Our honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Life is good with a drink in your hand right on the beach, canoodling with your new husband. And tacos. Lots and lots of tacos.


That's basically what Cecilio and I did for our honeymoon for a week, from March 20–27. Playa del Carmen (PDC) is a medium-sized beach town located 45 minutes south of Cancun. Upon booking and planning, I was so worried that we would see that drunkard Spring Break college atmosphere you hear about in Cancun. I am so happy to report that PDC is nothing like that at all! It is a busy, cosmopolitan city that's vibrant and alive at night, filled with locals and tourists from all over the world. And there were lots of American tourists, but were very little-to-no Spring Breakers. For those interested in nightlife, there are still a lot of nightclubs and Coco Bongo. It's very walkable, and Cecilio and I literally walked everyday, everywhere and got so familiar with the area (even outside the touristy parts) that it felt like we were already living there. Here's a bit of a photo journal of our sweet sweet honeymoon! (Get ready: this is a LONG post)

Our hotel: Aventura Mexicana

We stayed in Aventura Mexicana, a small boutique hotel located a few blocks away from the beach and PDC's most famous street, 5th Avenue (La Quinta Avenida). Cecilio and I did not want to stay in an all-inclusive hotel because most of them were away from 5th Avenue and the main areas of PDC, and we wanted to explore and try out different foods, not just what's limited to the buffet. Though it was stressful at times and expenses were adding up a bit, it was all worth it. We stayed in the honeymoon suite. The hotel restaurant, Mayan Bistro, was literally right next to us. Mayan Bistro offers continental breakfast but we only ate there once.

There are also 2 pools. We swam in the adult pool during the 2nd-to-last day but not for too long because it was cold! (Even in a warm area, I still want the pool a little heated. I get cold easily). 

Aventura Mexicana

Aventura Mexicana

Aventura Mexicana

honeymoon suite, aventura mexicana
Our honeymoon suite

Aventura Mexicana
One big hotel perk: There are cats walking around doing their own thang! We got to see them more often because the cat bowl was in front of our room!

Being Beach Bums at Kool Beach Club

Our hotel has an agreement with Kool Beach Club, where you give them the hotel business card (the voucher), pay a certain amount to rent a beach chair and then get that money back in credit for food and drinks. Kool Beach Club is located very close to 5th Avenue, and was a 7 minute walk from our hotel. We went on our 2nd day, which was on a Tuesday, so it was very quiet. Well, Kool is located right next to Mamita's, the most popular beach club in PDC and the busiest (and had the loud music blasting). So Cecilio and I were very happy that we stayed in Kool instead because it was much more peaceful. We ordered nachos and drinks. The alcoholic drinks were tasty, but I was disappointed with how weak they were. For the most part, we were just grubbing' and bumming' by the beach. Eventually we got to swim for a while. The water was so clear and perfect! There was some seaweed, but it was not bothersome at all. I will say that we went to that same beach on the Sunday before we left (but we went on our own without paying to get into Kool), and that was when there was A LOT of seaweed. We still swam on that day too, but the water felt dirtier from it. It was also incredibly crowded on Sunday too.


Kool Beach Club, Playa del Carmen

Kool Beach Club

Kool Beach Club

Xcaret


Hands down, one of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Xcaret. The Riviera Maya area of Mexico is known for their theme parks that start with X: Xel-Ha (which is waterpark/natural aquarium that has swimming, snorkeling, cenotes, rivers, caves), Xplor (for those who like zip lining or riding ATVs), Xenses (a park that challenges your senses with optical illusions) and Xcaret. We chose Xcaret because it offers a bit of everything: animals, water activities, cultural sights, chapels, and the night show (Mexico Espectacular). We had so much fun, and though Xcaret has a reputation for being the "Disneyland" of Mexico, I certainly did not feel that way when we arrived. In fact, it was quiet and calm when we went (on a Thursday). We bought tickets for Xcaret Plus, which gave us access to most attractions and a free buffet lunch. Xcaret was both fun and educational. You can also tell that it's extremely well taken care of.

xcaret aviary
The aviary at Xcaret, and there was an incubator that hatches the chicks!

xcaret aquarium
The aquarium. Fun fact: Cecilio is afraid of turtles. Like, seriously terrified.

xcaret butterfly pavillion
Xcaret also has a Butterfly Pavillion. There is fruit left out on some of the parts so that you can see the butterflies feasting up close.

xcaret manatee lagoon
We were really looking forward to the Manatee Lagoon. Manatees are one of Cecilio's favorite animals, and there aren't any in the West Coast, so finally seeing them in person was a real treat.

xcaret

xcaret

xcaret st francis of assisi chapel
St. Francis of Assisi Chapel

xcaret underground river
The underground river. Cecilio and I swam there and it was the highlight of our time at Xcaret. We rented life jackets and swam all around. It was so fun being under everything and lazing around. 

xcaret mexico espectacular
Xcaret has a night show, the Mexico Espectacular. The production, costumes, acting and dancing are top notch. The show highlights the history of Mexico, such as ancient Mayan history to when they were colonized by Spain and became a Catholic nation. 

Chichen Itza

The most epic part about our trip, Chichen Itza (or chicken pizza...) is a must see when you are visiting the east side of Mexico. We woke up at 4:30 am to meet with a tour van that would pick us up. We then picked up all the others who booked the same tour and stopped at Pemex (Mexican gas station) to get some breakfast and transfer over to the large tour bus (where Cecilio and I fell asleep of most of the time, since it was about a 2 hour drive). We had a packed lunch (ham and cheese sandwich) that tided us over for the trip. Our tour guide, Marco, was so funny and informative. He presented a brief history of Chichen Itza, and showed us around when we arrived. We then had an hour and a half to spare for picture taking.

Chichen Itza was a city of the ancient Mayans, and is a part of the 7 Wonders of the World. El Castillo is the big pyramid you see when you think of Chichen Itza.

el castillo chichen itza
El Castillo, Chichen Itza

el castillo chichen itza
The back part of El Castillo, which is unrestored

chichen itza

chichen itza

skull platform chichen itza
Skull Platform, which showcases the human sacrifices

temple of a thousand warriors chichen itza
Columns of the Temple of A Thousand Warriors

mayan calendar chichen itza
Our tour included getting a custom made Mayan calendar, which we did for our wedding date!

Food Scene

I cannot publish this post until I tell you about the food. It is awesome! I would say that you find a lot of the Americanized restaurants on 5th Avenue, but when you get off that path and go more into where the locals are, you will find some delicious eats. Don't get me wrong, we ate on 5th Avenue too and found some bites that soothed our bodies and souls. And it's pretty funny: there are Italian restaurants on every corner there! Best part? Your dollar stretches further in Mexico, so a fancy high end restaurant is equivalent to a mediocre chain restaurant in the US. Some eateries that stood out to us were:

Mayan Bistro

Mayan Bistro is the hotel restaurant, literally steps away from our room. We ate there on the first night when we needed to unwind. It had Mexican, American and Italian fare. I ordered chili relleno, and Cecilio ordered chorizo mac and cheese (which was DELICIOUS and I wish we ate there a 2nd time so that I could have ordered it). The margaritas were STRONG, just how I liked it.

mayan bistro playa del carmen
Chili Relleno

mayan bistro playa del carmen
Coco Margarita

Ah Cacao

Who needs Starbucks when there is this delicious Mexican coffee shop? Our hotel was in between 2 of the Ah Cacao locations, and we went there at least 4 times for breakfast. The coffee was made directly from the Mexican plantations. We only had the cold drinks with how hot it was there. In addition to selling coffee and drinks, they serve food such as croissants, cheesecake and muffins. They also sell Mayan chocolate, coffee, and chocolate-based beauty products (soap, lotions, body oil, and shampoo).

ah cacao

ah cacao

ah cacao

Restaurante Ambasciata D'Italia

This Italian restaurant was literally around the corner of our hotel. I ordered pizza carbonara, and I can't for the life of me remember the pizza Cecilio ordered, but it was delicious. Mine was all white and all cream, but the tomato sauce in his was to die for. He didn't feel good from all of that cheese though, and we ate some tiramisu afterwards.

Restaurante Ambasciata D'Italia

Restaurante Ambasciata D'Italia

Tacos de Cabeza de Res

This has got to be my absolute most favorite place to eat in Mexico. During our trip to Tulum, I was pretty bummed that we couldn't go to the town to eat, since the area from the Tulum ruins to the town was already 20 minutes away and we were hot and tired. So we just took a colectivo (public van) back to Playa. The colectivos were located where the locals lived and played, and I was ready to eat anything at this point. So we came across this little street taco stand. My God, these were to DIE for! I'm licking my lips over this right now. Cecilio and I had 3 tacos each: chorizo, pork asada and pollo. I don't think I'll be able to find any other taco as good as this. 6 of these babies cost only 70 pesos ($3.75). You cannot beat that!

Tacos de Cabeza de Res

Tacos de Cabeza de Res

La Perla Pixan

I love the palapa roof and the quirky little interiors of this restaurant, and we sat in a booth with funky pillows. This is a fusion of modern Mexican and traditional Mayan cuisine, and their food had just an explosion of flavors and spices. La Perla Pixan is also known for their mezcal (a liquor made from agave), so all of of their cocktails had it. I had Tepeu, a drink with chocolate, cinnamon and mexcal. Basically, an adult chocolate milk. It was only $4 too! 

La Perla Pixan

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

Last but not least is this upscale restaurant this is—you guessed it—everything Frida Kahlo themed. It is so so awesome. The bar, menu, interiors, decoration, etc. overall paid homage to the late artist. But the food was also excellent. Like La Perla, the Frida Kahlo Restaurant fuses modern Mexican and traditional Mayan cuisine. This restaurant however, is all about the presentation and the art, but does not compromise the quality of the food. Wow. Cecilio and I had some orange juice drinks with mezcal, and the chips and salsa were bomb dot com. 

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

Frida Kahlo Restaurant

If you finished reading this, THANK YOU! I was so excited throughout our trip, taking it all in and taking all the pictures to capture as memories and to share with you guys. I am already thinking about what trips Cecilio and I can take in the future and how we can plan and save for that. I know I do want to visit the west side of Mexico too (we almost went to Puerto Vallarta for our honeymoon at first). I am excited to be with my travel partner for life :) And I want to thank Everything Playa Del Carmen for providing all the resources and list of restaurants and other things to do to make our trip smoother.

I will have a few more posts dedicated to this trip: our day trips to Cozumel and Tulum, and a Mexican makeup haul!

10 comments :

  1. All that food is making me hungry!! Looks like an amazing trip :D

    xx Sofia | SOFIAADOT

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your photos are beautiful, looks like you had an amazing time!! X

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and t sounds like you had the most amazing honeymoon! I'm glad that you guys enjoyed the local cuisines and coffee instead of going McDonald's and Starbucks, I don't understand why some travellers do that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow!! These photos are stunning. So colorful and fun!
    Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh wowowow, I'm so happy you both had an amazing time, it looks so perfect and super heavenly, and thank you for sharing this period of your life with us, its so beautiful to see you both through such an amazing journey xxxx

    tipscapsule.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like the perfect honeymoon! Thanks for sharing!

    Xx,

    || FLOORTJELOVES ||

    www.floortjeloves.com

    www.bloglovin.com/blogs/floortjeloves-12198253

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such lovely photos, looks like you had a lovely time x
    A Blushing Beauty Blog

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love Mexico, I visited a few months ago. Chichen Itza was magical!

    x Charlotta / http://charlottaeve.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. It sounds like you guys had an amazing time, I'm so happy for you! :)
    I'm the same, when I travel I never choose the all-inclusive option because I want to be able to try out different foods and restaurants.

    ReplyDelete