When many people think of planning a vacation to Mexico they often picture themselves enjoying the beautiful beaches, the elaborate swimming pools, and drinking/eating to their heart’s content at one of the many 5 star all-inclusive resorts. I must say that does sound nice doesn’t it?? Well, for the most part, that style of vacation has been our only type of experience when visiting Mexico as a couple. Even when we began our round the world trip we started it at an all-inclusive resort attending a friend’s wedding. Overall, this concept of being “all-inclusive” is wonderful. The resort literally has everything you need and while you are there you can just relax and not worry about a thing. We enjoy these resorts and I know we will stay at another in the future. However, for this recent trip, we wanted to try out Mexico a bit differently.
On Friday afternoon we caught our flight from Austin to Cancun (via DFW) and made it safely to Mexico without any delays. Customs was a breeze…mostly because we packed “a la RTW style” and both only had a small backpack each for luggage. Yes, ladies, it can be done 🙂
Knowing that tour companies try to overcharge you to get you where you need to go we researched in advance the schedule for the ADO Bus. This bus company is actually the same one we took when we left Playa del Carmen after our friend’s wedding that took us to Belize. The official start of our world adventure. I must add that the buses are first class quality and the price can’t be beat. We walked outside to the ADO stand and purchased our tickets to take us to downtown Playa del Carmen for 146 pesos ($11.23) per person. The ride was about an hour but pleasant. Once we arrived to Playa we met up with one of Dustin’s old coworker friends who has been living in Playa and working remotely. The next 2 days we were able to see what the life of an expat is really like. Randy was kind enough to let us stay with him at his apartment and he showed us around like the local he has become. We enjoyed the beach, some great food and of course had a few obligatory pina coladas!
On Sunday, we said good-bye to Playa and headed back on the ADO bus into Cancun (62 pesos or $4.75 per person). From there we caught the local bus (the R-1) which took us to one of the many ports to catch the ferry over to Isla Mujeres aka the Island of Women. This island is just a mere 6 miles off the coast and is only about 5 miles long. We both had never visited Isla before and were excited to see a new place and also do something that was on our bucket list. Swim with Whale Sharks!!!
The next few nights we enjoyed our little boutique hotel. Although, not all-inclusive per se, it did have everything we needed. A beautiful view of the ocean, a lovely pool, a really great restaurant, and it was walking distance to the Chendrui (basically their version of Walmart) where we picked up some bottles of vino tinto to enjoy at our leisure. Not that we want to brag (okay we do) but when it was all said and done, our darling little hotel and the food/drink we purchased during our stay on the island ended up being way cheaper than if we had stayed at an all-inclusive. The plus side being that we got to enjoy more of the local restaurants and see the island.
On Monday, we spent the day on the much anticipated Whale Shark Tour. Let me tell ya if you are ever in the Yucatan between May and September, this is a must do! The tour boat took us for an hour ride out into the middle of the ocean. The ride can be a bit rough so if you tend to get motion sick, it’s probably good to prepare yourself. Once out there, the whales are just literally hanging out in the water. Due to government protection of the sharks, only 2 people with a guide are allowed into the water at a time. There were many boats out there and it did get a bit crowded, but Dustin and I were able to swim with 2 different sharks. Unfortunately our pictures didn’t turn out so great but a couple from the tour plans to share their Go Pro pics with us.
Overall we had a great little vacation and celebrated our upcoming 8th Wedding Anniversary while we were there. Is it bad that I am ready for the next vacation now? 😉