I am a wife, a mother, an auntie and a friend. I love thrifting, garage sales, re-purposing, creating, painting, anything that makes our little rental home more welcoming, comfortable and cozy. I have discovered the "art" of amateur photography & I love the idea of capturing the beauty in the ordinary everyday things that surround us. Blogging is a wonderful way to make new friends and share with people who have the same interests. My personal taste in decorating leans towards "casual cottage/coastal decor". I now have a small shop on etsy, called "SandySeashore" where you'll find some of my vintage finds, my photography and some handmade things. I hope you take the time to check it out! Thanks for droppin' in!

MEXICO - Our Trip Reviews

MEXICO - "Dream a little dream with me"

If you know us, you know that we love Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. Why?  Well ,there are many reasons; the warm weather, warm people, hot sun, warm sand, warm water…..I’m sure there are a lot of other destinations that offer the same, but for now, this is “our spot”.

Mike and I are average people, who have average jobs, and travel anywhere is a real luxury. We were not able to afford a “real vacation” since we got married on a cruise to the Caribbean in 1995, on which we briefly visited Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman Island and Jamaica. We enjoyed all three, but particularly liked Mexico. In 2009 we managed to save enough to go to the Mayan Riviera for one week. We fell in LOVE all over again! Not just with Mexico, but with each other! We promised each other we would do our best to return every year.

We chose the “All Inclusive” scenario because we needed to feel pampered after so many years without a relaxing holiday.  We’ve spoiled ourselves and gone to five star resorts and are now totally addicted! How nice it is to not have to worry about anything while you sit under a palm tree and listen to the sounds of tropical birds singing their melodies, the waves rhythmically erasing footsteps in the sand and the wind rustling the palms…all while sipping some wonderful tropical concoction! ahhhh (yes, I am a terrible romantic). But really, that’s how it is. It’s paradise. There is so much to do, or you can choose to do nothing at all.  The pure luxury of it all is mesmerizing.

We’re often asked about our trips, where we stayed, how the beach was, how the food was, what we did or saw while we were there, so I’ve decided to start a “trip review” page. It is an album and record of sorts of our little getaways, for anyone who is interested, as well as a nice reminder for us. Whether you are planning a trip there yourself and just want to know about where we stayed, or you just want to browse and dream a little, either way, I hope you enjoy it.

So far, we’ve only been twice, with our third trip coming up in April 2011. I will review that trip as well, when we return.

THE BLUEBAY GRAND ESMERALDA - Playa del Carmen, Mexico
April 23 - 30th, 2009

After much consideration, research and some advice from a good travel agent, we decided our first big vacation since our wedding in 1995, would be to the Bluebay. It was rated as a somewhat large, 5 star resort with over 900 rooms, divided in several separate buildings, scattered amongst several acres of lush, well maintained tropical forest. The grounds are spectacular. The rooms, well appointed and clean with an updated decor. The style of the resort is very tropical, with thatched roofs and pretty white buildings. If you love to be close to the beach, the building to ask for is No. 5. It is a large resort, far from the main highway, and is not the resort for you if you don't like walking. The buildings are very spread out all over the acreage, however the little tram does come around quite often to take you wherever you want to go on the property.

The gym and spa facility are beautiful, we had massages and really enjoyed them.

This resort has 6 or seven a-la-carte restaurants and three buffets. You are required to book for the a-la-cartes the day before, but do so early.

Ratings on a scale of 1 to 10.

Food:     Buffet: In our opinion, buffet food is pretty much the same at all buffets, and the
               Bluebay does theirs well. The Coconut Ice Cream is to die for! (10)

               The a-la-carte restaurants:  They were all very good. We especially like the french food, although
                the restaurant itself/set up was a bit bizarre. It had no doubt been a sushi restaurant at some time.
                The Mexican restaurant was absolutely fantastic. The show put on to make a spanish coffee 
                itself was worth the tip we left! We liked it so much we went back! (10)

The Beach:   I would rate this beach as a 6 1/2 out of 10. Why? Seaweed. Although they do a great job trying to keep it under control, constantly raking and cleaning it. It also had some sandbags, not directly on the resort's beach, but nearby. The sandbags are to prevent further of the erosion of the beach, caused by hurricanes. Nonetheless, it was a very pretty beach, white sand, turquoise water. It had  plenty of chairs, palapas and palm trees. To find out more about what the Bluebay offers in water sports and other entertainment, google www.bluebayresorts.com/en/hotel/bluebay-grand-esmeralda.html

The Pools: Gorgeous, many, large, clean. 10 out of 10!

We also loved the swing bar on the beach!

The Rooms: Very Clean, quiet, nicely appointed, with your typical amenities, mini-fridge, safe, t.v., hairdryer... Nicely decorated, not your typical cheesy hotel decor. 10 out of 10.

this is the view we had from our room

the rooms are plain, simple and clean.
                                          the bathrooms are beautiful, large ++ shower and clean

Service:  Very polite, courteous and helpful. We left our camera in a taxi cab and our concierge tried very hard to get it back for us. 10 out of 10.

Location:  A 20 minute cab ride to 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen, or when we were there, a $15.00 us cab ride (tip included). 9 out of 10 (we would have liked to be closer to Playa for our first trip back to the area).

Tulum - Mayan Ruins
5th Ave, Playa del Carmen

Fantastic fun shopping in Playa!

Playa del Carmen Beach


When we arrived from the airport, and went to check in, we were told that, unfortunately the hotel had been overbooked and they did not have a room for us for our first night! We were absolutely dumbfounded! The hostess quickly added that the Bluebay would taxi us to the neighboring resort, the Hacienda Tres Rios for our first night. They would also compensate us by giving us two free massages, two tours to Tulum to see the Ruins and $150.00 Bluebay dollars to spend in the resort's shops. Oh, Okay, we said....they loaded us into a cab and off we went....The resort they sent us to was 4 months old, and absolutely beautiful!!! We were given a cool towel and a cold drink and escorted to our SUITE...with a jacuzzi tub on the balcony overlooking the ocean!!!! SCOREIt was a wonderful way to start off our vacation!  Other than a few camera mishaps, the trip was perfect, too short, but perfect.....Oh! I forgot, the swine flu broke out while we were there! Not a sign of it at the resort except for the few people who panicked and left Mexico, the masks on the people preparing food, and the addition of hand washing stations everywhere. All the right precautions were taken. We felt safe and enjoyed every minute of our stay. Precautions were also taken at the airport when we were leaving, as we were scanned for fevers and asked to sign a statement confirming that we had not experienced any symptoms.

All in all it was a fantastic first trip back to the Mayan Riviera.

The Grand Palladium - Kantenah
April 25th to May 9th, 2010
Trip Report by Mike MacDonald-yet to be completed

Ocean Turquesa by H10 - Puerto Morelos
April 24th - May 8th, 2011

Fabulous, this resort is much smaller than the others we've been to, and we really enjoyed being in a small resort. Everything in the resort was close by, no trams necessary. Much less time was wasted getting from point A to point B. And if you forgot something in the room, it wasn't a half hour treck to go back and get it! It  gets a 10 out of 10 on everything except the beach. It's a 9, why? Because of seaweed. They do have a tractor that rakes it every couple of hours, so it's really not a problem, except for me, it's a nine. The Kantenah at the Grand Palladium last year had the most amazing beach
of the three resorts we've stayed at.

The Food

Even though we didn't upgrade to Privelidge we had absolutely no problem getting in to the A la Carte's without reservations. We never waited more than 2 minutes.

The food was good. Overall I would give the Buffets a 10 out of 10. Clean, spacious, nice presentation,
huge variety of foods. What can one say about Buffet food, it's buffet food.

The A la Carte's, all around  above average, hubby say's 8 out of 10, I say 9 1/2 out of 10. I guess it depends what your expectations are. My hubby is a foody...

The Beach: As stated above, beautiful except for a bit of seaweed. 9.
The Pools: Beautiful! 3 pools for the resort. Water is warm, plenty of room for everyone, games and exercises daily. 10.
The Rooms: Beautiful! Nicely decorated (not tacky), big bathroom, tub and shower, seperate water closet. Great, spacious balconies, we had such a nice view in room 12303! definitely a 10.

The Service:  Great, only one time did we get someone with attitude, but she was clearly overwhelmed by other patrons who were being extremely rude and demanding. She apologized to us afterwards. The rest of the time, absolutely no problems with anyone. All kind, polite, curteous and friendly. 10.

Location: Cabs needed. From the resort to the town of Puerto Morelos, by cab it was $9.00 u.s. one way. To Playa it was $35.00 u.s. one way. Or you could take the cab to the A.D.O. (greyhound like bus) for $9.00 one way,  and then the A.D.O. is 40 pesos each way ($3.63 u.s.).  The resort is a $35 cab ride to Cancun as well, one way.

Puerto Morelos is a lovely little (much, much smaller than Playa Del Carmen) fishing town with shops, restaurants and a small mayan artisan's market. Check out the "Alma Libre" book store, have some "Sopa de Lima" by the beach and enjoy. We spent a day at the "Little Mexican Cooking School", which we thoroughly enjoyed. To find out more about that, check my post on it.

We also went on a tour to Chichen Itza, which was absolutely beautiful. On our way we passed thru the town of Valadolid, which will definitely merrit a visit on our next trip. We also spent a night on our favourite Island, Isla Mujeres. It is a magical place that is a 25 minute ferry ride from Cancun, and definitely worth the trip!

We enjoyed the Ocean Turquesa so much that we plan on returning there next year for a week, and spending some time on Isla Mujeres as well as checking out the Island of Holbox.

To see photos of our trip check out my previous posts on our resort, Isla Mujeres, The Little Mexican Cooking School & Puerto Morelos.

You can also check out these links: