What am I still doing in Cancun?

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

Grand Coral Beach Cancun kids

May 28, 2021
by admin

Return to Grand Fiesta Ameriana Coral Beach Cancun

A couple of weeks ago Bebé and I returned to Grand Fiesta Ameriana Coral Beach Cancun for a 3-night stay. Coral Beach has been one of my favorite hotels in Cancun for a long time due to its upscale feel, excellent service, delicious food, comfy rooms and amazing cocktails. We stayed there once before, and have visited many other times over the years.

Grand Fiesta Ameriana Coral Beach Cancun is Now All-Inclusive

After over a year of dealing with the pandemic, we couldn’t wait to get back to the all-inclusive life! Coral Beach has always been a European plan hotel, with guests paying a bill for all their food and drinks at the end of their stay, but the resort recently took the all-inclusive plunge, with their “Infinite Experience” plan, so we needed to investigate how they were doing with this change.

Verdict: Coral Beach is better than ever! They have maintained everything that made it special, while adding great all-inclusive musts.

Read on to find out what’s new and what remains the same…

Grand Coral Beach Cancun Rooms

Coral Beach’s guest rooms are still plush and comfortable, only now the minibar and snacks are all included. This time we stayed in a suite… fantastic!

Grand Coral Beach Cancun suites

Grand Coral Beach Cancun suite

Grand Coral Beach Cancun minibar

Grand Coral Beach Cancun rooms

Look at the size of the bathroom!

Coral Beach Cancun rooms

Grand Coral Beach Cancun hot tub

And look at this view!

Grand Coral Beach Cancun view

Grand Coral Beach Cancun



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Grand Coral Beach Cancun Food & Cocktails

I was worried that the fact that the resort switched to all-inclusive might mean that the quality of the restaurants and bars might not be as good, but I was happy to discover that the food is still delicious and cocktails are still strong!

Grand Coral Beach Cancun Tuscany Trattoria

Grand Coral Beach Cancun Italian restaurant

Grand Coral Beach Cancun Viña del Mar

Our room service breakfast was FANTASTIC!

Grand Coral Beach Cancun room service

Grand Coral Beach Cancun La Joya RestaurantGrand Coral Beach Cancun bars

Grand Coral Beach Cancun cocktails

Grand Coral Beach Cancun La Joya

Grand Coral Beach Cancun Pool and Beach

Coral Beach’s pool and beach always have been and continue to be amazing! The wait and bar service is excellent, and we could always find a place to sit.

Grand Coral Beach Cancun beach

Grand Coral Beach Cancun pool

Grand Coral Beach Cancun

Grand Coral Beach Cancun swim-up pool bar

Grand Coral Beach Cancun water activities

Grand Coral Beach Cancun vacation

Grand Coral Beach Cancun kids

Look how much Bebé has grown! This photo is from our last stay.



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Grand Coral Beach Cancun New Additions

Coral Beach has added various restaurants and activities. In addition to Viña del Mar, La Joya, Coral Café, Isla Contoy and Le Basilic, they have added an Italian restaurant, Tuscany Trattoria & Terrace, and an Argentinian grill, which doubles as a lounge/nightclub, Havanna Club. Do. Not. Miss. the fantastic Tango performance!

Bebé could not stay away from the new Sports Lounge. We played A LOT of pool, ping pong and air hockey. They also have video games available in the Sports Lounge.

It’s important to note that they are still working on the decor in the new additions. However, they are all currently open and running smoothly.

I also learned that although they had not yet started the weekend we were there, Coral Beach is adding nighttime shows. In the meantime there is a fantastic band in the lobby in the evenings.

Speaking of the lobby…

Grand Coral Beach Cancun stained glass skylight

… it is still beautiful!

The Gem Spa, Kids Club and fitness center are all still going strong as well!

Grand Coral Beach Cancun activities

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is still one of our favorite hotels in Cancun!


orthodontist Cancun

March 18, 2021
by admin

Going to the Dentist in Cancun: Cancun Dental Design

Since it feels a little safer to get out these days (although I don’t know if it actually is lol), we visited the dentist. We hadn’t been since June of 2019, the first time we visited Cancun Dental Design.

Cancun Dental Design has various locations in the Hotel Zone, and does everything from general dentistry to dental implants. This time we were seen in the La Europea building where the U.S. Consular Office is also located.

Many of the patient rooms have a fantastic view.

dental implants Cancun

All of the employees are friendly, professional, and speak English. Prices are exponentially cheaper than in the U.S.

The first order of business was an x-ray of Bebé’s mouth. He has some funky stuff going on in there. He has some molars coming in, he has an extra tooth on the bottom in front, and in addition, this is happening…

adult teeth coming in behind baby teeth

… his baby teeth haven’t fallen out and the adult teeth are coming in above them. #vampire

The xray was easy, and took place in this little room with an awesome view of Nichupte Lagoon.

kids dentist Cancun

Unfortunately it was a little cloudy outside the day we went.

Next we met with the dentist.

dentist in Cancun

She checked his teeth (still no cavities, YAY) and we looked at his x-rays. I don’t know what it is about x-rays but I think they are super cool, expecially kids’ dental x-rays, because you can see the teeth that haven’t come in yet.

dental x-rays Cancun

The dentist said that at this time it was not necessary to pull any teeth, which we were both very happy to hear, and explained that he was still well within the correct age range to lose those teeth, using this diagram…

children's dentist Cancun

Very helpful! I asked if the adult vampire teeth would move into place when the others fell out and she said we’d have to wait and see. Something similar happened with one of his front teeth and it was fine so fingers crossed.

Then he got a cleaning…

teeth cleaning Cancun

… they took some photos…

dentists Cancun

… and he was good to go.

dental work Cancun

The dentist also taught him how to floss.

Next it was my turn. I have been super lucky with my teeth, no braces, no cavities, so I just got them whitened.

This was my view. Again, too bad it was cloudy!

teeth whitening Cancun

The first thing the technician did was place gauze in my mouth so she could put something on my gums to protect them.

She was just doing her job but I literally almost had a nervous breakdown. LOL I have a strange phobia about having any kind of fabric in my mouth. Seriously look how uncomfortable I look here. LOL

dental work Hotel Zone Cancun

When she took that out (What a relief!!!) it was time for the “mouth stretching thing” (that is my technical term for it). Obviously they have to be able to get to all your front teeth to do the whitening, so they use this enormous thing to keep your mouth nice and open.

dental work Mexico

It was almost as bad as the gauze. LOL (Damn I have nice teeth! Can you believe I never had braces?)

This time was a little different than the last time I had my teeth whitened. Instead of a light that hung above my face, the technician held a light over each tooth. A little less claustrophobic.

I was probably in the chair for one hour total. It was a little uncomfortable but sometimes, beauty is pain!

And now we both have healthy, clean, white teeth!

orthodontist Cancun

I am very happy with the care we received at Cancun Dental Specialists during both visits.

If you would like more information about Cancun Dental Specialists, visit their website https://www.cancundentalspecialists.com/ or contact them at:

Toll Free: 1 888 231 8041

Patient Care: 1 888 247 1263

Office: +52 998 313 0107


March 5, 2021
by admin

Puerto Aventuras, It Grows on You!

Since this Coronavirus nightmare began we have been able to take a few roadtrips, including two to Puerto Aventuras, a gated community located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

I know what you are thinking, gated community, ugh. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t think the same thing at first, but Puerto Aventuras has grown on me, and I’m kind of in love with it now.

And who’s to say that every single place has to be the same? You know what they say… variety is the spice of life.

Puerto Aventuras is safe, small, quiet, uncrowded, there isn’t much traffic and you can walk many places.

The only real negative the fact that there isn’t a large grocery inside the gated area.

We recently went to Puerto Aventuras twice in December to visit one of the friends that we met on the beach 9 years ago!

Many years ago his dad and stepmom visited Cancun and attended a presentation in Puerto Aventuras to purchase a fractional ownership condominium (very different from timeshare). The building wasn’t built and most of Puerto Aventuras wasn’t either. I really think they made a wonderful decision and found a gem.

The first time we visited, we spent some time with an old friend of mine (I actually met him 21 years ago, before I moved here) whose son happens to be on Bebé’s soccer team. He told us about an area of the beach we had never been to.

It was amazing, although it’s not that turquoise open-ocean beach like in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, because Puerto Aventuras is located in a cove-like area.

The kids played beach tennis (there are courts set up and people playing every weekend)…

beach tennis in Cancun

…while we hung out on the beach drinking cerveza and chatting.

We all swam in the inlet where boats enter and exit Puerto Aventuras.

inlet Puerto Aventuras

boat tours Puerto Aventuras

After we were there for hours, we walked down the beach to a new friend’s condo. Her view was amazing!

Puerto Aventuras beaches

Puerto Aventuras vacation

When we got home we swam in the pool…

Porto Bello Puerto Aventuras

… before we went out to dinner.

We ate at Hippos because Bebé loves their chicken fingers. Their french fries and nachos are great too. Actually everything was good.

Hippos Puerto Aventuras

dining Puerto Aventuras

Most of the restaurants in Puerto Aventuras are open air. We felt safe and it was easy to social distance.

Top tip: For the best margarita in town, visit Nauti Burro.

We also went to Puerto Aventuras for New Year’s Eve!

After mimosas in our pijamas…

Puerto Bello condominiums Puerto Aventuras

… we spent more time at the beach, this time armed with an umbrella, chairs and a cooler.

Then it was time to get ready to ring in 2021.

We didn’t want to spend the whole evening out, so we just went to Nauti Burro for awhile early, before it got too busy, to listen to some live music, and to have some of those margaritas that I mentioned.

Nauti Burro Puerto Aventura live music

Kristin Busse Mexico writer

The bar was live streaming the music on Facebook, and the microphone was right above us. I joked with my friend that we had better be careful. A little while later, his stepmom texted him and asked if we were at the Nauti Burro, because his dad had heard us on the live stream! We couldn’t believe it!

So then he and Bebé said hello to them!

Nauti Burro Puerto Aventuras Mexico

Then we headed home for our NYE dinner. I don’t know how my friend pulled it off after all those margaritas, but it was delicious!

Poor Bebé fell asleep right before midnight and we went to sleep at 12:05 am.

Our New Year’s Eve breakfast was amazing too!

So now you can see why Puerto Aventuras has grown on me.

Covid update: After going from the yellow stoplight back to the orange stoplight (still irritating since there is no orange light in a stoplight), we are back to yellow. Here’s to staying yellow until we get to green!


February 15, 2021
by admin

Two Visits to Chelem, Yucatan During the Covid-19 Pandemic

You may remember that we visited the tiny town of Chelem, Yucatan for the first time in February of 2020. For more info about where Chelem is located, how to get there, etc., check out the post about that first trip.

During the pandemic we have had the opportunity to visit Chelem twice, and may visit once more in March.

I have kind of fallen in love with this little beach town, and Yucatan in general.

In early November 2020 we visited was for an entire week. We stayed in a large rental home right on the beach, which we found on Airbnb.


The main reasons we chose it were because of the outdoor dining-living room and the big pool. Many homes on the beach only have a dipping pool.

You could also hang out in the indoor living room (playing Xbox for instance lol) and feel like you were at the pool because of the huge sliding glass doors.

The house was quite large, there were 3 bedrooms available while the 4th, the master bedroom was closed off.

It wasn’t perfect. All of the pots and pans where old, the grill didn’t work, the decoration was meh, and I am pretty sure that nobody had been there for about a year, so it seemed a little rundown, However, the kitchen was huge, there was awesome WiFi and television from the U.S. There was also a game room upstairs with ping-pong, darts and foosball.

We went with our dear friends from home (here is a selfie from morning coffee time)…

… and Malcolm’s friend (sitter) which let me tell you was wonderful!

We had a bit of a hiccup when we first got there. There is an abandoned house next to the one we rented. There were TONS of bees that set up shop there. The very first night, one stung Bebé on the hand. This didn’t seem like a big deal at first, but the next day his hand swelled up and he developed a fever. After some deliberation about whether the fever was caused by the bee sting, we decided to give him a Benedryl, which totally knocked him out of course, and then later we gave him an ibuprofen. Those two things did the trick. I did some research and found out that if children are stung when they are young (he had been stung twice before this when he was quite small) it can make them more sensitive to future stings.

Anyway, after that incident it was basically smooth sailing, and Bebé was in charge of cleaning the dead bees out of the pool every morning.

We really didn’t go anywhere except for the grocery story and Oxxo! It was fantastic. Our days were spend cooking, eating, cleaning up and cooking again. The sitter made homemade chilaquiles one morning…


We swam in the pool, often while drinking cocktails…



We had our local friends over, or went to their place…


We played on the beach…

And we also swam in the ocean and spent quite a bit of time just staring at it.

Our next trip was in January, 5 nights spent with the same friends in a private house that they rented from a friend. This time we brought my mom too, who was visiting from the U.S.

If you look closely you can see Mom waving from the porch…




I was on vacation from work, but Bebé had just started school again after Christmas vacation, however, since school is still virtual, we brought the laptop and he “went to” school in Chelem!

This time the weather was much cooler and very windy most days, but since I live here all year and really get tired of the sweating, lol, I was fine with that. We didn’t let it stop us from hanging out on the beach.

It was warm and calm one day, so during his school break, Bebé went paddleboarding with his ¨Tio”.



Our dear friends prepared some delicious meals…

And we had some beautiful sunrises…


And some beautiful sunsets…


I can’t wait until our next visit to Chelem. It’s such a sleepy, relaxing place.

Living in Mexico is not always easy, but I love being close to these amazing places.

Coronavirus note:

While my mom was here, the U.S. decided to require that Americans have a negative Covid-19 test in order to board their flight home. We had her tested at a lab (Chopo). It took 5 minutes and they e-mailed us the (negative) results.

The moral of the story is… it is very easy to get tested for Covid before returning to your country. The antigen tests are less expensive and the U.S. accepts them, while Canada requires a PCR test. Many resorts have onsite testing and there is testing available at various different labs and in the airport as well.

face masks in Cancun

February 8, 2021
by admin

Cancun in the Time of Coronavirus Part 2

Hello there! I cannot believe have not posted since April, right after this Covid disaster began. To be honest, as things futher unfolded, I had absolutely no desire to post. The next few months were mostly spent in the house, other than a weekly visit to Walmart and a weekly visit with my Cancun bestie. Things started to improve a bit in the fall, and although things aren’t anywhere close to being back to normal, I have decided that I should start blogging again.

We have been able to take a few trips recently, which I will talk about in a couple of future posts, but this post will be about some of the highlights in the past 10 months (wow) and the general situation in Cancun.

During the pandemic Mexican states have operated on a “stoplight” system. Red was total lockdown, orange was next level up (yes annoying, no orange light on a stoplight), then yellow, then green I guess would be when the whole $hitshow is over.

We made it to yellow in September, and soccer started again, with shorter practices and precautions in place. Bebé has not been back to in-person school since March. During a longer than usual summer break, he played WAY too much XBox and had first video and then semi-private in-person soccer classes a couple times a week.

And he is HUGE… taller, bigger, has the same size feet as I do and can finally sit in the front seat of the car.

I have been working from home full-time (40 hours) since March for 50% of my pay and I haven’t not gotten any of my freelance work back. I won’t elaborate futher on this point. You know what they say, if you don’t have anything nice to say…

We did not take our yearly summer trip to the U.S.

We sit RIGHT across from each other Monday-Friday. Not ideal. lol

online school Coronavirus Cancun

We experienced one tropical storm and two hurricanes since I last posted. I was here for Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and the whole thing was basically a nightmare, so was worried about Hurricane Delta, which hit as a category 2 on October 6. Although I barely slept, we fared well, and never even lost power or internet. (After Hurricane Wilma I did not have power, water or gas for 12 days!) However, there were TONS of downed trees in Cancun and in my neighborhood.

damage Hurricane Delta Cancun

The trees that they cleaned up and put on the divider stayed there for months.

Hurricane Zeta hit October 26 but didn’t do much damage in my area.

I must say we have managed to make some lemonade out of the lemons. Here are some of the positive highlights from the last 6-7 months or so.

In September we celebrated my birthday by staying a night at Cancun Plaza (we went really early one day and left late the next), a condo building in the Hotel Zone. It’s a great place for those who don’t want to stay in an all-inclusive resort. It is an older building but many of the condos have been remodeled. The beach is beautiful and not busy because of the location and the pool is really nice.

Mexico English copywriter


Cancun condominium rentalsThis was the first time we had really ventured out since the pandemic began, but we were outside most of the time or in the rooms. It was great to feel normal and free.

In October Bebé turned 11! We had a very small, very simple party with just a few of his best buds, pizza and homemade cake.

During this time we also went to three birthday parties that were probably a bit risky if I’m being honest. We got lucky I guess. It was so nice to actually get dressed up and put make-up on!

Cancun travel writer

At the end of October, we set up our very first Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) alter. I really like how it turned out.

simple Day of the Dead alter

At the beginning of the pandemic Papi did not visit because he works in a hotel, but then he got laid off for 4 months and started to visit again.

I continued to work out and take my daily walks. Saved my sanity!

Cancun suburbs

And just last month, my mom visited! I was little worried, but we were careful and we had a fun and safe visit! We (well mostly she, I assisted) made sour cream cookies and peanut butter fudge, two of my old favorites from my childhood.

We went out one night and had dinner at Sahara in Parque las Palapas. They serve Lebanese food. It was excellent and inexpensive.

Middle Eastern restaurant Cancun

Then we went to Marina Town Center in Puerto Cancun and had some cocktails in the food court. There is a bar and it is all open air and has great views!

bars Marina Town Center

It was easy to social distance at both places. So nice to get out!

Those were just a few of the highlights from the last few months. We also had a wonderful holiday season.

Last but not least, can we please talk about masks?

When I figured out that masks were going to be absolutely necessary. I got one for Bebé and one for myself.

face masks in public Cancun

I wanted a prettier one, so I got two embroidered masks.

Mexican face masks

However, got a rash around my mouth almost immediately, even though I didn’t have to wear one very often or for very long.

I tried different creams but in the end, paper masks and cooler weather were really the only things that helped. It isn’t completely gone, but it’s much better.

face masks in Cancun

As you can see we finally managed to get haircuts as well. Bebé’s hair was downright bushy and mine was long and stringy.

I am sorry to report that last week Cancun went back to the orange stoplight. Although there was a temporary spike in tourism over the holidays, it has dropped drastically again. Canada has now cancelled all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until at least April, and the U.S. and many other countries now require a negative covid test to enter. The good thing is that it is easy to get a test and many hotels offer them right onsite and even have programs in place should a guest test positive. There are also extensive protocols in place to keep guests safe during their stay.

I feel I must say that I have had various visitors from the U.S. and Canada and know many other people who have flown during the pandemic, and not one of them has become ill. I believe it is safe if you take the proper precautions.

I feel optimistc that by summer things will pick up again. In the meantime, we are hanging in there, and we hope you are too!

April 17, 2020
by admin

Cancun in the Time of Coronavirus

Warning: This post is not going to be about an all-inclusive resort, a weekend adventure, or the beach. This is going to be an honest, maybe boring, detailed post about how Cancun and Bebé and I are dealing with these unforeseen events.

Just like everywhere else, here in paradise we are dealing with the @#%$!% COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. A pandemic is not something I ever expected to blog about, and I didn’t have a blog when hurricane Wilma hit, or when the much less serious H1N1 / Swine flu pandemic happened.

But, here we are so…

I started working from home on Tuesday, March 17, 4 weeks and 3 days ago. One day I had a friend visiting from the U.S. and we were at the beach, and the next we were under quarantine.

working from home in Mexico during Coronavirus quarantine

I have been wishing I could work from home for awhile now, but not when Bebé is home because there is no school, and not when I can’t leave the house. However, I feel very lucky that my full time job immediately took this whole thing seriously enough to have us work from home, not only because I want to stay healthy, but because that same day, we found out that the following Monday school would be closed for a month (that has since been extended to June 1). What would I do with Bebé if the school was closed and I had to go into work?

At that time, most people and businesses in Cancun were not taking the threat of Coronavirus very seriously, which is disappointing because Cancun could have really kept their cases down if they had. Adding to the problem is the fact that many people earn their living day to day. For example, you sell tacos. If you don’t sell tacos one day, you don’t make any money that day. Also, many people in Cancun depend on public transportation, where social distancing isn’t possible. In the second half of March they started closing casinos and movie theaters, etc. However, resorts and hotels were still open and huge gatherings like the “Tianguis”, an open air market, were allowed to continue until last week. Beaches were closed a week or two ago and are being patrolled.

So Cancun, the most popular tourism destination in Latin America, and the surrounding area, is basically closed for business. Three of the four airport terminals are closed. All of the places you love, the resorts, the beaches, the nightclubs, the restaurants… are closed. They estimate some 1,000,000 people are unemployed, and there is no unemployment program in Mexico.

Also, the authorities are now cracking down on residents. This week the governor has prohibited any get-togethers (without saying how many people constitute a get-together), and stated that people must wear masks when they go out and that only one person is allowed to be in the car when going out for groceries or to the pharmacy, which are the only two approved outings. Some of these restrictions seem a little vague or random. We have gone to pick up a pizza every Friday evening, but Bebé stays in the car while I run in and get it so… does it really matter that he’s in the car?

Cancun beaches Covid-19

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

Cancun nightclubs Covid-19

Photo: MuchaFoto Facebook

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

Isla Mujeres…

Isla Mujeres beach Covid-19

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

How many cases are there in Cancun? How many people have tested positive? There is a website with the “official” numbers, but just like many other places, there aren’t enough tests so we don’t know the real numbers. There was recently an article written about how Coronavirus cases are being listed in hospitals as “unexplained pneumonia” because well, if they haven’t been tested, they can’t list them as Coronavirus. There are also rumblings of healthcare workers not having enough masks, etc. Mexico’s healthcare system was already nowhere near where it needed to be before this happened.

Grocery shopping hasn’t been nearly as bad as in the US. There is plenty of toilet paper available. There have been some empty shelves, mostly rice, beans, tortillas, etc., but overall I have been able to find almost everything on my list every week. Last Saturday Walmart got a lot more serious about social distancing by moving merchandise farther back from the cashiers and putting X’s on the floor. As of this week, you must wear a mask to enter. All of the dear elderly people who bagged groceries for tips were sent home weeks ago.

I had four jobs before this happened. As of today, I have lost all three of my freelance jobs (I am hoping to get them back when this is all over) and I am working my full time job for 50% of my salary. I am grateful for this, because it means money coming in. My mortgage is going to be deferred for four months, I don’t have to pay for soccer and I am not paying for school (they expect us to, so that will have to be sorted out later, I need money for food), and those are my largest expenses. I haven’t gotten gas since the middle of March and I only had a half a tank when we started quarantining.

Keeping a schedule keeps us sane under normal circumstances, but it is even more important now. When I started working from home, I was working on my freelance from 7 am to 9 am, then working from 9 am to 6 pm, but since I don’t have anymore freelance work, the computer is coming out closer to 8 am. Bebé is playing way too much Xbox and watching way too much youtube (I am working full time after all), but he takes scheduled breaks to do schoolwork, music, and soccer. I am not homeschooling, they haven’t given us enough materials to do that (thank goodness), so the schoolwork basically consists of exercises reviewing various subjects. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner at basically the same time every day. Every evening I take a 40-minute walk while listening to music, which really helps me maintain my sanity. I am exercising the same amount and I am not drinking any more wine than I did before this whole thing started (Friday and Saturday evenings). I have gained a pound, but I am going to lose that quickly, because the last thing I want to do is come out of this having gained weight!

Coronavirus Cancun schoolwork

We also colored eggs and I managed to pull off Easter.

Easter in Cancun during Coronavirus

Easter in Cancun Covid-19

It’s getting HOT in Cancun, and I am afraid to use the air-conditioning and then not have the money to pay a large bill, so I got out the floor fans and we basically spend 24 hours a day in front of them.

My general philosophy in life is that happiness is a choice and that you have to do the best you can with whatever comes your way, and I am applying it to this situation. That’s not to say I don’t have moments where I panic or feel depressed. Family, friends and a sense of humor (OMG that My Sharona Coronavirus remake) help so very much.

The couple of months before this happened were very busy and a lot of fun. My mom was here for a month, then I had friends visit and some weekend adventures. We had a blast, and it filled my soul, but I must admit I was looking forward to a little downtime.

This was not what I had in mind.

Mexico based writers and bloggers

Stay healthy and sane out there. We’ll be here, at home, sweating.

April 15, 2020
by admin

Our Weekend Visit to Chelem, Yucatan

In February we met up with some dear friends from home (as in the U.S.) for a whirlwind weekend (less than 48 hours) in Chelem, Yucatan, which is located on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. I love an opportunity to see treasured friends and anything in Yucatan, so despite the 4-hour drive from Cancun, I was really excited.

Toll Road Cancun – Merida

There is a “free” highway to Merida, but it goes through many small towns where there are lots of speed bumps and would take significantly longer than the toll road. However, if you’re in the mood or have the time for sightseeing, it’s a good option. We took the pay road or “autopista” from Cancun to Merida, then took 261 north to Chelem. There were loads of signs and I never had to use a map. The autopista is very well maintained but also quite expensive these days, 518 pesos each way for a grand total of 1036 pesos. There is no way to get off the autopista, except at Valladolid, and there is only one place to stop between Cancun and Merida where there are convenience stores, restaurants and restrooms.

Here is where Chelem is located…

Note where Cancun is, on the eastern coast. It’s quite a drive! And for the most part, from Cancun to Merida, it’s one long, boring, straight line…

toll road Cancun Valladolid Merida

Chelem, Yucatan

The population of Chelem is only about 1,000, and although it has been a vacation getaway for well-off Merida residents for many years, it has recently come to the attention of foreigners looking for affordable beach property.

We stayed at Bears en la Playa a charming bed and breakfast run by the equally charming Rob and Roy, a gay couple who welcomes anyone who is accepting of other lifestyles. Although children are not generally permitted, they made an exception for Bebé. (Should I change his “name” to “Niño” now??)

There are three guest rooms, two with a king size bed and one with two twins. They all have their own bathroom. There is also wifi and a rooftop deck with a bar and hot tub. Not too shabby!

And here is the beach…

Breakfast was wonderful both mornings. The first morning we had Egg McMuffin type sandwiches and the second, blueberry pancakes. We sat right out on the patio to eat…


Chelem doesn’t have the colonial architecture or charming town square that you find in Merida or Valladolid. It’s rustic and has that lazy, relaxed, fishing town feeling.

Walking up and down the beach is interesting, because you see new, modern homes and then you see places like this…

And each place has its own story.

Because of the growing expat community, new bars and restaurants are opening. On Saturday night we ate at Taqueria la Tejana, a little spot on the main square where you sit at plastic tables right in the street, so we could try their giant loaded baked potatoes, something you don’t find often in these parts. I chose the beef version and it was scrumptious, and so large that I couldn’t even finish it.

Afterwards we headed to The Edge for karaoke night, which was mostly expats who were fun and welcoming. Again, we’re talking a cement floor and plastic chairs, but that’s what gives the place character. Bebé got to play pool for awhile and I sang a song.

Progreso, Yucatan

On Saturday during the day we visited Progreso, a larger port city to the east. Whereas Chelem is just a regular town that happens to have some expats living there, Progreso feels much more touristy. It is also a cruise ship destination, so they have been trying to spruce up their boardwalk/malecon and beach area.

The pier is no joke. It’s so big that there were trucks driving on it.

After we walked around for a bit, we ate at one of the many restaurants on the beach.

It was way to short, but it was a wonderful weekend. During Mexico’s daylight savings time, you gain an hour when traveling to Yucatan from Cancun, and lose an hour coming back, so we headed home at 11 am Yucatan time, but first we took a few minutes to take some photos.

Chelem’s pier is much smaller than Progreso’s! You can see it in the background here. heehee

We arrived home shortly before 4 pm Cancun time.

Beware! I was stopped on the way back on the toll road by a federal police officer for speeding. He gave me a very stern warning (I’m pretty sure he’s seen some ugly accidents on that road) but behaved in a completely professional manner. I however played the shameless dizzy blond, “Was I going to fast officer??”

We hope to return to Chelem and spend more time there soon!

Cancun family vacation

November 29, 2019
by admin

Return to Beach Palace Cancun

Bebé and I recently spent a long weekend at Beach Palace Cancun. We were really looking forward to it, but then some things happened that threatened to ruin the visit… Bebé, thanks to an accident while playing soccer at school, had to have stitches in his chin, which meant he wouldn’t be able to swim. Then he came down with the flu the day before we were supposed to check in, and had a temperature which was some times up to 102-103 degrees.

However, we didn’t want to give up our wonderful long weekend at Beach Palace, so we pushed through and made the best of things.

We had stayed at Beach Palace once before, in 2014. Bebé was so little… look!

family resorts Cancun

Maybe the next time we stay there he will be taller than I am!?!?

We arrived Friday night, and Monday was a Mexican holiday, so we stayed for three leisurely, luxurious nights.

Instead of a blow by blow report. I would like to tell you why we love Beach Palace Cancun

The Rooms

hotels Hotel Zone Cancun

The rooms are huge. I have lived in various apartments that were way smaller than the rooms at Beach Palace. Our room also had a huge balcony overlooking beautiful Nichupte Lagoon.

resorts with balconies Cancun Hotel Zone

Rooms are fully stocked with everything you could possibly need including an alarm clock, Smart TV, a Double Whirlpool Tub and a mini-bar stocked with sodas, bottled water, juice and beer. There is also a liquor cabinet and a bottle of red wine, free WiFi (throughout the resort), 24-hour room service, a hair dryer and a flat iron, bathrobes (our room was missing the slippers), a safe, a coffeemaker, a telephone (with free unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada) and an iron and ironing board.

The beds are sooo comfortable and the blackout curtains really keep the room dark in the morning.

The Pool and Beach

It does not get much better than Beach Palace’s beach. It is very wide and the seaweed is long gone.

Cancun beach

Cancun beaches

beach Hotel Zone Cancun

Mexico based freelance writer

There are tons of chairs and umbrellas available. On this particular day it was too windy for umbrellas but they put them up the next day.

beach chairs Beach Palace

There is also a Beach Palace sign which is great for vacation photos (my OCD wanted to straighten out the letters and move them further away from the chairs).

Cancun sign

seaweed Cancun

There is one large main infinity pool, with two smaller pools on either side, one with a water slide and the other with a swim-up bar. I love the huge arch which frames the Caribbean and is used to display a large screen at night.

main pool Beach Palace


Palace Resorts Cancun

One of the best things about the pool is this young man, Faride, everyone’s favorite waiter. He was cheerful, kind and attentive.

Faride Beach Palace Cancun

Sky Bar on the roof has two pools, two hot tubs, two swim-up bars, and offers spectacular views of the Caribbean and Nichupte Lagoon.

rooftop pools Cancun

The Restaurants and Bars

Hooray for all-inclusive food and cocktails!

Beach Palace has 4 restaurants, a delightful coffee and sweets shop, 24-hour room service, a sports bar and 3 swim-up pool bars.

Tequila is the resort’s main buffet restaurant. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, be sure to ask Gabriela to whip up your favorite kind of eggs. I requested “huevos divorciados”. They were delicious!


Wok is an Asian restaurant. We ate there the first night, just like we did in 2014, and they even put us at the same table!

resorts for families in Cancun

Boceli serves Italian. I ordered the carbonara and it was spectacular. I also tried Bebé’s pizza and it was very tasty.

Italian restaurant Beach Palace

Terraza, located on the terrace of Boceli, is a steakhouse. I was intent on dining there, since last time we weren’t able to, but my mission failed! The wait was too long and we wanted to go to the show, so the last night we had dinner at Tequila.

Each restaurant  offers a children’s menu. Tequila had a kid’s section on the buffet as well.

Sweet & Coffee was basically our mothership. This, well, sweets and coffee shop, served coffee and tea, ice cream, crepes, cake, cookies… we got something every single day. I recommend their iced coffee, dulce de leche crepes and vanilla cookies.

desserts Beach Palace Cancun

One of the great things about Beach Palace is that they serve food at the pool. Many resorts don’t do this. I ate lunch right on my lounge chair both days.

dining Beach Palace Cancun

I had a few cocktails by the pool as well.

Cancun vacation

Beach Palace Cancun pool bar

We spent time at the Stadium Bar every evening playing ping pong and pool, and the first night they had the Michael Jackson show there because it was very windy and sprinkling. They also have live bands there many nights, but kids aren’t allowed in after 10:00 pm.

I will say that I did miss the door knob hanger tag that used to be in the room. You could place a room service order for breakfast, specify the time you wanted it to arrive and hang it on the doorknob the night before. That may still be possible through the room service menu on the television, but we never used that. When we ordered Bebé’s lunch through room service we placed the order by phone.

The Activities

I used to love just lying around by the pool or on the beach all day, but those days have been over for quite awhile now. Unfortunately, children don’t like to lie quietly on a lounge chair all day. Luckily Bebé is getting bigger so I don’t have to be involved in all of his activities, but I do like to throw the ball or participate in some of the resort activities with him.

At Beach Palace you can be as bored or as active as you want to be. They offer a full program of daily and nightly activities and a kids club, called the Playroom.

There’s yoga, paddle board yoga, beach volleyball, beach soccer, Zumba, cocktail classes, bingo… the fun never ends!

yoga Beach Palace

Since Bebé couldn’t swim much he did spend some time at the Playroom each day playing Xbox.

Playroom Beach Palace Cancun

He also played beach soccer a couple times.

beach soccer Beach Palace Cancun

We loved the shows! Many resorts offer the same shows as all the others, but we saw two new shows at Beach Palace and both were fantastic. The Aladdin show was all singing and dancing and we both loved it. It was funny and colorful.


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We loved the new Aladdin show! It’s a hit! #BeachPalace #ThePalaceLife #aladdin #showtime #allinclusive #todoincluido

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I also really enjoyed the Brazilian Samba and Capoeira show, but the drums were SO loud that Bebé had to plug his ears the whole time.

Bonus Points: The Lobby

I am a sucker for a beautiful lobby and think Beach Palace had made some changes to the lobby since our last visit. It’s gorgeous!

Cancun resorts

Cancun hotels

Cancun all-inclusive resorts

Once again Beach Palace Cancun and Palace Resorts did not disappoint! We say, “Si señor!” to Beach Palace Cancun!

Cancun family vacation


decorated cookies Cancun

October 1, 2019
by admin

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

childrens dentist Cancun

June 4, 2019
by admin

Dental Work in Cancun: Cancun Dental Design

The dentist has never bothered me. I’ve never had any cavities and never had to have braces. I once had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled but I was asleep for that. However, I know that a lot of people are terrified by the dentist, mostly because they have had complicated, painful work done. In addition, dental work is expensive, particularly if you don’t have insurance.

More and more people are traveling to Mexico to get expensive dental work done for a fraction of the price. It’s more economical yet at that same time done by well-trained dentists in professional, high-tech medical offices.

How do I know? Because Bebé and I just had a great experience with Cancun Dental Design. I crossed paths with many tourists who were also having dental work done.

We headed for the Hotel Zone when Bebé’s soccer game was over. When we arrived they took our info and a photo for our file. Bebé was first. Although he hadn’t had any so far, he was really worried that he might have a cavity because I told him what they would do if he did. Probably shouldn’t have mentioned it! He was a little upset at first and they were very sweet and patient.

First the dental assistant cleaned his teeth and then the dentist came in and checked them. 9 years old and still no cavities! Yippee!

dental work Cancun

childrens dentist Cancun

I did ask them about the fact that he grinds his teeth at night and they said they would take a 3D x-ray and have the orthodontist take a look at him. They also said due to the grinding his back teeth no longer have peaks on them. They’re flat. Not good.

The 3D x-ray was so cool! I hadn’t see one of a child’s mouth before. You can see the teeth he has now and the ones that will eventually come in.

3D dental xray Cancun

Dental tourism Mexico

Next it was my turn for a cleaning and laser whitening!

The cleaning was fine, uneventful and not painful. The laser whitening wasn’t painful either, but you have to lie perfectly still for a long time. In my case, 30 minutes. That was kind of tough. Had to talk myself down a couple of times. lol

laser teeth whitening Cancun

Bebé is in this picture too, looking closely at mamá. I think it freaked him out a little at first. Then he went to play on his tablet.

dental tourism Cancun

Then it was back to Bebé, the orthodontist had arrived. He took lots of pictures and molds and told me he’d get back to me.

dental work in Mexico

He did get back to me, and informed me that Bebé has an extra tooth! Luckily, for now we don’t have to do anything about that, but he also said Bebé definitely needed a night guard to protect this teeth from further damage caused by the grinding.

So we visited again to get the mold done.

dentists in Cancun

dental night guard Cancun

And here it is! You can’t really even see it, it’s on his top teeth. He used it while he slept last night and so far, so good.

children's dentist in Cancun

(And Bebé’s hair is getting curly again!)

Here is my whiter smile!

laser whitening Cancun

I feel very comfortable recommending Cancun Dental Design for any dental work. The atmosphere was very relaxed. Everyone was very nice, professional, and they all spoke English. All of the equipment was modern.

Cancun Dental Design is located in Cancun in the Hotel Zone. They have a toll free U.S. number, 1-888-224-2897. The local number is 998-313-4224 They also offer free transportation and travel assistance.