If you want to take a trip to Mexico with only a week’s vacation, you might want to consider Cancun. Even if you’re one of those travelers who prefer to go off the beaten track of the popular tourist locations, you might be better off to venture to this locale in the country-especially for if it’s your first time there.
Don’t misunderstand-it’s not that other cities aren’t perfectly wonderful; it’s just that there are many advantages of being in a foreign city that is equipped to deal with hoards of Americans who may not know much Spanish and have little knowledge of the culture. Being there almost makes one feel that its main purpose is for honoring visitors, and in this respect, it does its job well.
Some years ago, my husband and I spent a perfectly fine week there, and neither of us had ever been in a country where English was not the primary language. We did have some opportunities to utilize our high-school Spanish (refreshed by language guides) on a few occasions, but we had no fear of being misunderstood when we were in the main tourist areas. Our trip was with a company called Apple Tours, and we had a nonstop flight which took a little over two hours from the northeastern U.S. airports. Included in our package were two activities of our choosing-we opted for a Pirate Cruise and Tour of Chichineza, and we elected to snorkel and golf on our own.
The Pirate Cruise turned out to be what was referred to as a “booze cruise”, although don’t be misled into thinking it was a raucous free-for-all. There were many young honeymooners, but also a good deal of children, yet a cash bar quite adequately supported the general atmosphere of nautical fun and fantasy. Actors and actresses roamed the ship, telling Pirate stories of the waters and taking pictures of the guests. It wasn’t a bad way to spend an evening, and there were some lovely views of the shoreline for photo opportunities.
Chichineza is an ancient town that contains relics of past civilizations such as courts in which a deadly basketball game was once played, and towering pyramid that can be climbed by those stout of heart and limb. (I have a great picture of myself atop, canoodling with the god who protects it.) The journey was not an easy one, however. Approaching Chichineza via a rickety old bus without air conditioning and restroom facilities was not something advisable for anyone suffering even a mild form of Montezuma’s revenge. The trip was about 90 minutes and the path was through some exceedingly heart-breaking areas of poverty. (On the one rest stop, beggars swarmed those who left the bus.)
The snorkeling expedition we chose went out into much deeper water than I am comfortable with, so I alone remained in waters near the boat. It was moored in about 6 feet of water; the others went out to a depth of at least 15 feet. This is a consideration if you are a novice; the companies’ version of “beginner” may conflict with yours. (My husband relayed that one of the women became quite unnerved at one point and they had to stop the excursion for a few minutes, so apparently I’m not the only one who likes to have their feet on solid ground while dumping water from their face mask.)
Golfing was a blur and not worth the money-it was not a well-kept course, and the temperature reached 106 degrees that particular September day. Yet, we made up for it in other ways…
Our hotel room offered beautiful scenery, and we enjoyed every one of our meals-even though the chimichangas tasted a bit different than those from Chichi’s! We loved going to the marketplace, though one must get used to bargaining with the vendors. My souvenir was a stunning silver and turquoise bracelet which I still wear to this day.
In answer to questions about illness, some folks were sick every day (like my husband) while others became sick only once (like I did). The culprit were ice-pops purchased from a local child at Chichineza; we were so parched, we didn’t even care about the water. However, surprisingly, those few episodes still didn’t ruin the overall experience. Would I return? You bet! It’s probably even grander now than before, but still very tourist-friendly.