10 Reasons Why My Resort Vacation Rocked My Pants Off

Last year, some of my closest girl friends and I booked an all-inclusive, one-week trip to the Gran Bahia Principe Coba in the Riviera Maya, Mexico (I’ll write more about those experiences later). These kinda vacations are insanely popular in Newfoundland, as 30 consecutive days of overcast weather tends to make people suicidal.

The closest thing to this in Newfoundland is the St. John’s Harbour, a lovely shade of sewage green.

Yeah, I get it. Resort vacations take away from the real experience of a country. The staff is underpaid. It’s unethical to indulge in such riches from inside a poor country.

You can judge me, but bollocks to you then.

I had a wonderful vacation. I turned into a freckly ginger giraffe, and completely mastered the art of ordering a drink in Spanish. And by that I mean I gazed at the cute Mexican waiters and lustily said, “Cerveza, por favor!”

Holy fish balls, Mexican men are cute.

Anyway, so here are 10 reasons why I think resort vacations are great.

1. They’re freaking cheap

I’ve always wanted to be like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, snatched up randomly off the street by a handsome stranger who eventually falls in love with me and we live a life of luxury. Except without the whole awkward prostitute thing. I had a taste of luxury on a tight budget, my entire trip costing less than $1500 (one of the more expensive packages, actually), including a round-trip flight and bus transfers. This is pretty sweet for Newfoundland, considering it’ll cost me about $599 for a one way ticket to Edmonton.

2. Somebody else does all the dirty work

I love the planning part. The guide books, the Internet websites, the stress, the comparison of prices. The hair pulling, the teeth gnashing, the scratching your friends’ eyes out. But sometimes you just want your travel cake and eat it too, y’know? Is that how the expression goes? Anyway, all I had to do was pay, pack and play.

3. It’s the ultimate girlfriend getaway

Our resort was more geared towards couples and older people, but we partied like rockstars anyway and had an amazing time just enjoying each others’ company. Several of my friends are stretched out across the country, so coming together in sunny Mexico created new bonds while securing the old ones.

4. The booze is free

Amazing. On the other hand, returning to St. John’s where beers are anywhere between $3 to $7? Total ass crap.

5. You meet awesome people

My friends and I met folks from Great Britain, other parts of Canada, the USA and France while on our resort. We also befriended many of the resort workers, like this shiny gent named Adrian:

True love. I also found a random boy’s email in my purse many weeks later, and I still have no idea who he is. But he’s on my Facebook.

6. You actually get to relax

In my experience, travel is not for relaxing, catching up on sleep or just going with the flow…especially when your vacation time is limited. Lying on the beach, sipping mojitos and having the sun assault your body with pleasurable warmth? Totally worth having to pick out all those grains of sand from your tush.

7. There’s a lot of naked people

This works both ways. You can either admire exposed nipples, tight abdominal muscles, rippling biceps and bronzed flesh, or you can feel slightly inferior next to the Latino chic with DD breasts. At one point I nearly ran into a tree because an older woman’s massive pancake nipples had eclipsed the sun.

8. You don’t need to stay on the resort

The organized tours are often expensive, but the variety and ease of booking is incredible. I did the dolphin swim, a catamaran tour, a day at Chichen Itza, and a pubcrawl in the Playa del Carmen. Worth every penny.

9. The food, glorious food!

My friends and I gorged on so much food in Mexico it was unbelievable. When we first arrived on the resort, we hadn’t eaten in nearly a full day, so we ditched our luggage and found the nearest snack bar. And then we found the open bar. And then we died from happiness.

10. Everyone deserves a bit of luxury

I’m always a big fan of the hostels and the backpacking scene, but luxury travel is just as “real” of an experience as any other. For us broken students/ex-students dealing with debt, being among such fancy accommodations was relieving. We never asked more from the workers than necessary, and we always tipped generously.

After getting out and seeing a bit more of the Yucatan, the country has since sparked a desire to get to know the place on a deeper level. If I ever go back, I’d like to do so in a way which contributes something positive to the country.

Have any of you ever tried an all inclusive? How did you enjoy the experience?

Other News

I was featured as a guest blogger at OneTravel last week, check out Why Everyone Should Survive a Winter in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Thanks, OneTravel!

  • January 04 2010

    Your face in that picture is hilarious.

    • January 06 2010

      I’m still not sure whether I was happy or not.

  • January 04 2010

    eww pankcake nipples. I’m not quite sure what that is, but I don’t think it needs explaining further.

    • January 06 2010

      Think large, round, mishapen and kinda brown.

  • January 04 2010

    LOVED THIS!! Looked like one helluva trip! I think this is why my mom adamantly refuses to let me go on such vacays with my friends, though. Sheesh.

    • January 06 2010

      Hehehehe, then you probably don’t want to tell her about the Hedonistic resorts in Jamaica…

  • January 05 2010

    Oh the words you come up with! Am laughing my head off. Some of my favs from this piece – a freckly ginger giraffe, Holy fish balls (love!), shiny gent, massive pancake nipples (particularly frightening).

    • January 06 2010

      Hehehe, thanks Neha, and I totally stole “holy fish balls” from someone else. But now I’m claiming it as my own.

  • January 05 2010
    Sabina

    Hilarious! And what great points you make. I went on a cruise once and thoroughly loved it. Travel doesn’t have to be all backpacking with no plan.

    And “massive pancake nipples”? Did you take a photo?

    • January 06 2010

      Ah, sadly no photos! I don’t know why we didn’t think of it…I haven’t been on a cruise yet, but I’d love to try one.

  • January 05 2010

    Hehe.. very funny post!

    I totally agree with point #6, when somebody else does all the planning and hair-pulling for you, the trip does get much more peaceful. :)

    • January 06 2010

      Especially helps when you have a travel agent friend, woot!

  • January 05 2010

    Sounds awesome. I know a lot of Canadians do this, to sort of break the winter in 2.
    This kind of trips is not really my thing, but I must admit it’s awesome nonetheless. I’d like to explore more of South America someday…

    • January 06 2010

      Me too, I don’t think it’s something I’d do EVERY year…but maybe every three years or so. :)

  • January 05 2010

    GUILTY! As a family we tried once and were thwarted by meningitis (not me), did it once in the DR and are going again to very close to where you were later this year. The reason? I live nowhere near these people, and it’s cheap for them to get there. And also then I don’t have to spend vacation translating. And there are wee ones, pesky wee ones who like to eat and play in the pool and ask, “why are those girls doing that with those boys?” (I think they were looking at you). It’s great fun.

    Love your descriptions! did you get taller? (giraffe). Eclipse? ow my aching eyes!

    • January 06 2010

      Exactly! Useful especially when your friends can’t afford to travel much further. And hey, I did not get up to any pool shenanigans! I really don’t know why not…

  • January 05 2010

    I haven’t done the all inclusive thing in a while…and actually, I think I’ve ever only gone with my family. I get bored really easily, so I’m always leery of going to a place where it’s hard to wander around because it is fairly removed, but actually, I think it would be a total blast to go on an all inclusive vacation with my friends!
    eww pancake nipples.

    • January 06 2010

      It really, really is! I kinda wanna get married down there. Oooh so lovely.

  • January 05 2010

    Sounds freaking awesome to me. I don’t travel much at all… but if I did I would definitely go the all inclusive route first. Especially because of the free drinks part. And of course all the naked mexican boys. Yummilicious!

  • January 05 2010

    jajajaja the pic dancing with the guy is real funny… jajaja I could imagine all the faces on the rest of the dance…

    Where did you swim with dolphins???

    • January 06 2010

      Hmm damn I can’t remember the name now, Delphinus? Yesss, something like that!

  • January 05 2010

    Wow sounds like a great trip! Trips with just the girls always equal interesting stories…. ;)

    I found your blog from 20SB. Check out mine at http://www.lifeaftercollege3.blogspot.com if you get a chance.

    • January 06 2010

      Thanks, doll! I will be sure to drop by.

  • January 05 2010

    Loved this post! I have always wanted to try an all inclusive trip – my travels are always way too strenuous like climbing mountains and stuff and I love the idea of a week of sudo-luxury.

    • January 06 2010

      Hehehe, I think perhaps a mountain climbing trip should be immediately followed by a beach lounging trip…eesh.

  • January 06 2010

    Sun eclipsing pancake nippes and shiny gents? I can think of no better reasons to visit a place!

    And yes, I pretty much agree on all points. There are all types of travelers and all sorts of trips. Sometimes, you want the whole don’t-know-where-I-am-or-how-to-make-an-emergency-call experience. Sometimes, you just want to sit in the sun and relax.

    And damn, lady. You crack me up!

    • January 06 2010

      Seriously, I think everyone needs to treat themselves to a resort vacation every few years. Ultimate way to chill out ever. Hahaha, thanks Leigh!

  • January 06 2010

    Hahaha-great post!! Good reasons for going with a resort vacation. I think travel has room for all types of travel. As long as you’re authentic to what you love, it’s always the right decision. I’ve gone on two resort vacays with my in-laws and despite my proclivity towards cultural destinations I’ve ended up really enjoying them. I can’t argue with someone bringing me frozen boozy goodness while I read my fourth book on the beach only to walk a couple of yards to eat a 4th meal of the day. lol. Sometimes the body and mind just need to de-thaw. Sounds like your Mexican trip was wonderful.

    • January 06 2010

      Totally agree! Except I don’t think I picked up a book the entire time I was there, just rested my mind. It was lovely. I want to do it again!

  • January 06 2010

    Nailed it on the head Candice. I know how the die-hards hate when people love the all inclusive resort deals, but wow do they feel good. I was in Los Cabo’s this xmas and I was in an inebriated heaven. Daiquiri de Mangoes, Mojitos, Taco’s, Steak, Nachos, Salsa, Guac….aw man..the Guac. I would kill a small child for that Guac right now.

    I need to get another blog going or something cuz I have no place to stick my Global travels. Would love to tell some good Mexican stories, like how our resort accidentally gave carbon monoxide poisoning to 3 floors of it’s guests. Including me. lol.

    But yea, Resorts = awesome. No complaints here. Food rocks, drinks rock, nudie beaches rock, getting drunk and pretending to talk spanish rocks, love it all.

    • January 06 2010

      I KNOW! I LOVED the guac! And I can’t find it anywhere. Urg. I’d love to hear about your resort experience…especially the carbon monoxide, wtf?

  • January 06 2010
    Lottie

    AHH i totally forgot about tits o’clock… i always mention her when telling mexico stories to people.. lets go again!

    • January 06 2010

      She totally became a part of the scenic coastline didn’t she? *sigh*

  • January 06 2010

    I’m five minutes away from making that picture the background on my computer.

    The dancing one obviously.

    • January 06 2010

      Holy shit, we should pair up and be a dancing duo! IN BOXES.

  • January 06 2010

    Um, I’m offended. I have pancake nipples!

    Ok, I don’t, but I kinda wish I did now just so I could stare at them in the mirror and possibly be protected from the sun. Wait, I like my tan too much.

    “I also found a random boy’s email in my purse many weeks later, and I still have no idea who he is. But he’s on my Facebook.” This is the epitome of travel/bar-hoping/dating in the 2010s. How many people have I met on the road in the past year that I would never have talked to/heard from again if it weren’t for FB?

    • January 06 2010

      My only question about pancake nipples is…how do you find bikini tops to cover them?!

      Hahahaha, seriously though. The weird thing is he added me, but has no pictures, and has not talked to me since. I’m baffled.

  • January 06 2010

    Mexico is not safe period! A shocking 32% of all non-natural deaths of U.S. citizens outside this country occur in Mexico. Many of these deaths are a direct result of poor or nonexistent safety standards both inside and outside of the resorts. To read tragic Mexico vacation DEATH stories, many written by heartbroken family members as well as stories written by victims that “survived” their Mexico vacation go to: http://WWW.MEXICOVACATIONAWARENESS.COM

    • January 06 2010

      How about you suck a fat one?

    • January 06 2010

      Really are you sure? perhaps some in depth research conducted by yourself is in order just to be exact. I mean what if its 33% I’d be like woah and then you’d be all for shizzle and I’d be all no way….

      • January 06 2010

        Hey Spammer, don’t you have anything else better to do with your time!

  • January 06 2010
    TravelMaus

    Oh I love your spammer ! Not ! I live in Toronto and like that doesn’t happen here? How many times do we read about murders and killings in our own cities compared to anything ever happening at a resort? I’ve been selling resort packages to Mexico and the Caribbean for 30 years and have NEVER had anything bad happen to a client!
    But I’ve had a client kidnapped and killed by a psycho in Toronto ! So there ! Vacations down south are perfectly safe but people also have to be smart, just like they have to be at home.

    Anyhow :) You wanted someone to go after the spammer :)

    Loved your post and it reminded me so much of all the fun I had when I travelled to all-inclusive resorts with my friends when I was young ! Glad you enjoyed it !

    • January 07 2010

      Oh wow, did that really happen to a client?! Madness. Yes, I agree, it’s all about being smart and aware of your surroundings.

  • January 06 2010

    The only all inclusive I ever did was a family vacation and it was so not fun the way you’re describing. I NEED to do it again with friends. Your trip sounds awesome!

    • January 07 2010

      You MUST! You would love a vacation like that!

  • January 06 2010

    Hey Candice, love this post.

    At the end of October 09 I was at the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum and made my way to Coba a few times. I went with my mother so I didn’t party as much. We were there for 10 days. However, in 07 a group of us were there for our 40th birthday (there were 9 of us) and we had a great time for all those great reasons you listed. We stayed at Oxidental Xcaret and got great deals. Been to Riviera May several times and each time was at an all inclusive resort. A girl has to do that every once in a while!!

    Awesome post. You are hilarious!!!

    • January 07 2010

      Thanks for stopping by! Love seeing new faces. Wasn’t it a great resort?! I’m afraid to try any others now, maybe they won’t be quite as good.

  • January 07 2010

    Hola chica!
    There’s a little award for you on my blog! :)

  • January 07 2010

    “The closest thing to this in Newfoundland is the St. John’s Harbour, a lovely shade of sewage green.”

    …I beg to differ…venture outside the overpass (or even out to Middle Cove and Outer Cove) and there are tons of gorgeous scenic ocean and coastline pictures waiting to be taken (sans shades of “sewage green”). It may not be quite as warm and inviting to jump in, but the sights are still spectacular!

    :-)

    • January 07 2010

      Oh trust me, don’t take anything I ever say very seriously. :) Of course there’s lots of incredible beaches in NL, but certainly none that look quite like Coba. Ohh summer, I miss thee.

  • January 09 2010

    You go, Candice! Tell ’em! Even though you can’t compare a resort with a chicken bus, you can pick up all sorts of interesting and bizarre experiences from resort travel, too.

    • January 21 2010

      Totally! Glad someone agrees, hah.

  • January 21 2010
    Patricia

    Great post! I too did an all-inclusive for the first time last year.

    I have traveled all over the place and most of it solo. Europe multiple times (including living in Germany for two years), Northern Africa (Morocco, Egypt), Turkey, Thailand and many other places. All it it fairly independent travel so I had my trepidations about booking an all-inclusive trip last year.

    Well, I loved it. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again (in fact i went back to Cuba a second time a few months after the first trip). As much as I love independent travel it was really nice to be pampered. I just put blinders on and said to myself I’m not really visiting Cuba, I’m just on a beach vacation to relax…

    My next trip (April for three weeks) will be to Thailand for a friend’s wedding and a little independent travel but I wouldn’t hesitate to book another all-inclusive sometime in the future.

    P.S. I also work in the tech writing field…..

    • January 21 2010
      Patricia

      How timely that as I finished the comment above I hit your Follow Me tag on the side to your Twitter page and the first tweet up was a link to a posting Border Crossing Guide: Bangkok to Siem Reap which is exactly what I’ll be doing when i go to Thailand in April!

      • January 21 2010

        Nice to meet you, fellow techie! Thanks for stopping by, Patricia. I’d certainly do the resort vacation again too, but perhaps not for a few more years. I think I wanna get married on a Mexican beach somewhere, oh yes. Do you have a blog?

        • January 21 2010
          Patricia

          I did but let it lapse two years ago when I changed jobs and things got really busy. I have to get the backup moved to other hosting and start it up. Maybe I will in time for Thailand…..

          • January 23 2010

            I think you should! Us tech writers need a creative outlet, haha.

  • February 03 2010
    Ashwin

    hi candice, this is ashwin and i liked your blog.
    It is very nice

  • February 22 2010

    This article is frickin awesome.

    I totally agree with all 10 points! All-inclusive is perfect if you are traveling with a group. On our own, the hubby and I like to do it a little more rugged (the travel, I’m talking about the travel!!). But with a group the all-inclusive makes a lot of sense.

    I totally want to go to Mexico with you! Of course, we’d have to pack about a gallon of sunscreen between us (I am also a redhead).

    Happy to have found your blog today via Twitter.

    I love finding fellow funny redheads. Makes me happy.

  • August 05 2010

    Hi Candice, I was searching for the best “get away” trip for my upcoming 40th birthday w/ my girlfriends in Mexico (Riviera maya) and came across your story! Loved it! I have never been to an all inclusive, and from what i’m hearing it might be best tway to go w/ a large group of girls. I stayed a few years ago at the Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya and loved it, but not inclusive and on the pricey side. I would like to find a resort that has all what Fairmont Mayakoba has but possibly all inclusive. Any ideas??? Loved ready all your stories, you are funnnny.

    • August 05 2010

      Thanks so much, Wendy! I’m glad you dropped by. I totally recommend the resort getaway for a girls’ vacation, it’s just perfect. I’m not sure if you’d be interested in going back to the Riviera Maya, but if you are, I definitely suggest the Gran Bahia Principe Coba. It is a MASSIVE resort, three in one really: Coba, Akumal, and Tulum. So there’s SO MUCH to do, so many people, it’s like a little city in itself. Plus the Hacienda is fantastic, and there isn’t a whole lot of young people. It’s not a party spot but the disco was always active, and my girlfriends and I had a blast.

      I’m planning on Cuba for next year, a similar vacation. :) If you have any other questions, just ask!

    • August 05 2010

      Also, the Gran Bahia is a 5-star and it only cost us $1400, so you should be able to score a sweet deal somewhere.

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  • May 26 2013
    Harry G

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  • May 26 2013
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