**In our first installment of Teen Travel Talk, BarrisTourista introduces you to Brooke Lauryn, a teenage traveler. So here she goes! From Brooke:
Upon arriving in Cancún, I was surrounded by a rich, vibrant, and lively Mexican culture. The heat and humidity were also impossible to ignore once I walked out of the airport. The airport is where I learned my first lesson in Mexico: Be prepared to say ‘no’ to the many people who will approach any and every adult to attend time-share presentations. This will get you to your destination in a timely manner so you can get your vacation started ASAP and experience the fabulous ocean breeze.
Cancún is a great place for parents to get some R&R while the kids enjoy the pool, beach, mall, or other activities. With a variety of things to do and places to go, you can plan a lot for each day. On the other hand, you can also plan to just chill and relax.
My family and I stayed at The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Cancún in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Westin is an amazing resort that is perfect for families, couples or solo travelers. The resort offered a wide variety of daily activities such as miniature golf, Spanish lessons, tie dye, pool workouts, beach volleyball, karaoke and bonfires. I personally enjoyed the music and high-energy instructor during the afternoon pool workout. It was really fun and allowed me to meet new people. I also really enjoyed the Spanish lessons. Learning the language as taught by a native was a cool experience. My advice: Check out the daily resort activities brochure to see if any are of interest to you or your kids ahead of time. You can also talk to the activities director to see if they can clue you in on when they will release the baby sea turtles back into the ocean.
The resort staff, along with the stunning view of the infinity pool, provided a warm and welcome atmosphere the moment you walk into the resort lobby. The two-bedroom unit was spacious and furnished beautifully with Mexican flavor. Our balcony overlooked the “quiet” pool and the blue ombrė colors of the ocean. The resort has three restaurants, all offering a variety of Mexican and traditional American dishes.
Selvatica Day Trip
While there, I highly recommend taking a trip to Selvatica, which is about 45 minutes from the resort area. Selvatica is a ziplining adventure that the whole family can enjoy (ages 3 to 99) and is well worth the money. The adventure is very well planned and executed. Every Selvatica staff member that I encountered had a good sense of humor and provided reassurance to anyone who was fearful of what they got themselves into as they climbed the steep steps to the first zip line. They were also extremely organized. While you zip line, they take some pretty cool action shots. It is definitely a trip that the kids will remember, and you will have great photos to capture the moment. After doing 12 zip lines, there is a short drive to the Cenote (a natural sink hole). There we were allowed to zip line or jump into the refreshing water, where more pictures were taken. The adventure wrapped up with a surprisingly good lunch that included refried beans, rice, and chicken. During our meal, the staff played a video that they put together and the pictures they captured. Both are available for purchase. The ziplining adventure at Selvatica was memorable and I would highly recommend it. Tip: Be sure to wear sunscreen, closed-toe shoes, comfortable clothing (I wore shorts and a tank top), and don’t forget to bring a towel to dry off after you swim in the Cenote.
The main purpose of our family vacation was to unwind before the start of the school year, so we decided not to do any other activities off the resort property. We did find a few restaurants that are worth mentioning, as my mom is a self-proclaimed foodie. One restaurant, which was absolutely delicious and very unique, was La Madonna. It emphasizes Northern Italian/Swiss recipes. I ordered spaghetti with marinara sauce and it was super tasty! I must confess, I ordered it twice as my family and I liked it so much we dined there twice. My parents enjoyed their lasagna, ravioli stuffed with pesto ricotta with pomodoro sauce and the four cheese pizza. La Madonna is a great choice for families with children who are picky eaters (I’m still a picky eater) and aren’t very excited about Mexican food. The décor at La Madonna is gorgeous. There are three-story statues of angels and appealing artwork to feast your eyes on. There is also a huge reproduction of the Mona Lisa painting that catches your eye as soon as you walk into the main seating area. La Madonna has an amazing ambience with its music and style. The staff is very hospitable. They welcomed us back for our second visit as if we were old friends. La Madonna is a great place to eat.
The other restaurant worth mentioning is La Parrilla Grill. It is a traditional Mexican restaurant and was quite fun. They had staff on hand that took pictures of their guests wearing colorful sombreros. Another sight was one of a waiter balancing two drinks on his head before serving them to a couple. The lively environment was family friendly and entertaining, and the food was delicious. I didn’t stray from my typical (picky) eating habits while there. I ordered crispy chicken tenders and French fries for our first visit but got carryout another night. But I did enjoy the chicken, rice and refried beans. La Parrilla was an awesome place to go to experience more Mexican culture, food, and the immense amount of excitement the Mexican people have for soccer. There were multiple televisions throughout the restaurant and they were all tuned into their football (soccer) team. The place literally went wild every time they scored a GOOOOOOOOAL.
For anyone interested in experiencing Mexican culture, food, and a wonderful vacation, I highly recommend Cancún. It is perfect for everyone – families, couples, or single travelers – with a large number and variety of things to do, places to see, and activities to try.
I am Brooke Lauryn. I am a high school student with diverse interests. I enjoy being a member of my high school band and marching at Friday night football games, along with participating in basketball and track & field. I appreciate art and music and learning about other cultures. I love spending time with my family and friends. Since I was a child I have always enjoyed traveling, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite places and “cool” things to do with you.