mexico...all the rest

I know, I know...my vacation to Mexico was a little while ago, but there's a few more things (food & otherwise) that I wanted to share.  It's also nice to remember sunny destinations when the weather is chilly here.  So this is a bit of long one, but I had so many great pictures!

Mayan Ruins

self-portrait at Chichen Itza

self-portrait at Chichen Itza

We had booked a private tour for the five us to visit Chichen Itza, Ik Kil cenote and Coba.  It was a long day, but it was great because we got to see so much.  Also, it cost about the same as a tour booked through the resort, but we didn't have to ride on a coach bus filled with other tourists AND we got to choose how long we wanted to stay at each place.

swimming in the Ik Kil cenote

swimming in the Ik Kil cenote

The tour also included a buffet lunch at Ik Kil, which I am happy to report, was much better than I expected.  I sampled some fish, chicken, tasty rice pilaf and a big scoop of black beans.

In terms of the archeological sites, I've visited both sites before and I think Coba is my clear favourite.  Chichen Itza had changed a lot since my last visit - you can't get anywhere near the ruins anymore.  Coba feels more like a lost world as you walk through the jungle between the uncovered structures.  It's also amazing to climb the pyramid and take in the view of the jungle from the top.

the large pyramid at Coba

the large pyramid at Coba

Xcaret

with a performer at Xcaret

with a performer at Xcaret

We spent another day of our vacation at Xcaret; an amazing cultural-heritage-adventure park.  There's a little bit of something for everyone, and you can easily spend the entire day there.  There are several options for food in the park.  We chose to go for snack-bar food on the beach, but a buffet restaurant would have been another option. 

beach snack bar - everything tastes better with an ocean view

beach snack bar - everything tastes better with an ocean view

i heart you blue agave because you give me tequila

i heart you blue agave because you give me tequila

Every evening Xcaret hosts the "Mexico Espectacular" - a 2 hour show that looks back at Mexico's Mayan & Spanish history and celebrates regional dancing and music. At the concession stand I had grilled corn-on-the-cob with queso, chili powder and a squeeze of fresh lime - don't you wish you could find that at more concession stands here at home??  If you visit the Mayan Riviera, you should definitely visit Xcaret, we love it there. 

Playa del Carmen

In Playa del Carmen you should definitely plan a stop at Ah Cacao, a chocolate cafe.  We visited both locations in Playa and stocked up on high-quality pure vanilla and chocolate, as well as some cacao beans and criollo cocoa powder.  In the cafe they have your favourite espresso drinks as well as some chocolate specialties, like Mayan drinking chocolate, baked treats and ice cream. 

churro!

churro!

Another thing I love in Playa?  Churros!!!  You can find them at food carts that show up in the evening.  They're hot and fresh, and of course, coated in sugar.  A perfect treat.  I had to make sure not to eat too many tacos so that I would have room for dessert! 

We had dinner at another restaurant in Playa too...but I forgot to take a picture of their sign.  I needed a break from tacos (I didn't know that was even possible!), so I had tortilla soup.  The broth was flavourful and delicious and there were lots of chunks of delicious avocado, some pieces of smoky pepper and crispy strips of tortilla.  I will definitely need to attempt to make tortilla soup at home.  

soaking in the atmosphere in Playa

soaking in the atmosphere in Playa

We had an absolutely fantastic family vacation in the Mayan Riviera, thanks for allowing me to reminisce!