Located on the Caribbean’s Riviera Maya, this has become one of the most visited places in Mexico in the past years. I was here for a bit more than a week and was able to travel to surrounding villages and cities and you will see for yourself, it is not just the hype, this place is truly unique . Cancun has the most pristine beaches, clear water -white sand, and even though it was built for tourism particularly, it still maintains its true mayan roots.
I stayed at an all inclusive hotel in Playa del Carmen which is about an hour drive from the airport (got an amAziiing deal Travel&Leisure ;)) and I was a little skeptical about it at first, usually when I think of people who stay at all-inclusive resorts I think they take it way too seriously and don’t ever leave the resort, it’s like they want to get their money’s worth but I highly recommend doing this in Cancun being that it is quite more expensive than you would think, also, you need to be pampered every once in a while, especially if you’ve been on the road for a while
There are other less expensive options of course, but for the experience and to take a little break, its worth the splurge, not all resorts are as expensive as one would assume, you surely stretch your dollar here for the attention and quantity of food and alcohol you get here. Heard that, the infinite amount of alcohol you want!
I stayed at a hostel for the remaining of my trip and made new friends from Spain who incorporated me to the team! They were certified divers, just my luck, so I got some free classes and gear from this. Always make friends on the road, I swear, every single person I have met in my life has taught me something, whether it’s a good or bad experience, it’s an experience, and you will always get something from it!
Oh by the way, pretty much everyone in town speaks English, so if you don’t speak Spanish you will be just fine!
Things to do:
-Visit Chichen Itza arqueological site
-For a more relaxed day head out to Isla Mujeres, rent a vespa and ride around the island for the day.
-Go out to dinner at the open air restaurants in Playa Tortuga
-If you can include it into your budget, visit Xplor or Xcaret EcoParks. Xplor is for the more adventurous: paddling, snorkeling, zip lining, off road vehicles; Xcaret is more of an archeological- historical site, sculptures, folkloric dances, a traditional cemetery, butterfly pavilions and natural pools. They are both amazing, one is just more extreme than the other
-Dive into the underwater museum (close to Isla Mujeres)
-Check out some cenotes near the area, one of my favorites was “Ik Kil’ in Tinum.
-Visit one of the largest coral reefs in the world; Belize Barrier Reef. You have to go with a guided tour, unless you know someone with a boat.
Where to stay:
-Haina Hostel ($10-15 USD)
-Quetzal Hostel (Under $10 USD)
-Ida y vuelta camping (Under $10 USD)
-Tribu Hostel (Under $10USD )
-All inclusive resorts (check for packages and promos)
Where to eat:
-El rincon Yucateco ($4.50-9 USD entrees)
-Parque de las Palapas (under $4 USD)
-La Faena ($4-7 USD)
-If you’re going to splurge: Viva Zapata Restaurant or Checandole Restaurant ($15-40 USD)
Where to get some drinks:
-The famous Cocobongo, throughout your trip I can guarantee someone will approach you with tickets for this place, totally worth it, it’s a legend! This is a night club but at the same time it’s like a show, impersonators bring to life music icons, it’s a blast!
-“Las de Guanataos” great selection of beers and tortas ahogadas! Head out to the Plaza de Toros and get a table outside.
-Mandala beach, finally!! This place is open air, with a pool if you want to get in you certainly can; live electronic music and star gazing.. check check!
-The city, the largest club in latinamerica.. haven’t been but no one would shut up about this place..
Close cities to visit: Tulum, Chetumal, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel
-Share a van at the airport, it takes longer to get to the city but it will be way cheaper.
-Taxis are very expensive so make sure you pick your location wisely depending on what you want to do, you want to be able to be close to your planned activities and have to pay the least amount of taxi rides.
-If you are going out, I recommend paying per drink, or buying an open bar deal. We went to two bars and both of them “accidentally” added some drinks to our tab. So make sure you check your tab.