in Cancun sipping on some wine and taking some stunning nighttime shots of the resort that I can’t wait for y’all to see. Oh and of course there was one more trip made to the buffet…
The next morning, we made one last and final visit to the buffet, and waited for my uncle’s friend to come pick us up. The ride to Mayan Riviera is about 2 hours long. Unfortunately, as soon as we set off (aka 10 minutes later), the car decided to break down. So we had to make a detour to my uncle’s house and wait there for him to come home from work with another car. What we thought was going to be a 30 minute set-back, turned out to be 4 hours of bonding time with my cousins. They’ve grown up so much. One thing that my older cousin (13 years old) and I have always had in common is our love for tae kwon do. Back in 2008, he was still a Green belt learning the basic kicks. Since then, he has gone on to become the Junior champion of all of Mexico with more than a dozen medals to prove it. I couldn’t be prouder! I also took this time to get some inside gossip on how he’s been doing with the ladies…hey don’t judge me I am a gossip queen after all…
Eventually, my uncle showed up and we were off on our way. I wasn’t too sad to be leaving my family in Cancun because they were going to join us at the wedding in Mayan Riviera later in the week. We were so excited to meet up with about 50 others in Mayan Riviera! Little did we know what Mayan Riviera had in store for us…Here’s a sneak peek.
Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.
xx Neda xx