What am I still doing in Cancun?

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

November 29, 2017
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Seadust Cancun Family Resort: A Pleasant Surprise!

A couple of weeks ago Bebé and I were treated to another wonderful mini vacation, this time at the Seadust Cancun Family Resort, formerly the Great Parnassus Family Resort. I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to think. The resort recently changed owners and I had read some reviews that were less than stellar, but I was very pleasantly surprised and Bebé loved it. It’s a wonderful resort for families.

People always say that the resort looks and feels like a cruise ship. Now I have never been on a cruise ship, and I didn’t get that feeling at all, but I can kind of see why people say that. What do you think?

Photo: Seadust Cancun Family Resort

Either way, the lobby and restaurant area are really beautiful.

We got there are on Friday evening after Bebé’s soccer game. The bellboy was very friendly. He even wrote his extension on the pad of paper in the room just in case we needed something. That was a first!

There was a nice surprise waiting in the room for us.

That first evening we had dinner at El Maguey, the Mexican restaurant and the only one not located in the central area of the hotel. It was excellent! And really pretty!

 

In fact, all of the restaurants were quite good. We also had dinner at Samurai, the Asian restaurant and Big Ben, the steak house. Other restaurants open for dinner include La Maison de Michelle, a French restaurant which is only for adults, and Portofino, an Italian buffet restaurant.

We always dress up a bit for dinner! It makes a vacation feel even more special.

We never had lunch or dinner at Magnus, the main buffet, but we had breakfast there two mornings and it was good, a pretty typical all-inclusive resort buffet.

There is also Le Creperie, which serves crepes, ice cream and donuts and is open in the evenings, and Manhattan Deli, which offers late night snacks. We had lunch at the snack bars. There is one at the main pool and one by the waterpark.

They also offer 24-hour room service. We ordered it twice, once when Bebé was starving before bed and once for breakfast. For breakfast you must place a sign on your doorknob with your order before 3 am and you can choose what time it will be delivered.

The resort also has many bars. Took full advantage of that in the evenings!

The next morning we could fully appreciate our room and its view. (Our room looked just like this one sans the yellow things on the bed.)

Photo: Seadust Cancun Family Resort

They are renovating all of the rooms, floor by floor. The room had a phone, television with cable, toiletries, safe and iron and ironing board. It is important to note that WiFi is free in the lobby but there is an extra charge to have WiFi service throughout the resort. The signal is very good. There was a mini bar in the room but there is also a daily charge to have it filled. Different packages are available.

This was our view from the balcony. *Sigh*

There is actually undeveloped land (almost unheard of in the Hotel Zone) next to the resort so we could see the lagoon as well.

We didn’t get any towel animals this time, but I loved this… so pretty!

Of course, we spent most of our time at the beach, pool and waterpark, not in the room.

The beach is perfection… the Cancun beach everyone imagines.

The first day it was much to rough to go in the water. See how you can’t really tell from which direction the waves are coming? Bad sign! (Note: Pay attention to the beach flags. It can be very tempting to go swimming anyway, but it’s very risky. Lifeguards constantly have to rescue people and there are drownings all the time. Respect the sea… it’s very powerful!)

Bebé didn’t care one bit. He met some nice people and played beach soccer with them. (Click on the video to play.)

 

The next day it was much calmer.

Each morning we spent some time on the beach, then headed to the pool, which is divided into three infinity levels. There were always fun activities taking place. I did aqua aerobics and Bebé played water polo.

They use the towel card system. There is also an adult only pool but I never visited it.

One thing we loved about the pool was the fact that the staff pushed around a little “paleta” (popcicle) cart and handed out authentic Mexican flavored paletas. Perfect for a hot day.

After pool time we always headed to the waterpark. This is the area where the baby (18 months to 4 yrs.), kids (5 to 12 yrs.) and teen club are located. There is actually an entire family area above the waterpark with a snack bar as well. One of our favorite things about this area was the popcorn machine! Bebé loves popcorn, which was also available at the shows every night.

Bebé almost never wants to spend time alone at the kids club, but a friend recently stayed as Seadust and her 5 year old loved it. They keep the kids busy all day. He did however enjoy the xbox in the teen club since we don’t have one at home.

We had a blast on the big waterslide (adults can use it too) and Bebe liked the waterpark.

This is the baby club.

Every evening after dinner we went to the show. We saw the Fantasy Show which was fun and a bit wacky. We absolutely loved the Grease show, which was lip-synced but still very well done. Sunday night we went to the karaoke bar which is a small nightclub. Bebé played pool with some other kids and Mami sang two songs!

The resort also has a minigolf course (go in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening to avoid heat stroke) and best of all, a zip line for kids! Bebé was really nervous but as soon as he landed he said, “Otra vez!” or “Again!” There is also a climbing wall but he didn’t try that.

Seadust also offers a full service spa, which looked really pretty, and a fitness center.

This is not the newest, fanciest resort in town (Bonus: it’s not the most expensive either!) but we had an awesome mini vacation at Seadust Cancun Family Resort! I would definitely recommend it for families and in fact, a friend from the U.S. has already booked her next family vacation there.

November 6, 2017
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Catering in Cancun

I love having friends over but often times we end up ordering pizza for dinner because I just don’t have the time or I’m too lazy to cook.

The solution? Catering! It’s not something I can afford to do, but you might be able to, and Jen, formerly the owner of The Alley/El Callejon in Cancun, has started catering events, parties and get-togethers with her company Catering Cancun.

Jen catered my casual get-together last weekend, and it was super convenient, a full meal delivered to my home. Our menu consisted of:

Appetizers

Crab dip

Fresh veggies and dip

Bruschetta

Dinner

Beef and vegetable kabobs and rice

Cole slaw

Pasta salad

Dessert

Banana split kabobs

Portions were huge and I had tons of leftovers.

Check out Jen’s website and blog and here is a cool PDF with her most popular dishes. She also offers transportation and concierge services.

October 27, 2017
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An Adventurous Beach Day at Isla Blanca, Cancun

Last weekend my friend was visiting from the U.S. (I have known her since 1st grade!) and I wanted do something new and special. We had never been to Isla Blanca, a virgin, off-the-beaten-path (really) beach to the north of Cancun, so I thought it would be the perfect time to check it out. Bebé brought a friend as well.

To get to Isla Blanca you basically drive north on Bonampak Avenue, the first street in downtown Cancun, and keep going until you literally can’t go any further.

It was an interesting drive, made up of new highway ( it’s super depressing, tons of new hotels are being built in the area north of Cancun, which is technically Isla Mujeres, even though it’s on the mainland) where you couldn’t even tell if you were on the correct side of the road to bumpy dirt tracks with huge holes in them, and everything in between. From downtown Cancun it probably took us 45 minutes to get to Isla Blanca.

There are a few signs before you get to the very end that offer beach access, but I recommend simply driving until you can’t drive anymore. You will literally run into a small sand “parking lot” where you can pay 35 pesos to park. It was almost full and the elderly man who was collecting money suggested we park in the other section (literally on the beach) by driving on a suspicious two track that looked like it went directly into the lagoon. I declined and we squeezed into the last available spot.

We brought everything we needed. A huge sheet, towels, food, water, sunblock, toys, rafts, beer (shhh… more about that later) because there isn’t much around. There is something that could loosely be called a “beach club” with mismatched, run-down tables, chairs, umbrellas and palapas, but we didn’t check if they sold food or anything else.

We walked about 50 yards past the “beach club” and set up camp. If the boys hadn’t been with us I would have walked further but after the ride, etc. they weren’t up for the walk.

We had left the umbrella in the car because it was kind of cloudy but we found a nice tree that could provide some shade.

day trip Cancun

“isla” means island, but Isla Blanca is more like a peninsula. On one side there is a beach facing the open ocean (above) and Isla Mujeres can be seen to the south, and on the other side a huge lagoon.

lagoon Isla Blanca Cancun

For a better idea of where and what Isla Blanca is, are are an aerial view and a map.

Map: buycancun.com

Right in front of our little camp, there was a huge, dead sea turtle. Heartbreaking. Hopefully it died of natural causes.

sea turtles Cancun

At one point it rained on us for about 15 minutes. Bebé was a little dismayed but when we pointed out that he was already wet anyway, he got over it!

Our things dried quickly in the sun and sea air, and we had a wonderful day. We played football, the boys played in the sand and we had lunch. The Caribbean was rough that day, but they had a blast “surfing” right on the shoreline.

Soon it was time to head home. I didn’t want to try to find my way home in the dark and the Caribbean was getting super rough. My friend took this time lapse video of the road back to civilization. This trip was actually about 30 minutes long.

 

I had heard that they put up roadblocks to check for drunk drivers on the one road that leaves Isla Blanca, but I figured they probably normally do that on Sundays when tons of locals go. However, there it was! My first alcoholmetro. Luckily they didn’t even test me. I think it was obvious we weren’t drunk and they saw the boys in the back seat (Bebé was totally passed out and his friend used his teddy bear to wave at the officer) but take note! I’m sure they are there every weekend. If you get busted (the level is VERY low, .04) they will take your car and take you to jail.
We will definitely visit Isla Blanca again. In fact it just might be my new place to take all visitors, as Isla Mujeres has gotten very crowded!
concerts Cancun

September 30, 2017
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Backstreet Boys in Cancun, Alright!

I’m really excited about this one!! Backstreet Boys and “awe-inclusive” resort Moon Palace Cancun are teaming up for an awesome end of the year fiesta.

concerts Cancun

Backstreet Boys are the most popular boy band of all time and now Cancun will have the opportunity to sing along with all of their hits (I know you know all the words too! ♫“Quit playin’ games with my heart” ♫), when they perform their “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life” concert at the Moon Palace Arena on December 29 and 30, 2017.

They were originally scheduled to appear only on December 29, but the show quickly sold out, so a second show was added for the next day. Tickets for the second show went on sale this week.

Best of all, Backstreet Boys still consists of the original members including Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson. Which one was your favorite?

events Cancun

Moon Palace is a great place to see a concert. Their events are always very well organized. I’ve seen both Usher and Ricky Martin at Moon Palace. They have hosted many shows as well. Last December Bebé and I saw The Illusionists, which will appear at Moon Palace again from December 22, 2017 to January 3, 2018.

Cancun all-inclusive resorts

Cancun-Christmas-events

Palace Resorts are some of my favorite hotels. We have stayed at AAA Four Diamond Moon Palace, Beach Palace and Playacar Palace, and we loved them all. They have all of the bases covered when it comes to the perfect all-inclusive vacation.

Tickets for the “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life” concert in Cancun range from $89 USD (Bronze) to $459 USD (VIP). Palace Resorts guests will receive a discount and may purchase tickets in advance. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the show starts at 9:00 p.m.

Backstreet Boys concerts 2017

Note: Palace Resorts is currently offering its Kids/Teens Stay Free Promotion. Families can bring kids age 17 or younger, and their kids’ stay is on the house.

Palace Resorts guests who book a stay of five nights or more are privy to the most valuable vacation promotion on record – $1,500 Resort Credit.

July 27, 2017
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Le Basilic: Cancun’s AAA Five Diamond Restaurant

Last Saturday my Cancun bestie and I were treated to dinner at AAA Five Diamond restaurant Le Basilic. This is the restaurant I wasn’t able to dine at during my stay at the Grand Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun a few weeks ago, because Bebé fell asleep.

Actually, it worked out perfectly, because this is not a restaurant for fidgety 7 year olds. In fact, children are not permitted, but they were going to make an exception for Bebé. There is a strict dress code as well. No jeans, flip-flops, shorts, t-shirts, etc.

So anyway, mommies’ night out was fantastic. It is no wonder Le Basilic has earned the Five Diamond award from AAA. It is exquisite.

The restaurant serves French Mediterranean cuisine prepared by Chef Henri Charvet. The ambiance is formal yet inviting. A pianist plays just loud enough that you can relax and listen to the music and just quietly enough that you can have a conversation.

 

Photo: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

Dinner began with a cocktail. We chose a mojito which was made with dark rum.

We ordered a Sauvignon Blanc to drink with dinner and then the deliciousness began to arrive. The service was impeccable, attentive yet non intrusive.

There were four kinds of bread offered at the beginning of the meal. They were all excellent, but I liked the onion bread the best. There were also three kinds of butter!

Before the appetizers arrived the chef sent out this amuse bouche. Yummy!

There were many surprises like this throughout the meal, a favorite was the basil popsicle palate cleanser, so it may be a good idea to share an appetizer. I know this because we actually ordered two. haha I had the foie gras ravioli appetizer and my friend had the cannelloni. Both were very good.

For the main course the chef suggested this beef dish with black pepper sauce and au gratin potatoes. We both ordered it and it was SO good! Perfection! The beef literally melted in your mouth and the potatoes were so creamy. I want more!

There were more surprises after the main course, including this highlight made with berries in a clear cardamom sauce. So fun and so refreshing.

The creme brulee with berries, chocolate crumble and pistacho ice cream is a must for dessert. We shared it.

After dessert the chef sent out another surprise and in addition we were each given a little box of chocolates.

I feel so lucky to have been able to dine at Le Basilic. It was a wonderful meal!

July 17, 2017
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Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

Bebé and I recently spent a long weekend at the fantastic (no exaggeration) Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun.

I had spent the day at Grand Coral Beach before but I had never stayed there. It is not an all-inclusive resort, and it really has a different feel, more like an upscale hotel. We have been to some very nice all-inclusive resorts, but everything at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is just a step above.

The Lobby

The lobby is beautiful. It has a feeling of grandeur.

The Grand Club

The top floors of the resort make up the Grand Club. I’m not sure how I got lucky enough to get a room up there, but it was luxurious. The Grand Club rooms come with access to the Grand Club Lounge, an elegant space high above Cancun with lush carpet (I really miss carpet) and living room and dining room furnishings. There are gourmet snacks available all day and a bar with a bartender. There is a separate area with special food for kids. It is quiet, relaxing and comfortable. It. Is. Fabulous.

Grand Club guests also have access to a special sundeck and beach club.

Oh… and private check-in and check-out. No waiting in line in reception in the lobby.

For those who are interested, the resort has just created one all-inclusive option, the Grand Club Unlimited Experience.

The Room

Our room was gorgeous. I loved the colors!

It contained a safe, flat screen television with satellite programming, a hairdryer (not sure if there was a flat iron), iron with ironing board, a telephone, a HUGE bathroom, toiletries, a living room and small dining area.

The room also had a fully stocked minibar that included beer, water, juice, soft drinks, liquor, wine and snacks. But remember, the resort is not all-inclusive, so these treats come at an extra charge. The WiFi was good and is available at an extra charge as well.

The view from our balcony was breathtaking.

The Beach and Pools

This actually may be the best pool-beach combo of any hotel in Cancun. The beach is wide and uncrowded with aqua blue, calm water. It’s great for children. We LOVED the raft out in front and swam out to it twice. Bebé is really starting to enjoy swimming in the ocean and he loved the challenge of swimming out to he raft where the water was way over his head.

The pool runs the entire length of the hotel and it is HUGE, but it doesn’t feel huge because it’s divided into sections. There are waterfalls, water spouts and swim-up pool bars.

We spent the first day at the pool below our room and the second day and the morning of the third day at the other end where there is a large swim-up pool bar, a wading pool for kids and a swing set. (Notice my pretty Boutique Mexico beach bag.)

There are cabaña beds available for rent around the pool and on the beach (1,400 pesos or about 78 usd). Pink is my favorite color and I love Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun’s pink towels. No towel cards either! There were always plenty of lounge chairs available and although there were a few “chair savers” most chairs were available when we arrived at the pool each morning. The music played around the pool is chill lounge-type music, played at a low volume. Very relaxing.

During the day waiters come around and hand out little treats like quesadillas, fruit shish kebobs and popsicles!

The Cocktails

Cocktails don’t usually get their own category in my blogs posts, but in this case, they deserve one. All of the cocktails I had at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun were excellent, like the mojito in the Grand Club Lounge and the Cadillac margarita in La Joya (more about the restaurants later), but the tropical-vacation-dreams-come-true drinks I had by the pool were not only good, they were really pretty.

Little touches like umbrellas, fruit, or the actual drink in a pineapple or coconut make a cocktail memorable, and they are great for taking vacation photos!

The Restaurants

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is home to six restaurants. La Joya is a gourmet Mexican restaurant. I absolutely loved it. Both the meal and the Cadillac margaritas were delicious. Plus, I loved the decor and ambiance. Both mariachis and a trio performed. Be sure to try the cornbread dessert with almond ice cream and tequila sauce!

Also, it was really dark in La Joya. I love dark restaurants!

Viña del Mar serves what is know as one of the best Sunday brunch buffets in Cancun, and if you’re staying there, you can have it every day. It really is breakfast buffet perfection. There is a large variety of scrumptious fare and the decor and views are beautiful.

Don’t miss the sopes. Yum yum yum!

Coral Cafe is a bistro/bakery/coffee shop located off the lobby, Isla Contoy is an open-air buffet restaurant located right on the beach and Bikini Bar serves meals poolside. All of our meals were just a little bit better than even the best all-inclusives we’ve been to.

It is important to mention AAA 5 Diamond French Mediterranean restaurant Le Basilic. I wasn’t able to dine there while we were staying in the hotel, but I will soon. This place deserves it’s own blog post.

There was a children’s menu available in all of restaurants. Love that! Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun also offers room service.

The Activities and Kids Club

Although they are not as in your face as in other resorts, Coral Beach does offer activities like, water aerobics, water volleyball, fitness classes and a really cool paddle board stretching/yoga class, among others. You have to ask for a schedule because they don’t come around announcing the classes or asking people to participate. It’s very low key.

The Coral Kidz Club is da bomb. You can read all about it in this article I wrote about it for 10Best.com.

Plus, they have now added a sweet water park.

Photo: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

It is important to note that the kids club has organized activities. For instance, the water park time was from 11am to 12:15pm and video game time was from 5pm to 6pm.

Babysitting is also available.

The hotel also has an area with kayaks and other water sports, and Bebé and I went on a jet ski for the very first time! We had a blast! (I really wish I had a GoPro.)

The only evening entertainment is some really nice live music in the lobby.

 

The Spa

What can I say? The Gem Spa is increible. Just look at it.

I didn’t have any treatments, but I did their famous ten-step hydrotherapy ritual and it was ahhhmazing. I don’t want to give too much away but I highly recommend it. The Gem Spa also offers a beauty salon and fitness center.

We absolutely loved Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun. There is a noticeable difference compared to all-inclusive resorts and the hotel is definitely upscale, but without the attitude.

Xcaret with kids

June 26, 2017
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Xcaret Park’s New Children’s World (Mundo de Niños)

Last weekend Bebé and I were invited to one of our favorite places, Xcaret Park, to check out their new attraction, Children’s World aka Mundo de Niños. We have been to Xcaret countless times, but let me tell you, we were really excited.

I even bought a new backpack for the occasion and Bebé insisted he be the one to carry it. He asked the lady in the ticket window for a map and opened it right up.

things to do with kids in Cancun

The last time we visited was for their Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos festival which is packed, so we were thrilled that it wasn’t at all crowded. We walked right in and stopped to visit the flamingos.

day trips Cancun

You have to walk through the gift shop to enter the park (smart Xcaret), so I took a picture of my favorite items, the glass hearts. One day I will buy one of these for our casa!

Xcaret merchandise

Next was a stop at one of the maps to figure out exactly where Children’s World / Mundo de Niños was, and we were on our way.

activities for kids Cancun

Xcarer Mundo de Niños

We weren’t sure what to expect, but the first thing you see is this… gorgeous!

Xcaret Park cenote

Xcaret with kids

Basically Children’s World consists of this gorgeous swimming area (there are places to sit around it), a super cool obstacle course, and one of those fun fountains that shoots water from the ground. There are also restrooms and a gift/snack shop.

The website said that parents could not participate in any of the Children’s World activities so I didn’t bring my bathing suit. However, due to customer comments, Xcaret now allows parents to do the obstacle course with their children, swim and play in the fountain.

The obstacle course is really cool and includes two waterslides. Bebé loved it. There is a walkway that follows the course so parents can keep an eye on their kids.

Mundo de Niños Xcaret

Be sure to click on the Instagram video to hear Bebé’s joy and the birdies singing!

 

When Bebé was ready to move on, we decided to head to Xcaret’s aviary, because we had never been there. But first, we took some pictures at the Mayan ruins, because you can climb them!

Cancun archaeological sites

Then we ran into like 10 of these guys. They kind of freaked Bebé out.

Mexican culture Cancun

Which way to the aviary?

There were all kind of different birds in the aviary, and waterfalls and a sound reflector.

Xcaret macaws

But Bebé needs excitement, so we kind of hurried through the aviary and headed to one of my favorite places, the cemetery. (No I had not just washed my hair, that’s sweat.)

We visited the aquarium next and then kind of hemmed and hawed about what we should do, deciding on just relaxing here for a bit. *sigh*

Then it was time to get moving because we wanted to go up in the scenic tower before the night show, Xcaret Espectacular.

Ran into these guys on the way there.

Mariachi Xcaret

The wait is never very long because the scenic tower is kind of hidden behind el Gran Tlachco (the huge auditorium) and a lot of people can fit on it at once. The tower rotates and the views are beautiful.

Photo by Bebé

Finally, it was time for what may just be the best part of Xcaret, the night show. I don’t want to give too much away, but it truly is spectacular… so professional, so colorful, so Mexican!

Photo: Xcaret

We never get tired of visiting Xcaret, and the new Children’s World / Mundo de Niños is definitely a new favorite!

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun

June 12, 2017
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Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

May was not my best month. I got in a minor car accident (wasn’t my fault) and had to have my car repaired, got a flat tire in a rainstorm and had crippling back problems, among other things. These weren’t the only reasons I couldn’t wait for the end of May. Another reason was the fact that Bebé and I were heading to Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive for a long weekend/mini vacation. I really needed it!

And boy did they deliver…

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive used to be a European plan resort and (kind of) recently switched to all-inclusive. All-Inclusive resorts often get a bad rap for their watered down food and service, but I realized very quickly that the switch to all-inclusive at Fiesta Americana Condesa didn’t really have a downside. The food was excellent and the staff’s attitude is still that of an upscale European plan resort. In addition, the resort was recently renovated.

The Room

Fiesta Americana Condesa rooms

Photo: Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

We had what was called a Premium Garden View, but we were close to the ocean and could see it from our sliding glass door, which opened to something like a balcony, but was only about 6 inches wide.

The room offered most of the usual amenities… satellite television, a telephone, an iron and ironing board, a safe, a minibar with beer, water and soda, toiletries, however there was not a coffeemaker or robes and slippers. There is good, free WiFi throughout the resort, a must these days!

I did order coffee one morning when I couldn’t wait until we went down for breakfast. It took almost 30 minutes but it was good and they brought Mexican sweet bread (pan dulce) with it.

Fiesta Americana Condesa room service

The Pools and Beach

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun

Photo: Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

The pools are awesome! There is a main pool where activities take place and swim-up pool bar. Above it there is a heated infinity pool that is much quieter, and to the south there is a shallow children’s pool complete with a pirate ship.

Fiesta Americana Condesa infinity pool

The beach is fantastic too. Just look at this… looking to the left, straight ahead and to the right.

Fiesta-Americana-Condesa-beach

Cancun-beach

Cancun-vacation

There are tons of chairs available both at the pools, on the beach and in between. There are also cabaña beds that can be reserved for the day. There are little splash pools (With tables in the center!) and hot tubs scattered around the pool area.

Cancun-resort

Mexico-vacation

The Restaurants and Room Service

Fiesta Americana Condesa restaurants

Photos: Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

I was really impressed with the food at Fiesta Americana Condesa. And there are 14 restaurants and snack areas to chose from. Reservations are only needed for one restaurant, San Telmo, the steakhouse, which is also the only restaurant with an extra charge.

There is also a deli in the gift shop that has coffee, ice cream, cookies (oh we loved the cookies), sandwiches, salads and fruit, all perfectly packaged to take back to your room.

The breakfast buffet at Kalmia offers a wide variety of breakfast foods. I especially liked the french toast and the handmade quesadillas. There was a huge selection of pan dulce.

Fiesta Americana Condesa breakfast buffet

Bebé doesn’t get sugary cereals at home so he was thrilled to find Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes and Coco Krispies.

The Mexican restaurant, El Mexicano, was a standout. I had a surf and turf dish but it was difficult to choose because they also had cochinita (a pulled pork recipe from the neighboring state of Yucatan), mole and many other specialties. All of the a la carte restaurants offered a children’s menu.

I was bummed we weren’t able to eat at the Italian restaurant, Rosato, because children are only permitted before 7 pm and when we are in a resort we don’t like to eat that early.

I had sushi from Sushi Corner twice!

Fiesta Americana Condesa sushi

There are so many options in the pool area for lunch… La Cevicheria for seafood, The Grill for burgers and such, La Trattoria for pizza and Kambu, a buffet restaurant. In addition, each day they set up a grill and serve something special. One day it was shish kabobs and the next day they served tacos.

Fiesta Americana Condesa fish shrimp tacos

Fiesta Americana Condesa pizza

Fiesta Americana Condesa restaurants

There is a casual dress code for three of the restaurants, and a casual elegant dress code for San Telmo.

Room service was excellent. We ordered Bebé’s lunch twice and it was delivered within 30 minutes and was hot and fresh.

The Entertainment

Fiesta Americana Condesa’s entertainment staff is friendly and enthusiastic.  There are daily activities at the main pool, including Zumba, Latin dance classes, water volleyball, yoga, soccer and more.

The resort offers a kids club and a teens club. The kids club is open from 9:30 am until 6 pm while the teen club is open from 1 pm until 11 pm.

Fiesta Americana Condesa teen club

There’s is a show each night and live music in the lobby afterwards. We saw the Michael Jackson show, the fire show and the circus show. Bebé has seen so many shows that he seems to be getting a little bored with them, but they were all entertaining.

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive also offers a full service spa, a gym, a gift shop and an onsite photographers.

Oh and one more thing… I’ve always loved the huge palapa and entrance to the lobby of Fiesta Americana Condesa.

Fiesta Americana Condesa palapa

Fiesta Americana Condesa lobby

Bebé and I highly recommend Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive for a fantastic family vacation!

March 21, 2017
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Camping in Cancun – Paamul

I had never gone camping, nor had the desire to go camping, in my life. But well, I’m a bit more adventurous these days and I figured Bebé would love it, sooo… I went camping!

Our Cancun family had bought a tent for a couple of school camping trips, and we had been discussing going camping forever, and we finally make it happen. We chose Paamul, a strange combination of hotel/RV park/campground/beach club and some giant mansions, which is located between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras.

My friend’s husband got there before us and set up the tent. We arrived on Friday in the late afternoon and we quickly got everything else set up before it got dark. Then we basically drank beer and talked (and laughed, a lot) while the boys played with their tablets inside the tent.

camping near Playa del Carmen

Sleeping was a little uncomfortable since I didn’t have an air mattress, but I took muscle relaxers, which helped.

The next morning we were all excited to see what the day would bring!

We were thrilled that there were a lot of electrical outlets close to the tent.

camping Riviera Maya

There are also bathrooms and showers for campers.

The cost is 200 pesos per adult per night, 100 pesos per child per night. Children ages 5 and under are free. (The office does accept cards for payment.)

The beach at Paamul isn’t that great, and the pool/restaurant area gets very busy, so we decided to walk to a virgin beach. Someone told us it was a 15 minute walk. I’m pretty sure it was more like 40 minutes, but it was a beautiful walk through the jungle.

Notice the garbage someone left under the tree. #peoplesuck

The boys didn’t really enjoy the hike.

But when we finally got to the beach, we all realized it was worth every step.

No hotels, no houses, no nothing.

We set everything up and had an unforgettable day.

I was really worried about how the boys were going to handle the walk back but I think they realized that it’s actually kind of fun to walk through the jungle.

When we got back we showered and ate dinner in the restaurant. It was fine, nothing to write home about and a little pricey, but the views are gorgeous. (The restaurant doesn’t accept cards, cash only.)

As far as other meals went, for breakfast we had fruit, cereal bars and pre-made toast (that’s a thing in Mexico) with peanut butter. For lunch we made sandwiches and brought chips and cookies. We brought a big jug of water with us and milk and juice for the kids.

Note: There is a small store on the highway at the entrance of Paamul that sells a little bit of everything, including ice and beer, and Puerto Aventuras is just a few minutes away by car.

That evening we sat outside the tent drinking while the boys played inside the tent with their tablets. (See a pattern developing here?)

I was so tired the second night that although I still felt like I was sleeping on cement, I slept better.

I could not believe it but on Sunday morning the boys actually wanted to walk back to the beach we had gone to the day before! Alas, there wasn’t time for that because had to return to Cancun, so we spent the morning at a beach that was closer. (Except my friend’s poor husband who stayed behind and took the tent down.)

There was one thing I definitely didn’t like about Paamul. They wouldn’t let us take our cooler to the beach. We weren’t in front of the restaurant (or even close to it). We weren’t using their beach furniture, and all Cancun area beaches are public and are not owned by any hotel or homeowner. In the end we just stuffed our sandwiches and water in our beach bags, but that part of the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. Everyone is paying in some way to be there, so the fact that they try to control what you take to the beach is not OK.

Finally, here are the things I learned about camping.

  1. You have to bring A LOT of stuff with you.
  2. It’s not as cheap as I thought it was.
  3. It’s super fun!

You may be wondering if I will ever go camping again… and the answer is a resounding “Si señor!”

Cancun-allinclusive-vacation

February 20, 2017
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Hyatt Ziva Cancun: Best Location in Cancun’s Hotel Zone

Bebé, my mom and I recently had the opportunity to stay at the new (ish) Hyatt Ziva Cancun. The place is fabulous.

Location

First of all, it literally has the best location in the Hotel Zone. The resort is located on the tip of Punta Cancun (think the corner of the seven-shaped Hotel Zone), so it is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea on three sides.

The beach on the calm side that faces Isla Mujeres looks like this…

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun- beach

This side has docks and this is also where the main pools with all the activities are located. And, wait for it… They. Are. Heated.

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-pool

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-pool-2

The beach on the side of the resort that faces the longest part of the Hotel Zone is also pretty calm because they built a break wall. It looks like this…

Cancun-allinclusive-resorts

There is also another huge pool on this side of the resort…

Cancun-hotels

The middle of the resort faces the open ocean in all its glory. The cliffs are lower, but the area reminds me of Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres.

Cancun-vacation

You can walk all the way around the property along the water, and there are a couple small Mayan ruins on the open ocean side.

Mayan-ruins-Cancun-Hotel-Zone

There are three guest room buildings in the hotel. One by the main pool, the adult only building, and the tower. Our room was in the tower on the 11th floor and this was our view (to the right and then to the left).

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-view

The tower or Hyatt View and Club Level rooms have their own lounge and bar. There are cocktails, snacks, beer, yogurt and soft drinks available all day long.

The Room

As usual, the photos I took of the room were well, crappy, so I am using one of Hyatt’s pictures. This is exactly what our room looked like.

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-tower-ocean-view

The room was stocked with amenities; mini bar, robes and slippers, iron and ironing board, toiletries, safe, alarm clock, phone, coffee maker and flat screen TV with satellite programming. There were also snacks that they replenished every day, which we loved! The room also had blackout curtains which is a must.

The only thing the room was missing was a place to hang wet towels and bathing suits.

The Food and Drinks

Food, glorious food! We ate way too much. The resort has so many restaurants, and they are all good. There are Asian, Italian and Mexican restaurants, a steakhouse, an adult-only French restaurant, a super cute 50’s diner, a buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a coffee shop, a sweets shop (heavenly) and a 24 hour bar/snack shop.

They also have 24 hour room service. We only used it once to get Bebé some french fries. Service was quick and the fries were hot.

There is a table built into a car at Chevy’s, the 50’s diner.

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-Chevys

This place! ❤️ Ice cream, cake, chocolate fondue, candy… look for the huge chocolate covered almonds.

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-Pasteles

There is no shortage of bars either, including a microbrewery! They also have wait service around the pool and on the beach.

Everyone loves to eat by the pool, and at Hyatt Ziva Cancun there is a food truck right next to it!

Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun-food-truck

Around midday they start serving quesadillas and burgers. In addition, waiters drive carts around the pool area and serve chips and guac, tacos, pizza, and my personal favorite, tortas de cochinita (a must-try pulled pork sandwich from the neighboring state of Yucatan).

Activities and Kids Club

There are activities going on at the main pool all day long and you can kayak and snorkel in front of the resort. We loved the evening shows. We saw the Stars show (celebrity impersonators), the breakdance show and the Mexican show.

Haytt-Ziva-Cancun-entertainment

The last night we were there was Superbowl night. They did a really good job with it. There was a pre-party and the game was shown in the theater area on a huge screen. There was a kiss-cam and all kinds of dancing and silliness during commercials.

Bebé didn’t spend any time at the kids club. From what I saw, it isn’t quite up to par with the rest of this fantastic resort. In addition, there were only a couple hours a day that parents could join their kids that were over age 4, which I found to be a strange rule. That being said, Bebé loved the hotel and I saw plenty of families with children that were really enjoying themselves.

Friends

One of the best things about our visit was meeting a wonderful family of four from Ohio. The first day the mom suggested our boys play together, and they pretty much played together for the rest of our stay, so we spent a lot of time with them. It was hard to say good-bye.

Hyatt Ziva Cancun also has free WiFi throughout the resort, a gym, a spa and salon, photo services, shops and free parking.

Note: Tips are included in your stay at all-inclusive resorts, but remember, if you tip, you will get even better service, and you will be helping a local resident to provide for his/her family. People often ask me if/who they should tip and I always tell them they should at the very least leave a tip in the room each day for housekeeping. Generally speaking, they earn very little money.

Just one more thing… the weekend after our stay at Hyatt Ziva Cancun, my friend Kelly aka The Sober Senorita got married there. They did a beautiful job with it.

Everything. Was. Spectacular. (Congrats again amiga! ❤️)

Take me back! The beaches, the pools, the food, the room, the views, the drinks, the shows! We…

…Hyatt Ziva Cancun!