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Mexico now has
a seat-belt law.
Not only is Cancun the tourist mecca of Mexico but because of Cancun International Airport it is also the entry point for back-packers, divers and Mayan enthusiasts. The above three mentioned tourists usually land in Cancun and head into the interior and Cozumel [for divers].
Vacationers to Cancun generally stay in the lavish resorts in the "hotel beach zone" because many of these hotels are offered in package deals with flight included. To our knowledge none of the smaller hotels in Cancun City are included in package deals.
Americans and Canadians tend to stay for one week Cancun vacations with four day vacations quite common for Americans [not practical for Canadians] and Europeans generally stay two weeks or longer.
For one week travel packages you generally fly in late in the day for your first day and fly out early on your departure date. This way you are really only getting a five day vacation because the day you arrive is a right-off and the day you leave is also a right-off. Is this a planned thing by the travel agencies? Yes and no. Some companies do use this tactic but some agencies are simply at the mercy of the flight schedules of the airline they are utilizing for their packages.
THINGS TO KNOWIf you are flying in [no package] take an airport transfer to hotel or bus to Cancun City then taxi to hotel.
If you are coming in on a package deal you go through customs, get your luggage and exit the terminal to the buses. There will be a travel agent rep standing at the exit of the terminal with a sign. They also tend to shout out the name of the travel company. Here a sky-porter will offer to carry your bags [for a tip] or you can use those trolley things.
Then your luggage is thrown into the baggage compartment of the bus. There is lots of hustle and bustle, everyone is excited! Its hot, you begin speaking to your new amigos.
Now you have to wait for everyone who is traveling to your hotel as part of the "charter" to board the bus. Hopefully nobody gets suckered into talking to the time-share guys because they can hold up the bus for up to an hour.
It's best to sit at the front of the bus. This way you are first off and can run to the reception desk and check-in while your partner gets the luggage. If you are traveling in a large charter and the majority of people are staying at the same hotel it can sometimes take anywhere from half an hour to an hour by the time the last person is checked in.
At this point you are given a wrist-band for identification purposes. Most hotels provide wrist-bands for minors so they cannot access alcohol at any of the bars. Some resorts have "special" rooms or complete sections they usually call the VIP suites and a special wrist-band is provided to guests who pay the extra for these rooms. Our experience talking to people who have payed for VIP say it is not worth the extra money.
At check-in you receive your towel card and you must ask for a room-safe if you want one. For more information about towels and safes see Cancun All Inclusive.
The Towel Game
The towel game exists at every large hotel from Cancun to Tulum.
The picture to the right shows a person putting their towels on the two center chairs so they can have the entire palapa saved for themselves.
What people do is they walk out to a prime spot on the beach or at a swimming pool and put a towel on the beach chair [chez-lounge] they want, then disappear, sometimes for hours. By doing so they feel the chair is theirs. They usually walk out early in the morning to hold chair(s).
Hotel management does not condone this activity. There are no numbers or identifiable marks on towels proving it is indeed your towel. If your towel goes missing you are responsible for it.
Some people find the chair they want. If there is a towel saving it and nothing else there showing that the person is utilizing that particular chair, they throw the towel on the ground or take it. Of course when the "saver" returns to find you have taken the chair an argument can ensue, however the "saver" has absolutely no right to hold the chair beyond a reasonable time.
You can avoid confrontation by not doing this but at the same time realize that you do not have to put up with this nonsense. It's your call [best to avoid confrontation while on vacation].
What is it about buffets that turn normally civil people into animals? The food isn't going anywhere.
No where else at a resort will you encounter rudeness more than the buffets, especially when they get crowded. Some people act as if it's their last meal.
You have to ignore the rude people and not let them get you upset, especially when you are eating. We find the biggest offenses are people butting into lines or making stupid comments if you take too long to make a decision on something thus making them have to wait an extra few seconds before they get their plate of all you can eat shrimp.
Parents who let their children treat the buffet room like a playground are also quite common. Please keep your children in check.
All hotels have some loud rooms. These are rooms located next to the swimming pools or very close to the entertainment facility. Some people don't mind the noise which generally winds down at 11:00 but if you are given a noisy room and can't put up with it you can ask to be moved to another room.
All the major 4-5 star hotels/resorts have a "Kid's Zone" and most have children's swimming pools with lifeguards on duty. For more information about traveling with children see Traveling With Children. Note: This page is not in this section.
CANCUN VACATION ITINERARIESWe have always found that traveling with an itinerary is a useful thing to do.
Here is an example of a family itinerary:
Family One Week Vacation
Day 1: Arrival. Get to hotel, unpack, go to buffet-eat, check out hotel, swim, relax in room.
NOTE: It is important to know that at a hotel, even though there is entertainment every night there will usually be one "big" night with a professional Vegas style show. If this show is on the night of your arrival you will not know about it unless you check the "Animations Board". Animation is what the hotel entertainment crew is called. The board is where the week's shows are listed. Most shows start after 9:00.
Day 2: Breakfast, conduct hotel reconnaissance [walk the grounds and learn where everything is], swimming pool or beach, walk around hotel, lunch, long walk along beach, swimming pool, room - get ready for dinner, eat dinner, use Internet cafe for e-mail, lounge, entertainment, bed or late movie [all hotels have satellite TV].
NOTE: If you are traveling on a package deal then there is an "orientation" meeting where your travel rep will tell you about the hotel and try to sell you tours. The only thing you really need to know from this person is: where can you find them as they should have a station and where is the board or book that has your flight departure time [it can and often does change].
Day 3: Family tour to Chichen Itza or Aquaworld or Garrafon, etc., dinner, use Internet cafe for e-mail, lounge, entertainment or bed/movie.
NOTE: Depending on the tour you can have breakfast but if you do not have the time then pack a lunch from things in the breakfast buffet or ask the front desk for a carry-out lunch [some hotels charge for the lunch while some offer it free].
Day 4: Breakfast, reserve specialty restaurant, shopping, lunch, beach and/or swimming pool, room - get ready for dinner, dinner in specialty restaurant, use Internet cafe for e-mail, lounge, entertainment, bed.
Day 5: Family tour to Tulum ruins/beach + Xel Ha or Xel Ha alone or Xcaret or Coba ruins or Playa del Carmen [beach & shopping] or Cozumel [diving/snorkeling/shopping], dinner, use Internet cafe for e-mail, lounge, entertainment or bed/movie.
NOTE: These tours are south of Cancun and allows you to see what its like down that way, especially if you wish to return. These tours generally go out early and there is no time for a breakfast unless you really hurry. Pack a lunch if lunch is not included in your tour.
Day 6: Breakfast, reserve specialty restaurant, everybody does their own thing day. Mom shops, dad golfs or lies on the beach while the children, who by now have made many new friends, go nuts. Meet back in the afternoon, relax - get ready for dinner, dine in specialty restaurant or buffet, pack, entertainment, bed.
NOTE: On day 6 do a preliminary packing of all your belongings before you go to bed. Leave out only what you essentially need for the next day. Make sure you have plastic bags to store wet bathing suits.
Day 7: Everything on this day depends on what time you leave for the airport from your hotel. Most hotels want you out of the room by 12:00. Your luggage is stored usually in a room next to reception or in the main lobby if you have a late flight. You are allowed to continue to use all facilities including restaurants and you generally change/shower in the hotel "spa" [which always has male and female change rooms] or a hospitality suite.
For more information see: Cancun Suggested Itineraries
CHECK OUTIf you are traveling with a tour company, check the travel agent board or book on the day before departure to confirm the departure time "from the hotel".
If you have booked your hotel and air yourself, you should phone the airline the night before departure to confirm your flight departure time.
When you check out you will either still have time to wait for your ride to the airport or you still may have your room when the time arrives to check-out and depart to the airport.
Have your bags ready for check-out on the morning of your check-out regardless of the departure time. This is done for a number of reasons. First, peace of mind... you can relax on departure day. You do not want to forget anything and it is a lot easier to check the room if your bags are all packed.
Sometimes a flight can be rescheduled the night before you leave and the departure time changed on the day you leave. You would be notified, either by telephone or a rep at your door or a note left on your bed or night-table [if you are traveling with a tour company package]. If this is a last minute thing and you are not packed you will be scrambling.
A million different things can occur to change a flight time, none of which are the fault of the travel agency, hotel or Mexico in general so please do not be upset if this does happen to you. The chances are remote but it does happen from time to time.
You either leave your bags outside your door [we never do this] where a porter will pick them up and deliver them to the lobby or storage room or you take the bags to the lobby yourself.
Then you hand in your towel cards or towels, room key/card, hotel safe key/card and pay any outstanding charges. You will be given a check-out tag, which must be presented to the tour rep before getting on the transfer bus/van. If you are not traveling on a package tour you present your check-out tag to hotel security when you exit the hotel.
Then you wait for the bus to take you to the airport. If the bus does not leave for some time you can use the hotels amenities including the restaurants and snack-bars.
Just before the bus is about to arrive porters will start taking the luggage out of storage and moving it to the curb outside the lobby to be loaded onto the bus. Everyone should be standing around waiting for the bus.
When the bus arrives a travel rep will makes sure everyone who should be going to the airport gets on the bus with their luggage [your name is checked off a list]. The bus will wait for stragglers but only up to a certain point. They are all too familiar with guys who cannot free themselves from the all-you-can-drink-bars who will sit there drunk and unaware that the bus is leaving. Usually somebody on the bus knows where the stragglers are and every attempt is made to find them. But rest assured you will not be delayed in getting to the airport on time because the bus will leave at a certain point if stragglers cannot be found or don't want to leave the bar [we have seen this happen].
Once you get to the airport you take your luggage off the bus and take a short walk into the terminal where you check in and get your boarding passes. After that you go through security and you are in duty-free zone. There is a smoking area in the duty-free zone, restaurants and more stores.
CANCUN HOTELSFor current Cancun hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see:
Cancun Hotels & Resorts
Cancun Airport to Hotel Shuttle see:
Answers for many of your questions may possibly be found here:
Visit Chichén Itzá