Sean and I just got back from our mini vacation into the land of eternal summer, Mexico!
It was our second visit, and very enjoyable, much like the first one but a bit different.
Last time, we went to Playa del Carmen in the middle of summer, in July. This time we decided to stay in Cancun, and it’s end of November, you can almost call it winter.
We were really lucky to have great weather with no rain both times (yoo hoo!), and enjoy my favorite vacation activities – swimming in the ocean and snorkeling! On top of that, I enjoyed another almost-James-Bond-like experience (others were ocean diving and riding a tomcar): driving a speed boat! That two-seat little boat was very fun to ride and went pretty fast! We rode from the lagoon through the mangrove river to the open ocean, where the coral reef was located, and snorkeled there for half an hour. We saw a sting ray on the sandy bottom, many fish and a real octopus!
I wanted to share recommendations for those who’d like to go there.
Consider Playa del Carmen for a fun, adventure and activity packed vacation.
– Hotel: the Royal, all-inclusive, right in the middle of the main street, 5th avenue, where you can stroll in the evenings and shop.
– There you can book fun tours like snorkeling, exploring caves and cenotes, ziplining and Mayan ruins in Tulum.
– Cozumel island is nearby, and has great diving and snorkeling (I haven’t been yet).
– The food is amazing (5 restaurants), the beach is nice and the rooms are luxurious (especially if you reserve ocean-view suites). We went in July with Sean’s parents for their anniversary celebration, and we all had a fantastic time.
– Getting there: fly into Cancun airport, and to save money, take an ADO bus from the airport to Playa del Carmen (around $6–8 I think), then walk to hotel (10–15 mins on 5th avenue) or take a cab ($5 US). Of course you could also take a cab from the airport, but it will cost more (unsure of exact price).
Consider Cancun for a quick getaway, and if you like lazy days on the beach, nightlife and shopping.
– Hotel: Sandos, all-inclusive luxury resort. 3 restaurants, great spa, smaller than other hotels but has an intimate feel, beautiful and warm swimming pools and amazing service – they bring you food right to the beach, you don’t even need to lift a finger! (well, except to eat your food) Hotel is good for families, we saw many couples with toddlers.
– There are also activities around Cancun, such as snorkeling at the Great Mayan reef, day trip to Isla Mujeres island nearby, or swimming with whale sharks in summer (alas, we didn’t get to do it because we went in November).
– For nightlife and shopping take a local bus up north that runs very often (like every minute) and costs less than $1 one way.
– Getting there: fly into Cancun airport and take a cab, $35–40 one way. There are no direct buses to the hotel zone. I used Cancun Shuttle company to arrange a pickup online, but the wait was long (close to an hour) for the next available car when we got there. So not sure I would recommend it.
Hope you find these useful, and happy exploring!