What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

Xcaret Park Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte

November 13, 2015
by admin

2015 Xcaret Day of the Dead Festival

The day after Bebé’s blow-out Michael Jackson birthday party we were both really tired, but missing Xcaret’s Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte, which celebrates the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) was simply not an option. We look forward to it every year.

This year I decided to paint my face at home instead of using the face paint they have available at the park, so I bought some face paint and some crayon-type things.

I imagined it would (or wanted it to) look like this… #expectation


It ended-up looking like this… #reality

how to dress for day of the dead

But well, at least I looked scary… and dead!

I knew Bebé would fall asleep in the car so I decided to paint his face when we got to the park.

There is always a beautiful Catrina greeting festival-goers at the entrance. I don’t think she did her own make-up.

Xcaret Park Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte

Bebé wanted to wear his Michael Jackson jacket to the festival.

Bebé agreed to take a selfie with Mom. This doesn’t happen as often as it used to. I really love this picture of us.


We had never done this before, but this year we lit a candle for my Grandma Arloa, who passed away about a year and a half ago. This is actually what Day of the Dead is all about, remembering loved ones who have passed on.

xcaret-day-of-the-dead-festival-4 (2)

Then we headed to a performance in the Mayan village.

Xcaret Mayan performance

Xcaret Mayan village

Afterwards we strolled through the cemetery and the area where the altars were set up.


Xcaret Festival Vida y Muerte

Xcaret cemetery

catrina Xcaret

Day of the Dead altarHow awesome does this girl look?

Xcaret Dia de Muertos Festival

Had to take a photo of these beautiful señoras in traditional Yucatecan dress.

traditional Yucatecan dress huipil

My camera does not take good pictures of the performances, but as usual, they were professional, heartwarming and entertaining.

It should be noted that all of the performances at the Xcaret Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte are in Spanish.

Oh, and we got the shot for next year’s official poster…

Dia de Muertos Cancun

November 5, 2015
by admin

Birthday Party #6: The Big One

Bebé turned six last month. Yes, six. I can’t believe it either.

You may remember his first five birthday parties, the one in Cuba, the one at our apartment, the one at the daycare, the one at school, and the one at McDonald’s.

Before I talk about his sixth birthday party, I need to explain something about birthday parties in Cancun. They are big. I mean really big.

People rent out “jardines”, or party facilities. They often have a swimming pool.

There is always a theme, like Spiderman or Elsa from Frozen. Everything fits the theme. The candy, the cake, the piñata, the show, etc. etc.

They have catered food, candy tables, shows, bouncy houses, face painting and elaborate cakes (that almost never taste good). Oh and let’s not forget the mini discos and foam parties.

These aren’t even rich people. Rich people’s parties are really big. Like MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen” big.

These parties are often for 3 year-olds that won’t remember them.

I realize that this definitely falls under the category of “first world problems” but I really did want to give Bebé at least one of those big parties if I could.

Like a good midwestern girl I cut some corners, but I don’t think he noticed.

The theme was Michael Jackson. Bebé LOVES Michael Jackson.


We had it at our condominum swimming pool, which helped with the cost. I did the “decorations”.

I wanted way more balloons, like two hundred balloons, but c’mon I’m just one person.


I rented a bouncy house. Well it wasn’t actually a bouncy house, but a slide. It was enormous. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to slide down it.


A dear friend did a Plastilina workshop, for free, which also helped with the cost. Plastilina is similar to Play-Doh. The kids loved it.

I paid a lady to make (absolutely delicious) tacos (de guisado). I am still eating them and will be for awhile. The kids had hot dogs because that’s what Bebé wanted.

A friend was my “beer madrina” (she bought half the beer). There wasn’t much beer leftover! The kids had something that could be loosely described as juice.

I got the cake at Costco. It tasted way better than most of those fancy ones and it cost about 20 usd. It was huge. I took it to work on Monday.

We threw a little soccer (futbol) into the Michael Jackson theme because well, Costco doesn’t have Michael Jackson cakes and soccer has become a big part of our lives this year.

Papi was at the party of course. I just love how he’s holding on to both of us here.

Luckily you can’t tell in the pictures but I was drenched with sweat.

I hired my next door neighbor to make Bebé Michael Jackson pants and a jacket.

He already had the hat. You know, for dancing around the house. I made the glove out of an old glove, a hole punch, glue and tin foil. The Michael Jackson “kit” at the mall cost 800 pesos and consisted of a cheap hat, cheap sunglasses and a cheap glove and a ratty looking wig. No gracias.

I bought candy and bags and ribbon and made the candy bags. There’s soccer again. A friend designed the tags.


Some friends and I set up the party before Papi arrived with Bebé. When he got there he was so excited that he ran from the house directly to the pool and jumped in.

The main attraction was the show. It was a surprise. I had told Bebé that he was going to be the show. He seemed pretty cool with the idea until we went in and changed into his MJ outfit. When we got back out to the party he said, “Mom, I can’t do it. I’m embarassed.” (sweet boy) I said, “That’s OK, because I have a surprise for you.”

He was late, but eventually the surprise showed up.


I don’t think Bebé will ever forget his 6th birthday party. I know I won’t. #MissionAccomplished

Club Med Cancun beach

October 5, 2015
by admin

Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Let’s face it. I’m lucky. I get to go to resorts for free and then write about them.

I realize it’s kind of obnoxious.

I don’t take it for granted. I could never afford to pay to stay at these resorts, and I feel very fortunate. That being said, I do hope my experiences help others decide where they should to spend their precious vacation time and money.

Bebé and I recently spent a long weekend at Club Med Cancun Yucatan. This would be a great place to spend your precious vacation time and money!

I had never been to a Club Med, so I was anxious to see how it was different from other resorts and hotels. I found the two things that really stand out at Club Med are the staff and the activities.

The staff, aka GOs, are your vacation family. They eat with you, drink with you, and participate in activities with you. Many of them perform in the nightly shows. It’s difficult not to get attached to them. They even take care of your kids.

When it comes to activities, Club Med is king. Their signature activity is the flying trapeze. Yep, I said flying trapeze. Guests, even as young as 4 years old, can learn how to fly on the trapeze and participate in a show at the end of the week if they want to. There are LOADS of other activites too, like sailing, waterskiing, snorkeling, kayaking, exercise classes, and much more.

Bebé and I followed our usual resort routine, which consists of sleeping in, breakfast, swimming and activities, lunch, a little more swimming or another activity, a nap, then dinner and the show. It works really well for us.

Bebé didn’t want to stay at the kids club alone this time, so I only left him there when I went for a much needed massage.

But enough blabbing… look at the view from our room!

Club Med Cancun Aquamarina


Club Med Yucatan Aquamarina view

We had a huge balcony with a bed-type lounger on it.

Club Med Cancun Aquamarina balcony

Speaking of our room, I should say rooms, because it was a family suite, and Bebé had his own room and bathroom! Of course he didn’t sleep there, but it was still awesome.

Club Med has one of those perfect, calm, turquoise water and white sand beaches. Heaven.

Club Med Cancun beach

Cancun beach

Club Med Cancun vacation

Some reviews said the pool was small, but it really wasn’t and it was never crowded.

Club Med Cancun activities

Club Med Cancun pool

We went kayaking twice and we tried to go snorkeling as there is a reef right off shore, but Bebé is not ready to snorkel yet. He was scared.

Club Med Cancun kayaking

Even though Bebé didn’t want to stay at the kids club by himself, we went to the kids club pool every morning.

Club Med Cancun kids club

Neither of us tried the trapeze this time, but it was great fun to watch! That is a little girl about Bebé’s age!

Club Med Cancun trapeze

There is a huge Cancun sign on the beach, which makes for awesome photos! That is the resort manager standing on the N. He was always around, always talking to guests. He even participated in the nightly shows.

Cancun vacation

Cancun all inclusive resorts

Cancun hotels

Each night after dinner (the food was really good, even at the buffet) we would have cocktails before the show. Or well, I would have cocktails and Bebé would stand on this post. It was strange, he really liked it.

Club Med


Cancun selfies


And last but not least, I just like this picture…

palm trees Cancun

Club Med is a lifestyle. People are loyal to it. Some have been all over the world to different Club Meds including places like Thailand and Egypt. Some stay for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. It’s not difficult to understand why they love Club Med so much. It’s addictive.

Chicago skyline

September 22, 2015
by admin

Escape from Cancun: Our Summer Vacation

Every summer Bebé and I visit my home state, Michigan, and my 2nd hometown, Chicago. It is a welcomed chance to escape the brutal summer heat and humidity in Cancun. Each year the trip is busy, fun, and if I’m being truthful, a little stressful, but it strengthens the bonds that become weakened when you live far away from your loved ones. It also gives Bebé a chance to connect and create memories with our family and friends.

This year instead of posting countless pictures of our family and friends, I’d like to share some of the sights we enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Bebé surfing in the Cancun airport!

Cancun airport

There is nothing like the view of Cancun from a plane!

Cancun from air

We flew into Chicago. A dear friend picked us up from the airport and we drove to Union Pier, Michigan, where some of my closest friends have cottages. It was a long travel day, especially for Bebé, but this was our reward… a day at one of Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches.

Lake Michigan

After spending the weekend in Union Pier, my mom picked us up and drove us to my brother and sister-in-law’s in Grand Haven, Michigan. We love spending time with them. It happened to be Coast Guard Festival week so we went to the carnival and the boat parade. We also spent a day in Grand Rapids visiting with my dad.

This was a flag on one of the Coast Guard ships.

American flag

My niecey learned a new trick. #model

Have to post one picture of the kiddies, they are getting so big!

Grand Haven Dairy Freeze

After 5 nights in Grand Haven my mom picked us up again (yes my mom is the best) and we went to Ludington to spend 5 nights with her.

After the customary lunch at Olive Garden (we love the soup, salad and breadsticks deal) we got this delicious and very cute cookie from Starbucks. #yum

Starbucks cookie

In Ludington we were able to spend a lot of time with family, which was wonderful. We also went “camping”, which is what Bebé calls making smores.

Michigan summer

Bebé even got to ride our cousin’s horse! #soexciting

It was so beautiful of at my cousin’s house. It reminded me of my childhood in Michigan and it made me so happy.

Michigan landscape

One day another awesome cousin took Bebé for a few hours so mom and I could shop and go out for lunch. We went to the most Mexican restaurant I have ever been too!

El Rancho Michigan

We had so much fun. I love this picture of us. Check out the giant margaritas… and that was the medium. :O


After our time in Ludington it was time to head to Chi Town! We always take the Amtrak train from Holland, Michigan to Union Station. It is an economical, safe, relaxing and enjoyable way to get there.

In Chicago we spent time with many dear friends, including a friend that I hadn’t seen in about 15 years! We also went to Navy Pier. I took this shot from the ferris wheel, which I just learned is closing so they can put in a bigger one.

Chicago skyline

We also visited some friends whose balcony has the best view in Chicago…

Lake Michigan Chicago

There is always a downside to our visit home. I don’t get to see everyone I would like to see. It always makes me feel sad and guilty. I wish they could come visit us in Cancun, where we could give them all of our attention.

We need 12 months to recover from these whirlwind trips, so I guess it’s good we only go once a year.

Mexico vacation

June 22, 2015
by admin

A Mini Vacation at Catalonia Riviera Maya

Although most of our days are filled with work and school, I’ll admit, Bebé and I are pretty spoiled! A couple of weeks ago we spent a long #HelloExperience weekend at Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort & Spa as guests of Booking Hello.

The resort is located in Puerto Aventuras, which is a gated community just south of Playa del Carmen. We arrived kind of late on Thursday night (well late for us) so we just had dinner and then went to the “glow show” which was thoroughly entertaining. (Think lights off and neon-clad dancers.)

The next morning after breakfast Bebé was raring to go to the pool. We don’t sleep in when we’re on vacation. :/

I think the resort was two hotels at one point because there are two lobbies and two pool areas, all of which are really nice. The lobbies have high palapa roofs and the pools have swim-up bars, different levels and areas and kids pools.

Riviera Maya vacation

Puerto Aventuras resorts

Riviera Maya resorts

Mexico vacation

After we checked out the pools, Bebé wanted to scope out the kids club.

Catalonia Riviera Maya kids club

To my surprise, he wanted to stay there alone! This had never happened before.

Normally I would be thrilled to have some time alone (single moms don’t get much time alone), but as I wandered off to the pool I thought, “What do I do now?” I don’t even bring books or magazines to resorts anymore because I never get a chance to read them. And you may have never noticed, but there aren’t many people on vacation alone in an all inclusive resort. Everyone already has someone to talk to.

So I had a mojito at the Pure Chill Out beach bar.

Cancun resorts

And I took some pictures.

palapa Riviera Maya

Then I went and spied on Bebé collecting sea shells with the kids club.

Catalonia Riviera Maya Mini Club

Of course we did have plenty of time together. When I went to see if he was ready to hang with Mamá he said, “What took you so long?” :)

Picture taking has become a bit of an issue during our mini vacations. Bebé isn’t as willing to pose as I would like, and he isn’t the greatest photographer yet. But we did get these two good shots of each other. A good one together didn’t happen this time.



But let me tell you more about the resort! There are various beach areas. The biggest one is quite rocky and there is some seaweed but it’s still a good area for snorkeling. The lagoon is perfect for swimming.

beach Puerto Aventuras

beach Catalonia Riviera Maya

Puerto Aventuras hotels

At night after dinner (the resort offers two buffet and three a la carte restaurants) there’s plenty to do at Catalonia Riviera Maya. We love shows and went every night. The Mr. Catalonia show was hilarious but my favorite was the Latin Show, which was different types of tropical dancing. #loved

On Mexican night they had Mexican games, a piñata and an auction around the pool.

Mexican night

There is live music in the lobby bar some nights and a disco that’s open every night after the show.

I want to thank Hello Booking for the invitation and the sweet surprises they left in our room.

PicMonkey Collage



Book through Hello Booking and get the #HelloExperience at Catalonia Riviera Maya or Catalonia Playa Maroma. You won’t regret it!

Booking Hello is taking care of business with their online platform that’ll have you stress-free and easily finding a vacation in minutes! Hello offers its members unique services and prices within the market and access to special discounted rates in over 80,000 hotels, car rentals, helicopters, airplanes, yachts, theme parks and cruise companies to travel around the world. Hello is a relatively young and evolving company with international expansion projects to offer the best deals to members in some of the main tourist destinations in the world.

June 1, 2015
by admin

La Habichuela Sunset Restaurant in Cancun

After living in Cancun for 14 years, I finally dined at La Habichuela in March, and now I’ve also dined at La Habichuela Sunset! So far it’s been a good year as far as eating is concerned!

La Habichuela Sunset is the sleeker little sister of the original La Habichuela, which is situated in a building that was once a house in downtown Cancun. Sunset was custom designed and is located in the Hotel Zone on the lagoon.

Again, the cuisine, service and ambiance are stellar here. They even offer the same menu. However this time I noticed that it has a key to help diners choose between Mayan, Mexican, Caribbean and International dishes.

Since we went for margaritas last time, we tried mojitos this time around.

dining Cancun

And a scrumptious ceviche mixto (mixed) to start…

seafood Cancun

I ordered the Seafood Parade as the main course. #delicious

seafood restaurant Cancun

The restaurant is very large, with indoor and outdoor sections on many different levels. It has a dreamy, celestial feel, especially when the sun goes down and the twinkling lights come on.

restaurants Cancun

fine dining Cancun

Photo: La Habichuela

If you want to witness one of Cancun’s rosy sunsets, have a drink inside, upstairs, before dinner. This will give you the best possible view.

Mexican food Cancun

Caribbean food Cancun

Photo: La Habichuela

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays La Habichuela offers a Mayan show at 8 pm. It really adds to the entire experience.

Mayan show Cancun

Photo: La Habichuela

This dancer came around before the show and offered to paint a Mayan symbol on guests’ faces. Isn’t she gorgeous?

Mayan dancers Cancun

Mayan food Cancun

On Thursdays they feature live jazz.

Oh and we loved the photographer, he took a picture of us with our hair blowing in the wind!

Cancun vacation

So, which La Habichuela did I like better? I really enjoyed both of them, but I think the original downtown wins with me, only because it’s smaller and has a more intimate feel. Bigger, showier La Habichuela Sunset is perfect for the Hotel Zone.

Garrafon Park infinity pool

May 21, 2015
by admin

A Day at Garrafon Park on Isla Mujeres

Last month big sister was here for another visit. I really wanted her to see Isla Mujeres, so we went on the Royal Garrafon VIP Tour which is run by Dolphin Discovery.

Garrafon Park is located on the southern end of Isla Mujeres, close to Punta Sur, the southernmost point of the island and the highest point on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s also the first place the sun touches the country of Mexico each morning.

The park is built into the side of the island, and the views are absolutely spectacular. It was really windy the day we went, so we didn’t go snorkeling or kayaking, and since I had done the zipline before, I didn’t do that either. But the good thing about Garrafon Park is that it is a place where you can spend the day relaxing and taking in the breathtaking views.

The boat ride to Isla Mujeres is always wonderful.

ferry Isla Mujeres

boat to Isla Mujeres

Garrafon Royal Tour

I really wanted the kids to see Punta Sur, and the Mayan Ruin that is there, so we headed there as soon as we got to Garrafon. It was really beautiful, but it was much farther than I thought and really, really hot outside. There is a bike tour, so that might be a better option next time.



Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

When we got back to the park we went directly to the VIP deck. There is an indoor lounge, a small deck with a pool and a larger deck that is only for adults.

The view from the adults only deck…

Garrafon VIP

Bebé wanted to hang out in the larger infinity pool downstairs so we spent most of our time there.

Garrafon Park infinity pool


I am so proud of myself, I totally photoshopped a guy out of this picture…


There is a buffet restaurant that is included with the tour, but we decided to eat at the snack bar, which serves hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, and the like (also included).

Then Bebé spotted the bungee trampoline. We spent about an hour here!

activities Garrafon Park

It was a little hazy, maybe because it was so windy, but here is a view of the zip lines. They are the only ones in the area that take you over the Caribbean Sea.

Garrafon Park zip line

The Royal Garrafon VIP Tour is a convenient way for vacationers to see a little of Isla Mujeres. Oh and there is beer on the boat ride back to Cancun… score!

Moon Palace Grand pool

May 15, 2015
by admin

We say YES to the Moon Palace in Cancun

A couple of weeks ago Bebé and I spent 3 glorious nights at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa All Inclusive Beach Resort. Oh how I have grown to love all inclusive resorts!

To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Moon Palace. It’s huge… three full all inclusive resorts in one. But…

it was spectacular!

The Moon Palace is made up of the Sunrise, Nizuc and Grand sections. We stayed in the Grand section, which is much smaller and quieter than the other two. It was the perfect place to go back to after a busy day and/or fun evening.

However, when we weren’t in our HUGE room, we spent most of our time at Nizuc and Sunrise. It is a lovely walk along the beach (there’s a boardwalk) during the day between sections. We would walk to Nizuc, spend awhile there, and then continue on to Sunrise.

Our room

Moon Palace Grand rooms

The Grand’s pool

Moon Palace Grand pool

The beach

Moon Palace Grand beach

Moon Palace beach

Photo by Bebé


Nizuc pool

Moon Palace Nizuc pool

A dramatic pose??


Bebé and I both LOVED the waterslide at Nizuc. He is no longer afraid of big waterslides and went down at least 50 times.

Moon Palace waterslide

Can you see him in the water near the bottom of the slide?

Moon Palace pools

Bebé loves to play basketball, but the pool was too deep for him to stand, so the activities staff moved it so he could shoot baskets for awhile. I found the Moon Palace staff to be friendly, helpful and courteous. They always went out of their way to help, for instance, in the a la carte restaurants they would bring Bebé chicken nuggets (yes, yes I know, I am a horrible mother) even though they weren’t on the menu.

Moon Palace Nizuc section

The FlowRider, a surfing machine (for lack of a better description) is in the Sunrise section. I was pretty sure Bebé was not going to try it, the water is very powerful, but after watching for 10-15 minutes, he wanted to know if he could do it. Again, the activities staff were awesome and helped him so he could try both the boogie and surf boards. (I didn’t post the video of the first time he tried it where he was kind of terrified and half yelling, “Mom! Mom!”)

Moon Palace FlowRider

The Sunrise section also has this little waterpark for kids…

Moon Palace Sunrise

The Playrooms or kids clubs were so cool. I should know because we spent hours in them. There is a very large one at Nizuc and a smaller one at Sunrise. There is also a teens club called Wired.

Moon Palace Nizuc Playroom

Moon Palace Sunrise Playroom

Each night (after a nap) we would get all dressed up, go to a nice dinner (gotta go a la carte all the way, really yummy) and go to a show. Bebé loves a show! The first night we saw the circus show, the second night Michael Jackson, and the third night traditional Mexican dancing (which Bebé chose over the fire show). All of the performances were really professional.

The second night I didn’t feel like going straight back to the room after the show, so we hung out in the lobby bar of Nizuc and I drank wine and Bebé played with his tablet and ate chips (again, crappy mom). It was so much fun and he is so spoiled. The lobby bars are surprisingly lively and it’s fun to spend time in them.

After I exhausted the resort’s supply of white wine, I had a margarita.

margarita on the rocks

My Bebé is really fun to go on vacation with (most of the time, let’s be honest he is five and has his moments).


Almost forgot, one of the best things about the resort is the cafe they have in both the Nizuc and Sunrise sections (the one is Nizuc is better) where you can get pastries, cookies (get the plain ones, they are to die for), ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, crepes… to eat there or to go. HEAVEN.

Feel like staying at the Moon Palace now? Yeah you totally should!!

Cancun restaurants

March 23, 2015
by admin

La Habichuela Restaurant in Cancun

I have lived in Cancun for 14 years, and I have always wanted to dine at La Habichuela, a legendary restaurant in downtown Cancun that has been open since 1977.

The owner, Armando Pezzoti, opened the restaurant in what was once his home. It’s almost as old as Cancun is!

I finally got the chance to dine at La Habichuela, and I’m happy to share that it was worth the wait. This Cancun dining institution lived up to it’s stellar reputation. The restaurant is located on Calle Margaritas in Parque las Palapas.

Cancun restaurants

La Habichuela is known for it’s cuisine, service and ambiance, and it delivers on all three counts. The garden is so charming!

outdoor dining Cancun

Cancun dining

Ordering a margarita is a must. Please don’t order a frozen one. A margarita should be enjoyed on the rocks with a salt rim.

downtown Cancun restaurants

The food was incredible. Really. The dishes, based on family recipes, are prepared with tender care and incorporate Mexican and Mayan ingredients, some of which have been used for thousands of years and have rich histories in Mexican culture. The service is attentive yet not annoying.

seafood Cancun

tacos Cancun

There are so many wonderful choices. It would be a good idea to dine with a lot of friends and share. The Cocobichuela (entree, lobster and shrimp in curry sauce served in a coconut with rice and tropical fruits) and the Kukulcan Pyramid (dessert, drool) should not be missed.


desserts Cancun

Of course if you’re not on the mood for a chocolate pyramid, they offer loads of other scrumptious desserts.

La Habichuela actually invented the Mayan coffee, which I missed this time, but I won’t make that mistake again. I’ll try it at La Habichuela Sunset, located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Can’t wait!

I want to thank my amiga @CancunCanuck for this photo, and for suffering through this experience with me.

Cancun vacation

March 2, 2015
by admin

Xcaret Park and the New Xcaret Mexico Espectacular Night Show

We’ve been to Xcaret countless times, but it never gets old. The park is huge and you’d have to spend a few days in a row there to really take advantage of all it has to offer.

I really wanted Bebé’s big sister (she has been here for an extended visit, her first time outside of Cuba) to see Xcaret , especially the new night show, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular, and since she is leaving to return to Cuba soon, we went last Saturday.

After walking through the tempting gift shop (seriously they have the cutest stuff in there) we took the customary arrival picture. Notice the flamingos and parrots in the background.

Hello Xcaret!

Cancun activities

Since I now know the park pretty well now, and we arrived in the afternoon and didn’t plan on doing any of the (awesome) water activities, I knew we wanted to hit the aquarium first, but not before we took some pictures on the ancient Mayan structures that are part of the park.

Mayan ruins Cancun

When we arrived at the aquarium, they were starting a “swim with the sharks” session and Bebé was loving it, so we hung around there for awhile and then headed inside.

coral Cancun

Next we visited the sea turtles. They are sooo big. Really mindblowing.

On our way to the cemetary, we stopped by the beach area. I have never been able to take advantage of this part of Xcaret. It is really beautiful.

Playa del Carmen vacation

Playa del Carmen activities

Then we took a nice hike through the jungle on the stone paths (one must wear comfortable walking shoes to Xcaret) to my favorite part of the park, the cemetary. This is almost a pyramid-type structure, with seven levels for the days of the week. There are 365 graves that symbolize each day of the year, and at the main entrance the staircase has 52 steps representing each week of the year.

Riviera Maya activities

things to do in Riviera Maya

attractions Cancun


I love this selfie! Check out the sweet-looking tree growing out of my head! It reminds me of the one I took on my friends balcony in Chicago last summer… another happy accident.


Then we headed to the Mayan Village, just steps away, and got a good seat for the Dance of the Mayan Village, which is truly stunning.

Mayan Village Xcaret

It was now about 5:30pm, and there was so much more to see! After the Dance of the Mayan Village we saw the equestrian show, and went 80 meters up in the scenic tower, something Bebé and I had never done before. Then it was time to get our snacks and seats for Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.

And it certainly is spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring. We hadn’t seen the new version of the show yet, which has been infused with hi-tech elements, but not in a way that takes away from the beauty of the show.

The show begins with the entire audience holding lit candles, including Bebé. Love his face here.


Most of my photos of the show were unshareable, so I’ll share a few of Xcaret’s pictures.


Riviera Maya attractions

Photo: Xcaret Park

Playa del Carmen attractions

Photo: Xcaret Park

voladores de papantla

Photo: Xcaret Park

Cancun entertainment

Photo: Xcaret Park

The show is over two hours long and incorporates some 300 dancers and actors. It inspires chills, laughs, and sometimes tears, and filled me with pride for my adopted country.

xcaret night show