Take a trip just off the mainland...
Although I had been to Mexico a couple of times before, I knew going into this trip it was going to be remarkably different. For me, going to a new city or country is all about seeing as much as you can as well as living in each moment. I love to capture memories and experiences and leading into the trip I knew I was going to get so many of those… especially because this time I had a legit camera with me and was filming workout videos in all the favorite spots I would discover!
Every time I travel it makes me want to do it more. Not only that but it makes me want to share my experiences with others. For me this blog is about sharing with you what I found, how I felt and to inspire you to get outside of your comfort zone, try something new and most importantly live out your adventure!
From LAX to Cancun the flight is around 4 hours and 30 minutes. We got to the airport early to avoid LA traffic (which is unpredictable.) The first tip into booking your flights is to look at the traffic getting to the airport at the time of your flight! After a smooth flight we landed in Cancun where we got on a bus down to the ferry in Playa Del Carmen. You can get a taxi, but the bus works just as well as there are no stops along the route, plus it’s only $15 each way. We did make the mistake of buying our ferry ticket when we bought our bus ticket, and we didn't realize that our ticket was only for a certain time later on in the evening.
We had a long day of traveling so we ended up buying another ticket so we could catch the earlier ride to Cozumel. Once you’re on the other side of the ferry ride, you can get a taxi right outside the port to your hotel. Be sure to either know the price before you leave or check there is a meter in the taxi; the drivers will try to barter prices so don't be afraid to say no to the first person!
By the time we got to the hotel, which was only 15 minutes from the port, it was already dark. Walking into the Explorean Boutique Hotel at night was such a beautiful picture. They had delicate lights in the main entrance which was all open air. There was soft music playing and I was eager to check out the pool area for a spot to film a workout video. We got checked into the all inclusive room, had our bags dropped to the room, and were ready for some food. One of my favorite moments of the trip was walking into the room because the hotel staff had laid out a welcome sign that said ‘Live Out Your Adventure, Rebecca Louise’.
We went to the restaurant located opposite the pool where we sat down for our first meal. The great part about this restaurant was that they had two options on the menu for the starter, main course and dessert. This way they are able to offer fresh food, everyday. You can have the options cooked however you want so it really was a personal touch. The all inclusive stay included alcohol with a help-yourself bar!
The next morning we were up early to have breakfast and meet with Angie, who is their Social Media Manager on site. You must try the Eggs Explorean for breakfast, amazing way to start the day. We were shown around the property to look for locations to film. It always takes much longer to film a 10-minute fitness workout than 10 minutes! Sometimes you think a location is going to work and then the lighting is off, there is too much noise, the ground is unstable or there are people around!
We had found the perfect location for the first video! Everything was all set and going great, but 5 minutes into the workout something went wrong…quick tip for filming, make sure that not only you are on a stable surface, your camera man is too! After realizing we didn't have a certain adapter for the new slider, we had to manually glide the second Sony camera along the slider without it actually being attached.
My handy cameraman decided to sit on this glass box that was in fact a light cover… I was in the middle of an ab exercise when I heard a big crash. I looked over to see my camera on the floor, a light box smashed all over the decking and a cameraman on the floor with a ‘whoopsie’ look on his face.
I was already in a good flow with the video so I said add another 30 seconds on and let’s keep rolling! The Sony camera was broken, which wasn’t surprising as during my last trip to the Dominican Republic it broke within the first 5 minutes (again not by me!) We shot one more after that and then it was time for a break and to explore what the Explorean had to offer!
The great thing about this hotel is that it offers some great and personal activities for its guests, so it gets you out of the hotel and onto the island to see all it has to offer. The Jeep adventure was first on our list. The weather was great, we had music playing and the wind was blowing in my hair. I always like to take a portable, waterproof speaker with me on all my travels and I take it out with me wherever I go. There is something about the feeling music gives you that completes a memory for me. I use UE Boom speakers for when I am away from home.
First stop on the Jeep adventure was to Punta Sur EcoPark. where there are a few places you must check out. Located on the left as you drive in you will come across a small entrance that from the outside just looks like some trees. As you go through you will see this open lake with a wooden structure over the top that you can walk up. There are alligators hanging around so watch your step! I was really hoping to find one and make eye contact but no such luck on my visit! Take a walk up the wooden structure and you can see some amazing views of the land. If this excites you then be sure to continue the trip down the road where you can see even more of the island from above.
We continued the tour, stopping at the Celarain Lighthouse, and I highly recommended you take the small stairs all the way up to the top! It is not a huge climb so most people will be fine, just watch your head as you get closer to the top as it does become narrower.
Keep on going down the road of the EcoPark and you will come to a beautiful and quiet beach. If you are wanting something peaceful and away from the crowds this is a perfect spot. There is a bar on the beach which sells non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. I recommend not getting too buzzed as you most definitely want to check out the next stop!
The 25 Hours Bar is a bar in paradise, I love the name and seeing how strong their drinks are you can easily feel an extra hour go past during the day. They make everything from scratch so if you want something non-alcoholic it’s all going to be prepared for you with the finest ingredients. And if you are looking to sip down a cocktail I recommend either the mojito, or if you are feeling really brave, ask for the blue drink in the coconut! You will be right by the ocean in the sand, the sea breeze over your skin and a nice cocktail to end a great tour.
There was no time to get too comfortable as we had the sunset Kayak tour in an hour! By the way, you can set up all your activities before you arrive at the Exploreran which is great. This enables you to chose how much or how little you want to do on your visit. We wanted to do it all and experience everything on offer and as we were only in Cozumel for 3 nights it was go, go, go! We paddled in the kayaks south along the coast for 2 miles, passing in front of Chankanaab Park.
It was such a beautiful evening and even when the sun goes down it’s still warm, making it the perfect cruise. You are able to share the two seater kayaks, so if you get tired one person can take over! Haha! Plus it’s more fun with two of you...well in my case my co-rower managed to get so much water in the back of the kayak that by the time we were finished the front of the kayak was up in the air and we were at breaking point to capsize!
After getting back to the hotel it was time for a shower and dinner. The intimate restaurant made everything so personal and the view of the pool with the lights made eating ever so more enjoyable. The Epllorean does have another hotel next to it where you can eat and drink; there you can find more cuisine options and the area is more spacious. However, the hotel guests from that hotel are not allowed into the Explorean so I would definitely book to stay there.
The next morning it was time to get back to filming the workout videos, just with one camera this time! There are so many amazing spots around the resort it was hard to pick where to go. We filmed one looking out to the ocean and the other in a yoga area that was allocated on the hotel grounds. I was super excited about lunch after the two workouts in the hot sun and maybe a margarita. Come on, I was in Mexico!
Our next adventure was onto a boat out into the ocean to check out the local marine life. this tour is also just for those staying at the Explorean. They have a main guide that goes on all the trips with you and he was totally great! We got to go to two snorkeling spots where we saw so many fish, a turtle, starfish and rays. On the way back they provided soft drinks, beers and nibbles! We came back around sunset so we were able to enjoy the sun going down over the ocean two days in a row. I am a firm believer in seeing more sunsets than Netflix!
That night we walked over to the beach where they have amazing day beds that poised over the ocean. You can lay down, look up at the stars and hear the water beneath you. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, just being in silence and appreciating everything we had around us.
The next morning it was time to leave for our next adventure back on the mainland. It was an easy ride in a taxi back to the ferry. The ferry rides every 30 minutes, and it’s just a short walk to where you get onto the dock. Just leave enough time if you have lots of bags, as it can get hectic. We visited Cozumel at the end of November going into December and the weather was perfect; the water was nice and warm. I would definitely recommend the Explorean hotel and the islands of Cozumel.
Three nights was the perfect amount of time to see the island and fully enjoy it. We certainly didn't do everything and if you wanted to go at a slower pace 5-6 nights would suit you well!
Check back on the travel blog because next up is everything that happened on the mainland, including what not to do at the Mayan Ruins that can get you kicked out!