They done did it!
Honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Your dear author got hitched to her favorite traveling partner. I won’t gush over the details but we got married at the magical Paicines Ranch in California where we both work.
What does the party of a lifetime require? It requires a travel excursion afterwards that doesn’t involve too much brain power and travel planning—a honeymoon!
It felt a little odd to hand over the steering wheel of extensive planning, roughing it, and indulge in an “all inclusive” vacation. My moral travelers compass spun out of control, but my fried-wedding-mode brain was all in support of the ease of hitting PURCHASE and being done.
We narrowed our honeymoon idea down to Playa del Carmen, Mexico so we could go scuba diving, Mayan ruin hopping, and get a jungle-ocean vibe. Since I try to be eco-conscious when traveling, the somewhat eco-resort Sandos Caracol Eco Resortstood out; not over-the-top fancy, a mix of adventure and resort, and located in the mangroves.
Don’t think I didn’t find a deal though! I sure as hell did. With a little price comparison, we learned that trying to piece each flight together and the resort separate wasn’t cost effective like I thought. With some trial and error searching through CheapCarribean.com and comparing to Expedia, Expedia won with us scoring a 9-night stay and round-trip flight from San Francisco to Cancun then transportation to Playa del Carmen for $1,047. That’s all inclusive, which I learned was really everythingI could possibly want to eat or drink. A key point is that this did fall during potential hurricane season, so we bought travel insurance so we could get a refund if that happened. I suggest Squaremouth.comto compare travel insurances. We found one for $42 a person that covered us completely for possible weather-related issues. Fortunately, it was sunny and gorgeous almost every day!
We booked a tour through the resort with Eknx Tours and were off to a day at Coba, which we chose for it being less touristy than others. Mark, our tour guide, wowed us with Mayan history and their knowledge of volcanizing rubber, astronomy, and elaborate highway systems. We rented cruiser bicycles and rode through the jungle to the 140-step ruin and leapt up in sweaty joy. As of recently after this trip, it was permanently closed to tourists to climb to preserve the ruins.
One of the prime reasons we chose Playa del Carmen was to get our dive on. After getting our advanced dive certifications in Thailand prior in the year, we were itching to get back below surface. We booked four gorgeous dives with Scuba Libre, but the ones that still haunts my dreams is the Dos Ojos cenote. There are over 5,000 cenotes in the Yucatán peninsula. These underground cave systems filled with freshwater are basically ancient sinkholes formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock.
As a newer scuba diver, the challenge of navigating my tank-laden body through the dark twists and tunnels of the cavern with just a light was beyond the relaxation-mode honeymoon pictured. But, like the sea astronaut I pretended to be, I floated through the achingly beautiful universe in total awe. There’s nothing like 50 meters of crystal-clear visibility. And nothing like emerging into a hidden cave full of bats reminding yourself to breath.
A shout out to Sandos Caracol Eco Resort for their approach to a sustainable business. Since I have never been rich (just in rewards travel points!), having the opportunity to order anything off of a menu made me feel like a kid at Chuck E. Cheese. If you find yourself at Sandos, Los Lireos has the best atmosphere and food. And, if you have a balcony room backing up to trees and leave your door open, expect a rowdy spider monkey guest! My final and probably favorite part of Sandos were the coatis everywhere. Imagine a racoon met a cat and then shook hands with an anteater. Total cuteness everywhere!