Away From The Bay: Crystal Blue Oceans In Sunny Cancun

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Cancun is widely known as spring break destination for crazed club nights and non-stop music festivals, paired with white sand beaches and unlimited drinks. Aside the from beaches and margaritas, none of that was what I wanted. While Cancun is a place where you can do an extreme amount of partying, it’s also great for extreme relaxing. For my boyfriend and I, our goal was to relax and soak up as much vitamin D as we could until we were sunburnt. Perfection in paradise.

What makes Cancun an amazing option for relaxation is their all-inclusive resorts. All-inclusive means unlimited food and drinks anytime, free access to certain amenities, right at your fingertips. If we wanted to, we never actually have to leave our resort because everything we needed was there. But being in Cancun for the first time, we wanted to explore.

Planning:

There are plenty of tours in Cancun and you might want to have some booked before you get there. This I do not recommend. I ended up paying 2x the amount for a Chichen Itza tour. It’s actually much cheaper to book your tours while you’re there. What I do recommend is knowing how much time each tour takes and how much of your vacation you want your tours to take up. Like Chichen Itza, Coba, and Xcaret, these tours will take an entire day because they’re plenty of activities to do and they’re located ~3 hours away. For us, we left our resort at 8am and came back 9pm.

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Places to See:

Chichen Itza: Mayan temple city, how could you not want to see one of the 7 wonders of the world? Answer you don’t.
Coba: Mayan Ruins, where the stair master puts you to the real test. It will have your legs swole by this point.
Isla Mujeres: “Woman Island,” become the fish or mermaid you’ve always wanted to be. You’ll never want to leave!
Mercado 28: Marketplace for handcrafts and souvenirs. Bring home the entire families gifts and get your haggling skills to good use.

Food to eat:

All-inclusive resorts in Cancun cater to foreigners, so the food you’re going to get will cater to a foreigner’s palette i.e. you’re not going to get authentic Mexican food. If that’s what you want, you’ll have to get out of the resort and go downtown. After a few days, we got tired of the food at our resort and didn’t know where to go so we went on taco tour to experience Cancun like a local, which was actually the best choice we made over there! If you’re a foodie, I highly recommend going on a food tour and do it early during your trip. You’re going to want to hit those spots again later.

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The Bites:

A large part of Mexican cuisine uses pork; that’s what they focus on and they cook it in so many amazing, different ways. Here are some amazing foods to try!

1. Tacos De Pastor (make sure it’s with pineapple!)
2. Cochinita Pibil (slow roasted pork.)
3. Pozole (white corn and pork stew.)
4. Sopa de Lima (lime soup.)

Special Mention:
5. Chile Relleno de camarones y queso (At Pescaditos.)
6. Oaxacan ice cream.
7. Montejo (Mexican beer.)
8. Dirty Tequila.

Getting Around:

Bus
Majority of Cancun’s resorts are in the hotel zone and if you’re there, there are bus stops every 2 blocks. The fare is about P10.50 ($0.60). Once on the bus, I noticed there weren’t any buttons to request a stop, I don’t know much Spanish so I walked up to the bus driver and said, “Disculpe senor, alto por favor favor” (Excuse me sir, stop please). He stopped at the next stop.

Taxi
In Cancun, you can negotiate the rate of your ride before you get in. Ask your hotel staff for typical trip costs so that you know what to expect and know what’s overpriced and what’s not.

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The Essentials:

- Sunblock & aloe vera for sunburns.
- Sunglasses & an obnoxious sun hat.
- A lot of $1 bills or P20 Mexican peso bills for tipping.

Tips:

Tipping is customary. Show your appreciation for their hard work and hospitality. If you tip generously to servers early during your stay at your hotel, they’ll remember you and will go the extra mile in return.
Don’t drink water from the sink. Only drink bottled water and stay hydrated. There’s unlimited bottled water at the resort so drink up. Especially if you’re under the sun, drinking alcohol.

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Return:

Back into the work/study grind, I was relaxed and so much more energized. I hadn’t realized how tight my body was before I went on vacation. If relaxing at a beach is how you blow off steam, go to Cancun. I wish I could go back to relaxing on a beach chair under the sun, listening to the waves while drinking beer. Cancun is worth at least a 7-day trip, I wouldn’t go less or there wouldn’t be enough time to explore and unplug. After experiencing the wonderous Cancun, it’s definitely a place I would return to. I got so much from this trip and the least I could do is share it and guide you so that you can make the most out of your Cancun trip.


Story + photographs by Johanna Aquino, get out of the bay more often, meet the people and places that keep the world interesting daily.

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