The great beach of Cancun was my entrance door to Mexico, and the location to my best beach holidays.
Too artificial, but… too good. And nature is around, embracing historic sites.
Swim into the night
Night falls quickly in the tropics, and with the hotel so close to the great beach, it was common to extend the pleasure of a late swim into the dark of the night, with the lights of the pools and the hotel allowing us to stay.
And how good they were, those baths, with the beach only for us.
Cancun shares with Luanda the top of my preferences concerning beaches – warm water, strong but safe surf… a water paradise.
After a week in the beach it was time to travel around.
A mandatory day trip
It´s a couple of hours by car from Cancun, but I think that it’s impossible to skip its visit.
Chichen-Itza it’s popular worldwide, and it would be silly not to visit it, being so close. So, have a swim in the early morning (great!) visit Chichen-Itza, and have another late swim to receive the night (even better).
Day trip to Xcaret
Fun, Nature and History
About one hour by bus from the hotels area, Xcaret is something not to be missed.
Only with a little help from men, a place with natural beauty and signs of history became a park where children and adults may spend a full day, with many and different attractions.
Rivalling with its neighbor Xcaret, this park is an absolute “must see”. It doesn’t have so many attractions as an amusement park, but it is gorgeous as a natural park. It is a breeding area for fish, and bathing in such a natural environment a fabulous experience. Only a few dozens kilometers far from town, it is easily reached by bus, and usually seen together with Tulum ruins.
Fernanda didn’t swim, preferring to sit by the water, with a small bag to feed the fish. A big one jumped out of the water and grabbed the entire bag, with her shouting and laughing.
Ruins and beach
A mandatory day trip from Cancun takes us to Xcaret or Xel-Ha, both close to the ruins of Tulum.
The ruins are not so impressive as in some other areas, but it is a very interesting visit, and the bath by the ruins a special experience, even with a rough sea that didn’t frighten the kids.
Diving and fun
Isla Mujeres allowed two programs – one by day, mainly consisting in snorkeling or diving -, and the one that we made.
We had to choose, snorkel was something that only some of us would do, and we had already done somewhere else, and that’s why we choose the nightly program. However, I was told that the island is great for fish, so the program for the day would also be very interesting.
Not far from Cancun, passing through Valladolid, the contact with nature in Rio Lagartos, provides us with the dazzling spectacle of the flight of flocks of flamingos.
A different day, which can be combined with a visit to the cenotes of Valladolid, or if you rush a bit, with a quick visit of Chichen-Itza.
It is not a “must see”, but the capital of Yucatan deserves a visit.
It is a very long trip, but Uxmal surely deserves to be done – the ruins, the jungle, the ambiance is something that I will never forget.
It is possible to do it in a single day, but it will be a very hard day, so I suggest a overnight trip.
Details of the site may be seen in my Uxmal page.
Krystal Cancun – Best Location
My travel agent was a good friend, dealing with me not as client but as a friend. That’s why he insisted to send us to Krystal a simple hotel compared to the outstanding buildings in the coastal line, but, for him, the best.
It probably was, at the time, appearing in some guides rating 6 stars.
I know that it lost quality, and is now sold as 3 or 4 stars only. It’s a pity, because it keeps the perfect location, and the safest sector of the beach.
Address: Ave. Kukulcan Lotes 9 & 9A Zona Hotelera
One of the reasons why my friend and tour operator insisted in sending us to Krystal was the hotel’s animation.
Well, I don’t know the alternatives, but he was right. we never got bored in Krystal!
Enjoying the pool
The pool of Kristal hotel is good, but with two special things: the shadow of the pillars, that I often used to read a book in the water, and its construction by the sea, giving from most of its places the sensation of continuity with the sea.
Kept the slabs
Upon arrival they offered to each one of us a slab with traditional motifs, with the only obligation to spend some minutes in a “information meeting”.
We had an unexpected dose of time sharing promotion, with all the common show, of periodical clapping hands, proving that we were the only “silly people resisting to the offered marvels”.
We did resist, and after not more than one hour, we left, with four slabs that fit very well in a small wall of my garden. I don’t know if they keep on selling time sharing, but, if the rhythm of the clapping hands was half true, they had time to sell 50 hotels since then.
Lagoon – not to swim
Don’t count on a quiet water to swim in the lagoon side.
It’s useful in Cancun to know that there’s no beach on that side, and it is used only for sports and fishing.
Beach is only in the ocean side, and I suggest that you choose carefully your hotel, since the sea along the sand stripe doesn’t “behave” always in the same way, and some sections are dangerous.
Not at noon
The greatest menace that we faced in Mexico, more than malaria, dengue or “Montezuma’s revenge”, was… the sun.
It is really strong, and though taking all the recommended precautions, we all got more burnt than desired.
Control well your time to swim.
When we arrived we were told that, in the early morning it was common to see some dolphins near the hotel.
Jet-lag made me awake around 4 AM in the first days, and I took advantage of it to go and see the sunrise, waiting for the dolphins.
They never showed up, and the only consolation I had was being the first to dive in the pool, on a marvelous 6 AM swim.
We saw folk dancing… everywhere.
To be honest, I must confess that the best show was at our hotel – a large group, immense variety of dances from pre-Colombian times to Spanish influences, Mariachi, of course, and we ended dancing with them.
Well… at least trying to, but no matter how we succeeded, surely having fun!
One thing that I appreciated in Mexico was the presence of music and dancing everywhere. Of course we were tourists, in the touristy circuits, and music is something easy to sell to tourists, but, I think that it’s possible to feel the difference between dancing for commercial purposes and dancing with pleasure, even in a professional context.
I felt it in Mexico, real pleasure in the permanent music and dancing, and a high level of quality.
The shows in our Hotel, Krystal, were really great.
A special trip into Yucatan
It’s a little far, about 150 KM from Cancun, but it’s something I would recommend.
Not only you will see the beauty of hundreds of flamingos flying over the waters, but you will face a sanctuary of wildlife and marvelous sights. And it will be easy to add the visit to the mandatory trip to Chichen Itza.
Caracol – Well located
Caracol is not a very big mall, but… it is a mall, and it is located near the entrance of the long stripe of sand where the hotels are lined in a regular sequence.
We used it mainly to escape from the food of the hotel, and try to taste something different, and, you know, the women have the great skills to transform a daily visit to the same shops, displaying the same articles, in an always different and remarkable event.
Best Beach Hotel Zone
It’s useful in Cancun to know that there are lots of excellent hotels in the 20 Km long line of sand that gave notoriety to Cancun, but I was told that, in same sections of it, the sea could become treacherous.
Krystal hotel had the advantage of being in one of the safest areas of the beach, and being safe, keeping the waves that make all the difference between pool and sea.
Cancun bus – Better than expected
Well… I must confess that when we saw the bus that would take us to Xcaret, I hesitated – it seemed a prehistoric vehicle, and I was afraid that we could end collecting pieces along the road.
No way! It was a good bus, comfortable, with air-conditioned, and the trip was safe and quick.
No need to use the car.
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