Monday, August 16, 2010

Mexico in pictures...

So I think I'm finally recuperated from my very relaxing Riviera Maya vacation. Isn't it funny how I've been plopped on a beach for eight days straight, doing nothing all day long, but I somehow still felt worn out when I got back home? Ahh, vacation. :)

Needless to say, we had an incredible time. The resort was wonderful, the beach was gorgeous, and the food was delicious.

Let's just start at the beginning. The trip over was smooth and easy - minus the disaster we had before we left when the vet wouldn't vaccinate Fluffy, so we couldn't board her. My perfect friend, Kristen, came to the rescue and saved the day. Thanks again, Kristen!  So after we dropped Lilly off at the boarder, we headed to the airport.

The flight itself was just fine - we sat next to this adorable girl from California who entertained us the whole flight. We had a prearranged shuttle to take us to the resort when we got to the Cancun airport, and when we drove up and saw the beautiful lobby and the gorgeous view, we knew we wouldn't be disappointed.

We stayed at the Karisma El Dorado Casitas Royale, which is kind of a resort within a resort, and this place was MASSIVE. Like so big they had golf cart "shuttles" running every 20 minutes to take you where you want to go.  This was one of the only things I didn't like about the hotel - it was just too big for us.

After we checked in, our personal concierge (who arranged everything for us while we were there) took us to our room, and this guy met us at the door.  These lizards were EVERYWHERE. 

Our room was wonderful.  We were originally booked for an individual "casita," but they upgraded us to a swim-up room.  At first we thought we might have preferred the individual room, but we ended up loving having the pool right outside our patio in addition to the ocean view.  The room itself was lovely.  The bed had mosquito netting all around it, which made it super romantic.

And my favorite part of the room was this gigantic jacuzzi.  I couldn't get a picture that really made clear how big it was, but I told Micah that when we eventually build a house, he has to put one of these in for me.  I don't care if that means we have to have a whole extra hot water heater just to fill it up. :)

In addition to the jacuzzi and the regular bathtub and shower, the room had an outdoor shower with an open roof, as well!

The water came out of the branches, and the window looks into the jacuzzi nook.  I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the shower, but I loved it - there was just something about being able to look up and see the sky that was just so refreshing.

Here's a picture of the swim-up pool outside our patio.

We really enjoyed the swim-up pool.  By early afternoon, the entire pool was shaded, and we could go out there when we needed a little relief from the sun.  Here's what the room and pool look like from the outside.

After we got settled into the room, we went out and scoped out the beach.  We didn't have to walk far to find it!

The beach was gorgeous.  The white sand and turquoise water were exactly what we wanted, plus the beach was rocky.  Again, I wasn't sure whether or not I'd like that, but we ended up loving it.  The rocks just made swimming in the beach feel more like an adventure. :)

Here we are on our first day there - loving the beach and sand!

(Pardon my Pippi Longstocking look... I kept my hair in braids the whole trip.)

And check out this picture of Micah.  I loved that I could see the beach in his glasses. :)

Here's a picture of the saltwater pool.  We didn't swim in it much, but I thought it was a neat idea.


So that's the hotel and the beach, and honestly that's where we spent almost all of our time.  We would get up in the morning and go have breakfast.  Then we'd come back, slather ourselves in SPF 50, and head out to the beach.  They had these palapas lining the beach, and we never had any trouble finding one to lay on.

I loved just laying by the water and relaxing.  True to form, I brought several books with me, and I finished three while we were there. :)  I hopped on the bandwagon and read Eat Pray Love, and I really enjoyed it.  The author and I definitely disagree about our religious beliefs, but it was very interesting to read about her spiritual journey.  

In the afternoon, after splashing around in the water for a few hours, we'd grab lunch at one of the many restaurants the hotel offered.  Then, we'd either go back to the beach or head back to the room and play around in the pool.  One day we played pool volleyball with a few other people we met while we were there, and I can proudly say that I haven't lost my touch.  :)

After swimming in the pool in the afternoons, we'd go back to the room, get cleaned up, and head to dinner.  And let me just tell you... the food was incredible. (I know I sound like a salesperson, but it really was amazing.)

Our favorites were the Italian and Asian restaurants.  In addition to the yummy lobster lasagna and beef tenderloin, the Italian restaurant served the most scrumptious, ooey gooey flourless chocolate cake I've ever tasted.  I'm drooling just thinking about it!  Micah loved the Asian place and even tried (and fell in love with!) sushi there.  I have a feeling he'll be craving sushi for awhile like I did when I first discovered that I loved it.

The resort offered entertainment at night, and Micah and I went to the first part of one of the shows, but we were honestly just so exhausted from all the sun that we were ready for bed around 9:30 every night.  We're old, I know.

We did actually leave the resort one day (shocking, I know) to go see Tulum, an ancient Mayan city, and Xel Ha, a natural waterpark. 

Tulum was beautiful.  It was hot, but I'm glad we went to see it. 

I can't remember what this building used to be, but I thought it was beautiful.  And check out the Mayans' view of the beach from the top of the cliff the city was built on.


We spent the afternoon at Xel Ha, which was basically just an inlet carved out of the sea.  It was perfect for snorkeling, and we saw so many fish, as well as a few stingrays and several dolphins!

When we got back to the resort, we were wiped out (and very sunburned), but it was a very fun day.

The next day, we had our first exposure to the timeshare pitches which are apparently very common down there.  Our concierge told us that if we went and listened to this guy give us his schpeal that we'd get a free hour-long massage.  We were curious and very interested in the prospect of a free massage, so we went.  

And, honestly, it wasn't too bad.  This guy wasn't super pushy, and when we made it clear that we weren't buying anything, he sent us on our way with our free massage certificates.  We did the massages on Friday, the day before we left.  They felt wonderful, although I'm sure Micah would have enjoyed his more if his therapist hadn't been a big, burly guy.  :)

That night, we got one last sushi fix at the Asian restaurant and went back to our room to pack up.  On our last day, I got up early and walked down to the beach with my camera to capture some pictures of the beautiful sunrise, but my camera was so fogged up from the humidity that I couldn't take any.  Oh well - I'll always remember it. :)

The trip home was just as smooth as the trip there.  I was practically giddy as we were driving up to the boarder to pick up Lilly - I can't even describe how much I missed her.  I should have taken pictures of her jumping all over us when she saw us; it was absolutely precious.

So we made it home, got unpacked, and have done several loads of laundry already (including one in which I accidentally dyed Micah's white swim trunks pink... oops).  Now I've got a few weeks before I start my fellowship with the US Attorney's Office to clean this house.  I still haven't caught up from the bar exam craziness, and I'm ready for this house to feel clean again. :)

And I've finally got time to start meal planning again.  I'll post this week's menu later today! 


Anonymous said...

I have to say the vacation looks amazing...We're trying to plan one right now. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture of the beach in Micah's sunglasses! Very cool!

Congrats on your fellowship with the US Attorney's office. Is that in Houston?

Glad things are going well!


Kristen said...

When I visited Akumal a few years ago we went to Tulum also! I stood on that same cliff overlooking the water and snorkeled in that lagoon! How exciting.

I'm glad you had a fun time!

Sarah McMullin said...

Ahhhh! So jealous. Those pictures make me want to slip a bathing suit over this massive preggo belly, and there is very very little that can make me do that.

So glad you got to have the time of your lives!

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