My First All Inclusive Experience: Mayan Riviera, Mexico

Our Resort

Our Resort

Two Saturdays ago I attended a family Christmas party. While I munched on shrimp and sipped on merlot, my Uncle Colin told me all me about his upcoming one week all inclusive vacation to Mexico with his girlfriend Melanie, friend Doug, and my brother Matt. When I explained that I just happened to also have that same week off (since my work contract had wrapped up for the year), they insisted that I join them. It didn’t take much convincing, the thought of escaping the cold weather and the opportunity to hang out with my family was more than enough. Plus it sounded much more exciting than bumming around at home all week, so I pulled out my credit card and $1100 later I was booked.

I have always been a bit of a sceptic when it comes to all inclusive resorts. My doubts can be attributed to the mixed reviews I have heard about them from friends and colleagues. Some have told me that it is the most relaxing possible way to travel, while others say that the food is never good, and you rarely get to see the local culture. As I discovered for myself, like most things, the truth was somewhere in the middle.

We arrived in Cancun the following Saturday after a short three and a half hour flight. I let out a gleeful sigh as I stepped out of the airport into the warm mexican breeze; this is the weather I had been hoping for – not too hot, and not too cold. We hopped on a shuttle bus to the resort, and enjoyed some celebratory Coronas to toast the start of our vacation. After an hour drive along the highway, we were dropped off at the Catalonian Yucatan Resort on the Mayan Rivera. It was a beautiful hotel, and while touristy in nature, it was a great set up. There were more swimming pools than I could count, at least seven different restaurants, two pool bars and a gorgeous white sandy beach leading into the Caribbean Sea.

After so many people telling me how bad resort food is, I was surprised how good it was at our hotel.We mostly ate at the buffets which had a wide variety of food including some great mexican options. I must admit I would have preferred if the food was a bit spicier, but apart from that I really enjoyed it. Their À la Carte restaurants were even better, and I would argue that they rivalled some of my favourite restaurants back home. Even the Mexican chef at the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant was a fantastic performer. The biggest challenge with the food however, was to stop eating! With unlimited food and drink readily available at all hours, I stuffed my face for a week of complete indulgence.

One of my concerns about the week was that I would get bored just laying on the beach for a whole week. I decided to bring my computer along to do some writing and blogging if I got bored, but I never even turned it on. There were activities all day long! I tried archery, yoga on the beach, water aerobics, I went on a bike tour, and  took a ride on a catamaran. There was also a reef where you could go snorkelling just off  our beach where I saw lots of new fish I had never seen before, including a tiny black seahorse!

The best day by far was when we rented a car and drove along the peninsula to Akumal Beach. In the water at Akumal, there is a big patch of sea grass in the water which attracts many Sea Turtles to come and have a snack.  I saw four different Sea Turtles as well as a Southern Stingray! On the way back we also stopped at a Cenote, which was a sunken cave full of ground water. We went for a swim in the crystal clear fresh water, which was surprisingly difficult to swim in after being accustom to buoyant salt water all week.

One of the down sides of being on a resort, is that  you are very much removed from the local culture. The resort was very Americanized and as a result I didn’t feel like I was really  in Mexico; it could have been any random beach. However, as long as you accept that this will be the case before you arrive, you wont be disappointed. If your goal is to have a relaxing week in the sun, then you will have a great time like I did.

In conclusion, I REALLY enjoyed my vacation. So would I do it again? The truth is, I probably wouldn’t  use my limited work vacation days towards an all inclusive holiday, simply because there are just too many places in the world I still want to visit. However, if I ended up having some unexpected time off again, I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat!

…Now please excuse me while I visit the gym to work of the buffet!

Only two weeks until I am off to South Africa and London England – So stay tuned for more travel blogging soon!

PS. Have you seen the new Shan On Route Facebook page? It’s just a few weeks old. If you have an account, click LIKE on the Facebook widget on the top right hand side of the page to stay up to date 🙂 Or follow this blog via email. 

6 responses to “My First All Inclusive Experience: Mayan Riviera, Mexico

  1. How awesome! And you’re travelling again soon? Good for you 🙂 xox



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