Find out what I did in Mexico!
Time for a little time traveling! With the busyness of this MBA program, I have been spacing out the recaps of my travels from the past year. Let’s rewind six months for a little fun in the sun!
Back in July, my boyfriend Riley and I decided to take advantage of the long 4th of July weekend and go on a vacation to Cancun. Since we had been long-distance for five months, it was some much-needed quality time and a great opportunity to celebrate my upcoming 24th birthday.
As part of my birthday gift, Riley did all of the planning. I didn’t know anything about the trip (except the dates and that we would be in Cancun) beforehand. As a control-freak, it was actually kind of thrilling to go into a vacation with zero expectations. I was interested to see what Riley had planned for us and was determined to have a great time, and we definitely did.
Here is a roundup of how we passed 5-days in Cancun:
Since Riley is based up in Portland, we knew that he wouldn’t be able to get any direct flights into Cancun like I could from LA. We decided that it would be best if he flew down to LA after work on Wednesday and then we could fly together from LA to Cancun on Thursday morning (he kindly took off two days of work to make a 3-day weekend five). I picked him up from LAX on Wednesday night and drove over to his grandparent’s place in Manhattan Beach, where we would be spending the night.
The next morning, we were up early to catch our flight to Cancun. Riley’s grandfather kindly gave us a ride to the airport and within 15 minutes, we were curb side with our carry-ons (see what I packed here).
With all of the travel I do, I have invested in TSA Pre Check and have a Known Traveler Number. Since I booked our flight, Riley was bumped up to TSA Pre as well. This really expedited the security process. Instead of waiting in line for an hour (and probably coming close to missing our flight), we were able to walk right up to a TSA agent and breeze through security with our shoes still on. When we got to our gate, we realized we had scored priority boarding and would be seated in an exit row. The leg room was awesome, especially for 6′ 2″ Riley.
Riley had skipped breakfast so he purchased a tapas box from United Airlines. Having never purchased food on an airplane before, I was curious to see what he got. Suddenly, his laptop is on my tray table and tiny packages of food were spread all across his lap. I think the box cost him about $9 and it was filled delicious little snacks like olives, cheese, crackers and chocolate (interesting choice for breakfast, I know).
It was a beautiful day and we were ready for a great flight!
Once we arrived in Cancun our smooth day hit a few bumps. A few days before our trip, Riley and I discussed taking airport transportation. He wanted to book a ride with the hotel, but after hearing the cost ($60 round trip for both of us), I suggested we take a taxi and save a few bucks. Since I had been to Cancun before (seven years ago, mind you), he trusted my suggestion. When we exited the airport, we were first hit by a wave of hot and sticky humidity (expected) and then by the words “get in line” (unexpected). What we didn’t know is that Super Shuttle has exclusive rights to the airport, meaning that if you don’t have a ride arranged with your hotel before you land, you will be forced to wait in line for a “taxi” like everyone else. What is worst, you are going to pay double. Remember how I said it would have been $60 round trip with the hotel for both of us? Well it was $60 one-way for both of us with Super Shuttle. This was most definitely my bad.
An hour and a half after landing, we were finally in a taxi on our way to our hotel, which I had learned one fact about while waiting in line: according to the Super Shuttle agent, it was “a very nice hotel, my friend.”
Upon entering the lobby, we were greeted with fresh coconut milk, flowers, and warm rice bags placed on our shoulders. It was Heaven from the start.
Sitting with our welcome agent, we learned that because we were staying four nights, we had earned $750 resort credits, which could be applied to many different services like spa treatments, excursions, and food and wine upgrades. We also learned that we would have a butler during our stay. Our butler then took us around the hotel, showing us the six restaurants, two shops, four pools, and explaining the ins and outs of all-inclusive.
During our hotel explorations, we found huts with cute twinkle lights and a wedding taking place. What a gorgeous location to say, “I do.”
We were then shown to our room. Our mini suite came complete with a king size bed, a dual-headed shower, a fully stocked (and completely free) mini bar, a jacuzzi tub, and a bathroom mirror with a TV inside it.
Now, I never take baths, so when this big, fancy tub was made so accessible to me, I decided to take one.
Discarding Riley’s suggestion to have our butler run the bath for me (it honestly didn’t even cross my mind to ask him…this was such a different world!), I proceeded to run it for myself…much too hot. I also put an entire travel sized container of bubble bath inside. Warning: never empty an entire container of bubble bath into anything, it is just too many bubbles. Still, we ordered champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and tried to make the most out of it.
Ultimately, I lasted less than 10 minutes in the too-hot tub.
Although the bath was kind of a dud (no fault but my own), the best part was the ocean view. Did I mention that this place was literal Heaven?
Side note: you might notice the lack of people in my photographs. This hotel was not cheap and because of the higher price tag, it is relatively empty. Also, it is adults only, so families that are looking to travel together are forced to stay somewhere else. Honestly, Riley and I loved the quiet privacy of Le Blanc. And the service was amazing. With about 3-to-1 staff to guest ratio, there was someone there to help anytime a question, comment, or concern arose.
With soft, white sand and crystal clear water, the beach is a must in Cancun.
There are private cabanas to be rented, complete with a bottle of champagne to enjoy.
It was about 8:15PM at the time I took the below pictures and you can see how gorgeous it was as the sun was setting. The water temperature was also amazing at that late hour!
It wasn’t until our last full day in Cancun that we actually went into the ocean.
We staked out a nice spot under an umbrella and got plenty of water for our day of fun in the sun.
We sprayed ourselves with sunscreen and then spent an hour or so splashing about in the water and chatting with some other hotel guests. There were fish actually swimming around us! We also could see people parasailing and jet skiing. Having parasailed last time I was in Cancun, I didn’t feel the need to repeat the experience unless Riley was interested (as he isn’t a fan of heights, he wasn’t). Honestly, parasailing isn’t as thrilling as I first imagined. It is more of a serene activity that offers amazing views. (For honest perspective, keep in mind here that I found free falling 5,000 feet while skydiving tame too).
Fortunately, we saved this day in the sun for our final full day because we definitely got burned. We were both really diligent about putting on sunscreen, but I think our fatal flaw was not letting it dry fully before entering the water. Either way, we both had painful plane rides back home. Ouch.
Although Riley and I spent all of our time in the main one, there are four different pools to choose from.
One pool is even equipped with a volleyball net and a floating ping pong table!
Why did we spend all of our time at only one of the pools, you ask? Simple: Riley had one non-negotiable when booking a hotel: it had to have an infinity pool.
I didn’t really understand his obsession with it going into the vacation, but I definitely understand it now.
He and I spent so much time floating at the edge of the pool, looking out onto the ocean and talking. It was so peaceful, and you couldn’t beat the view.
When I asked Riley at the end of our trip what the highlight was, he said those talks we had while at the pool’s edge. I agreed completely.
Le Blanc has six different restaurants and Riley and I visited each of them. The three more casual dinning spots were the international buffet, the pool-side cafe, and a 3rd-floor grill. We twice went to the international buffet for breakfast and twice ordered room service to have breakfast in our room.
We had lunch at either the pool-side cafe or up on the 3rd floor. The grill was nice because it was never busy, but we loved the food of the pool-side cafe. The quesadillas were delicious and the kale and couscous salad was divine.
To go along with our grub, we would order drinks, typically a Mocha Monkey.
At night, the international buffet turned into a Mexican restaurant. One of the taco appetizers was so amazing that Riley and I ordered three of them. Our waitress probably thought we were crazy.
My favorite food over all was at the Asian restaurant, where we ate our first night. Unlike Riley, I absolutely love seafood, so Asian is always a great option for me. I also like the decorations of this restaurant the best!
It was here that we were introduced to Toncha, a tequila drink that is the Mexican version of Bailey’s, served straight up over ice. We loved it and ordered it each night to have after dinner.
After spending the day in Tulum, we were starving, and were the first guests to enter the Italian restaurant for the night. It was here that I had my single favorite dish: fresh salmon cubes in an avocado sauce. I love the fresh seafood you get right by the ocean. There is nothing like it.
The most fun dining experience was at Lumier, the formal French restaurant that requires a reservation (but we were able to get in without one, so don’t let that rule stop you from trying). Here, we had a 5-course food and wine pairing. Riley and I are both total foodies, so it was really fun trying these unique dishes together! We both loved the mushroom soup the best (which was so good I forgot to take a picture of it). I also got to witness Riley’s first taste of escargot, which we had in ravioli form.
I loved that Le Blanc offers such great food selections and interactive dining experiences. There were also lots of bars to check out!
The Hotel Activities
Being that it is an all-inclusive hotel, you might be tempted to never leave. When Riley told me that it was all-inclusive, I made him promise me we would stay busy. Honestly, relaxing isn’t my strong suit and the adjective that best describes my perfect day is “productive.” Lucky for me, Le Blanc offered tons of activities. Each night, a program was delivered to our room with a list of which activities and shows would be offered the following day. The program was comprised of lots of physical fitness activities (like paddle yoga, TRX, and pool volleyball), live music, and shows (like fire dancers).
Le Blanc also had an amazing spa. Remember those resort credits I mentioned before? Well, you could use the dollars you earned toward spa treatments, which is just what Riley and I did. I love massages, and have been lucky to have a few in my lifetime, but Riley has never experienced the please of having a stranger rub his naked body. Before going in the pool or the ocean, it was the first activity on our to-do list. We booked a 50-minute couples massage for the afternoon of our first full day in Cancun. After being offered a welcome juice of apples, pineapple, and coconut, we were ushered into gender-segregated hydrotherapy rooms to prep us for our massage. We spent 40-minutes bouncing between a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, warm pool, and cold pool. Riley even went with the classical cucumbers-on-the-eyes approach in the steam room, but forewent the mud mask. After our hydrotherapy, we were treated to some juice and cookies and then led into our room. We were first asked to choose the scents of our lotion and hot oils, then we got onto the tables and had a blissful hour. It was the perfect way to start off our vacation together.
Le Blanc also have a few shops on plantation. There is a nice jewelry shop and a connivence store. Although we only purchased a bottle of sunscreen (…for $24. *Cue eye roll* Well, it was cheaper than bringing our own and checking luggage both ways), there was plenty to look at!
With delicious food, unlimited drinks, shops, and activities, I can see why you would never want to leave “plantation” as Riley called it.
But we did venture off plantation twice. Once, was to La Isla, a near-by mall. Here you can find a touristy collection of all your favorite American brands. We did not do any shopping, but just walked around (something that is a little more painful to do in the intense humidity).
We then took a taxi a little further to a restaurant Riley had been recommended called Puerto Madero. Being that we had, essentially, already purchased dinner back at the hotel, we didn’t want to spend twice for dinner. We decided to both get a margarita and have dinner back on plantation. It wasn’t until we had both ordered, that I realized we didn’t know anything about the water quality (the water at Le Blanc is all filtered, right down to the ice cubes). We didn’t want to cancel our order, and since we had both ordered our drinks on the rocks, we hoped we would be OK. Our logic was this: Drink quickly so the ice doesn’t melt and any bacteria in the ice that does melt will be canceled out by the alcohol.
Well, logic failed us. We both woke up the next day (thankfully it was the day we were flying out so it didn’t seem like a day wasted) with upset stomachs. It was such a small amount that within a few hours and after some breakfast we were both feeling fine, but it is scary to think how quickly a week of vacation could have been ruined if we had more unpurified water. Stay safe, drink beer.
Riley and I also went to Tulum to see the ancient Mayan ruins, but I will have a separate post about that.
It was an amazing vacation with someone really special to me, only enhanced by a beautiful setting. Le Blanc was definitely worth the splurge if you are in the market for a romantic getaway!
Have you been to Cancun? Let us know below.