In a single word, perfect.
That’s how I would describe the Xmas holiday week my wife and I spent in Mexico at the lovely Excellence Riviera Cancun resort about twenty minutes away from the Cancun airport. We’re not all-inclusive resort travellers by any stretch of the imagination, but on a few occassions, that’s exactly the kind of vacation we crave. We had a particularly hectic 2016 so the idea of laying around in a warm climate, reading some books, taking long afternoon naps and generally shutting off our minds was very appealing. With that in mind, we picked the resort and sprung for a room with direct access to a lazy river and its own dedicated sun bed. Ours is the one with the two blue pool floaties in front of the bed. We spent a lot of our vacation either lounging in the river or on that bed.
The resort was lush, tranquil and beautiful. It was the perfect setting for a week away. Even looking back at these pictures I feel my blood pressure dropping a few notches remembering how calm and peaceful the week was.
We were there over the holidays, arriving on Xmas eve night. There were a few seasonal touches sprinkled around the resort including a decorated tree in the main square.
On this year, regardless of where we were in the world, there was one lock for Xmas night – my wife’s Steelers were playing a “win and get into the playoffs game” that she wasn’t going to miss. Sharing the resort’s sports bar with about twenty other Steelers fans, we watched her team clinch a playoff spot. There were high fives galore for the game’s late winning touchdown and smirks among the Steelers fans when the one Ravens fan quietly left the bar with time ticking down. My wife even brought along her “Terrible Towel” for the game.
Aside from watching the football game, it was a pretty low key week. I enjoyed my morning encounters with “Jub-Jub” the monster sized guardian of one of the bridges over the lazy river. Throughout the week, we’d laugh from the comfort of our sun bed, watching while others got a little too close to this guy – little did they know that this dude had a mean streak and a hiss you could hear for miles around when you didn’t respect his space.
For a resort, there was a reasonable selection of cervezas (not that this in any way influenced our final selection!). The resort even had two craft beers from Tulum that I quite enjoyed. Regardless of what I was drinking, if there was sand between my toes, every beer tasted like the world’s best.
We were both really impressed with the food here. I didn’t expect gourmet, 5 star dining experiences, but this was easily the best resort food we’ve had. The Indian restaurant was amazing, the lobster was really good (but nothing is as good as a Nova Scotian lobster, we’re a bit biased), and the selection and variety of food was outstanding. We ate really, really well for the week.
A long standing tradition for us on our more relaxing vacations is Yahtzee and drinks. A few evenings at the resort my wife would find a table and break out the dice while I grabbed us a couple of beverages – sparking wine for her and a margarita made with top shelf tequila for me. I’ve forgotten the exact count of games won (might have something to do with the tequila), but she claimed the title as Mexican champion.
Until I settled into the routine of late night Yahtzee and drinks followed by some serious sleeping in the next day, I had a couple of early morning beach walks with the sand and water mostly to myself. Watching the sun come up on over the water never gets old.
During the course of the week, perhaps my favourite activities were simply laying on the bed on the edge of the lazy river, reading a book, enjoying a cold beer, getting up to float around the river a couple of times, then taking a nap back on the bed with the sound of the light breeze helping me drift off to sleep. I’d wake up, go back into the room to fetch a cold beer to replace the one that had gotten warm while I slept, and start over again.
It really was the perfect vacation.