It has been over three weeks since our family returned from vacation and I am already dreaming of how to see the gorgeous Caribbean again soon!
We traveled with another family of four to the Riviera Maya in Mexico over the kids’ Spring Break. This was the first trip out of the country for our children and our first foray to the Yucatan Pensinsula of Mexico. We flew into Cancun and traveled about an hour south to our resort in Puerto Aventuras.
The Riviera Maya is so beautiful and we were blessed with great weather throughout our trip. The kids had a blast with the other children and each had a buddy to pair up with throughout the vacation. We spent time soaking up the beautiful sunshine and cool breezes, exploring some unique terrain, and eating a lot!
Photo Source: Barcelo Hotel Group
We chose to stay at the Barcelo Maya Palace hotel in the Riviera Maya. It is a beautiful all-inclusive resort located right on the beach and is a great option for families. Our family has never tried an all-inclusive vacation, however our friends convinced us it would be a good option since the kids tend to be so hungry ALL THE TIME on vacation. So true! I prefer my vacations to be a little more off the beaten path, but our kids are not yet ready for that type of travel. Baby steps….
The Barceló Maya Palace is part of the larger Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, which means you have access to all of the restaurants and amenities throughout the resort. There are four other hotels located within the resort and it was neat to see other options as we walked around the resort. We did spend the majority of our time at the Palace for restaurants and activities with a few exceptions.
The beach and pools were within steps of each other, however most of the time we lounged by the pool. If the kids tired of swimming in one of the pools, they headed over to play basketball, table tennis, giant chess or in the kids splash area.
The highlights of the trip were exploring the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum, swimming in cenotes, iguana spottings, water aerobics at the hotel pool (really, so fun!), and swimming with dolphins. We arranged an excursion on our third full day in Mexico and tour guides picked us up that morning to venture outside of the resort. We spent the early part of the morning exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum, which are the only ruins built by the sea. It was a cooler morning, so it was the perfect day to walk around the ruins, which are in full sun. It was interesting to learn about the ruins from our guide and after about 45 minutes, he left us to our own devices for a while.
We explored further and reached the top of the ruins to see the most amazing views of the Caribbean. Wow; stunning views and a great place to shoot some beautiful photos! I only wish I had packed a real camera (all photos are taken with my iPhone).
We were disappointed that the ocean conditions were not favorable that day, so we were unable to walk down the steps to the beach. The kids found other excitement by spotting iguanas everywhere we walked!
We had a little time before we met our guides back in the parking lot, where you could shop or grab refreshments. We chose to grab a drink at the cutest little bar in the little square area and get the kids out of the sun for a bit. We also had the unique experience of trying grasshoppers! The bartender served a bar snack and there were dried grasshoppers sprinkled throughout the spicy mix. Our adventurous girl liked them so much that she requested more, but not this guy!
We next traveled to the cenotes tucked deep in the jungle and unfortunately it was not a great location for photos. While some cenotes are close to the surface, others are located deeper down and accessed by stairs. I have no idea where these cenotes were located or the name of them, however the real beauty was once we climbed down the steps into the water.
Cenotes are a natural formation from the rain water going through the limestone of the Yucatan Peninsula and we saw the most beautiful limestone formations. The water was pretty chilly and there were tiny little fish swimming all around us. Our guide led us through the tight areas and the kids were giddy with excitement at such an experience.
The rest of the trip we spent back at the resort relaxing! I wish I had taken more pictures, but we were having so much fun swimming and chatting that I didn’t think to pick up my phone. We do have wonderful memories of a fun family trip and hope to make many more over the years with the kids.