Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cayo Coco

This post is long overdue, but whoever invented the idea of all-inclusive resorts is a genius. I spent the last week of June with my parents in Cayo Coco, breathing in warm, salty air, drinking my weight in Pina Coladas and eating some of the best grilled fish and king prawns. Most days were spent by the pool, under a gazebo, people-watching and then slipping into the cool water whenever I pleased, swimming a few laps because even though I was on vacation, there was a twinge of guilt for eating an extra-large helping of guava ice cream at lunch. Besides, I had a bikini to look good in.

Pretty soon, we settled into a daily routine that consisted mainly of sleeping, eating, thrashing in the pool or the Caribbean Sea, followed by more eating and sleeping. Dad would roll out of bed around 6:30am, hog a spot by the pool, Mom would go for an early morning swim, I’d eventually wake up and we’d head to the breakfast buffet. There were plates of fresh omelettes, fried eggs, prosciutto, whole wheat buns smothered in guava jam (SO good) and to wash it down, papaya smoothies and guava juice. At noon, there were fresh coconuts spiked with pineapple juice and rum. It was so heavy, I had to hold it with both hands. I made friends with Joel, the bartender who made it top priority that I had a cold drink in hand everyday.

One of the best parts of the resort was the beach. There is nothing more strikingly beautiful than the endless stretch of turquoise water. In the distance, there were various hues of dark blue and a vast coral reef below. I loved hearing the waves crash against the shore and watching the water catch the bright rays of sunlight, glistening like diamonds. I could do it all day long: warm, salty breeze whipping through my hair, soft sand under my bare feet and a cocktail in my hand hands. I was stunned by the beauty of it all.

Another highlight of the trip was snorkeling. I was admittedly anxious, never having done it before and though I’m a big fan of water sports, saltwater is so different compared to the pools and lakes I’m used to. It was truly an eye-opening experience. I screamed when I dipped my head into the water, a dozen black and white striped fish with yellow mohawks swam around my torso, minding their own business.  

As we kicked our flippers, gazing at fish chasing each other through the rocky reef, spotting a few that looked like Dory and touched a starfish that wiggled along my hand. By the end of the hour, the scuba instructor (very cute, albeit immensely flirtaitious) thrusted an oxygen mouthpiece into my hands and guided me along the sea’s surface to get a closer look, it was awesome. Fingerlike projections of fuzzy coral reef brushed against my belly as I passed it, a sea urchin lurking in a cave-like rock and found a beautiful sanddollar that I wanted to take home.

The resort was beautiful, the gardens were booming with a whole bunch of flowers I've never seen before, even the little crabs, lizards and woodpeckers made themselves at home at the hotel. All I can think about is planning my next sunny vacation. Punta Cana? Bonnaire? Aruba? Check out more of my photos here

Recipe here!

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