Happy New Year everyone! We’ve been having a blast settling in here in LA with the Fishers, and it has been a busy few weeks. Vik and Mike came to town just after we arrived and were here until after New Years which was great fun. It has been wonderful to meet EJ (Elizabeth Jane), Bubba and Christy’s daughter who is now 2 months old. Leo loves holding her which is so cute! We’ve also been catching up with friends, including Caitlin and Dan and their son Felix who Leo has been having a lot of fun playing with too!
2 days after arriving, we headed down to San Diego for a good family friend, Tiffany’s, wedding which was great fun (as weddings always are) and Leo had a great time tearing it up on the dance floor. We even squeezed in some beach time in Coronado.
After a couple of days of hanging with the fam back in LA, it was then Fisher family Christmas – we started the day with a nice family Christmas morning opening pressies (I got a new surfboard Leo was spoilt with heaps and heaps of pressies – she couldn’t believe it) before Bonnie hosted ~30 people at the house. It was a really fun day seeing everyone, and of course having a few beers (I’m definitely still in holiday mode). In no time, it was then New Year’s which we kept fairly low key at the house… and managed to make it to midnight for the first time since arriving 😉
After New Year’s the house started to empty out and calm down, and on the 3rd, Jacs, Leo and I headed down to Mexico for 8 days which was so amazing and relaxing (more on that in a moment). Other than that, we’ve been doing some hikes down in the Canyon by JPL, exploring Pasadena and other areas where we might live, looking at some cars, heading to the beaches, and of course eating some In’n’Out. I’ve even been to a couple of antique car shows with Lou – we even saw a steam one!
Yesterday was Jacs’ birthday so we started the day with a walk around the rose bowl and then nice brunch at a new cafe called the Lincoln in Altadena. We’re also having a low key birthday gathering for Leo on Saturday (we can’t believe she’ll be 2!!) before driving up to San Francisco for a few days to see some friends there. That will be the last hurrah before I start work next Friday – where have the past 7 weeks of holiday gone!
With that, back to Mexico! We had 8 days after new years down on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, a little south of Cancun which is about 4.5 hours flight from here. The first 4 nights were in a town called Tulum that has beautiful beaches and has become quite the spot for the rich and famous. The next 4 nights were in a town called Playa del Carmen which is a bit of a beachside party town, but also has a Grand Hyatt so we could take advantage of all my time at the Hyatt in Canberra and finally redeem some points
The trip was awesome from the start. We were upgraded to business class on the flight so travelled in styled had a bit more space which made so much difference with Leo! After landing, we did have some hiccups with the discount rental car place, America Car Rental, who weren’t waiting at the airport so I had to call them to get us, and then had to argue with them to get our car seat for Leo which they initially said they’d run out of. That was all behind us quickly though and we were on the road for the hour and half drive down to Tulum.
By the time we arrived in Tulum it was about 9pm, but we were happy to find that our hotel Los Lirios (which we booked through Hotwire) was right on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach, had a playground on the beach with a swing that Leo loved, and our room looked out over the beach and had a hammock on the balcony. The food there was nothing special – but other than that is was wonderful, and there were so many restaurants to try in Tulum that it really wasn’t an issue.
Tulum is actually in 2 parts, the town which isn’t on the beach and isn’t particularly cute – that is where the hostels are, and some of the more reasonably priced food options. There is then the beach, where all of the nice hotels are along the beach front for a number of kilometers. They all have nice restaurants, and are all boutique hotels with character, but the prices definitely reflect the celebrity interest!! We were actually surprised to find that there wasn’t a good path along the road to walk, so we were really happy to have a car to be able to really get around!
Our 4 nights there really was so much fun – we spend most of the time just playing in the sand, swimming, running along the beach, and of course, playing on the swing. For each lunch and dinner we’d try a different restaurant, including many along the beach like Zumas, Tacolum, Zebra (where they also had a New York based cocktail making popup called the Mulberry project!) some bars including a fun place called Mateo’s, and especially Posada Margherita, which had homemade pasta which was delicious and our favorite meal of the trip. We also checked out some taco places in town, and a restaurant called La Coqueta (the flirt) which was really great fun and delicious… I may have had quite a few margs!
Tulum is also home to some Mayan ruins, one of the only ones on the beach, so one morning we went to check out them out. They aren’t the biggest ruins, but the setting on the coast makes them really spectacular!
The whole Yucatan peninsula is also home to many Cenotes which are freshwater sink holes with beautiful clear water that you can swim, snorkel, and dive in. The whole peninsula is basically on top of an underground river and cave system, and the Cenotes are where the caves have opened up. One morning we went and swam in Gran Cenote, which is partially open, but also lets you swim in to the caves and see all the underwater stalactites which was beautiful.
Playa del Carmen
From Tulum, we headed back up to Playa del Carmen which was half way back to the airport. It is a bigger town centred around 5th avenue / Quinta Avenida which is a whole walking street of restaurants, bars and partying. The beach front is also home to a number of European style beach day clubs (including one right by the Hyatt where we stayed). I’m sure we could have got in to a lot of trouble if we didn’t have Leo and Jacs’ wasn’t pregnant – next time when Oma and Nonna come with us to watch the girls 😉
In Playa we were staying at the Grand Hyatt which is a gorgeous brand new hotel right on the beach front. It has been built to preserve the mangroves so has lots of peace and quiet despite all of the hustle and bustle outside. It also has 3 infinity pools which Leo loved playing in, as well as the beach where we once again built castles and swam. We were treated like kings there given how much time I spent at the Hyatt in Canberra. We had a beautiful suite that looked out over the pool and the beach from the top (5th) floor – the best view there, as well as access to the lounge where we had breakfast each morning, as well as evening canapés (which often were dinner for Leo) and drinks (including lots of nice tequilas which I took advantage of).
Given how beautiful the hotel was, our basic agenda each day was breakfast when Leo woke up, the pool/beach until Leo’s nap (and Jacs and I took turns to pop to the gym and Jacs even got some lovely yoga in), then head out for lunch somewhere (one of our favorite finds was a taco place off the main drag called El Fogon!), come back and relax a bit by the pool again, then head to the lounge at 6 for drinks and food for Leo. We’d then head out to dinner (Leo would often fall asleep in the pram) along Quinta Avenida. It was so beautiful and relaxing – we loved it and hope to get a chance to go back sometime!
Lots of love from us all!
Ben, Jacs and Leo