...and then some
Cancun, Mexico is a beautiful part of our awe-inspiring Earth. This paradise is bordered with the most pristine beautiful shades of blue ocean water that I have ever seen (as you can see in the photo)! The locals of Cancun are very nice and friendly, but beware, they are always looking for ways to take your money by selling anything they can. Mexico is a relatively poor country where most of workers fear losing their job if they deviate from any part of their job directives. Their pay is in pesos, the peso is equal to $0.05 American (it fluctuates with the stock market). It took me awhile to adjust to this conversion rate (I suggest learning before you go). They were very appreciative of all tips.
My experience started at the airport, I got my checked luggage and proceeded through the checkout line/customs where they make you push a red button which either turns red or green. Of course mine turned red, so they went through my checked suitcase looking for alcohol or tobacco to which they found none. I was not happy about them rummaging through my clean clothes with their nasty half-gloved hands. Next, I proceeded outside of the airport to find my shared shuttle. This was total chaos and disarray because there were hundreds of taxi drivers looking for a fare. I suggest taking one of those taxis to your destination. I made the mistake of trying to save money by taking a shared shuttle which is fine if your hotel is first on the list of stops. My hotel was last so it took about 1 hour to get there. Once I got there it was heaven on Earth!
I spent the first two days just chilling on the beach and snorkeling (I suggest buying a good pair of face goggles which cover your eyes and nose and a snorkel. Why rent when you can own)? The air temp ranged from 80-84 & the water temp was around 78, cooler than what I expected, but then again it was January.
The next day I ventured out and came across a tour/excursion booth located on the street and started talking to the guys. I asked for the cheapest zip-line/ATV tour they could give me and as it turns out my price was the cheapest out of anyone else that I met on the excursion (my price was $65 and other people paid $110 each. My advice is always ask for the lowest price and remember.... everything is negotiable. They don't want to lose the opportunity to their competition, they all need pesos). I scheduled the excursion two days later where the shuttle picked me up at my resort and picked up a few more tourists on the way to the jungle. After a 30 minute ride we came upon a sign that read "Welcome to the jungle!” Of course being a rock-n-roller I started to sing the Guns & Roses tune (they did have “fun & games”, LOL)! The 1st activity was zip-lining through the jungle on 9 different lines. This was my 1st time & it was AWESOME; FUN & EXCITING! Next, we drove our ATV's through the jungle and arrived at a "Cenote" (a blue lagoon) where we swam and jumped off 20' & 30' cliffs (my childhood confidence came back and I actually dove off the 20' cliff) into this beautiful natural water for approximately 30 minutes and then we headed back to our starting point. The tour concluded with two BBQ tacos served in an outdoor cafe style area, they were very TASTY!
My next adventure was to the island of Isla Mujeres (Island of Women). This island was off in the distance of my beach resort, located northeast of Cancun. As I looked at it every day and wondered about it, my new friends at the resort told me that I need to check it out! Of course there is only one way to get to an island, by ferry. It was inexpensive, only 200 pesos = $10 round trip. The ferry ride itself was exciting as we glided over the beautiful turquoise / blue water! The views were breath-taking! Once you arrive on the island you can rent a golf cart or a moped to get around (I forgot my ID at my resort so I was unable to rent one, which turned out OK because you will always see more if you walk around). I walked to the beautiful beaches on the north side where I snorkeled and swam with a starfish, a hermit crab & translucent fish (It always amazes me how creatures adapt themselves to be camouflaged with their environment). To the east side you can venture out and walk along the rocks and cliffs. This was the most beautiful scenery I have seen yet! Like any island there are many restaurants, gift shops, etc. This island trip was like going on a separate vacation, so plan on spending a full day there!
The next evening I headed out to the “hot-spot” in the hotel zone area which has many clubs & restaurants. There is a venue called Coco Bongo where impersonators perform acts similar to a Las Vegas show. This area was hopping. They had outside bars with smoking hot go-go dancers trying to lure people inside. Their problem was the girls were right there on raised platforms dancing around the perimeter so you don't have to go inside; not great strategy to make $$$.
If you’re concerned about the so-called "don't drink the water" problem from years ago, it no longer exists. All restaurants have water purifiers and a lot of them use bottled spring water. Also, the ice is made by purified water so I had no problems drinking or eating. With that said, it was recommended that I try the local brick fired pizza & let me tell ya, It would give any pizza shop in the US a run for its money! It's pretty sad when I have to go to Mexico to get a good pizza these days. (note to pizza shops; add more sauce/gravy to your pizzas, that what makes a pizza tasty!) Many people think that there is only Mexican food to eat while vacationing, which is far from the truth! From pancakes and French toast and bacon for breakfast to deli sandwiches with ham or turkey for lunch. If you are craving an authentic Mexican meal try the green scrambled eggs and cactus juice (exactly what it sounds like, juice from a cactus combined with mango or orange)!
Sadly, the next morning was my last day in Mexico time to head back to the great USA!.... I took a taxi for 200 pesos (again I gave him a nice tip for a safe ride). I was told to arrive 2-3 hours before my flight which was too bad because I was through security in 10 minutes after I checked my bag. The total time took 30 minutes (keep in mind this was on a Thursday, probably takes longer on weekends). I had time to kill at the airport to eat & watch a Mariachi band play a few tunes, which was an authentic cultural send-off back home! Make sure to use your PTO from work and SEE THE WORLD!