Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres – A review

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Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Jimmy and I recently spent a week in Mexico (this has been kind of our summer “thing” since we honeymooned there in 2007). We have been to many different resorts from Cancun to Play del Carmen to Tulum, and honestly it is beautiful pretty much everywhere… but on our recent trip there were a few things we discovered.

The beaches are not all created equal. We stayed at the Excellence Riviera Cancun – a few miles south of Cancun and the hotel zone. There was a reef about 100-200 yards off the beach that while great (seriously amazing) for snorkeling, churned up a lot of sand and sea grass making the seriously blue water murky right at the shore. My favorite thing about traveling to these beautiful beaches is – I know it seems pretty obvious – but it’s spending time at the beach/on the beach/in the water. You’d be surprised how many people go to the beach to hang out by the pool… Not me, so this was a pretty big disappointment. (Note to self: read more reviews before booking)

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Like I mentioned… great for snorkeling!!! They had beach vendors who walked up and down and would book excursions for you (we were a little worried they were sketchy at first, but the hotel assured us they were vetted and safe). We ended up going with a crew called 7 days snorkeling, they would take you out on a guided tour for 2 hours for just $20! Jimmy and I got a private boat too! We saw lobster, blowfish, spider crabs, barracuda, sponges, brain coral, sea anemone, and tons and tons of tropical fish. One of the coolest things EVER. (and we always snorkel, but this trip was the best!

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The hotel grounds were lovely. Well kept and manicured with a sort of Mediterranean villa meets Mayan vibe. The only downside… the property was HUGE! We were in building 4 and it was 5-7 minutes to walk from the beach to the room, the bars/restaurants to the room, and the main lobby to the room… it doesn’t seem like much, but it was a pretty good trek going back and forth. One time, our room keys stopped working (we were later told that sometimes close proximity to cell phones can wipe the magnetic strip – hmmmmm?). Anyway, it was really bad timing as I had consume coffee, water, green juice and a few cocktails that morning and really needed the RR if you get my drift… Jimmy had to RUN to the main building (the housekeepers wouldn’t let us in even when I offered to show my ID) and get security to let us in and fix the key. I was DYING. It was also quite a long walk in heels if you wanted to dress up for dinner (I mean, its me, so duh). I would definitely suggest requesting a room more central to the resort. The first floor rooms also had walk out porches with hammocks and little yards… I would spring for one of these as well

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Resort food can go either way. We’ve had it really bad and really great… Here we got a mix of both. They have one restaurant that serves unlimited lobster (definitely go for the grilled option)… of course it gets packed – there are no reservations, so you’d better get on the list early! The first night we tried the wait was almost 2 hours. So we got on the list and decided we’d go try another place and get an appetizer so we weren’t starving (oh the beauty of an all-inclusive!) So, we went to the little pizzeria/italian cafe to share a salad and a slice of pizza. The pizza was really really bad. The dough was not cooked all the way, the mushrooms were still raw… bland flavorless sauce… just bad. Luckily the caesar salad was OK, and that was enough to tide us over until LOBSTER. Also have to note that the coconut shrimp at the lobster house was also exceptional! All of the other restaurants we visited were a mixed bag, we might have one dish that was great and another that was not so great.  They did have a little outdoor fiesta one night that was all mexican food. That was DELISH! They do enforce their dress code, especially for the guys. So make sure to pay attention to that before you go out (remember its a LONG walk back to the room just to change your shirt!)
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One of the best things we did was book a day trip on a catamaran to sail from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. We saw some of the most beautiful water, visited some Mayan ruins, swam with a shark, flew on a spinnaker behind the boat, did more snorkeling…. all in all one of the most fun days ever! Once we got to the island we rented a golf cart (bring your DL from the states – I know thats weird) and drove around the entire island. It is simply breathtaking. We have decided that next trip we will stay here at one of the resorts. We did upgrade this trip to get on a boat with less people and better drinks (wink wink)… highly recommend this! We were’t crowded or packed in and we weren’t with children or crazy college kids.
IMG_3599IMG_3230 The other thing I wanted to share were a few products that I couldn’t live without while on my trip. With my pasty paleness, sunscreen is SO important, and the Natura Bisse Diamond White is the best I have ever used! It is 50+++, oil-free, and has a great tint to it so your skin looks perfect!

Ouai wave spray is the only product I have EVER used that gives my fine straight hair enough texture to get Giselle-worthy beach waves! I literally died the first time I used because I am just so skeptical about ANYTHING working on my hair! I am so glad this was part of this season’s Rachel Zoe box of style… never would have tried it otherwise!

Lastly, Aesop body gel… I had no peeling and minimal heat rash (this is a big problem for me because I have to wear such high SPF levels if I am going to be outside all day – they can really clog your pores, keep you from sweating, and cause painful heat rash!) Fell in love with the light fresh scent as well!

Overall, one of the best vacays ever… and I can’t wait till next time!

XO. S

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