Today I am feeling nostalgic for tropical weather. The weather lately has been so all over the place, one day we have snow and the next day it’s literally 65 degrees outside. I decided it’s a great day to reminisce about our Mexican vacation.
We promised the two older kids for awhile that we would take them on a plane ride somewhere. Since we love Mexico, we figured that would be a great destination. Carmen had already been on a trip with my mother to France, so international travel was not new to her. Gabriel, on the other hand, was pumped to get on a plane and ‘go somewhere”. I wasn’t going to let having a 6 month old get in the way of going, either. I will admit I was a little nervous about how Ruby would behave, but I am happy to report that she was an absolute champ. I have been very blessed to have another sweet and amicable baby.
All of the flights near home were too expensive, so we decided to add on even more to the trip and visit family in the Miami area and head down to the Keys after Mexico. The flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Cancun were literally thousands cheaper. For the amount we paid for all 4 flights (babies under 2 fly free) leaving Ft. Lauderdale is what we would have paid for just 1 flight closer to home. We wanted to use the money we saved on flights and extend the trip a little longer. I can’t think of a better place than the Florida Keys (post about the Keys coming soon).
I was nervous about flying with Ruby, but she handled it like a seasoned traveler. Keep in mind she was only six months at the time. I was very prepared. I made sure she had a clean diaper before boarding the plane and prepared a fresh, warm bottle for her to drink in flight in the hopes she would take a nap. It worked!
Another concern of mine was how Gabriel would react during the flight. He had never been on a plane before this trip and struggles with sensory issues (mainly loud noises). I was terrified the ear popping would be a catalyst for a meltdown, but the Universe must have been on my side because it was a very smooth flight (literally and figuratively).
Once we landed in Cancun, we quickly made our way through the necessary stops at baggage claim and customs since the husband and I have been to this airport many times. It was very efficient. Outside, we found our transportation to the resort that I had pre-arranged directly through Karisma Hotels website when I booked our stay. We were chauffered to the beautiful and safe yet secluded Azul Beach Hotel in a much larger than expected Lincoln Navigator complete with three rows. The driver was very friendly as are ALL of the people I have ever encountered while traveling in Mexico. People of Mexican heritage have received a lot of negativity lately, and it is something I do not agree with. I made sure to let the driver know that not all Americans share that sentiment, in which he just shrugged it off and told me he knows that and that all of the American’s he sees have been nice to him. He also told me that travel had INCREASED in Mexico. It seems as if a lot of Americans spoke with their money by booking trips to Mexico.
I was extremely excited to witness the children’s expressions when we pulled up to the resort, as well as see the grounds of this particular resort for the first time myself. It does not disappoint. Immediately we were swept to check in, while the driver and bell hops attended to our luggage. I gravitated to the on site Starbucks as soon as it registered that there was one. The children were offered smoothies by the staff and we waited for our room to be ready in a nice area of the hotel lobby complete with comfortable swings, an ocean breeze, and little Koi ponds surrounding us. Traveling to countries that speak Spanish are a breeze for us since my husband is fluent, although the majority of the staff (besides housekeeping) speak English very well.
Our accommodations were up to par with what was pictured online. My only dislike was the fact that no rooms at this resort offer additional bedding so the children had to sleep on the couches. They were large and the kids got decent sleep, but real beds for them would have been preferred.The bathroom was LARGE complete with a private toilet room, stand up shower, and giant jacuzzi tub. A playpen was provided for Ruby to sleep in as well as a high chair and a stroller. One of the reasons I booked the Azul Beach Resort was because they advertise themselves as perfect for families with smaller children, and they were accurate in that description. Our balcony was very large and overlooked the pool that had a variety of colorful light features that were gorgeous at night. I really liked the fact that the two older kids could be swimming while I was upstairs in the room while Ruby napped yet I could see Carmen and Gabriel perfectly from the balcony.
The food at the resort was good. The food at the Adults Only El Dorado by Karisma is way better, but the food at Azul was nothing to sneer at either. My favorite was the Italian Restaurant but it booked up very quickly so we were only able to eat there once. Room Service is something we always frequently order from no matter where we are. The kids did go a bit wild with the room service here since it is included in the price of the stay (all inclusive). Since we were in Mexico, I craved authentic Mexican food and the quesadillas with pico de gallo from room service were to die for. Mr. Highly Caffeinated said that the ceviche on site was also very good, although I don’t partake in that so we will all just have to take his word for it. I love that regardless of the restaurant on site your family is eating, they supply you with a highchair for baby. I am a bit of a wine snob, and the resort was able to satisfy my wine needs with no problem.
The bartenders at the swim up bar had no issue whipping up non alcoholic fruity frozen drinks for my husband who is in recovery. This was a major plus. I hate it when people try to push alcohol on him. You would be surprised how many do this even after learning that he is a recovering alcoholic, and even more surprised to know often times it is bartenders or wait staff that push him to imbibe. Luckily he has not wavered no matter how often he is offered a drop.
The beaches are amazing, but something that seems to be an issue in this area of Mexico (Riviera Maya) is the seaweed that washes up. I am not sure how much the resort can actually do about this. Every time I went to the beach I saw at least two workers raking the beach. But as soon as they would move to another area, within minutes the seaweed had once again covered the area they had cleaned. I love the beach but am terrified of sharks so I rarely go in the water. The seaweed was a non issue for me, other than being a bit of an eyesore. I very much enjoyed relaxing and reading my book in the reserved palapa complete with a beach bed and thatched roof.
All in all, I would say our trip to the Azul Beach Resort in Riviera Maya was a success. I would definitely recommend this resort for those traveling with small children, although we saw a lot of older kids (teenagers) that seemed to be having a fantastic time. The resort does offer a lot of activities for kids, but we like to do our own thing and didn’t register for any of those. Keep in mind that I was not compensated for writing this nor was I gifted a trip. Maybe in the future Karisma will gift me with a trip to write about (hint, hint). 🙂
Karisma offers a wide variety of resorts across the Caribbean. Hopefully soon the Mr. and I can plan a romantic trip to their newest endeavor, the overwater bungalows at Palafitos.