When we have each other, we have everything.
Day 1: Start the Engines…
Packed Friday night. Brad (Wade’s dad) picked us up at 7:40 am. It was nice to actually be able to sleep and not rush to the airport. Picked up Wade and Alisha on the way. The airport was busy. Ran into two “Mound” families. Our flight was slightly delayed due to a broken “deicer” mechanism on the plane. Can’t complain though…we are off to Mexico after all. The flight was uneventful and only took 3 hours and 40 minutes. Some slight turbulence, but our pilot was a chatty guy who put everyone at ease. After arriving at the airport, we loaded our bags into the back of a taxi van. As is common in most countries other than the United States, we flew down the road at crazy speeds passing many slower vehicles at one time! We arrived at the hotel safely and moved into our rooms.
We had a relaxing walk on the beach, ate at the special dinner buffet, and watched the show that a local dancing troupe put on. We were tired at, oh, about 9:00. Off to bed to prepare for our busy, but relaxing week!
Day 2: Start Vacation Off Right!
Up early at 6:45 am. Worked out by running a path around the resort and utilizing the weights in the gym. We enjoyed a French toast breakfast (AWESOMELY DELICIOUS FRENCH TOAST) and headed to the beach to read. We read and napped for about 3 hours or so. Then, it was time for the next meal. After lunch, we decided to be a little more exciting. We went for a 30-minute ride on a Hobie Cat. It was rough and windy, but we managed to stay upright and make it back to shore. We enjoyed a little Ping-Pong, a 5-mile bike ride, a game of human-sized chess, and pool time prior to dinner. Enjoyed another meal at Porto Fino and good company.
Day 3: Let the Games Begin
Today we dedicated our afternoon to Scuba Diving. We woke up early, worked out, and scarfed down French toast. We knew we would miss lunch, so we justified stuffing our faces. More beach time and naps prior to heading out on the excursion. We picked one of the windiest days we could have possibly picked for our first dive. It was slightly overcast and whitecaps were found across the entire shoreline. Docking the boat was a bit of a challenge, but our captain managed to get us aboard safely. I was incredibly nervous going into this dive due to my last diving experience (Alteroberic Vertigo). I desperately wanted this dive to go better because it is an activity that I quite enjoy and an experience that is unmatched. I skipped the first dive. I read on the boat while Wade, Ben, and Alisha joined our guide below. They descended 80 feet or so along the Santa Rosa Reef. I didn’t think that my ears would be able to handle it and I wanted to complete a successful dive before I put too much pressure on myself. The second dive came quickly, I rolled backwards off the boat in all of my equipment, but we had to immediately descend because of the strong current.. I have never felt a current like that. It is truly drift diving. The ocean bottom passes by in a flash and if you miss anything, there is no going back. We saw great amounts of coral, two turtles (one right under us), two eagle rays, one small spotted ray, a massive lobster, and several barracuda. It was a dive full of beautiful creatures. It really feels like you are one with the reef!During our safety stop (15 feet for 3 minutes), I was beginning to feel seasick. Due to the closeness to the surface, we were experiencing the roughness of the storm brewing above us. None of us had any idea that the storm had come in. After reaching the surface, it was pouring down rain and huge rollers were trying to keep us from getting in the boat. We were trying to hold onto the rope, but it was hard. The waves really wanted to throw us around. The rough water amplified the feeling of seasickness. Nevertheless, we made it onto the boat. Docking, however, was another story. We tried several attempts to dock. Finally, our dive master was able to get the rear of the boat attached to the dock. Unfortunately, this put the stern of the boat to the waves, so we were taking on a lot of water. In addition, we couldn’t get the nose of the boat around to the dock. When we finally secured ropes on both ends, it was literally a leap to the dock and hoping to not fall in. Super spooky! Warm showers and dinner were welcomed and we watched some of “The Hunger Games” in the resort theater with popcorn. Another early to bed night and looking forward to the adventures of tomorrow.
Day 4: Scooter Tour
We rented four scooters today and started our self-guided tour just after breakfast. Alisha and I had never been on scooters, but they were relatively easy to learn. There is a road that is separate of the main highway that goes all the way around the island. That was a huge perk because I would have been way too nervous around all the other tour buses and cars…plus, there is no way I could maintain a high speed. We stopped at a Mayan ruin. We checked out Punta Sur…we will be going back to this park on Friday (lighthouse, turtle sanctuary, crocodiles, beaches, etc.). The ride along the coastline was stunning with the sandy shores and turquoise water lightly rolling in. There were several fun looking restaurants along the way, but we heard from the Berglunds that “Coconuts” was the place to eat. “Coconuts” was a fun place to eat. T-shirts, funny quotes, and license plates covered the roofline of the main part of the restaurant. The restaurant is set up on a vista, so there were great views sitting out on the patio area. They had two parrots, Tequila and Chimichanga. There was a hammock area, which made for a great picture opportunity! We had the beef quesadillas and shrimp tacos. My drink, Banana Mama, was scrumptiously sweet. From “Coconuts,” we rode back toward the resort. Going through downtown was admittedly a little crazy. There are no rules per se for scooters or passing vehicles, so you really had to look every direction. We were going to try to park on the main thoroughfare of downtown, but alas, we didn’t have any pesos to pay the parking fee. We enjoyed a full day on those little machines and fortunately didn’t have any issues.
Day 5: Rest, Read, and Relax
Slow to get up this morning. After breakfast, we enjoyed several hours on the beach reading and napping. We fortunately found 4 chairs that were all together. Headed to lunch eventually and then soaked in the pool to cool off from the warm morning lounge in the sun. Alisha and I had a low-key workout in the afternoon and Ben and I leisurely walked the beach afterwards. Dinner tonight was at El Patio and was a 5-course meal. We visited over drinks for a little bit and then it was off to bed!
Day 6: Under the Sea
I love the leisurely mornings on vacation. Arising when your body is ready, eating until you are full and then some, and reading by the beach. Every morning has been spent reading for a few hours after breakfast each day. We have been lucky to find chairs, but it has been the one irritation we have had out here. People will “reserve” chairs with towels and then not sit in them for hours. We have decided to ignore the “reservation” rule and just take chairs. So far, we haven’t made too many people mad… but we came close today! We dove with the same company today around noon. The first dive was at Palancar Caves. Ben joined Wade and Alisha as a buddy on this dive. Ben said the coral and the structure were incredible. That dive was down to 80’. We had a few other couples on the boat from Oklahoma and Arizona. I took a nap on the boat while they dived this site.
The second dive was at Palancar Gardens. This dive leveled at 60’, but mostly stuck to a 40’ depth. When I wasn’t focused so much on my breathing, I honestly felt like I was in an aquarium. The fish were beautiful and colorful. We saw two turtles, one of which we had the pleasure of watching ascend all the way to the surface. We saw two sharks, one that was about 4 feet and the other 8-10 feet. We saw a small spotted stingray, a MASSIVE lobster, and loads of colorful large Angel Fish. The dive went well again. It is nice to have two successful dives under my belt, which moves me further away from that bad dive. One other thing that I have been impressed by with diving is how conscious the dive companies are out here regarding protecting the environment. So much so that our boat turned around to pick up a hat that was floating in the water. Alisha and I worked out after diving and met the boys for dinner. Dinner tonight was based on “Meals from Around the World.” There was Italian, American, Mexican, and Korean cuisine. This resort has been exceptional in their effort to plan activities and attempts to vary the meals served.
Day 7: Relaxing and Shopping
We relaxed on the beach again this morning. The boys took a Hobie Cat out, but there wasn't much wind, so it wasn't as much fun for them. We decided to take a cab into town and shop a little bit. We found a cool guy that makes jewelry from recycled computer/TV parts for the bands and then mixes in pieces of coral or pearls. Really cool jewelry! We found an ice cream stand...which I was definitely craving. None of us are true shoppers, so after two hours we headed back. There were a lot of cruise ship
Ben, Julie, and Amelia