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We finally took a vacation in Cancun

Gorgeous clear water in Cancun

Gorgeous clear water in Cancun

We’ve lived in the Yucatan for almost a decade and last week was the first time we took a vacation in Cancun .

Oh, we’ve been to Cancun to use the airport.We passed through Cancun on our one and only Isla Mujeres trip, prompted by the first LABC  (Latin American Bloggers’ Conference). Cancun doesn’t appeal to us. While I’ve toyed with the idea of going just to shop– the shopping is supposed to be better in Cancun—I can’t think of anything that I want that is worth spending 7 hours of my life in transit, even on the ADO Platino bus.

So what prompted this momentous decision? Why did we decide to finally visit Cancun? My best friend, BK and her husband received a free week at the Royal Cancun Resort and invited us along. We’d been invited to come along on all-inclusive vacations before but never felt that they were worth the fee. The Royal Cancun Resort isn’t an all-inclusive, it’s a family resort. We shared a very nice 2 bedroom condo with a galley kitchen. The kitchen even had Revere wear pots and pans! It’s time to replace some of our current pans, and I want to get Revere Wear, I used to have it NOB and I’m sorry that I didn’t bring it down.

BK and I planned like generals staging a major campaign. Both seasoned campers, we viewed this as a upscale camping trip.We conferred on the menu, we debated the various possibilities, we took scouting trips to various supermarkets. I’m not a spontaneous traveler,  I like to have as much figured out in advance as possible. Finally, BK turned to me saying ,”We’re really over thinking this, you do two meals, I’ll do two, we’ll eat out two meals, and eat shrimp and vegetable stir fry one meal.” Much relieved to hear this, Husband canceled his planned intervention. He kept saying, “This is a trip to Cancun, not a voyage to the moon. There are lots of grocery stores there.”

We decided to precook our many meals and freeze them. Being on vacation after all, we also left room in our meal plan for dining out. I cooked Cuban food, ropa vieja and lechon (Cuban style roast pork); BK prepared corned beef with sauerkraut and meatballs in tomato sauce. We also brought frozen shrimp, stir fry vegetable mix, and spinach plus a big bag of fresh salad mix. Monday night is lobster night at the Palapa restaurant so there was one of our dinners. Friday night was BK’s 44th wedding anniversary, so they were going out. With various snack and lunch options like ham, cheese, nuts, dried fruits and left overs we had all seven days totally covered.Our food went into freezer bags, the freezer bags into soft-sided insulated coolers, the coolers into our large wheeled suitcases— suitcases well over the weight limit for a plane.

The Platino bus is a marvel, my biggest complaint is that there is too much leg room. When the foot rest is extended my feet don’t reach the ground. With only 3 per row, the seats are wide. The buses are kept at a chilly 22ªC but they provide you with a wrap. The plush seats fully recline and each one has it’s own monitor so you can watch movies or listen to music. The rest of the group got the INAPAM half price senior discount while I paid the full fare of $77 usd. round trip.

The trip from Merida to Cancun should take 3 1/2 hours, ours took longer. A little red sports car tried came up from behind us,clipping our bus. Our driver didn’t notice or simply ignored the incident. Seeing an opportunity, the other driver chased the bus down, finally catching up to us on the outskirts or Merida. We sat in air conditioned comfort while the two drivers, the insurance adjusters,the ADO officials, and the police hashed it out. ADO dispatched a replacement bus but everything was settled and we were on our way before it arrived. The sports car owner didn’t benefit from his scheme and we all lost some time. TIM (this is Mexico) and no one was upset, it could have been worse.

The ADO station in Cancun is like most large bus stations, antiseptic,with a row of cashiers on one wall, 2 waiting rooms with the ubiquitous overpriced candy counters and newspaper stands. The GL and Platino customers share a private lounge away from the common herd complete with free ice cold water,Nescafe and chamomile tea,large screen TV blaring on the wall, clean private bathrooms, and most importantly air conditioning set at the requisite 22ª C. I learned that it’s more tolerable if you sit directly under the a/c units rather than in front of them. We bypassed all that luxury heading directly to the curb where we hired taxis.

It took two taxis to fit four people and four suitcases. Taxis fares are figured by zone, and the tarifa to the hotel zone is $145 pesos, everything is more expensive in Cancun than in Merida. We were prepared and didn’t even try to haggle.This was our first trip to Cancun and we were not going to worry about paying too much for a taxi…

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. It is funny how we react to different temperatures. To me 72 is hot. On the rare opportunities where I have control of an air conditioning dial, it is set at 65 or 68. Of course, I am the man who kept his house at 55 degrees in the winter in Oregon. I suspect I will never again see that number. At least, not in Melaque.

    • Oh, my goodness, Steven! You are a polar bear! I know an attorney should have ice for blood, but you take it too far.

      The sign on the room requested that we leave the thermostat at 22º C tha’st not even 72º F! I wore my shawl almost all the time! I would have found it cool even when I lived NOB, now I find it downright chilly.

      We once lived in a cabin where we never lit a fire unless it was under -1º C (30º F) if we weren’t going to stay home all day, but I also wore sweatpants and wool socks or thermal underwear. So while I can adapt to a cooler clime, it’s not my preference. The perfect climate would be low 70s at night for sleeping, mid 70s in the morning eventually getting into the mid 80s and heading back down.


  2. We spent 3 months in Latin America last winter, Cancun cost the most to stay and eat of any place we visited on that trip. We flew out of Cancun so we needed to stay one night-that was plenty.

    • Norm,
      We wouldn’t have gone if the room hadn’t been free and remember– we bought most of our food in Merida. We priced groceries at the Comer in centro, they were about 20% higher than Merida. I talk more about prices in my next post. The beach is beautiful, the service good, and most people speak English, a plus for many first time tourists. It’s not a bad place to dip your toe in the water if you’re nervous about going to Mexico.


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