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Chichen Itza, Mexico

Trip #1

  • Cancun (and surrounds) - 11 days.



Things to do

  • We did a tour through Cancun Passion which took us to Chichén Itzá and Cenoté Saamal which included a buffet authentic Mexican food lunch as well as a stop to do some souvenir shopping in the town of Chichén Itzá. This tour was unreal, our guide was super engaging, knowledgeable and friendly. If you're into Ancient History, Ancient Civilisations or you love swimming natural water holes this would be great for you. 

  • The second tour we did was through BD Experience and that took us to Isla Mujeres. We rode across to the island on a catamaran (you can choose a small or large group), and we stopped to do some snorkelling on the way. All drinks are included on the catamaran including cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Once on the island you can hire a golf cart to ride around the island (price not included in your tour) or alternatively you can just walk around and explore!

  • The third tour we did was again through BD Experience, but this one took us to Tulum, Cenoté Chen-Ha and Playa del Carmen.

  • Making sure you get to a Cenoté either way is essential though! One of the coolest things I've done so far is jumping into Cenoté Saamal. 


Be mindful of


  • If you're going to do a tour in Mexico, it's best to book it prior to travelling through your Travel Agent or alternatively through your reception/tours desk at your hotel if they have one. You will come across a lot of people trying to get you on board for their tours and you want to make sure you aren't getting scammed or sold a different product to what you've paid for. They also charge a lot for tours so you may get a better deal if you book it yourself prior to arriving.

  • On the point above, in our hotel they had what seemed to be a sales team which was separate to their tours desk, and they would try get you into a conversation when they see you (even when you've told them no previously) to try sign you up for a certain club or membership through the resort. Just tell them no and keep walking, and make sure you book your tour through the tours desk! They will have the type tours you're after. 

  • There is a tipping culture in Mexico, similar to the USA and Canada. While you may have paid for an all-inclusive resort, be mindful that tips are not included in the price. If you're unsure of how to tip, I'd recommend doing some research ahead of time to make sure you've got enough cash on hand to tip for the duration of your holiday. 

  • Don't drink water from the tap in Mexico, always try and find filtered water or bottled water that you can drink. 


Food & Drink


  • The food and drinks at our resort were all included in the total cost of what we paid, they had heaps of different restaurants and bars within the resort including several international cuisines including of course Mexican food. 

  • If you're wanting more of an authentic Mexican food experience I would recommend venturing out of your resort if you're in one, and finding a local restaurant to try. Be aware of the street vendors though, I've heard a couple of horror stories of people catching bugs off those but trust your gut - everyone's different! I found the resort food to be quite Westernised which is good for some people but maybe not for others. 

  • The buffets at our Hotel were absolutely out of this world. I'm a big foodie and was completely overwhelmed with all of the delicious options! All of the restaurants offered a set menu you could order off PLUS the buffet and the effort they put into them was truly so exciting to look at every day. 


The Positives

  • 100% the people. I find I say this a lot when travelling, but Mexico was no different. I was greeted by every single staff member at the resort whether they were our housekeeper, waitress, landscaper, reception, hostess, you name it - everyone is super friendly. Outside of the resort though it extended to the tour guides, bus drivers, restaurant staff and the list goes on. 

  • The all-inclusive element to our holiday was personally a real stand out for me given we were travelling for our honeymoon. Everyone travels differently to the next however if you're looking for a 'flop and drop' kind of holiday - an all-inclusive in Mexico is great. 

  • Stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches with crystal blue water, lovely warm weather and it's mostly always sunny.

  • The history in Mexico is really interesting so you can get a great combination of relaxation as well as that adventure and educational element to your holiday. You can be super active and adventurous or you can lay by the pool or beach all day which give you great options depending what you feel like doing that day.

  • The all-inclusive style holiday would be perfect for families with kids, there's so much food, drinks and activities for them and you can just relax by the pool while they play!

  • The customer service at Grand Palladium was a real stand out - I've never experienced anything like it to be perfectly honest. They were helping us with everything before we could even ask, always so attentive and friendly. 

  • I looooved how vibrant and colourful all of the buildings and surroundings are in Mexico! There's so much colour on every corner and it makes for a really fun and exciting place to photograph. 

The Negatives 

  • Cancun is expennnnnnsive! I was absolutely gobsmacked at the prices there, and that's saying something because usually I don't care much for conversion rates (holiday money is different to regular money in my eyes!) But to give you some perspective, a photo frame in a souvenir store in Playa del Carmen was tagged at $150USD. Yes, that's right... we even confirmed with the staff member that we weren't seeing things. Obviously he was just trying to rip tourists off - but just be mindful to not fall for it and shop around. We went to a store next door and they had the same frame for a quarter of the price (still too high for me though). Another example is in the airport when we were leaving - I got a burger and fries with a drink and a bag of family sized MnMs and it came to almost $60AUD. We completely under-budgeted for this trip so just beware! I understand this comes with the territory though (all-inclusive resort in a high-density tourist area like Cancun), if you'd prefer a cheaper holiday I'd recommend avoiding the popular tourist hot spots. 

  • The flight to Cancun was lonnnnng. Maybe I'm just naive but I had no idea it'd take me 24 hours to get home! To get to Cancun you have to go via USA or Canada for a stop-over. We went via Canada and stopped over in Vancouver on the way, then Toronto and Vancouver on the way home. Just try keep an eye out for nice straight-forward flights without too long of a stopover.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

  • If you do opt for all-inclusive, I recommend giving yourself a day or two to settle in first and then booking tours every second day, then finishing your stay with a couple of days to relax. I found after 3 days of sitting around the pool and drinking strawberry mojitos (as fabulous as it was) I was more than ready for some stimulation and to see something outside the walls of the resort. Doing the tours every second day gave us the chance to enjoy being out and about, then equally enjoy being in the resort and relaxing after a long and exciting tour day. 

  • This holiday was so amazing for our honeymoon however I couldn't help but feel like the all-inclusive option would be better utilised if travelling in a group. Whether that be with your friends, for an occasion or with your family or kids. There's just buffets absolutely everywhere, so many bars, so much free food and drinks that travelling as a couple felt like we couldn't make the absolute most of it in some way (there's only so much you can physically eat!) Our resort also had a DJ on some nights, different performances, beach parties etc however travelling as a couple we more leaned towards dinner, an ice cream and a good night's sleep :P So just something to keep in mind. 


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