I just went through all the pictures we took on our holiday to Puerto Morelos, Mexico and realized this highlight reel needs to be broken up over two posts. So, this is Part One of our trip to Mexico. If you read my last post, you know it was a pretty big deal for the 5 of us because it was our first big vacation together – and for me it was extra special because it was my first huge venture outside my comfort zone since my honeymoon. (If you haven’t read that post, I would love it if you do. It will give you a little more insight into my travel history).

If you’ve been anywhere tropical, you know that from the moment you disembark the plane – whether it’s directly outside or onto the covered bridge leading to the gate – you can just feel it. It’s a kind of warmth that sinks into you, wraps itself around your bones, lifts your hair a little and promises new experiences. I felt the same when I landed in Orlando, Honolulu, Maui, Grand Cayman, Atlanta, and Varadero; it was a reminder I was definitely not on the West coast of Canada anymore! At the same time, as we juggled carry-ons and kids toward the baggage carousel, I pictured my mom in another tropical beach town…Mombasa, Kenya where she grew up. That feeling of her being with me on this adventure made me instantly promise her that I’d get to Mombasa someday, too. But first, I was going to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

When we arrived, it was already growing dark; by the time we got to our resort, it was pitch black and past dinnertime. So, it wasn’t until the next day that I got a proper glimpse of the palm trees and the beach that confirmed we were really on our Mexican holiday.

It didn’t take us long to feel settled at the resort. Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is the perfect size for a family looking to relax with plenty of beach and pool time. There was food everywhere – it was delicious and will obviously make the highlight reel so stay tuned! Everything was close by and the staff was just amazing. Within just a few days, I could go to any restaurant I had already eaten at and they knew without me telling them that I have an allergy to kiwifruit. Maybe that’s just a really weird allergy, but the fact that they remembered was indicative of the exceptional care and attention to detail we became accustomed to. Very quickly, we relaxed into vacation mode. And that was truly a highlight; being with the kids in a slow-paced bubble was amazing. Enjoying the kids and watching them fall in love with a new place definitely ranked up there as a highlight.

It wasn’t just relaxing with the kids, of course, that made this trip awesome. We met up with my cousins and aunt from Edmonton, and it was such an amazing experience to vacation with extended family. (Also a highlight that will show up in Part Two). The first night we got there, after some really enthusiastic screams when we caught sight of each other in the lobby, we headed to the buffet for dinner. Once we piled our plates high and met back at the table, my aunt suggested that Nadir and I choose a night to go on a romantic date. We didn’t turn it down! In fact, I got to spend a lot of time with my hubby and as you know, that’s one of the things I plan to do more of in 2018 to make this year awesome. Our trip to Mexico was great for rekindling our desire to travel together into our sunset years.

Thanks for reading Part One of our highlights – stay tuned for Part Two where I share about food, family, Spanish and off-resort adventure!

What was a highlight for you on your most recent family vacation? I’d love to hear in the comments! Any recommendations for where we should visit next?