Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 109

And trip recaps!!  Sorry for the hugeness of the pictures, but the one size was too small and the next was too large... no just right, sigh.

Ok, John and I stayed at the Crown Paradise Club Cancun from 12/11-12/15, in the Crown Club rooms.  We left early early early Saturday morning (our flight departed at 5:45 AM) so we were really tired/hungry by the time we got to Mexico.  The good news was that because we left so early, we had all day at the resort (we got to our room at just past 11 AM local time).  The place was stunning.  This was the view from our room:

And here's a little more of the resort.

The place was stunning.  We spent most of Saturday relaxing... sunning on the beach, swimming a little in the Caribbean, making tour arrangements.  We went to the resort's Mexican restaurant the first night, which was really, really good (no surprises).  They had a Mariachi band serenading the customers.

On Sunday we woke up around 6:45 because we didn't close our curtains, but there's nothing like sunlight to make you feel awake.  Sunday was also John's 25th birthday, so I gave him his gift... a Bulova watch.  He LOVES it.  And he really had no idea it was coming!  So after I gave him his gift we went to breakfast.  Like I mentioned earlier, we stayed in the Crown Club rooms, which were an upgraded adults only area.  This gave us access to a bar that served a really nice breakfast, and free internet :)

So we spent most of Sunday just hanging out at the pool bar (also adults only) drinking Miami Vices.  Yum.  We had reservations at the French restaurant on the resort that night, and they made him a birthday cake :)  The food was ok, but no real complaints.  Anyway, here's us looking cute on John's 25th birthday.

The other half of my birthday gift to John was an excursion while in Mexico.  We went to Xel-Ha and Tulum.  Xel-Ha is a really, really pretty natural aquarium.  We snorkeled for a little, but it was 20 C (about 68 F) and windy, so it felt pretty cold.  So we got lunch.  Xel-Ha had this AMAZING indigenous buffet and the best margaritas I've ever tasted.  And let me say, I'm not a margarita person, but I loved these.  After that, we went and hung out on the hammocks, then rode bicycles around the park for a bit.  One of my favorite parts was the floating bridge.  Fish just swim right up.  The guy in this picture is right next to a huge school of fish:

Yeah, all the dark stuff in front of him?  Fish.  Anyway, here's another stunning pic of the place:

So at 2:30 we left Xel-Ha to go to the ruins at Tulum.  This was a major port for the Mayans, as well as their astrological temple.  You can't go into the buildings anymore because people would vandalize them (freakin people) but you can still walk around the city.  It's built on a cliff right next to the sea.  I found it kind of funny that there were ropes around the buildings, but you could literally walk right up to the edge of the cliff.  John and I explored that for about an hour and a half, then it was time to go back to the resort!

 Tuesday we spent almost the entire day in the hot tub next to the swim up bar... it was the only heated pool in the entire resort.  Yay for free-flowing Miami Vices.  Wednesday we got up early, went down to the sea for the last time, and then had one last Miami Vice before leaving the resort at 11 AM.

So my travel advice since I've taken this trip:

1. They take dollars in Mexico, but it's really best to get pesos instead.

2. Knowing some Spanish is a good thing.

3. Know what you want in a vacation before you pick a resort.  This really was a nice resort, but we probably won't go back until we have kids.  It's not that the kids weren't well-behaved (we really didn't see any bad behavior, just kids being kids, and there's a huge difference) but resorts aimed at families typically only have a few adult-only things (largely 'mommy and daddy's get-away').  So if you're looking for a quiet, romantic vacation, this would not be the place.  If you're looking for a family vacation, GO THERE.  We spent a lot of time thinking "Oh, this would be great if we had kids!"  (In a good way, not in a 'but it sucks now' way).

4.  Once again, travel insurance.  We're starting into the process of filing a claim, I'll keep you updated on that.

5. If you're going to Xel-Ha, bring either cash or a credit card.  It says all-inclusive, and technically it is, but you need a deposit to rent snorkel gear.  No one tells you this at the resorts.  We had no idea, and lucked out that we had our card.  We saw another family that was having a lot of trouble because they didn't know either, but they didn't have a card on them.  Once again, the $20 deposit per person is returned, but no one tells you about it until you're there.

6.  Seeing Christmas trees in 70 degree weather is the wierdest thing.

So all in all we had a good time, and it's a great place for a family vacation.  As for romantic couples vacations... well, I'm still giving that title to Couples Negril :)

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