Yes, we just got home – and that vacation was wonderful, relaxing, and totally what I had hoped for! A quick recap of my 5 favorite parts of the trip – I highly recommend replicating them if you happen to find yourself in Quintana Roo soon!
- Millé Spa at Excellence Riviera Cancun: I know I know, you’re all thinking “aren’t all spas the same? Why should I check out this one?” Let me start by saying that if you want infinite relaxation, take a relaxing vacation for 8 days, AND loop in a spa experience on the same trip. Mind numbing. All Millé spa treatments include an hour in their ‘aqua wellness circuit’ – I read this, and was concerned – I cannot swim laps, nor did I want to (never fear, that’s not what’s involved). The Aqua wellness circuit features a series of steam, sauna, pool, jacuzzi, and water jet relaxation techniques, designed to stimulate relaxation, before you ever walk in for your treatment. Skeptical, I tested it out before my ‘Ultimate Relaxation’ ritual (hot stone massage, head massage and hair treatment, and cocoa mud foot scrub + massage) – and was really impressed. Such a great experience – a must try! Bonus? The view from the spa looks out over the resort – lovely and calming. If you read through the daily resort newsletter, the spa offers daily specials and discounts throughout your stay!
- Self serve Ice Cream cones by the pool: This was legitimately my favorite perk of the resort – and since it’s only available from 10am-sunset, you have to strategize! Because Excellence (our resort) was all inclusive, people were ordering ostentatious drinks by the pool and lobster room service at midnight – but me? I was happy to do a ‘drive-through’ past the ice cream machine at any hour of the day. I thought of my ice cream consumption as a cooling off tactic, really. There was even one day when I had two cones! I know – that was a lot. But it was sooooo good! If you stay here, definitely check out the ice cream machine. You will not be disappointed – and now I’m sitting here at work, considering having one installed at my desk. Hmmmm… #VanillaChocolateSwirlForTheWin
- Renting a golf cart to explore Isla Mujeres: Allow me to start by saying that this is definitely a day trip, and is not for the faint of heart. We chartered a cab from our resort to the seaport in Cancun (a 30 minute ride), and then bought tickets for the Ferry to Isla Mujeres – an island 20 minutes off the coast. The ride was pleasant enough, and we were even serenaded (in English!) by an acoustic guitarist on the top outdoor deck – excellente! When we arrived at the port in Isla Mujeres, it was complete bedlam – be prepared to be overwhelmed. Somehow, we found a street vendor renting golf carts, and rented one for a few hours to drive around the island. They handed us a paper map, and we were off! It was really interesting to see how the island locals live, and visit the ruins and the lighthouse that are still there. We also saw about 100 iguanas (ew, not my favorite, more on that later), and got some great wind in our faces. We finally checked out the beach on the north side of the island – which was pristine – and headed out on a 3:30 ferry. Definitely a good exploration trip! Pro tip: have lots of small bills to shop (and haggle) at the artisan markets by the ferry – they have great finds and souvenirs!
- The beachfront palapas at our resort: Another GREAT thing about all inclusive resorts is the assortment of amenities you can expect from the property. Our stay included pool floaties in all pools to hang onto (we liked the lazy river), as well as beach chairs under wonderful thatch umbrellas (with drink service), called ‘Palapas’. We spent at LEAST 10 hours under these during our trip – and the breeze off the ocean was heavenly. They also have full-sun cushy beach beds right at the water line, perfect for tanning and afternoon siestas. Total relaxation.
- The Aztec Ruins at Chichen Itza: This was the BEST day of our trip! We learned so much, and had a fantastic time on our tour (through Seasons Tours, the Excellence exclusive provider). The shuttle was lovely, and 2 hours later, we hopped off with 5 other couples to explore the ruins, under the helpful direction of our tour guide. He was lovely and funny and very well spoken, and while we would have been lost without him there, he gave us enough space and time to explore on our own as well! The trip was capped off with a stop at a swimming hole ‘Cenote’, and a fantastic local lunch at an Aztec restaurant. Highly recommend if you’re looking to do a day trip – and we got really lucky with weather, because we went on a cloudy day that wasn’t too hot. Happy travels!