Before I begin, let me apologise for the food/sun/present moment envy that these photos are certain to evoke. Even now, looking back at these photos I am overcome with how much I miss this place. It was the most incredible adventure and the furthest we’ve been from the UK yet. I spent the whole uncomfortable 11 hour plane journey thinking this better be worth it!! and it goes without saying, it absolutely was. Now, let me convince you to promptly book a flight to Mexico…
I was so excited for sun/sea/cocktails that I don’t think I properly considered the time difference/jet lag that we were to experience the first few days of our trip. We arrived to our hotel at 5:30pm Mexican time, which was 10.30pm UK time – the time I’m usually dribbling on Jack’s shoulder in front of the TV! – so I was ready for bed the moment we arrived.
After almost 20 hours of travelling, I was unashamedly hangry and miserably tired so it was surreal and amazing to arrive to a champagne reception! The first sip of sparkly goodness was divine – but I almost choked on my bubbles when they told us they couldn’t find our booking. I had images of us being shoved back on the coach and sleeping on the floor of Cancun airport!
20 minutes of sitting alone in the welcome room and watching a dozen other couples be escorted to their rooms, we were found – hallelujah! They’d had Jack down as John! For our troubles, my lovely John and I were upgraded to a room with a swim-up pool. We literally had a pool outside our back door! A fabulous treat and amazing way to start our holiday.
We’d booked this trip to celebrate our anniversary and on the second day, my gorgeous Jack proposed! We’d spent the afternoon dancing to a Reggae band on the beach, drenched by the sun under a beautiful blue sky with fish swimming round our ankles. It was just perfect.
I don’t know about you but I’ve dreamt of the ‘proposal moment’ since I was a kid – how will he do it? what will the ring be like? what will he say…? I always imagined your kind of typical restaurant setting or candlelit dinner and some romantic speech where we both end up in tears. I couldn’t have dreamt of a scenario where my heart is full of reggae, I’m slightly pissed from a day’s worth of cocktails – not to mention sunburnt – and my hair is slightly crap because my straighteners have broken and I had to borrow someone elses…but it truly was perfect.
The Beach BBQ was one of our favourite spots for lunch. Not only did they have the most amazing array of seafood and salads – their burger grill was unlike any burger I’ve ever had. That’s a big statement from me because I LOVE a big tasty from Maccy Ds. And can you beat a Burger King? I didn’t think so before. But now I do. Plus, they had an ice cream stand for afters and we destroyed their offering of mint and strawberry cheesecake!! I’m literally dribbling at the memory.
One of the most amazing things about Mexico for me was the contrast in nature. We were right in the thick of the jungle – jungle one side, sea the other. Walking past iguanas and hibiscus and crazy plants every day was so exciting! Plus, right after Jack proposed, we saw 2 raccoons stealing somebody’s leftover room service!
Another highlight of the holiday was our day trip to Tulum & Cobá. Cobá is a huge ancient Mayan city and boasts the Nohoch Mul Pyramid. It’s 42 meters tall (137 feet) and is the second tallest Mayan pyramid in the world. At the top, we had incredible 360 views of the jungle and the ruins around the site. I am SO glad we got to climb it because this year is the final year they’re letting people up due to it being too dangerous (it was incredibly slippery and steep!).
On the same day we went to a cenote (a natural, underground pool), a modern Mayan village and to Tulum. Tulum is a walled Mayan city – one of the last cities to be inhabited by the Maya. They still don’t know what happened to the population of the city as it seems to have been completely abandoned. The Mayans were superior to ‘common’ people so it could’ve been an uprising that left them all killed or perhaps just a terrible disease!
On our tour, the guide showed us the sacrificial temple. Apparently on special occasions the Mayans would sacrifice someone to the sun. They would cut out their heart, hold it up to the sun as an offering of life, kick the body down the stairs and then skin them. Charming! It’s really strange to stand somewhere so intriguing and beautiful and try to imagine something so horrifying happening in the same spot.
The photo above shows the port where boats would leave and arrive trading goods. Our tour guide told us that at the time, salt was the most valued thing to trade! Apparently people used to say “I love you more than salt” because it was the most valuable, sought-after item. Think about that next time you’re at the chippy!
On the way back, we stopped at a village where modern Mayan’s adhere to the traditional Mayan lifestyle. We were given a talk by one of the families who still built and lived in wooden huts, farmed their own food and grew their own medicinal plants. The ‘bedroom’ hut contained a hammock per person and naturally left everyone in the group wondering how on Earth they get jiggy in this mental set-up. We shared a meal they’d cooked for us on a stone stove – delicious tortillas with habanero and some kind of scrambled egg resembling filling! However, I couldn’t help but question the authenticity of this arrangement due to the shining gold chain around the Mayan’s neck and his super fresh hair cut…
By the way, these aren’t the Mayan’s from the village I just mentioned…these were guys at our hotel advertising the Mayan show that evening 🙂
Our hotel had so much to do and such an offering of entertainment, we barely got to experience it all. We were big fans of pool volleyball, the pool quizzes (I won the music quiz twice and have 2 fab t-shirts to prove it!) and the reggae parties. I gave coconut painting a go, which looked like a 4yr old’s work of art (too many Hurricane’s that afternoon – the cocktail, not the weather disaster) and opted for the coconut cocktail stand instead. This (above) looked cute and lovely but tasted like warm coconut vodka milk… and I’m not a fan of Bountys!!
The hotel we stayed at was Gourmet all-inclusive so the food was out of this world. Every meal was unbelievable and there was so much choice that we didn’t even get to try all of the restaurants! The photos above are from Mia Casa, an Italian. It was so gorgeous and looked like a little village inside! My favourite was their tomato and cappuccino soup starter, which bizarre as it sounds, was to die for! For my main I had seafood linguine – it was all so good we went back and ordered the same thing again a few days later! The plate of desserts was from the night of our engagement 🙂
There was only one restaurant that required booking, which was the Asian. We were lucky enough to book it twice and both times I could barely walk back because we’d stuffed ourselves to the brim! Give me unlimited sushi/asian food and I am on cloud 9! I would fly 11 hours in a heartbeat just to eat here again.
Last food pics I promise! Here are my pretty dishes from the Mexican restaurant. I adored it here and practically jumped for joy when my dessert came – how cute is this little painter’s palette?! One of the delicacies to start was grasshopper…It came crushed on a sort of weird block of cheese! And you know when you’re watching I’m A Celeb and they take a bite of some gross insect and it makes a pop? Yeah. That. And omg how have I gotten this far without mentioning the guacamole? Good lord the guacamole there was next level, 11/10, dream material.
I’m not sure how to conclude this post because it was an experience that can’t really be put in to words. We made so many amazing friends, had so much fun and made unforgettable memories – I would fly back in a heartbeat! If you’re thinking of booking yourself a treat…this is the place to go. Now, on to the wedding planning! 😉
Love Siân x