Jacob and I took a little getaway to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in September and it was amazing. We have wanted to take a beach vacation for some time but there are so many options, it was a bit overwhelming.
We knew we wanted a very relaxed and quiet trip so we opted for a vacation rental home instead of staying at a resort. The home we rented was in a gated community with 24 hour security and was within walking distance to the main part of town. Plus, it was 50 feet from the beach - amazing.
We did plan two activities but left the rest of the days wide open. Trip Advisor, Facebook reviews and local Playa Del Carmen websites were my best friend. They helped we weed through the many options and find reliable excursions with great reviews. Booking ahead of time also saved us a little money!
The first trip was the Turtle and Cenotes Tour with Ocean Tour Mexico. They picked us up from our front door and we were off. The guide was amazing - she knew all about the area and really explained things so well. We swam in two different cenotes and then swam along side sea turtles. This was our first time snorkeling - luckily we caught on quickly but the first time underwater was a little strange.
Jungle Buggy Tour. I knew Jacob would love this and he did. Just like the other tour, transportation was included. The tour included driving super fast (but safe) on dirt roads, swimming in another cenote and driving on an obstacle course. They even took pictures, with an iPhone, and sent them to use for free. That was a huge plus!
The rest of the days were filled with sleeping in, relaxing on the beach and in the pool, walking to dinner, drinking beers and more relaxing. I think I managed to take a nap each day too.
We had an amazing time and came back recharged. Now, I'm taking all the fun photos and creating a book with Shutterfly before I forget all the fun we had.
Are you planning a trip, here are a few of my tips!
Chelsea's Vacation Tips:
- Recommendations: Ask friends and family for recommendations. They will tell you the good, bad and ugly.
- Research: Outside of Trip Advisor, I found a local website that really filled in some blanks for me.
- Resort/Owner Resources: If renting a vacation home, talk to the owner. The owner of the home we rented shared a ton of information including maps, his favorite restaurants, preferred transportation and more. That was very helpful. I'm sure resorts will have that information too.
- Social Media: Search the city/location hashtag on Instagram to see photos and what people are saying. This is a fun way to find other local restaurants or activities. You can also do the same for specific activities and restaurants. It's knda nice to see the location before you get there!
- Split the Cash: When we were traveling, Jacob and I each carried US cash and Pecos. Heaven forbid we'd lose a bag, we'd still be covered.
- Tips: Research what's expected for tipping and make sure you have plenty of cash on hand.
- Relaxing Arrival Home: I know this doesn't sound fun, but clean your house BEFORE you leave for vacation. Then, when you get home you can slowly ease back into the real world and won't have to worry about cleaning your kitchen.
- Favorite Outfit or PJ's: As much as you'll want to pack your favorite outfit for vacation, don't. Keep your favorite outfit or pajamas at home so that when you get home you have it!
- Recovery Day: Give yourself a day before jumping into your normal routine. We traveled from a Saturday to a Friday so we still had the weekend before returning to work. That was delightful.
- Photos: Don't wait to organize your photos. Get them uploaded, sorted and saved right away while all the memories are fresh.
- Plan the next trip: There is just something about having a vacation to look forward to. As soon as you get back, get your next trip in the books. It doesn't have to be a big vacation - I might just be a night out or a weekend trip, but plan something. It makes all those work days worth it.