Cancun can be an idyllic couples getaway, with its white sandy beaches and azure waters. Here is a guide to help you plan your ideal trip, away from the party-goers.
Book an all-inclusive hotel
We usually run from the words “all-inclusive package” but many hotels on Avenida Kukulkan (the main hotel strip in Cancun) tend to offer these packages at surprisingly reasonable rates. Decadent buffet breakfasts and penthouse suites are included, as we experienced at Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort. They can be an excellent way to avoid the spring breakers and enjoy a private, pampered vacation. They usually include yoga and Tennis lessons, and unlimited snacks and alcoholic beverages at the pool: check the fine print before your book to make sure these are included.
Call in to confirm your airport pick up a week in advance
It’s important to confirm your airport pickup with your hotel more than a week in advance. The airport pick up is also usually not included in your “all-inclusive” experience but you can usually negotiate this in with a bit of luck.
Visit Chichen Itza and the nearby Sacred Cenote
Three days in Cancun allows for two days of relaxation and one day of exploration. While we almost always rent our own car and travel by ourselves during our vacations, going with one of the many tours on offer at your hotel may be a good way to explore Chichen Itza and the Sacred Cenote among other attractions within a day. This is mainly due to the exorbitant highway charges, and possible dangers to the self encountered when driving. Tours cost around US$70 per person, and last around 12 hours. Entrance fees and transport are included. Be prepared for a touristy experience, but we’d say it is worth it.
The difficulty of booking an all-inclusive hotel is leaving the luxury of what you’re paying for, even for a day. An alternative to this could be to book an all-inclusive hotel for a day or two, and book budget accommodation for a third day to be filled with adventures outside of your hotel.
While you are driven to the usual souvenir stores, it is useful to have the knowledge of the local guide during your tour to Chichen Itza. You are given plenty of time to spend at each attraction, but be prepared for lines and crowds, especially if you visit in the spring or summer. The beginning of the tour, where you are sorted to the correct buses by language spoken and tour stops, can be extremely chaotic, but on the other hand, it can be a good way to experience a slice of the culture and history of the area without having to deal with highway patrols and potential safety issues.
Give the tour a try if you’re only in the area for a few days. It can be a very relaxing experience to be picked up from your hotel and taken to different attractions. While we wouldn’t trade it in for traveling and exploring on our own a majority of the time, it’s definitely an experience worth trying out in this instance.
Pack an extra pair of slippers, sneakers, a towel, a bathing suit, and plenty of water and snacks on your trip out to the Yucatan.
There are plenty of parasailing operators by the hotel beach strip. Head out into one of their tents, check prices, wait in line, and go for a spin. Note that when they say “1 hour ride” that includes the trip out to the boat by jetski, and waiting in line on the boat for your turn to go up. You’re usually in the air for around 15-20 minutes only.
Visit Isla Mujeres
Snorkel, dive, and visit the lonely, romantic lighthouse on Isla Mujeres. We recommend spending a night there following your stay on Avedia Kukulkan, the most popular place to stay in Cancun.
If you have more time, take the bus to explore Mexico City.
Keep an open mind
Note that things tend to be a bit more chaotic here when it comes to organization. If you’re used to a calmer vacation, we’d recommend you go with the flow as tour operators find their bearings, immigration queues are sorted, and lines are formed and broken.
Do: Call ahead to arrange for airport pickups and drop offs.
Do: Try a tour. Pack plenty of water, snacks, extra slippers, sneakers, a towel, and a bathing suit.
Don’t: Rent a car
Do: Venture out of the hotel strip into the Yucatan, maybe even Mexico City!
Do: Visit Chichen Itza and the nearby sacred Cenote
Do: Indulge in the buffets, and breakfast in bed, and poolside perks such as food and drinks delivery.
Do: Try a water-sport! Jetskiing and parasailing are recommended.
Do: Dip your toes in the all-inclusive experience by trying out an all-inclusive hotel first. Read the fine-print: Make sure everything is indeed all-inclusive. Call ahead if need be.
Been to Cancun? Planning a trip there? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Share your stories with us below!
As always, be a conscious traveler: Take nothing, and leave nothing behind. Be conscious, be welcome! Read more about conscious travel here.