This was not your typical Steward family vacation. While I have been to Mexico before, this was the first time at a 5 star resort. Also, this was only my 4th time ever at an all-inclusive resort. It was a last minute decision. And by last minute, I mean like 1 month ahead I booked. We were supposed to be driving to the Keys from Miami but decided that was a little too risky at this point. Especially since I have been watching the news every morning and people are flocking to Florida and their Covid numbers are crazy high. My rationale for Mexico was the resorts are operating at 30% capacity right now which means we won’t have to deal with a ton of people. Plus, we will not have to wear a mask at the resort. Therefore, I canceled the Miami flight and booked a flight to Cancun. I did a little research prior and Excellence Playa Mujeres kept popping up as the best of the best. It is located about 25 miles North of Cancun. I lied to Shelby and told him we got a good deal on a Swim-Up Suite. Not sure what I am going to say when he reads this and/or pays my credit card bill. As the saying goes, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
At this point in the blog, I’d start at the day we arrived and do a chronological play by play. I’ve decided to go a different route on this one. I’m gonna tell you the things I liked and throw in a few I didn’t. In no particular order, here we go:
The daily schedule of activities was great. While I only participated in the beach yoga, I still thought there was a wide selection. From tennis clinics to aloe vera class to pool casino. There was something for everyone. And all was included in that budget friendly 5 star price. I started practicing yoga in March and usually do 20 to 30 minutes at home 4x a week. So in my mind I was ready for hot yoga on the beach. I say hot because I have never sweat so much in my life. Despite it being 8am, that Mexican sun was no joke. I swear I heard it whisper in my ear “Gringa, you are too pale for this.” But in true Steward fashion, we powered through. I say “we” because Shelby went as well. We were 10 minutes into a 1 hour class and I glanced at Shelby and his face was literally dripping on the mat in his downward facing dog pose. I also want to add these were not beginner poses. Stef, the instructor, would give an alternate pose, but they were all hard. Her English was good but she often confused right from left and knee, ankle, toe was all interchangeable. I know what I have just described sounds awful to some but it was just what I needed every morning. I had decided there would be no weight lifting on this trip even though the resort had fantastic facilities. I wanted to walk in the mornings on the beach, practice yoga, do water sports, and do some mojito curls. That would be the extent of my exercise regime.
Mojitos were in fact my drink of choice. It didn’t start off that way. Upon arrival, we were handed a glass of champagne at the front door and led to the bar because we were a few hours early for check in. I ordered a cape cod and Shelby a pina colada. There was another round of each and several Don Julio shots. Needless to say we both had throbbing headaches by bedtime. It was decided at that point no more sugar drinks and no more shots. Well at least none for me. I stuck with grapefruit/vodka and mojito (light on the sugar). One part I loved about this trip was the service. Typically, Shelby is my butler, fetching my every need or vice versa. When Shelby reads that last part he’s gonna say “I didn’t realize this was a fictional piece.” So let me clarify I’ve maybe fetched one or two drinks in the past 10 years. Whether I was outside lounging on the patio bed, chillin out in the pool hammock, or under the umbrella on the beach reading Stephen King’s The Stand, there was always a member of the waitstaff bringing you whatever you wanted. I say whatever you wanted because I often had food delivered to my beach chair as well as drinks. Nothing like a little sand sprinkled on your quesadilla. Did I mention they handed out pizzas on the beach. Without even ordering, they would come around and offer you a pizza. It’s like they read my mind!
Earlier I mentioned the swim up suite. I went back and forth on whether to get a roof top suite with a plunge pool or a ground level swim up suite. I chose the latter. Mainly because Shelby likes to swim. Every afternoon after we had our beach time, Shelby would push me on a raft throughout the resort. I realize that doesn’t make sense without you being there. The swim up suites have what I refer to as a Lazy River that runs in front of the room. It goes throughout the resort and was basically empty all the time. The only time I saw more than a couple of people in the pool was when I walked by the main pool which was not part of the lazy river. The swim up suite ended up being an excellent choice for us. Another thing I liked about the room was the mini bar. At most places you have to pay extra and a can soda is like 3 bucks. Not here, it was all included and restocked daily. It included various sodas, beer, water, juices, candy bars, and a fifth each of tequila, rum, vodka, and gin. We never opened the liquor despite the temptation to wrap it up in my suitcase and smuggle home. Just kidding, that would have no doubt been a mess. I wonder if the maid/butler gave us the award for the most Snickers and M&M’s consumed. I say that because he showed up the day we were leaving with a handful of each. I begrudgingly took 2 Snickers for the trip home.
There were very few things I didn’t like about this trip. Really not even worth mentioning, but for the sake of having something to write about, I’m going to anyway. First, everywhere you went they wanted to sanitize your hands. I’m ok with that except the sanitizer smelled like tequila. I kid you not. It’s like they mixed a bottle of Jose Cuervo with Purell to make it go further. Second, our room was near the entertainment pavilion where nightly there was a different style of music that lasted until way past my bedtime. Therefore, every night I was lulled asleep by a combination of Shelby’s snores,which could be best described as a chainsaw about to run out of gas, and the Latino Michael Jackson. So unless you like to stay up until 11 every night, be sure and request a room far away from the entertainment. Lastly, we get bored real easy and probably should have cut the 5 night stay down to 4 nights. Especially since we arrived at noon on day one and didn’t fly out until 3:45 on the last day. There is only so much lounging in a beach chair under an umbrella sipping a cocktail with someone waiting on them hand and foot that one can do. And I realize that last sentence sounded totally pretentious! But after day 2, I could tell Shelby was completely restless. At that point, I decided to book an excursion for the next day to break things up. The next day we boarded a catamaran with around 20 other people. Destination was Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres is an island about 8 miles off the Yucatán peninsula where the Caribbean meets the Gulf of Mexico. After swimming and snorkeling off the boat, we were dropped off on the island and given a few hours to explore. We rented a golf cart and spent our time exploring the island. It’s really disheartening to see the poverty that exists in this tropical backdrop. Due to it’s proximity to Cuba, it is often a stopping point for Cubans attempting to flee to America. I am once again reminded of why people are so desperate to come to America. The same America that the people here take for granted. While she may not be perfect, she could be a heck of a lot worse. We ended our visit at Isla Mujeres with an authentic Mexican meal. I’m going to be completely honest. If we managed to survive this meal without coming down with Montezuma’s revenge then we can survive anything. I don’t even know how to describe this place and the food wasn’t terrible. Shelby actually said it was great. Since I can’t describe, I’m gonna put a picture of the place I found online below. This is exactly how close people were standing, the only difference was there were several ass cheeks on display. Nothing like wearing a thong bikini in the buffet line!
In conclusion, we really enjoyed this trip. Sometimes it’s good to change things up and because of Covid it was necessary. We have 2 more trips planned this year. One is a road trip with the dogs so that should be eventful. The other is our annual ski trip. We are going to do it in December instead of March. I’m going to end with a Stephen King quote since my beach book this year was The Stand.
“Get busy living or get busy dying.”