Trevor and I spent our first Thanksgiving break together in Cancun, Mexico. It was really our second option after plans fell through to go to Havana, Cuba. With all of the negative press surrounding Cuba on the news: Trump rolling back Obama-era policies for citizen travel, banning Americans from contributing their dollars to the communist government AND the mysterious sonic attacks on US foreign officers, our families convinced us not to risk it. So, CANCUN, MEXICO it is!
Now before you think this post is going to be about us relaxing in a safe haven resort by day, while partying at nightclubs till the break of dawn, you are mistaken. We wanted to experience Mexican culture and traditions by stepping outside of our comfort zone mixing in some adventure, fun, and relaxation.
Click “Continue Reading” to read more about our adventure!
DAY 1 – 2
From the Cancun airport, we drove 2.5 hours to Pisté and stayed in Hotel Dolores Alba Chichén. The hotel was off the beaten path but extremely convenient. They served free breakfast and had wifi. The famous Ik-Kil cenote was (walking-distance) across the street from the hotel. The Chichén Itzá complex was about a 15 minute drive. There are entry fees for both. Just make sure you bring your passport to see Chichén Itzá.
2 nights in Hotel Dolores Alba Chichén: $92 USD
Chichén Itzá: 242 pesos per person ($13 USD)
Ik Kil cenote: 80 pesos per person ($4 USD)
We also discovered a hidden gem 30 minutes away from our hotel, Valladolid. Definitely a beautiful spot to check out that offers colonial style architecture, beautiful churches, and is quite the foodie destination believe it or not. We had an unforgettable dinner at Taberna de los Frailes.
We tried glamping for one day at Akumal Natura. It’s glamorous camping (with wifi and running water) in the middle of a jungle. It was definitely one of the best experiences without having to sacrifice comfort. We stayed in a king sized tent right by a cenote. Had a frightening/hilarious moment when we dipped our feet into the water and experienced our first natural fish pedicures. For lunch and dinner, we ate at the delicious cafe right where we checked in. Our amazing chef worked from morning until night time preparing ALL of the visitors’ entrees. We ended our night watching Netflix in our tent awaiting our next adventure.
1 night in Akumal Natura: $59
Right down the road from Akumal Natura, we made reservations to visit the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary & rescued animals. Staff members were knowledgeable and passionate about their animals as we got to interact with most of them. Alex was an amazing tour guide and he discussed every animal’s backstory and success stories. Some came from the circus, some needed special care, while some were re-introduced into the wild. Our donations cover high maintenance costs to help care for the animals.
Tour: $65 USD per person
After our tour ended, we hit the road to our last temporary home in Akumal. We stayed in La Bahia #8 condo by Half Moon Bay with a beautiful view overlooking the beach. Our place was clean and had plenty of amenities. We decided to drive to the supermarket to make food at home instead of eating out for every meal.
Total AirBnB cost: $271 for 3 nights
Grocery cost for 3 days of breakfast/lunch: $53
Our last mission was to find sea turtles. We actually stayed in Half-Moon Bay which is right next to Akumal Bay. After snorkeling for a couple of hours with no luck we decided to ask another couple with snorkeling gear where the best spot to find sea turtles is. They directed us to the bay next to ours, Akumal Bay, as the place to find sea turtles. Keeping up with the adventurous theme, instead of walking on the street like normal people we decided to walk along the rocky beach. At first not knowing exactly where we were going was a little uneasy but we were easily distracted by the stunning views and local wildlife. After a short 30 minute walk we made it to Akumal Bay and were bombarded by snorkeling tour guides. Please do not fall for the snorkeling tour traps! Akumal Beach is public so if you ever plan a trip here, please do not let scammers take advantage. The first day we found two turtles munching that we caught on our GoPro. The next day we found more!
I quickly fell in love with Mexico’s colorful charm; and if any of you ever have the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone (resort), I wholeheartedly suggest you try at least one of the activities we did. This trip really brought me closer to Trevor and I can’t possibly thank him enough for doing most of the planning and sharing these unforgettable memories with me. Needless to say, we didn’t have a single shot of tequila the entire trip. lol. Just shots….of sunset photos. ha-ha.
I do hope you enjoy this post! Hopefully you can use this as a guide on your future trip to Mexico!