Looking for a trip where you can just kick back, relax and forget about it all? Where the beaches are beautiful, the water is crystal clear and blue and you’re waited on hand and foot? Look no further than, Cancún, Mexico and I’ve got you covered with all the necessary details!
Why Go To Cancún, Mexico?
Josh and I aren’t normally all-inclusive, resort style travelers. Normally we love staying in Airbnb’s and having a cultural travel experience, BUT it’s always good to mix it up once in a while, right?!
We had been working like crazy on our new biz and decided to jump on board with the Cancún, Mexico getaway and, fortunately, we had the BEST time ever!
It’s quite obvious that Cancún offers up some incredible white sandy beaches and some of the clearest blue water you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you’re a beach person, then Cancún is a must-see destination, at least once.
After doing some research, I learned that all beaches are NOT created equal here. A few of the best beaches nearby our hotel (that came highly recommended) are Playa Delfines (where you’ll find the famous Cancún sign), Playa Chac Mool (perfect for water sports), and Playa Tortugas (nearby shopping and food/drinks). If you have a chance to sneak away from your resort, get out and explore them all!
Cancún is located in what is known as the Mexican Caribbean (Quintana Roo) and the 14-mile stretch of the Hotel Zone attracts more than two million visitors a year. You don’t have to break the bank to visit here: there is a WIDE range of budget-friendly to luxury hotels that line this strip.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, downtown Cancún offers more of an authentic feel with restaurants, shopping centers and markets.
How To Get To Cancún
Fortunately, Cancún is just a quick, direct, 2 hour flight from Miami. Flights are generally really inexpensive, especially in the off season.
Upon arrival, the Hotel Zone is just a 10-20 minute car ride, depending on the specific location of your hotel on the strip. We pre-arranged pickup from our hotel to the resort with Otium International (recommended by our resort).
The fee for airport pickup/return was $35 per person, roundtrip. The drivers were kind, punctual and, most importantly, they drove safely.
Where To Stay in Cancún
Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of resorts to choose from in Cancun, and, since we’re not usually into all-inclusive resort vacations, we asked friends who’d been to the region before and decided on Hotel Paradisus Cancun.
Hotel Paradisus Cancun far exceed our expectations as far as all-inclusive resorts go. The hotel is MASSIVE, but still has a very intimate feel, especially if you book the Royal Services (described below).
From the moment we arrived until our departure, everywhere we would go inside the hotel, we were greeted by friendly and helpful staff. Although the hotel was full of thousands of people, we truly felt special, which was impressive.
We opted to upgrade to a junior suite with ocean view and the room was beautiful. It surely wasn’t the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed in (cough cough Maldives), but, for the price and all-inclusive, it was perfect. The room included a giant bathtub, which was perfect at the end of a long day soaking in the sunshine.
Because we were traveling without children, the hotel suggested we upgrade to the Royal Service and we couldn’t have been happier with that decision! This adults-only area of the hotel felt much more intimate and each room comes with its own butler!
You’ll also get preferential dinner reservations, access to a private area of the beach, a private pool and cabana and many other VIP perks. It’s 100% worth the extra money (but please dont’ forget to tip your butler)!
With SO many different amenities, you surely won’t have enough time to see and do everything in the hotel (nor will you want to if you’re there to simply relax).
Aside from being located right on a beautiful strip of beach, the hotel has three MASSIVE pools, each unique in their own way. We mostly stayed at our adults-only pool, but did venture to the pool bar one day.
The Yhi Spa was impressive, as we had a couples massage and enjoyed the hot tub/cold tub and steam rooms. They even have an Oriental Garden to receive a massage in, if you’re looking for something unique and, of course, offer a fitness center (which we didn’t step foot in-haha).
With 9 restaurants and 6 different bars, you’ll have a difficult time choosing where to eat each day, especially because everything is included. We frequented the Malva Food Bazarre (buffet style-great for breakfast and lunch) and the Market Grill (best ocean views-perfect for breakfast/lunch).
We’re pretty picky when it comes to Asian food, and we enjoyed the sushi at the contemporary, Bana Restaurant. The atmosphere was the best at this restaurant.
By far our favorite restaurant for dinner was Fuego, which offered up delicious Peruvian food (I’m a total sucker for ceviche). My only regret is that we didn’t have enough time to eat here twice.
***IMPORTANT TO NOTE***
Upon arrival, we were coerced into getting two free massages if we attended a one-hour presentation about their Club Melia. While we appreciated the massages, in retrospect, we wouldn’t have gone to the presentation, which concluded with several pushy salesmen attempting to talk us into joining the Club. This Club costs thousands of dollars annually and certainly wasn’t for us, as we do not like to return to the same destination when we travel.
Things To Do in Cancún
Aside from the obvious beach, sand and sun, there are plenty of day trips full of fun that you can take while visiting Cancún. We only had 3 nights and 2 full days in Cancún, so we decided to just relax and unwind, thus foregoing all of the awesome excursions listed below. I really regret not seeing Chichen Itzá and the Cenotes, as they’re both so beautiful and historical and aren’t located very far from the Hotel Zone of Cancún.
There are hundreds of Mayan Ruins scattered throughout Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, but the ones in Mexico are arguably some of the most spectacular.
Located about 2 hours south of the Hotel Zone of Cancún, the Mayan Ruins of Tulum are the only ruins constructed near the ocean. Check out the ruins and then stay for the day to explore the town.
Located 2.5 to 3 hours from Cancún, Chichen Itzá is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and, if you have the extra time in your schedule, I highly suggest seeing it!
A 2.5 hour drive from Cancún, this famous island is much more laid back compared to the high-energy Cancún. It is well known all around the world for being one of the best destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The number one thing I regret not seeing when we went to Cancún were the Cenotes. I drooled over instagram photos for years of these beautiful natural pits that expose the gorgeous groundwater underneath. They’re almost cave-like looking.
Fortunately, most fo the cenotes are accessible en route to the regions ruins, so you can surely add it in to your itinerary.
Tips To Know Before You Go To Cancún
There are a few things that are important to note about going to Cancún.
- Cancún is very safe. Although Mexico has a reputation for safety issues, Cancún is very safe as long as you stick within the popular areas and, this goes without saying, don’t do anything stupid (like walk down a dark alley at 3am). There were a few gang related homicides in 2017 that were in the region, but this seems to have settled down.
- Hurricane season is August through November. History has shown that October is the most likely month for a hurricane to hit, so I’d avoid this month alltogether.
- Don’t drink the tap water. Most tourists are aware of this rule when it comes to Mexico, but it can be easy to forget after you’ve had a few drinks. I even brushed my teeth with bottled water to ensure we wouldn’t have any gastric issues that would put a damper on our trip (bring activated charcoal, just in case).
- You won’t find much local culture in the Hotel Zone. We weren’t looking for local culture on this trip, so we were perfectly happy relaxing and staying in the Hotel Zone. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, I suggest checking out Tulum or Downtown Cancún.
- US dollars are accepted everywhere. We collect local currency from every country we go to, so we exchanged some USD to pesos, but this really isn’t necessary if you don’t want to, especially if you’re just hanging around your hotel. If you plan to do a lot of shopping with cash in the city, you will save money by paying in pesos (you can easily get them from an ATM-I’d avoid money changers who charge high rates).
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