After being delayed an hour at LGA because of snow…
and rushing through Atlanta International Airport to catch our connecting flight…
we finally arrived in Cancun. We were greeted with hot, muggy air, and a random bag check by security, but we were thankful that a friend recommended that we call our hotel to have a car pick us up because the taxi area can be hectic and brutal. Once exiting the airport, we spotted my name and were off to the resort with two bottles of water and wet face clothes waiting for us in the car.
Despite Mexico having a violent reputation, Cancun looked untouched as it’s clean with many tourists. When we arrived at our hotel, or I should say resort, we were greeted with five-star elegance.
This is the first time we ever booked a five-star resort as we’re more used to saving money for three or four star hotels and going out and enjoying the locale. However, we were weary and cautious of our surroundings and also knew that CJ would have the most fun in a pool and at the beach, plus we found this deal on Travelocity, so we opted for maximum amenities at a resort.
The Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort and Spa, rated 9th best on Tripadvisor, definitely lived up to its name. The staff was very nice, we felt we were very well taken care of, and we didn’t feel out of place at all because there were many other families as well. We were able to exchange dollars for pesos at a very generous rate, and they also gave us a crib for CJ to sleep in.
We arrived late in the afternoon, so we didn’t get to do much except for eating dinner at the resort which sadly had more American themed restaurants than authentic Mexican cuisine.
The next day we simply spent our entire time at the resort. We had an amazing complementary buffet breakfast each day with to-order chefs, super fast waiter service, and an unbelievable selection of eats ranging from normal high-end breakfast items such as omelets, ham, potatoes, and French toast, to pulled pork, chicken dishes, salmon, and more fine dining and desserts.
Best breakfast(s) ever.
Afterwards, we spent most of our morning at the beach so that CJ could play in the sand and ocean.
The weather was perfect the entire week being in 80’s with a bit of humidity, but very comfortable in the shade.
Before lunch, we headed over to the small playground that had a toddler pool attached, but CJ just wanted to go up and down the slide, so we left and went for lunch at the poolside restaurant.
After CJ’s nap, we ventured into the main pool which was only 4 feet deep with a number of ledges and walkways that CJ could waddle in.
It also had its own toddler pool attached as well.
This was much better as the main pool had more sun and was warmer than the first toddler pool we tried.
We bought CJ this highly rated flotation device that seemed to work, but CJ was way too afraid to let go of us while in the pool.
For dinner, we wanted to eat at a nice restaurant, but the immediate area is more of a shopping and club district, so we had to opt for some $1 USD quesadillas.
OXXO is like Mexico’s 7-Eleven which is where we bought our water and snacks.
On our second day we took a ferry to Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancun.
From the recommendation of friends, we rented a golf cart to travel around the 5-mile long island, but the company I chose to rent from was a bit rude.
Days before, I emailed Prisma Golf Cart Rental, rated the highest on Tripadvisor, for a one-day quote with the 10% website discount. Jesus replied back to me and quoted me $43 – $5 discount for a total of $38 USD. I said okay and he replied back, “See you then.” The website directions from the ferry were incorrect, but a local kindly pointed us in the right direction. We walked in and I told this guy my name and that I emailed Jesus and that he told me $38 USD with the coupon. The manager asked if I had a confirmation and I said via email, but he wanted a print out. I didn’t have one and he quoted me $48 USD. I got really upset. He said he couldn’t do anything without the email, but thankfully I still had it on my phone despite being on airplane mode. He looked at it and honored the $38 USD. There was no communication about printing out the email at all. This got me stressed the entire day because I thought they were going to pull something shady on the return, but everything was fine. To their credit, it was a true discount as an all-day rental was listed in the store as 550 pesos, but he gave it to us for 450 pesos. Regardless, this entire experience put a real stink on my visit to Isla Mujeres.
After getting out of the downtown area, we traveled to a small turtle farm that only cost $3 USD per person.
It was basically just one small room of turtles with some other marine life in fish tanks and then some more turtles in a few outdoor pools.
At least we were able to score a few nice photos at the aquarium.
We then drove further out and ended up at a Mexican temple which was really just a bunch of sculptures.
Cooling off with some ice-cream.
Before leaving, we stopped off for lunch at this really good local restaurant, the Mango Cafe, which was probably the best meal we had the entire vacation.
On the ferry to the island, we were told that they would not be returning back to the ferry port next to our resort, so on the way back we took the ferry that dropped us off nearest to our resort which was listed as being 3.5 Km away. We didn’t know how the bus system worked and were going to get a taxi, but we were so thankful to have split a taxi ride with another family we met on the ferry that spoke Spanish and were going back to the same resort as well.
The entire ordeal of Isla Mujeres was quite stressful and sort of overshadowed our day.
On our last day we simply hung around the pool and beach and soaked in all that our resort had to offer.
And CJ did very well on all of our flights because he slept a lot and watched a ton of Toy Story.
All in all, this was a much needed vacation and we’re thankful to have traveled to another country and enjoy some really nice and restful accommodations at a good price. Perhaps I should have researched better where we could eat out via taxi, and being a foreigner without being able to speak the language definitely comes with uncertainty and caution, but Cancun is a very nice and generally safe area to vacation at. We’re not sure if we’ll return anytime soon, but we’re grateful to have experienced Cancun <cancoon>.