For years, Kari has been hoping that one of our friends would have a destination wedding. I mean, she loves weddings and she loves tropical/resort vacations... so an excuse to combine the two was obviously something she was interested in.

This year, it finally happened. Our friend Mindy invited us to her wedding at a place in Mexico called Mayakoba... we couldn't refuse.

We booked our tickets not really knowing much about about the place, but quickly learned that Mayakoba was this beautiful, tropical, lagoon area that housed 3 upscale resorts, a super nice golf course, and a bit of private housing. The entrance to Mayakoba takes you from a highway and through these tree covered, super narrow, winding, one-way(ish) roads - sometimes paved, sometimes cobblestone or brick, and sometimes barely anything at all. Everything within Mayakoba was connected by this amazing canal system and roads/trails similar to what I described before.

It was super apparent that they went to great lengths to nestle these Mayakoban resorts into the habitat without disturbing it too much. The native plant and animal life completely surrounds everything. You feel like a guest of the natural habitat as opposed to something that just came in and wiped everything out for tourism. It was common to see iguanas, turtles, crocodiles, and all sorts of other reptiles and birds just doin their thing.

So finally we pulled up to this grand, asian inspired entrance of the resort we'd be staying at, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Underneath this giant awning was a woman, perfectly centered and posed as if out of a movie set. Her name was Denyra. She'd be our host for the week and (somehow) greeted us by name, guided us through the entrance, gave us some awesome juices, fancy bracelets, and showed us to our villa.

Yep. Villa.

The only (or really, the minimum) option at this resort is to get your own private villa with a private yard, private pool, outdoor bathtub, outdoor beds, and a bedroom that opens up to the pool. Like... you can literally step out of bed and do a naked cannonball into the pool. And instead of just opening up your villa's door, your "room key" opens the gate to your front yard.

It's quite ridiculous.

There's actually barely a reason to hang out in the resort's shared pools, beach, etc... well, except for the fresh cocktails and friends.

And given all these private yards, the resort becomes a pretty huge place. So each villa comes with a couple cruiser bikes that you can ride around... or you can always request a shuttle or hitch a ride on the canal system.

As for the wedding celebration itself - we had an absolute blast. Mindy and Ryan obviously put a ton of thought into making sure everyone had a great time. There were impromptu pool parties, golf outings, spa days, a tequila tasting, etc. Instead of a rehearsal dinner, they had a pool party Friday night that everyone could attend. It was just your average pool party ... with party lights, cocktails, dancing, a taco bar, cigar roller, and fire dancers. You know.

The wedding was also fantastic. Beach front with amazing food, an amazing DJ, a ridiculous photographer, super fun people, and just an all around great party. Everyone/thing looked amazing. I'm super stoked for Ryan and Mindy.

It was hands down both the best wedding celebration and best resort that I've ever been to.

The Banyan Tree actually kind of broke Kari. At one point she said to me, "I don't ever want to go on another vacation that doesn't come with our own private pool" ... So, thanks, Mindy!

Here are the rest of my pics!

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