Because of today’s troubled economy money has been tight for households all over the country. Many of us are counting every penny and searching for ways to save a buck here and there. If life’s bumps on the road have you and your family stressed you are probably in desperate need of a vacation but may not think you can afford one. Cancun, Mexico is an ideal and easily accessible vacation spot for couples, and families of all budgets. Cancun, also called the “Mexican Caribbean” is located in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a world famous tourist spot known for its crystal blue-green waters, white sand beaches and beautiful climate.
The easiest and most inexpensive way to save on your Cancun vacation is to go “all inclusive”. This can include staying in an all inclusive resort as well as booking your airfare, hotel, airport transfers, car rentals and sometimes day trips and excursions in one discounted package. Many airlines offer hotel and airfare combos and discount packages. Check your favorite airline website. Also, you may want to visit travel websites such as www.expedia.com, www.orbitz.com, www.kayak.com to research the best deals for vacation packages. As for the “all inclusive” resort, this really is a great deal. It’s very nice to have all your meals, drinks, games, and activities included in one price. You can eat and drink as much as you want and some resorts even include room service and let children stay and eat free. You don’t have to worry about bringing your wallet or purse every time you want a cocktail or snack by the pool. For the kids, most resorts do a great job of always offering activities and games such as bingo, Spanish lessons, ping pong, beach volleyball, snorkel gear, etc which keep them occupied.
Also some of the chain resorts such as Oasis Resorts or Riu Resorts offer exchange privileges at their sister properties. This means you can visit their other sites, use their pools, and eat at their restaurants for no extra charge. The “hotel zone” in Cancun has a wide range of options for all inclusive resorts of all prices. Another way to save money on your accommodations is to travel during the off season which runs from Sept. thru Dec. in Mexico. If your travel dates are flexible, many resorts offer lower prices to book during these times. If you aren’t into resort style vacationing, try booking a vacation home or condo. www.vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner) is an excellent website that puts you in touch with renters from all over the world. They also generally offer cheaper rates during the off season. Another benefit of saying in a vacation rental is that many houses have full kitchens where you can save money by cooking your own food, and some even will stock the kitchen for you before you arrive with local food.
After you find the perfect place to stay you may want to get out and experience what Cancun has to offer. You can take the local bus to the downtown area “El Centro” or take a taxi. Your concierge will able to point you in the right direction so you don’t get lost. You can admire the historic monuments or hang out in one of the many parks. Market 28 is a good place to find handcrafted items such as jewelry clothing, or other gifts. Here you can haggle for your souvenirs and bring the price down a bit. Don’t fall for tourist traps such as expensive “booze cruises”, time-share offers or eating in popular tourist restaurants. They aren’t worth your time or money. Eat where the locals eat. You are sure to find an authentic meal at a lower price with a better experience. The public beaches are free and a beautiful way to relax and work on your tan. Also free is the ecological park of Cancun which is called Museum Casa Maya. Here you can see a jungle-like setting with birds, turtles, spider monkeys and crocodiles. You may want to explore the Mayan ruins of El Rey which is very close to the Cancun International Airport.
My favorite place to visit in the Cancun area and also one of the most inexpensive ways to spend a day is Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a small island just northeast of Cancun and is a fishing village. To get there you can take a ferry (which is only 35 pesos and takes about 20 min) from the dock called Puerto Juarez. The ferry docks in Isla Mujeres right in the middle of the town. Here you can walk through the streets and pick out lovely souvenirs then head to the beach Playa del Norte, or take a snorkeling tour to the amazing coral reefs. To get around the tiny island most people rent a moped or golf cart for the day. Both are pretty inexpensive (about $25-$40) and are a great way to see the entire island. You can’t leave Isla Mujeres without visiting the Mayan Temple and Lighthouse dedicated to the Mayan Goddess of Fertility Ixchel. Head to the top of the lighthouse for breathtaking views of the ocean and island or wander through the pathways that lead you around the ruins and are adorned with art sculptures.
There are so many options for fun and inexpensive activities to choose from in Cancun. Whatever way you choose to spend your vacation you are sure to have a great time filled with many memories.