If you’ve been following along on Insta, you’ll know that I just got back from a trip to Cancun.
My boyfriend and I stayed in our friend’s family home during much of our stay, but the last few days we moved to a resort to spend a few nights on the beach. Therefore, we got a great perspective of both real Cancun and touristy Cancun. Now I wanted to share my top five things to do and a few tips for visiting the area. Let’s jump in!
————————————-Things to do—————————————
1. Drive to Tulum to see the ruins
It was a really authentic experience walking through the ruins in Tulum. Because Tulum has become so crowded over the years, you cannot walk on the actual ruins but you have the ability to walk through the park and take plenty of photos. You’ll even run into a few iguanas! This was a really special day trip and so breath-taking.
2. Hang out at the beach
It goes without saying that you’ll need to check out the beaches and jump in! The beautiful blue waters are quite enticing. As I always mention to those who like to take on risk, be safe when swimming in the water. There’s lots of rocks and of course, all the mystery of the ocean’s depths.
3. Take a ferry to Isla Mujeres
This was my most favorite touristy outing throughout the entirety of our trip. I’ll try to summarize, so you’re not tapping your fingers impatiently here. We took a ferry to get to the island, which is a cool experience all in its own. As a group, we got into a lot of activities throughout the day but mostly a lot of beach hopping. Because we got to the island fairly late in the morning (10 AM) all the golf carts were already rented out for the day and we got, literally, the last scooter on the island. Lesson learned so make sure to get to the island early so you can rent a golf cart because trust me, your ass is gonna need it. It was really fun being on a scooter and my boyfriend played it safe because drivers in Mexico just don’t give a f*$#! This island was the most picturesque place I have dreamed about, but it was in fact, even more beautiful than my dreams *sighs*
4. Eat and Drink Locally
Since much of our trip was spent in a beautiful mansion with our friend’s family, we got the authentic experience of Cancun. I wouldn’t be able to find the taco stand now, but we went to a hole in the wall type taco stand that served the greatest fish tacos of all time. I mean it. It’s unlike anything else. The tacos were absolutely delicious, and they had a variety of seafood. I’m talking shrimp, the day’s catch, lobster, crab and so forth. Needless to say, everyone was licking their fingers and going back for more. The other thing that made me so happy was finally drinking an alcoholic beverage in a coconut. Can I get a round of applause? It’s been a long time coming and one of the items I can finally check off my list of to dos in my life.
5. Visit Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen was touristy and crowded, but there was quite a bit of natural beauty along with lots of shopping. Both of which I love. The streets were filled with shops of all varieties and so many cafes and restaurants serving delicious food and plenty of Mexican beer. We were all able to find authentic gifts for loved ones back home, which was a huge plus.
————————————-Advice and tips—————————————
Now when it comes to advice, here are my tips:
1. Barter your ass off. The one thing I learned from traveling to Mexico is that everything is negotiable. Most businesses will work with you if you want to play the negotiation game, even established businesses (jetski rentals, boat rentals, etc.) When a business offers you a cost, always negotiate and try to get them to lower it. You should never pay full price because the associate is likely charging you more because they know you’re a tourist.
2. Water. Something I noticed throughout Cancun is that water pressure is much lower. It took me quite a bit of time to get shampoo out of my hair, which made me a bit of a bathroom hog. Most of Cancun’s restaurants will not have “filtered water” and will require you to buy a bottle of water in order to have water on your table. On the hotel strip however, the resorts and restaurants have something they like to call “house water” which is filtered water that doesn’t cost you more but is safe to drink.
3. Restroom. Anything “unnatural” cannot be flushed down the toilet (a.k.a. toilet paper) so expect and plan to throw your TP in the trash can in the bathroom, unless you’re on the hotel strip.
4. Money. While the USD is widely accepted, every shop or market tends to rip off those who pay with dollars because “they won’t have the right change” so bring your dollars in pesos. Additionally, if you are staying on the hotel strip make sure to ask your concierge what the exchange rate for the property is. We found out that the local exchange rate (restaurants, shops, etc) varied from 15.5 pesos-16.5 peso to every $1 USD. However, we found out that our resort’s exchange rate for anything billed to the room was 17.4 pesos to every $1 USD. Knowing this would make eating in your resort property a better deal, if the resort has great restaurants. Trust me, it adds up.
5. Sunscreen. The chances are likely that temperatures will be in the 80s or higher. It will be humid so I would also recommend lighter clothing to accommodate those temps.
6. Organize your documentation and $. While no one told us to keep our immigration slips, I knew better than to throw mine away because I like to keep receipts and useless pieces of paper until I know they are absolutely of no value to me. My boyfriend does not have the same mentality and he ended up tossing his immigration receipt. Little did we know, we needed that receipt to get checking in for our flight and because he didn’t have his it was a $30 USD charge to get a new one.
That’s it everyone. If you’re planning your trip to Cancun and have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments below and I will be sure to get back to you.
Have you ever been to Cancun or anywhere in Mexico?