I’m a big fan of the road less traveled, and flying by the seat of my pants. But I also like to know that “it’s all taken care of,” too. That kind of describes my relationship with my husband, actually – I’m the dreamer and the free spirit and he’s the steady frame that keeps me centered. I like not knowing exactly what we’ll do or where we’ll end up, but DJ’s always there to make sure we have a hotel room to stay the night and a rental car to take us places. You know, responsible stuff like that. 😉
But I digress. I had asked DJ to surprise me with our honeymoon destination, and though he couldn’t resist letting me in on the final few options he’d narrowed it down to, I left the ultimate decision up to him. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when he chose Villa Rolandi on the tiny, tiny (only 4 miles long!) island of Isla Mujeres in Mexico!
We LOVED it. I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort before, so I had no basis of comparison, but I was completely swept away by the gorgeous resort and the attentive service! We flew into the main airport at Cancun, and a shuttle took us to the marina where a private yacht awaited us! We were provided with chilled damp towels to wipe away the sweat and travel (ew, gross) from our face, and glasses of champagne and then settled back to enjoy the relaxing twenty-minute ride to Isla Mujeres.
We went during the hottest month of the year, with temps and humidity levels both hovering around 90. At some point around the second day, I gave up on wearing heavy makeup and styling my hair! From then on it was concealer and mascara with a sweep of shimmery bronzer across my cheekbones, and my hair was in a consistent topknot, except for this day when I embraced the natural texture my hair has NEVER before had! This felt like a date-night look, with the flowy black maxi, heeled sandals and the chunky silver jewelry, particularly as we went to the fancier of the two restaurants that evening.
The food was incredible. DJ says it’s hands-down the best out of any resort he has ever been to. There were only two restaurants, but as Villa Rolandi is a smaller, more boutique-type resort with only 30 rooms, it made sense. The main restaurant was very Italian-style, and every single thing we tried was incredible. The second restaurant was a French-Mexican fusion restaurant that was only open for dinner – which was seven courses!
We only left the resort twice. The first time we rented a golf cart for the day, and as the island was so tiny, we were able to explore it from one end to the other in a day! Highlights of this were seeing the brightly colored street vendors and storefronts through the main street in town, simply exploring the island to see what we could see, and a small crumbling Aztec ruin on the eastern point of the island.
The ruins didn’t have much to them anymore, but there was a path halfway down the rocky cliff around the point, right by the ocean, and DJ (who has been dive certified for many years) was enthralled by the reefs and wanted nothing more than to be able to dive right into the gorgeous azure water and explore the reef.
There was also a “Turtle Sanctuary” that had been highly recommended to us, where hatchling sea turtles are kept until they are released into the sea. They had sea turtles in all stages of life, which was really neat to see, but with the way the turtles were crammed into small, dirty tanks made it feel a heck of a lot more like a turtle farm. We were both really disappointed with this place – it felt way more like a tourist trap than a turtle sanctuary.
Our second trip off the reservation, as it were, was a Jungle Boat tour off of the mainland! Cancun was a 20-minute ferry ride away, and from there on we took a taxi to the Isla shopping center, which was busy and vibrant and loud and fun to walk through! We, of course, had to stop at a coffee shop and pick up a bag of locally-roasted coffee beans to bring back home with us.
The “Jungle Boat River Tour” was mostly across open ocean, and it was so fun to speed over the water with the wind whipping our hair! We ended up at a reef where we stopped the boats to do some snorkeling. After an unfortunate first experience with snorkeling in Hawaii, I was somewhat nervous about this, but I had a life jacket and DJ held my hand the whole time (and pretty much pulled me along!) and I am pleased to announce that not only did I survive, I am eager to explore bigger and more diverse coral reefs on future vacations!
Watching the sunset with my new husband was pretty much one of my favorite things. <3
It was such an amazing experience! My first visit to Mexico was definitely a success. I know that anywhere we went would have had a bit of a rose-tinted glow because – well, honeymoon, duh! This was certainly not the biggest or most glamorous resort, but Villa Rolandi is a gem, and we had such a wonderful vacation there.
I don’t want to try and overload this post with too many pictures, but I can’t resist: here’s just a few more.
I also have to give a shout out to our patient, longsuffering, AMAZING travel agent who put up with more emotion and changed minds than any travel agent should have to put up with! Kirsten at Vacations in Paradise was with us every step of the planning (DOING most of it) putting our minds at ease, and finding us the perfect destination (and great deals!)