Friday, July 29, 2016


Scott and I traveled to Mexico the last week in July to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!! We booked it a few months ago and were excited to do something special just the two of us. We, of course, could not have done it without my mom's generosity in giving up another one of her summer weekends to spend with my children. We know we are very lucky to have her and appreciate her help especially with the big job it is to take care of all three kids. Taking a trip like this seemed a little self indulgent but with my mom and dad's accident we figured we better just do what we want to do now...what is the point of waiting until this or this or that happens? We chose to stay at the Excellence Riviera Cancun Resort based on the recommendations of a few of Scott's friends who had been there multiple times. As you will did not disappoint! 


We flew American Airlines early out of DSM to Dallas and then on to Cancun. We had a minimal layover in Dallas, just enough time to grab a big (I think he gave me a trenta instead of a venti) coffee and walk to the terminal. We touched down in Cancun at 1:30- not a bad morning of travel. I was surprised how quick the flights seemed and they were very smooth. The flight from Dallas to Cancun had the screens on the back of the seats so I caught a few episodes of Big Bang and it made the flight go by quickly. They also had a flight tracker section where it counted down the minutes until you landed, had a map, and showed the altitude which is great for nervous flyers like me. I actually had very little anxiety on this flight..maybe because it felt like a treat to be flying without children? Anyway, we can officially add it to the list of Rose-approved travel destinations! (which currently consists of Orlando and Cancun). 


After getting situated with our transfer, we got a few cervazas for the road to the resort. We used USA transfers and they were quick, friendly and easy to work with. Everyone spoke very good English and were very happy to show us a good time (and work for tips!). We bought a few more drinks on the way there since Sergio had them available- only $2!


Check in was a breeze and our room was beautiful. We actually stayed in the cheapest room category available but it did not make a difference because it was lovely. We were in the back of the resort and it was very quiet. 



There was plenty of daylight left so we put on our suits and headed out our door for a dip in the lazy river pool. And enjoyed a few more beers. 


The balcony was my favorite part! 



After getting dressed we headed down to the main plaza for Mexico night. They were having a huge buffet of Mexican food and it seemed like the perfect way to kick off our vacation. 


We ate a lot of everything but my favorites were the guacamole, Mexican coffee and freshly made churros. yum!



We actually ate dinner pretty early this night so we settled in at the bar at the theater for a few more drinks and listened to the mariachi band play while we waited for the Mexico show to start. The Mexico show was really neat- lots of dancing and storytelling about Mexico's history. 



The next morning I was up pretty early but I enjoyed some early morning coffee and reading time while Scott continued snoozing. 



I even wandered out to the coffee shop on property and brought back two delicious caramel macchiatos....they were a real treat! 


Once Scott was up we headed down to the big breakfast buffet hosted at one of the restaurants. It was so good- everything you could imagine and an awesome wait staff. I loved having a mimosa, I felt so fancy. 





It was a beautiful day so we hit up the beach for a bit. Scott had read that the forecast might we worse the next two days so we decided to try snorkeling (on our must do list) today. He asked at the booth on property (a third party company) and got us signed up for the 11:30 excursion for about $40.  








The Mesoamerican reef is actually the second largest in the world and it was just a short boat ride from our resort. The reef is close to the water surface and it was very beautiful. We snorkeled for about 45 minutes which I felt was a good amount of time before we headed back to the resort. We had a guide with us the whole time and he was always checking to make sure we were alright and had a red bobber thing so we knew who to follow. It was very easy and safe and I would recommend it. I didn't see any sea turtles but I did spy a Dory! 



Scott was not feeling the best after snorkeling (swallowed sea water) so we took a little rest in our room and ordered room service for lunch. After a bit he was feeling better so we did a little more pool time and relaxing in the afternoon and then headed to the French restaurant, Chez Isabelle for dinner. We ate a bit later on this night and we enjoyed the later dining hour. We splurged on a bottle of wine which the waiter recommended to us as a local Mexican wine (it was only $40) and it was very good. I even ventured out of the comfort zone and ordered a seafood dish (that was not fried shrimp) and it was good. 




We enjoyed an after dinner drink at the Martini bar (chocolate martini for me) and then wandered outside where they were having a wedding. There was a fire dancer for entertainment so we watched that for a bit before heading over to enjoy the nighttime entertainment on the plaza which was a DJ that night. It was actually really fun- we sat at the bar and listened to the music and enjoyed the bartenders. I have very rarely in my life been somewhere where the bartenders were fun (I feel like people always say that) but these bartenders really were fun and were happy to make you anything you wanted. I also impressed Scott with my vast knowledge of popular middle school songs and dance moves. :o)





The next morning we got up early for breakfast buffet and then headed to the beach. 



Coco loco time!


Coco locos were also on my must do list and so we lined up a bit before it was time and enjoyed the little show of the bartender making them. They were good! 



We also had fun swimming in the ocean. We took a dip in it every day we were there as it was very refreshing and salty. I think on this day we also took a walk along the beach. 


We ate lunch at Las Olas on the beach which has a buffet every day. Bonus points for the fact you could wear your swimsuit! This day they had nice light salads, fried seafood and paella. They were running a spa special on this day for couples massages so we booked one for early afternoon. It was a real treat and probably my favorite part of the trip. The spa was gorgeous and it included a water therapy experience with our treatment. It is a little hard to describe but you were led through different water stations like a body scrub/shower, then sauna/cold dip, jets for your shoulders and lower back, sauna/ice bath, water massage bed, etc. It was awesome. The massage was excellent and it was fun to do it with Scott since he said it was only his second massage in his life (which made me feel very guilty about the all the ones I've had-oops!). It was definitely a treat and very relaxing, although it was not like we could get any more relaxed at that point. 


We got dressed up and headed out for another later dinner at the Lobster House. We did have to wait a bit at this restaurant as it is the most popular on site but it went quickly and it was worth it. 



I enjoyed lobster bisque and lobster risotto as well as the house white wine. It fun to sit outside for dinner. 

And finally, our last day at the resort. :o( I had woken up already sad that we would be leaving soon. It is hard to describe just the way it felt when we were there- everything was so beautiful and the staff was so great. It was the most relaxed I had felt probably ever. I loved it. Even doing our vacation laundry I thought...this smells like Mexico! 


We did the breakfast buffet again and then got some fancy coffee at Aroma and explored the main building and shops a bit. 



I thought this looked like a chair from game of thrones. It also just happened that there was a Game of Thrones marathon on for a few days we were at our resort- I was pretty sure I could teach myself spanish reading the subtitles while watching. :o) 



It was super windy so we parked ourselves by the pool for the morning. The waiter was around to ask for drinks but it was early and I said no thank you. Then he came by again with the smoothie menu and asked me if I wanted an all fruit smoothie- how could I resist? I thought that was so nice of him and so I got a pineapple pear and it was delicious and perfect for the morning. We really had fun in the lazy river- if you just floated and did not help yourself, it would take an hour to go all the way around. It was very quiet and peaceful. There were other pools but they were loud and had big groups people partying and we weren't really into that. We did enjoy sitting at the swim up bar for a bit and that was fun but we didn't hang out there too much. 



There were several iguanas in the area by our room and they were fun to spot and watch each day. There was a larger one and a few smaller ones. Rico and Suave were their names! 


After a shower and getting dressed (and enjoying lunch at a restaurant you needed to be wearing non swimsuits for), we went on the bike tour that the resort led at 3:30. It was a short bike ride into the fishing village of Puerto Morales that was about 90 minutes and led by one of the activity staff members. We visited the pier, the church and the market. It was a fun activity! 



This coast was hit hard in 2005 with hurricane Wilma and it blew the little lighthouse crooked. They kept it crooked as a reminder of the storm and it has become a symbol of the village. Our guide told us that our resort had been a Secrets Resort and during the hurricane all the water had blown out of the pools and were filled with sand. They sold it and then it became and Excellence resort. I can only imagine the devastation. We also enjoyed the market where I realized I am a terrible haggler and we left with a sugar skull for Michael and two little mexican dresses for the girls. 


We ate a super late dinner on our last night (we just couldn't get out of the lazy river after returning from our bike ride- it was perfect out!). We ate at the Indian restaurant which was excellent and we fantastic service since there were just a few other couples dining. It out of our comfort zone for sure but we enjoyed some new flavors and definitely enjoyed the nan. We even did something wild and crazy and smoked a hookah on the plaza afterwards to fit in with our Indian theme. They had a little vignette in the restaurant of two stuffed cats smoking a hookah so I figured how bad could it be? I think Scott was impressed with my willingness to try new things. :o) 

We ended up going to bed around 11:30 pm after packing because we had to leave our resort at 3 a.m. the next day for our early flight back home. Getting up at 3 a.m. was brutal but we enjoyed quick and easy travels and even got to fly from Dallas to DSM on a brand new jet that was just put into service the day before. It still had that new jet smell. :o) 


Gosh, I just feel like there is so much more I need to tell you but I am running out of steam. We had the absolute best time. It seems like a dream now that we are back to reality. It was definitely a must needed break and it was fun to do something with just Scott and not to worry about go, go, go and itineraries. It was exactly what I was expecting with the beautiful resort and wonderful staff. We loved saying hola and gracias and the bits of Spanish that were woven in here and there. When we go back, I will definitely brush up on my language skills. And yes...we will be going back! Who is coming with us?

Thanks for stopping by!

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