by Stephen Johnson
The thought of another cold winter was motivation enough for us to book a sun vacation to Mexico’s Riviera Maya. I have always resisted the sun and sand holiday as I burn a bright shade of red after about fifteen minutes outside. I was also leery about how family-friendly a resort might be for those with children. I could not have been more wrong.
We left Ottawa ‘s snowbanks and landed in Cancun to bright, sunny weather. We decided to stay at the Dreams Riviera Cancun as it was centrally located to many places we wanted to check out. About thirty kilometres south of Cancun, Dreams was far enough away from “the strip” to guarantee peace and quiet.
David was thrilled to see palm trees for the first time ever. Once we arrived at the resort, he went about exploring every nook and cranny of the grounds with my wife, Sandy and I following along. Everyone eventually got to sleep at 1:30 am as we were excited to be in a tropical climate.
The following day, we were treated to a magnificent view of the Caribbean Sea. After a hearty breakfast buffet, we made an immediate beeline to the beach. I appreciate the beaches in Ottawa during the summer but had never experienced one with palm trees and the warm Caribbean sea making it feel like a comfortable bath. David loved jumping through the waves as they came crashing towards the beach. When we tired of the beach, we made our way to the heated pool. The concept of being outdoors in mid-winter in a swim suit rather than a snow suit was starting to grow on me. We spent the rest of the day just lazing in the sun doing nothing; this suited me just fine.
The following day, we wanted to check out some of the surrounding area. I had read there was a protected nature area close to our hotel where you could take a walk in the jungle. We hopped in our rental car and drove to the Dr. Alfredo Barrera Botanical Gardens. The park features plants and trees that are unique to the Yucatan peninsula. David was impressed when he saw an iguana. After walking for about twenty minutes, we reached the jungle. David was certainly in his element. He was scampering along the trail like an intrepid explorer. We made it to a lookout tower and suspension bridge. I made it up the lookout tower which offered up a spectacular view of the jungle. I was not so successful traversing the suspension bridge. Sandy and David made it across with ease. I took the longer (and easier) way and we met up in the parking lot.
All of this exploring had made us hungry so we made our way back to Dreams Riviera for supper. We were surprised to find an outdoor buffet waiting poolside for the guests. We were also treated to a fire show as dancers displayed intricate moves while deftly handling burning torches. As I was watching the show, in a short sleeve shirt, enjoying a tropical drink, in the middle of January, I made a vow that one new year’s resolution our family will try to keep every year is to return to the Riviera Maya.
For more information about Dreams Riviera, visit, http://www.dreamsresorts.com/riviera-cancun
For more information about Riviera Maya visit,