Holiday in paradise: Playa del Niño

Our second full day in Cancun was looking to be pretty chill. We hadn’t planned anything yet, but we had a list of things we were interested in doing. Everyone slept in again and then as each of us woke up, we started doing some research. But something was bugging me about the rental car and we needed to make a decision. Once we put a bow in a few of our travel excursions, we found a gorgeous beach not too far away and enjoyed an evening just hanging out.

The Italian food we ate last night put everyone in a food coma. Everyone slept great, except for me. Something was on my mind and I was restless. Before I went to bed, I put the donuts and pastries we acquired last night out on the dining room table, in hopes that when the kids awoke, they would be silencio (and able).

We made a deal with the kids. We could go to the beach again, we needed to plan out the rest of the week and finally book some of the activities we wanted to do while we were here in Cancun. Everyone got to work.

But this rental car crisis was still on my mind. I’ve been scheming ways to return the car, book something cheaper based on the research I’d done. Then schedule a service to take us to the airport so we could return the car a day early since our flight leaves at eight in the morning. I was going through all the scenarios, overwhelmed by paradox of choice and reading review after review after review until I was like, travel blogs!

As I started sifting through some of the top search results for top tips on renting a car in Cancun, Mexico, I wasn’t shocked to find our exact situation described flawlessly. I did a little more research and then proposed my plan to Merri Beth. She was interested and didn’t shoot it down right away.

MB went to work and started getting some real-time numbers we could see to make our decision. But we had a few whammies working against us. First, our travel dates are compacting our search results. Our last full day is on Christmas Day, and we leave early the next day. The only rental place open is at the airport. We’re screwed. Even if we ditched this car and booked something smaller with the addition of (sketchy reviews about) transportation to the airport had us breaking even or costing more. Dammit.

This was a turning point. We made that decision and could now move on to planning the rest of our vacation. We started to drill down and get specific on what, where, and which day. I could feel the vibes shifting and the family was getting excited. Here’s what we landed on:

  • Friday, December 22 – Snorkel at Puerto Morelos
  • Saturday, December 23 – Chichen Itza tour
  • Sunday, December 24 – Isla Mujeres
  • Monday, December 25 – Chill

Shortly after we started booking things, we got a response from the snorkeling and dive crew from Puerto Morelos. Tomorrow is going to be windy, would you like to book another day? Snorkeling is no fun if it’s windy because the water visibility goes to shit. We had to make a quick pivot. Here’s what we went with:

  • Friday, December 22 – Playa Delfines beach day
  • Saturday, December 23 – Chichen Itza tour (one of the 7 Wonders of the World)
  • Sunday, December 24 – Snorkel and beach day at Puerto Morelos
  • Monday, December 25 – Catamaran and snorkeling at Isla Mujeres

Plans were made, excursions were booked (ouch said my bank account), and after some lunch, we scraped together at the house, we were on our way to check out Playa del Niño, a short drive from our place.

We packed a small cooler with drinks to stay hydrated and relax. We found parking at what feels like a super local beach with a super chill vibe. There we boats lining the beach, a playground for the kids, and palm trees shading us. There is a great view of Isla Mujeres from this beach.

The family climbed up on a raised platform, cracked a few cold drinks, and chilled out for a while.The weather was perfect, great temperature, but a touch windy. To be honest, the breeze was nice, it was keeping any bugs off.

I love just observing my surroundings. You can learn a lot or ask yourself a lot of questions. But you can see things if you just watch and take it in. I did this for a while. Boats zooming by, a couple eating tacos, feeling the sun on my skin, the ferry going to Isla Mujeres just left, vendors walking around selling food, snacks, flowers, trinkets, and toys. The family had a nice time just hanging out without a worry in the world.

The sun was starting to fade and the breeze was making it feel chilly. Best be on our way back to figure out dinner and get ready for the beach tomorrow. Playa del Niño was a pretty dope spot. I could imagine this place being packed with people everywhere, kids playing in the water, and a chill atmosphere.

Despite our lack of planning, we’ve made it to the beach two days in a row, we have supplies, and everyone is in a good mood. I think the fact that everyone has their own personal space (i.e. bedroom with a closed door), instead of being crammed into a hotel room, has made this a great experience so far. Now, who wants to cook dinner?

Merri Beth and I looked at each other, we looked at the full fridge, and looked at each other again. We were both exhausted from the mental drain of the day. So we said fuck it, we saw an Indian restaurant nearby and starting looking at the menu. A list was made, MB and Zander ventured out for take out.

Side bar | Our little Indian food medley was OMG so good in so many ways and so many good spices, flavors, and satisfaction (and Naan). I have no idea what I ate, but I cleaned the plate and I know the leftovers are gonna be dope!

It was another night of sampling, which I love, and I know you foodies are just about to drool. Everything looked delicious and as we were dining in, some of the food was too spicy for the girls. We made a quick pivot so Coco could eat, but I was crushing the food. Our sampler looked something like this: Samosas, Coconut shrimp, Chicken Tikka Masala, Buttered chicken with garlic naan, and more.

After dinner was consumed, people started dropping like flies again. Back to the sleep cocoons in Cancun.