Cozumel, Mexico Family Vacation

Cozumel, Mexico Family Vacation

When my parents asked if I wanted to go to Mexico for a family vacation my answer was: yes, of course! This was my second trip to Mexico—my first being Cancun back when I was freshly 18. Both times were great—what’s not to love?! The beaches, clear blue waters, warm sun, a relaxing or adventurous vibe—whichever you seek, you can find. Plus, the colorful inspiration everywhere you turn, and last—but not least—piña coladas!

We stayed five nights at Hotel Occidental, which felt like the perfect amount of time. This resort had a very different vibe than our one in Cancun—it felt much more private and secluded, in a good way. It’s about a 20-minute drive from downtown Cozumel and on the gulf side of the island. The resort has a beautiful entrance abloom and is framed by lush greens and palm trees.

Winding sidewalks navigate you around to the resort to your villa, restaurants, pools, and the beach. I had my own room next to my sister and brother-in-law, while my parents, aunt, and uncle had rooms by each other in a different villa.

Our days were spent laying on the beach soaking up the sun, exploring the heart of downtown Cozumel, jeeping around the island, visiting Mayan ruins, snorkeling, a tequila tasting, and eating lots of amazing local grub.

Downtown Cozumel was bright and colorful—so many Instagram-worthy buildings! We taxied into town and were starving, so we asked our driver for restaurant recommendations. That’s how we landed at La Mission. It’s a neat restaurant tucked right off the main ocean-front road. The food was great, and the margs were even better! After lunch, we strolled the streets and shopped around. (Oh, and spent the entire day dodging rain—it was pouring.)

The jeeping extravaganza through Explora Caribe was one of my favorite activities because we got to see a lot of the island and do so many different things. (We did the Island Tour by Jeep.) There were other really large groups doing the same tour—some as big as 15 jeeps. We aren’t exactly sure why, but we got a private tour. Instead of booking directly through Explora Caribe, we went through an agent at our hotel, and since we had a group of six, were able to avoid the giant group, which was really nice.

First, we went to Punta Sur Eco-Park—the largest wildlife reserve on the island. There we attempted to see crocodiles (I didn’t, but some others did) and toured the Celarain lighthouse and museum. Then we drove a short distance to a beach where we did some snorkeling and ate lunch. I really enjoyed this beach—white, soft sand, extremely comfy lounge chairs, and just an all-around good vibe—I wish we’d had more time there.

Next stop was the San Gervasio Mayan Ruins. These aren’t huge ruins like Chichén Itzá (which I would’ve loved to see), but they are still historically beautiful and right on the island, so we didn’t have to travel terribly far.

After the ruins, we got to taste some tequila! One thing to note, I love tequila! They gave a brief explanation about how tequila is made, got us a little tipsy (not the drivers, of course), and then somehow persuaded a few of us to buy a bottle. From there, we drove through Cozumel—which was an experience in itself—and headed back downtown for a little more shopping. My dad and I were kind of tired, so instead of shopping, we decided to chill out at a bar and have a margarita or two.

On our last full day in Cozumel, we went snorkeling. Again, I’m not sure why, but we got our own private boat. Although it may sound like it, it was nothing fancy (see boat below). They took us to three different areas, the first being the Colombia reef. This was away from land a bit, which at first is kind of intimidating. The depth was about 25 feet and to be honest, the waves were a little rough. I figured out that keeping my head down and looking under the water was much less scary than having my head above water. We went to two other places—one that as 10 feet deep and a sandbar where we enjoyed some Corona. While snorkeling, we saw lots of colorful schools of fish, one big barracuda, starfish, and a very large lobster—so cool!

All other days were spent on the beach enjoying the resorts all-inclusive activities and restaurants. Although we were missing my oldest sister and her husband (they are taking their own trip to Mexico!), it was a great family trip!

P.S. I have an outfit post from this trip coming very soon!

Shelbie Renee


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