If your kind of holiday is eating and drinking all you can at all day buffets, lie at the beach all day and party all night at 'Coco Bongo' then you're probably best to stay at one of the all inclusive resorts along the hotel strip next to the beach where all the tourists go in Cancun.  

left: I can see the beach from my hotel but don't need to lie on it!
But for me I prefer to stay where all the locals hang out in 'Centro' where I stayed at Malecon apartments which is just in front of the 'Plaza de Americas' which is a great mall with a mix of shopping and entertainment I need.  The cost of the apartment was half the price of hotels on the beach and thought it was way better value and I didn't eat twice the food!

The other downside to being on the beach is that it feels far away from everything.  Sure there are convenience store type places scattered along the street and some malls but its not exactly walking distance.  There are local buses but its still abit of hassel to get around whereas if you're already amongst the action, its easy. But its really what you want from Cancun that matters.

The mall and Cancun in general is so commericialised but I guess you get that in a tourist town. It reminds me so much of the Gold Coast but double the people.  Besides the mall, you should go to Marquedo 28 (Market 28) which is about 10min taxi ride where there's rows and rows of Mexican/Mayan souveniers like carvings, ceramics, jewellery and ofcourse T shirts galore.  Needless to say you should bargain as the first price is never one you should pay.


We only had 3 days (1 full day) in Cancun we thought we'd take a full day 'Classic Chichinitza' bus tour so we could fit in all the Mayan culture we needed to see in a short time but in hindsight I'd wish we drove to chichinitza ourselves as we didn't spend much time at the actual site.
I'm sure like most tours around the world, you get taken to tourist traps and the tour companies and guides get kickbacks from the venue.   This was no different. On the way to Chichinitza we stopped at a Mayan Community who make 'authentic' handiwork.  It was just weird to be there, you expect the Mayans to live in the forrest but not expect them to have internet and a shop! They did have a coffee which I was super happy about :)

But I guess that's the sign of the times and they have to make money in the modern world.  I wanted to buy something but when the cheapest thing is $50US, I said 'heck no'!  There is one thing about supporting a culture but I definitely don't want to be ripped off.

On the same property as the shop was a 'Cenote' or sinkhole under the ground and it was beautiful.  On the walk to there from the shop a couple of lads were dressed up as Mayans and charged 'tips' so ofcourse I had to get a pic with them (above left).  You could swim in the water as long as you wore a lifejacket which they conveniently charged 25 Mexican dollars for.

After the Cenote we taken to an authentic Mexican buffet.  It was ok and nice to be entertained by Mexican dancers who also charged 'tips'.

By 3pm we finally made it to Chichinitza. Considering we got picked up at 7am, its already been a long day!  Again I was surprised by the commercialism of the place.  As soon as you walked onto the site there were rows of Mayans selling their wares.

Little ladies (and I mean super little!) are also walking around selling their clothing and embroided nick naks.  I wanted to buy from all of them as I want to help them out as I'm sure they struggle selling there things but I couldn't help everyone.


We got a brief 20min guided tour with the guides telling us the basic history of the site.  Even for that he expected a huge tip which he didn't get from me and he was very stroppy. That aside, the grounds are amazing and the Mayans were so far ahead of their time.   Their first ruler was a woman which showed what a civilised culture they were.

In total we only spent 2 hours there and I know I could've spent the whole day finding out more about various parts of the site. But it was great to visit such an awe inspiring site nonetheless.
In Summary
I enjoyed the tour for what it was but it was a super long day and we didn't get back till 8.3pm.  If I had to do it again, I'd just hire a car as the drive is only 2.5hrs and the roads are great and reasonably straight forward to get to as the signposting was good.  However as my spanish isn't great, I didn't want to risk getting lost.

I generally enjoyed Cancun and Mexico.  The people are friendly and the food was great although not as cheap as I thought it would be. If I go back I'd spend a few more days there and get to Tulum and go down the coast and visit other sites.

I think going in their winter ie between January and March would be ideal as the weather isn't too hot and not as many tourists are there.  Although, on the day we went to the temple they still had 3000 people through the gate!

I'm sure you'll enjoy Cancun with all its different activities for the tourists whether its by the beach or inland!


January 2016

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