We're back home! Finally! Our trip to Playa del Carmen was the best time ever. It was really nice to spend a week together - away from work, to-do lists, the internet and television (though I did post to instagram a few times:) We had no agenda, no plans once we got down there, just wanted to hit the beach, eat good food and drink some margaritas. Reese was a great little traveler and really surprised me with her enthusiasm for new experiences and being pretty adaptable. A little planning beforehand definitely helped the situation and stress levels for us all. I definitely have lots of ideas to share on traveling internationally with a toddler in tow, which I plan to share next!
On to the recap!
We decided to stay right downtown Playa del Carmen for several reasons. We didn't want to stay at a massive spring-break hotel and wanted to be able to walk to everything with Reese in tow. I found a great 2-bedroom condo through VRBO which was the perfect set-up. It was 1 block from 5th Avenue (all the great shops and restaurants), and 2 blocks from the beach. Also within walking distance to the local markets for all the essentials. The condo had a private pool which was shallow enough in most parts that Reese was totally fine without the massive pool float thing we hauled with us. Also, a condo meant we had a full kitchen for prepping snacks and breakfasts, but we mostly ate out or got takeout for dinners. And 2-bedrooms was a must so Reese could sleep in peace but we could still hangout and not stress about waking her up. Condo for the win!
For beach time, we frequented Indigo Beach club, where we could rent beach chairs with umbrellas and also get yummy beach drinks and food. I was basically obsessed with this place and their fringe umbrellas:
Reese wasn't exactly sure about the ocean at first, but it was nothing a few sand toys couldn't cure. Things started to turn around...
For food, there was no shortage of guacamole and fresh juices and smoothies, so Reese pretty much lived off of that for the week. She got really good at dipping chips, but most of the time just scooped guac with her bare hands. Whatever works!
We ate breakfast a few times at 100% Natural, which was about 2 blocks from our condo. They had some great gluten free options and awesome fresh tropical juices, yum. We also loved Fusion Hotel on the beach for breakfast and grilled fish for dinner. For lunch, I think we got tacos al pastor almost everyday from corner restaurants steps from the condo. Tacos with fresh pineapple, cilantro and avocado sauce for 10 pesos each, amazing! I would get them to go and bring them back for us to eat during Reese's nap time. I also found a great vegan place a block away with lots of gluten-free options called La Senda, which was delicious and nice contrast to some of the not-so-healthy options.
No vacation would be complete without a little shopping. Reese loved walking up and down 5th Avenue and checking out all the open air shops. In keeping with her current obsession with bags, she picked out this cute little number and proceeded to carry it with her the rest of the trip:
Overall it was an excellent time and I came back feeling grateful for the experience to travel together as a family. While traveling with an 18 month old is not exactly easy, and at times was definitely exhausting, it was also so fun to see the world through her eyes. Everything was new and exciting for her, and seeing her interact with strangers and new places with joy was simply the best.
Since having Reese I haven't been traveling like I used to, so I am so glad we were able to take this trip as a family. I wanted to prove to myself that we could plan and budget wisely for a trip that would still be awesome and fun for all of us. Taking time off from work and saving money for a vacation is definitely a challenge, but I am such a believer and making it happen. Whatever that looks like for you - beach, mountains, camping, road trip, just making the time to unplug from daily chaotic life and reconnect to nature, to family and friends, to living in the moment.
Reese eventually grew to love the ocean. Best moment ever.
We'll be back.