To celebrate this year we wanted to do something big. We decided to go on a week-long trip to Mexico! We were super excited about this because neither of us had ever been on a vacation like this before. Ken served a 2 year mission for our church in Mexico when he was 19, so it was especially cool to be returning there after a decade.
If you follow me on Instagram ( @raisingmemories ), you've been able to get a glimpse at our vacation already. Today I'll share some more :)
I was a little nervous going into this vacation because the weather did NOT look good for while we would be in Cancun. To make things worse, I caught a cold a couple of days before we left (which, by the way, I STILL have!) There was nothing I could do about either of those things except pack an umbrella and a bunch of Dayquil, so off we went! :)
Here "we" are at the airport, waiting for our flight. After 4 hours looking at the back of an airplane seat, we arrived in warm & muggy Cancun! Ken's Spanish skills immediately came in handy for finding the right van to take us to our resort (we stayed at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun). Ken sat up front with the driver and had a nice Spanish chat while I watched out my window, at my first view of a country other than Canada or the USA! We were greeted at the resort with cold, wet towels and I was given these flowers- how nice! :)
When we checked in, we were told that we were being upgraded to an ocean-view room because we were celebrating our anniversary. (The guy at check-in asked us if it was our honeymoon) The next few people that we talked to also asked us if we were on our honeymoon and eventually, after explaining that it was our anniversary several times, we gave in & just smiled & nodded when they asked about our honeymoon! We decided it could be a late honeymoon since the one we had 10 years ago wasn't too fancy ;) The resort was huge and had three different areas (like three resorts within the resort!). We stayed at Nizuc.
Below is the view we had from our room, and the lovely Jacuzzi we had in our room, as well as the cake we were greeted with just after checking into our room! haha Happy Honeymoon to us! We were also given a bottle of wine upon check in & another special bottle of wine with our cake (we don't drink ;)
We had just enough time to explore our room & choose which of the many restaurants on our resort to go to for dinner. Ken had been looking forward to tasting real Mexican food again (he has been thinking and talking about this for many years), so we got dressed up and headed for the fancy Mexican restaurant (called Los Caporales)! We were excited to have someone come to our table and make fresh guacamole for us right there, with whatever ingredients we wanted added- it was so good! I was in love with the pico de gallo at this resort (at this restaurant & most of the buffets). There were 3 Mexican guys there singing and playing music- it was so cool! We went to this restaurant again later in our week and our waiter arranged for them to sing to us at our table for our anniversary!
When we got back to our room, our bed was turned down with chocolate mints and a rose on our bed- I loved that!
The next day (Thursday) we woke up to rain. I didn't mind too much because I had scheduled 2 hours at the salon to have my first real mani/pedi! These were deluxe mani/pedis and they were AMAZING! I loved it so much!
We had a break from the rain in the afternoon- long enough to walk around outside, by the beach, and eat at a little place outside under a thatched roof- so neat! Then the rain started again & we headed out in the rain for a special Italian dinner reservation on the other side of the resort (at La Trattoria). This is the only photo I have from that night, of me, ready to go (I'm wearing beach sandals with my nicer shoes in my bag because there was no way I was walking outside in all that rain in heels! ;)
That restaurant was not quite what we expected. The dishes were beautiful, but I didn't enjoy eating them! There was unexpected raw fish involved ;) We're glad we tried this place but wouldn't return!
The rain would not let up, so we spent the evening in our room- we ordered room service (we weren't too full after that restaurant ;), tried out our Jacuzzi and just relaxed! It was so fun to be at an all-inclusive resort! Normally we wouldn't do things like order room service or go to a fancy restaurant every night! (and there's no way I would spend money at the spa, but our resort had this awesome resort credit included with our booking that could be put toward excursions and spa use!)
Below is a photo of our reflection at breakfast on that rainy day. The buffet was at an Italian restaurant called La Gondola (not the same one we went to the night before) and it was BEAUTIFUL! There was gorgeous stained glass on the ceiling and walls and beautiful furniture- such luxury! ;) On the right is a shot of us at the beach with our resort bracelets (we think the fact that they were pink must have meant we were on our honeymoon), and the cute towel art that we found waiting for us when we got home one night.
Our resort was known as not having a very swimmable beach (It had a lot of seaweed), so on Friday we took a free shuttle to another hotel (called Beach Palace) that was included in our "all-inclusive" that was located in the hotel zone. Its beach was GORGEOUS! I have never seen a beach like that in real life- true, turquoise water and beautiful, light sand! (Sand at beaches around home is brown... kind of almost like dirt. haha :) This was sooo nice!
These photos were taken with my DSLR
That afternoon we took a city bus into Cancun city to go to a Mexican market. As soon as we got on that city bus, it was like we were taking a journey into a whole other world! I loved it! It was really special to be with Ken and for him to be able to share with me some of the experiences he had while on his mission. It was also really nice that he could speak the language and knew what was going on ;) We had a fun time walking through the market area and picking up a few little gifts to take home. It rained only a little bit that day while we were at the market, so we were very relieved that the weather was looking better!
Saturday we spent some time laying out by a pool (at Moon Grand) in the morning. It was so nice because we had this beautiful pool with palm trees all around us and then just beyond the pool you could see and hear the ocean!
We also spent some time walking along the beach that day and went out for dinner at this beautiful place (shown below) called Los Tacos. For some reason there was hardly anyone at this place that night, so it was like a private dinner and we had an awesome waiter. He even showed us a baby crocodile that lived in the water behind the pool (!!!!). Crazy!!
We wanted to try to get to an LDS church on Sunday and after much research, several phone calls and a lot of help from a lady at the resort, we felt confident embarking on an adventure to get to one! It involved taking a 30min shuttle to that resort I mentioned earlier (where we went to the beautiful beach & took a city bus to the market), then a long city bus ride further into town, and a short walk to a lovely stake centre located in the middle of this city. We were excited to make it there! It turned out that they were having their primary presentation (all of the children speak and sing songs for the main meeting) which was awesome for me since I couldn't understand the words, but I knew the tunes of the songs (the same ones we sing at church in English) and Ken could whisper translations to me of the short comments that the children gave when they took turns speaking.
After the meeting we met a few American couples who were also on vacation and offered to drive us back to our hotel! (They had a taxi that they were paying to drive them around that day). So that was really convenient! It was fun to meet them (they took the picture below for us- it was super sunny. I couldn't keep my eyes open ;) and we made it back to that resort just in time to catch the 30 minute shuttle back to our home resort.
Monday we had signed up for an excursion to go to a waterpark. We were excited that we would be taking a boat to get there! Below are a couple of shots of us on the boat and the view of some of our resort from the boat. The waterpark was so cool because it was right off of the ocean- we got off of our boat onto a beach and walked into the park from there. We were amazed by the view that greeted us when we got to the top of the first waterslide! Ahead of us we could just see ocean and all around us it was like jungle- tons of palm trees in the park, and we were just surrounded by forest of trees- it was gorgeous! The park wasn't very busy, so if you had to wait your turn at all, you waited for maybe 3 people to go down a slide ahead of you- it was fabulous :)
Tuesday morning we got up early and went to the beach to watch the sun rise.
This photo taken with my DSLR
Then we got breakfast and headed off for our last excursion- a trip to see the ruins of Coba. After a long ride in a van, we arrived and started a fairly long trek through a forest. We spotted some huge butterflies! When we started seeing ruins, I spotted a crazy bright lime green caterpillar that blended right in with the moss- I thought it was so cool!
But the main attraction was when we arrived at this HUGE pyramid which we climbed. (And I have never been so sweaty in my life- it was so hot out and that was quite the climb!) Pretty amazing to reach the top and see the view and a little intimidating to start the descent!
These photos taken with my DSLR
On our way out of the forest, there was this little area with shops that had been flooded because of all of the rain they had had recently. It was quite a sight!
I couldn't stop looking out my window on the way home from that excursion, at the homes and shops of the Mexicans who lived in that area. I was in awe. If I ever return, I would love to spend more time in areas like that, seeing the people and how they live. I would have loved to have photographed more of it!
That evening, back at the resort, we had such a neat experience- to be involved in a turtle release!
That night we were treated to a special anniversary/honeymoon(?) dinner at a Japanese restaurant. We were given a special menu with options not on their regular menu (we had Duck and Filet Mignon!) It was an awesome dinner. We loved our waiters and they treated us really well (as did most of the waiters throughout our whole stay!)
Wednesday morning I got to enjoy the spa one last time with a massage and then we checked out- left a tip in our most recent towel creation, said goodbye to the iguana (just kidding- but seriously- it was so weird to see these guys waltzing around like squirrels!), and hopped on a plane, saying farewell to Cancun!
Other than the fact that I was sick the whole time, this trip was everything I hoped it would be! I'm so happy we went for it and did something big for our 10th anniversary. It was so much fun! As I type this I look out my window and feel like I'm in a snow globe ;) but it's not so bad, knowing I just came from such an amazing place. And it sure helps that I'm coming home to birthday party planning for Katrina and Christmas plans, too! :)
Disclosure: All photos in this post were taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020 phone, unless otherwise noted. This phone was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. Tomorrow's post will tell you all about it!