The US media has done a great job scaring people about Mexico, and I get asked at least once a week whether it is “safe” to travel there. I always explain the facts behind the misleading headlines, and reassure clients that the unfortunate drug violence is taking place thousands of miles away from the tourist areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, and that as long as they don’t plan to seek out local sources for drugs or prostitution while on vacation, they should really be okay! It’s kind of like worrying about traveling to San Diego because you heard there were drug-related killings in New Orleans.
But they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so today I’m sharing a first hand report (and photos) from some clients who had an amazing vacation in Cancun last week. They stayed at the Gran Caribe Real, which is right in the middle of the hotel zone, but they also got out and explored the area a little bit, and loved what they saw. I should add that I was also in the Riviera Maya the same week, at the NOW Jade Riviera Cancun with my 17-year-old daughter, and we had a blast. If you’re crossing Mexico off your travel list, you’re missing out on a real gem!
The trip was just what we needed – sunshine, tropical breeze, the ocean, food and drink! Certainly couldn’t have picked a better week to go. It rained a little bit, but almost not worth mentioning. The hotel was wonderful, clean, the suite was big and we had a great view over the lagoon. We did have a little problem when we arrived (not anything of your planning). They gave us a room – jr. suite – but it had bunk beds in it instead of a couch/sitting area and it was in the middle of the “family friendly” zone on the first floor. Paul went to the desk and told them we needed to change rooms and they told us they couldn’t until the next day. Paul was very nice about it but was firm and by 5:30 that night they had the third floor jr suite overlooking the lagoon. We both understand that you can reserve a type of room but they aren’t guaranteed – but in the end we got the room we wanted. That was the only hiccup. Once we were settled in the new room, we enjoyed the beach and dinner.
We decided to stay at the resort on Friday because we were both beat from the travel day on Thursday. Early on Friday, I went to speak with the representative from Lomas Travel who was in the hotel – Jose “Tito” Cicea – and he helped us choose an excursion to Chichen Itza which was a trip we definitely wanted to do. We booked the excursion for Saturday and it was awesome. We swam in a Cenote and drank tequila in the museum and then moved on to visit the temple. The tour guide was fantastic – he is a professor of anthropology and 1/2 Mayan – and you could tell this was a passion of his. It was a long day – but well worth it and we would highly recommend it.
Tito from Lomas Travel was at the hotel every day that we were and he was a great source of information for us. I will be emailing Lomas directly to let them know how happy we were with Tito’s help and guidance!
We went out and did a little shopping but not in downtown Cancun – the experience at the flea market was enough for both of us. Shopping isn’t our thing anyway. The “hard sell” as other people were calling it was not as relaxing as the beach! 🙂 We took a bike tour from the hotel one day and basically relaxed on the beach Sunday and Monday. I used the gym facilities to run on the treadmill, but in hindsight I’d probably run on the beach next time – just because I love running outside – but the gym worked out great for me.
The food, the restaurants, the beverages and the staff were fantastic. Paul and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this trip or the Gran Caribe Real to anyone. Also, I’ve been telling everyone about you and the trip you put together for us – so anyone who asks I will provide your name and number or email. We can’t thank you enough. I’ll just put this out there – we want to travel to Europe at some point and when that time comes I’ll call to get your help again!!
One other thing, the transportation you set up was wonderful – the flights were great and the transfers to shuttle to the hotel and back to the airport were seamless – and now that I have a feel for what to expect it will be less daunting the next time. Your excellent instructions and planning helped reduce my stress level! 🙂
Yes – now it’s time to slowly get back into reality, but just this morning Paul asked “so when’s the next trip?” Thank you, thank you, thank you again!