I planned my first international trip!
Now, I’ve travelled before, but I’ve always enjoyed being the blissfully ignorant wife on international trips. However, after trying my hand at booking hotels and airplane tickets, a girl could get used to being on the other side of things.
I spent five days in Riviera Maya, Mexico and here’s how I planned my first trip to Mexico.
Choosing the vacation destination
Before we decided on visiting Mexico we had plans to head to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Inspired by a vacation package offer on Gustazos we had two main options, Dom Rep or Mexico. After weeks of weighing the pros and cons and deciding what mattered most to my husband and I on a vacation the tiebreaker was the flight and arrival time. Unfortunately, the Punta Cana trip (using Arajet) would’ve had us arriving late at night and a trip to Mexico (using American Airlines) was slightly better with a projected arrival time of an hour after hotel check-in.
With that in mind, Mexico was the sensible choice to give us more time to spend vacationing.
Deciding on the hotel
This was hard. There were so many great hotels to choose from and ultimately it came down to familiarity and price. After days and hours of scouring review sites like Expedia for hotel ratings and becoming completely overwhelmed by the options, I decided to check out hotel chains that also existed in Jamaica. BEST DECISION EVER! This narrowed my search to a manageable list of resorts that were familiar. Ultimately, I chose Bahia Principe Luxury Sian Ka’an in Riviera Maya.
After deciding on the hotel the next step was to seal the deal with a booking. Before making the final click we considered a few things:
What did I consider before visiting Mexico?
For this trip, we knew we wanted to ease ourselves into the Mexican experience and relax. This meant the following:
- Airport transfer availability
- All-inclusive hotel amenities
- Distance from the airport
- Excursion options
- Hotel reviews
My husband and I are what the internet would dub “vacationers”. Which means we like to travel to relax; well mostly. We did walk for miles on this trip to see the Mayan ruins in Tulum. So when we were searching for a place to stay in Mexico, all-inclusive hotels were high on our list.
The perks of an all-inclusive hotel are of course the convenience, entertainment, room service, a la carte dining, pools and beaches. These things made for an exceptionally comforting first step into an unknown country.
First Trip to Mexico: The experience
How did we get to the hotel?
As part of our reservation with Bahia, we were able to secure an airport transfer as an add-on. This cost an additional $131 for a shared ride to and from the hotel.
Upon arriving to the airport we made it to our pick-up spot where we found our transfer partner. At this point, we had about an hour wait for the transfer vehicle to arrive but once they arrived what should have been a shared ride became a personal transfer to the hotel for just the two of us. The journey to the hotel was about one hour and fifteen minutes and gave us the opportunity to witness the Mexican landscape and the hotel strip.
What was the food like in Mexico?
I know some people shy away from all-inclusive resorts because of the perceived inauthenticity of the cultural experience there but Sian Kaan gave us a great experience of Mexico, especially its cuisine. Much like Jamaica, the cuisine in Mexico is a vibrant tapestry of flavours, colours, and traditions that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. Mexican food is renowned for its bold and spicy profiles, with ingredients like chillies, cilantro, and cumin taking centre stage. Tacos, perhaps the most iconic Mexican dish, come in countless variations, from succulent al pastor to crispy fish tacos, all bursting with fresh toppings like salsa, guacamole, and lime. Enchiladas, tamales, and quesadillas are other beloved classics that we available at every meal of the day.
What did we do while in Mexico?
For this trip, we wanted to focus on taking things slow and relaxing but we couldn’t leave without experiencing the famed sites in Mexico. We booked a midweek excursion trip to the Tulum ruins, swam in a cenote and made tacos with direct Mayan descendants. this was such a rich experience! We even got to see a local mariachi band perform in a Mayan community.
On the other days we relaxed, visited the pool and tried out a different a la carte each night.
What would I do differently?
STAY LONGER! There was so much to experience at the group of hotels Bahia Principe offered. We didn’t even crack the surface of activities and nightly entertainment. Five days definitely weren’t enough especially when we factored in travel time.
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