yesterday’s secret swimsuit discount (good till mon!) prompted this post after several of you asked about where this photo was taken. my parents were SUPER generous and took our entire family to the most amazing secret beach villa (that’s really what it’s called!) in puerto morelos, just outside of cancun mexico, for a week after christmas. it was absolute heaven. i’m not exactly sure what deal my mom got because, when’s the last time you asked how much your christmas present cost? ha. but i have been following the secret beach villas on facebook for a while now and i’ve noticed that they periodically post about deals on there for their beautiful property. so definitely check that out if you’re looking for a good deal on an incredible vacation spot!
in addition to a resident crocodile (don’t worry he’s contained, sort of, ha!) they have 3 different villas, each with their own private pool and direct beach access. there’s a staff that can come in and make your meals, or you can stop at the local sams club and stock up on food for other meals to feed your family. fully stocked kitchens in each villa made it pretty easy for us to do breakfast and most lunches on our own. the food they prepared us for dinner was delicious!
the secret beach itself is breathtaking . . .
but it’s also super close to akumal and other popular cancun spots, so if you’re the type who likes to get out there’s plenty to do close by.
my whole fam at akumal bay for the day. so fun!
they also had lots of stuff on site that we could use like pool toys, floaties, and some snorkel gear
but here are some things we absolutely made sure to bring on our own to our beach vaca! first up: the puddle jumper
we made absolutely certain that the puddle jumper was in our suitcase because it’s a coast guard approved life jacket that anabelle can wear all day without even noticing. we started putting her in this when she was really little every time we go to the pool, and sometimes the beach too (depending on which beach) and she loves it! she will ask “put on floatie?” because she knows that means beach or pool action. on this vaca we put her in the puddle jumper first thing in the morning and kept her in it all day, except for naptime. of course someone was watching her at all times, but with a pool steps outside your door, you can never be too careful.
also, swim diapers. we almost ran out of these!! and trust me, there are NO swim diapers to be found in mexico. not really sure why. but if you’re headed that way, make sure you pack plenty! because the local grocery store might have pringles and pop tarts but they will not have swim diapers. trust me. i looked.
we also love the following for flying long distances with a toddler:
Doodle Pro Travel
Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief for Kids – say what you want, but we didn’t give this to ani on the flight down and she kicked the poor person in front of us for 4 hours straight and threw about 45 tantrums. on the way back she took a nice long nap.
City Lite Stroller – we have the older version of this and LOVE it for traveling. super light weight, and i’m not stressed about our nice stroller getting beat up
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat – this is a good budget car seat for traveling. it’s lightweight and at only $60 it’s one of the least expensive options you’ll find. however, i don’t love that it’s super hard and has very little padding. it makes falling asleep for your kiddo not as easy, if you have a long car or plane ride. also, you have to re-thread the harness as they grow which i enjoy about as much as gargling glass. it sure makes me grateful for the cushy padding and adjustable harness in the Peg Perego Convertible Premium Infant to Toddler Car Seat. but it’s heavy, and expensive. so we never fly with it.
now for some of MY beach vaca faves!
neil bought me this stripe cover up for christmas and i wore it almost every day of the trip! super soft, comfy, easy to throw on. can be worn as a dress or skirt if you have a normal waistline (aka not housing a growing human). since then i’ve worn it many more times and after several washes it still looks brand new. sometimes buying higher quality pieces really pays off if you can wear them over and over!
also my s’well bottle. i am OBSESSED with these!! they keep your drinks hot for up to 12 hours or ICE cold for up to 24 hours! literally drop some ice cubes into your drink with this bad boy and even in the sun, hours later, that magical insulation will keep your drink frosty cold. it’s amazing. oh and at the secret beach villas they had ice trays that we filled with the filtered water. don’t worry, i know all about not using ice in mexico!
a good pair of sunnies is SO key to my happiness on vaca! i know some people are big fans of cheap sunnies just in case you lose or scratch them, but i feel totally the opposite. i’d rather splurge on one good pair a year than have a dozen crappy pairs. these ray ban fuchsia/mirror aviators are so great for wearing all day long. they’re super clear to still see through, but are so lightweight i forget they’re on my face.
and SO many other mamas have asked where i like to get my maternity swimsuits so, even though i feel pretty reluctant to put my pregnant self adorned in a swimsuit on the interwebs, i do realize it’s helpful to see what the suits actually look like on someone! i got these asos maternity swimsuits in the mail and was like – SOLD. they’ve been my go-to suits this entire pregnancy. they’re now sold out in the turquoise and fuchsia colors i wore on this vaca but it’s available in the cutest kelly green. the bow front tankini is my fave. because when you are prego and have to pee every 30 minutes, a one piece? ain’t nobody got time for that. literally.
we also had SO much fun playing Bananagrams. it’s like scrabble, but faster paced. it’s for sure my new favorite game! if you’re traveling with a bigger group definitely get the Double Bananagrams Set!
a few other things i LOVE on a beach vaca but didn’t get pictures of:
MZ wallace bag – i can throw towels, toys, snacks, sunscreen, and the kitchen sink in here and wipe it clean at the end of the day too. it’s my absolute favorite beach bag. it also squishes or folds flat in my suitcase – ideal for travel! but it’s black, so it works if/when i dress up and go out too.
Maui Babe Browning Lotion: i SWEAR by this for getting a good tan! layer it with some sunscreen (i like the spray kind) to not get burned but build up a golden glow at the beach or pool. plus it smells delicious.
Kindle: i LOVE to read on vaca but i don’t love carting 3 fat books with me, especially if i start one and i don’t love it. or i finish one in a series and i’m DYING for the next. the kindle is magical for reading outside in direct, harsh sunlight. you can read flawlessly on even the sunniest day and download more books than you’ll ever be able to devour in one trip.
so those are a few things i love on a beach vaca! hope where ever you are, even if you’re stuck in 10 feet of snow, you have a happy restful weekend. XO, c.