Vacation Information

Good morning! Simple post today because honestly, I am very very busy. We are heading home from the beach today .

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(sad times, didn’t we just get here?!?) and, 2014 prices and packages come out today for Walt Disney World, and Disneyland! Remember, I can book a trip for you at NO extra cost to you.

Also keep in mind I can book all kinds of other trips for you like Universal, Sandals, Atlantis, etc. and cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival. If you are unsure if I can help you, never hurts to email me and let me take a look for you.

You can email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com

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Those of you who have already emailed me about a quote, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you, please be patient as it will take me awhile tomorrow to get to everyone! Have a great day!

QOTD: Where are you planning to travel next?

Disney Fantasy April 2013: Castaway Cay Day

Happy Birthday America! I am so proud and blessed to live in a free country, and grateful to those who have fought to keep it that way!

We left off with our last sea day, the day before Castaway Cay which is my favorite day!

In a way I have already covered part of the day because I did my recap of the Castaway Cay 5k already, so I will just skip over the actual race which was first thing in the morning.

We were smart and brought our bags with us so we didn’t have to go back to the ship. We changed into our swimsuits and headed straight for Serenity Bay, the adults only beach at the end of the island. My favorite place on earth!

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Since we ran the 5k we were a little late getting to the party, but were still able to find chairs and an umbrella. Some dark storm clouds were looming overhead, and I really hoped they would go away so we could enjoy our last day of the cruise.

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The tide was way out and the sandbar was above the water, so we decided to go out to it and bring Bobby’s underwater camera and have some fun.

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Looking back at the beach

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Chillin on the sandbar

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yes, my arm is double jointed. Wwwweeeee!

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It got quite dark while we were out there.

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Oh you know, just hanging out in the middle of the ocean on a sandbar while a huge storm rolls in!

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Bobby decided t take a nap.

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After awhile, I decided to go back in while Bobby did some snorkeling. We got SO LUCKY and the storm went right over us, no rain, and beautiful blue skies came out for the rest of the day!

I went to our chairs and started reading a book, when I saw this guy walking across the beach. Of course, I had to get a picture. Ssshhh don’t tell Bobby. He was still snorkeling!

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I then proceeded to do my favorite thing. Ever. I ordered a Konk cooler (my favorite drink, ONLY made on Castaway Cay) and pulled my chair up to the water and just relaxed. Pure heaven. (You can see Bobby with his snorkel gear in the background!)

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I sat like this for a long while, relaxing, reading books, and just being so thankful to be in a beautiful place…and then my stomach started growling. Lunch time! Bobby came in and we headed towards the smell of BBQ to the adults only outdoor restaurant for some grub, followed by ice cream of course. We headed back to our spots, more konk coolers were consumed, and we enjoyed an afternoon of bliss.

Mid afternoon we decided to take the tram to the family beach so Bobby could go on the snorkeling path with his underwater camera. We packed up and then set up a spot at the back of the family beach. We only had a couple hours left until all aboard, so it wasn’t completely full of people by this point. While Bobby snorkeled, I went to take some pictures and walk around.

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A near empty beach before heading back to the ship

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Bobby is out there snorkeling somewhere!

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Sadly it was soon time to go. We like to stay on the island as long as possible, and the lifeguards gave the 15 minute call so we decided to go.

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The island from our verandah. Bye bye!

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That night was sadly our last night at dinner, and it was at Animators again.

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The drawing show is super cute, and was one of my favorite parts of our dining experience! However, I think I should keep my day job. Drawing is NOT my gift.

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We went to the adult’s club one more time for a fun game of battle of the sexes before heading off to bed for our last time about the Disney Fantasy. We truly had an AMAZING cruise, and spent a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the boat. It was very laid back with no set schedule which I loved, and hope to do it again soon!

*Remember, I can book your cruise for you at no extra cost to you, on most cruise lines! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote!

QOTD: Do you like to get in the water or lay out on the beach?

Disney Fantasy Part 5: April 2013

My last trip entry was our delicious dinner at Palo. The next day was Cozumel day! We knew exactly where we were heading, our favorite spot: Paradise Beach. We have been here I think four times or so, and we love it. You pay two dollars for a chair/umbrella, and get to use the beach and the pool. They have other optional add on’s for a fee as well. Not to mention, they have a GREAT menu with lots to choose from, and super clean bathrooms.

We were some of the first people off the boat and ended up walking accidentally with one of the shore excursion groups. It was funny, we were just right in the thick of them. The nice part about it was when we were walking through the outdoor mall part, none of the vendors bugged us because they knew the tour group wouldn’t stop for them to shop so they didn’t waste their breath. Must remember this for next time as well!

We hopped in a taxi and were literally the first ones there I think!

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We headed out to the beach first and decided we would hit the pool a bit later after lunch.

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I don’t know.

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You can pay an additional fee and have use of all of the water toys!DSC_0841

We relaxed in the chairs and I enjoyed a yummy Tidal wave.

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We got hungry after an hour or so, and decided to go eat lunch up at the tables near the pool and then hang out there for awhile. I love the view of the pool and the ocean from the tables, and it’s a nice shady area to eat. I had some yummy quesadillas and another drink.

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We hung out in the enormous pool for awhile, and I even took an amazing nap in my chair. Talk about a great place for a nap! We stayed until about 3:00 and decided we had been out in the sun long enough.

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We hated to say goodbye to our favorite Cozumel spot though!

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We took a taxi back to the port and saw the beautiful Fantasy again.

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If you are ever in Cozumel and are looking for a great but inexpensive place to relax for the day, I highly recommend Paradise Beach! I would love to answer any questions you have. Also, be sure to check them out on Facebook for more pictures!

That night was Pirate night. AAARRGGHH!

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We enjoyed dinner, and were able to watch the fireworks from our balcony in our room! I was way too tired and full to go to the Pirate Buffet so Bobby went without me and brought his food back to the room.

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Of course he had to get a turkey leg.

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I think I was asleep before he even started eating. It was a long day in the sun!

QOTD: Beach or pool?

Disney Fantasy: Palo Dinner

I cut part 4 short because I wanted Palo dinner to have it’s own post.

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I am glad I am writing this one after dinner, or I would be dying to eat all of the delicious food! If you have been on a Disney cruise and have not dined at Palo you are missing out on a great experience. I can’t believe we waited this long to do it!

We checked in and waited in the waiting area for only about 3-4 minutes, when Ivan, the server we had for Palo brunch appeared! I was so happy we had him again, it felt more comfortable since we had already seen him before and he knew what we liked.

We had a great table facing outward towards the ocean, it was nice and cozy. Just like at brunch, I loved how we didn’t feel rushed at all. We ordered our drinks and enjoyed the view while Ivan brought us some antipasti (I have no idea why I don’t have photos of this!) Ivan did a great job of explaining everything, and I tried some things I have never had before.

Ivan also did a great job of explaining everything on the menu to us. After appetizers we were also brought a lemon sorbet palate cleanser.

Bobby ordered some kind of shrimp

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Veal

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I had white bean soup (not pictured) and  Beef tenderloin. I can only speak for what I ordered, but the soup and beef were both excellent! There were two sauces for the beef and I liked them both, so delicious!

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Of course soufflé with vanilla gelato and chocolate and vanilla sauce. Holy yum. So rich but so delicious.

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Ivan prepared mine for me. It was amazing. I am so glad I left room for this dessert. My hands down favorite of the whole week.

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Again, we were never rushed, and loved how our waiter only had one maybe two other tables so we got taken care of very well. We will definitely be back!

Here are a few things to remember about Palo:

– Palo is an adults only restaurant. That’s why God made kid’s clubs. Smile

-Reservations for Palo can be made online for cruise guests:   Concierge Guests: 120 days in advance
Platinum Castaways: 120 days in advance
Gold Castaways: 105 days in advance
Silver Castaways: 90 days in advance
First Time Cruiser: 75 days in advance

-It costs a little extra to eat at Palo, but SO worth it! Brunch and dinner are both $20* per person.

(*price has since gone up to $30 per person but still worth it!)

– There is a dress code to dine at Palo. We like to dress up anyway so it was no problem, but make sure you pack something appropriate if you plan to dine here!

-Palo holds back some reservations on the boat for when you embark, so if you couldn’t get a reservation online be sure to visit Palo asap to try to snag a reservation once you get on the ship.

QOTD: Are you more likely to try a food you have never liked before at home or at a restaurant, like me?

*I would love to get you a cruise quote! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details

Disney Fantasy April 2013: Part 3

I left off my trip report with Palo brunch on our first full day onboard the Disney Fantasy. We were stuffed, and decided to head back to the room for a glorious nap. We ended up staying in the room for most of the afternoon reading, watching movies and just lounging around. It was the best way to relax on vacation! Around 6:00 we got hungry (go figure!) and sat up by the adult pool area and had a snack. We relaxed some more then got ready for Dinner. It was formal night!

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Dinner was at the fanciest restaurant on the ship, the Royal Court.

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We went back to the Tube for some fun adult entertainment before calling it a night, and found this guy waiting for us in our cabin.

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The next morning, we woke up in beautiful Grand Cayman.

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We ate the buffet breakfast, and then got in line for a tender boat to get off of the ship. We made it to land, and went to find a taxi.

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Funniest thing, I went to grab a driver and saw the SAME GUY that drove us back in October. Hilarious. He got a kick out of the fact that we remembered him (he prays with his passengers before they get off of the van) and he took us to the public beach.

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We rented a beach chair and umbrella, and I spent my time reading while Bobby swam and snorkeled.

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We stayed about five hours, and I was starving. We didn’t want to pay for the expensive food on the beach so we headed back to the ship where the food was included, of course!

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We caught a tender boat and were back on the Fantasy in no time. The ship looks SO MASSIVE from the little tender boat.

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We grabbed some food and headed back to the room. That’s when I realized we were BOTH sunburned! I forgot to reapply and Bobby must have washed his off in the water. Ug. Not a good day to burn, at the beginning of a seven night cruise. We aloed up and headed to dinner.

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We were in Animator’s Palate which is super cute.

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Crush came and talked to us. Dddduuuuddddeeee!

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Dinner was delicious, and after we headed back to the tube for Magic quest. This is SO MUCH FUN. It’s an adult scavenger hunt, I always end up laughing until I cry, and I ended up having to give Bobby my bra…again.

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We had a blast and enjoy this game show so much. Our team won, but sadly we didn’t get a prize like I have seen on past cruises.

We were exhausted after a day in the sun, so we turned in ready to dock in Costa Maya the next day.

QOTD: When was the time you got sunburned the worst? Do you remember?

Disney Fantasy Part 2: Palo Brunch

Check out part 1 of this trip here. Then come back and check out Palo brunch!

We left off after the first night onboard the beautiful Disney Fantasy. We slept in the next day because we had Palo brunch reservations at 11:00. This brunch is all you can eat, and Bobby’s favorite part of the cruise. Not only is there a buffet selection, but there is food you can order from the kitchen as well. You get a complimentary glass of champagne or a mimosa as well. It’s nice and quiet (adults only) and they don’t rush you which I love.

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Dressed up for Palo brunch

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We went up a few minutes early and sat in the beautiful waiting room that Palo shares with the other adults only restaurant, Remy. Soon our server came to greet us and sit us down.

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We had a beautiful table looking out the window at the water. After you are given your drinks, your server takes you over to the buffet and shows you every single thing and table you can order or get yourself, and answers any questions you may have. I even saw them taking plates of food back to people’s table for them so they didn’t have to carry it!

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Bobby loves the crab legs, and the eggs benedict the best.

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I had some lasagna and chicken parmesan as well as some delicious fruit, cheese, and pastries.  I like that they give you small portions so you can try everything! My favorite part however, has to be dessert.

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Please note I did NOT bring all of this back myself. Our server offered to go up to the buffet and get me a selection of his favorite desserts and this is what he brought back for me!

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I went up to the buffet and took photos of some of the food tables. They have samples of food you can order from the back like these pizzas.

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Below is more food you can order from the back

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It’s safe to say we had an amazing brunch and weren’t hungry for quite some time afterwards. Our server, Ivan, was wonderful, and did a fabulous job. The $30 charge is a small price to pay per person for such a wonderful experience! This is always a highlight of a Disney cruise for us, and we have considered going more than once on a sailing it’s so wonderful. I highly recommend Palo Brunch to anyone sailing with Disney

QOTD: Have you ever eaten at Palo? Are you more of a main dish person or do you love the desserts?

 

Disney Fantasy Part 1

Back in April, Bobby and I boarded the Disney Fantasy for a much needed week of relaxing, just the two of us. We had an amazing time, and I wanted to share some of our trip with you! I won’t be doing a detailed report but will be sharing tidbits and photos! Remember, if you would like me to book your cruise at no extra coast to you I can help! heather@travelwiththemagic.com

We had a car from Southern Elegance Limousine bring us to the port. The car was beautiful, they were on time, and were so easy to work with. Highly recommended! We checked in and waited to get onboard the beautiful Disney Fantasy. We booked a category 4C, and once we got onboard and ate lunch, our room was ready.

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We spent some time walking around and exploring the deck while we waited to sail away

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Check out the beautiful couples villa at the spa!

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We had a good time relaxing and hanging out but then it was time for dinner

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Dinner was at Enchanted Garden and I absolutely love the theming!

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We were lucky to get a table to ourselves, and we met our servers for the week, who we really enjoyed! After dinner, we went to the adult area for some fun game shows. I LOVE match you mate. Hilarious every time. If you cruise with Disney, don’t miss this! We turned in around 11:30, ready for Palo brunch reservations the next day!

QOTD: DO you like game shows? I like to watch and laugh at other peoples expense. Smile

Disney Cruise Line News: Magic Dry Dock

Yesterday morning when I attended the Monstrous Summer press event, The President of Disney Cruise line spoke about some great new things coming to the Disney Magic this fall.

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She will be dry docked and will undergo a major overhaul to get her more up to date with the Dream and the Fantasy. We were shown beautiful renderings of some of the new things that are coming. I took photos of all the slides so you can get a peek at what is to come on the Disney Magic!

The lobby will get a facelift with some enhancements to the atrium.

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Next, is the new restaurant that will be taking the place of Parrot Cay, Cariocas

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Animator’s Palate is  fan favorite, so it will be staying as is except for some updated technology, including the fun animation part that the Disney Fantasy currently has on board. Everyone ready to draw?!?

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The onboard buffet will be changing over to Cabanas like on the Dream and Fantasy.

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The kids areas will all be reimagined, my favorite is this rendering of Andy’s room. The slinky slide looks awesome!

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A lot of boys are excited about the new Avengers academy. Finally some superheroes onboard!

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There will also be 3 adult spaces. Keys, Fathoms, and O’Gills Pub, all a part of “after hours”.

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The deck areas are getting lots of fun too. First, the new twist and spout slide, and  also the newphews play area for the wee ones.

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One new thing I didn’t know about it the new slide, the AquaDUNK will drop you THREE stories! Wow!

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Here is a cute video about how this new slide will work.

 

As you can see, a lot of amazing and fun upgrades are coming very soon, so keep these in mind when looking to plan your next Disney vacation! I would love to help you if you have any questions!

QOTD: What is your favorite new feature of the reimagined ship?

Mickey Boat Time

Fun news, Bobby and I are going on a CRUISE in two weeks! Yup, two weeks from today we will be setting sail on the Disney Fantasy for seven amazing nights in the Western Caribbean. We NEVER do anything last minute like this, but due to a few circumstances in our lives decided we needed to get away just the two of us. This week was the only one that worked for us, so yup, two weeks away, ah! I have been on the fantasy for a quick 3 night preview cruise, but Bobby has never been.

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We will be staying in a Deluxe family oceanview stateroom with verandah.

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We will be visiting Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Disney’s private island Castaway Cay.

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Grand Cayman

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Costa Maya

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We have no big plans, no excursions, just a week of relaxing and hanging out, getting away from some crazy things going on.

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Our awesome neighbors will be watching the house and the dogs, so all is taken care of. Don’t worry, I will have lots of great posts scheduled while I am gone so Through Heather’s Looking Glass will still be up and running!

Remember if you need help planning YOUR cruise on most cruise lines, contact me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for information and a free quote!

QOTD: Do you plan out vacations well in advance or with short notice?

Disney Cruise From Galveston Part 2

 

Part one of my Disney cruise photos can be found here.

I left off after our first port day, Grand Cayman. That night, was pirate night, arrrgghh!

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After dinner we went up on deck for the pirate party and fireworks at sea. Pretty cool stuff.

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Followed by the pirate buffet. I was so full from dinner I couldn’t eat much, but that didn’t stop Bobby.

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The next morning, we docked in Costa Maya. For those who aren’t familiar, Costa Maya is very….errr…primitive compared to places like Grand Cayman or Cozumel. Most of the area doesn’t have electricity, and it’s a very, very poor place. We decided to do a jeep excursion, and it ended up being quite the crazy day.

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Rain clouds threatened, but at the time we had no clue how much it would impact our day

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There were six jeeps total following the two guides in their jeep, and ours was right behind the guides, we we had the fun task of trying to keep up with them…with a broken speedometer. Yes, it read zero the entire time.

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We drove out of he tourist area down some roads and to another little town.

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It was quite sad. They told us the school doesn’t have a teacher and the kids watch a TV to learn then walk home. We walked around the village for a few minutes and then got back in the Jeeps to head through the jungle, off road to a beach where we could swim and would have lunch prepared for us.

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We drove on the main road for a few minutes then took an abrupt left into the jungle. Seriously.

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After about fifteen minutes of laughing hysterically, trying to keep up, going through huge holes and having trees whacking us, it started to POUR. Everyone stopped and we put the tops up, except there were NO SIDES to the jeep in the back so my parents still got soaked.

We actually passed one vehicle on this “road”, it was a very nice new looking camouflaged truck, and inside it were about 25 soldiers…with giant guns. Not going to lie it was kind of creepy. Where did they come from? We were literally in the middle of nowhere a good 20-25 minutes off the road. It surely reminded me we were not in America and we needed to be mindful and observant.

We finally made it to the beach, still pouring rain.

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It looked like it would be beautiful on a nice sunny day. SmileThis place was really cool, and about as authentic as it gets.

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They had a “buffet” for us (which I was slightly hesitant to eat)

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The rain turned to a drizzle and we were able to go walk outside, and some of the kids even got in the water.

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Soon we were told it was time to start heading back. I snapped a few photos before heading to the jeep.

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Luckily we had brought some beach towels and were able to dry off and use them to help us from getting soaked. It was still raining a bit, but we had to get back to the boat! Little did we know….

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We took a different way back than the way we came, all dirt, well, now, all RIVER. The road was washed out and what remained were gigantic “pot holes” stretching the entire length of the road. We were the lead car and HAD to keep up with the guides who were flying through them, and since it was a manual jeep, Bobby couldn’t slow down too much or we would stall, so we had to fly through these bad boys and it was insane. Photos don’t do it justice. My mom and I got SOAKED in the back seat, covered with mud. Mud went flying up over the top of the jeep, as we bounced along. Oh, and the windshield wiper only worked if you held it down, so my dad had to keep leaning over and hitting it for Bobby. We were cracking up laughing the whole time, my stomach was aching. This went on for about 30-40 minutes, all the way back into town. Hilarious. I have a short video of part of the wild ride, please ignore me laughing hysterically in the background, but it is worth watching. Check out my mom’s face at the very end!

We finally made it back to the main road and into town.

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We were taken to a souvenir store and given free tequila. We stood in a little group as he talked to us about the “Mexican medicine” and then he called me out of the crowd to take a shot in front of everyone. Great. Those pictures are on my mom’s camera and I will probably never see them. The most hilarious part as when he tried to give a shot to a seven year old girl. Her mom freaked out, it was quite funny.

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Dad’s turn. We shopped a bit then drove the rest of the way back to drop off the jeeps. Whew! When we set out on this adventure I had no idea what to expect, and it was a little out of my comfort zone but I am so glad we did it, and I don’t think it would have been near as much fun without the rain. Smile

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After we got cleaned up, I went back on deck to take some photos with my stalker zoom lens. We were in port until 11:00 pm, so I went back again to see how little of this huge area had electricity.

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The hurricane back in 2006 knocked a LOT of this area out. I remember going on a cruise in 2007 that was rerouted from here because there was so much damage.

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We had a great day in Costa Maya. Everyone was so friendly with the jeep rentals and at the beach/restaurant we went to, and I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for something fun and family friendly to do here.

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dinner.

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bed.

Next up, Cozumel!

QOTD: Have you ever done a ship excursion? Any favorites?