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Aug 14

July 2015: Cancun Trip Report with Day Trip to Mayan Ruins in Tulum

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Me and Karen have been wanting to go to Cancun for a long time. I had read about its white, sandy beaches for the longest time and finally decided to make it over there during the 2015 Independence day long weekend.

Day 1:

We flew the Delta red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Cancun and arrived at the Cancun International Airport early morning. I had booked a round-trip airport transfer through Canada Transfers (one of the highest rated airport transfer company in the Cancun Tripadvisor forum). A representative of Canada Transfers was waiting for us when we cleared immigration and soon we were on our way to our hotel.

We stayed at the bottom end of the “Hotel Zone” at The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun. This is the first hotel one would come across while driving to the hotel zone from the airport. After checking in and leaving our luggage with the front desk, we made our way to the beach by the hotel.

Cancun, Mexico

The beach in Cancun is fine white sand however unlike a lot of places in the Caribbean, the water is not calm. There were plenty of big waves all along the beach.

On the beach beside the Westin Resort & Spa

Next to the Westin Resort is the last hotel at the bottom end of the hotel zone, the Club Med Cancun. There is a Cancun sign in front of the hotel by the beach, good for some pictures.

Cancun Sign outside Club Med Resort

End of the Hotel Zone by Club Med Resort

By this time it was around noon and we went back to the hotel front desk to get our room. After freshening up we decided to have some lunch. I had read in the Tripadvisor Cancun forum about the La Isla Mall. This is a big mall in the hotel zone opposite of the Westin Lagunamar resort.

Jet pack adventures in Lagoon by Isla Verde Mall

The La Isla Mall sits by the Nichupte Lagoon which borders the hotel zone from the inside (while the Caribbean sea borders on the outside). We walked around the mall while finally deciding on having lunch at the Taco Grill.

Walking through La Isla Mall during lunchtime

After lunch we went back to the hotel for a little nap as we didn’t have a good sleep on our red-eye flight. Later in the evening after walking the beach we went back to the La Isla mall for dinner. This time we had dinner at the Taco y Tequila.

La Isla Mall after dinner

Day 2:

We planned to take a day trip to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins. I had read online that the ruins at Chichen Itza are more impressive but we still decided to visit Tulum only in this trip. There are plenty of options to get to Tulum from Cancun. You could rent a car and drive there or take a taxi (pretty expensive) or a bus. We had read good things about the ADO Bus Service in Mexico and opted for that instead. Early in the morning we took the a public bus from the hotel zone to the ADO Bus terminal in downtown Cancun. We arrived just in time for the bus leaving for Tulum. The bus from Cancun to Tulum runs infrequently and if one has to wait too long at the Cancun bus terminal, it might be preferable to take the frequent bus service to Playa Del Carmen and then transfer from there to Tulum.

ADO Bus

The seats were fairly comfortable and good enough for the short 2 hour bus ride.

Inside ADO Bus

After arriving at the ADO bus station in Tulum we were greeted with this sight.

Acrobatics next to Tulum ADO Bus Terminal

The Mayan ruins are a little bit of a walk (about 5-7 minutes) from the bus station but we were unwilling to walk in the hot, humid weather and opted for the cheap 3 minute train ride to the ruins.

Train to the Tulum Mayan ruins from ADO Bus Terminal in Tulum

Tulum Mayan Ruins

The heat and the humidity was pretty high in the afternoon but the sea breeze definitely helped. There were lots of Iguanas roaming around the ruins and we took quite a few pictures with them.

Lots of Iguanas all over the ruins

The only Mayan Ruins near the ocean

Tulum has the only Mayan ruins next to the ocean. There were steps to get down from the top of the hill to the beach. However, the water was very choppy and looked very muddy that day so we had no desire to go down there.

Some people went in the choppy waters down at the beach

More Iguanas

After spending about 3 hours walking around and exploring the ruins we finally decided to call it a day. But not before Karen tried some of the homemade Mexican ice-cream with coconut shavings.

Enjoying some Mexican Icecream

Day 3:

We decided to stay at the resort and just relax at the beach and the pool till afternoon. Our flight was in late afternoon so we had all morning to enjoy the resort.

On the beach beside Westin Resort with the Hotel Zone resorts in the background

We enjoyed the pool and the beach by the resort on our last day


Cost (Total for 2 travelers):

Airfare:

  • $56 in Airport taxes & fees for 2 one way Los Angeles – Cancun on Delta Domestic First Class
  • $107 in Airport taxes & fees for 2 one way Cancun – Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines

Transportation:

  • $53 for round-trip Airport transfer service from Cancun International Airport to Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun by Canada Transfers
  • $18 for 3 day parking at the 405 Parking, LAX International Airport
  • $35 (or 552 Mexican Pesos) for 2 round trip ADO bus tickets from Cancun Bus terminal to Tulum Bus Terminal

Miles/Points/Certificates Redeemed:

  • 60,000 Delta Skymiles for 2 First class tickets from Los Angeles – Cancun
  • 29,680 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for 1 economy from Cancun – Los Angeles + 1 traveler on Companion Pass
  • 14,000 SPG points for 2 night at The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun

 

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