Holidays With the Family and Friends

We went to Playa del Carmen (PDC) when we were in college with my family and friends and have fun memories, so of course, we are pumped to go meet Jeff’s mom, dad and brother Jon.  Jon lived with us for the first year we were married, and we saw him all the time at home, so we are happy to spend some time with him.  Like most vacationers to PDC, the Yaeger’s were staying in an all-inclusive.  The hotel they were at was booked and way out of budget, so we opted for the close by, Phantom Paradise Hotel, or shall we say "Phantom Menace" down the street.  We found out at 10pm that night, when the club felt like it was next door, why it was such a good deal.  Oh well, if we can sleep through fiestas, barking dogs and street noise, we'd be fine.  We spent the next few days on the beach, catching up with family and went to good restaurants at night.  Jeff’s parents even got us passes to enjoy the amenities of their resort as well, thanks!
excited to be with family
sportin' the colors, both patriotic and festive
Christmas Eve Dinner
Tulum, makes you want to swim.
Yaeger family
he hung out on the beach with us
the beautiful Debbie, floating in style
Yes, we made it across, Xel-Ha
Yax-ha Campground, Chetumal
welcome to paradise
San Pedro, where you can have any car you want, as long as its a golf cart or a Toyota Delica van

We finally got to use our SCUBA gear and do a local dive.  Unfortunately, from all the off-roading our gear had taken a beating and we needed to replace some hoses in our regulators, which we found out after getting to the boat, easy fix, we just didn’t get to use our gear.  The dive itself was alright.  We hadn’t dove in the past year, so it was an easy refresher and a perfect way to spend Christmas Eve. 
That night we went to a beautiful dinner.  The Yaeger’s usually have a big Christmas Eve party,  so this was our way of celebrating on the road.  Christmas day was a full day of relaxation.  Although I was sad to be away from my parents and brothers, I'm grateful we had family to spend the day with.  
We went to Tulum the next day.  It was swamped with tourists and vendors, but once down on the beach, its really an incredible sight.  

That night the Yaeger’s resort was having a luau, so we partied the night away there.  At 5am the next morning, Jeff woke up with what we knew would hit us at some point, we just didn’t expect to get sick from a resort buffet.  We’ve been eating street food for a month now and of all places… oh well, at least we were in a hotel for him to recover.  That night, big Jeff and I drove to get our friends, Andrew and Traci, from the airport.  Andrew is one of Jeff’s best friends from college and was a groomsman in our wedding.  The next day the whole crew went to Xel-ha.  Again, its super touristy, as most places in the Yucatan are, but a really good time.  It was our last day with the Yaegers, so it was nice to float around the place with them before seeing them in Costa Rica.  

That evening we drove to Chetumal, to the Yax Ha campground.  This is one of the nicest campgrounds we’ve stayed at yet and had a really interesting evening with the owner a week later, but that’s another story. 
That night, the luau food decided to attack me, however I had to spend the night in the tent (quite possibly my worst night camping EVER).  Our buddy Enrique offered to keep an eye on the Landcruiser at the campground while we took off for the week. Our plan was to catch the ferry to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize so I had to suck it up and take the crowded, hot, smelly ferry out to the islands while feeling like I could lose it at any minute.  Two hours later and after clearing what may be the cutest customs area we were on a room hunt.

Customs and Immigration, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Traci and I waited with the bags and Jeff and Andrew headed out on a search, not an easy one considering the island is packed for the New Year.  An hour later they arrived back on a golf cart and we had our home for the next 5 days.  The next day we stocked the fridge and hit the beach.  Unfortunately, over the next few days we all took turns being sick and we even had a day where we didn’t leave the hotel, that is except to go on a hunt for an HDMI cable to watch movies.  We were happy to be ringing  in the New Year with good friends, even if we were all not feeling 100%.

Happy New Year

I'll take my conch in a conch, please.  Delicious dinner for the last night on the caye.

The lovebirds are feeling better
The beaches on the island were beautiful and San Pedro was charming.  After a few days of isolation on the island we headed back to Chetumal and drove back to Cancun to bring our friends to the airport.  

Thanks for the visit Andrew and Traci

We stayed one night in Puerto Morelos where we were lucky enough to run into some other overlanders, Tranquillo Adventuras and Southern Tip Trip.  The next day we said goodbye to Andrew and Traci and got back to life on the road.