Aging Expectations

Riviera Maya / Tulum

Originally posted in June 2010.
tulumSpring Break trips are so exciting – the girls, the guys, the drinking, the dancing, oh, the fun! Wait a minute this is a family show. Spring break means something completely different when you have a family but you can still have fun. Not the same type of fun but still, fun.

For this spring break trip, we decided on Mexico. We choose an all-inclusive property. Normally, we love to sample local cuisine and culture but with three kids we thought too much local food could get dicey.

tulumWe stayed at Dreams Rivera Cancun.  The place was fantastic.

The rest is a pretty short story because we mainly hung out by the pool and ate. The pools were great. There were four of them plus the beach. The first was probably one foot deep. A great starter pool for the baby. She was able to get comfortable with the water on her terms. The second pool was about two foot deep. Not much different to us but the baby loved it after the first pool. It was like she could swim by herself in a “big” pool.

The last two were both four-foot deep and one was an infinity pool – you gotta have an infinity pool, right? The boys spent most of their time in those two pools and at the beach (to note, our baby hates the beach, we’re hoping that changes soon but for now, you can find us at the pool).

tulumWe played ping-pong, volleyball, soccer, bungee trampoline, hit balls at the batting cage, and more. The activities to choose from seemed endless. But who are we if not adventurous. We decided we couldn’t spend the whole trip at the hotel so we booked a tour too.

My husband really wanted to visit Chichen Itza but when we discussed our options with the tour operator, he advised against it. The tour left the hotel at 6am and returned at 8pm, five hours of which on the bus. That was all we needed to hear, we weren’t going there.

He did though, have another option he thought would work for us. It was a tour of the ruins in Tulum with a visit to an EcoPark after where we could snorkel, swim with dolphins, go down a lazy river, and more. The bus left at 8am, returned at 5pm, and was only an hour. Also, it was an all-inclusive tour meaning all food and drinks were included. Perfect – Book it, Dano!

On the morning of our tour, we got our wake-up call, which was odd on such a relaxing vacation. We were all ready to go on time. I packed breakfast and many snacks for Leah. We were directed to a small shuttle bus and started to get Leah’s car seat set-up. There were only four other people on the bus, which I thought was fantastic – if we did run into any issues there would only be a small number of annoyed tourists. We started off for a great day of fun!

Twenty minutes later we pulled into another hotel to pick up a few more people. Okay, no problem. Twenty minutes later we pulled up to a huge tour bus and transferred to the bigger bus.

What?

This wasn’t in my plan but we transferred Leah, her car seat, the rest of us, and our things to the new bus. Twenty minutes later another hotel to pick up a few more tourists. At this point, we asked our guide when we were going to get breakfast, assuming it was a box breakfast. He advised us breakfast wasn’t included and we should have gotten something at the hotel.

What?

No breakfast. Okay, no problem. We weren’t a big breakfast family so it wasn’t the greatest of events but it wasn’t going to dampen our spirits. I did instruct everyone that Leah’s treats were off-limits. Anyway, we had already been in the bus an hour and we “should be” arriving any minute at the ruins. Sixty minutes later…

What?

Yes, sixty minutes later, that’s a full two hours on the bus (not the one hour the tour operator advised), we arrived at Tulum. We used the restrooms and started off for the walk to the ruins. We use the gogo Kidz Travelmate car seat attachment so we can wheel the baby in the car seat wherever we need to go. This attachment has made our airport travel so much easier I highly recommend this product. So here we are wheeling her down the bumpy path/road to the ruins.

The tour guide begins to tell us things about each part of the ruins.

It was interesting.

It was hot.

It was informative.

It was difficult to maneuver that car seat through the ruins.

It was beautiful.

It was odd to look around and see no children there under the age of six.

It was inspiring.

It was annoying to try and chase a 20-month old while listening to the stories of the ancient civilization.

tulumI think you get the point. It was an amazing place built right by the beach, to think after all these years’ whole structures still remains. To imagine all the people there when it was thriving. What wasn’t the best was having a baby there, I mean, she just wasn’t really into it, I’m not sure why.

Oh, by the way, 10 minutes before we’re ready to walk back to the bus, we realize she has a messy diaper. Guess what? There are no changing stations at the Tulum ruins, who would have guessed that? We found a secluded place though and changed her.

Back to the bus! Luckily, the air conditioning was on in the bus. Although I hate to think of that bus sitting there generating all those fumes while that air conditioning was running, I was happy to have it!

On to the EcoPark, which by the way is  Xel-Ha. After a quick lunch, we thought the best thing would be the lazy river. It was something we all could do together. I’m a sucker for togetherness. As we began our walk to the beginning of the lazy river, we saw a sign that said, “35 minutes to the Lazy River.” which we thought was a mistake.

But, the walk was very nice through the EcoPark. We made it to the river after a brief stop at Courage Cliff, which my son and husband jumped off — they’re so cool.

My boys got individual tubes and were off. My husband and I were sharing a two-seater tube with the baby. Let me just say, it was not a pretty sight. Let me also say, I was thinking lazy river, like at a water park, jets shooting you with water occasionally, a flow to the river pushing you along. This though was true to its name. It was a lazy river. There was nothing pushing you but your own force.

After a quick lazy river ride, we found a great area for snorkeling. After, we had great frozen custard and then back to the bus for the, remember, two-hour drive back to the hotel.

Let me wrap up this tour by saying, although I was annoyed and hot and at points exhausted, I would do it all again. I would reread my tip book beforehand. We all need a reminder. Here are the most important things to remember:

  1. Keep your expectations in check.
  2. Always have snacks, for the little ones and older “kids” too (including yourself).
  3. Things don’t have to go perfectly to be fun.

 tulum

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