mexico wedding

Our Honeymoon | Playa del Carmen

Gaaaah! I am finally finishing up our honeymoon blog posts! Today I'm sharing our last stop, on Maroma Beach just outside of Playa del Carmen. 

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Before I go off sounding ungrateful about having the opportunity to stay at such an incredibly nice resort, it took us about three days to adjust to being at this property. While we really enjoyed our time there, we definitely learned that we are not all-inclusive people. There's something incredibly wonderful about not having to worry about paying for each drink and each meal but there's a very specific atmosphere that comes with that luxury. We prefer to just... be... and not be bothered. The staff do absolutely everything they can to make sure that you are feeling completely taken care of - which resulted in us just leaving the "do not disturb" sign on the door for most of our stay because the interaction was overwhelming for us. There were a lot of amenities at El Dorado Maroma and if you love amenities, being pampered and feeling like there is someone at your beck and call 24/7, this property (and the entire El Dorado line of resorts) is the perfect place for you. There is even a pillow menu. Not kidding. They have anything you could possibly want. 

It's hard for me to even type that paragraph because it sounds so bratty and ungrateful. Those feelings actually hung over me for quite a few days. A storm + construction next door caused the beach to be pretty much unusable. A resort is being built adjacent to the property and they have to completely clear out a mangrove to do that. Staff told us that they were draining the mangrove into the ocean causing smelly and dark water along the other close properties. That was a big bummer for me as Maroma Beach is continually rated one of the best in the world. A client shared a similar sentiment with me when I posted about this on Facebook and really the best thing I can say is that we learned so much about ourselves and how we want to travel in the future. We have always been trip-planners not vacationers. While we thought it would be amazing to just have a do-nothing vacation, it's not in our blood.
* Cue me planning more trips. *

With all of that said, we did come to love our time at El Dorado Maroma after a day or so of adjusting. The outdoor shower was so nice, the private infinity pool was amazing, the food was delicious and the "drink team" totally knew how to make us happy. Thank you, Diego and Rene! 

We took a walk up the beach one day and stumbled across this massive concrete mansion that is unfinished. It was surrounded by a tall chainlink fence and there were some hammocks hanging in the doorways. I read a bunch of theories about the origin of the building online but nothing that truly explained exactly why it's unfinished/abandoned! It was so cool regardless.

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We took a day trip to visit Chichen Itza which is farther west (inland) in the peninsula. This was a freakin' long day... but it was amazing! Our guide was really focused on getting us to understand that the Mayan people are not "extinct" which is a common misconception. Chichen Itza isn't like Pompeii - the people weren't completely wiped out. The geographic center of political power just shifted away from that area of the Yucatan and the city eventually was abandoned in favor of other more modern, usable locations. Throughout the day we interacted with plenty of Mayan people! We also swam in a very deep cenote (sink hole) resulting in sh*tty pictures that I'm not proud of but honestly it was one of the coolest things we did on our trip so... oh well!  

Our last few days we basically reached peak honeymoon. We spent 60% of our days eating and drinking and the other 40% sleeping. Unlimited drinks result in an embarrassing amount of bad selfies. 

I'll tell you, if you ever want to make it easier to come home, get a dog. We were so ready to come home and snuggle our Butters that it made it less sad to leave the warm temperatures and drinks we didn't have to make ourselves. She was happy to see us and we have to give a big shout out to our moms, my Nana and Pappaw and finally Ashley of Ashley's Adventures Pet-Sitting Service

So, all in all... our trip was wonderful and Kyle is very happy and content but I've just had a fire lit under my butt and I'm ready to go somewhere else right away!

Best thing we learned in Mexico:
"Taco is the action of folding a tortilla. So, put anything on a tortilla, fold it and boom... taco." 

Go forth, eat tacos, go to Mexico. 


Our Honeymoon | Tulum

Three days in Tulum, Mexico

I am finally getting around to blogging about our honeymoon in Mexico! In today's post I am only covering our first of three stops, Tulum. Stay tuned for our other two stops during the trip coming really soon. I did not take my "big camera" on this trip so hang in there while you scroll through a mix of GoPro and iPhone shots!

We traveled right after Thanksgiving and honestly, it's our absolute favorite time of year to jet off somewhere. Usually if you fly the Friday - Saturday after Thanksgiving, you are avoiding the insanity of the Sunday before people go back to work. Most of the country is settled down with their families still, enjoying the long weekend. 

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Tulum was our first stop, an effort to disconnect and really, truly relax. Tulum, to us, was this really trippy mix of ancient authenticity and modern hipster. Every aspect of the area is both old and preserved while influenced by what young tourists are craving in 2017. You cannot flush the toilet paper (the infrastructure is both old, unable to accommodate the massive growth of people and limited by the surrounding preserved areas) but you can get some of the best, mixology inspired drinks at restaurants owned by renowned NYC chefs.

Side note, there are two areas to Tulum - the town itself which has its good and bad spots but isn't what you see on Instagram or Pinterest when searching Tulum + the coastal area south of the town which is what is up-and-coming lately. 

I struggle to find a way to explain Tulum but I've lately been in the habit of calling it a stunningly gorgeous oxymoron. 

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We stayed at Nueva vida de Ramiro, a low density ecological hotel, in their Ola Suite right along the most incredible beach that we have ever seen. NV is a small collection of wood bungalows on stilts with grass thatched roofs. In our bungalow, you could look down through the floor and see the white sand below. The hotel is run by renewable sun and wind energy and does offer a few modern amenities (we were able to charge our phones using the one provided low-energy outlet) and there were lights in our room. Plus, there was a tree in our shower. Yep, you read that right. 

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Let me just start by saying... we absolutely loved every single thing about NV. From the open air lobby to the wonderful included breakfast, we were so smitten. And we wish we had stayed longer. We really, really hope to go back some day.

Nueva Vida de Ramiro taught us an important lesson about our travel preferences - we don't need stuff. We don't like over-attentiveness. We really cherish feeling like we are casual explorers and just having an intimate, quiet, comfortable and breathtaking space to just... be. 

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Since 1998, NV has collaborated with the Riviera Maya Tulum Sea Turtle Conservation Program and there was even a little protected space for turtle nests right outside of our bungalow. You can read all about their dozens of different "green efforts" here. I found this resort simply by searching various travel websites + Google for an affordable eco resort along the southern part of Tulum closer to the bioreserve. Affordable is key here. Tulum is not cheap.  

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Our first morning in Tulum we woke up to watch the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea right out in front of our bungalow. It was a bit chilly but warmed up to be a really wonderfully hot day. Watching that sunrise and then having breakfast on our porch was the perfect way to start our days in Tulum. 

Remember how I said Tulum was an oxymoron of sorts? It's both ridiculously chill but also mildly ostentatious. Most of the beaches are topless and cannabis is abundant. 

The food is some of the best we have ever had but cheap eats are hard to come by along the coastal parts of the town. Most restaurants do not use electric appliances and dishes are cooked in wood fired ovens and over open flame. Seriously, I would go back just for how incredible the food was. We loved the cheap tacos, chill feel and music right along the beach at Taqueria La Eufemia + our insanely good dinner at the more upscale La Zebra (also a hotel). Our hotel partnered with Casa Banana, just across the street, which had the most incredible Argentinian food! 

We did a lot of just laying on the beach and floating in the jade green waters... 

Our last morning in Tulum we took a taxi to visit the famous Tulum ruins - the remnants of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city situated on a cliff overlooking the most incredible beach that I have ever seen. It was definitely the most perfect way to end our stay in Tulum but also made it hard to leave! 

In a nutshell, Tulum really stole a little piece of our hearts.