Work can be hectic and stressful for all of us and sometimes we just want to get away and spend time with your best friends. My girlfriends and I escaped the Midwest winter in February and jetted off to Cancun for a tropical getaway.

Here is a play by play of things I did in Cancun:

When planning an international getaway with a group of people (we had 5) it can be overwhelming because everyone wants to do something different. We planned this getaway 6 months in advance and decided to go through a travel agent to book our trip. The travel agency we went through works for my friend’s company and that’s how we chose a travel agency. Doing this definitely saved time on planning and feels good to have someone working out the details for you.

So, it is easier and you get to pay your trip off in payments. We loved that we didn’t have to pay for the whole trip in one payment, but you do have a certain deadline to pay it off. This depends on the agency you choose. We did get to pick what resort, airline, dates and times that we wanted to travel. When arriving in Cancun our travel agent had already booked our transportation to our resort. To find this: follow the crowd outside and if you go to travel agency they will have signs and will show you to your shuttle and if not you’ll have to grab a taxi. Remember to tip. We tipped $5 every time we were in Cancun.

The resort in Cancun we chose was the IBEROSTAR Paraiso Maya which is actually located in Riviera Maya and close to Playa Del Carmen. It is an all-inclusive resort and it is right on the beach (not all resorts are on the beach). I have nothing but great things to say about this resort. The staff was friendly and they welcomed us with drinks. The staff also took us to our room and helped us with our luggage (via golf cart).

Cancun Mexico Beach

The second we got to our resort we had dinner at one of their 5-star restaurants (have to make reservations with the concierge you are assigned too) and then immediately followed up with the spa on site. The spa on the resort has a free experience only valid for resort guests. Basically, you go into the spa and ask for the free experience and they put you through all these pools that are different temperatures and have to do it in a certain order. At the end, you go into this giant salt water pool that is lit up with blue LEDs and fountains. It was the most relaxing thing we’ve all ever done, and it was free! If you stay at this resort you need to do this. Especially after a long travel day.

Resort Dinner

Other things at the resort you can do that is free is:

Water sports (only for 1 hour), magic shows, spa (limited), beach and pool towels, beach chairs. Since the resort is all-inclusive, you can eat at a 5-star restaurant of your choice on the resort (reservation required).If you want to go off the resort I recommend trying to travel over to Tulum, MX to see the ancient ruins of Mexico. You could go to your resort to get there. You could also swim with dolphins, and we went through our travel agency that was actually on-site at our resort. They scheduled our transportation and got us the best deals.

We worked a deal on the beach with a local snorkeling company that cost us each about $50. All we had to do was walk down the beach to a boat with other groups. The company provides all the snorkeling gear so you won’t have to worry about that. There are 2 guides who go with you out in the middle of the ocean to the coral reef. While out in the water, a guide goes with you and one stays on that boat. You will swim and snorkel for about 30-45 minutes. So, be prepared to swim for a while. After the time was up we all gathered onto the boat and they stopped at another place in the ocean where there is an underwater cave. We swam here for 15 minutes but it was the coolest thing ever! The guide took my GoPro to film in the cave!

Snorkeling in Cancun Mexico

My best friend and I chose to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery Riviera Maya and I am so glad we did. As an animal lover, they treated the dolphins very well and each trainer has a special relationship with each dolphin. There are different packages you can choose from and we chose the most expensive one because I wanted the full experience and get to spend more time in the water with 2 dolphins. You get to do 3 tricks with 2 dolphins: swim, ride, Superman.

There is a photographer taking pictures for you and they do let you take pictures of each dolphin. This is where the company makes their money, photos. The dolphin experience was $100 and we spent $70 on photos. I know it is a lot. But the amount of time and the things I got to do with each dolphin was worth it, and I wanted EVERY photo documenting my excitement. They were also wanting $30 a picture, and if you bought their package deal for $70 you keep over 50 photos on a CD and they throw in a free picture frame and 2 prints.

Swimming with Dolphins in Cancun Mexico

PRO TRAVEL TIP:  Book all extra activities on and off the resort through a travel agent if you can. They can get you really good deals! Check out the underwater caves at Xcaret!