Spring Break 2019: Playa del Carmen & Cancun, Mexico highlights

Adult spring break! This trip was meant to be a 30th birthday trip but since it was too expensive to fly the week of my birthday. Bae and I went early April instead of mid-April (tax day birthday!).

For 8 days, we bounced around the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Some are some of my favorites from the trip:

Cancun’s beaches

We were in Cancun for one night, right when we arrived.  The Marriot resort in Cancun is amazing as it’s right on the beach.  Of all the beaches I had been to during this trip – this was the best. The water was the clearest and the beaches are beautiful.


Staying in an all-inclusive adults only resort

I didn’t really understand the allure of adults only resorts until we went to the Marriott and there were a ton of kids running around.  It is definitely a more relaxing environment without the kids. (Love kids, nothing wrong with them – in fact we went to the resort with a set of parents).


None of us had done this but it was pretty awesome! We met up with two other couples at the resort, Valentin Maya Resort.  We only stayed for two nights but we had so much fun hanging out at the gorgeous resort.  It did feel weird not to leave the resort for nearly 3 days but having food and booze included made it worth the price.  Plus we had a jacuzzi right in our room.


Swimming with dolphins at Xel-ha

Absolute favorite part! First of all, we didn’t realize that swimming and snorkeling with dolphins was included with our package we bought. The package we bought included 4 nights at a small hotel in Playa del Carmen, a day trip to Tulum that included ziplining and swimming in cenotes) plus this water park, Xel-Ha.  All of this was through Sourced Adventures. 

Xel-Ha is like no other water park I’ve been to.  Essentially a water park was built around a river and bay – there was so much snorkeling, river tubing, and swimming.  Everything was included such as lunch, drinks, towels, lockers, etc.  Because the park is so big we biked 15 minutes to get to the other side of the park.

Also we got to hangout with parrots that were just hanging out…out in the open.

Hanging out in cenotes

Cenotes are these large sinkhole caves full of water. One night we went to dinner in a cave which was pretty cool. The lighting was great. Food was….meh (and it’s pricey but worth it for the appetizers and huge cocktails as well as the environment).

The next day we did an excursion where we rappelled into a cenote into water as well as zip lined into one and swam and snorkeled deep into one. The snorkeling freaked me out a little. I’m not great at snorkeling but because we swam deep into the cenote away from natural light, our guide had to use a flash light so we can see things underwater. Plus it was freezing. At one point I really couldn’t feel my arms.

Some other thoughts….

I was feeling a little underwhelmed by Tulum but the beaches by are it are beautiful.

The best tacos and food I had were in Playa del Carmen and it was authentic, not pretentious resort food. They were cozy, casual restaurants in the city.

The farther south you go from Cancun, the less touristy it feels. Although the heart of Playa del Carmen felt pretty touristy but I liked being able to walk around the city.

 Final thought

I originally didn’t want to go to Mexico because it felt too…basic? But I’m a believer now, the beaches are beautiful, it was easy to get around, food is amazing, weather was great (8 days and it only rained once), and it was a short flight from NYC.

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