Last week, I shared Part One of our trip highlight reel. Thank you for all your comments here, on Facebook and on Instagram! I loved sharing those photos of our trip to Mexico and have been eager to put this post together to show you more of what we loved. This edition showcases the people and language, the food, some off-resort adventure and the joy of vacationing with extended family.

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I’m learning Spanish on my own. I’ve totally enjoyed the experience of learning by listening using the Michel Thomas CDs. Here are some other tools I’ve been using as well. Just today, I joined a language diary challenge on Instagram hosted by @joyoflanguages and am hoping to post something in Spanish every day in February! (I’m not the best at daily challenges but all the more reason for you to pop by there and give me a little encouragement, por favor!)

The Spanish line at the end of today’s post means, “I’m excited to learn more Spanish every day.”

Obviously, I was super excited to practice what little Spanish I know with some locals, and in fact, it was a goal of mine to have at least one (slow but successful) conversation with at least one local. And I did it! In fact, I can’t even count the number of conversations I had. Some were short, and others were longer. I had nailed the expression, “Estoy aprendiendo Espanol” (I’m learning Spanish) so that I could begin each interaction with that caveat. It was amazing to see people’s faces light up, and the feedback and encouragement I received was all kind and warm. Talk about further motivation to keep practicing! It was fun to read the signs around the resort and around town. All the ‘learning by listening’ fell into place when I saw the words represented visually. Such a cool experience.

I’m pretty sure you’re interested in the food. It’s usually the first thing I ask people about their vacation experience! I can honestly say, the food at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa was amazing! There was the perfect variety of Mexican and international cuisine, at the buffet restaurant and at the other themed restaurants. We ate at every one except the French restaurant and that’s partly because we loved the food everywhere else so much we repeated certain restaurants! From the chicken enchiladas for breakfast at the buffet to the pizzas de queso (cheese pizzas) at the Barefoot Grill for lunch to the Thai curry at the Asian fusion restaurant for dinner (and ahem, several snacks in between) we were well-fed and happy.

My aunt, oldest daughter and I even took a cooking class where we made a delicious, fresh guacamole and ceviche. That was a fun experience and another place where I gained some Spanish vocabulary.

We also spent an afternoon/evening off the resort and in the town of Playa del Carmen to do a little shopping on 5th Avenue. I loved seeing people hanging out in the street-facing bars, or walking to their apartments just around the corner from the shopping area. My oldest got her hair braided and we bought some hats and souvenirs. Another time, sans enfants, I’d love to just slide right into one of those bars with my husband and meet some locals. You know, with my bottled water. Because I want to be Carrie but in some instances, I’m Charlotte. (Remember the girls’ trip to Mexico when Charlotte was so afraid of getting sick – and then she was the only one that did? But I’m getting there, and if you stick around long enough, you’ll be witness).

We also did a full-day excursion where we spent the morning at the Mayan ruins in Tulum and then the afternoon at the ecological park in Xelha. I wrote about that adventure and shared some tips on Surrey604. The kids loved going off-resort as much as they loved splashing at the pool and playing in the sand on the property. As they get older, I can see us doing more off-site. For now, a day and a half was perfect.

As I mentioned in Part One, we met my aunt and cousins from Edmonton there. Normally, we see each other every year or two, and it’s always at their place or ours. Sometimes there’s an event that brings us together but then it’s not the relaxed, quality time that we would want. So we decided to meet somewhere else, somewhere where nobody was hosting and we could experience something new.

Among all of us we had a gazillion pictures (give or take) and I’m so glad. On dreary, rainy Vancouver winter days, it’s nice to remember the sun and fun we had in Mexico.

Have you vacationed with extended family? How did it go? Tell me in the comments!

Until next time, dear Readers…hasta la vista! Thanks for reading about our trip to Mexico!