What am I still doing in Cancun?

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

decorated cookies Cancun

My 50th Birthday Weekend Extravaganza in Cancun


I initially thought I should let my 50th birthday pass quietly. “Just go out to dinner with your Cancun bestie and that will be it,” I thought, “If you don’t make a big deal out of it, it will be like it’s not really happening.”

It didn’t help that some of my forever friends who also turn 50 this year were having big events that I couldn’t attend. How could I ask them to come to Cancun for mine?

Then a close friend from home said, “We’ll come down if you plan something,” but what would I plan?

Well, I decided that the best thing to do to avoid some kind of a midlife crisis or worrying about getting older would be to plan a #50thbdayweekendextravaganza, complete with it’s own hashtag (of course nobody used it but me lol). So that’s what I decided to do, and I’m so glad I did.

On my actual birthday, after las mañanitas (the local birthday song) and cake at work, I picked up my friends at their resort and we headed to Navio’s in the Hotel Zone. They have over-the-water palapa tables and serve yummy food and drinks.

restaurants in Cancun hotel zone

It was overcast so we didn’t get to see the sunset, but we did get to see this huge ray swim by our table!

waterfront restaurants Cancun

Dinner was delicious and our waiter Alex was very sweet.

seafood restaurants in Cancun

My friends totally spoiled me with lots of fun gifts and the restaurant staff came over to sing happy birthday.

It was so nice to spend time with my friends. It was a wonderful evening!

Cancun restaurants

The next day I had to get up super early to get Bebé to school, and then start preparations for the next part of my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza, the party at my house!

I absolutely love traditional Mexican party decorations, but it was going to be a small party, and I wondered if I should bother. But I figured if I didn’t do it now, I never would. So I kind of went all out with the Mexican party decorations.

Ironically enough I ordered Mexican themed plastic tablecloths and plates and napkins from the U.S., but I got the rest of the decorations in Cancun.

Papel picado (“Cut paper” for lack of a better translation) is one of my favorite things, so I headed to Market 23 to get some. Welp, all I found was PLASTICO picado. Seems the paper stuff is hard to get a hold of here. Maybe I should have ordered that from the U.S. too?

It still looked awesome…

papel picado Cancun

I also got myself a burro (donkey) piñata. I put some candy in it so the kids could break it at the end of the party. That wasn’t easy to find either! There were lots of Spiderman and Dora piñatas, and they did have the tradition star piñatas, but this was the only burro I found. I believe the store where I bought it is called El Granjero and it is in Mercado 23.

burro donkey pinata

I really wanted to have my favorite Mexican candies… glorias, obleas, tambores and mazapan at the party as well. Those were easy to find.

Mexican candy

It was also important to have gigantic 5-0 balloons, of course.

50th birthday balloons

I don’t care for most Mexican cake, so I ordered these beautiful cookies from Sugar Cookies Cancun. They were not only beautiful, but delicious and reasonably priced. (I am desperately looking for another excuse to order more.)

decorated cookies Cancun

Sugar Cookies Cancun

And last but not least, my Cancun bestie and I made these colorful paper flowers. I LOVE paper flowers.

Mexican paper flowers

The plan was to set the 5-0 on the table that was for the candy, cookies, etc., against the wall, and then attach the flowers all over the wall. Wouldn’t that have been cute? Well, it didn’t work out, because the numbers wouldn’t stand up by themselves, and nothing would stick to the wall! So we had to get creative and string them together and tape them to the ceiling.

It was kind of a bummer but desperate times call for desperate measures…

Mexican birthday party decorations

And I had to get my hair done!

I had another hiccup when I got to the salon (And I use the word salon very loosely). They had written down my appointment but nobody had bothered to check the day’s appointments. So I had to ask the only stylist that was there if she would ask the teenager whose hair she was cutting if she could do my hair and then get back to his haircut. Thank goodness he kindly agreed!

I loved how it turned out and I’m already thinking about when I can get it done again.

boxer braids Cancun

Finally it was time for the party! I wanted to keep it small and intimate. I was thrilled because Bebé’s sister was in Cancun and able to come, and Papi (Remember him?) happened to have the day off as well. Of course my friends from home came and just a couple other close friends.

Mexican party decorations

The next morning it was time for the third leg of my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza. We headed to The Westin Resort & Spa, where my friends where staying. Bebé and I had stayed there once before, so I knew it offered well-equipped rooms, great views of the Hotel Zone and an awesome beach.

My friends were already at the pool when we arrived. We had decided it would be “pink day”, but I forgot to take a picture of everyone in pink! Even Bebé had pink swim trunks with pineapples on them.

In my case, my My 50th Birthday hat was pink…

pink 50th birthday hat

Cancun resorts

Cancun non-all-inclusive resorts

We had a fun day of fruity cocktails and Tecate Light, swimming in the pool and the ocean, having lunch right on our lounge chairs and even participating in some pool activities.

Late in the afternoon Bebé wanted to change so we headed up to the suite.

When we walked in, I spotted this…

I thought, “How thoughtful!”

Then I caught a glimpse of the master bedroom and thought, “Oh they made a towel animal on the bed.” Upon further investigation, this is what I found…

I was blown away! So beautiful!!! My friends were up to their usual birthday tricks, spoiling me rotten.

(I also noticed how nicely these decorations stuck to the wall!)

That evening we went out for a traditional Mexican dinner, and I received yet another birthday serenade.

It’s just so comforting for me to be around dear forever friends from home. The next morning it was very difficult to say good-bye, but I will never forget my 50th birthday. I will treasure the memories!

And just to top it all off, Monday was Mexican Independence Day, so I had a four-day weekend and an extra day to recover.

I’m going to share one more picture, of the flowers one of my girlfriends gave me for my birthday, because this picture demonstrates how I feel when I think back on my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza.

Gerber Daisies


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