piramid chichen itza - vacations cancun

Tips if you are visiting Cancun, Mexico

After our recent trip to Cancun, a few people asked us about about our experience and if we had any recommendations and tips for their own trips. I decided to put a little guide together of the things we learned during our recent trip; hopefully this will help you if you are thinking of visiting Cancun, Mexico. These tips apply if you are visiting on your honeymoon, relaxation and just family vacation.

Check out the All inclusive packages
I didn’t know this, but Cancun is said to be known for its all inclusive deals. Like any place, if you don’t know where to shop or where the good restaurants are, food and drinks can be very expensive, so having an all inclusive option will save you a lot of money. Not everyone likes this option because you are limited to the food at your hotel, but in our case, it worked very well. Just be warned, you will be putting on a few pounds.

hamacas mayan art crafts - chichen itza - vacations cancun [pinit]

Be aware of timeshares
Upon arriving to Cancun, chances are you will be approached by people asking you where are you visiting from. Most likely, they will try to convince you of accepting a presentation aka. timeshare. You can easily confuse them with airport staff willing to help you, your shuttle, or travel agencies selling tickets to their most popular attractions, but in reality they want to sell you a presentation for a timeshare, and they are very good at it, employing the old car salesman tactics. They will not say timeshare, but something like presentation, tour to my hotel, here is a way you can save money, and they will always ask for a credit card to put a deposit towards your tickets.

Beware. Timeshare people are a plague invading Cancun, and if you are lucky to get away from them at the airport, you will find them at the hotels, malls, and almost anywhere. So do yourselves a favor, and just say I don’t have a credit card.

Mexico’s best asset: it’s people
OK, to be fair, not everyone is out to get tourists. Mexicans are absolutely AMAZING. That was the number one reason we came back because we remembered how awesome Mexicans were. They always have a smile on their faces, and they are super courteous and kind. If it depended on them, they will make sure your stay is as pleasant as possible. In case, you are wondering, everyone speaks English, so no need to look for your Spanish dictionary.

Paradise awaiting

From the moment we landed, I was in love. The blues skies, weather, beautiful beaches and the light, yes the light is just gorgeous. But be adventurous and go beyond the hotel area because paradise is awaiting. Cancun is very close to the Mayan Riviera, and there are so many beautiful places to visit like: Chitche Itza, Cozumel, Tulum, Xcaret, cenotes, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Coral Reefs and so much more.

Because we were staying only 7 days, and we wanted to just sit down and do nothing, we only took two full day trips, and 1 shorter trip.

Chitchen Itza
Visiting Chichen Itza is an absolute must if you are traveling to Cancun. The trip takes about three hours, but you make 2 stops prior to arriving to Chichen Itza. The first stop is a trip to a cenote, which is a type of underground cave with a deep lagoon. This was on top of my list of places to visit before I died. If you dare, you can take a swim. It was a little too cold for me, but Danny did it, and he said it’s one of the best experiences in his live.

After visiting the cenote, we visited a small Mayan Community, where you can buy their crafts or their famous Mayan calendar written in their own paper. Super cool.

After an OK lunch, we continued our trip to Chichen Itza. We feel extremely lucky to have had such an amazing guide. He was incredibly passionate and knowledgable, and he taught us a lot about the Mayans, their history and culture. By the time we arrive in Chichen Itza, we were prepared to understand a little better this amazing civilization.

Price: $50 – $60 per person
Includes: Shuttle from/ to hotel, transportation to Kukulcan Pyramid, tour guide, trip to a cenote, entrance to see the Mayan ruins, and lunch – beverages are not included
Bring: swimsuit, towel, sunblock, hat, water, money, comfy shoes.

piramid chichen itza - vacations cancun

If you love eco tourism, Xcaret is the place for you. Think Disney, but without roller coaster, princesses, fast food and way better, at least for me. The whole park feels natural, and after a while you forget you are in a man made park, even the garbage cans are pretty. There are lots of things to see and experience: you can swim in undergrounds rivers, see Mayan ruins, walk through a jungle trail, take a boat ride where you feel in paradise, or just stop and watch dozens of shows. Xcaret is most known for their animal conservation programs, so logically there are lots of beautiful animals, like sea turtles, one of my favorite animals ever, cage free macaws, tapirs, sharks, manatees, sharks, crocodiles, flamingos, iguanas roaming free and of course, super friendly dolphins. You can schedule swimming with dolphins or sharks.

After much convincing, I agreed to swim through an underground river, but because the thought of swimming through totally dark underground river was a little too much for me, we opted for a river called Manatee, the least underground of the three. I’m still trying to convince Danny that it was a good decision because it was indeed beautiful.

Another must at Xcaret is the 6PM show. The show is absolutely amazing, and it gives you a little taste of Mexico.

Who would have known, but you can also get married at Xcaret, visit Xcaret weddings.

In our case, the travel agency sold us a regular admission, so don’t think you need to get the Plus package. Besides the buffet restaurants, which charge a whooping $29 per person, there is a beautiful open restaurant called Orchids, where the food is excellent and reasonably priced. We paid $35 for the four of us, much better than paying $40 extra per person.

With Xcaret you can even buy your tickets online in the comfort of your home.

Price: $98.10 per person regular admission – $139 per person, plus package (includes an all you can eat buffet)
Includes: Shuttle from/ to hotel, transportation to Xcaret, entrance to Xcaret, and most activities.
Bring: swimsuit, towel, sunblock, hat, water, money, comfy shoes.

river xcaret - vacations cancun

Coral Reefs
If you get a chance, take a tour to a coral reef. It is absolutely an amazing experience. You get to ride a boat, sail through mangroves and do some snorkeling. You will see an beautiful coral reef and get to swim with very curious fish.

Price: $49 per person
Includes: Boat rental, guide, snorkeling gear (new tube)
Bring: swimsuit, towel, sunblock, hat, water, money, comfy shoes.

cancun beach - vacations cancun

I can’t say enough good things about Cancun just that we’re already planning our next visit.

1 Comment
  • Oscar

    February 22, 2012at5:50 pm

    The best time to visit Cancun is in low season, the all-inclusive packages are cheaper and the service is better!