Now that we’re back and had a chance to get organized, we’re excited to dish on our gorgeous trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico! Although it was absolutely amazing to travel with each other, our hubbies, AND unplug for the week, we did encounter some very unexpected events that made for some less than picture-perfect memories.
Twice as nice
But before we get into those details let’s chat about ALL of the picture-perfect memories we did make while in this amazing place! We stayed at Valentin Imperial Maya Resort, which was the same resort that Casey and Finn went on their honeymoon (you can read all about their trip right here). It’s adults only, all-inclusive, and is such a large beautiful place to stay.
They loved the resort so much that they vowed that not only did they want to come back, they wanted to bring friends next time they visited. Fast forward two years and here we are. We also brought another couple (hi Adam & Lauren!) so we had a group of 6 total. On our first full day we saw a full rainbow…legit the ENTIRE rainbow! It was crazy and we got so many gorgeous photos of it.
Happy New Year!
One of the best parts of the trip was being there for the New Year and all the New Year’s Eve festivities. The resort was decorated in Christmas lights and even Christmas trees (!!), which was mind-boggling for all of us Chicagoans. Crazy to see holiday decor in 80 degree weather, but it made us feel even more grateful to be away from the single digit temps at home. #SorryChicago
We got all dressed up for New Year’s Eve and had a wonderful meal all together. Then we watched a fire show on the beach, listened to live music in the courtyard, and counted down until midnight.
Here’s a (grainy!) photo we took at midnight right before the ball dropped! Lots of champagne, laughs, and dancing for this group.
Most days we spent at the pool relaxing. The pool at the resort was HUGE and had plenty of seating. And there were tons of floats available in the pool… which made for the perfect afternoon “vehicle” to get to the two swim-up bars.
While the girls often napped or read in the sun, the boys spent lots of time playing beer pong in the pool.
Or we’d all join in on some of the over-the-top pool activities like the foam party (say what?!), drinking fun tropical drinks, or taking lots of ridiculous underwater photos.
Say no to sunburn
The sun in Mexico is super intense, so we were sure to lather up constantly! Casey got a pretty bad sunburn on her honeymoon so we were committed to making sure that didn’t happen again. We re-applied lots and lots of sunblock (50 & 100 SPF) and pretty much had hats on at all times. <— imagine how trendy we must have looked lathered in white sunblock with oversized hats. But honestly, we didn’t even care as long as we didn’t come home burnt!
It’s crazy how the more time we spent relaxing, the more lazy we got. At first it was hard to officially unplug and just relax (something we’re not very good at). But the more time we spent by the pool and on the beach, the better we got at feeling less guilty and instead enjoyed and embraced the lazy days.
When we weren’t by the pool, you could find us relaxing on the beach. We’re not sure if it was the time of year or just a coincidence, but the water was wavy almost everyday that we were there.
Although some days the waves were too dangerous to swim in, we still took advantage of walking the beach and taking in these breathtaking views.
The water was SO clear in this area and the sand so darn smooth. We can see why so many people visit this region of the world. Absolutely stunning!
The few days that we did swim in the ocean, we saw beautiful fish right around us as we swam. The water was so clear it was crazy how easy it was to spot them!
We linked this beach bag on our Instagram while we were there and weren’t surprised that it’s been one of most popular items we have ever linked! Casey got it for Christmas and we are both obsessed with it (Bridget added it to her wish list when she got home). It matches with just about anything and has several compartments that really helped keep Casey organized on the plane and throughout the vacation. If you’re in the game for a casual bag, we HIGHLY recommend this one!
We had such a blast together and are so grateful for the chance to celebrate such a wonderful year in such an amazing place. But like we mentioned before, this trip came with some unexpected news. Just about half way through the week, Matt got news that his grandma passed away back home. We were crushed.
Matt and I got on the next flight out to get back to family as soon as we could. Getting news like this is never easy but getting this news and being thousands of miles away from our family makes it even harder. Thankfully we were able to get home in less than 24 hours & spent the rest of the week back in Chicago celebrating her admirable life.
The vacation we planned for almost all of 2016 looked a lot different from what we ever imagined. Although it was filled with jaw-dropping beauty, it was also filled with devastating loss. Through the laughs and the cries, we’re reminded how lucky we are to have the amazing people in our lives. It’s these people who make the good times great and the hard times just a tad easier. This trip was the perfect reminder of exactly that.