I just got back from a trip to Cancun, Mexico for my 15 anniversary. We had an amazing time exploring the jungles, Mayan Ruins, beaching, and shopping. Here’s what we did.
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Our Vacation to Cancun
We were in Mexico for almost a week. When my husband and I travel we like to have a mixture of rest and exploring. Especially if it’s a new place, we like to see the sites. That’s how it was when we visited London. And we did the same in Cancun.
We decided to fly out of Las Vegas because my parents live there and we could dump our kids on the way. Haha! Also, if it can work out, flying out of a larger city like Las Vegas was less expensive than Salt Lake.
We dropped the kids off for a fantastic week as grandmas and Auntie full of outings and candy. And left on our flight on Saturday. Due to delays, a 4 hour layover in Mexico City, and the time change, we didn’t arrive to Cancun until 5 in the morning!
We flew on Viva Aerobus which we later found out was a economy airline. You have to pat extra for snacks and drinks FYI. The only benefit was we paid for a transfer from the airport to our hotel. When we arrived at the Cancun airport we met a man who organized our ride to the hotel. We paid only an extra $40 for the transfer to and from which is cheaper than a taxi.
The sun was rising when we finally arrived to our hotel, Ocean Dream. Checking in we were given wristbands that had small key cards as part of the bracelet. We thought this was annoying at times, but considering the many times we went to beach and didn’t have a bag, we found this convenient.
We got to our room which had an amazing view of the beach! We watched the sun rise, turned on the air conditioning, and fell asleep. We woke up around lunch and explored the hotel. We then enjoyed getting in the beach and pool.
Monday we decided we would spend more time at the beach and pool as it was right outside our hotel. The water is warm and the beach is shallow for many feet. So we were able to stand and jump through waves. We then spend some time exploring the flea market just a few minutes beyond the hotel zone. We haggled our hearts out, got full of sand, and a decent sunburn for my husband.
Tuesday was one of our excursion days. We signed up for an LDS based tour of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza was absolutely amazing! As one do the new 7 wonders of the world it did not disappoint. We were there for three hours! We learned about the buildings, culture of the ancient Mayans, and did more souvenir shopping. Afterward the tour included lunch and a swim in a Cenote. A Cenote is a large cave or sink home that is filled with fresh water. There are over 6000 Cenotes in Mexico!
Wednesday we decided to explore Cancun city by taking a bus into the city. The bus systems run very often where we were near the hotel zone. We took the bus into Mercado 28. Note: Plaza 28 and Market 28 are not the same thing. We got lunch at a restaurant there. And found that this market wasn’t much different from the flea market in the hotel zone. In the afternoon we went back to our hotel area and explored places to eat and once again went to the beach and pool to finish the night.
We finished the night shopping at the mall by La Isla. This mall was a much more upscale shopping experience compared to Mercado 28. There’s several familiar brands offered here and lots of delicious eats. We also rode the Ferris wheel for only $17 a person. It was a great way to end the night.
Thursday was another excursion day! We went scuba diving at the reef off of Pueta Morelos. The reefs there are the second largest in the world and only a 5 minute boat ride from the shore. We saw fish from all colors of the rainbow, barracuda, and large fish.
We then ate at a nearby restaurant that offered fish tacos from fish caught that day and it was amazing! From there we went four wheeling through the jungle, swimming at another Cenote, and zip lining.
Friday was our last day in Cancun. We decided to spend the day back at the shops at La Isla and at the aquarium. There’s a place near the aquarium you can eat and watch the dolphins! We then went back to the beach and pool for the afternoon and started packing. We finished the night with a Pirate show on a full on pirate ship and a night dip on the ocean on last time.
Our flight left in the morning so we didn’t do much except watch the sunrise and soak up our view. Something to know is the Cancun airport takes a long time. We arrived over 2 hours before it took off and still arrived at our gate right at boarding with no time to spare. So I’d advise getting to the airport 3 hours early.
We had an amazing time! At a lot of Mexican food, enjoyed amazing adventures, slept in, and stayed up all we wanted. After 15 years of marriage this trip, we felt, was hard earned and worth every penny. I miss waking up to the ocean already.
Tips for Visiting Mexico and Covid 2021
- Mexico heavily requires masks and hand sanitizing, many stores also take your temperature.
- In order to enter Mexico and come back to the US, you need to fill out health surveys. Your airline should send you info. Ours looked like this.
- In order to come back into the US you need to have a positive Covid test, or a doctors note. Many hotels offer this service, but take a few days to process. You can find some 30 minute tests on the side of the road near tourist areas in a pinch.
- Tipping is normal and often expected at not only restaurants, but for drivers, house keeping, entertainers, and hotel staff. Bring cash for tipping.
- Don’t drink the tap water. Their water has different parasites than those found in the US. So our bodies don’t tolerate it as well. Buy bottled water at Oxxo stores or at restaurants.
- Bring a fan or buy one. The humidity makes the heat even hotter. A rechargeable fan is a fantastic idea! But local vendors also sell collapsible fans as well.
- Bring a reusable bag. Mexico charges for plastic ones at grocery stores. The markets do not however. But we found it helpful to have an extra bag.
- Bring good sunscreen if you have fair skin. I got a nice glow of a tan with my olive complexion. My husband is pretty fair, got a red sun burn. We used SPF 30. Reapply often.
- If you’re looking for tours and freebies you can always sit through timeshare presentations. We’ve done this once. I’m honestly not the biggest fan, but I know some couples who do it often for free shows. Expect to be with them for a couple hours and have pressured sales.
- Learn some basic Spanish. My husband speaks fluent and I speak some. And it is helpful. Basic phrases to know: – How much does this cost? Pardon me. The check, please. Hello. Where’s the bathroom? Where’s the trash? Thank you.
- Learn the conversion between Pesos and the dollar. This helps with shopping because many price tags and menu options will be in Pesos. When we went it was 18.5 pesos to the dollar.
Things to Do In Cancun
Horse Back Riding
Mall with Ferris Wheel
Souvenir Shopping at flea markets and street side vendors
Massage next to the beach
Hotel Zone Swim with dolphins aquarium
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