As we head into Fall and are still under COVID restrictions, traveling can feel almost foreign. With the risk of spreading the virus and some countries not allowing American Tourists, many of us may feel pretty stuck right now. However, a few places allow tourists to travel there for a vacation, and one of those places is Mexico! With that being said, this is a great time to share my experience traveling to Cancun 2 years ago (while on a budget, of course).
Cancun is a place I love to go for many reasons. It is relatively cheap, I always have a good time, and the food is AMAZING! My friends and I usually plan this trip with ease. Flights can be reasonably cheap, and you can generally get a round trip ticket for under $300. Since it is a tourist city, Hotels have great package deals for all-inclusive stays that could help with your travel budget. We always have a good time when traveling south of the border!
My friends and I are always watching flight deals and sometimes plan trips based on ticket prices. We often travel to destinations that we never thought about before just because there was a flight deal. These are always the best type of trips. Spontaneous and no expectations. Booking blindly is pretty much how we treated Cancun. We got pretty decent round-trip tickets from Delta for about $280 each and booked a round trip shuttle through the company Happy Shuttle to take us to our hotel for $50. The shuttle was really lovely, and they had cold beers for us to enjoy during our ride.
We stayed for 5 days and 4 nights at Occidental Costa Cancun with an all-inclusive package. This was my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort, and even though I was a little uneasy about the higher price, I have to say that it is well worth it and saves you money in the end. The majority of the time, staying all-inclusive means that your food and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are taken care of. This way, you don’t have to worry about spending any money during your trip. Although you are paying more upfront, this can help your travel budget tremendously! Our stay was about $450 each (there were 3 of us total).
The hotel has 4 restaurants, 2 bars, 1 spa, 3 swimming pools, and a private beach. They also had activities such as water polo and aerobics, beach volleyball, and nightly shows. We were not limited to the amount of food we ate or the number of drinks we had. The hotel staff was friendly, and the servers in the restaurants really really really love taking shots with you, haha.
Life off the Resort
Cancun is not short of things to do, and I have never heard of anyone getting bored while there. We decided to venture off the resort and explore a bit and had no trouble finding fun. We stuck with taking the bus while there as it was super cheap, I believe about $1 US dollar (many people and places accept US dollars in Cancun). First, we stopped at a really cool flea market that had souvenirs, food, and liquor.
We also found a reasonably quiet beach where we got some sun and relaxation.
For nightlife, we planned ahead. We signed up for club passes with a company called CunCrawl that pairs you with a host that takes you around to 3 clubs. We paid about $80 each and got VIP tables and drinks, passes to skip lines, and a good time.
We also ventured a little further outside Cancun to a beautiful island called Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres was so amazing that I just have to give her a separate post. If you have read my blog before, you know that I always like to leave you hanging with a tease for my next post. Make sure you are subscribed to this blog to not miss my recap of this fantastic island.
I Think I Have Zip-Lined Enough for This Lifetime
If you have gotten this far, you are probably wondering why I named this post, “We Zip-Lined for 8 Hours!”. Well, because we did. We signed up for a very popular excursion called Xplor by Xcaret. Cancun has many adventure packages where you can do things like swimming, zip-lining, and 4-wheeling all in one day. We wanted in on the fun, so booked a day with Xplor for about $130 each. This was our most expensive experience of the trip, but it was well worth it. A bus picks you up from your hotel for a 2-hour drive to Xplor. You have a full day of activities, and you get an all you can eat buffet for lunch.
The main attraction of Xplor is obviously zip-lining with miles and miles of different zip-line courses that end with a splash. We zip-lined so much, I think I should have some type of professional certification now. Don’t get me wrong; we had tons of fun, but we were a little tired by the end of the day.
Other activities at Xplor include underground cave river swimming, underground rafts, 4-wheeling, and a hammock splash.
What’s the Damage?
If I add up the flight, hotel, club night, and Xplor Day, my individual trip total is under $1,000! For 5 days in Cancun with a significant amount of partying and activities, I’ll say that ain’t so bad.
Travel is Still Possible
I think all of us are getting a little stir crazy and a little braver to travel again (even if it is a small road trip which still counts!). If you are looking to go international and are unsure where you can go, I did a quick online search. I found a list of countries accepting American Tourists right here. I have not flown since COVID started, but I have taken a few road trips which is still an option for us. Flying isn’t so bad from what I have heard, and airports are taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe. In my personal opinion, if you want to travel and feel that you can do it safely, go for it! I mean, we should all be traveling safely anyway regardless of a virus or not. I plan to travel again soon, so I’ll be sure to loop you in on my experience!
Don’t forget to stay tuned for my next blog post! Part 2 of my Cancun trip where I reminisce on Isla Mujeres. The gorgeous island that I will never forget.