Our Mexican adventure began early Sunday morning. We had to be ready for our driver a 3 am, as the airport is about an hour away, and we had a 6 am flight.
Everything there went as smoothly as could be expected. Since it was early, we breezed through security, and had no flight delays. I'm not a fan of the airline they booked us on (Air Canada Rouge), but it was a free trip, so beggars can't be choosers, but it was cramped and uncomfortable. I'm far from an experienced flyer, but I much prefer Porter so far. Still, other than comfort, there were no issues, and within four hours, we were in Cancun where it was beautiful and balmy, if a touch on the humid side.
From there is was another hour-and-a-half shuttle bus ride to our resort. We were staying at Unico 20°87°, and again, my experience is limited, but this resort is BEAUTIFUL.
I usually don't care much about hotel rooms, being more interested in what's outside them, but again - it was beautiful. It had the most comfortable huge king-sized bed I've ever slept in (Dave wants us to get one now, though there's no way we'd get a King mattress up our stairs), a ginormous shower with rain-shower head... and a beautiful terrace overlooking the lagoon (from where the above picture was taken).
The resort has four restaurants, a cafe, a bar, a spa, a gym, as well as a mini-shopping mall. We had no interest in the spa or gym, and while we did try a couple of the restaurants, we spoiled ourselves and opted for room service most of the time.
The very first thing on my agenda was checking out the ocean. I'd never seen the ocean, so I think I was a little over-excited about it. I had visions of swimming with sea creatures, watching crabs, and hunting for shells.... and apparently... it's just not that kind of ocean...
The whole coast is also apparently having an issue with sargassum sea weed - it's just blowing into the beach like crazy. They clean it up as much as they can, but with every wave bringing it in, there's only so much you can do. It was a little smelly (but not terrible) but it definitely would have made for an unpleasant swim.
The beach, while at first glance, is beautiful white sand, it hides some hidden dangers...
The other disappointment was the treasures... I was hoping to find scads of sea shells and sharks teeth and all manner of ocean jewels. But these beaches were raked to within an inch of their life, and most of what I found coming up in the waves were just broken bits.
Of course, after my beach walks I ended up a little on the burnt side (despite the liberal application of SPF 60 sunscreen... thank you fair British heritage), so I spent a good chunk of the remaining sun-filled day on that beautiful terrace in the shade.
I did get a window seat at least,
Though it was over the wing. But, I did get to watch some amazing cloud formations go by.
We returned home on Wednesday to a still-frozen world, though thankfully no snow (unlike our poor east coast friends). It was a fun trip, but I was happy to be home.
And lastly, a word about Mexico and safety:
Before I went, whenever I mentioned I was heading to Mexico, there was a 50/50 chance someone would bring up the reports of recent violence and mention how it wasn't safe.
Now I won't disagree - our shuttle drove past some pretty impoverished, desperate-looking places; and when the police are carrying around large, scary looking rifles, it might make you feel a bit edgy. The traffic is definitely in a class of its own, so I don't know if I'd be comfortable renting a car and driving myself, but we were in good hands with our experienced shuttle driver.
We didn't end up leaving the resort (more on that tomorrow), but the entire area caters to tourists, so if you use reasonable, sensible precautions when traveling, I don't think there's much of an issue. Of all the clips I've seen on the news, the majority have done things tourists are warned against doing (and are a bit over-blown by the media). Tourists are vulnerable, and no matter where you go in the world, there are people looking to to take advantage of those vulnerabilities - a little common sense and you can mitigate that risk.
As for the Mexican people... they are the most hospitable, welcoming people I have ever met. From our shuttle driver, to our hotel guides, to our waitresses, to even the people just maintaining the grounds were wonderful and friendly. The tourists are their business, and they go out our their way to make them happy and keep them safe.
I'm sure there are some areas of Mexico you may want to avoid... but Riviera Maya shouldn't be one of them!