Mexico Travel Notes

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Every year, except the one we skipped due to COVID, my family takes a winter vacation. When we lived in Texas, we typically went to Indiana or Arkansas to see family. Once we moved to Indiana, we could sprinkle in more exotic locations such as Puerto Rico, Roatan, Belize, and Hawaii.

This year, we took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. It was my fourth visit to Mexico, but my first to Cancun. I had some concerns, and I even thought about canceling just before I bought plane tickets, but I ultimately decided to stick to our plan. I wanted to see a new place, and my family has always wanted to visit the cenotes.

In many ways, our trip was exactly what we expected. It was warm, the people were friendly, the water was gorgeous, the sand was soft, and most of the food was delicious. However, while every trip includes a few surprises or problems, Cancun included a few too many.

I won’t be critical of things that are almost impossible to control, such as the terrible traffic around the airport or the near-constant 15 mph winds. Those were irritating but tolerable.


-The views from our rooms at the Salvia Condo (penthouse, VRBO) and Wyndham Alltra

-Our meals at Combalche, Valladolid, and Viaggio (Wyndham)

-Too many kind people to count

-Beautiful and exciting cenote jumps Puerto Morales reef  (barracuda, rays, flounder, anemones, etc.)

-Ringing in the new year with locals, not other tourists

-Being next door to a club on New Year's Eve


-Excessive public drunkenness (This included urination, vomiting, and used condoms in public spaces.)

-7-11 scammer who tried to charge us $19 for $3.50 of juice, then tried to give us 70 pesos in change when he owed us 330 (Know your currency conversions, people!)

-Not one, but two excursions where I was told after the fact I couldn’t use my GoPro (This is the only time I’ve ever been told I could take my GoPro on a dive or snorkel trip.)

-“With shuttle service to and from your hotel” (Save yourself 60 minutes of pickups and dropoffs by handling your own transportation.)

-All-inclusive resort buffet food and mixed drinks (For $120/day/person, we could have done much better on our own for food and drinks.)

-Being next door to a club on New Year's Eve (The party didn’t end until after sunrise on New Year’s Day!)

General recommendations:

-Have a translation app on your phone (any people speak at least some English, but this is still useful)

-Someone in your group should have cellular data

-Use pesos as much as possible

-Make sure you have mostly small bills (USD and pesos)

-When booking excursions, know and verify the name of the tour company; make sure you know exactly where they are taking you (which park, cenotes, etc.)

-Tip generously (minimum wage = $8.25 USD per day of work)

-Don’t book excursions on two separate days if they both require driving to approximately the same area, try to do it all in one day

-Ruins, I could take ‘em or leave ‘em; but if you go to Chichen Itza, it’s worth having a guide