The world of tourism seems to be divided into two groups: those who have visited the exciting city of Cancun, Mexico and those who want to visit there. From my many visits I can assure you the reputation is justly deserved. It is beautiful, interesting, strategically placed and is a combination of Miami Beach, Las Vegas, Rio, Rome and Acapulco.
If you haven’t visited Cancun, it is difficult to imagine all of the activities available, and only a few hours away. For example, the beaches are fantastic. When the Mexican government conceived of Cancun they built an island of several miles in length, and under Fontur (Mexican Tourism Agency,) created Cancun. The hotels are second to none in the world, but you can always find a good bargain (like Vegas.)
Just a few miles from Cancun-boats are readily available for a low price-to the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. Snorkeling is marvelous at both places. The tropical atmosphere provides plenty of shopping opportunities that will make your day.
The entertainment and eateries are outstanding, from Denny’s to Senor Frog’s and Ruth Criss’ Steak House. All this plus provocative downtown Cancun. Away from the glitz is the small village where restaurants abound and where there is even better shopping and entertainment. Your trip will not be complete without at least one visit there.
If your curiosity about the Mayans is stimulated, three of the great ruins of Mexico are just two or three hours away: Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Tulum. They are magnificent and well preserved. My favorite is Tulum. The only Mayan ruins built by the ocean, it is awesome and pictures are always great. By the way, Tulum is only an hour away from your hotel.
The preceding paragraphs are only a prelude to what I think is the highlight of Cancun, recently built and little known by most tourists. You absolutely must visit Xcaret (Ish-ka-ret). Using the natural terrain to best advantage, builders have added to it one of the most beautiful places on earth. Put the best of Hawaii, Tahiti, Jamaica and Fiji together and you have Xcaret. Located south of Cancun, your trip will also include a stop at the ruins of Tulum.
What’s there? So many things like an aquarium, Mayan ruins, tropical forest, beautiful beaches, museums, shopping, walking paths, a dolphin show that is better than anything you have ever seen, entertainment and the magnificent Caribbean. In addition there is an underground river that you can swim or float down that takes about an hour. Life jackets and shoes are provided and the depth is never more than four feet. It is perfectly safe. This natural cavern (cenote) was discovered a short time ago and is the highlight of your visit to Xcaret. Often groups will sing as they float downstream which creates an unbelievable sound.
Last but not least, at the far end, jutting into the lagoon is a restaurant with an international cuisine. I chose a hamburger with the trimmings. I am an authority on hamburgers and mine was by far and away the best I’ve ever eaten.
How to get there? This is an experience in itself. You can reserve the standard bus fare from your hotel, but here is what I suggest. Across the street from the Cultural Convention Center is a station marked Xcaret. A large thatched roof building can be seen for blocks. Here’s the catch. There will be several deep blue buses parked there. They are the kind that Laidlaw uses here in the states. Three or four feet at the rear has been cutoff for a platform. On the roof are toys and furniture making it look like they’ve just come from Midwest USA. The sides have all kinds of paintings. Your first thought is, “Oh, my God.” Then you open the door and you see large lay back-better than airline seats; the A/C is wonderful and the comfort and speed is double A first class.
I promise you, Cancun will be different from anything you’ve ever heard about or experienced, if you visit Xcaret.
Amen. Selah. So be it.