I’ll Take the Adventure

mexico, musings, Travel, wedding

True story, my engagement ring only cost $60. My wedding ring was inherited from my grandma. I made my own wedding dress, bridal bouquet, invitations, programs, and endless other details. True story, I wanted the honeymoon more than I wanted the wedding.

Not that I didn’t love the celebration of my marriage or being with my partner. I absolutely adored seeing my family and dancing the night away in one of my favorite places in the world. My wedding week and my memories of it are absolute treasures.

That being said, we cut expenses so that we would have the additional adventure of a honeymoon. That to me, to us, was worth so much more than a fancy ring or having a designer wedding gown. We wanted the fun, without the material costs. Which is why we chose the adventure.

We went to Mexico exactly a year ago from today, and it was one of the best trips I have taken. Mexico had the perfect blend of relaxation and luxury, with the adventure, history, and wilds that we both needed. Husband could sit on the beach with a book and cocktail, and I could go hiking around the resort to find monkeys and coati. Mexico was absolutely divine.

Even today I think of a “fancier” ring if we have money. And then I think of what I love more than all my jewelry and material goods, and that will always be a new adventure!

Happy Travels!

More on Mexico

Tulum Snorkeling

Sand is Caracol Resort

Mayan Ceremonies

Chichen Itza

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Mexico Adventure- Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Caribbean, love, mexico, Travel

sandos.jpg

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.

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Added bonuses to the resort:

  • It’s wonderfully walkable, meaning you get some exercise to burn off the alcohol.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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Honeymoon Planning for Opposites

Travel, wedding
Ryan and I are a classic case of opposites attract. While we have a lot in common, we also seem to balance one another out. While I think we should go hiking for a month in the Amazon, Ryan more practically suggests a weekend camping trip and a tropical resort. Less chance of Malaria that way.
So when it came to planning our honeymoon my adventurous nature thought something along the lines of backpacking or hiking for a week seemed like a great vacation. Ryan disagreed.
Ryan’s idea of a great honeymoon meant another cruise like we did two years previously, with all of our needs met and no need to go anywhere or do anything.
While I didn’t hate our cruise, it would not be my first choice in travel again. I wasn’t keen on hoards of wealthy Americans being dumped off to gawk at poor foreigners that moved chairs for pennies and had minimal rights. This is an argument for another day, but long story short, I wanted something more engaging and more cultural.
To find the happy medium, we needed to narrow down a world of choices. In retrospect I don’t know many people that would find camping for four days, hiking 30 miles, and not showering in that time to be particularly romantic.
At one point we talked about Japan, but when we realized the cost associated and the jet lag that would be involved in a week we knew that it wasn’t the best option.
So we had a lot of extremes and needed to find a middle ground. For me, in many ways, the honeymoon was almost the more important part. We wanted an adventure to really remember and we wanted something we could realistically ask for presents for.
This opposite thing actually comes in handy, as we tend to be able to find a healthy blend in our lives. I want to fly off to Madagascar, and Ryan reminds us that we really only have the money for Mexico.
Which brings us to Mexico. Where we will be headed to in about a week, and where we will get to stay for a week. We have picked a resort in Playa Del Carmen, all inclusive. Meaning Ryan has the ability to sit all day, read a book, eat, and sip margaritas. While I have the ability to explore some history, culture, and a chance to really embrace one place. We both love the beach, and outdoor adventuring such as snorkeling, swimming, ATV’s, and jet skis. Which the resort and our excursions will cover. There are cenotes and resort performances that embrace the Mayan culture of the region. All around, it gives us the chance to get something and everything we actually want.
Ultimately, it means compromise, and though that word is tainted, it meant trying to combine our interests into one perfect trip. My advice is the following:
1. Research what is available, and keep looking for the best rate and things to do.
2. Make a list of “musts” and decide how to hit all of those points.
3. Find what you both have in common and find somewhere that you can hit those and that also has something for each of you.
4. Ask a travel agent, read magazines, shop for deals, and see what you find. We found our resort through Southwest Vacations at a great price and with fantastic reviews for what we wanted.
5. Ask friends and family where they have been, what they liked, what the options are to customize a vacation.
6. Finally, if you can’t decide somewhere, ask for money and save it until you can figure out where to go. There is no harm in waiting a month, 6 months or a year or two until you can take the best trip possible.
 
Happy Travels!