Knowing no Spanish and wanting to have some relaxation as part of our vacation, we decided to try an all-inclusive resort. Nathan's friend knows a travel agent who lives in the area, and she found us a place that had drop-off activities for kids 4 and up and also had reasonable rates on "family suites" (aka adjoining rooms). The only other similar adventure we'd had was on a Hawaiian cruise, where the food was mediocre and very little was actually "included," so I didn't really know what to expect.
We were very pleasantly surprised. The food was mostly awesome, the rooms were big and nice and we never felt nickeled-and-dimed. Room-fridge items, room service and snorkel gear rental were a few of things I was delighted to find out were really and truly included.
Perhaps best of all was the kids' club, where you could drop your kids off any time between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Twice we dropped them off during dinner time to have a grown-up meal at one of the many restaurants. It was also useful when 4-year-old was napping and 6-year-old was bored. (The kids club at Now Jade was for ages 4-12; I think you could pay $10 an hour for babysitting for younger kids, or if you wanted to leave the resort without your kids.)
|The boys made friends quickly on the beach.|
|Arthur got his face painted at the kids club|
Driving there was not as bad as I thought it would be. (Of course, hubby was the one doing the driving.) John advised us to just drive defensively and we'd be fine. We did witness some crazy driving. Ironically, people seem to use their turn signals more down there then in the Bay Area. And we had heard all about the topes, so we knew to slow waay down for those.
After four full days at the resort it was time to depart for Chichen Itza! I was a little bit sad to be leaving, but excited for our adventure in the Mayan ruins. We hired a shuttle for the 2-hour drive to our hotel, Mayaland, where we had booked a two-night stay. The idea was to have a whole day to explore the ruins.
Unfortunately, we somehow didn't figure out that they stopped letting you climb on the ruins about 5 years ago. That reduced the appeal of the whole experience a whole lot. Plus, there isn't really anything else to do there. The kids got kinda bored. We should have either rented a car, or stayed one less night, or both. It wouldn't even have been so bad to just take the day trip from our resort and be in Chichen Itza in the middle of the day. It was hot, but not *that* hot.
That said, Mayaland is incredibly beautiful. It's almost 100 years old, and the ground are gorgeous. The rooms weren't outrageously expensive, but the food was. I was really glad I brought my water filter or we would have been paying three dollars a liter for drinking water.
|View of Mayaland grounds from our huge balcony.|
|Our awesome guide, Roamy.|
|Mexican dancers were the lunch entertainment; this boy and a group of men and women balanced trays on their heads while dancing!|
|"Don't go past this step." Iguanas bite.|
|View of some ruins from our hotel.|
|Learning about Mayans is exhausting.|