Show And Tell Tuesday: Riviera Maya

The weather is finally getting warmer, so it only makes sense to reminisce about my favorite vacation…and day dream about where I want to go next!

show and tell

Check out the link up on Andrea’s blog. 🙂

I have traveled to a bunch of cool places…New York City, Las Vegas, Disney World, Niagara Falls…and then I have my favorite places…the places that my family and I go back to time and time again. We LOVE to go to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. I have been to Wildwood every summer since I was six months old. 🙂 It’s just the best family vacation! Stick around the blog for a few months and you will get to read all about this summer’s trip;) But I have to say that my favorite vacation EVER was one that I took with my friends last May…


Me, Johna, and Lindsey

…we hopped on a plane and went to Mexico! It was a special trip because we had all just finished our semester of student teaching AND graduated from college, so we had a lot to celebrate! I had never left the country before (except to go to Canada and that was before you needed a passport), but Lindsey had been to the Cancun/Riviera Maya area many times with her family so she was our tour guide of sorts…making sure we didn’t get lost in the airport and such;) Our trip started out with a ridiculously early flight from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and then from there, we flew to Cancun. You can’t be too mad about an early flight when the sky looks like this!


We stayed at Barcelo Maya Beach in Riviera Maya so it was a bit of a drive from the airport, but it was so worth it! I loved how open everything was…you could always see the sun and feel how warm it was. Sometimes, when you’re from Pittsburgh, you forget what the sun feels like;) This is a view of the fountain separating the lobby from the space where our hotel room was.


 It was an all-inclusive trip and it was so nice to order food and drinks at our leisure! We could try as many new-to-us dishes or drinks as we wanted and indulge. It is vacation, after all! I specifically remember one afternoon when I left my margarita next to my beach chair and went to wash the sand off my legs in the ocean…when I came back, one of the workers had taken my drink away thinking that I was finished! So I ran (literally ran…;) back to the bar and quickly ordered another one. #priorities We had access to pools, outdoor activities, and of course, the beach…which was about 20 steps from my hotel room. I couldn’t ask for anything more. 🙂


Our resort was nice because there were five different “hotels” on the property but it felt like we were all neighbors. Hahaha there was a golf cart that would trolley people back and forth between the buildings which was perfect when you wanted to go see a show or shop somewhere else on the property. From end to end, it was only about a mile long [I know, because I ran it every morning;)], but once we started walking around, especially in and around all the different buildings, we were exhausted! Ha!


Thanks to Google Images, you can see what it looks like from the sky:) The red rooftops are the five different little hotels on the property and you can see how grand all of the swimming pools were!

Every morning, I liked to start the day off with a nice run around the resort. So many walking paths and different routes to take!


I quickly learned that paradise doesn’t always look this pretty…sometimes when you wake up, there are workers out there clearing palms that fell down in the night! Haha


Our favorite breakfast spot was the buffet. There were SO many different kinds of food…breakfast food, lunch food, salad bar, fruit, dessert, pastries…you could have anything! I decided it was only appropriate to finish breakfast with a crepe and a mimosa daily. 🙂



Then, we would head to the beach. It was nice to get some sun before it got TOO hot! Riviera Maya is the only place I have ever been where I needed to put sunscreen on the tops of my feet and on my ears. The sun is SERIOUS! Although one day, even though it was 82, it was so windy we were cold at the beach…


We only looked a little crazy. 🙂

The beach was always lots of fun. We would read, take walks, people watch…and occasionally, someone interesting would walk by…one day, we got henna tattoos, another day, we posed with this parrot.


When it was my turn to hold him by myself…well, I almost ran away. I wanted to hold him but his creepy little bird feet were scary!

And then there was beach yoga. I don’t know if there is anything better.


At noon, we would walk over to the pool for water aerobics. Yes, water aerobics. It was so fun!


The fitness instructors were hilarious and always included some kind of crazy challenge that made you swim with a partner or run around the pool. They played crazy loud music and were so energetic! And they started to recognize us because we were there every day. We made friends. 🙂


We liked to take crazy pictures…



…and order fun drinks…


…because hey, if you don’t like it, you can order something else! #nbd #iloveallinclusive

And we liked to find random things to do. Like paint pottery!


We chose our pieces, painted them whatever colors we wanted, and left them to be glazed. I painted the fish on the bottom with its mouth wide open…and I love it because I keep my everyday jewelry in it on my nightstand!

Dinner was always fun because we would dress up and go somewhere new. We usually ate at the same place for breakfast and the pool side spot for lunch, so it was nice to put on real clothes and eat in something other than our bathing suits. 😉


Then we would walk around and find the entertainment for the night…on this night, there were very talented dancers on stage. We also saw an acrobatic type show, but the best shows were the ones where there was karaoke singing or some type of audience involvement! We watched five couples on stage one night competing against each other in strength challenges…it was hilarious to see the men and women fighting with each other to win!


Pretty much every day, we heard someone at the resort tell us that we needed to go to Coco Bongo that night. We were kind of afraid to go anywhere else even though a ton of people went out every night…we were happy in our little resort bubble. 🙂 The closest we got to Coco Bongo was this Spiderman dude by the pool!


So because we felt like we needed to do SOMETHING adventurous while we were there, we decided to swim with dolphins! This was not included in our trip but it was so worth the extra money. We purchased a CD of photos from our time with the dolphins and we have a video of it all too! So. much. fun.


First, we all stood in a line at the edge of the pool. It was very deep so the dolphins could easily swim around, but there was a ledge on the side for us to stand so the water was about waist level. Our instructor had worked with this dolphin for YEARS so they kind of had a little relationship going on which was so cool! She had the dolphin do tricks for us first and in between tricks, he would swim past and we could pet him…kind of get used to us, I guess. 🙂 Then it was time to actually swim with the dolphin! One person in our little line would swim to the other side of the pool and wait for the dolphin to come past…you just had to cross your arms across your chest kind of like the letter T, hold his fins, and you were off!


I actually did have fun, even though my face says otherwise. 🙂

DSC_0124 DSC_0125

But I wasn’t so sure about kissing him…


When it was time to go home, I sat under this baby palm tree until the airport taxi pulled up. Seriously. I thought Lindsey was going to kill me! Haha! It was such a fun trip and I would go back to this very place with these very people any day of the week. The resort was beautiful, the food was delicious, there was so much to do, and the people were so friendly! I was very impressed with my first venture out of the U.S. Now if I could just make it across the Pond…

8 thoughts on “Show And Tell Tuesday: Riviera Maya

  1. It’s official, I need to go there… crepes are the way to my heart! (and the beach too!) Looks like it was so fun 🙂 I’m also so jealous you swam with the dolphins – that’s definitely on my bucket list!

    • When you plan your trip, consider adding an extra travel guest…ME! Haha! I really had never had a crepe before and it was make your own so I was probably doing it wrong but it was delish! The dolphins were so so cool. Definitely worth it when you have the chance!

  2. Oh my gosh, what a vacation! It serously looks like you had such a fun time! I know I would love something like that. I’ve always wanted to take a “girls trip” type vacation, too! Even if it’s just with my mom/sister or mother-in-law/sis-in-law LOL. So, since it was all inclusive, did you have to pay for the pottery painting and dolphin experience and other extras, or was it seriously all included? Because if so… that’s amazing!

    I love the picture of you right before the dolphin kiss haha!!

    • Swimming with dolphins was the only thing I paid for besides tipping the waiter at dinner and buying souvenirs. So much fun to feel like it was “free”! For flight, hotel, and all that we were able to do…I thought it was really worth it. I definitely saved but it was affordable! My mom and I take a girls trip every May and I always look forward to it. You should definitely plan something with the ladies in your family! 🙂

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