I’ve been looking forward to Jacob’s mandatory break from work for a long time, and I was pretty bummed when we started it with two days of serious Montezuma’s revenge. He spent the entire 48 hours in bed… me just seeing him when I delivered crackers and fluids. I blame it on his love of every taco stand he sees. We are definitely all going to have stomachs of steel after this visit.
Thankfully he made a full recovery and we got immediately to exploring the Riviera Maya. We had two days left with Grampsy, and our first stop was Chikin Ha. It was a neat collection of cenotes that included 3 zip lines, bikes, a cave with stalagmites and stalactites, and a very interesting Mayan ceremony. It was the first time I have ever heard anyone speaking in Mayan!
Grampsy with the Girls downtown on Christmas
Our guide from Chikin Ha recommended a beach off of the beaten path with snorkeling just off shore and a cool play area for the kids. So we had a very relaxing beach day. Grampsy even got a whole grouper fresh off of the fire.
We had heard about the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary where they care for and rehabilitate injured wild animals, and just knew the girls would love it! They had tons of different animals, including goats, birds, wild boar, and 4 or 5 different species of monkeys. Most of the monkeys were originally being illegally kept as pets and were rescued and placed in the sanctuary.
We visited Coba, another ancient Mayan village, and found it way less touristy then Chichen Itza. There were still lots of people and they had tricycle taxis to shuttle shaky-legged pyramid climbers, but other than that it was a gorgeous Mayan village in the jungle. We rented bikes to get between the different settlements, and as we peddled through the jungle I could imagine ancient Mayans going about their lives. It is the only pyramid nearby that you are allowed to climb, but we have heard that they are going to put a stop to that in 2018, so we made sure to fit it in before the new year. Just outside of Coba is a collection of underground cenotes, so we explored two. It was pretty eerie to descend 6 flights of stairs underground and go swimming. It actually had me feeling a bit claustrophobic.
We spent the next two full days in Akumal hanging out at La Buena Vida, because it was just SO relaxing. La Buena Vida has a couple of tree houses, a pool, and the beach for the kids, so they were entertained for hours.
For New Years Eve we had a super fun party with our friends from Traveler! The kids did a piñata, and I drank too much wine. Andrea was prepared with some traditional Mexican festivities, including everyone eating 12 red grapes to bring luck to each of the following 12 months.
After watching some locals carrying around their empty luggage we looked it up and it is supposed to bring safe travels in the new year to have your empty luggage with you!