What do you get your soon-to-be 11-year old for her birthday? 

She is like most kids and has more toys and things than she knows what to do with.  We have been working pretty hard on getting rid of things that we no longer use, so getting more stuff just did not seem right.  I know 11 is not exactly what someone would call a milestone birthday, but I decided I wanted to do something a bit different.  I spoke to my husband and mentioned my idea of a weekend getaway, and he thought it was a terrific idea. In fact, his perspective made it that much more urgent.  He said, “Now is the time to travel just the two of you as she still wants to spend lots of time with you!” – you fellow Mom’s know what I’m talking about here. This was the motivation that I needed, and I booked my Mommy & Daughter trip to Cancun.  I felt it was the perfect destination for a short getaway in February, when the weather is less than ideal in the Midwest.  After a short flight and a 20 minute transfer to the hotel, we were at our hotel and being shown to our room.

I chose to stay at the Now Emerald Cancun as it is an all-inclusive, family friendly property located right in Cancun’s Hotel Zone between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon.  The property is an all-inclusive and touts itself as having Unlimited-Luxury, where everything is included.  What’s nice about this is that you can dine where you want, when you want and enjoy unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks and margaritas (for me) and not have to worry about the food and beverage bill when you check out.  This also includes room service, a nicely stocked mini-bar in your room and all taxes and gratuities.

After having a quick lunch, we made our way to the pool.  This was my favorite place at the resort.  While I love seeing the sea and hearing the waves crashing, I prefer to lounge in the pool.  They have three heated pools, so we had choices depending on how crowded the pools were and how much sun we wanted. 

During our time at the hotel, we took Spanish classes, played pool volleyball, and just relaxed.  There is a kids and teen club at the hotel, but since the focus of this trip was to make some great memories together, my daughter did not take advantage of these amenities. 

What we did take advantage of some local shopping. Because of the great location of our hotel, we just hopped on a local bus and went to a handicraft market that had something for everyone from small trinkets to high-end tequila! 

Although there was a lot of different activities offered at the hotel, we wanted to get out into nature.  We were able to book a tour to swim with the turtles.  It was a short drive down to Akumal, where we were given our snorkel gear and we walked into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.  After swimming for just a few minutes we came across our first turtle.  As we snorkeled around a bit, we were able to spot some baby turtles, a young sting ray and see some colorful fish darting in and out of the coral.  Two hours flew by and then we had time to just sun on the beach before returning to Cancun and our hotel.

It was time to go home.  Although it was a short trip, we managed to have a wonderful getaway where we could relax, play in the sun and sand, and most importantly spend some quality time!  In my book, this is a great way to spend a birthday.  PS if you know my husband, please remind him this when he is looking for gift ideas for me.