In celebration of a whole lot of goodness in our lives around this time of year, we decided to plan a trip to Mexico with my family for Thanksgiving. Our one year anniversary was September 30th, mine and my mom’s birthday was last week, and the holidays are right around the corner. That certainly calls for celebration and relaxation to me! Since we are in the stages of our lives where my brothers and I are working adults without children, my family has decided to go on a trip each year instead of doing Christmas presents. Last year we went on a Ski Trip to Park City, UT and this year we chose to escape the cold and enjoy resort life at the beautiful Valentin Imperial Maya. Here’s a peak into our week at this beautiful all inclusive Mexico resort!
Travel Dates: November 19-26
After researching countless resorts in the Playa del Carmen area, we chose Valentin Imperial Maya and I could not be more glad. Our main priorities were adults only and all inclusive with good reviews on the food. Since this was a family trip we didn’t want a resort that was focused on romance either. I was mesmerized by the beauty of this place when we arrived and felt that this was the perfect time of year to visit the region.
Food & Drinks
I don’t think I got hungry a single time I was here because we ate so much. You do not have to make reservations for restaurants which is something I really liked. We could make our own schedule and eat when we wanted. The breakfast buffet is huge and we often ate lunch at the pool, but I wished the dinner restaurants were open for lunch as well. The food and service was exceptional at every restaurant and we all loved trying different cuisines from around the world. My personal favorite was the French restaurant. The drinks were plentiful, and the bartenders were creative. The resort also had Dos XX as the draft beer at all bars which was a huge plus!
I definitely recommend a massage at the end of a trip like this. We were very active, scuba diving, snorkeling, and playing sand volleyball, so we did an 80 minute couples massage on the last day. Everything was wonderful and professional.
The service could not have been any better. Anything you need, they are able to assist. Since it is a larger resort, they have carts to zip you wherever you need to go. There are different types of rooms throughout the resort. We stayed on the beach side. Though it was a little further from the main pool and restaurants, I still highly recommend it. I loved being able to walk out our door and hear the beach. Our room was very comfortable and cleaned twice a day. I could occasionally hear the people above me, so if that bothers you make sure to ask for the top floor.
There are two pools and a long stretch of beach waiting for you to relax and enjoy. The “lazy river” is a much more quiet pool for relaxing and laying out. There is also the pool bar here where we had lunch delivered to us one day and the food was fantastic! The main pool is HUGE, one side of it is more of a pool party scene with a swim up bar and the other side is more for floating and relaxing. On Sundays there is a foam party that gets pretty wild.
Personally, I loved the beach here. There are two beach bars whipping up fresh drinks and multiple inlets to choose your vibe. One direction you will find sand volleyball and the designated swimming area. The other way is chairs and umbrellas for a more quiet scene and Guermo’s tiki bar! This part of the beach is very rocky towards the water, but safe to walk in the sand. I still can’t get over how beautiful the sunsets were here.
Since we had planned excursions outside of the resort, we spent the other days relaxing at the resort. My brother and my dad checked out a complimentary catamaran and took it out in the ocean. Meanwhile the rest of us played sand volleyball on the beach. There is something for everyone here.
Excursions from Valentin Imperial Maya
I am going to be completely honest with you guys on this. It is not for the faint of heart. This was mine and Shane’s first time scuba diving and it was so intense. Being first timers, we decided to book a class with DiscoverScuba where they offered a class in the morning and an instructor led dive in the afternoon. I could not recommend Discover Scuba more and our instructors Anna, Africa, Sean, and Ben were amazing. BUT the amount of information you are taking in and getting comfortable with the equipment and reminding yourself to breath under 3o feet of water was a little too much for me. I am SO glad I had this experience, but I think I’ll stick with snorkeling from now on! Stay tuned for some awesome video footage!
With a group of six people, we were able to book a private tour for just us. While this was a little more expensive, it was absolutely worth it. Our guide, Arturo, was so knowledgable about the Mayan culture and was a delight to share the day with. Our full day included the three activities below and a delicious Mayan lunch.
- Tulum Mayan Ruins- If you plan on seeing any of the ruins in the area, it is so important to have a guide. Otherwise, it just looks like a bunch of rocks. We learned so much about how the Mayans lived, how they used their structures for the seasons, and so much about the history in the area.
- Nicté-Ha Cenote- If you are in the area, you absolutely must visit a cenote. These are natural sinkholes with freshwater that are all linked throughout the sub terrain river system. Some are above ground and others are caves. We were able to snorkel and cliff jump into this cenote. There are tons of cenotes in the area to explore.
- Snorkeling in Akumal- Akumal is known for the beautiful sea turtles in the area. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a lot of action from them the day we went. The water was very foggy but we did see a few turtles, stingrays, and some beautiful fish in the area. I think there are so many tours that come through here that you won’t see much.
Swimsuits & Resort Outfits
I absolutely love beachwear and vacation styles because you can wear them year to year. I packed a lot of evening dresses that I had from our honeymoon last year, but stocked up on some new swimwear since most of it was on sale. Here are some of my favorite looks from the trip.
ASOS Swimsuit | Front pictured in snorkeling pic above
Off the shoulder Dress | How cute is my fam!?!
Other Items I Packed
You can always shop my looks by following me on LikeToKnow.It
Tips for Traveling to Mexico
Drinking at an All Inclusive- Don’t let your eyes deceive you! Just because you don’t see it on the shelf, doesn’t mean they don’t have it. I never once saw top liquors on the shelf, but if I asked for a Don Julio margarita, the bartender always had it down below. Always choose your liquor or you will get the cheap stuff by default!
Transportation- I highly recommend booking your airport transportation through your resort. Both times we have been to Mexico we have done this and it has been a breeze. Valentin Imperial Maya offered free airport transfer if you were staying 5 or more nights! If you are planning on doing any excursions outside of your resort, make sure pick up and drop of is included.
Bring Small Bills- Though tipping is not mandatory, you should certainly consider it. US dollars are accepted as tips anywhere you go.
Pack Dramamine- If you are choosing to do any adventures on the water, this is a must.
Have fun!! This is such a beautiful part of the country and you deserve to have the best time.