By Lisa Arcella
We are celebrating Mexican Extravaganza™ this month at GOGO Vacations. Check out our amazing deals to the land of sun and fun! Of course you will want to hit the beach as soon as you arrive, but there are also so many other things to see and do while visiting one of the most popular destinations in the world. Here’s a few of our favorites.
It’s all happening under the sea!
What to do when you are surrounded by crystal blue waters? Go for an exploration! There are so many ways to enjoy the sea in Cancun — water sports, parasailing, fishing and even swimming with dolphins. But the best way to explore the wonderful world underneath the water is by diving and snorkeling. There are so many tour companies in Cancun that can show you the sights, but the best is Olympus Tours. Go swimming with the white whale sharks that migrate to the warm waters nearby, or if you don’t swim, Olympus can accommodate you with the Sub See Explorer.
A Trip Back in Time
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is an unbelievably cool way to spend an afternoon. It’s a bit south of the Mayan ruins of Tulum and has more than 20 important archaeological sites, dating back more than 2,000 years. It’s very likely you will find yourself alone on a long stretch of completely unspoiled white sand, too. There are no snack shacks or other facilities here, so be sure to bring whatever you need for the day with you, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
See an ancient city.
Tulum is the only Mayan ruin located right along the seaside, and from the cliff-side site, the views are lovely. It takes about two hours from Cancun to reach the site, which now has its own little downtown area with restaurants and hotels. Tulum was one of the last cities built by the ancient culture in the 13th century. The word Tulum means “fence” or “wall” in the Mayan language, and the walls that still stand were meant to keep invaders out of the important trading hub. Today, the beach here is a protected place for nesting sea turtles.
Take the plunge.
A cenote is a natural sinkhole, and one of the best places to swim in one is at Xel-Ha. This incredibly beautiful place boasts the largest natural aquarium in the world. Get an all-inclusive day pass, and you will be provided with snorkeling equipment to enjoy 20 different outdoor activities. There is also hiking in the surrounding jungle filled with Mayan ruins, and you’ll likely spot dolphins and manatees swimming nearby. Those with nerves of steel can also jump off the Stone of Courage—a 16-foot dive off the side of a cliff!
Get a picture with a pyramid.
Chichen Itza has become an iconic Mayan symbol around the world. It’s far more impressive in person. Built by the Maya around 600 A.D., it was the largest and most important Mayan city until 1260. Today you can explore its giant pyramid which has been named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World,” and delve deep into Mexican history. It’s about a three-hour journey from the center of Cancun but well worth the trip. Don’t miss the cenote (the deep sinkhole pit) where human sacrifices were once performed.
Related: Conspiracy Sites – Chichén Itzá
A Moveable Feast
Xochimilco (pronounced Cho-chim-ilco) is a popular attraction for Mexicans as well as tourists and is a short ride from the airport. Visitors ride in colorfully decorated “trajineras,” which are akin to gondolas, to explore the gorgeous coastline while being served “aguas frescas” (yummy fruit drinks) and dinner. Eventually all the boats on the tour dock together at the beach to have a huge fiesta.
When the sun goes down, the dancing shoes go on in Cancun. There are dozens of great places to enjoy the thriving nightlife scene in Cancun. One of the most popular places to kick up your heels is The City, a truly giant club that can hold up to 5,000 people! It even claims to be the largest nightclub in Latin America. World renowned DJs like Sharam and Nicky Romero are just some of the famous names that regularly spin there.
That AAAAAHHH-HA Moment
A vacation is supposed to be all about relaxation, right? There is no better place to do that than getting a massage under the warm Mexican sun. There are plenty of places to get some massage therapy, but no one but the Ixchel Jungle Spa calls it a “Gift from the Mayan Gods!” Surrounded by a jungle garden and singing tropical birds, local Mayan women practice ancient healing methods combined with modern techniques. We are dying to try the chocolate body wrap, which takes its essence directly from the cacao plant. Yum!
Related: Top Wedding Destination — Cancun
Baby Turtles—Enough Said
Spanish for “Island of the Women,” Isla Mujeres is worth the 15-minute boat ride from Cancun. While Cancun bustles with activity, this is a more relaxed place with quiet beaches and a laid-back vibe. One of the best side trips is to rent a gold cart and drive yourself to Punta Sur. Aside from being the easternmost location in the entire country of Mexico, you can visit the Turtle Conservation Farm and see recently hatched baby sea turtles. What could be better than that? Also, check out the Cancun Underwater Museum. There’s also plenty of great restaurants and fun shops to explore.
A Shopaholics Paradise
Cancun is famous for its malls and hundreds of stores to shop ‘til you drop. One of our favorites for souvenirs is the Coral Negro Flea Market (Kukulkan Blvd Km 9, Cancun, Mexico). It has absolutely every gift you need to bring home at amazing prices. For something truly unique though, visit Mimosas Atelier (5th Avenue [La Quinta Avenida] between 6th and 7th Streets, Playa del Carmen, 77710), where you can shop for handmade garments created by Mexican indigenous groups including Otomi, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Huichol, and Totonac artists. Gorgeous embroidery of brightly colored flowers and vines are clearly wearable works of art.
Where to Stay
Our Mexico Extravaganza™ has so many hotels offering more value and more amenities than ever before. Here are a few of the fantastic properties GOGO Vacations recommends for your ultimate excitement and relaxation.
Secrets the Vine Cancun
This elegant, AAA Four Diamond property promises Unlimited Luxury, which includes endless drinks, 24-hour concierge service, gourmet dining without reservations, nightly entertainment, and so much more. Don’t miss the complimentary greens fees at Playa Mujeres Golf Club, yoga, mixology and cocktail classes, and wine tastings and pairings.
ME by Melia Cancun
Right on the beach and just a short walk from shopping, entertainment and the Interactive Aquarium Cancun, this all-inclusive resort features modern décor and rooms with spa showers and whirlpool tubs. Famous DJs spin nightly, and there are two adults-only pools. This lifestyle resort is also the only all-inclusive ME By Melia in the world.
Dreams Sands Resort and Spa Cancun
Set right in the middle of the hotel zone and close to the fabulous Museo Maya de Cancún, this luxury resort includes seven restaurants, a swim-up bar, a kids club, outdoor movies, a playground, and free Wi-Fi. Try out the ocean trampoline, Caribbean dance lessons, and live musical performances.
Situated right on the beach, this lovely resort has nine restaurants and seven bars on the property. The Family Concierge comes with amenities especially designed for kids and parents, but there is also the Royal Service, which is an adults-only area that provides more privacy and exclusive pampering.\
Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort Cancun
Moon Palace Cancun is close to the beach, zoo, and Wet’n Wild Cancun. Large, updated rooms and a friendly staff keep guests coming back over and over. Kids will love the playroom with games, a dollhouse area, and a beauty salon. There is also the super cool FlowRider that will be a huge hit with kids and those still young at heart.