Before we get into this post we have to just ask right of the top….why do people hate American Airlines so much? lol Before AA and US Airways merged, we flew the latter all the time because they had a hub out of our home airport. Outside of the flyer miles and dividend rewards system merge we don’t have a single thing to complain about as far as their service. In fact, we think it’s gotten better since the merge (not so many overbooked flights!)
For our recent trip to Mexico we decided to upgrade to First Class. It’s a luxury we don’t indulge in often but figured what the heck. Let’s go for it. Check out this brief video view of the cabin to see AA accommodations up front.
From the ease and speed of getting seated, the comfort of the seat/bed itself, meals and snacks, and the flight crew being cool enough to let Cheril take a look in the cockpit (she’s such a big nerd sometimes:), we have to say it was a pleasant experience and worth it in terms of comfort. Granted we know that you do NOT get this treatment in coach (night and day on comfort and amenities) but we’ve flown both classes now and have nothing bad to say about AA. The Philadelphia based crew has always been pleasant, first class or not.
Anyway, on to Mexico!
This isn’t the first time we’ve gone south of the border, but it was the first time we’ve tried an all-inclusive resort. We normally love the spontaneity and flexibility that goes with picking different restaurants and exploring the areas in which we travel, but we wanted to see what the big deal was about with these resorts, if any. Plus, we didn’t want to do all the leg work that comes with the planning everything ourselves. We just wanted to get away to a specific place on a specific budget. With all of that in mind, we tapped an old friend and travel agent to deal with the logistics. As a matter of fact, he was the one who hooked up our last Mexico vacation!
But this was different. We weren’t in a giant villa with a chef, butler and driver to ourselves like our last trip. We were in the heart of Playa Del Carmen on a nice little resort next to the beach. There were hundreds of other tourists in sight and it’s definitely a district that is built for tourism.
Playa has a pulse. It’s vibrant and very welcoming. Because it’s built for tourism, however, that means it’s very predictable. Lots of shops, mostly American brands, and the main street looked just like home with a little Mexican flair.
And the men. They have got to be the most creative when it comes to flirting than we’ve ran into in a long time. We can’t even recount some of the things that were said because they were just “had to be there moments.” None, were disrespectful and all were in jest (and hopes we’d buy their wares).
We gave the strip a half a day and then went back to the resort to enjoy the beach and entertainment, the best of which was a fire show.
All in all the resort style of travel isn’t bad (the buffets were, but the restaurants redeemed them) and may indeed be perfect for families or those who don’t like to explore much. We had a good time, but the highlight of our trip was when we LEFT the resort to see one of the seven wonders of the world: Chichen Itza, a Mayan Ruin. You’ll have to Google and YouTube to get an idea of what makes it so wondrous and mystical if you don’t already know.
Chichen Itza was a full day affair and we were exhausted by the time we get back. We highly recommend it and would go back but stay on the historical site itself next time. The only thing that was a tad disappointing was that you couldn’t get so close to the pyramids. Back in the day there was no problem with that and people were even allowed to climb to the top, but because some folks don’t know how to respect history (and thought it was a good idea to carve their names in the rocks) no one is now allowed on them. I don’t blame the Mexican government. This must be preserved.
One other really cool thing that was a part of this tour was the stop at a Cenote. To think that Cheril was afraid of getting in the water at the beach this time year and see her jump into this thing has been a proud experience. It’s amazing what basic swimming lessons can do for one’s confidence. Look at her floating on her back below.
Anyway, we decided to spend the little time we had left wandering around the neighborhood surrounding our resort after our day at the ruins and the Cenote.
..because it’s always good to just wander off every now and then in search of something special! We ended up in a big town square of some sort with a cultural center in it and managed to get back to the resort area just in time to catch an awesome native dance. Check out the video below.
So if you’re looking for a getaway that doesn’t require a long flight but will give you lots of sunshine, white sand and an opportunity for some ancient culture, head on down to Mexico before it gets too hot! We definitely want to go back to visit Tulum and several other areas.
If you’ve already been, tell us about it in the comments section.
Until next time,