¡Hola! We are currently up in the air heading back to Seattle after four relaxing days in Riviera Maya to celebrate Adam’s 30th birthday. It was our first trip together to Mexico (I have never been before and Adam went once 10 years ago) and wow, what a beautiful place! We chose Riviera Maya for Adam’s birthday trip after earning enough points with Southwest last year and getting a Companion Pass for 2017, which means I get to fly free the whole year as long as Adam is with me. We knew we wanted to go somewhere tropical and landed on Riviera Maya because it was somewhat easy and cheap to get to from Seattle and had a good mix of activities and relaxation. We are very active travelers—we can’t sit still for too long and love to explore when we travel, so finding a place where there were some fun activities was important to us.
Our Hotel: Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
Since we were both pretty unfamiliar with Mexico, we chose to go the all-inclusive route since that’s the most common option. We don’t drink alcohol, but LOVE to eat food, so we figured we would get our money’s worth in the food alone. We decided on Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya after hours of research on TripAdvisor. The resort is beautiful! It has two large pools, a beautiful beach with insanely clear and blue water, nice rooms, and many restaurants. There is also a gym with an indoor room with machines and outdoor weight room, as well as an area with ping pong and pool.
We spent two days of our trip hanging out at the beach and pools, watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets, drinking fruity drinks, and eating tons of food at the buffets. We ate at 3 of the restaurants (the French restaurant, the Indonesian restaurant, and the Mexican restaurant), as well as the breakfast and lunch buffets. We also drank lots of coffee with their version of cream, condensed milk. So good! For the dinner restaurants, the Mexican and Indonesian were our favorite. We aren’t used to dressing up for dinner on vacations, but it was nice to feel fancy every night and try fancier foods we normally don’t eat. The buffets were great as well and had tons of options, however our favorite meal was probably the poolside tacos that we ate right before leaving the resort to go to the airport. They were incredible! We honestly have never eaten as much during a trip as we did during the last four days. We spent months working very hard at the gym to prep for this trip, but since the food was all free, we ate nonstop and are definitely leaving Mexico feeling and looking a bit different than when we arrived.
Food aside, we really enjoyed our time at this resort and would recommend it to anyone looking into Riviera Maya. In the future we will likely find a cool Airbnb and explore Mexican towns and local spots more, but for our first trip this was a great home base for us!
Alltournative Jungla Maya
One day of our trip was spent doing the Jungla Maya excursion with Alltournative. The excursion is split into a couple parts: a couple hours at the Tulum ruins and then the rest of the day at the Jungla Maya adventure park where we ziplined, rappelled and snorkeled in cenotes, witnessed a Mayan ritual and ate Mayan food. The tour picked us up from our hotel and we, along with 2 other couples and a family, headed out to Tulum. Our guide Eduardo was the coolest and gave us lots of info about Tulum before letting us wander around on our own. Tulum is crazy busy, even arriving early in the morning, and we had to push through crowds in certain parts, but the beautiful ruins against the blue water was such an incredible sight and made it totally worth it.
After we walked around the ruins, we headed to the shopping area right outside the entrance. Eduardo gave us some tips on where to get the best authentic tacos and coffee (two of our favorite things in the world), which were so delicious! We didn’t have much time to walk around the area, but it looked really awesome and if we head back to Tulum in the future we will definitely spend more time at the ruins.
From the ruins, we headed to the adventure park, which was so much fun! We witnessed a Mayan ritual and ziplined on 5 different ziplines, one of which was into a cenote. We also rappelled (the scariest part in our opinion) and snorkeled in a cenote, which was unreal! The formations in the cenote created by water were amazing and getting to swim around them in the dark was slightly scary, but unlike anything we have done before!
After the ziplining and snorkeling we got to enjoy a Mayan lunch, which was muy delicioso, before heading back to our hotel. A big shoutout to our guide Eduardo for such an awesome day!
We had a great trip to Mexico and look forward to checking out other parts of the country in the future. We will miss the warmth and sunshine as we head back to cold and rainy Seattle, but we are so thankful for the ability to travel and explore new places together. ¡Hasta Luego Mexico!