03 Mar Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Hi! Kara Jean here to share with you my adventure down to Mexico. Near the end of January my dad sent me a text, “Do you have any interest going to Mexico around the 22nd of February?” I don’t know any person in their right mind who would say no. So one expedited passport later,
I stayed the first night at our house alone, since I was beat from traveling all day I retired early and woke up with the sun to explore! Our house was beautiful, my favorite part was the ‘treehouse’ up top accessed by a spiral staircase and complete with hammocks to lounge in.
That afternoon the whole family arrived, my dad Greg, step-mom Chris, brother Jace, step-siblings Aiden, and Leah, and step-grandparents Luther and Ellen. The reason everyone was going on the trip was to celebrate Luthers 75th birthday! It also happened to be my 25th birthday that week too. 🙂 We explored the beach that day, and enjoyed our first authentic Mexican meal together at the house.
The next day was my birthday! Took a morning ocean swim before breakfast, explored town, shopped at the market, and ended up in one of the many bars with swings-for-seats to enjoy a margarita. That night we went out to a fancy restaurant and I had lobster for dinner. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable day.
The next day we went horseback riding. We woke up early to beat the heat, and made our way out to the stables. We were each assigned a horse depending on how much experience we had with them. I grew up with a horse, but hadn’t ridden one for about 5 years so they game me Indra, he was super chill and easy to ride. My little brother had never ridden a horse before, and if that is not the face of a determined rider below, I don’t know what is! He did great for a first time rider. I also love the photo of my dad lookin all Indiana Jones like. Wednesday was Luthers birthday, we all swam on the beach and hung around the house. That night after a beautiful sunset, we had a fantastic meal cooked by a gourmet chef who came to the house. Enchiladas, tacos, hand-pies, tamales, ceviche, tequila-creme brûlée, churros, and more!
Thursday was Cenotes day! What is a centoe? It is natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Or one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been. I was very proud of myself while exploring the caves. Those who are close to me know I have a fear of swimming with fish and/or dark deep water. Centoes have all of these qualities, but I decided to push past that fear in order to really experience the natural wonder all around me. I felt like I was on another planet! I would be happy going back to Mexico just to explore these caves further. Light was limited in the caves, but I managed to get two good photos.
It was quite the experience, and the rest of the day we took it easy and played on the beach, as always.
Friday we visited Mayan ruins at Tulum and then went snorkeling, I was excited by the first, and uneasy about the second.
Tulum was beautiful, that is for sure. It is unique compared to other Mayan ruins because it was situated on the beach, and had direct access to the ocean for fishing and trading routes. We had a really great tour guide that made the experience a lot more interesting then wandering around aimlessly, which I usually tend to do. It also started pouring while we were there. Being Oregonian we had no umbrellas or rain-gear of any sort but it ended up being fun running around since the rain was warm. We took a moment in Akumal to get lunch and dry off before we went snorkeling, something I had avoided thinking about all day.
As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of swimming with fish, and/or deep dark water, so as you would imagine snorkeling is not on the top of my list of Things To Do. But, when I overcame those fears the day before in the Cenotes, I ended up with an experience I will never forget. So I decided to give snorkeling a go! (Thanks Tiana for the underwater disposable camera!)At first I was very nervous, but it’s so easy to let yourself be captivated by all the beauty around you that those feelings just wash away in the waves. It was so peaceful, the steady sound of my breath through the snorkel, the water quietly swirling all around me, and the way the light was reflecting all over the ocean floor. It also gave me a lot of comfort I could see the shore at all times, and knew I could swim back if I wanted. After seeing my first Sea Turtle though there was no going back. We saw a total of five Sea Turtles, the last one I would guess was nearly four feet long! There were also cuttle fish (a favorite of mine), an abundant reef with many colorful fishies, and a few Sting Rays, they were a bit harder to spot, and moved in such an alien way that was a little freaky.
So maybe I am no longer afraid! Self-medicated immersion therapy was pretty effective in my case.
With one day left we decided to relax and have our last hurrah on the beach. We body surfed, boogie boarded, made found sculptures, and sand-turtles. Then one last photo to remember our beautiful beach by!
It was such a enjoyable trip, the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation, as well as quality family time. I highly recommend anyone to go to the Playa Del Carmen region of Mexico, and if you do, take me back!