Cancun: From the Good to the Bad





Since I was little, I've had Mexico and Mexicans in my heart. They are famous for their warmth and boundless generosity. Moreover, a Mexican will keep a friend for eternity. I know this because I lived in Mexico a few years and I was very excited to return there for a family reunion. More precisely in Cancun.

However, things did not turnout quite the way I’d planned. I made a reservation through the Internet to rent a car for $40 a day, for five days. When I arrived to pick it up though, the cost of the mandatory insurance tripled the price to rent the car. I had to take it as our plan was to drive throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.

I stayed at the Westin located in the hotel zone of Cancun. I expected that, as it was the Westin, one of the "best hotels" in the area, our stay would be reasonably comfortable. However, the air conditioner did not cool the first night and when I got up the next morning the floor of the room was soaked because the AC unit had broken down; the fridge was not working, and the bathroom had mold on every corner.

The good part of the room was the ocean front view, so I just had to open the window to realize there was a lot of fun to come, and this is how my trip went:

Day 1 - Tulum


Tulum is a municipality located south of Cancun by two hours. The ruins are part of the Mayan post classical period. The scenery is unimaginable; the old construction ends in the magical azure blue of the Caribbean Sea and its contrast between the natural and rustic of the ruins is mystifying. I probably spent a good few hours walking around the area, appreciating the good weather, breeze, and ocean.

Day 2 - Chichen Itza

These ruins of Mayan origin are located a hundred kilometers east of Merida. Chichén Itzá was built in 400 BC, and due to the excellent construction techniques of the Mayas-Toltec, they have been preserved for more than 2000 years. It is called Chichen Itzá because the place was built near a cenote (deep well of spring water) and the ethnic lineage of tradition was Itzá, so they called it "near the Itzá well".

In Chichén Itzá there is a huge field in which the Mesoamerican ball game was played. It utilized a nearly 4-kilogram ball that represented the sun or the moon and it had to be kept in play at all times. One could hit it with the hips, elbows, or knees. The ultimate goal was passing it though a stone ring which sat on opposite sides of the field, about 40 feet high each, and were just a bit wider than the ball itself. Nothing like the current soccer affairs. The winner was sacrificed to the gods in honor of his triumph, and although it sounds surprising, they played to win.



Day 3 - Xcaret


I had begun driving at 7 in the morning. Xcaret, an archaeological and natural park, is two hours south of Cancun by car. It is expensive, but it is a place that should not be missed if you visit the Yucatan Peninsula. From our day in Xcaret, the main highlight included in the price of the entrance was swimming in one of the underground rivers of the park. The Xcaret Mexico show was also spectacular.



Day 4 beach - In the hotel zone of Cancun


The beaches of Cancun are turquoise, and its sand is white and light. The Westin is located in Isla Cancún and the access to the sea is immediate from the hotel pools. Breakfast is not included, but they have a buffet for $15 that includes fruits, vegetables, breads, cold meats, cheeses, and eggs in all their possible cooking forms.

There are several pools of various sizes. That day I drove to downtown Cancun and had lunch in a street taquería where each taco cost us 0.60 cents but had the most authentic flavor.

Day 5 back home.

Leaving the hotel to the airport I was stopped by a policeman who alleged that I was driving above the allowed speed limit. I told him that it was not true and asked that he showed me the speed radar meter. He said he did not have it but that "by the eye" he had realized that I was driving very fast.

As I needed to get to the airport, I asked him to give me a ticket. He said no and that "cash" was faster, or he had to take us to the station. He ended up taking 140 dollars from me.

I left with the bitterness of their corruption which is commonly and socially accepted. At the airport, I spoke with a policeman who told us that he was coming to live in the USA. He said the other policemen in that area of Cancun operate in a network with the hotels who let them know when the guests have packed their suitcases in the eagerness to the airport.

Because of the concern that he would not let us fly, I did not think of his real motives. However, if you go to Cancun, do not let yourself hand over the money; tell the officer to take you where he needs to take you to pay your ticket. Remember, there is no law in Mexico that allows policemen to retain tourists for traffic fines. Yup, I got to think about it after the rush.


I will be on the moon while I plan where to go next

@saluakamerow


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