When Mr. RC requested we head to Cozumel, Mexico for his 30th birthday trip, I was slightly hesitant. You see, if I'm being completely honest, Mexico was never high on my list of places to visit, which makes zero sense for a girl who likes margaritas and guacamole as much as I do. I guess in my mind, Mexico was too close for my wanderlust eyes that always seem to have their sights set on far away places. But am I ever glad that Mr. RC changed my mind. Cozumel was such a gorgeous place with so many nice people and, of course, all the guac and margaritas that my heart desired! I already can't wait to go back and explore some more!
While we typically like to act more "local" if we can (opting to rent a house as opposed to staying in a hotel), we have both had such hectic schedules as of late that we decided to make things easy on this trip and stay at an all-inclusive. After some careful research (on Mr. RC's end), we opted to stay at the Melia Vacation Club Cozumel. I'm always hesitant when it comes to all-inclusives (I've only ever been to two others), but I have to say, I was quite impressed with this place. Situated on a nice stretch of beach (ok well the sand was nice...unfortunately, the water was a bit murky for our stay, due to a recent storm), it was less than 10 minutes from both downtown and the airport. The staff was all very friendly and helpful (from remembering our names to helping Mr. RC find his wedding ring when he lost it in the sand....yes, that happened), the rooms were clean, and, most importantly, the food was actually decent. I wasn't quite as fond of the restaurant that required reservations, but the buffet and daily snack bar set-up was quite yummy. There was always plenty of fresh guac and salsa (which I ate by the pound!), as well as lots of fresh fruit. Additionally, there was a grilling station that transitioned from egg dishes in the morning to meats and seafood for lunch and dinner. They also always had an authentic Mexican dish on hand, such as empanadas, or different types of make-it-yourself tacos, complete with all the toppings. Two of my other favorite things were their ducle de leche (amazing with both the homemade cinnamon donuts and coconut ice cream) and the hibiscus water. Besides the food, the hotel also offered plenty of things to do (mini golf anyone?), snorkeling, kayaking, and nightly activities. Although we plan to rent a house and a car (so we can explore the island a bit more) on our next trip back, if you're looking for an affordable, well-located, clean hotel, I would definitely recommend this one. Just a few things to note: room service does cost extra, unfortunately there were no food options after 11pm, the only bar that is open after the pool bar closes at 6 is the one in the lobby, and, if you are not a club member, they will try to get you to be one (aka sell you a membership package), which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just more of a heads up.
As I mentioned above, we tried to lay low and really relax on this trip, so aside from the activities offered by the hotel, our only excursion was Tulum with a quick stop in Playa del Carmen (I included a few snaps from there, below). On several of the nights we ventured in to town, once for Mr. RC's birthday dinner (more on that below) and a few times for drinks. I so desperately wanted to try the key lime pie shop but it always seemed to be closed. I was also pushing for a Wet Wendy's margarita but it was hard to pass up the free ones I got for ladies' night at Señor Frogs (plus, they had free popcorn, which kind of came in handy since our hotel was lacking food after 11pm). FYI, the cab ride from the hotel to the port/center of downtown was about 10 minutes and $8 each way for 2 people. There's always a line of cabs by the port so it's usually easy to get one going back, although after a certain time, you'll have to walk a few extra blocks to pick-up a cab from the dispatch center. I have to note, I was surprised by the amount of people, both locals and tourists, that were out and about at night, just hanging out by the water, talking or walking around town. Many of the people we walked past even said hi, which is more than I ever get in New York, so I definitely felt safe walking around at night.
Although I don't have my usual list of restaurant recommendations, I do have to mention the place we went for Mr. RC's birthday dinner, Kondesa. We debated for a long time on where to go and I'm so glad we chose here, as it has easily become one of my top favorite meals that I've ever had. The food was, of course, incredible, but so was the atmosphere and the staff. I felt like I was sitting in a magical fairytale garden, which, by dessert and our nightcap, we had all to ourselves. The staff was super friendly and attentive, always taking the time to explain things, check on us, or just chat. They even offered us each a specialty cocktail (on the house) since it was Mr. RC's birthday. For the food, there were so many delicious items on the menu, that we opted to do The Kondesa Experience. Not a single portion of the tasting menu disappointed, although I have to say, I absolutely loved the aguachile and the churros, and I found it so interesting and yummy that the flan had corn in it. If you're going to Cozumel, I can not recommend this place enough!
And now that I've blabbed on and on, I'll let the 6 and half million pictures do the rest of the talking (hard to believe there's anything left to say after all my writing)....
P.S. And just in case my writing & my photos weren't enough, I compiled some of my favorite snaps from Snapchat into a a video. You can check it out here!