Renowned for its pearl white beaches, sparkling blue sea and pulsating nightlife, Cancun, which is located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is the perfect place to shake off the winter doldrums, daily stresses and Covid fatigue.
Arriving in tropical Cancun was like walking into a wet blanket. After dumping our bags at the hotel we headed straight to the beach for the afternoon to cool off. Without realizing it we were breathing deeper within minutes, as the blue waves carried our stress into the depths of the aqua-blue sea.
Later that night we ‘hit the town.’ There are countless venues to choose from so whether you want to dance to the night away like a carefree teenager, sit back and enjoy a show or opt for a quieter, laid back establishment, this paradise island caters to every taste or mood.
I have always been fascinated by the Mayans (the original inhabitants of Cancun) so a trip to the ruins was a must. Nearby archeological site – El Rey – offers an insight into the daily life of this ancient civilization. As you walk beneath the structures, the temple and burial site, you get to experience this once proud and mighty civilization. It is so surreal that I half expected to see a group of Mayans returning from a fishing trip. Only a few minutes walk from the ruins, The Mayan Museum offers a more in-depth history of this culture and is well worth a visit.
After that it was off to the market where you will find more than a hundred stalls selling everything from street food to sunglasses, clothing, jewelry, glassware, souvenirs and so much more. Be warned that the shop owners love to haggle over the price and usually ask far more for an item expecting to settle for a substantially less amount. If, like me, haggling does not come naturally just persevere, it does get easier. At one store I liked a bracelet and was not in the mood to “negotiate” so paid the woman her asking price. I don’t know whether she was shocked or disappointed but she remained uncharacteristically silent for several minutes.
Wearing my new bracelet it was off to my happy place – the beach – where we snorkeled with exotic colored fish, swum alongside turtles and gazed at starfish sleeping on sea rocks.
Later that night the music beckoned to us again so how could we refuse?
The next day, exhausted from two nights on the town, the helpful clerk at the desk recommended that we go to Temazcal. Temazcal? Sounds like a tablet! Trust me, you won’t regret it smiled the clerk as he hailed a cab, instructing the cabbie to take us to the lodge.
We entered a dome-shaped hut where water is poured over scorching hot stones creating clouds of steam (similar to a sauna). The treatment aids blood circulation, detoxes the body and heals aching joints and muscles (definitely a must after dancing for hours).
We left the lodge feeling ten pounds lighter and headed off to the Cancun Underwater Museum. This is an ingenious invention designed to protect the Caribbean reef and fauna from too many divers and snorkelers while still allowing them to explore unusual new sights.
A number of Mexican artists were commissioned to design statues which were placed on the museum floor. Divers and snorkelers swim past praying statues, a fishing village and statues with their heads buried in the sand. Coral and algae have begun growing on the artwork. At only eight meters deep it’s an easy swim, however if you are not a water baby you can take a glass boat ride while still enjoying the vista below. The museum is currently expanding the collection due to its popularity among tourists from around the globe.
On the last day we took a Cenote tour. Cenotes are large limestone sinkholes that form when a cavern collapses. In the cool water we swam with fish while hoping the overhanging stalactites did not break off. Swimming in this unique place, we felt as if we were part of an Indiana Jones movie…..a perfect ending to a dream getaway. I was sad to leave this fairytale island but I know someday I will be back.