A December 2002 trip
to Cancun by madaunt
Quote: For a mid-winter break, Cancun is the place to be. This cosmopolitan playground has sunshine, beaches, adventures on land and sea, great beauty, art, history, culture, and nightlife (both wild and elegant)-—and all of it's backed by "musica caliente."
As soon as we arrived in Cancun, we liked the local people: a mechanic handed me a red hibiscus as we walked from our plane to the terminal and even the Customs officers were friendly and smiling. We felt welcome.
Everywhere we went, there were well-dressed tourists speaking French, German, Italian, Spanish, and English with many accents. Cancun is a sophisticated destination with palatial hotels with gorgeous landscaping and beautiful beaches. It also has Mayan ruins, reminders of a scientifically-advanced society flourishing thousands of years ago.
Cancun has variety. Go to a Mayan pyramid and step back in time or go to a hot spot and step out to the salsa beat. Along with great guides and entertainers, Cancun has fantastic chefs. Whether you want fun food to eat with your hands right on the beach or fine dining with cut crystal and gleaming silverware, Cancun has every cuisine in scores of good restaurants.
Hotel | "Oasis Cancun"
The rooms are large, colourful, and nicely furnished with one king or two double beds, and big picture windows and small balconies. Our room had two telephones, a large television, a small refrigerator, bottled water, and a luxurious marble bathroom. The main pool is huge, extremely clean, and offers a refreshing, calm swim. I really appreciated this on days when the ocean was rough. I would still swim in the sea but, after being pounded by the waves and fighting the strong tides, I was grateful for the peace of the pool. The gym is one of the best I have ever used in a Caribbean resort. All the equipment is clean, modern, and well-maintained. The gym attendants are friendly and helpful and there is plenty of space, light, mirrors, and windows with great views of the surrounding tropical garden. I liked the "musica caliente" on the sound system in the gym but some Europeans found it too loud and too brash. The attendants, however, were willing to turn music down or to play CDs that guests brought with them. Every day there were sports, games, dance lessons, aerobic classes, and plenty of fun activities for guests of all ages and interests.
The restaurants and bars were very good to excellent. There is quite a range of eateries: a BBQ on the beach; Ibiza, a huge buffet restaurant with gorgeous ocean views; La Galera with Mediterranean cuisine and a la carte menu; El Serape, another a la carte restaurant, with authentic Mexican food and drinks; Tunkal, a buffet restaurant with international cuisine. Service in all the restaurants and many bars was outstanding with well-informed servers who usually spoke three or more languages. Besides great food and service, the restaurants often featured live entertainment with strolling musicians and singers and mariachi bands. There were also live bands and performers in the lobby bar and in the Up and Down disco. We enjoyed dancing or just listening to all these entertainers. There were also superb theme shows in the theatre where we saw dancers, singers, musicians, and novelty acts.
The main lobby is spectacular with waterfalls, an enormous hanging garden plus a sunken garden, and beautiful works of art, both classic and modern. On the lower floor of the lobby, there are shops, boutiques, art galleries, tour and travel agents, and stores for souvenirs and sundries. Oasis Cancun is reasonably priced and has everything.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 6, 2003
Oasis Cancun All-Inclusive
BLVD KUKULKAN ZONA HOTELERA
Hotel | "Grand Oasis"
In addition to the fine dining and full range of international beverages available for Grand guests, there is a select area by the pool with butler service and linen-covered lounges set up in the sun or shade, according the guest’s preference. The guest services and public relations staff provide extra attention. For example, we received a fruit basket and a spectacular flower arrangement in our room. We also had exclusive hours for the tennis courts, golf course, health spa, etc. Much as we enjoyed the Oasis Cancun, we found the Grand Oasis was well worth the additional (and still modest!) expense.
Hotel Grand Oasis All Inclusive - Cancun
Boulevard Kukulcán, Km. 16,5, 77500
Cancun, Mexico 77500
+52( 998) 287-3832
Hotel | "Bahia Principe"
In addition to the main dining room, the Yucatan (the "aircraft hangar"), there was the Gran Tortuga, which served buffet breakfasts and lunches and a la carte dinners. There were also two specialty restaurants where reservations were required: Mamma Mia had incredible gourmet Italian food (and my husband is half-Italian so he knows great Italian food) and Tequila, which served good Mexican food. There were endless activities during the day: sports, games, classes. The gym was reasonably well equipped but the humid, salt air was taking a toll on the machines. I loved the aerobics and dance classes because the performers acted as instructors and, ladies, you haven’t lived until a smouldering, handsome Venezuelan teaches you the meringue. And I swear some of the men were deliberately making mistakes in the Yoga classes so that the beautiful dancers would correct their posture. The pool was huge and constantly cleaned and monitored. At night, one could see fascinating phosphorescence in the sea so we always took a moonlight stroll on the beach. The ruins at Tulum were nearby and there were jungle and nature park excursions plus shopping trips, but we hardly ever left the Bahia Principe. It's a great place for a vacation.
Bahia Principe Tulum
Carretera Chetumal, Puerto Juarez Km 250
52 984 875 50 00
Hotel | "Iberostar Del Paraiso"
An electric bus took us to our villa. The villas have ice-cream pastels on the outside and vivid primary colours on the inside. Our room was exceptionally large with a huge balcony, generous marble bathroom, small refrigerator well-stocked with sodas, beer, water, and snacks, large television, complete sitting area and a king-sized bed.
The buses run every few minutes from the beach (about a half mile from the main complex) to the lobby. Flowers line the cobblestone lanes and lovely paths run through the gardens and wild areas. There were many exotic birds and we saw a coatimundi and heard reports (and saw tracks) of a jaguar. The beach is perfect with soft white sand, calm turquoise water, and multi-coloured fish.
The gym is in a separate building near the main complex. It had plenty of equipment, jacuzzis, changing areas, and a really good sound system. Aerobics and stretch classes were good; dance classes and aquasizes were outstanding. The instructors were multi-lingual and entertaining.
There were musicians performing all over the resort all day. We especially enjoyed the Star Band, a ten member collection of international talent, and the mariachi bands that played ON THE BUSES. Yes, there was even entertainment while travelling around this huge resort. There were three shows and dancing to live and recorded music in the theatre every night plus there was a lively disco. All the bars had topnotch atmosphere, service, and selection—even non-drinkers went to them. For restaurants, there were four buffet restaurants, two in the main complex, one near the pool, and one near the beach. All had enormous arrays of prepared and cooked-to-order dishes. We liked everything. My husband raved about the cappuccino and the doughnuts made-to-order. And there were six a la carte restaurants with varied cuisines: traditional steak house, tropical, Japanese, Brazilian, Mediterranean, and Mexican. You could write poetry about the food, service, and ambience of these restaurants. Everything was superb.
For shoppers, there were two mini-shopping malls. There were also a medical clinic, chapel, and Internet lab and a library.
The resort is 12 miles from Playa del Carmen (for even more shopping and entertainment) and a shuttle ran there several times each day. The ferry to Cozumel was in Playa del Carmen. Adventure tours and trips to the Mayan ruins could be booked right at the hotel, with convenient pick-up and delivery. Guests at this resort were welcome at other Iberostar resorts throughout the area.
Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Resort
Playa Paraiso Beach
52 987 72800
Attraction | "Gigante"
On our first trip to Cancun, our maid wrote the name and address of this store on a slip of paper for us. We went outside our hotel, flagged down a bus on the Boulevard Kukulkan, and tried -- in halting Spanish -- to ask the driver to drop us off at Gigante. He and most of the Mexican passengers all laughed good-naturedly at our efforts to speak the local lingo and he simply waved away our precious piece of paper. Sometime later we arrived in downtown Cancun. When we got to the right shopping plaza, everybody on the bus shouted "Gigante!" and pointed across the street. And then most of them got off and went with us. Local folks shop at Gigante, too.
So, to get to Gigante, just tell the bus driver or the cabbie "Gigante, por favor" and I guarantee that he or she will take you to the right place. In downtown Cancun, it’s in a large, modern, two-storey shopping plaza which is clean and well-kept inside and out. Happy shopping!
Avenida Tulum 10
Cancun, Mexico 77509
Vancouver, British Columbia