I left Mexico already wanting to book another trip back to explore more. We had a really great time there, made some forever memories, enjoyed the warmth, the food [!!!] and the people.
3 NIGHTS IN CANCUN
All Inclusive Panama Jack Resorts Cancun. It was a very standard American feel hotel, about a 2 or 3 star in my opinion but we weren’t staying for long and were planning to be out of the hotel a lot. I choose this place as it was average priced, all inclusive and we could get a beach front room. We were recommended to stay at the adults only “Secrets Resort” but was sold out as we only booked this the week before going.
At Panama, we stayed in the Junior Suite Oceanfront room which was a bit run down but was spacious and the view was great. The hotel is big, theres lots of space, The security at the front of the hotel keeps tabs on people coming in and out and all the staff were lovely.
We didn’t swim in the pool but we enjoyed swimming in the ocean at the front of the hotel and laying on the chairs on the beach.
As Panama was all inclusive, we mostly ate at the hotel.
The buffet breakfast was ok, the coffee at Panama Jack Coffee Co was really good, dinner at Deck 74 was good and dinner at Casa De Rosa was average. We ate tacos and hot dogs from the food trucks by the pool and those were pretty good too. Drinks at the pool bar were strong!
Stay in the hotel zone and get an ocean view room for sure. Nothing like waking up to the sunrise over the ocean and falling asleep listening to the waves.
Spend some time on the beach. One sunrise we saw 4 baby turtles just hatched making their way to the ocean and it was incredible. I think they head towards the water sunrise and by moonlight as we saw some more at night time in Tulum too. The water is so clear and warm, great to swim in. We were there in November and there was no seaweed on the beaches. The seaweed is seasonal and I think it’d make a huge difference to your trip to ensure you go out of seaweed season.
Theres a couple of malls along the hotel zone that have most of the common shops if you have time to kill on a rainy day or need to pick up something.
Cocobongo! A show and a club. Super fun night in Cancun [they have a few other venues too], lots of performances throughout the night like songs from Moulin Rouge, Beetlejuice to Marvel characters and Micheal Jackson performers. In-between theres DJs, dancing on the bar, confetti, smoke… the works. We went with our friends so there were 4 of us and we booked a “VIP Table Zone One”. Its $1000US and you get that in spending money for drinks and food there. However – I thought the area would be more than it was! Its a tiny circle table that you have to squeeze around and if you’ve got more than 4 people you can pay for extra people to join you but I honestly have no idea how, the 4 of us only just had enough room. The tables in the same area are very close together. But I liked having our own little space and the table was above the dance floor so we could see and didn’t get too hot. If you want to go for a messy night and are ok with standing then go for a standard ticket but if you’ve got the means, get a table.
Order heaps of drinks and food as soon as you get there as the service starts to get sparse near the end. The entertainment during the show is great and the party is so fun! We got there around 8.30pm and it was finished by 1am but other bars around it were still pumping as we left.
DAY TRIP TO ISLA MUJERES.
We caught the ferry from Cancun – Isla Mujeres that was about 20euros return trip and around a 30 minute ride each way. Our friends booked the tickets but I’m pretty sure it was with this company if I remember correctly. Nice, clean, spacious boat that goes regularly throughout the day.
There was a man walking around the boat renting out golf carts to drive around the island in so we booked one off him and went to get it once off the boat. There are a lot of places near the port that rent these out and they’re the best thing to explore the island in! The 4 of us got our golf cart and set off.
Rent a golf cart for the day, you’re able to drive around the whole island easily within an hour. Stop wherever you like and take the day at your own pace.
The streets right off the port where the centre of town is are super cute, really bright with lots of markets and food places.
We tried to visit “Piscina del Rey” but got stopped by security on the way, not sure why but we guessed the weather as it was quite windy and its a swimming hole in the rocks. If you’re visiting though I would still try and go – it looks worth it.
Rize HQ Lagoon looked super clear and blue. We didn’t stop there but drove past. Lots of people swimming.
Playa Norte and Playa Centro. Long stretch of beach with white sand and palm trees.
Punta Sur down the south of the island is known for Iguana sighting and we saw a few of them! You can also pay a few pesos to walk down to the look out. Theres a food stall as well.
We had a delicious lunch at Aroma Isla in the town. Highly recommend!
We went for sunset drinks at ChiChis’n’Charlies by the water. To the side of the restaurant theres also a bent palm tree thats very picturesque to get that Gram!
5 NIGHTS IN TULUM.
We stayed at Lamat Tulum in the hotel zone on the beach front. Staying on the beach rather than in Tulum centre is a huge price difference but if you can afford it or want to splurge, this is the place to do it! Its well worth waking up on the beach rather than staying in the centre and being a 15/20 minute drive or bike away. The “public” beach on the other side isn’t as nice as the hotel zone beach either.
I have very mixed feelings about this hotel. I spend hours going between accomodation options to find something that covers all bases for me and I booked the “Deluxe Double Room – Beach Front” through Booking.com. However, the photos on the website are of the “Suite” rooms. When I arrived in our room and it didn’t have what the pictures promised, I went to reception to ask about it. The receptionist, David, had hundreds of excuses to why the wrong photos are on Booking.com [Booking chose the photos, its a collage of any of them, another hotel he used to work out had the same thing, they’re 3 different rooms shown on Booking etc etc] and had another hundred reasons why I should be happy in our room. He did prove to me that we were in the Deluxe Double Room so I understand it was fake advertising which I was not happy about at all as we paid a lot of money to stay here and I was expecting other things. David also said that if I had checked their website, I would’ve seen the different rooms, however when I did check their website after our conversation, the rooms have different names to Booking and theres only 1 standard photo on each room so honestly, I’m annoyed at this point. There was also a few issues with reception and some other things [promised morning drinks that never came, hair dryer I had to ask a couple of times to be provided, an ant problem in the room…] and I felt I wasn’t listed to properly and being gaslit by a man on reception isn’t fun either!
Anyway – once I got over the initial disappointment, I wanted to move on and enjoy our stay. The room we were in was fine, its nice, minimalistic and spacious. The door opens onto the sand and we’re only a few meters from the water. The rest of the staff are lovely, helpful and kind. The outdoor area and sun loungers by the beach is really nice and comfortable. Its located down the quieter end of the beach but super easy to walk down the street or beach to shops and restaurants. I saw baby turtles make their way to the water during sunrise and sunset multiple times near the hotel.
From the amount of money we paid to be in a room that I wasn’t expecting… I wouldn’t recommend or stay here again. They over promise and under deliver.
Matcha Mama. Smoothie bowls, juices and coffee for breakfast and lunch.
Real Coconut Tulum. We had 2 nice breakfasts here and its right on the beach. Walked there and ate with no shoes on one morning, living!
Loco Tulum. We had breakfast here. Theres also another smoothie bowl place across the road.
Tulumunchies. A group of food trucks which we tried 2 of [La Taqueria and Juanitas Fajitas] and were really good. Super relaxed vibe, open day and night. Theres also a bar in the middle and Jenga games on the tables. Fairy lights in the trees at night. They don’t seem to update their social media but Google them for the address.
RosaNegra. Dinner and a party! I reserved a table for us the day of. Food is great and the night is so fun. Get there around 7pm if you want to eat with a more relaxed vibe as the party gets going from around 8.30pm. Loud music, sparklers, musicians and dancing.
Taboo. Same as above, reserved a table the day of and its in the same chain of restaurants too with a similar vibe. Theres a big group of them but we just went to these two.
Casa Banana. Went here for dinner and it was good! Nice drinks and yum food.
Antojitos La Chiapaneca. Delicious, cheap, local spot in the centre.
Taqueria Honorio. Same as above, delicious, cheap, local spot in the centre.
Around 4-6pm theres an older man walking down the hotel zone beach with a basket [red and white checked cloth inside] selling donuts that his wife makes. Its about 50 pesos [2euros] each and a few different flavours to choose from. He’s the sweetest man and the donuts are very good! Definitely buy from him and tip generously 🙂
Cenotes. These natural swimming holes are all around the Yucatan Peninsula and each of them quite different to each other. We went to the Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera which are super close to Tulum beach and central and just down the road from each other. There was a cost to get into both cenotes [can’t remember how much now]. At Gran cenote we had to wash our hair and body completely and wear a life jacket and at Calavera we didn’t have to do either of those things. Do your research on what ones you’d like to visit, what kind of vibe you want or book in a tour of a few with a guide.
Morning walks along the beach as its empty and the sun is coming up. The light hits the palm trees so nicely. You might even see baby turtles making their way to the water!
Swim as often as you can in the ocean. Beautiful, clear, warm water.
Gitano Beach. We looked at their Instagram and booked in a movie night on the beach here. Keep an eye on the Instagrams of places for what they’ve got going on. Our movie ticket was $20USD and came with a drink and popcorn and the movie on the beach under the stars was dreamy.
Beach clubs. We didn’t end up going to any but I had a few on my list. We just stayed on the sun lounges at our hotel [Panama] where it was more of a chill vibe. They’re all down the beach so do your research on what ones you like. Theres heaps like Zebra, Panama, Coco, Taboo… the list goes on. Some are chill and some are party. Not sure if you need to book in beds, maybe if you’re a big group but I’m sure you can rock up on the day too.
Tulum Ruins. Entry was about $10USD each. A 13th century Mayan town with some ruins left, which over looks the sea. Really good views. Lots of iguanas around too. There are tour guides at the start if you want to do that.
Walk the length of the Tulum beach road, lots of shops/boutiques and food places.
Laguna de Kaan Luum. We didn’t make it here but it was on my list!