Oct 10

Keeping Up with Shannon Eilees - Real Honeymoon - Part Two - Coqui Coqui

A taxi drove us to our next destination, Tulum. Our sexy ocean-front suite at Coqui Coqui took our breath away. We received a lovely welcome bag full of sweet-smelling perfumes, soaps and lotions. Coqui Coqui is a 7-room boutique eco-hotel, spa and perfumery in Tulum, Mexico, tucked away on a quiet stretch of the Mayan Riviera surf. Romantic bohemian rustic chic done right. I'm dying to fall into that bed.

The view from our balcony! Front, left and right. Naturally, it was time for a nap. Noticing a trend?

We walked to Lina’s Mexican Cantina at the La Zebra for dinner. While I was munching on what could quite possibly be the best veggie tacos of my life, Hal excitedly points to the ground. It was a baby turtle! The waiter scooped him up and let us hold him. His little fins were going a mile an minute. We were told to take him to the sea. We temporarily abandoned our meal to save him and heard a commotion on the beach. Baby turtles were everywhere! There must have been hundreds attracted to the lights of the restaurant. It was so special to see a large community of people picking them up and steering them in the right direction. When we later told our story to Coqui Coqui's management, they said we were very lucky to experience the endangered sea turtle quest. It happens only a few days a year.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to visit the Tulum Mayan ruins. We were told to get there right when it opens to avoid the heat and the crowds. This gorgeous sunrise made us forget what time it was.

As we were leaving, the tour buses were just arriving. Getting there bright and early was the best thing we could have done. It was quiet and peaceful and almost mystical. We practically had the entire ruins to ourselves.

To be continued...

Keeping up with Shannon Eileen - Real Honeymoon - Part One - Viceroy

Keeping up with Shannon Eileen - Real Honeymoon - Part Three - Blancaneaux

Keeping up with Shannon Eileen - Real Honeymoon - Part Four - Turtle Inn

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Oct 7

Keeping Up With Shannon Eileen - Real Honeymoon - Part One - Viceroy

Riviera Maya Mexico and Belize – Henry & Shannon Shafton















Do you remember I posted a blog in August about singer, songwriter, wedding blogger Shannon Eileen called  "Keeping up with Shannon Eileen"  She and her new hubby (Hal) have just returned from their two week honeymoon in Mexico and Belize and I would like to share her honeymoon experience with you so I've taken excerpts from her blog Happiness Is... Shannon & Henry (aka: Hal) went to Viceroy Riviera Maya Mexico, Coqui Coqui in Tulum Mexico and Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn both in Belize.
















Our honeymoon journey begins in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. After getting hitched, we boarded a red-eye the very next day. To say we were exhausted would be an understatement. Once we arrived in Cancun, Hal found his name in the crowd. I've always wondered who those people are who get greeted with a sign. Cool people like us apparently.



We were shuttled to the Viceroy, welcomed with cool wet towels and milky lemongrass drinks, then escorted to our villa…It was divine. A private pool, an outdoor shower, and a hammock. What more could you ask for? Hal carried me over the threshold. We were giddy and sleepy so we both passed out.

After nap time, we showered and set off to explore. Along the jungle path, we spotted our first iguana. The peaceful smell of incense led us onward. We reached the spa and were asked to face each other and close our eyes while a shaman blessed our marriage. We meandered down the path to the beach and found a special surprise waiting for us there.

... We emerged from the jungle and a private palapa was set up for us on the beach. We sat down with smiles, dug our toes in the sand, and drooled over the menu. It had our name printed right on it! Props to Chef Jetzabel Rojas, our meal was out of this world. I had the best jicama salad and chile relleno of my life. It was also the most expensive meal of my life, but you try to ignore those sorts of things on your honeymoon. The food, service, ambiance, and company were worth the price, one hundred percent.

It was now dark, so we walked back through the winding jungle path to find our room. Inside our villa, was another glorious surprise. The floor was littered with flickering candles and a heart of rose petals on the bed.

After a breakfast of fresh fruit and Mexican pastries the next morning, we parked ourselves on the beach to chill, read, nap, sip, dip, repeat.

Then it was time for a couple's massage. We chose the Poesia Del Mar (Poetry from the Ocean) treatment that takes place at the end of the dock. Heavenly. And the jet skiiers got a nice peep show. The breeze kept blowing our towels off!

We were itching to hit the town and experience real Mexico outside of the Viceroy bliss bubble. So we took a cab to Playa Del Carmen. There's one long strip of shops, bars and restaurants and we sat down at the first place with a "cheap cerveza" sign.

On our last day at Viceroy, the breakfast servers sent us off in style. A taxi drove us to our next destination, Tulum

To be continued…

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Aug 11

Keeping up with Shannon Eileen

Who is Shannon Eileen? For starters she is a singer, songwriter, design lover, vintage collector, dreamer and inspiration blogger in Seattle. But her most satisfying role is a bride-to-be. She lives in a little cottage by the sea with her soon to be husband and their black cat. This is her happy place.

I had the great pleasure of working with Shannon to create the perfect honeymoon for her and her fiance Hal to Riviera Mexico & Belize. Originally, they were thinking Bali, Thailand or the Philippines but flights to Asia got to be too expensive. So they switched gears entirely and chose a place closer to home. “We've always had a soft spot for Mexico. The food, the beaches, the food. We've vacationed together in Baja and Mazatlan in the past, so we decided to hit up the Caribbean side and travel along the Riviera Maya coastline down into Belize.”

This year is an especially unique time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula. As you know, it was the Mayans who predicted the "end of the world" on December 21, 2012. We're excited to visit the ancient ruins and learn about the area's fascinating historical and spiritual significance. "We're planning to stop in Playa Del Carmen & Tulum in Mexico and the Cayo District jungle & Placencia seaside in Belize."

Here's the draft honeymoon itinerary & registry.  It was a joy to help her plan dream honeymoon to a special place that has a spiritual meaning to her.  If you wish to follow Shannon Eileen on her journey see her blog or follow her on social media. Check back in the fall when I plan to post a follow up blog about her pending honeymoon adventure to Riviera Maya Mexico and Belize Shannon has promised to share with me her wonderful story and photos. 

If you are interested in a trip like Shannon Eileen's please contact Honeymoon Islands, 703-753-8115.

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Mar 8

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Mar 13

Advice for Honeymoon Planning

Advice for Honeymoon Planning

It seems ironic that many couples will spend $25,000 – $50,000 or more for a half day wedding ceremony, yet they have difficulty justifying $6,000 for 7 days of an equally important part of that ceremony, the fantasy getaway known as a honeymoon.

Every honeymoon traveler desires to experience the “Wow” factor, be it elegant lodgings, exotic locations, great food, beautiful views, or unique recreational opportunities; actually, sky is the limit. However, if your expectations don’t match your budget, then it’s wise to either reassess your expectations or reallocate your budget.

Discuss what will “wow” you, and evaluate how your budget will enable you to be “wowed”. In my experience most people’s expectations far exceed their budget, which is what I refer to as the 50% rule, wherein most people under budgeted their vacation or honeymoon by 50%, and in some cases, more. If you budget for beer, you can’t expect to be served expensive champagne.

Try to look beyond the price of an important trip. The most important question to ask yourself is what will you remember 5, 10, or 15 years from now about your experience … how much you spent on the trip? or how much you enjoyed your time together, the location, and the experiences you shared?

Ultimately, the key to a good travel experience is matching up your expectations with a property and destination that meets your budget and expectations so everything (including your budget) will be in-line with those expectations. It’s also wise to have a clear idea of what you would like to bring back from your trip, and what you would like to achieve through your vacation/honeymoon experience.

After all, life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away!

Teresa Belcher,
Honeymoon Islands

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