I had heard of this heavenly destination,
but this was my first time in Cancun, let’s enjoy it!
I’ve been listening to Cancun for years. An earthly paradise is full of unforgettable beaches, beautiful sunsets, many activities full of adventure, and tours that will bring you closer to Mexican culture. Until now, I had not had the opportunity to visit the southeast of the country and I was very excited to visit the Yucatan Peninsula, which is very famous for its natural beauty and cultural richness, this is part of my first time in Cancun!
My trip to Cancun started from Querétaro, in the center of Mexico. It is dry land, with vineyards that steal your breath away and views from the Sierra Gorda that you will never forget. However, it was time to visit a warm friendly destination, with a little bit of humidity, more tropical weather, and closer to the beach. Finally, here is my first-time experience in Cancun!
I had organized a trip with a couple of friends who had been at Cancun a few times before. The whole plan was to celebrate my birthday. I must accept that at the beginning, I was not particularly excited because I had been hearing about the sargassum and all the news about it. I didn’t want to be disappointed once I got there, because my eyes wanted to see the famous turquoise blue waters that are very known around the globe. After my friends insisted me to take the trip, I finally agreed because my friends assured me that there were so many things to do, that the sargassum was the least of my worries. “Well, we will see once we get there”, I thought.
When I got off the plane, the first thing I noticed was that the weather was completely different. The heat embraces you, comforts you and a short time later you will be drenched in sweat. As hard as this may be to believe; this was perfect! It’s just what I was looking for, now let the adventure begin!
We stayed in a hostel near the city’s downtown area, which is known as: Nader Avenue. This is a street is full of hostels, coffee shops and restaurants. There was not much to say about this part of my trip, it is enough to say that the area where we were staying was very quiet and I really liked it a lot, even though it wasn’t close of the beach.
Day one was dedicated to traveling, getting to the hostel, exploring the area and eating out. The next day was a looking to be a little more exciting; we had to be at Las Américas mall to take our tour to Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and this is how my first time in Cancun started.
My friends found one of the best options to take a tour of one of the most popular archaeological sites of the destination, Chichén Itzá. Another option we considered was to rent a car and go off on an adventure. If you ask me, that’s what I would have done, luckily, my friends opted for the first option and I appreciate that they did. Not driving and taking a specialized guide who took us to the most incredible places throughout the archeological sites made this not only very special but also very convenient and comfortable. What also convinced me was that I was going to be able to eat the traditional Yucatecan food which that alone, was more than enough to seal the deal.
The meeting time was scheduled for 7:00 am. Once we got there, there were many people who were waiting for other tours which were also part of Grupo Xcaret. This place is very well known since it is a meeting point for Xcaret, Xel-Há, Xenotes, and Xplor, which are some of the most famous theme parks in the destination. That day I learned that sooner or later, we would be visiting these parks during our visit!
Visiting a New Wonder of the World really changes your perspective. Throughout my visit I never stopped wondering how it was possible that ancient civilizations had built El Castillo, the imposing pyramid of Chichen Itza.
After visiting the site, we went to a small town that left me amazed. Valladolid has the unique colonial touch of Queretaro. I felt at home, I really loved it, but the best thing about this town was the Casona de Valladolid. The food we gave there was delicious! Panuchos, cochinita, relleno negro and all the best delights of Yucatecan food. I must accept it … it is some of the best I’ve ever had.
Near the cathedral of Valladolid, there is a cenote. I had never seen one and believe me … words are not enough to describe it. It is a very deep hole in the ground with emerald green water, surrounded by vegetation and rock formations called stalactites. They explained to us the sacred meaning of the cenotes for the Maya: It was a portal to the underworld. I did not want to leave this place, and I really wanted to swim in its waters, but there wasn’t enough time for us.
Once we got back to Cancun, we felt tired and the next day we had already made plans to meet at 9:00 am in the exact same place.
If the cenote of Valladolid had already seemed surprising, what I saw on my third day in Cancun was incredible. It turns out that there are four different types of cenotes: open, closed, semi-open and old, each one with its very special touch.
While I am not a fan of adrenaline, I do enjoy a good dose of adventure. This tour was amazing, I got to jump of a little cliff from about four meters high off the water of a cenote. We reached the incredible Lu’um cenote, with turquoise waters, by an assisted rappel to reach the area. We got to sail in kayaks through another cenote where I saw a couple of ducks and many dragonflies and finally, got to snorkel in its crystal-clear waters.
This tour was definitely my favorite. I will not lie to you, once there, you will not want to leave and you will crave more water, more adventure and more time, but the tour is enough for a nice day experience. There is no doubt that for my next visit I will venture off on my own to see other cenotes, definitely this is one of the best things of my first time in Cancun.
The next day I really wanted to go to the beach. I was longing to see the blue of which they had spoken so much to me about and that until now I had not seen, but my friends had something else in mind.
Since we arrived at the Cancun airport, some friends and family insisted that I could not miss the Xcaret night show and visit the park. I didn’t know if we would go. My friends set up the itinerary because we wanted to visit it. Let me tell you that I was not disappointed. On the contrary, I was surprised by every detail of that day.
The first thing we did was to cross one of the three underground rivers that are inside the park. A real wonder with fresh water perfect for the cooling us down from the heat. Upon leaving the river, I found one of the moments I had most expected, from a kind of viewpoint you can see the imposing Caribbean Sea.
In the distance you can see the Island of Cozumel, surrounded by a beautiful sea. I found a deep blue, king blue as if the water was painted, it was very impressive. For the first time I had an encounter with the sargassum, and it was not as scandalous as I had been told. At least from this viewpoint, it didn’t look so invasive. There were only a few plants on the stones, but nothing that frightened me as they have led me to believe.
After this short encounter with the sea, we went to the aviary and the butterfly garden. We ate at a delicious restaurant of Mexican food and hurried ourselves to the show at night. Let me tell you that all the wonders I have mentioned are nothing compared to witnessing the show live in person. This show is a cultural and folkloric show of everything that represents Mexico.
From a little history of the creation of our country to samples of dances, music, and songs. This show has everything, and I think that all Mexicans should see it at least once in their lives, because it moves you and it will bring the tears out of you to appreciate how amazing our country and our culture is.
We arrived at the hotel at 11:30 pm, exhausted once again, but with a soul full of emotion. I can’t believe how quickly time went by, my first time in Cancun was more than happy, and there were still two more days full of adventure.
As it became customary, at 7:30 am we were boarding one of Xcaret’s peculiar trucks. The destination would be to see the turquoise blue of the Caribbean Sea that bathes the beaches of Xel-Há. They explained to us that Xel-Há is a natural formation called caleta (inlet) and, by its nature, it is like a sargassum filter, most of this seaweed stays on the beaches and the cove is kept clean of the plants, although the water It is not so crystalline, I do not know if it is the same always. But well, they explained that a cove is like a large bay that is fed by a river and, due to the low waves and ideal temperature, it becomes a habitat for many fish, rays and others aquatic animals.
We traveled the river watching some fish, but the most impressive thing is the crystal-clear water. In the cove we swam and played like children.
The blue of the water impressed me a lot. From the Chula Vista restaurant we could appreciate the contrast of the blue waters with the green of the jungle. A unique blue that I will never forget. However, my eyes are very demanding. I knew I needed to admire this beauty from a higher point, so I saw a huge opportunity, would that be my encounter with the turquoise blue that I was hoping for? There was only one way to find out.
Climbing the Scenic Lighthouse was an adventure by itself. Quite exhausting, but I know that the best experiences always require some extra effort and it was all well worth it. When we reached the highest point of the lighthouse, I went out to the viewpoint and there it was. That dream panoramic view. The turquoise blue water I had yearned for so much was there, clean, as if time had stood still. I stayed there for about 20 minutes admiring the cove and the Caribbean Sea. My eyes could still not believe it.
This day had been one of my favorites, my first time in Cancun was to admire that color and the Caribbean Sea. I finally made it, it took me four days to see it and the wait was definitely worth it. Now I want to see a beach in Cancun, we asked, and locals had told us that Playa Delfines was the right one because there is a viewpoint from where you can enjoy the Caribbean Sea and admire Isla Mujeres. The best was saved for our very last day in Cancun.
For our last day of my first time in Cancun we arranged for us to mostly just rest and relax. We got to Playa Delfines, in the hotel zone, to appreciate the Caribbean Sea and bathe in its waters. People in the hotel and public transportation had told us that we shouldn’t go, that the sargassum had affected the beaches a lot, but I still wanted to take a chance and see it for myself.
When I arrived at the viewpoint, the imposing Caribbean Sea appeared in front of us, and I could see that beautiful turquoise blue water that I was longing for, which had different colors ranging from a light blue to a dark, deep blue. Amazing! We are surprised that with your identification they gave us an umbrella and lounge chairs to enjoy a day at the beach.
To our luck, this day the beach didn’t have so much sargassum. There was a line of dry sargassum, very discreet, but inside the ocean, the water was not as crystal clear as I had been told, probably because of the remains of the plants or because the tide was a little rough. But inside the sea, it was never a nuisance.
I asked a lady who sold kibis (a type of delicious snack) if the sargassum was always like this. She told me that it depends a lot on which beach you visit and the day, there are days that the beach itself is very clean and others on which it is saturated with sargassum, so it is almost a matter of luck.
The day passed calmly, like any day at the beach. It was the best way to end an incredible vacation, it was the best way to live my first time in Cancun.
The end of the trip had come, and I could only feel happy for everything I had seen and surprised by the number of activities at the destination. Although the sargassum was always present in the conversations with the people who guided us, it was never an issue that affected me, because I stayed away from the beaches and ran with a little bit of good luck.
If you are thinking of visiting Cancun, but you are not sure about the sargassum situation, I can tell you that there are enough activities that you can do away from the beaches, that will keep you distracted. Give it a try and let yourself be surprised by this heavenly destination.