In some ways, this may have been my least favorite part of my time in Mexico. I generally try not to let things bother me too much when I travel, because quite frankly just being able to do so is a privilege in itself, especially at the rate that I have been able to over the past few years, so in some regard I feel like I should keep my complaints at a minimum. That being said, there was a good bit about the way Cancun is that rubbed me the wrong way, and I got pretty agitated over it, but let me rewind things a bit here to getting there.
After having enjoyed a few days of fun coasters and great culture in Guadalajara, I was ready to hop aboard another flight with Volaris to head over to Cancun. This would be my longest flight with Volaris as it was a few hours going across the country, and while every flight I had with them seemed to be in a fairly new and clean plane, this flight was where comfort seemed to be lacking, as there was something about their seats that after sitting in it for close to three hours made me feel pretty sore, and having limited legroom didn’t help as you could only adjust your positioning so much to try and make it better. I couldn’t imagine taking one of their routes to a Northern US city, but for the shorter routes like the ones I did to Monterrey and Guadalajara, it was fine.
So Cancun was another part of Mexico I had never been to before, and having heard about it since it is such a popular destination, I was curious to experience it for myself. What I did not know until getting there is that Uber is not allowed in Cancun, which I had been using for Monterrey and Guadalajara, and would do so again later in Mexico City. By the time I found out, I was out of the arrivals area where the cab stands and shuttle service desks were, and was now in the main part of the airport, and that was were the “fun” began for me.
In trying to find a cab stand based on where an employee of the airport told me to go, this one guy approaches me and asks if I was looking for transportation or some help, and I told him that I was fine but thanks anyway. He than began one of the most persistent efforts to get me to agree to whatever it was he was trying to sell/offer as he followed me for what felt like 5 minutes as I tried to located this stand, and ultimately I went back to the separated area and asked the guard if I could get back in as I had made a mistake. Now this guy could have been legit for all I know, but one of my biggest pet peeves is being followed and hounded on something when I have said no a few times already, trying to get me to finally agree to whatever it is he’s selling/offering. On top of that, there were another couple people who asked and also wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Once I got to the stand, I would get onto a shuttle, but had to wait about 40 minutes for it, and I was at what would be the last stop, which meant riding in the van for about another 40 minutes before I was able to get to the condo I arranged through Airbnb. With this being my greeting to Cancun, my mood was a bit sour.
The condo was located at a resort called Solymar, which seemed to be a combination of a private condo and hotel, where the hotel rooms were in the center, and the condos in the ends. The resort came with its own private beach space, as well as a large pool deck with bars for both. Since it was dark out I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the complex, and really I just kind of wanted to chill for a bit after the hassle of the airport experience and wait around for the shuttle.
After getting to relax a few minutes, the old stomach rumbles began, so it seemed like a good time to track down some food since it had been a while since I ate. At first I thought I would find something within walking distance of Solymar, but I found out about these busses that run up and down the hotel zone of Cancun. So I caught one of them to get up to the main entertainment and restaurant area of the Hotel Zone.
The downside of this exploration was that it was also here where the “fun” continued, as the main part of Cancun is LOADED with these people who try to sell you on VIP club access or going to strip clubs, and much like the guys at the airport, “no” does not seem to be an answer they understand. One of two of them would be one thing, but it felt like you couldn’t even go one block without someone badgering you about going to their club or asking “You wanna meet some girls for a good time?”.
Now to be fair, it seems to be common in Mexico that people often times work for tips or for commissions as opposed to a set hourly wage, so for them to make money they have to sell. It just really irritates me when I have told someone that I’m not interested, and they keep insisting on it even after being told “No thank you” multiple times, and then within a minute, the next person starts the same thing again. It makes it really hard to just walk and enjoy the atmosphere of the town if you have these folks constantly bugging you as you walk.
But it wasn’t all bad, as I did find a restaurant that I liked which also offered a little refuge from the barrage of hardcore salesmen, and that was Monkey Business. This place not only had a great drink selection to choose from, but they had a fairly sizable menu as well, ranging from Mexican favorites to their take on America pub food. While I should have tried the more localized dishes, I was just in the mood for a sandwich, and their steak sandwich seemed perfect when I saw it.
After dinner and a little bit more sales people avoidance, I decided to head back to the condo and call it a night, which was a good call because as I woke up, I felt refreshed and ready to explore a bit more, with the hope that what happened the previous night was just a bad start to my time in Cancun. The plan for the morning was to head South to visit Ventura Park, home to Cancun’s only roller coaster.
Ventura Park definitely caters to tourists as it offers a sizable water park, a zipline area and a few amusement rides. The complex allows visitors to buy tickets at different tiers which include multiple activities. The water park offers a few lazy rivers as well as a couple slide complexes, and the zipline course features a zipline roller coaster! I had not known about the Zipline coaster, so I thought that would be a neat additional activity to try.
But first things first, there was a regular coaster to ride…or so I thought. As luck would have it, their roller coaster had the dreaded maintenance sign in front, meaning it wasn’t going to be available that day. A bummer as even though it probably wouldn’t be the most amazing ride ever, it would still be a missed credit.
Well, as is the case from time to time, rides will be closed, so I decided to go and checkout the zipline activities, with a bit of excitement in trying what would be my first zipline coaster, but alas, bad news would strike again as I found out from an employee that they had a weight maximum for each of the ziplines, and with the exception of one of them, I was too heavy for all of them….so that wasn’t going to happen. Add in the fact that I hadn’t really thought to bring my swim shorts to the park since the coaster and maybe another attraction or two were all that I had planned, and I had no interest in paying an inflated price for a pair at the park, so doing the water park would be a no go as well. So overall, this visit to Ventura was a fail on my part. Granted, it would have been nice if their website had more information about the operating schedule of their coaster, and the weight restrictions for their ziplines, I may have decided to hold off going to the park for this visit, and rather saved it for another day.
So at this point, I was feeling pretty down on Cancun so far, and would have been quick to declare that I wouldn’t be in any kind of hurry to come back. But then came the point where things turned around. Since my departure from the park did not coincide with the park’s shuttle schedule, I either had to get a cab to get back to the main stretch of the Hotel Zone, or take a walk. I decided to go for the latter, and in many ways I am glad I did. While it was a pretty long walk as it took about an hour, there were some spot along the way that made for some nice views along the beach and near the inlets as well.
Once I got to the Southern end of the main bus route, I went ahead and took it to get back to the condo, and then from the condo went for a short stroll up to what would become the best part about this visit to Cancun, Zona Arqueologica El Rey. This was the site of Mayan ruins that had been the location of residences and ceremonial buildings of the Mayan People. While not as well defined or maintained as other Mayan historic sites, this was really neat to see these historic ruins.
Something else that really stuck out about the ruins was the number of iguanas that roamed around the park. While I saw signs asking that people not feed them, it absolutely blew my mind to see so many of them all over. While sudden movements would lead them to scurry away, sometimes you could slowly approach them to get some better up-close pictures of them.
Heading back to the condo, I decided to visit the resort’s private beach, which was really nice! The beaches were definitely a highlight of the area as well, especially with some of the warmest water I have experienced in the Caribbean Sea! After walking the beach a bit, I took advantage of the pool areas reclining chairs to layout and relax for a while. If I were spending more time in Cancun, this is probably what I would be doing for a good chunk of my time there.
After that, I would make my way to the condo for a shower, and then find a place for dinner before calling it a night. In the grand scheme of things, I found that I might have actually enjoyed having a bit more time in Cancun for the beach and things like the ruins. While by the time I was done at Ventura Park, I may have been ready to write-off Cancun, I think by the end of it, I did find things I enjoy about it, and would probably chalk up a big part of my experience to not being vary familiar with how things are there. Next time, I would probably go ahead and have transportation arranged before I arrive, and I would probably look into some pre-arranged tours of some sort to go along with enjoying the beach, and maybe avoid the entertainment district so as to save the hassle of dealing with the sales people that drove me nuts.
With that, the next morning would be the last flight within Mexico, and would lead to a return to Mexico City for the rest of this trip.
See more of the 2018 Mexico Trip:
1: The Journey South / 2: A Day in Monterrey / 3: More Mexican Coasters / 4: Exploring Guadalajara /
5: Looking for Guadalajara Coasters / 6: Selva Magica / 7: A Night of Lucha Libre / 8: Cancun / 9: Back to Mexico City /
10: Día de los Muertos Parade / 11: La Feria Chapultepec Magico / 12: Six Flags Mexico / 13: ¡Kataplum! /
14: Día de los Muertos in Mixqic
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