Winter this year seemed to go on forever so we decided (well Deanna mostly) it was time for a vacation someplace warm. We’ve never traveled to an all inclusive resort before but after finding a good deal we were off to Grand Palladium Kantenah on the Mayan Riviera. We booked our trip through Transat Holidays and were very impressed. Flights were on time. Airplanes were comfortable (ish). Transportation from the airport to the resort and back again, all organized and very well executed. I’m sure we would purchase another holiday from them in the future.
From the outset this was intended to be a relaxing vacation. The thought of having to get up early to be somewhere or do something was about as far away from our minds as could be. We spent the first couple of days just relaxing by the pool and the beach.
The weather was very nice, around 26 degrees C. I think Deanna would have preferred it to be even warmer but she didn’t complain. There were seven or eight pools scattered around the resort. Two main (very large) pools and other smaller ones that were quieter. There were always lots of activities underway. Everything from trivia contests to Salsa dance lessons.
The beach was about a 5 minute walk from our bungalow. The beach was shared between the two main sections of the resort. Not being much of a beach guy I wasn’t really sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised that there was lots of shade/trees as well as lots of opportunity for sun worshipers to get their dose of vitamin D.
The views from the Beach were pretty spectacular. There was always lots of activities with people swimming/snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, para sailing etc.
One of the nice things about going to an all inclusive resort is not having to figure out what to do or where to go for meals. We had heard that the food at most of the resorts in Mexico was good. The resort we stayed at had eight different a la carte restaurants, four buffet restaurants and two 24 hour snack areas on the beach. There is no reason to go hungry. The restaurants open at 5:30 pm for dinner. They don’t take reservations (well if you’re a returning guest or stay in one of the &8216;royal’ suites then they do), so it’s mostly first come first served. A couple of nights we waited around an hour which isn’t a hardship given the number of places in the resort to get a beverage. The quality of the meals at the restaurants was exceptional. Of the eight restaurants, we tried four of them.
Meals consisted of a salad course, soup, main and dessert. The quality of these meals was outstanding.
In addition to these meals, we also ate at the buffet two nights. The buffet had lots of choices but it wasn’t near the quality of the a la carte restaurants. Each night the buffet had a different theme but most of the dishes were the same between nights.
The final meal was a BBQ on the beach. Chicken, Steaks, Burgers and all the fixings on the beach under the stars. It too was very good.
While the main purpose of the trip was sun and relaxation, we did want to explore the countryside a bit. They Mayan Riveria is steeped in history and legend. They Maya have lived on the Yucatan Peninsula for over 3000 years. There are a number of archaeological sites all over the Peninsula. We decided to visit Chichen Itza which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The day started at 8:30 with the arrival of a large very new tour bus. Chicen Itza is about two and half hours from our hotel but we had a couple of stops first. The first stop was Sacred Cenote. A Cenote is an underground well and was the only source of fresh water for the Maya people. The cenote is now a swimming spot and was a very refreshing start of the trip. After a lunch stop, we headed to the site. Jorge is a native Maya guide and knows all there is to know about the history and culture of Chicen Itza. We spent three plus hours walking around the site learning about the history and culture of this amazing site. Recently, Chicen Itza was named the eighth wonder of the world. It’s an active archiology site with a tremendous number of projects ongoing. Archiologists have been learning more about the Maya for decades and plan to continue the research for many many years to come.
The second excursion consisted of two parts. The first part was a quick trip to Akumal, which was a few minutes down the road from our Hotel. Upon arrival, we received our snorkle gear and walked down the beach a few minutes to head into the ocean. We spent about 40 minutes or so in the ocean swimming in what turned out to be fairly choppy water. The air and water temperature were nice though. The reason for this location is there is a reef a short distance from the shore that large Sea Turtles come to eat. The reef is quite shallow, maybe 10-15 feet below the surface and we had a chance to see between six and ten large sea turtles. They were an amazing sight to behold. There were a few other fish in the reef as well but the turtles were the reason we chose this outing and we were not disappointed.
After spending out time in the ocean, we came back to shore, rinsed the gear and then piled back into the van for a quick trip up the highway to Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park.We were equiped with wet suits, snorkles and masks and after a bumpy 15 minute drive through the Jungle we arrived at a small cavern entrance which descended into a huge beautiful cavern. We spent a bit of time swimming around within the cave. It was also very interesting. This particular Cenote was featured in the BBC Planet Earth) series. This is a spectacular series and well worth picking up.
Things to do on our next visit
10 Mexican Pesos/Canadian Dollar
It was a great trip. I didn’t really know what to expect at an all inclusive resort. We were very impressed. We had a very relaxing and fun time. We would go back again for sure.
Here are a few photos from our trip.
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