So a week ago today, I returned from a well overdue (and definitely needed!) holiday in Mexico with my boyfriend. There is something about having a holiday planned for this time of the year. You are not only able to have something to look forward to throughout the year, but you can also cling onto the last bit of warmth and daylight before the winter months settle in.

We stayed in Riviera Maya for two weeks at the Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa. My boyfriend and I wanted to really make this holiday special since it was our first holiday together! (Plus with having the intentions to move out from still living at home, we knew that we might not be able to afford it for a little while after!) It was an amazing resort with the sea within close reach which also included free to use kayaking gear and snorkelling equipment. It was perfect for Scott whilst I could sit in the sun with a book!

So two weeks on a long haul holiday, how do you keep the balance between relaxing but exploring? This was something that Scott and I debated about even before we left for our flight to Mexico. The last thing we wanted was to come home and feel like we had done so much that actually, we felt like we didn't have a getaway at all. Neither of us had been to Mexico before too, which made us feel like newbies in the world of excursions and exploring! We had actually stumbled across someone on the beach who also promoted excursions to tourists rather than just relying on TUI. Not that there is a right or wrong way to book and plan your holiday. This is how we chose to fulfil our holiday. After conversing with him we knew that for the kind of things we wanted to do were best booked through him. We decided to book the excursions as we went along with the holiday rather than all at once for the time that we were there.

If you want culture if you're planning to visit mexico yourself, I would really recommend you visit a temple. The 3 you'll come across when doing some research will be Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba. Depending on what kind of activity you expect from your day, pick wisely. As of recent, Coba is the only temple you are allowed to truly explore and physically touch. Whereas Chichen Itza (being classed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World - a definite must if this is something on your list of things to do!) and Tulum are now a little more restrictive to preserve and protect the land. Either way though, i'm sure you will find the experience as educating about the Mayans as I did. We were also fortunate enough to explore Mayan land not only on foot, but kayaking, swimming in cenotes, zip-lining and abseiling. Not forgetting a spot of lunch with traditional Mayan food with the locals.

Dolphin Discovery was the second excursion on our list of things to do. It was an amazing day of not only swimming and interacting with Dolphins, but we also got to swim with Manatees and Sea Lions (er my new favourite animal!). Swimming with dolphins has always been that type of activity that I never really feel like its the morally right thing to be doing. I had an experience before when on holiday with my mum in Cuba. We went swimming with dolphins but they were effectively in what seemed like a metal cage in the sea. Nothing was obviously wrong with the dolphins, but it really played on my mind that they were in there. This on the other hand felt completely different, those thoughts never even crossed my mind once we arrived!

The interaction we had with all of the animals was fun and really good! You could also tell these animals were loved, nurtured and definitely well fed. Something that made the day even more enjoyable. Other than falling in love with sea lions, a highlight of my day was being able to float around in the water with manatees and feed them endless amounts of lettuce! I'm sure I was a manatee in a previous life... Their agendas are basically sleep and eat!

Finally Xel-Ha (pronounced like shell-ha) was our last trip. It's a natural aquarium in which you can snorkel through rivers/mangroves, swim with stingrays, interact with dolphins and experience true exhilaration with Adrenalina. Sea water meets natural river water as your snorkel and experience life under the surface and swim with the sea life. There is so much you can do within the water park, including a few optional extras on the side (at an extra cost). We chose to experience the Adrenalina water boat ride and also an attraction called Sea Trek between our ventures in the water around Xel-Ha.

In all honesty there are so many things you can do when staying in the area of Riviera Maya. I wish we had the time and money(!) to be able to do it all. The benefit of this though is that if we were to ever visit Mexico again in the future, there would be different excursions for us to experience. Besides, why would you spend a lot of money to also spend no time at the hotel? More of a reason to grab my self a bevvy, grab my book and relax in the sun either by the pool or in the sea.

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