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Our Mexican Adventure – Part 1

24 Feb

Robin and I recently returned from an amazing trip to Cancun. We had such a great time! Here are a few highlights of our adventures in a three-part post.

Day 1
After leaving the kids with Granny Vicki the night before, we got up very early Saturday morning to head to the airport for our 7:15 direct flight on Frontier Airlines from SLC to Cancun. We took a 15-minute bus ride to the Hard Rock Hotel where we were greeting by a staff of hotel employees who were literally lined up just outside the check-in area (Downton Abbey-style) and were applauding us as we walked into the hotel. Seriously. It was kind of funny.

We spent the afternoon exploring the hotel, making our plans for the week (how we would use our $1,500 vacation credits with tours, spa treatments, etc.) and enjoying a delicious dinner at one of the five restaurants at this all-inclusive resort. That’s right, all you can food and beverage was included — as Mormons, we didn’t partake of all those free cocktails, beer and wine; but our fellow guests certainly had their fill!

Our first afternoon in Cancun the wind was strong so we didn't spend much time on the beach.

Our first afternoon in Cancun the wind was strong so we didn’t spend much time on the beach.

View from our hotel balcony of the lagoon. In the hotel zone of Cancun, the ocean is on one side and the lagoon is on the other.

View from our hotel balcony of the lagoon. In the hotel zone of Cancun, the ocean is on one side and the lagoon is on the other.

Robin hanging out in the lobby on the first night.

Robin hanging out in the lobby on the first night.

Andrew hanging out in the hotel lobby near some rock star outfits.

Andrew hanging out in the hotel lobby near some rock star outfits.

Robin in front of the main entrance of the Hard Rock Hotel.

Robin in front of the main entrance of the Hard Rock Hotel.

Day 2
On the second day, we decided to get adventurous and rent a car to drive an hour south to Xcaret (prounounced Esh-car-et). It is about the size and price of Disneyland, but was well worth it. The park showcases some of Mexico’s amazing flora and fauna, including an aquarium, leopards, panthers, tapirs, monkeys, macaws, manatees, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, native bees, a butterfly exhibit and a bat cave (where a bat came swooping at us when I used my phone flashlight to see it better).

One of the main attractions of Xcaret is its three underground rivers in which visitors can swim. We rented snorkel gear and took a 45-minute swim in one of the rivers (about half through underground tunnels and half above ground) and it was amazing. (No pictures since we were all wet.)

There were some great cultural gems, including a recreated Mayan village, some interesting ruins, a couple of real Catholic churches, a fascinating Mexican cemetery and some very cool dance and costume displays. The highlight was the evening show at a 6,000-seat stadium where we enjoyed a 2-hour Mexican Spectacular where the history of the area was told with live music, folk dances and some amazing lighting, sound and costumes. They recreated battles between the Mayans and the Spaniards and did a demonstration of some Mayan ball games.

Here's my cute $20 rental car. Manual transmission, no power doors or locks. It was fun to drive!

Here’s my cute $20 rental car. Manual transmission, no power doors or locks. It was fun to drive!

Entrance to Parque Xcaret, an amazing park showcasing Mexico's rich natural and cultural heritage.

Entrance to Parque Xcaret, an amazing park showcasing Mexico’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

The park has five big buffet restaurants (take your pick of food style). Robin opted for the seafood buffet (not my favorite) and she got this whole fish to creep me out.

The park has five big buffet restaurants (take your pick of food style). Robin opted for the seafood buffet (not my favorite) and she got this whole fish to creep me out.

Re-creation of a Mayan ball stadium.

Re-creation of a Mayan ball stadium.

Beautiful view of the beach at Xcaret.

Beautiful view of the beach at Xcaret.

Another view of the beach area of Xcaret.

Another view of the beach area of Xcaret.

A very cool view from the entrance to one of the restaurants.

A very cool view from the entrance to one of the restaurants.

Mexican cemetery. 365 graves in a spiral configuration (like a beehive) with a catacomb underneath.

Mexican cemetery. 365 graves in a spiral configuration (like a beehive) with a catacomb underneath.

That's a lot of candles under the cemetery and a lot of melted wax.

That’s a lot of candles under the cemetery and a lot of melted wax.

A young sea turtle. We saw some that were 7 feet long!

A young sea turtle. We saw some that were 7 feet long!

A fascinating Catholic church that incorporates the Mayan tree of life into the decor.

A fascinating Catholic church that incorporates the Mayan tree of life into the decor.

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Above are some pictures from the Mexican Spectacular show at Xcaret. They handed us all candles at the beginning of this amazing performance and we lit them and had a moment of silence for world peace. You’d never see thousands of open flames like that in the states! As I mentioned, the costumes, regional dancing and various kinds of Mexican music were really impressive. After the two-hour show, we drove back to the hotel and had dinner at Frida’s Mexican restaurant. It was delicious.

My next post will be about Day 3 and 4, where we visited the Mayan cities of Chichen Itza and Tulum.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Trips

 

2 responses to “Our Mexican Adventure – Part 1

  1. natemlambert

    February 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    cool pics! Looks like tons of fun!

     
  2. Kira

    February 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    love the little car!

     

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