Yucatán for the New Year.

As I watched my kids take a deep breath and immediately plunge 18 feet under water while chasing tropical fish through a cavern of rocks, it occurred to me how adventurous of a life we have.

“Dad, Mom! Did you see that?!”

We take a lot of trips as a family. My family gets to “do stuff.” Pyramids, animals, swim with sea lions, hot air balloons and road side taco stands are a part of us.

One of our favorite type of vacation is when we get to travel with our friends.

To end our 2022 and celebrate another fantastic year,  Nikki gathered some of our favorite friends, got us all together, and set up an another exceptional trip.

Despite a tough start with a rental car that didn’t fit us all, the upgrade worked and this furlough of fun hit on all cylinders.

In total, they were 17 of us, with kids that were all the same ages and adults with a similar idea of “fun.” 

We were able to relax in the Yucatán of Mexico, while still having days dedicated for adventure and new experiences.

I talk about how travel happens in my first book that is coming out soon, but I also talk about how we view expenses, especially while vacationing differently than just dollar for dollar amount. In the last few years, my wife, Nikki, the brains behind all of these vacations, has started upping our game as far as the places we stay.

So much of our vacation is built around experiences that differ from our day to day experience.  She has been very justified in her seeking out fabulous houses where multiple families can stay together and be together in a different vibe than what a hotel or resort can offer.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I have no problem with the resorts – especially the all inclusive resort for the food is exceptional and the drinks are available whenever you want them. Clap your hands twice and the maître d’ will bring out your favorite Cuba Lubre’or a mojito done to perfection.  

But, there’s something to be said to having our own house. Airbnb and VRBO have created entirely new ways to travel. Some of these houses we stay at are absolutely fantastic and this place one was no exception.  

Two families stayed in this particular house with the two other families staying just across a cenote, a lagoon over rocks and caves, full of tropical fish and an underwater paradise!

While talking to my brother as he arrived, he told me it was about a 10 mile drive to get to our house where we gathered all to cook dinner for the night. But, looking at a map, he thought that a swim across the lagoon would be less than a quarter mile. He threw snorkels and lifevests on his kids and wife, and snorkeled across the bay to our place.

My brother and his wife swimming home after a great day.

How exciting!   For a family that has been socked in snow, storms and below freezing weather for the last month, it had to be quite the thrill to snorkel across a cenote in order to get with family. That is part of what makes our vacations, “adventures” – just doing something unique- especially for our young kids (and me!)

Nikki and I had not been to the Yucatán for over 20 years and I was amazed at how much it had changed. The entire area is built with adventure parks, consisting of zip lining, four-wheel-drive, ATV, type of courses, cave exploration, and all sorts of excitement that only the Yucatán can offer.

Oh yeah.   And one of the seven wonders of the World.

Chichen Itza is not the biggest of the Mayan pyramids but is the most perfect. It truly is a sight to behold, and we were lucky enough to get a fantastic tour guide that could really get us into the zone. He showed us how the Mayan calendar, what has become our modern day calendar, came to be and how it is represented at one of the worlds most perfect pyramids.

And as a family that is crazy about sports it was incredible to stand at the fields where some of the original games were developed and played.

Whether exploring the jungles around our house, snorkeling with tropical fish, or just hanging out at the house with family and friends, watching bowl games while ringing in the new year, this year’s end of the year vacation was fantastic.

Thank you Nikki for bringing us all together once again and CHEERS to 2023 and whatever adventures lie in waiting!

Taco stop for sure! 110 ordered, none left behind!

Chad Peters is the author of “Parenting from Out Of Bounds” a book for parents coming out soon.

Follow along his wild family adventures @ The Texas Zoo Crew (insta) and Texas Zoo Crew (fb)

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