For our honeymoon in December we selected something a little different from the norm. We decided to ditch the high-end resort and head to something that felt more authentic to the country we were visiting. This meant that we wanted somewhere that offered plenty of activities, but also an embracing quality of celebrating the regional offerings in a caring and thoughtful way.
We selected Sandos Caracol Eco Resort for these reasons. The resort, as the name indicates, is an Eco resort, meaning it has made a consorted effort to reduce its waste and impact on the environment without sacrificing the resort. Sandos Caracol is a fantastic example of what I hope to see in resorts in the coming years. Over water bottles they have replaced everything with massive jugs of water. Over straws they just serve everything in cups. Over just trash, they offer recycling everywhere in the resort. For food, everything but a few options was served on reusable plates and with reusable cutlery. The resort has instead of ripping out the natural mangrove and water ways, it has built up to work with the jungle.
In addition to respecting the natural environment, which it teaming with birds, coati, monkeys, lizards, and sterilized feral cats; the resort offers a glimpse into the life and times of those that lived in the region before colonialism. They do this in multiple ways, including the Dance performances held several times a week. Sandos Caracol has sprinkled elements of indigenous culture throughout with statues, placards explaining beliefs and rituals, morning rituals celebrating different elements, and by building in a way that respects the features of the area. For instance, the resort has its own cenote in the center of the resort, in which visitors can snorkel and enjoy, but also be reminded of how these almost majestic fresh water features really sustained the Maya for centuries. These same systems provide most of the drinking water to these communities even today! All of this combines into a thoroughly enjoyable experience for visitors to the resort. You would literally never have to leave the resort if you didn’t want to. As an all-inclusive all the food and alcohol is included so there is no need to worry about the basics. Rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Restaurants and rooms are air conditioned. The resort is so shaded with natural trees and vegetation that nowhere gets super hot or uncomfortable. Then the beach has plenty of trees and shaded areas to keep pasty me happy. We upgraded our stay to an adults only area. This gave us beach cabanas, a private clubhouse with snacks and a bar, and a more calm part of the beach. It also meant our room was in a more secluded area of the resort, an area that we could listen to animals, and truly just enjoy our time in peace and some seclusion.
Added bonuses to the resort:
- It’s wonderfully walkable, meaning you get some exercise to burn off the alcohol.
- It’s only a maximum of about 10 minutes to the beach from any place in the resort.
- You can snorkel in fresh or salt water.
- They have their own resort dogs, Mexican hairless dogs, that were revered and loved by the Maya. They’re very friendly and cute!
- There is plenty of outdoor and romantic dining, creating a truly memorable experience.
- They have a ceremonial area that’s hidden in the resort, one for sweat lodge experiences, and another for outdoor celebrations. Both are fascinating.
- Everyone that works at the resort is warm, welcoming, and a delight to speak with. Take a few minutes to get to know some of their story, where they are from, and why they work at the resort.
- Beyond traditional performances, they had more modern events such as a Michael Jackson night, superheroes night, and other events.
- After their nightly shows, the resort does karaoke events, brings in local bands, or simply offers an enjoyable vibe throughout.
- They have their own small water park, that is kid friendly, and then full of slides for the older kids….ahem…adults.
- The beach, while a little rocky, is also full of wildlife such as tropical fish.
- They have an odd assortment of rescue animals that hang out at the resort in friendly digs. This includes parrots, chickens, donkeys, pigs, rabbits, and probably some other friends I am forgetting.
Welcome to my newest series of blogs on my travels in Mexico. I hope to expand on my stories soon, but for now we will focus on the Yucatan and Cozumel.
My husband and I had a fantastic time on our honeymoon, and we selected a fantastic blend of local culture, beach, and romance. Our selection was the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort just north of Playa Del Carmen, which turned out to be an ideal blend for our two travel styles.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the resort was the attempt to respect and nurture the local indigenous culture. The area that is home to the resort was once sacred to the Maya due to its location in a mangrove forest. Well, or so the resort legends tell. Regardless, the resort has features throughout that celebrate Maya culture, art, ceremonies, and animals.
One aspect I appreciated the most were the series of dance performances that they held throughout the week. I enjoyed not only the story aspect that celebrated the Maya, but also the insane talent that the performer had through dance, music, and presence. It was a real treat, that left the audience mesmerized at the skill and beauty.
Here is a short video on just how phenomenal the performances were.
Read more on Mexico: Chichen Itza, Seven Wonders of the World, Honeymoon Planning for Opposites,
The biggest problem about loving to travel is that there is never an end to all the place I want to go. So I put things in a box, magazine cutouts and travel guides, and make rough lists of what to do in a year or two…or three. I’ve been very lucky in that I have been able to go somewhere new just about every year since I graduated from high school. Even if it’s just in Colorado! However, international travel has far more appeal due to the excitement of new cultures, languages, and being able to remove myself out of my comfort zone. BECAUSE I’m that kind of person!
So here is my rough list of places I want to hit in the next 5-10 years.
- Peru- I plan on hiking the Inca trail over four days, and I am currently “training” for such a feat! I also want to visit important Inca and colonial sights, and nerd out over weaving and clothing patterns that have been used for ages. Because I’m a nerd like that!
- Japan- This is a trip for Ryan and I, and maybe even Lily-bug in a few years! I think it would be a trip of a lifetime to see the diversity of the country in all its islands, eat the food, photograph the crap out of everything and just enjoy something so different from our day to day. I have even considered trying to move here for a year….I’ll keep you posted 😉
- China- Ever since seeing Mulan I have desperately wanted to go to China, I’m talking 7 year old me wanted so badly to go to China. Pretty much all my elementary school projects were on China and the New Year…who knows why. Even today I’m drawn to novels on China’s past etc. Okay I want to go to China TODAY in its hustle and bustle and new meets old traditions and cities. I want to experience the joy I have met in Chinese travelers and catch some of the contagious charm of a deep and ancient culture. It’s also HUGE so this may be a long journey from North/South East and West. There is so very much to see.
- India- This is one I want to do with my sister’s and mostly because I’ve been warned to not travel alone in India. Which may or may not be a reasonable concern, but it would be much more fun to be there with my sisters. We want to do India because of its challenge to our senses, norms, and a chance to grow closer as we take on new and exciting adventures. We want the elephants and architecture, but also the shopping and food and meeting new people. We want the diversity and the mix of old and new. It simply sounds like an amazing journey that will leave us all changed for the better!
- Korea- I have several friends living here or planning to go here. Korea is appealing due to its fantastic modern culture that is delicately blended with the past. Also the food, and the mountains and the architecture. I don’t care much about investigating the North, and the South has plenty of stories to tell and share.
- Mexico- I have technically already been to Mexico, but just Cozumel. Which was REALLY awesome, therefore it must me figured that the rest of the country has a lot to share. Again this is a place with a huge mix of cultures and peoples and is full to the brim with exciting adventures for all! Can we also talk about how amazing the food is here? I’m also a huge geek for Mexico’s pre-colonial history and I can’t wait to see more Mayan and Aztec art. If you know nothing about those two cultures go read about it now, it’s so cool!
- NorthEastern United States- This is where we started as a nation, so there is a ton of architecture and history to drool over. But there is also some amazing natural areas and greenery that we don’t get here in the west. My plan is to make a road trip of it and soak up the fall leaves!
- Oh Canada- it’s our neighbor to the north and full of poutine and mountains, what is not to love? I also want to soak in some history and adventure and hang out with REALLY nice people!
- NorthWest United States- I feel a strong need to check out that place called Washington and Oregon that are known for a rugged ocean culture and being very much like Colorado. Also their rainforests are some of the most amazing looking things I have ever seen!
- Greece- This is one of those places in Europe that I have yet to get to experience and I seriously can’t wait to go and take in the food, ancient history, architecture and culture that seems laughable and equally loveable.
There you have it, the top ten places on my list. And of course there is much much more out there I can’t wait to see!
Rebecca Lee Robinson