30th birthdays are always a celebration, and this past weekend, I was able to embark on a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico with a group of girlfriends to celebrate one of my college roommates 30th birthday. Being that we live all over the US, it’s always a rare treat to be in the same city for multiple days. And while I have been to Cozumel on a Carnival cruise, this was my first inland trip to Mexico.
After consulting with my travel agent about destinations and resorts in Mexico, she suggested the fairly new and renovated El Dorado Seaside Suites, an adult only, all-inclusive resort near Tulum. From the private infinity pools, modern decor, expansive bathrooms in each suite to the swing bars and fancy restaurants, and 24 hours room service with bomb ass quesadillas, this resort was one of the better all-inclusives of which I have stayed. In every building, guests were greeted with champagne, and the resort itself was just the right size for walking, if you didn’t want to wait on the shuttle. The beach near our resort is still under construction, as much of this resort was built on coral reef (great for snorkeling, not so fun for distance swimming), however, the finished beach had a great bar and impeccable service that kept beach patrons with a fresh drink in their hands, even though I was drinking Mexican Cokes like water. We were also connected to a nude beach, but due to time constraints, we didn’t make it over to that side. Not saying I’m a nudist, but I am saying I might have went and took a little peeky peek. And I can’t help but to mention the way that we walked into almost every club on the resort and took over the DJ booth and the dance floor.
Similar to my planning for any trip, I set up a board on Pinterest and mapped out the must-see/must-do things in and near Riviera Maya. Usually, I create a list and if it is too lengthy, I consult the locals on arrival to help narrow it down. The list for this trip was fairly short though, as there were only 2 main attractions that kept popping up, Chichen Itza and Xcaret. So, I shot my suggestions over to our group message, we voted, and the majority of the group decided to also purchase tickets to these attractions. After price matching online and checking the prices at the resort, we were able to snag a great package that included both and transportation for a fairly low price on Experiencias Xcaret.
Being that I graduated with a Bachelors in History and its on my bucket list to see the 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza was a must see, even though there was much group debate about going to Tulum instead. However, after reading the reviews and debating life experience, we chose Chichen. I was leery of the trip, due to reviews from my brother about the long drive, however, we all packed good books and a couple of snacks and set out on our 12-hour excursion. I’m convinced that I have a case of car narcolypse, so true to my fashion, I slept most of the way to Chichen Itza.
I’ve always had a sick fascination with gory historic events and unexplained phenomenons, and the visit to Chichen Itza combined components of both. As the brutal sun took its time trying to convince us to strip out of our clothes and try our luck in the Sacred Cenote, we embarked on a tour of one of the most popular Mayan cities of all times. From viewing Chichen Itza, and learning that it was actually a temple and calendar used to keep track of the days and seasons, viewing the sacrificial statues, the Wall of Skulls, their sports colosseum where participants fought to their deaths, literally and figuratively, to the Sacred Cenote, an underground river where humans dead and alive were sacrificed to the Mayan water God, Chaac. For 3000 years, a civilization thrived, only to be reduced to myth and speculation about their decline.
As the members of our college crew enter their 30s, I realize that it won’t be too long before our girls’ trips become family trips. I’m cherishing each and every one of these moments, even though the family additions will be welcomed additions.
Restaurant Highlight- Yo Amo Tacos
Let me first say, I might be the only Texan alive that doesn’t really like Mexican food, unless Taco Bell counts. But I have started to dabble in rice and beans and love tacos. Yo Amo Tacos offered a large selection of tacos and authentic Mexican cuisine, and not one of our crew of 6 had any complaints. Between the lively patrons and savory tacos, Yo Amo is a must visit the next time you’re near Playa Del Carmen.
With Love and Sparkles,
P.S. If you would like help planning your next vacation, click here.