Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mayans and Margaritas - Cancun

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

After an interesting trip inland the day before, we spent our last morning in Playa del Carmen relaxing in one of the hotel common areas while Roger finished writing an article. The area we sat was adorable, and had complimentary cookies and coffee, which was lovely.

And, we even got to see the Rally Maya Mexico 2014, a procession of over 180 vintage cars that were driving through Playa (on their way around the Yucatan Peninsula). There were so many really cool ones, and I spent at least a half hour standing on the balcony watching them.

With the article done, we made our way down Quinta Avenida to the bus station, where we grabbed a very affordable and easy bus into Cancun. (We also noticed the price of the public buses to Chichen Itza and realized we hadn't really gotten such a bad deal with the price we paid for our tour the day before, either.)

The bus ride to Cancun took about 45 minutes, and while we could have taken a collectivo to our hotel from there, we had some extra pesos and splurged for the cab. We arrived about 15 minutes later at the Hotel Bellvue Beach Paradise.

Despite my previous negative experience with all-inclusives, we decided to stay just one night in one in Cancun because we wanted to spend our very last day on the beach and this was much closer to the airport. Plus, at just $115 for both of us, everything could have been terrible and it would still have been a good deal.

View from our room.

We arrived and immediately, I knew it was a lower-quality place than the Excellence had been. So, note: if you're looking for a very fancy all-inclusive to spend your honeymoon at, this is NOT it. All of the hotels in the hotel zone are right on top of one another, and instead of being greeted with a drink, we were told we were 5 minutes early and would have to wait to get our room keys. We sidled up to the bar, and immediately a drunk American man fell off a barstool next to us. We were pretty terrified, but ordered some drinks and waited the 5 minutes until our room was open, and luckily, we were able to spend the rest of our time there avoiding other patrons and relaxing.

The hotel itself is nothing special, but it wasn't terrible, either. And the beach in Cancun was absolutely gorgeous.

It was so gorgeous, we didn't even step foot in the pool, although we did frequent the bar there. They also had a snack bar set up as a buffet, so you served yourself, instead of ordering and being served, as it was at the Excellence. This meant the food wasn't quite as good (and that's saying something, since I hated the food at the Excellence), but it did make me feel better that no one was standing over me waiting on my every whim. Having a smaller and less attentive staff might make some people feel like they weren't being pampered enough, but for Roger and I, it was exactly what we needed.

Pool Bar

Of course we stocked up on a huge basket of fries, beers, and headed to the beach, where we spent the rest of the afternoon, reading and lazing around. It was easily the most beautiful beach we'd seen the whole trip, and despite being CANCUN, it wasn't too crowded or rowdy at all, which I'd been worried about.

In the evening, we had dinner at both restaurants on the hotel, desperately trying to find something good to eat, but alas, it was all truly bad. We made up for it with mixed drinks. That evening, we thoroughly enjoyed watching terrible karaoke from the bar.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the buffet, which--with more chilaquiles, quesadillas, and other Mexican food--was significantly better than dinner had been. We checked out right after that, but the hotel very kindly let us keep our wristbands, so we headed back to the beach for a few hours before our flight.

More beers, more fries, more reading, and a few selfies later, and our trip was sadly over.

You know, this trip had the potential to be a true disaster. Not a whole lot went right with it, and the best part ended up being the part we'd been most afraid of - the dreaded all-inclusive. I was glad we packed in a bunch of things to do at the start of the trip. Taking Roger snorkeling for the first time was a blast, and I was stunned by the beauty of the ruins. But, I'm also really glad we spent our last two days in Mexico basically doing nothing. Despite starting out in a pretty terrible way, by the end of the trip, I was really and truly sad to be leaving. I may even have teared up a little on the last day. I don't know that we'll be heading back to Mexico any time soon, but I couldn't be more grateful to have gone. It really is one of the most perfect places for a beach vacation.

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