For our first time visiting Cancun, Mexico, we did not know what to expect. We had heard about Cancun as one of the top destination for its beaches and nightlife in the Caribbean. Also, we knew it was famous for parties during spring break especially amongst students. However, that was only one side of Cancun.
Since, we didn’t have a big budget we decided to not stay at any of the resorts near the hotel zone (see map below) and got an airbnb near downtown Cancun instead.
The Hotel Zone consists of many many resorts, hotels, nightclubs and more. It is basically tourist heaven. Yet, the downside to this, is it is super expensive to stay in especially if you plan on staying at an all-inclusive resort. For some it might be worth it but usually the food is not on par with the local food and sometimes not even Mexican cuisine. The plus side is that each resort and hotel has their own private beachfront and you’ll get unlimited drinks and food.
For those that want more of an adventure and to save some money, the best advice in my opinion would be to rent a car for your visit in Cancun. This way you can get an Airbnb out of the Hotel Zone and for much cheaper. You’ll be able to eat at cheaper restaurants and see more locals. Also, driving in Cancun seemed less hectic than Mexico City and much easier for tourists. With a car, you don’t have to be worried about expensive cab rides and you have the opportunity to head to other major attractions such a Chichen Itza without going with a tour bus. Furthermore, Uber is technically banned in Cancun but if you can find a driver you will be at luck. Uber was 6 times cheaper than taking a taxi from our villa to the airport. Crazy!
In terms of renting an Airbnb, you can get anywhere from an apartment to a whole private villa :o. We opted for the latter option, but ended up with a villa that we did not like at all. One of the mistakes we made was getting a private villa for a cheap price at around $60 Canadian per day. Coming from Mexico City, we thought this price was decent. Although, we failed to realize that Cancun was way more expensive to stay at since it was a top tourist destination. So my best bet would be to spend around $100 Canadian or more per day to get a nice private villa. Also, be careful of the reviews as high ratings doesn’t necessarily mean it is good. We found out the hard way, after getting a villa that everyone gave 5 stars and yet should have been given 2.5 stars at the most, no lie.
Now that the boring stuff is done, let us get to the more exciting matters. Such as the taxi that picked us up from the Cancun airport. This taxi was an Audi A4, jeezzz, and boy was the driver speeding and making some smooth turns. In comparison, the most expensive taxi I have been in was a Lexus in Dubai.
At first glance, we could see how much tourism had helped Cancun economically and how much it reminded me of Dubai – Expensive cars, huge villas, palm trees and super humid and hot weather.
Moving on, since we arrived at our Airbnb late at night around 4am, we couldn’t do much and headed to bed. The next day, we walked to a local market to eat breakfast…
The local market was called Mercado Cancun. A nice modern indoor market, away from the heat, with many food choices and indoor playground for kids too. We ordered fresh tuna with fried chips. Those were really tasty. Seafood is quite fresh and popular in Cancun since it surrounded by water.
Next up we got this thin crust vegetable pizza, with the classic Mexican rice drink, Horchata. This was hands down the best Horchata I have ever had in Mexico, it was super refreshing and tasted like pina colada :o.
Be sure to have cash on you as most of the restaurants might only accept cash payments. Luckily, just a few minutes away was Costco, and they had plenty of ATM machines there. Scotiabank is even in Mexico, so if you’re Canadian, you can avoid some fees!
Next up, we took an Uber (the only one in Cancun :p) to the Hotel Zone to a place called Monkey Business. Just driving in Cancun especially the Hotel Zone was pretty epic, reminds you of Miami in a way that you see beautiful palm trees, massive hotels and resorts, nightclubs and more.
One interesting fact about me is that I usually go to different shisha cafes around the world and in different cities, since I am a huge fan of shisha and loved to this how it has been introduced to different societies. Shisha (or sometimes called Sheesha or Hookah, Nargile, etc.) was invented many many centuries ago in India or Persia. Still to this day many in the Indian Subcontinent smoke shisha, and it is also very popular in the Middle East and Africa and other parts of the world. For more information on Shisha, you can check out this link –>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah
Being a shisha lover, this was the reason why we headed to Monkey Business as they served shisha. Although, the shisha was not the best here but better than the one we had in Mexico City. It is good to try out if you’re in the area.
Next up we went to this public beach just a few minutes away that you can easily walk to. It is called Chac Mool Beach. The water was just perfect, a bit of seaweed but nothing too bad. After our swim which we did at night, probably day time is much better, we went to a restaurant called Vips. This is like iHop and you get served breakfast foods at a cosy place. You should check it out, there’s a bunch of stores all around Mexico.
Thanks for reading! Hope you guys enjoyed. Stay tuned as in our upcoming blog we will talk about our experience going to Chichen Itza and much more.
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Bye from Cancun!