Cancún, Mexico

Given the number of tourist that visit there every year, many of them repeat visitors, it is obvious that Cancún offers the perfect vacation destination for a huge number of travelers…just not this traveler.

So please understand when we say: This is not going to be your typical review of Cancún.

It’s not that we really hate Cancún. It’s just that if we are going to go to the trouble to travel all the way to Mexico, we want to feel like we are actually in Mexico. Our inside joke about Cancún is: “The biggest difference between a vacation at an all-inclusive in Cancún versus one in North Miami Beach is that they speak better English in Cancún.”

To be perfectly honest, we’ve only spent a few nights in Cancún and every time we have, it’s been on our way to or coming back from somewhere else in Mexico. In all fairness, there are some beautiful beaches and gorgeous hotels there. For a while, a friend of ours was the personnel manager at one of the Sheraton properties there and on occasion, we would spend a day enjoying the hotel and the pool with his family. And it really was luxurious.

You probably know the story of the creation of Cancún. Some 25-30 years ago, tourism officials in Mexico were looking for a place to create a new resort area that was convenient to population centers of the U.S. They identified some nice beaches. They calculated how close each was to the largest number of potential tourist from the States. They chose a location and stuck a pin in a map and Cancún was born.

Most tourist that visit Cancún never venture far away from the resort beaches, tourist restaurants and bars but there is a thriving community that isn’t oriented completely to tourist. Believe it or not, there is a K-Mart, a Sam’s Club and a Costco in Cancún and the vast majority of the customers shopping there are not gringos. There is also a very modern shopping center with a J.C. Penny’s and some very nice upscale Mexican department stores. One of our favorites, Liverpool, is on par to any Macy’s you would find back home.

There are lots of sources for information on the big resorts and the bars and discos in Cancún so we aren’t going to get into a big discussion of those here. (Mostly because we haven’t visited all that many of them.) On occasion, we’ve found ourselves booked on a very early morning departure out of the Cancún airport and have looked for a hotel that is convenient to the airport. So far, we haven’t found anything that is real close but have stayed several times and liked the In-town Holiday Inn. It is a colonial style structure with a large atrium and we found the staff there very friendly.

We’ve enjoyed several meals at Cielito Linda, an in-town restaurant with a nice courtyard in the back.