I cannot believe my blog has been neglected for the past month. I have been so busy with school and finals, plus I have been working a lot more, which ultimately meant my blog (sadly) went on the back burner. Anyways, today I am back and finally sharing my trip to Cancun, Mexico that my boyfriend and I went on in February. It was an amazing week away in paradise and so nice to escape the cold weather we were having, as well as the stress of school and work. Just to be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company was exactly what I wanted.
Our trip really was the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure and since we only see each other once or twice a week (we live about an hour away from one another), it was absolute bliss to be able to spend a week together and wake up next to one another each morning.
If you want to see what we got up to while in Mexico, carry on reading!
This was my first time visiting Mexico and also my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort and I absolutely loved it. We stayed at the Barceló Tucancun Beach, which is a 4-star hotel situated between the Nichupté Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. We booked through Trip Central, as the site was super easy to navigate and allowed us to narrow down what we wanted—plus they seemed to offer the best deals. In our price included all taxes and fees, our direct flight there and back, our all-inclusive accommodations for 1 week and transportation to and from the airport.
My tip if you are looking to book an all-inclusive trip? Leave on a Wednesday if you can! It’s the cheapest day to fly and our trip cost over $500 less leaving on the Wednesday versus the Sunday or Monday.
Jason and I were thrilled with how modern and clean our resort was and since it had gone under renovations just last year it meant a lot of it felt brand new. Our room was clean, spacious and modern and we had an incredible ocean view from our room (see photo below), which made waking up each morning that much better. We were also really impressed with the breakfast buffet at El Mirador, which meant we ate like kings each morning.
Our first night there we decided to explore the La Isla Shopping Village which was about a 10 minute walk from our resort. Though it is really touristy I absolutely loved walking around this open air mall.
We stopped for sangria and beer at a restaurant that was attached to the Interactive Aquarium and overlooked the dolphin tank. Personally, I am against dolphins being held in captivity, but this little guy (or gal) came over to look up at us—I think Jason is just an animal whisperer, as the dolphin was so alert to his hand gestures. It gave me such mixed emotions of happiness and sadness, as these beautiful creatures are way too intelligent to be confined in a pool for our own entertainment.
Anyways, not going to try and get too preachy here, but it ended up the bathrooms at the restaurant were in the Interactive Aquarium. I am not sure how the admissions work, but no one stopped us and we ended up walking around part of the aquarium and seeing all the exotic fish and crustaceans—again mixed feelings about it especially the sharks, but hey, at least I didn’t give them my money.
The next day was our first full day and we allowed ourselves to relax by the pool and beach and really get into vacation mode.
My favourite drink at the resort was actually this non-alcoholic concoction which was crushed ice and Coca-Cola with lime. I remember drinking these as a kid in Florida at the pool bar, so having it poolside as an adult made me all nostalgic and happy. And it’s so refreshing!
That night we checked out the nighttime entertainment, as the Michael Jackson show was recommended to us. We didn’t know what to expect, so went in with an open mind and it ended up being really fun! The impersonator was lip-syncing, but he looked and moved like MJ and the backup dancers were equally great. My favourites were definitely Thriller where one of the dancers walked down the stairs a la The Exorcist and Smooth Criminal because that anti-gravity lean, obviously.
The following day we were up early for our excursion to Yucatán to explore the ruins of Chichén Itzá and to swim in the Cenote Ik Kil. Both of these were things we wanted to see while we were here so we jumped at the chance to book this excursion which included both.
I have mentioned in my Guatemala posts how fascinated I am with the Maya civilization, so to visit Chichén Itzá, whose pyramid was named one of the New7Wonders of the World, was an absolute dream.
The main star was the iconic El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulcan. This incredible temple stands at almost 100 ft high and contains 365 steps—one for each day of the year. Despite the temple’s towering height, an excavation in the 1930s revealed that another temple is buried beneath this one.
Unfortunately, the throne room inside the temple closed in 2006 to the public, so we didn’t get to venture inside. Which is important to note—the ruins at Chichén Itzá are completely off limits to tourists in regards to climbing, so if you were hoping to climb some Mayan ruins then you might want to look at other sites in Mexico (though I think Chichén Itzá is absolutely a must see).
The serpent heads a the base of El Castillo. During the spring and autumn equinoxes the shadows cast on the pyramid makes it look as if the serpents are slithering down the steps.
One of the two rings at the Great Ball Court, which I found equally as amazing as El Castillo. The largest and best preserved ball court in the Americas, the object of these ritual games was to shoot a rubber ball through the stone rings and the captain of the winning team was sacrificed. Doesn’t sound too desirable today, but for the Mayans, this was the ultimate honour.
Temple of the Jaguar
The Observatory, ‘El Caracol’
Temple of the Warriors
We were also really amused by the amount of iguanas at the ruins. We shared a banana with this guy and instantly became friends.
Even though I would of loved to have walked around Chichén Itzá longer, it was really humid out and we had definitely worked up an appetite. We had lunch in this amazing outdoor setting in a Mayan village not far from the ruins, where we were treated to a buffet of authentic Mexican cuisine and this was definitely my favourite meal of the trip. I also tried a traditional Mayan tea (wish I got a picture of it) that is served chilled and is a vibrant green colour. It reminded me of green grapes and aloe vera and it was actually quite delicious. We also sat with a couple from Boston who were lovely and they ended up buying our drinks for us!
If there’s hammocks there’s a good chance Jason and I were in them. The sun was strong this day, so it was awesome to lounge in one of the hammocks and relax with a beer.
Though feeling a little stuffed, we then headed to the Cenote Ik Kil—to our surprise no one else in our tour group swam in it but us. Anyways, if you’re not familiar with what a cenote is, it’s a sinkhole with exposed ground water. It was so cool and unlike anything I had ever seen before, especially with all the vines hanging down. These pictures just do not do it justice.
Jason diving into the cenote. I was too scared to jump off the first time, but ended up jumping off the second time he went.
The water level is 85 ft below ground level and also home to a ton of black catfish. Though Ik Kil was a tad over packed with tourists, it was so cool to swim from one end of the cenote to the other.
The combination of sitting on a coach bus for around 6 hours, exploring the ruins in the heat and swimming in the cenote, meant we were feeling pretty knackered. However, that night we had dinner reservations at México Lindo on our resort, so we made our best effort to look decent. These pictures make me laugh because you can totally tell by our eyes how tired we are.
The dinner was heavy, but delicious and I swapped my usual beer and cocktails for a couple glasses of wine. We finished the meal off with some tequila—some people have dessert after dinner, we prefer liquor.
Feeling much more rested the following morning, we relaxed on the beach with beer and mojitos. It was a tad windy this day, but otherwise another beautiful day in paradise (sorry for the abundance of leg shots, this is the last one I promise).
Our iguana friend on our resort who we would go and feed after breakfast. I honestly can’t get over the amount of iguanas there are in Mexico and how calm they are.
After lunch we decided to hop on the bus and venture to downtown Cancun. We wanted to explore Mercado 28 which is an open air market, that allows you to not only find affordable, handcrafted souvenirs, but also experience real Mexican culture. Please note that if you take the bus and tell the bus driver you are going to Mercado 28, the market they drop you off at is NOT the actual Mercado 28.
The one you are dropped off at is a tourist trap and this market is really expensive and the people working there will try and pressure you into buying something. We didn’t know this until after, so unfortunately we didn’t make it to the real market. However, we did venture away from the market where we shopped at other local shops and we also ventured to the Walmart which was an experience in itself.
Sunday we got up early like the little old couple we are to walk along the beach before heading back to the resort to relax by the pool.
Look at that cheeky smile!
His cheeky smile is pretty great too.
Later that afternoon we ventured out again, this time with the intention to rent some kayaks to go kayaking on the lagoon, but alas they were closed. We still made the most of the evening and spent some time on the docks and watched the sunset which was so serene and romantic.
So calm and beautiful.
That night we had dinner reservations for La Trattoria on our resort. Unfortunately, this was the night I got sick (it was only a matter of time). Mind you, it was NOT due to the food being contaminated or anything like that. I just have a really sensitive stomach and poor digestion, so almost a week of eating a lot of dairy and heavy foods was eventually going to catch up with me. So, Sunday night was spent curled up in bed next to Jason while he rubbed my back (seriously, he’s the best).
Monday night and feeling a bit better, we ventured back to La Isla Shopping Village for burritos and beer along the lagoon.
Our last day we went snorkeling at the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park in the Mayan Riviera. We did it through Morning Glory Snorkeling and I really liked that it is done in smaller groups so the reef doesn’t feel overcrowded with tourists. That being said I do wish we had more time to explore the reefs, as I felt like it was over so fast. You are taken to 2 different spots, a shallow reef and a deeper reef, for 45 minutes each and I would of loved for even an extra 15 minutes at each spot. However, snorkeling was such an incredible experience and I am so happy I finally got to try it.
We saw mostly yellowtail snappers and spotlight parrotfish, but Jason also saw an octopus and I saw a slightly intimidating barracuda.
Note to self: Don’t smile while wearing a snorkeling mask. It’s not a good look.
Our last night we decided instead of lying low to instead celebrate our last night and an amazing week by heading out to Señor Frogs. Neither of us are club-type people so we decided to not spend the money on Coco Bongo, but going to Señor Frogs on a night when it had a more bar feel than club feel was perfect for us. We had drinks at the lobby bar at our resort before heading out, which included one too many of the most amazing margaritas we had ever had.
And before we knew it it was Wednesday morning and we were saying goodbye to our room and having out last breakfast before heading on our coach back to the airport to cold Toronto.
Looking back on these photos has me going through some serious vacation withdrawals again. It was just an amazing trip and I cannot wait for our next adventure together. If you are looking to book a trip in the Caribbean I would really recommend checking out the Barceló Hotels and Resorts and booking through Trip Central if you’re from Canada.
Until next time Mexico!