A sneak peak at paradise: Cancun

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Hotel Riu Cancun

Why Cancun:

So my boyfriend has always been very good at buying presents but last November he really took it to the next level by arriving at my door on my 21st birthday with flowers and a note saying he was taking me to Cancun, Mexico for 10 nights in May! I have never been so excited and could not stop googling pictures and reviews of other people’s recent trips.

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The travelling over:

So we set off on May 16th to Dublin Airport to catch our first flight to London! Our flight was at around 7:30am with Aer Lingus and there were thankfully no delays and it took around an hour and a half. When we got to London we had to pretty much run through security and do nothing else as there wasn’t a lot of time between our flights. We then flew off to Cancun with British Airways which was about 10 and a half hours. I thought this would be horrendous but it was actually okay. We were given pillows and blankets and they had all the latest films. I watched nearly 3 films on the way over which took up nearly 9 hours and then when you have your two meals the time doesn’t feel as long at all.

Where we stayed:

I couldn’t believe it when I checked out the hotel we were staying in (usually I’m in charge of this part!) It was absolutely gorgeous, I just kept thinking there’s no way it actually looks like this in real life? And it was actually better. The hotel was called ‘Riu Cancun’ It was a 5 star hotel and we were booked in as all inclusive. The hotel was the closest thing I’ve seen to paradise. It had 6 pools, 6 bars, Pacha, a jacuzzi, a buffet restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a steakhouse, an Italian, a lunch buffet, a sports bar, a beach, an infinity pool, kiddies club, you name it they had it. Our room was absolutely amazing and we had a huge balcony looking over the beach. We also had a minibar in our room with vodka, whiskey and rum and then a fridge filled with beer, mixers and water. This was all free and filled up every two days! The staff made the stay even better, they work the craziest shifts I’ve ever seen and are still always in the best form and always out to keep you happy! They get up early to practice their dance routine performances, some of them host a kiddies club while the others entertain at the pool, they serve drink all day at the pool, they then put on a 3 or 4 hour performance every night and then bring anyone who wants to join them out to all the nightclubs that night. Most of them didn’t even have a day off for the 10 days we were there and were always doing atleast 18 hour shifts so always remember to tip them 🙂

Restaurants And Bars:

When Damien told me it was all inclusive I still brought a lot of spending money because I presumed it would be one free drink every hour, or a small plate of food for dinner, but no, they may aswell have let us in behind the bar to help ourselves! I couldn’t get over how much they give you, you can literally go up and ask for any amount of drinks you want and they will give them to you and they still make the drinks as strong as possible! The staff serve you cocktails while you’re in the pool or sunbathing and are always straight over when you are running low for drink! They are all so friendly and couldn’t be more helpful.

As for the food, I’d say I put on a stone after those 10 days! In the morning, there is a massive breakfast buffet which has anything from a fruit salad or a fry to sandwiches, pancakes and waffles. They literally have any breakfast option you can think of! They then have a huge lunch buffet which has burgers, pizzas, steaks, rice, chips, Mexican, fish, pancakes, ice cream, stir fries, fajitas, paella and again fruit and pancakes etc. As if this is not enough food by the time it’s 3pm in the day they then have a barbecue at the pool everyday! For dinner there is lots of different options, you can go to the buffet any night without any reservations. The buffet contains pretty much everything for dinner, mostly the same as their lunch buffet with more extras. If you want something different such as sushi, italian or steak you have to go down early in the morning to reserve it. Everything is still free but it just has limited space. The Italian was by far my favourite, everywhere was nice but the italian never failed. They have a menu where you choose a starter and main course but yet they still have a huge buffet incase you want to add things to your dinner! They then have around 2 fridges full of deserts. It is literally heaven until you nearly explode. Also, if all of this isn’t too much food for you the sports bar is open 24/7 and you can get sandwiches, fruit, burgers or nachos at any hour of the day!

 

Outside the hotel:

Our hotel was also in a great location as it is right beside the main nightlife and shopping areas in Cancun. Huge premium stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani were all surrounding us and all the nightclubs, restaurants and bars were a five minute walk away. We got a bit sick of always eating in our hotel so we went to Hooters for food and drinks one day and it was so good! The boneless wings are to die for. We also went to The Hard Rock Café one night and a steakhouse another, both were lovely.

Nightclubs are extremely expensive over here, We wanted to go to Coco Bongos and Frogs but we were getting quotes of 165 euro each! We ended up going to Palazzo which was 90 euro each, this gave you entry and a free bar all night and entrance to Mandala Beach club the next day. Unfortunately Palazzo killed us so we didn’t go to the beach party the next day 😦 I hugely regret missing this, it looked amazing. I found Cancun fairly safe but they do warn you not to wear any jewellery or bring any phones with you to nightclubs as alot of people apparently go out just to steal but obviously this happens everywhere but I would still leave your valuables in the hotel to be safe!

Spending money:

So overall the flights and accommodation were around 3100 euro. I think you save a lot of money by going all inclusive (although I wasn’t the one paying so easy for me to say ha ha!) and if you didn’t you wouldn’t get to do much else so I would definitely recommend all inclusive as everything outside the hotel is as expensive as it is back in Ireland. Shopping and excursions are also hugely expensive here which I will talk more about next. We would not have spent any money at all apart from tips, excursions, nightclubs and the few times we ate out. If you didn’t want to spend anymore than original price you paid you easily could if you just stayed in the hotel the whole time.

Tourist Attractions/Excursions:

So anyone who knows me knows I hate holidays that don’t involve activities. Lying around doing nothing all week just isn’t for me. I like to relax but I love going to visit popular tourist attractions and booking them is one of the first things I do when I arrive. Cancun has lots of choice such as Scuba & Snorkeling, Swimming with dolphins, Boat tours, Tulum tour, Aquariums, Xplor adventure park, Wet’n Wild water park, Kayaking, Jet skiing, fishing, ziplining and Xcaret adventure park. I was so excited that I had already picked out my favorites about an hour after I found out we were going! We decided on going to Xplor and Delphinus.

Delphinus:

Delphinus is a pool area where you swim with dolphins. You can go in groups of 4 for 60 minutes, groups of 10 for 45 minutes, a group of 2 for 60 minutes or a group of 6 for an 8 hour training day. We just went with the big group of 10. I loved it from start to finish, you start off swimming with the dolphins floating around them and learning about them. You then get to see the dolphin do lots of tricks, and then interact alone with the dolphin where they actually take you on a ride. This really was a once in a lifetime experience. It was 119 euro each but it was honestly well worth it in my opinion. You are not allowed to bring your Go-Pro in the water so photos are not included in that price. We ended up paying something crazy like 120 euro for photos which is ridiculous but I would have hated not to have the memories. They give you a disc containing loads of photos of the whole day. This price also lets you return in evening for a dolphin show and free trip to the aquarium which was really good. The dolphin show goes on for around half an hour and you can stroll around the aqaurium for as long as you want touching stingrays and starfish and what not! The price also includes transport to and from your hotel to Delphinus.

Xplor:

It probably sounds like an exaggeration but visiting Xplor was probably one of the best days of my life. It was constant fun from start to finish and I think if you go to Cancun you can’t miss going here! You can go at night time or during the day. We went at daytime and got dropped off at around 8.30am. The journey took about an hour and a half and the transport to and from our hotel was also included. They then told us we were getting picked up at 5.30pm and we were thinking what on earth are we going to do for that many hours? Well we were wrong, infact we nearly missed our bus home!

So basically there are 4 activites to do: Cave swimming, Water rafting, driving doom buggies and ziplining. These activities are all split into levels of difficulty.

For the cave swimming there are two options: a 20 minute swim or a 50 minute swim, we started off with the 20 minute swim which is swimming through lit up caves. They are absolutely amazing and it all still baffles me how they are real caves filled with electricity, water, cameras, but at the same time fish and bats. It’s a complete mix of nature and technology. You have a lifejacket the whole time but if your not a confident swimmer I would stick to the 20 minute swim. I did both and found them fine but I never really struggle with swimming. However there are exits every 15 minutes if you deicide you want to leave. I think we did this swim three times and it never got boring. The views are just amazing, outside the caves is almost like a jungle.

The water rafting is known as the divorce river for couples as you both have to work together to steer the raft but we had so much fun. This is also in the cave rivers and also comes in an easy or hard route. We did both and found the harder one more fun!

Driving the doom buggies was insane! I don’t drive and you’re told not to drive if you don’t have a licence but it’s an automatic so I was going to anyway. Let’s just say thank god Damien wouldn’t let me! They have a long or short route. The short route is pretty much a straight forward route on sand tracks so we agreed I would drive for the next route. Damien decided last minute that he had a bad feeling it would be harder and next thing I know he’s driving through rivers, over bridges with holes in the planks, through caves, over forests and through areas with wild animals! So luckily I didn’t get the chance to kill us!

The ziplining was my favourite and yet most dreaded part. I have done ziplining before so was so excited to do it again but when I saw how high they were and that they were over main roads and forests my cockiness soon went away! After hours of chickening out I decided to start off on a smaller zipline (about two stories tall) where you get into a hammock that connects to a zipline and swing down into a river. Once we did it we couldn’t wait to try the rest. We then went to ziplining area where we went on our first one, I can’t remember how high exactly it was but to put it into perspective a huge tree looked like a leaf from where we were ha ha! We then get to the other tower and I’m screaming with happiness that I did it when a man starts strapping me in again. We didn’t read the leaflet and it turns out you do 12 ziplines in a row without taking a break! By the 5th one we could nearly do it ourselves so I think 12 was a bit much but they got faster and higher everytime so it was so much fun and if we didn’t run out of time we would have done it again later!

Overall Xplor cost 165 euro each but it is so worth it in my opinion. I would have gone back again only that it was one of our last days. They take surprise and planned photos the whole way around these activities which are expensive but you can take as many as you want. The cameras identify you with the numbers on your helmets and the photos are hilarious.

Tips-

  • Bring a Go-Pro if you have one as there are amazing views and things to video. They sell protective waterproof cases for your phone also if you would rather that.
  • Do everything atleast once even if you’re scared! You will regret it if you don’t.
  • Buy waterproof protective footwear in one of the local stores as there are a lot of rocks in the water.
  • Don’t eat beforehand as there is a huge lunch buffet.
  • Wear something comfortable such as a bikini and shorts and girls tie your hair up.

Travelling home:

We got a plane from Cancun to Philadelphia which took about 2 hours and then got a plane from Philadelphia to Dublin which was about 9 hours. The food wasn’t nice on the way home so unfortunately we were starving but the films got us through the flight again!

Overall Review:

Cancun honestly was all I could ask for and more. I would go back in a heartbeat and I couldn’t recommend our hotel more. As birthday presents go this was definitely the best. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to message me. I will also be posting a separate blog post on my holiday outfits if you are curious about the style over there and what to pack so keep an eye out for that. Thanks for reading!

Jodie x x

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