Just because your plane stops in Cancun, doesn’t mean you have to stay in Cancun. So often times when vacations are planned, they are stationary vacations. This is the first mistake. When planning a vacation be open to exploring nearby cities and communities, especially if you choose to go the all-inclusive route. I know the term “all-inclusive” sounds ideal. But “all-inclusive” is code for generic. Generic food, generic drinks, generic engagement. Don’t get me wrong, the staff at all-inclusive resorts work very hard, they care about their guests, but they are very much a one-size fits all. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the resort walls, in fact be emboldened.
Plan to get beyond the same food plans, the watered-down rail alcohol and take advantage of the time you have away. It was me and a sister friend that ventured to Cancun, we decided to rent a car so we could do our own exploring. The all-inclusive resort did not compare.
Where to rest your spirit
Take advantage of the local Airbnb’s. the condo and rental-housing market is very strong in Mexican cities. They have top notch amenities, concierge, and location-location-location-location. The money you save on an all-inclusive you can use for going out on the town. Some of the non-inclusive resorts also sit directly on the beach. You can have the best of both worlds with a beach front rental and access to all types of local foods and shopping. Take advantage of the opportunity to city hop. This can be done via bus, taxi or uber. Even a two-hour ride can costs as little as $50 US dollars a person. When in Playa Del Carmen I enjoy personal rentals of Reef 28. When in Tulum and you want a little history with your vacation, stay at Pablo Escobar’s former house turned hotel, Casa Malca. If you want upscale Kin Toh, Azulik is a must stay. The Azulik is truly an unmatched vibe in Tulum.
Where to Feed your soul: Speaking of vibe, the Kin Toh Mayan Jungle Tree House restaurant is an absolute MUST. Don’t get me wrong there is amazing food all through Mexico, but food is not only a taste it is an experience. Important note…Ladies wear your flats, NO HEELS. This is a genuine tree house restuarant. This is no place for heels but have those pedicures ready. Of all the countries I have visited, I prefer Kin Toh over a window view restaurant at the Burj Khalifah in Dubai. If there is a groovy group of 7 or more, I would recommend you book a NEST (yes, an actual NEST) overlooking the Mayan jungle in the sunset. If it’s just a group of 4 or less try to get a window view that will add to the most delectable entrees, you will have in Tulum. One of my other Favorites in Tulum was Rosa Negra the wagyu tacos will go well with a premium glass of red wine or martini. This is a place to test your tastebuds and have a social gathering of new flavors and spices introduced to your body and soul. If you’re in Playa del Carmen, you’ll love the steakhouse Harry’s or the Mediterranean restaurant Luna or the Alessia Rooftop restaurant. it’s intimate and leaves a smile on your face after you catch a food comma.
Where to make memories:
There are loads of hidden gems throughout Mexico. Try the Cenotes near the Mayan Ruins. I love the underground Cenotes Xkeken, but there are many to choose from. If you haven’t been to Egypt, make a pitstop to the Mayan Temples in Yucatan, Mexico. The drive is relaxing, and the ruins are breathtaking. Please don’t forget to stop and eat at the local restaurants along the way. Save some cash and support the community. There are cooking classes and Salsa dancing and mojito drinking at “La Bodeguita del medio”. If you want memories and pictures for Instagram that won’t look like anyone else’s pictures, be sure to try some of these unobvious adventures as well. These adventures are great for small groups and solo travelers. You can always make new friends over margaritas and sunbathing.