Friday, September 25, 2009

Travel Tips to Cancun

We learned a few things on our recent trip to Mexico. First if you're staying in a resort area like Cancun, don't worry about getting sick. We didn't have any problems, even though we drank plenty of water and cocktails. When in doubt order a cerveza.

Renting a car is easy, cheap and fun. It gives you independence to drive where ever you want and take quick day trips down the coast. The hotel zone is a short drive from the airport and sits on a single road, navigating that is no problem; but the city center is something special. It’s a series of concentric circles with street signs that are so faded they’re virtually impossible to read. Luckily we were in no rush and met a few super friendly locals that helped steer us in the right direction. We were stopped by the policia one evening on our way to dinner, and though he told us we were speeding, we’re pretty sure our only violation was leaving the Ritz-Carlton. At least it’s a good story.

We had a couple of great dinners, one at Elephanta, which is a new Indian restaurant that sits on the lagoon at La Isla. (That's the view from our table above.) The onion kulcha with raita, palak paneer, and chicken tikka masala were excellent. We also went to Harry’s for the tomahawk steak and great people watching. Unfortunately, Frommer’s and Fodor’s both recommended La Habichuela, which was a huge disappointment. There are two locations- we went to the one in the city center. It was so forgettable that I plan on writing the guide books to let them know.

Do bring a stack of $1 bills and small denominations in general. This tip is from ShallowGal and came in handy. Everyone takes dollars but gives you change in pesos. You’ll need the small bills for tipping and the markets, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I thought I would.

Naturally I forgot my phone charger but the business center at the Ritz-Carlton keeps several on hand and lent one to me gratis. The business center is always a great place to print out your boarding passes for the plane ride home, unless you're flying internationally in which case you'll need to check in at the airport.

Next time we're going to stay longer so we can visit Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres. A three day trip was too short to do as much exploring as we wanted. Do you have any advise to share with our readers about Cancun? We love to hear it. Happy travels!


All Lacquered Up said...

Great tips! I've been to Cancun twice now and I just love it down there as long as it's not Spring Break season.

If you visit Isla Mujeres I high recommend a snorkeling expedition. But rather than book a group tour, search out a smaller snorkel/scuba company in the streets so you get your own boat and guide. The fish won't be scared away by the large group and you'll get some amazing shots with your underwater camera.

Oh and the last time, we ate at a churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) called Rio Churrascaria and it was fantastic. The first time I've ever had alligator tail and ostrich.

If you've never been to this style of restaurant, the servers wander the tables with skewers of meat and they keep serving until you tell them to stop. It's a great way to sample a lot of differently prepared meats including turkey, beef, chicken, pork, etc. Though you should have quite an appetite when you arrive. There's also an impressive salad/seafood/veggie/side dish bar for those that aren't meat eaters.

The Jet Set Girls said...

Thanks for your input. I regret not seeing Isla Mujeres this trip; but look forward to doing it next time.

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