Visit to Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya 

(Cancun area)  July 13-17, 2019 (Sat to Wed)

Before heading to Mexico, we stopped at a provider of high fashion to get some new shades.
HR 712 Dollar general.jpg
Arrived at Cancun airport uneventfully, but just as was noted in the youtube videos (like this one at about the 4 minute mark), as we were going from customs to the ground transportation area, the sales people were super aggressive. 
(Note to self:  next time bring pepper spray or machete...)
After check in, first order of business:  lunch!
HR 713 lunch at Ciao.jpg
Then went off to meet our luggage in the room, which had access to the roof, where there was a terrace with a great view.  It was pretty warm, so after the pic, we went back inside to enjoy their awesome air conditioning...
HR 713 view from roof of our room.jpg
...and so Merle could take a nap!
HR 713 Merle napping.jpg
HR 714 at HR sign.jpg
Did a little more exploring and looking for photo ops, in case they needed to use us for their commercials.
Although the restaurants require reservations for dinner, by arriving a little early, and practicing my Spanish (!!), we were able to get this beachfront table at their steakhouse.
HR 714 breakfast at Touro.jpg
Next day, Sunday, aside from eating, we mainly relaxed, except here Merle prevents the alien from exiting through my belly button.
HR 714 adult wading pool.jpg
HR 714 poolside w selfie reflection.jpg
We also had a chance to commune with the local animals.
HR 714 agouti.jpg
Agouti (like a large rat)
Monkeys
HR 714 more monkey business.jpg
So why did the monkey cross the road?
As noted below, to show me what the banana looks like from the other end.
HR 714 monkey pooping.jpg
Iguanas, or as the staff called them Godzillas
(probably translates better into Japanese...)
HR 714 iguanas.jpg
Here in a poolside contest for whiteness, I got second place to a seagull.
HR 714 MW posing for whiteness contest.j
I woke up early a few days to go swimming (see path of arrow), before the party started .  Having goggles allowed me to see the residuals of parties in the pool, with pieces of napkins, sequins off bathing suits, hairballs, and even some pepperonis, which was cool, 'cause swimming makes me hungry.     :)
HR 714 pool view w arrow stock footage.j
HR 714 pool view w arrow.jpg
On Monday, we went to visit a local popular tourist attraction, Xcaret.
Like most tourist places, we are guided initially to the souvenir shop.
 
Hey, they gotta make a buck.
HR 715 entrance gift shop.jpg
HR 715 entrance w mccaws.jpg
One of their main attractions were three underground rivers, which were both visually, and thermally cool.  We floated along these rivers under caves and with some openings to air, and since we had no waterproof camera holder, these pics from online show what we saw.
HR 715 Xcaret river stock pic.jpg
We even went under a colony of bats, which was simultaneously super interesting, and also difficult not to think of guano.
HR 715 Xcaret bats stock pic.jpg
They also had snorkeling, which looked like this in the brochure, but in real life was quite a bit more crowded, especially when we were in the water.
HR 715 xcaret snorkel stock photo.jpg
HR 715 snorkel place.jpg
Giant sea turtles were just next door.
HR 715 turtle.jpg
They also had an opportunity to swim with dolphins for the low price of only $160 USD per person for half an hour.  Somehow, I wonder if trickle down economics means they get better fish to eat.
HR 715 dolphin swim.jpg
Our admission included lunch, which was great, and we were glad to be in the shade at least.
HR 715 lunch.jpg
Following full day, Tuesday, we mainly hung out and relaxed, but had our final dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Zen, but we did not order the Godzilla (aka iguana).
HR 716 Zen.jpg
In summary, it was a nice experience, though probably a better deal for guests who drink a lot.
They had shows every night which were good, but the amazing part is how audience members, like right in the middle of an act with a guy doing a handstand on top of four tables, that were perched on a piece of wood that was balancing on a cylinder...would choose that moment to just walk out with their family.
Also, they had some aggressive marketing for future vacations, so if you go, be prepared to just say no.    :)