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Here's Why Riviera Maya Needs To Be Your Next Girls' Trip

And here's everything we did.

Travel

Fundamentally speaking, January is viewed as a fresh start. It's the beginning of a new year which by extension makes it the closing of an old one. And with it comes the mantra of breathing out the old and breathing in the new. People adopt lifestyle changes they previously had on pause, forgive themselves for past inadequacies, and strive to become better than they were. It's a common theme but it becomes more pronounced because of the way January glitters with such promise. For those of us truly intentional with it, January is the perfect excuse to set the tone for the kind of year you wish to have.

That desire rang especially true for the creative minds behind Aunt Jackie's Curls and Coils first-ever travel-sized collection and new collection of deep conditioning treatment masques Butter Fusions (coming to a store near you soon). In addition to unveiling two product lines, the Aunt Jackie's team saw it befitting to use the start of the new year and new decade in a refreshing way by living it up resort-style at El Dorado Seaside Suites in the beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico.

To commemorate the product launch, Aunt Jackie's, led by Erika Pope, Charisma Lowe, and Kayla Walker, invited 12 black and brown hair influencers, as well as media including Brande Victorian (Madame Noire/HelloBeauitful), Arielle Hermanson (BETHer), Venesa Croger (Refinery29/R29 Unbothered), and myself.

Dubbed "The Curl's Trip", together we embarked as "curlfriends" on a plethora of curated resort experiences made possible by the all-inclusive El Dorado Seaside Suites. From community service to a catamaran ride, we lived! And here's everything we did.

The Location

A room with a view.

www.eldoradosparesorts.com

Before delving into our Mexico itinerary, let's give a little background about the city and resort. In between the popular tourist destinations of Cancun and Tulum is the less-stated vacation destination of Riviera Maya. Located along the Yucatan peninsula and nestled on an underground river, the beautiful Riviera Maya was once comprised of sleepy fishing villages. These days, the magical place has transformed into a must-visit Mexican hot spot for explorers, scuba divers, nature lovers, and those looking to tap into beachy resort vibes. With their white sand beaches that feel like a pillowy cloud underneath your feet, palm trees, and never-ending sun, Riviera Maya, Mexico has something to offer anyone wanting a slice of paradise.

The Resort

Venesa Croger and I swinging in El Dorado.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

I've never been one to ride the resort wave, but El Dorado Seaside Suites has me singing a different tune. It was all-inclusive, the drinks weren't watered down, the waitstaff were eager for you to have as many drinks as possible, the food from the restaurants were delicious, as well as the room service. As a whole, El Dorado Seaside Suites are separated into two different sections that are very distinct in what they provide as far as Mexican hospitality. The original section gives you island life vibes with the lush palm trees, the seemingly endless expanse of white sand beach, and the architecture that screams Mexico. The Infinity, the resort's latest add-on, is where we stayed. Its building is all-oceanfront with swim-up suits connecting to balcony pools right outside of your room on every floor. The water is cool, inviting, and acts as the perfect backdrop for luxury and equanimity.

Paradise found.

Nakesa Smith, Felicia Leatherwood, and Shaniqua Garrett strutting their stuff on the white-sand beach.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Shaniya (@sincerely_niya) looking easy, breezy, beautiful.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Community Service

L-R: Mendez (@mendezisthatyou), Shalini (@shalinitin_srivastava), me, Erika Pope, Tiffany (@iam.tiffany.renee), and Mesha Thomas.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Volunteering is a small but major way to give back to a world that has been good to you. Aunt Jackie's put together a community service day with Centro de Atención Integral Playa del Carmen, a special education school catering to children and adults with disabilities. With the center, the ladies and I came together to complete two beautification projects. One was planting a garden and the other was painting a mural. It was so rewarding to enrich people's lives who live in a country that had been so good to us. It has also inspired me to volunteer more in my own community in the year ahead.

@iam.tiffany.renee & @mendezisthatyou

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

@dayelasoul & @justlikejackie working hard on the mural.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Hairstylist Mesha Thomas

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Chelsea Zan @chelseazan

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Shalini hard at work clearing the area for the garden.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

The finished product.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

L-R: Nia Vox @niavox, @theglamtwinz, @mendezisthatyou, and Angeliah @ange_liah

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Catamaran Tour

The ladies behind this immersive experience: Kayla Walker, Charisma Lowe, and Erika Pope.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Picture this, a catamaran tour sailing on the ocean for three hours with light bites, margaritas, and trap music. Maroma Adventure Restaurant Hotel & Marina had us feeling like it was our birthday as we took turns driving the boat with the captain's bottle of tequila and got sore knees trying to be like Megan. It was the ultimate turn up on the sea and we were riding the wave.

Shaniya @sincerely_niya pictured with Arielle Hermanson.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Nakesa Smith looking like a whole meal.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

The Curlfriends of the trip looking like a whole MOOD!

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Kish @kishmycurls kicking back, maxing relaxing.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Spa Retreat

The Sensations pool located in the Náay Spa.

www.eldoradosparesorts.com

Next came the spa day at the resort's Náay Spa. The day was to be one filled with pampering and indulging. It was kicked off with a Mayan ritual ceremony that combined elements of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire based on the principles of Mayan principles. To them, it is the way to inner peace. We began by undergoing hydrotherapy in groups. Hydrotherapy consisted of a steam room with eucalyptus clay to open up our pores, a cold room, and then we entered the sensations pool where welcomed by waterfalls and hydrojets that targeted different areas of our bodies to soothe and relieve. After that, we entered a hot tub, then a cold tub, and then ran in and out of an ice bath. The results were amazing.

Based on your preferences, you were then ushered into the room where you'd be receiving either a massage or a facial. I opted for a 55-minute full body massage. And I must say, it was easily the best thing that my body has ever experienced in mi vida.

Afterwards, Aunt Jackie's had a glam team on deck to wash and do some of the ladies' hair and makeup. Among the team were hairstylists Shaniqua Garrett and Nakesa Smith, makeup artist Mesha Thomas, as well as hairstylist and owner of the Detangler Brush Felicia Leatherwood.

Taking part in the ancient Mayan ritual to kick off our spa day retreat.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Welcome Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils!

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Mimosas all around!

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Tiffany indulging in a facial provided by the spa.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Felicia Leatherwood doing her thing!

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Makeup artist Mesha Thomas beating Arielle's face.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Thank you Naay Spa!

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Farewell Dinner

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

To commemorate our magical experience with the Curlfriends coming to an end, we had dinner on the rooftop on a windy night where the light from the full moon acted as our source of energy. We were treated to an immaculate dinner that included crab salad with spinach, shrimp salad with pineapple, string beans, lobster, and more. We communed over drinks, laughter, and the electric slide. It was such a powerful reminder of the incredible energy that's felt when surrounded and being poured into by dope women.

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Photo by Onye Creative Studios

Thank you Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils for an experience I'll always remember!

Be on the lookout for Aunt Jackie's Butter Fusions and travel-sized collections, coming in 2020!

Photography by Onye Creative Studios

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