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Cancun: The Caribbean Playground

Private Beach at Resort

I have been to Cancun a few times and each time I have had a very unique experience. On my first visit to Cancun we went with a large group of family members and the second, I went with my husband. Each experience varied in a very positive way. I broke this post up into two parts: family and significant other just in case one interests you over the other. Don't worry, I won't know if you skipped over one, the other or both sections.

Trip with the Family:

On our family vacation we stayed at a family resort by name of Sandos Ecological All Inclusive Resort. If you are going to Cancun with children, this is your resort. It had an onsite small zoo, swimmable cenotes (in ground watering holes), mayan ruins, several pools with a lazy river, a snack cafe with swings, free kayaking and snorkeling, an arcade with happy hour and a bar for the parents and a private beach that had toys for children. The resort had more than 5 restaurants of different foods to enjoy. We were there a week and barely scratched the surface of the resort.

During our visit we decided to venture out and not just see the resort. We took our first tour to see Chichen Itza (one of the world wonders). The tour was booked through our resort. We were picked up by a large bus, provided a light breakfast and drinks along the 3 hour bus trip to see the famous ruins. The tour guide was funny. She passed out margaritas and told jokes the entire ride. Before we knew it we made our first stop to the Hubiku Cenote where we could have a Mexican lunch, tequila tasting and buy souvenirs from local shops. The Cenote was located in a cave. As I approached the cave I instantly became unsure of what lay ahead of me. It was dark and I could feel the dampness from outside in the hot humor air. My family and I started our descend into the cave and before we knew darkness was broken by a slice of light that appeared as a hole at top of the cave. We continued downward to begin our dip into the rejuvenating waters of the cenote (68 degrees and 300 feet deep). My stepson and husband grabbed each others hands and ran as fast as they could before becoming airborne then disappearing into the chilly waters. They submerged with a large gasp of air as if coming up from a bath of ice. We eventually all got into the water as a family and took a memorable photo of that moment.

Hubiku Cenote Near Cancun

We dried off in the warm air and headed to our tequila tasting. There was a store where they gave each of us (not the kids) 5 different shots of tequila to try. They were all so good I had no choice but to buy all five bottles to take home as souvenirs. We stumbled our way over to where lunch was served where the food was unbelievable and authentic Mexican (not Taco Bell) goodness. We boarded the bus after our fabulous lunch and headed towards Chichen Itza. Our bus soon arrived to what seemed like desert and jungle coming together as one. We walked a short distance before we saw the famous world wonder of Chichen Itza. It was amazing. The guide explained the history of the Mayans and the ruins. I won't bore you with the history because you won't listen when you go but its definitely worth seeing.

Chichen Itza

We completed the last leg of our Journey toward the city of Vallodolid which was an old Spanish town. It had some of the the Spanish influence in the architecture around the city. The buildings were colorful and unique. We spent roughly an hour in the tour at the local shops and cathedral. Our trip to Chichen Itza was a memorable success for our family. We ended our day on the beach with our toes in the sand at the resort.

After a few days of taking down drinks and watching our kids kayak and circle around in the lazy river we decided to visit another town by name of Tulum. Tulum is carribean with Mayan influence. There were several ruins to explore and at the end you got to swim alongside the ruins on a private beach with crystal clear water. This tour was only a half day trip that can be done in enough time to return for dinner at the resort.

Tulum Mexico Ruins

Trip with my Husband:

My second visit to Cancun was to celebrate our wedding anniversary and to celebrate the union of friends (my first real Mexican wedding). Our accommodations were at the Royalton Riviera and boy did we go all out. We upgraded our room to ocean front with a private pool and a diamond club butler service. This. was. the. life. We kicked started our visit with a private tour of our section of the resort (diamond club). We were shown to our room and introduced to our butler during our stay who was on call at any point of the trip. The first thing that I ordered was a bottle of Don Julio Anejo Blanco (they brought it right away). We cracked that baby right open and headed straight to our private pool where we enjoyed the sun, the view and each other until we decided to head to dinner at the steakhouse on the resort.

I normally don't give mention to the restaurants unless they knock my socks off but this place was amazing. They hosted a large party at the center of the resort with dancers and live bands and then there was a disco that went until the wee hours of the morning. The next morning I spent my day just relaxing and soaking in the sun rays, we had an assigned bed by the pool with our own waitress who literally waited on us hand and foot. We decided to walk the resort and beach area for a better look at the resort. We visited every bar on the way and stopped to have lunch with a view of the ocean. After lunch we laid out on hammocks and enjoyed each others company until it was time to get ready for the wedding. Unbeknownst to us, Hurricane Michael was headed our way as high winds and darkness began to gather near the resort. As soon as we made it to the wedding a extreme downpour started which moved the wedding party to the indoors reception area. Now this place was amazing because they were able to set up the indoors area in what seemed like an hour for a fairly large wedding. I was impressed at the turnaround on short notice. The wedding was gorgeous and the food and music kept everyone on their feet all night dancing to salsa, bachata and banda. Two different trips, but two amazing experiences.

Wedding at Royalton Riviera

Cancun has something for everyone, you can go with your family and explore or your significant other and just relax. There is no map of how to enjoy it. In my two visits there I feel like I have barely scratched the surface and I still may return a few more times to see all the other things that I missed my last two trips. There is adventure, shopping, relaxing, good tequila, private beaches, good theater and nightclubs. If you have been thinking of going here, there shouldn't be a hesitation, its safe, fun and absolutely beautiful.

*special mention to Luis and Loredana, thanks for sharing your special day with us.

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