The last couple of months have been really busy (indicated by my lack of new posts, oof)! I’ve been working almost non-stop, but thankfully my sister C is a super planner and she forced me to book a sister trip to Mexico several months in advance to celebrate our 30th b-day coming up in July. She truly is the Yin to my Yang and so glad she made me lock in a date as we were both very ready for a break when the trip finally came.
As most of my readers know I travel a lot but C has a 2-year old and works full-time so she hasn’t been anywhere in WAY too long so I let her pick the spot she wanted to go and she chose Playa Mujeres in Mexico. Near Cancun, this was a much longer trip than Cabo for us, but well worth the long travel day!
Playa Mujeres is about 30 minutes from the Cancun airport and we both flew in around the same time so we were off the plane and on the beach in about an hour, pretty awesome! We’ve both been to nearby Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and heard great things about the beaches and warm water and were happy with a less party-centric vibe, so we were super excited to check it out and have a stress-free week of sunning, lounging and eating.
We chose to stay at Excellence Playa Mujeres, one of three resorts owned by the same company on a long stretch of literally perfect white sand beach. Excellence is adults only and has insane reviews on Yelp so it seemed like an obvious choice, and overall, we had an amazing experience.
Rooms, Pools and Spa
The rooms are all similar in layout (or so we heard), but vary in location. In such a large resort there are several buildings that are a good walk from the beach, ours was one of those, but was right on the lazy river pool (see below) which was so peaceful and relaxing. We were also really close to the spa and gym so no complaints there! Rooms closer to the main building, beach and large pools are presumably much louder and less private but do offer a quicker trip to the beach. But let’s be honest, a few more steps on vacay never hurt anyone!
Our room was so nice, had a beautiful balcony, big whirlpool hot tube, giant bathroom and nice couch for lounging. The only downside was the terrible wi-fi, but it was kind of nice to disconnect! If you’re going for a honeymoon or big anniversay I’d say it’s worth the splurge for the first floor rooms with swim up access to the lazy river and private sun beds, but otherwise you’ll be happy in any room!
Deciding where to chill each day was a challenge…
We spent a few days laying on the beach and the water was a perfect temp, plus, the kayaks were free to take out which provided some nice afternoon exercise.
We also loved the spa! Each treatment starts with a hydrotherapy experience, similar to a Scandinavian spa with different temperature pools, a sauna and steam room to loosen you up before your massage.
Food in Review
Not gonna lie, all-inclusive resorts tend to make me a bit nervous, I’ve had not so great experiences before and as someone who tries to eat well, even on vacation, usually the food leaves a lot to be desired and is super greasy, processed and not very fresh. At Excellence I was really pleasantly surprised. With ten different restaurants on the property there is certainly plenty of choice.
C and I really loved that the portions were very small, after all, it’s super easy to overeat on vacation and the homemade bread alone was enough to make us super full. Our favorite restaurants were Basmati for Indian food, Toscana for both the fresh breakfast and lunch buffet (you know I love breakfast), and Spice for the Hibachi, Teppenyaki dinner, which is the only meal that has to be reserved. We also loved the Mexican restaurant with an open ceiling and amazing singer and guitarist who sang authentic songs throughout dinner. Most people also loved Chez Isabelle, the upscale French restaurant, and we liked it, but found it pretty heavy, plus, the wait was over an hour and we both hate going to bed super full.
Regarding booze, the options were pretty vast and the bars abundant. Apparently, you can get top shelf booze in the Excellence club, but C doesn’t drink and I didn’t want to overdo it, so we stuck with the basics. My favorite was a mojito called the Hemingway (sans sugar), I’ve put the recipe below, it was a really unique combo and dangerously tasty!
Day Trip to Isla Mujeres
One of our favorite parts of the trip was a day trip to Isla Mujeres on a catamaran. Isla Mujeres is just beginning to gain popularity (or so it seems), although, Playa Norte, has been named one of the top beaches in Mexico and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We started with a brief snorkel and were bummed that we couldn’t go to the Musa Museo an underwater art museum created after the last hurricane in the area to help re-build the reef. After the snorkel we docked near the downtown area and rented a golf cart to ride around the island, such a fun way to take a spin. The best stop by far is the turtle farm sanctuary founded by a fisherman to help protect sea turtles. Next stop was an amazing overlook to get a fresh coconut water and then the mayan goddess statues of which the island was named for.
While I generally prefer to travel farther afield from the all-inclusive realm to really experience all that a place has to offer Playa Mujeres was a really nice opportunity to just disconnect, completely relax and be pampered. We were able to workout in the nice gym, do a yoga and zumba class, swim and eat whenever we felt like it and that’s pretty freakin’ awesome!
Have you been to Playa Mujeres? Would love to hear what you loved here or on Facebook!
HEMINGWAY MOJITO RECIPE (SANS ADDED SUGAR)
6 fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1 shot Bacardi Limon
3 oz. champagne
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish
Step 1: In a rocks glass, add the mint leaves and lime juice. Muddle to release the mint oil.
Step 2: Add the rum and fill the glass 3/4 full with ice. Add a quick splash of club soda and top off with the champagne. Garnish with the mint sprig.