This was my first time in Mexico. Before this trip, I had to actually choose between Mexico’s Pacific Coast and its Caribbean side.
I chose the Mexican Caribbean as my first Mexican destination with Cancun as the base because of its proximity to the equally famed beaches of Playa del Carmen & Tulum, the island of Cozumel and most importantly its being 2 hours away drive from the world-renowned Chichen Itza. Acapulco, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta will have to wait.
I was able to tag along in this trip my Sacramento-based friend Ron and we took a US Airways midnight flight from San Francisco to Cancun via the airline’s hub in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a no-frills flight but it had a wi-fi internet connection offered for just $7 for each flight leg.
Miami in Florida could have been the best jump off point to Cancun but we could not find a reasonably-priced and timely flight from San Francisco to Miami so we settled for US Airways.
Starting last year, May 1st, 2010, all foreigners, regardless of their nationality, visiting Mexico as tourists, transmigrate or for business matters will not need a visa for Mexico as long as they hold a valid US visa and arrive in Mexico from the United States. However, the immigration and customs declaration forms still need to be filled up.
We arrived in Cancun just before noontime. From the airport, we took a shared 8-seater van bound for different Cancun hotels. We were the first one to get off.
Our hotel was the Westin Resort & Spa Cancun. The check-in process was smooth. We were given a room at the Starwood Preferred Guest level at room 1511 and it delighted me!
Our room had two queen size beds. The highlight was when we opened the floor-to-ceiling door that revealed….
…a breathtaking view, showing the hotel’s main pool and the pristine beach. [The word WESTIN in the picture above is actually not in the pool but in the glass panel in our hotel room window from where I took the shot.]
The sky was gloomy when we arrived but still some were still dipping in the pool.
And yes, our room had an illusion of an almost white, heavenly room.
Yes, this is the Westin-advertised heavenly bed…..[oh yes I was able to sleep well]….
…and these are the heavenly showers which are actually just double showers.
These are more shots of the slightly-cramped but nonetheless clean and nicely done bathroom!
This is the hotel’s rather confusing menu because, well, the prices are actually in pesos (P) and not in dollars ($). The conversion rate: 1USD=13.6MXN.
It was raining hard still so we had to spend some time indoors and we feasted on great, authentic Mexican food. I started with tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo & miami vice.
My main course was fajitas pollo with guacamole and pico de gallo.
After the meal, we toured the hotel and saw one of the pools that faces the lagoon at the other side of the hotel.
When it stopped raining we headed for the beach, stunning beach, even without much of the sunlight.
I actually love empty and scenic beaches…..
..and idyllic spots within those empty beaches.
With shots taken near the beach.
The red flag was up because of the huge waves and strong current due to the recent rain.
My friend Ron and me took turns to have our pictures taken even with the dark skies.
After some time, we went up to our hotel room and we rested for a while before we headed to…..
…Cancun’s nightlife center.
Well, ok we sat to be waited and we were amused.
We had some more Mexican food….tacos…tacos….tacos…and beer!
It was a real, continuous party inside where customers were asked to take part in some singing and dancing routines together with the restaurant staff.
Reasonably-priced and with great staff, the restaurant gave me a pleasant dining experience.
Supposedly, it should only be my friend Ron and me in the pic but the guys next to our table and the other free waiters hopped on in the fun frame!
Outside, the main road was starting to get crowded. In fact it was a Saturday night and people were out wanting to have some slice of the fun! So after the dinner we were out touring the nearby nightspots.
One of the most visited and probably the most entertaining night spots in Cancun is Coco Bongo.
Also nearby was the American food joint, Hooters, which was one of our dining places days after.
Another famous bar is Mandala.
People were really partying that night. There were times the crowd swelled from the open bars into the streets.
And it was time to call it a night and to take that “heavenly” sleep in our “heavenly” beds, after the necessary lavation using the “heavenly” showers. We were indeed glad we were at the The Westin Resort and Spa, Cancun!
We woke up the next day with a jaw-dropping view of the Caribbean seas! It was time to step out of Cancun.
We spent the following days visiting places like Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Chichen Itza. We still went back to our Cancun-based hotel and enjoyed the time when we were there, just simply swimming in the pool or lazing on the magnificent beach or going back to the nightlife center if we wanted to experience a night crowd.
If you want a mix of bustling, hardcore nightlife and excellent beach life in this side of Mexico then Cancun serves as an excellent base. Otherwise, you can head south and camp in Playa del Carmen or even Tulum for a more intimate, subdued night life but definitely more stunning day time beach sceneries.