If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love Mexico. Everything about Mexico is easy, cheap and fun.
For the last couple of years I’ve made a point to travel to Mexico with my parents on a family vacation and we’ve made it to a few beaches along both coasts.
This year, we went to Cancun- the furthest my parents have ever been in Mexico, and other than Hawaii, the most beautiful beaches they’ve seen. I had been to the Riviera Maya twice before, but having visited 4 spots in the area now, I can tell you they are all very different with their own vibe.
Planning the trip last year was a bit more challenging because it turns out we planned our vacation time on the week MTV was hosting Spring Break in Cancun (facepalm!). I was mostly concerned about my poor, super conservative mother witnessing spring breakers in full bloom. Also, although we’d gotten a good rate on flights, hotels rates were skyrocketing. After several weeks of panic, I found a new hotel, in prime Cancun location that had just opened two months before; rate was good and I booked! So here’s how we spent our family time in Cancun:
We took the redeye and arrived early morning in Cancun. We booked a private minivan transfer from the airport to the hotel, and commute was about 15 minutes.
Upon arrival at the hotel, our room’s were not ready but luckily were able to use their hospitality suite to freshen up, get our swim suits on, and start enjoying the hotel’s amenities. We spent the entire day in the hotel as we were quite exhausted from travel; but didn’t keep us from enjoying the day. My husband played beach volleyball, my dad and I napped on the beach, my mom played in the water- really a nice relaxing day.
Isla Mujeres- This was by far one of my favorite days and experiences in Mexico thus far. We chartered a private small catamaran for a day trip to Isla Mujeres. According to Trip Advisor, Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres is the #9 beach in the world. The island also has an underwater statue museum and a large coral reef for great snorkeling/scuba diving, among many other things. The catamaran, although small was perfect for us and having the freedom and flexibility of being on our own schedule was priceless.
The ride to and from the island was gorgeous. We started with snorkeling, then headed to Playa Norte where we played for hours on the water. And wow, the beach is wow! We had lunch/early dinner in the island at a beach club on the other side of the island and then sailed back. Amazing Day!
Hotel Day- Lots of beach lounging, margarita drinking, ceviche and guacamole eating, and waive jumping.
Cenotes! This is a must in the area. While the Cenotes we visited on this trip are beautiful, there was soooo many all over the area and many look so much more beautiful. The thing about these is, they are not necessarily all close together or close to hotel zones in Cancun; they are at least an hour drive so you have to make arrangements with a tour group or rent a car. Since we were on this “we gotta be on our own timeline” vibe, we rented a car- which was easy. These cenotes were about 1.5hrs away from the hotel. None the less, these two cenotes are gorgeous and so different.
Hotel Day- another day of beach lounging, playing, margarita drinking, ceviche eating, and indulging in relaxation.
Go home 😦
We had early morning flights home.
- In Cancun, stay in an all inclusive; it’s so worth it and there are all sorts of all inclusives. You can find a budget friendly or high end- either way, worth it!
- If you like being on your own schedule, rent a car! I cannot stress enough how easy this was! The drive to and from the Cenotes was so easy and we were completely on our own schedule. The hotel arranged everything about the rental and all we had to do was sign the contract and get the keys.
- Although Cancun is very touristy, prices are still very reasonable (comparing to Tulum) and you will find actual authentic Mexican food.
- If you plan to spend days outside the resort, like visiting Cenotes or ruins, call your concierge or room service. Most resorts will pack a cooler for you with food, snacks and drinks that are part of your all inclusive plan!
- I cannot recommend enough a day trip to Isla Mujeres! The catamaran we chartered included beverages and lunch/early dinner in the island. But you are also free to bring your own food/drink if you’d like.
- Cancun is super versatile; great for families, great for partying
- We encountered ZERO seaweed issues- all beaches and water was crystal clear
- If you are thinking about going, GO!
Like I said, I’ve been to Cancun before, and the area a few other times. Mexico is always a good time, and I particularly like Cancun because it’s so versatile with the gorgeous Caribbean Sea waters. There are a ton of options for day trips whether in groups or you want to explore on your own, and it’s easy to get there, even on longer distances.
I will say, Cancun is a bit more commercialized than say Playa del Carmen, or Puerto Morelos. BUT the accessibility to everything while keeping prices reasonable is worth it. And you can visit multiple of these spots in your trip because they are not too far from each other.
I’d love to hear if you’ve been and what your favorite spots are.
If you’re thinking about going; do yourself a favor and book now. You won’t be disappointed.