Christmas in Mexico – Sun, Sand and Margaritas!

During the summer, my mom was asking my sister (Shannon) and I what we should do for Christmas.  We both went to Vancouver to visit Shanni last year, so we figured this year we should all go somewhere instead (especially since it’s about the same price – and a lot more fun – than the three of us flying to Vancouver).  My mom loves the beach, so we decided to hit up Mexico since Shan had never been.  So, less than a week after getting back from Ghana, Steve and I packed up our stuff and woke up at 3 am to fly to Cancun.  My mom met us at the airport, and we got some breakfast before our 6am flight.  The early morning was a killer, but it was worth it to be in Mexico and able to explore by the afternoon.  After we arrived at the airport (and all my Christmas gift wrapping was ruined by customs), we took the one hour bus to Playa del Carmen.  My sis would be meeting us there in the afternoon.


Instead of staying on an all-inclusive resort, we decided it would be cheaper (and more fun) to just rent a hotel.  I’m glad we did!  Playa del Carmen feels super safe to walk around, and there is lots of public access to the beach.  You can rent chairs and umbrellas for pretty cheap, and get yummy margaritas anywhere you go on the beach.  For those who’ve never been, Playa has a great “main drag” that runs parallel to the beach, called 5th Avenue.  It has tons of cute shops and great restaurants.  It was great getting to wander around and try something new every night!



Christmas was fun but mostly just another day.  We brought Santa hats and took silly pictures.  Shan and I tried to do some jumping shots but obviously we were not very coordinated, so we got this one instead!  It was great to spend so much time with her.  Although we’re very only 2 years apart, we have very different personalities.  However, we always get along great and laugh lots when we actually get to spend time together.


We stayed for a week and got into a pretty regular routine.  My sis and mom would get up early and go find an umbrella by the water (since my sister got sun-burnt on the first day).  Steve and I would sleep in, grab some Starbucks for breakfast, and find them on the beach.  We’d spend the whole day reading, drinking margaritas, and going in the water to cool down (though some days the waves were pretty intense).  When the sun went down we would go back to the hotel for a nap, shower, and then head somewhere new for dinner (and maybe  bit of shopping along the way).  Before we got there, Steve had looked up all the attractions.  Maybe we should dive in the caves, check out the ruins, go to a crazy beach club, or check out some water sports.  One day we did take the ferry over to Cozumel to go snorkeling, but for the rest of the time we just chilled… which was exactly what I needed.  I don’t regret the rest and relaxation at all!


I feel a bit bad for Steve, since some of out trip was super girly.  My mom and sister love to talk about food and calories, and we did a lot of shopping (even buying bracelets on the beach!).  He was probably a bit overwhelmed but he handled it well.  By the end he seemed to be craving some man time, and hit the gym immediately when we got back to Ottawa, since he wanted to “lift something.”  He’s a trooper. 🙂


However, I’m really glad he came.  It was hard spending 5 months away from him, and it was a great chance to spend some quality time together.  We were planning to do lots of excursions and exploring and we ended up being lazy and reading on the beach – which was just perfect!  It worked out well, because we got 2 rooms at the same hotel.  I was able to balance some girly time with couple time, and it was wonderful. 🙂


At first thought, it seems like travelling so soon after a long overseas placement might not be a good idea.  However, I think it’s exactly what I needed.  Many of my friends who were abroad came back to intense holiday pressure.  Gifts, food, and too many people asking them a million questions.  I got to spend a week with 3 of my favourite and most supporting people.  I got to relax on the beach, catch up on my reading, and drink margaritas.  It was a great way to end a fantastic, jam-packed year!


About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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