Saturday 19 March 2016

Our 2016 Holiday

We have returned safe and sound from our first ever Mexican holiday. We spent five nights, six days in Cancun. We had lots of fun, did lots of relaxing, had only two moments of "stress", ate lots, drank lots, and I read lots.

This trip involved  a lot of wee hour of the morning moving about. We left our home here in Ontario at about 2:30 in the morning, the very same morning that the clocks turned ahead one hour (which, for those of you who don't know, happens at 2:00 a.m. - which makes for some tricky setting of alarms on cell phones which automatically set themselves to daylight savings time). We drove through the "night" avoiding no less than nine deer, two raccoons and one bunny rabbit and ended up in Detroit. It took a little bit of doing to figure out where the lot was in which we were going to park our vehicle (our first stressful moment), but a quick call and we were able to find it. We were shuttled to the airport for my favourite part of any trip, the waiting.

The flight was fine, no problems and when we landed in Cancun, the procedure for going through customs, etc. was smooth and painless. The company that we booked the trip with was there with a shuttle to take us to the resort which was only about ten minutes away. That was wonderful! We have had vacations where we rode a shuttle van or even a bus (with no bathroom and NO stops on the way) for three hours to get to a resort. So, this was a real treat!

We have gone to a number of resorts in the Dominican Republic which were quite big, some even requiring little vehicles to take you to different areas of the resort. This was not the case in Cancun. We stayed at the Royal Solaris, a medium-small hotel, where everything was compacted and easy to get to. It was a different experience for us to be in an actual hotel, as opposed to the three story walk-ups, spread out from each other in places like Punta Cana or Cuba. We were happy to be "upgraded" to an ocean view room with no extra charge (and no actual request on our part). The view from our room was lovely. We did not have a balcony, something we are used to in other places, but it was not a great hardship by any means. It was wonderful to open the windows and hear the surf (the ocean was that close!) and feel the warm breezes.
Amazing view from our room

The room was not fancy, but it was clean and well stocked with anything we needed, from bottled water to extra pillows and towels, to all the cute little bottles of shampoo, mouthwash (a first!), and conditioner (usually lacking in other places we've stayed at- and a MUST for someone with unfortunate hair). There was a mini fridge with beer, bottled water, and canned sodas if you wished. They would restock it every day if needed.

Our room was located right beside the elevator (and not usually an issue for us as most of the resorts we have been to have stairs that everyone, except for staff with carts or people with mobility issues, use), and we ended up finding the room to be noisy with people talking to each other as they waited for the elevator, or the shutting of doors, crying of babies, hooting of spring-breakers. It wasn't terrible, but just not something we normally have had to contend with .

There were a few food choices: the main buffet, an a la carte restaurant, an outdoor restaurant, and the food choices by the pool, oven baked pizza and sushi being two of them. We never became bored with the selections, thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor restaurant in the evenings, and thought the variety was great. On tripadvisor, some people complained about the food, but I certainly wouldn't. I'm not sure why they were upset. They must have ridiculous standards. The only thing that surprised me was a lack of what I thought was typical Mexican food. We only ate guacamole once, and never was there any salsa. However, maybe I am only used to what Canadians think Mexican food is. Maybe I've had it wrong all this time. One evening, we enjoyed the Brazilian barbecue theme at the outdoor restaurant. We could fill our plate with salad, and hot sides of vegetables, and breads, then a waiter came around to our table with large skewers of roasted meats. We were offered chicken wings, more chicken portions, two kinds of sausage, pork, lamb, beef, and the most glorious pineapple I have ever tasted. We were ridiculously stuffed. Absolute gluttony, but it's a vacation, so no regrets.
There are many levels to the pool area. One covered area is the outdoor restaurant.

We had one moment where I turned on the wall mounted hair dryer (which I suspected was going to be a problem when little bits of metal screen came shooting out of it when I first tested it out upon our arrival in our room, and it sparked a wee bit). I had my shower, was in my nifty robe the hotel provides during your stay, and my husband was having his shower. I was ready to tackle my unfortunate hair, had combed through it and put some kind of taming product on it. I detached the hair dryer from its little wall cradle, turned it on, and a sort of electric blue flash went poof, at the same time the lights all went out, and I gave a yelp. No, I wasn't electrocuted, but we were without power. (I was hoping I hadn't turned off the whole floor's power as it was the time when people would be getting ready to go out for supper). Hubby let me know that he had packed a small flashlight which I groped around in the dark to find, then I called down to the reception desk, who answered with a few sentences of Spanish (none of which I understood). I let them know what room we were in and that we had no power, and that I was in need of a hairdryer. A few minutes later (husband is still merrily showering in the dark through all of this), a maintenance man arrived at our door. He spoke very little English. Our power came back on, but he wasn't understanding my absurd charade of hairdryer explosion, so I led him into the bathroom, showed him the hairdryer which he turned on (yes, it still was running) and I ended up having to pick up little pieces of fried metal from the floor to convince him that I wasn't going to be using that one! In just a few more minutes, he had come back with a different hairdryer and switched it out with the scary exploding one. I was very impressed with how quickly things got solved!

Another lovely aspect of this resort is how close the pool area is to the ocean. You can be reading on a lounge chair close to the pool and look up and watch the ocean waves and hear the surf. Flags are flown on the beach each day to let people know if the water is safe or not. Almost always it was a red flag indicating that the waves and resulting undertow were too dangerous for swimming. In some areas along the beach there were orange or yellow flags. In those areas people did go in the water and enjoy the waves. I have a healthy respect for undertow and didn't go much past knee depth.
The lifeguards were diligent. You can see the red warning flags.

This is one of the ways to get down to the beach.

There were many lounge chairs to choose from. The resorts are built to be in the architectural style of Mexican pyramids and are usually white.

When we travel to the Dominican Republic, we meet people from many parts of the world, usually a lot of people from Canada, but many other countries as well. When we have been to Cuba, we have also met people from all over the world, but generally not Americans (for obvious reasons, but that will be changing soon, no doubt). At this resort in Cancun, there were very few Canadians, and mostly Americans. We were a bit foolish, however, not realizing to what extent the college students would be celebrating their Spring Break in this area. When I went to university, I had NO extra money to be gallivanting off to another country for a vacation. This is not the case with today's students. Perhaps they are very good at managing their money, or perhaps they have incredibly generous parents, but whatever the reason, there are a HUGE amount of American college students who are able to go on vacation during their school year. Regardless of their numbers, I would say that for the most part they kept their celebrating to a dull roar, were still courteous and polite to anyone on staff as well as to other vacationers, and didn't cause any problem for us (apart for one confused inebriated young man who stood at my door asking if I was sure that this was my room -  I suspect he was given a false room number by an uninterested female).

We experienced our second stressful time on our trip home. Again, we were up in the wee hours of the morning so we could leave the resort at 4:00 a.m. (Yes, there are still people partying at the lobby bar at that time). Getting through the Cancun airport was again effortless. Our flight was a little bit delayed, and when we arrived in Los Angelos, we had to wait in the plane for another chunk of time before we could get in whatever you call a plane parking spot, and "deplane". This was making us sweat, because we had to make a connecting flight with a total of an hour and a half to spare (some of this already eaten up on the runway). The passengers were let off the plane in the order that they were sitting, with no regard to people trying to make their next flights, a practise which should change. We were misdirected in the customs area, even after we told them we were Canadian, which ate up even more time. By the time we got through customs and found our gate, our next flight was already boarding. I really hate connecting flights. I would love to avoid this in the future. By the time we got to Detroit (I'd lost track of time changes at that point) we were subsisting on small packets of peanuts and two cookies each. No, we didn't choose to spend the money for food on the flight. Ridiculous prices.

When we finally got to our vehicle (no problems there, good job, Park N' Go) we started driving out of Detroit, found a Wendy's and inhaled double cheese burgers and fries. We finally arrived at our home at about 1:30 in the morning. The house was still standing and the cat was still alive. Our sixteen year old son managed well with the help of two friends who had him over for a day at a time. It's the next day and I've put through a load of vacation laundry.

My challenge of packing only a carry-on piece of luggage was very successful and probably was the reason we made our connecting flight in L.A., because we didn't have to wait for any checked luggage. (Hubby also had a carry on bag). I would say I only over packed by two shirts, one skirt, and one pair of shoes which I only wore once and probably could have done without. I'm quite proud of myself. If you stuck around long enough to read this whole post, thank you! I would recommend Cancun to anyone who hasn't been. Would I return to this place? Probably not, but not because I was disappointed with it. There are just too many other places to try out. If partying college students bother you, I would avoid this time of year. Anyone else vacationed in Mexico? What were your experiences?


  1. All sounds marvellous to me - apart from the one or two hiccups. And you seem to have had sunshine all the way which will have done you a lot of good.

  2. It sounds like a great trip and it looks so beautiful! Blue sky, gorgeous beach, lovely weather...ah, that is the life! And you sound like a very laid back person. You experienced some minor annoyances but you seem to easily shrug them all off.

    I've never been to Cancun but I have been to Mexico. Would I go again? No. Not because I didn't like it (I did) but because like you, I want to see other places in the world!

  3. I enjoyed your post. Someday we will take a winter vacation to somewhere tropical. I appreciated your viewpoint. I am happy to hear that the Americans there weren't rude. I always here that and it is disheartening. I am glad you enjoyed your vacation. I'm also glad you weren't electrocuted. Scary. The food sounds so good. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  4. You are such a great storyteller!
    I was spellbound...right to the end...
    Never been to Mexico...not really into all-inclusives!
    You sound like you had a pretty good time...and it is beautiful!
    enjoy your week...
    Linda :o)