For the first time in about 10 year, my family FINALLY did a family vacation! Earlier this year, my mom and I were throwing out ideas about where we could go. The key determinants were: inexpensive, warm, and had a lot of activities we could do. Hawaii? Nope too expensive. Florida? Nope, been there too many times. Mexico…OK! Without any argument, we decided to take them to the wonderful Puerto Aventuras, Mexico!
Puerto Aventuras: a small, quaint, gated community located about 50 minutes south east of Cancun (between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum.) Kwin and I have vacationed here two years ago- where it was my first time to Mexico, and Kwin’s…well he’s been here a lot!
We left on Christmas Eve- leaving the snow covered, and bone chilling Michigan- and headed for the sun. Travel tip… Christmas Eve/ New Years Eve typically have the cheapest plane tickets! Customs was a breeze. We then caught a shuttle to pick up our rental car. We ALWAYS rent a car when traveling, even in Mexico, because it allows us more freedom. We don’t have to depend on a bus, other people, time constraints, and predetermined schedules.With the van all packed up we made a quick stop at SAM’s club to load up on some snacks/groceries and then made our way to our final destination! Last time Kwin and I stayed in the Omni Hotel, located right in the downtown area, and this time we stayed in a nice VRBO condo.
So, what is a vacation with Kwin and Megan like? Well, just because we are on “vacation,” doesn’t mean that we are going to be sitting and doing nothing all day. I love relaxing occasionally, reading a good book and getting some good R&R…but when we travel we feel like we should be adventuring new terrain, and diverging into the culture!
Our first excursion was the Mayan Ruin- Coba. This Mayan community was first settled between 50 BC and 100 AD in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, when the spaniards discovered this land, they brought over deadly diseases, which nearly wiped out the entire population! When Coba you will see the main/ largest pyramid (Ixmoja), spiritual temples, two ball courts, and other Mayan ruins.
Upon arriving you can choose to have a tour guide, which is nice because they are very knowledgable about the ruins, or walking the through by yourself. You can also rent bikes or take a “trolly.”
Ixmoja is one of the ONLY Mayan ruins that you can still climb! It’s a steep 120 stair climb to the top. Most of us were able to make it to the top, and the view once up there is spectacular. Overlooking the vast green jungle, two lakes (Lake Coba and Lake Macanxoc) and seeing evidence of other uncovered Mayan structures.
Given that Coba is a good distance from the Ocean, and in the middle of the jungle, it can get pretty toasty out there! But no need to worry, there are three fun cenotes to jump in just a short 5 minute drive away- Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha. Keep reading to learn a little more about these!
Otherwise known as Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. Tulum resides on a bluff facing east toward the Caribbean Sea. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub.
All of the Mayan communities were connected to one another by way of path. This is said to have extended for miles connecting Coba, Tulum and Chichén Itzá.
This is probably my favorite Mayan ruin. The ocean views, ability to swim whenever you want, PLUS sunrises and sunsets! Unlike Coba, most of the Tulum ruins have been preserved. This allows you to feel like you are actually walking around the same community that they once did.
FYI: This is a VERY popular tourist attraction, so if you’re not there early in the morning it can get very crowded.
We always make a day trip over to the island of Cozumel, taking a ferry from Playa Del Carmen (which is about a 45 minute ride.)
Downtown Cozumel is similar to any port city- full of people, restaurants, shops, etc. Given it’s a popular location to do a day trip, and where cruise ships port, we like to get away from town ASAP!
Just like last time, we rented mopeds, and cruised around the whole island! Stopping along the way to do some snorkeling, body surfing, or getting some refreshments.
What exactly are these things? They’re natural caves that are filled with fresh water (That’s right, FRESH WATER,) in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. These underwater sinkholes were formed millions of years ago when limestone caves collapse, revealing underground pools.
When driving down the highway you will see signs for cenotes EVERYWHERE! Let me tell you, it’s so refreshing to jump into fresh water pools after doing some hiking all morning.
Most of these cenotes are well managed and cost only a couple pesos. Some of our favorites are: the ones I listed above at Coba- Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha- and Cenote Cristalino (Which is right near where we stayed in Puerto Aventuras.)
Each Cenote is unique….
- Cenote Choo-Ha has platforms that you can jump off into the water! A 50ft and 20ft jump…believe it or not, I actually did the 50ft jump this time!
- Multum-Ha supposedly has a legend that a man fell into the hole and his skeletal remains are still at the bottom.
- Cenote Cristalino is an above ground cenote which has a rock wall to jump off of, and fish that suck on your feet and give you a nice pedicure (if you sit still enough.) You pay big money for that in the states!
Well, how can one go to Mexico and NOT like the food? I think it’s impossible! Fresh guacamole made right there on the spot, fresh pico-de gallo served as we sat down at the table. Fresh seafood. Man, I don’t think we had a bad meal. Plus the food is SO CHEAP here!
Puerto Aventuras main downtown is a popular tourist spot called “Dolphin Discovery.” Surrounding the area with dolphins, sea lions and manatees, is a boardwalk and 10+ local, family owned restaurants.
Each night we tried a different restaurant! We obviously all had favorites, but in my opinion they were all great.
Good food, good drinks, good company!
I’m so glad that we were able to take a fun family vacation with my parents and two younger brothers!
A trip to the sunny, and warm Mexican weather is always so rejuvenating for the soul. Especially living in grey, cloudy and cold Michigan.
Check out Kwin’s Video he made of our trip HERE!
I hope you all enjoyed reading this and are having a great start to the new year!