This past December, I went on a family vacation to Mexico, and I’m finally ready to share the full experience with you! It was my first time ever going to Mexico, and my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort. Typically, I am not the family-vacation, tropical-vacation, or all-inclusive-vacation type of gal. Usually, I like to have the chance to explore and go off on my own, do lots of site-seeing, etc. I’m also usually a BIG planner and like to do things my way. This trip was the complete opposite of everything I’m used to! An all-inclusive, tropical, family-vacation that I did NOT plan. I think normally I would have been a bit scared by this lol, but this time around, I was actually really excited! The idea of not having to plan or worry hopefully meant that I would be able to really relax on the trip, and I could definitely use some sunshine during the winter weather. So, I was all-in and ready to embrace everything that our Mexico trip had to offer! Read on for more about our first all-inclusive family vacation in Mexico.
In terms of where we were located for our Mexico vacay, we chose to stay at an all-inclusive resort just north of Cancun. We were not on the strip where most of the Cancun resorts are, as we were a bit more north from there. This meant that first of all, we were slightly more isolated from downtown Cancun, which made it more difficult to get into town. On the flip side, since we weren’t right on the strip and there wasn’t much around us other than resorts, it was a lot more peaceful and less chaotic. I think overall there were pros and cons to where we stayed, but I enjoyed it for our purposes! We booked a tour package which meant that all of our transportation from the airport to the resort (and back) was included. My mom worked with a travel agent to book this and made sure all of my family members were sharing rooms with one another, which was a ton of fun! Having it all planned ahead of time really contributed to the relaxation once we were there.
The resort itself was wonderful and quite large. It featured an expansive buffet that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There was an additional lunch spot near one of the pools, and there were multiple other restaurants you could eat at for dinner. Since we were there for an entire week, we decided to try out each restaurant that we could – especially since everything was included! It definitely took me a minute to get used to the fact that we could just go eat, or drink, and leave – we didn’t have to pay anything other than tipping. It obviously was not something I was used to, but I actually really enjoyed it because I didn’t have to worry about the cost of anything in the moment, I could just enjoy the experience instead.
Our resort had about 4 pools in total, with some being adult-only and some being all-ages. We typically spent time at the adult-only pools because they featured a swim-up bar to order drinks at, which was so cool! We were right on the beach so you could also walk there and go swimming in the ocean, which was incredible. The resort beside us was a sister resort of sorts, so we were also able to do activities there as well, such as eating at their restaurants and using the waterslides they had. Overall, I enjoyed the location and the aspects that our resort offered! If you want to check it out, the name of our resort was Riu Palace Costa Mujeres.
Activities at the Resort
We were all very excited to be on vacation and couldn’t wait to explore all that the resort had to offer. The first couple of days we spent exploring everything that the resort had to offer, and soaking up the sunshine. We enjoyed lots of swimming in the different pools and the ocean, spent a lot of time sun-tanning, and of course, tons of time eating and drinking. It was truly so much fun.
On one of our first nights there, we found out that the sister resort next door was hosting a party in the evening, so we decided to go check it out. It was so much fun drinking and dancing all together! We actually went back to the sister resort again a couple days later to watch the World Cup on their big screen. We were surrounded by a TON of Argentina fans, so it was really fun to watch the game in that atmosphere. Of course, when they won the World Cup, everyone in the audience lost their minds and were celebrating like wild! That definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
The next few days we spent a lot of time swimming, sun-tanning, eating, and drinking. We went looking for shells in the ocean, watched a ton of sunrises and sunsets, and had lots of fun dinners at the various restaurants at the resort that we got all dressed up for.
Day Trip Excursion
On our fifth day there, we planned a full-day excursion to the neighbouring island of Isla Mujeres. We were located directly across from the island, so we took a boat across to reach it. Along the way, we stopped to go snorkeling!! I had never been snorkeling before so I was quite terrified, to be honest. Thankfully, we had an incredible guide with us, and once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad. It wound up being a really cool experience to see the reef they had and the fish swimming in it, and I wish we had a bit more time to snorkel! Alas, we had to continue to get over to the island. Once we arrived at Isla Mujeres, I was immediately hooked. Since our resort was located outside of Cancun, I hadn’t actually gone into town at all or even left the resort – so this felt like our first taste of “real” Mexico. And it was incredible!
Isla Mujeres was gorgeous and had so many cool things to check out. There were lots of options for swimming, shops to explore, and amazing restaurants too. We only had a few hours on the island so we wound up walking around as much as possible to explore, and later having some authentic tacos at a restaurant – SO good. Isla Mujeres felt very authentic, safe, fun, and not too over-crowded while still providing a ton of local flavour. It was truly one of the highlights of our entire trip for me, and I definitely wish we had more time to explore! If you’re planning a trip to the Cancun area, I HIGHLY recommend visiting Isla Mujeres. It was a long day for us and once we got back to the resort, we planned for dinner all together. Unfortunately, the next day I was very sick (which I will get into in a moment), but thankfully I had the day afterwards to recover a bit by relaxing at the pool and ocean-side. Before we knew it, it was time for us to get packed up and head home!
Sickness and Health
As I mentioned, I unfortunately got very sick towards the end of the trip. I had a lot of stomach problems and wasn’t the only one – I am not going to lie when I say that the vast majority of my family members were all sick at some point lol. It’s hard to say if it was from the food or the drinking or the sunburns or being around a lot of people. For me personally, I was really sick the first day but by the second was feeling a bit better, though still nauseous. Unfortunately, I was quite under the weather when we were coming home as well, but I was happy to make it back to BC to be able to rest up more.
Our journey coming home was a bit of a disaster due to our delayed flights, which I suppose is to be expected with travelling during the winter. The majority of us were delayed by one extra day, and thankfully we were able to stay at the resort an extra night. However, some of our group that were flying to an extra destination were delayed by multiple days and had a bit more of a hard time with it. It wasn’t an ideal situation and the Cancun airport isn’t the best either, but all in all, we made it home in one piece and I was very thankful for that! Unfortunately, once we did arrive home, we realized that a bunch of us were very sick which meant we had to spend the holidays apart – I shared more about that in my previous post about the holidays. Overall, even with the bumps due to sickness and delays, we still had a blast in Mexico and I’m so glad that we went!
Reflecting back on our trip, I really did enjoy our vacation and I think it worked for what we needed at the time. In some ways, it was helpful having everything all-included and not having to worry about that; in others, I wanted to be able to go exploring and do my own thing. It’s hard to say if I would stay at another all-inclusive in the future. If I did, I would want it to be closer to town so I at least had the option to go out exploring if I wanted to. In terms of timing, one week was perfect and I definitely wouldn’t do longer than that – by around 5 days I think most of us had enough of each other lol but that’s what happens when you’re on a big family vacay! ;D
If you are planning a trip to Mexico, here are a few of my top recommendations to keep in mind when trip-planning:
- Decide what type of vacation you want – all-inclusive resort? Renting an airbnb with friends? Staying at a posh hotel on the Cancun strip? Then plan accordingly from there. If you are on a large family trip, I do recommend an all-inclusive for the ease of coordinating and the range of options it provides (especially for activities and dining).
- Plan out excursions ahead of time – we did some research before arriving but didn’t fully plan excursions until we got there. Unfortunately, we realized we wouldn’t have enough time to do some of the activities that were further out, such as Chichen Itza. I definitely recommend planning in advance to make sure you can include everything you want to do!
- Pencil in Isla Mujeres if possible – On that note, I HIGHLY recommend either staying at Isla Mujeres or at the very least, visiting for a day trip. It’s a gorgeous area and was the highlight of my trip!
- Pack some medicine just in case and get travel insurance – this was definitely helpful and much-needed for us, as almost all of us were sick at some point. Having medicine on-hand definitely came in handy! Getting travel insurance is always a good idea too, as you never know what can happen.
Overall, I really did enjoy my time in Mexico and felt the vacation we chose gave us what we needed. We did this vacation as our Christmas present and I think lots of us enjoyed it, as opposed to gift-giving. I do feel very lucky that I was able to participate and truly enjoy that time spent with my family. We will have to see what happens this year, and if we take another big family trip! 😀 I will be sure to share alllll the details with you, and in the meantime, if you are planning your own Mexico vacation – I hope you whole-heartedly enjoy it!! 🙂