Mexico: Why and How We Chose It For Our Family Vacation
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This coming weekend my husband, two youngest children, and I are headed to Mexico for the very first time! It's been quite a year for our family, aside from the pandemic. To say we really need this vacation is an understatement.
So when my husband and I started talking about taking a family trip, the first thought was where should we go? Two years ago my husband and I took a kid-free vacation to Aruba and had the. best. time. ever. But it was time to take our kids on a trip we could all enjoy together.
How did we narrow down our choices?
When we really started to think about where we wanted to go we knew a couple of things:
We needed to fly from BWI
We prefer to fly via Southwest Airlines
We wanted somewhere warm and tropical
We went down the list of places easily accessible from BWI via Southwest Airlines; Cancun, Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic.
We easily could have chosen Aruba again as we really, really loved the island, the food, and the people. Seriously, the people that live and work in Aruba were some of the most friendly and warm people I've ever met. However, we knew we wanted to try out an all-inclusive with our two young kids, mainly for simplicity; our kids are 5 and 7.
This left Cancun, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. All three destinations have so much going for them. There are so many activities to do in each destination, beautiful turquoise water, and so many resorts to choose from. What it really came down to was listing our top destinations in order and starting there.
That list came to:
While we would love to visit Jamaica and the Dominican one day, for this trip we figured that the sheer number of resorts available in Mexico plus the added bonus of truly unique activities and excursions made Mexico our top pick.
A little more background...
During the pandemic school year, we made the choice to home school our two youngest children; and that meant I was the teacher as my husband has a full time job outside of the home. Our curriculum consisted of a weekly country or region study where we dove in deep to the culture of a country. That means when Mexico week came up, I taught my two all about Mexico, with a bit of a highlight of the Riviera Maya region.
They were enthralled with everything the region had to explore. We took virtual field trips to Mayan ruins, pretended we were diving into cenotes, and tasted as authentic food as I could find from recipes online. When we finally surprised them with the news of our trip, they were ecstatic and started counting down the days.
How did we choose our resort?
As a travel advisor, choosing a resort for a personal trip is probably the most difficult decision of them all; and in the Riviera Maya destination, there are hundreds to select from.
From our resort we knew we wanted:
an all-inclusive with good food
large pools full of activity
water slides and/or a children's water park
access to a beautiful beach
large enough rooms for a family of 4
To make this decision, I used my past clients and all of their feedback from resorts I've sent them to. And from there, we chose Iberostar Selection Paraiso Maya.
I've mentioned this resort before in my roundup of all-inclusive resorts for 2021 holiday travel, but I have repeat clients that LOVE the Iberostar brand. I also have a colleague that lives in the destination and she recently visited the resort and sang its praises, making me even more excited than ever to take our trip!
The Iberostar Selection Paraiso Maya has everything on our list, and then some. From our resort level, we have access to the three lower tier resorts and their amenities, including their restaurants! We already have our first dinner reservations set (my kids can hardly wait for the Japanese Steakhouse!).
What we're planning to do when we're in Mexico
Laze about in the pool, lounge on the beach, eat some delicious food, have a few adult beverages....just to name a few. On top of all of this, we do have some excursions planned.
We're snorkeling with turtles and swimming in cenotes! You can view this tour at this link. This is a private tour that picks us up at our resort and starts off in Akumal Bay, where turtles naturally live in and visit to eat the sea grass. Then we head off to the cenotes, which are basically sinkholes where the cave ceiling has collapsed, leading to underground rivers.
Next up, we're taking a visit to the Tulum ruins, and you can view the tour here. This is a half day visit to the oceanfront Tulum ruins, once an important Mayan port. We'll have a local guide giving us all the information about this architectural gem and even have a chance to swim on the beach.
With that said, making all of these decisions is so hard. If you find it difficult or overwhelming to choose a destination AND THEN a resort for your next vacation, don't hesitate to contact us. We specialize in Mexico and the Caribbean and have extensive knowledge of resorts across all budget levels. We even have different packages to suit all traveler types.
Let us help take that stress away and plan your vacation for you; all you have to do is show up!