Admittedly, I had some concerns about going on a week long vacation with extended family. When the idea was first raised about doing a family vacation, I was adamant that we not do a house rental or something like that. For our number and varied interests, we decided that an all-inclusive resort would be the best bet. This would be the best option logistically– since everything is all-inclusive, we wouldn’t have to split checks or keep tabs for who has paid for what, and since we’d all be all in one location with lots of amenities, we would not have to worry about transporting people for place to place. I hoped it would also be the best option for meeting everyone’s varied interests– from the grown-ups who want to read all day, to the kids who want to swim all day.
Hopefully, you got a chance to check out my guest post on Goodness Madness during the Pittsburgh Guest Blogging Event. In short, I do not have a good track record when it comes to traveling with other people. I have about a 48 hour time limit when spending time with someone, and then I am done. I need lots of time alone, and I can be a real grouch when I’m having to share more space and time with other people.
You guys, the vacation was fantastic. We had so much fun that we are already talking about doing another trip. The all inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen was perfect, and I don’t think I’ve ever come back from a trip more relaxed and happy.
We stayed at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, which is a family resort with a focus on preserving the local ecosystem and teaching about the local Mayan culture. In the scope of resorts, it’s about mid-range– not luxury, but not total discount either. I think its amenities, services, etc. were right on for the rates they charge. There were some things that were very good (lots of good options for pools, beach, water park, kids activities, nightly entertainment, etc.), and there were also some things that could be improved. The resort is oriented to families, and although there were kids all over the place, I felt that parents did a good job of keeping an eye on their own kids and making sure they were behaving appropriately. We all really enjoyed it and would be happy to go back!
I counted down to this vacation for weeks. By the time we hit March, I was running on fumes. We were very lucky to get to take trips to Napa and Disney World last year, but (admittedly by my own planning) both trips involved us going from activity to activity to activity. We may have been more tired by the end of those trips before we departed for them. I needed rest. That is exactly what we got out of this trip, and oh wow it was good.
Our days basically went like this: Wake up, get breakfast, find family around the mid-morning sometime either on the beach or by the pool, swim and relax until lunch time, eat some lunch, swim and relax until late afternoon, get cleaned up and put on pants, meet up with family for dinner, watch the nightly show, go to bed. Repeat six times. It was fantastic.
We came back to late snow and ice in Pittsburgh, but I feel rested enough to actually deal with it. When Baby Beez returned to school afterward, the theme for the month of April was “Rainforest,” and she was extremely excited to get to tell all her classmates about her week in the jungle.
Mr. Beez and I had been to Riviera Maya (slightly south of Playa del Carmen, both relatively near to Cancun) once before, and had an incredibly relaxing long vacation. Travelzoo and Apple Vacations frequently run specials that are extremely well priced, including airfare (in fact, Travelzoo is running a special right now on the resort we stayed in). It’s just about a 4 hour flight away, which is not too bad, especially now that Baby Beez is comfortable enough with flying and is old enough to keep herself occupied during long flights.
And you know what– my fears about everyone making me crazy never came to pass. The resort was just the right option, because everyone had the flexibility to do what they wanted, but we were still generally together and getting to spend time with one another. Just the right balance of time together and independence.
So yes, friends, go to a Cancun-area beachside resort. Even go with your whole big crazy family. You’ll love it. And even if you head out to vacation feeling like you can’t even function, you’ll return feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world.
PS- Mr. Beez and I went to the spa for massages. Twice.