I found it beyond amazing that I spent July 1 in a new city, in a new country, to begin a new month. I could not have pictured this moment for myself a year ago, and was so excited to be afforded the opportunity. Cue Big Sean, "Blessings on blessings on blessings".
It looks pretty, but it was rough!
We left for Cancun in the middle of a thunderstorm. Lightning kept flashing and I was a hot mess (in my head because I don't like to show my turbulence anxiety). Thankfully, within an hour the skies calmed down, cleared, and the flight attendants were able to begin cabin service. I also wanted to take the time to applaud Volaris Airlines for having some of the cutest flight attendant outfits I have ever seen. Thankfully, how the trip started was not how it finished.
Upon arrival, I had to say yet again, "Air BNB for the win". We were able to stay at a resort in the Hotel Zone that was $50 a night. Was it in the exact area the other big name resorts were in? No. Was I able to catch the bus easily? Yes Was my money well spent? YES! The resort had a pool, secluded beach area, and swim-up bar. I did not need much of anything else because the buses in Cancun run 24 hours a day (and believe we tested it). So, after our host showed us around, we quickly got dressed for dinner and to see what the city was all about!
We ate our first meal at Carlos'n Charlie's. The food was insanely delicious yet Texas-sized! There was no way we would be able to finish the pasta, and as we were headed to the club afterwards, we were not able to take our food with us. I wish they offered smaller portions, but hey, I ate what I could. The environment of the restaurant was also pretty entertaining, as there were line dances, a stage to dance on, and music videos featuring Shania Twain and Will Smith. If they opened a restaurant in Texas, I would definitely visit. My only issue was the fact that, their servers had clown-ish attire, and so I was a bit on edge. I loosened up, but I noticed that Cancun loves its people to wear face paint.
I did not feel too guilty about eating a large dinner as I was quickly able to dance it off at the infamous La Vaquita. I am just going to simply call it, "crazy" or an "experience". The music was great, the drinks were sizable, and we made friends with quite a few people. By the end of the night, there were at least 10 of us partying together like we were old friends, but that is what travel is all about! There was hardly a language barrier and the #2BlackGirlsInMexico were well received. I even ended up meeting a popular Mexican rapper. Just another day in my travel chronicles?
Once we woke up from our night full of dancing, we went off to the beach located at our Air BNB resort. Of course, we met a group of ladies from Texas. Relaxing on the beach was what the doctor ordered, and it was nice to be in a secluded area. Individuals selling their random items like sunglasses, jewelry, or whichever, still could find their way towards us, but it definitely was not as bad as it would have been at a larger resort's section. After a few hours, we decided that we would go exploring and souvenir shopping deeper down into the Hotel Zone. We had some lunch and then got busy with our gift buying session.
Now, the plan was for us to eat and head out to a club around 11, but the two of us have grandmotherly tendencies (aka early bedtimes), but the good news was that we were still in Cancun! So, after waking up around 1:30am, we headed out to the clubs around 2:30 in search of food and to see what bars were still open. Of course, we were in luck and were able to hit up a random bar next to La Vaquita. The music was pretty decent but for a portion of the time I had to tune out, because we were trying to get these two men from the Dominican Republic out of our faces. When we stepped out, we hung out in the Hotel Zone area making random friends with people while I chowed down on my hot-dog. Finally, around 4:30 we made our way back to our resort.
Sidebar: There were quite a few security officers and other folks in Cancun trying to sell us... a special flower, and they pretty much did it to every black patron that entered the bar. Generalizing much??
On our third full day, I finally got to go on a boat! We booked an adventure with Caribbean Fun Day and spent a giant portion of our day with them. The boat ride out from Playa Tortugas to Isla Mujeres was serene. They began serving the "open bar" drinks as soon as we embarked. My travel buddy and I actually ended up sitting in a booth with a family from El Paso (Texas is everywhere)!
Upon arriving to Isla Mujeres, we secured our snorkeling equipment and immediately set forth to the water. Our guide made sure that we were in his group, and I am glad he was insistent, as he took special care to make sure the group stayed together and individuals did not wander off too far (I tend to do that while snorkeling). He was extremely knowledgeable at where we would see the underwater statues, and while at first it was a bit nerve racking (normally when you see something that's gray and 6 feet in the water, you think "shark"), I got used to seeing them. Another added note, was that the fish were super friendly. They must have been domesticated to some degree because entire schools of fish had no problem swimming around us, and we were able to catch a picture with one.
After snorkeling for about an hour, we went on a tour of the island by way of ATV. I was ecstatic because I had never driven / ridden on an ATV before, and checking this off of my bucket-list while on the beach was ideal. At first we were on normal streets, but eventually we got onto rougher terrain and it was pretty thrilling. Seeing the museums and traditional homes made me fall in love with Isla Mujeres. It was nice to be in a calmer environment, as Cancun is pretty lively! When we finished our ATV tour, we were able to partake in the buffet lunch, but we were unfortunately limited on time. I wish that they allocated more time for it, but we stuffed our faces, and rushed back to the boat.
We were able to listen to a tour and learn about the island as we cruised to the downtown area to have about an hour of "Free time". We were able to pick up a few souvenirs (including haggling for the price of course), snatch up a freshly made mojito that gave me life, and have a splash at the beach. During our return to Playa Tortugas, the boat turned into a party boat and we had a great time with line dances, more rounds, a male dancing competition, and more. I truly think for the fact that we only spent $50 for the tour, that the value was great.
We were supposed to go out that evening, as it was our last night in Cancun, but of course, when you have two twenty-something year old women that have grandmotherly tendencies, you appreciate your moments of peaceful sleep. Thankfully, the next day we went out to get a bite to eat before our flight. When I tell you, I think that might have been the best Caesar salad and steak of my life, I mean I think it might have been the best steak of my life. Thank you, Big Argentinian Steak House!
After we ate and snapped a few more pictures of Cancun, we headed to the airport for our return to Mexico City before heading back to Texas. Unfortunately, we had a flight delay which cut into my evening time in Mexico City. I was still pleasantly surprised to arrive at the hotel to a glass of champagne and treats in my room with my name drizzled in chocolate. I wish I had more time to enjoy that hotel, but I have already decided that if and when I return to Mexico City, I will stay in that hotel for at least two nights for a quick splurge.
Things I enjoyed in Cancun:
- Cancun was a true international hotspot! My travel buddy and I met a beautiful black couple from London, a couple from Australia, an Argentinian basketball player, a Mexican rapper, among others.
- Seeing the underwater statues while snorkeling at Isla Mujeres.
- Isla Mujeres. Period.
- The bus system! $1 per ride? Thank you!!
Things I could have done without:
- The saturated amount of folks that resembled clowns with their face-painting, and had no issue about getting in your face. (Yes, I am 26 and afraid of clowns, but I own it!)
- "Open bar" being a scam to get the cheap liquor pushed out.
- Our flight being delayed for 3 hours, because the President of Mexico was flying into our destination and the airport needed to be shut down.
- Overpriced food! lol
- The seaweed on the beaches. In fact, a week later there was a news report about the seaweed takeover in Cancun.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in Cancun! It was great to have some time with my favorite place in the world, the beach, prior to getting prepared for my big move to Dallas. Look out for my post, that gives my overall evaluation of Mexico from a black woman's perspective!
Peace and Blessings,