Cancun is one of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations, thanks to Cancun’s all-inclusive resorts with their fabulous white sand beaches and turquoise water. Cancun is a fantastic vacation destination for people who want to relax on the beachenjoy great weather, and explore Cancun.


Getting Started

If you have valid US visa stamping you dont need visa to enter Mexico. We chose the all-inclusive Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun. Do not select private transportation from Costco. Even though shared transportation is included in the Costco package, the transport company from the airport to the Cancun hotel and vice versa is BD Travel. You can choose them when you land at the airport because they are available once you exit completely from the airport in Cancun and come outside. There will be a BD Travel guy waiting. However, the service for returning from the Cancun hotel to the airport is pretty bad. They did not arrive on time we waited for 30 minutes after picking up time. We decided to go with Uber from the hotel to the airport, which was almost USD 30. Ours was a private airport transfer. Don’t rely on BD Travel to travel back from the hotel to the airport.

Once you land in Cancun, our early morning flight landed in Cancun from SFO on United Airlines at 6:30 AM. Immigration was very fast, but we waited 30 minutes for our luggage. After picking up our luggage, go to the airport exit. There will be a lot of travel agents from different hotels trying to sell packages. Just ignore them and head over to the exit. At the exit, if you choose BD Travel, a guy will be available there. Otherwise, you can opt for Uber, which is around USD 30 to the hotel. All the hotels in Cancun are in the Hotel Zone.

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

The hotel looked pretty old from the outside and didn’t give me a 5-star hotel vibe. However, their swimming pools and beach views are so pretty good and touching heartbeats. Their food quality is not good as we expect from the hotel, especially for vegetarians. The exterior of the hotel looked quite old, and I was disappointed with the look. We need to book lunch and dinner reservations from the reception in advance for the duration of our stay. When we arrive at the hotel, the staff greet us and check us in at 9 am.Over all I felt all inclusive is not useful to us as we will be roaming all the day and we wont be using all the hotel amenities.

Day 1 – Exploring Isla Mujeres

We landed in Cancun at 6:30 am morning and arrived at my hotel at 9 am. After checking in and having lunch, I headed over to Isla Mujeres. There was a port right next to my hotel, so I was able to easily catch a ferry to the island. The ferry company is Ultramar, and the port is Playa Caracol. We paid cash to get the tickets using USD, but we felt it would have been great if we had gotten some Mexican pesos in advance from Bank of America because otherwise, they demand more pesos.

By the time we reached Isla Mujeres, most of the golf cart rentals were closing. We were lucky to find Isla Mujeres Golf Carts Joaquin (Rentadora Joaquin), which was open until 9 pm. The friendly staff was happy to rent us a golf cart until 9 pm, so we were able to enjoy a leisurely evening exploring the island. The company is located at Av Rueda Medina, Centro, 77400 Isla Mujeres, Q.R., Mexico. 

We spent almost 2-3 hours on Isla Mujeres, which was just enough time to explore the main attractions. We started our day by visiting the roadside masala mango vendors, which were delicious. Then, we headed to Punta Sur, the southernmost tip of the island. Here are things you can do at Isla Mujeres:

  • Visiting Isla Mujeres Sign
  • Visiting Punta Sur( Where the ticket is required).
  • Seeing the most photographed Airbnb-Spot the shell house
  • Watching the sunset on Playa Sol
  • Visiting Playa Norte Beach
  • Sunset at catamaran cruise( we did not do).

While returning, there is no direct ferry to the Cancun Hotel Zone. We took the ferry back to Juárez, also known as Puerto Juárez. You can also take a ferry back to Playa Tortugas. From there, you can take an Uber or local taxi to the Hotel Zone.

Day 2 – Playa Del Carmen Adventure

After a scenic Uber ride from Cancun, we arrived in Playa del Carmen and rented scooters from Scooter and Bike Rental, located at A lado del estacionamiento, Calle 4 norte entre av 10 y 15 norte, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R. They provide helmets with rental. We took the scooters to Rio Secreto, which is about 9 kilometers away.

The Rio Secreto Tour Classic Tour

we took a classic tour at Rio Secreto Preserve, a hidden gem located in the Riviera Maya. I didn’t opt for transportation, as I wanted to have the freedom to explore the preserve at my own pace. I simply booked my tickets online and arrived at the preserve early to avoid the crowds. The tour started with a short introduction to the preserve and its history. We then put on wetsuits and helmets and headed into the caves. The caves were stunning, with towering stalactites and stalagmites. We swam through crystal-clear waters and even saw some bats! Basic swimming skills are required for the Rio Secreto tour, but life jackets are provided I’m not the best, at swimming. The guide, from our group kindly held my hand and assisted me in crossing the stretch of our journey, which required us to swim for about 3-5 minutes. The tour takes 3 hours and includes lunch afterward. We begins our trip at 2:30 PM and ended at 5:15 PM. Lunch was not that great, but the tour itself was amazing. No cameras are allowed on the tour, so you’ll have to use your imagination to capture the beauty of this hidden gem.

Overall, if you’ve seen limestone formations before, you’ll find that the ones at Rio Secreto are similar. During the tour, you’ll get to participate in some Mayan rituals that are similar to Indian pujas. The fragrance of the lamp they use to light the way is incredible—it’s called Mexican copal. I didn’t have time to search for it in Cancun, but if you can find it, I highly recommend it. All guests must shower to rinse off lotions, perfumes, and oils before entering the cave. You’ll also need to wear the wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, and booties provided by Rio Secreto. No jewelry is allowed on tours, and cameras are not permitted. All of the photos in this article were taken by a Rio Secreto photographer who accompanied our group into the caverns. The photographic packages start at $99.

Unsuccessful Attempt at Visiting Cenotes

After our tour of the Rio Secreto, we thought we’d visit some cenotes in Playa del Carmen. However, we quickly realized that most cenotes have specific opening hours and entrance fees, and we were too late to visit any of them. The two cenotes that are near playa del carmen are Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Azul. Do visit them if you arrive early in the day.

We ended up heading back to Playa del Carmen and taking an ADO bus to Cancun.The Ado bus stop Point is ADO Alternate. From the Cancun bus stop, we took an Uber back to our hotel. It was pretty hot in May, so we were glad to be back in the air conditioning.

By the time we reached the hotel, we had missed dinner. We ended up getting food from Kebab India, an Indian restaurant next to our hotel. The food wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough to fill us up.

Day 3 – Chichen Itza Exploration

Chichen Itza is in a different time zone than Cancun, so be sure to adjust your watch accordingly. The site is one hour ahead of Cancun. Visiting Chichen Itza can be tiring, as it takes the entire day to explore the site. The heat in Cancun in May can be oppressive, so it’s best to start your visit early in the morning. This will help you avoid the crowds and the heat of the day.

Booking a Tour with Flavio’s Tours

Flavio’s Tours is a great option for those looking for a comprehensive tour of Chichen Itza. The tour includes transportation, a guided tour of the site, a visit to a cenote, lunch, and a stop in the historic town of Valladolid. The tour is well-organized and informative, and Flavio and his team are friendly and helpful. The pick-up is early, at 6:00 AM, but this allows you to beat the crowds and have a more authentic experience.

If you’re looking for a private tour of Chichen Itza, this is the perfect option for you. The cost is USD 210 per adult, with everything included. If there are other people on the tour, the cost per person drops to USD 190. The maximum number of people in the cab is 6. Everything is included in the tour, from transportation to and from your resort to all entrance fees. You’ll also have a guide who will give you a tour of the archaeological site, and lunch will be provided. There are no hidden fees or extra costs.

They can also offer beverages and soda water during the tour for your refreshment. Additionally, when the day concludes you will receive pictures that were captured of you throughout the tour. This provides an opportunity to explore Chichen Itza without any concerns or anxieties. The tour package includes everything allowing you to simply unwind and savor the day’s experiences. Service is personalized and we go at your pace, so you can enjoy yourselves.

If you want to shop near Chichen Itza, be sure to bargain. The prices are very high, so you’ll need to reduce them by at least half. This is standard practice in Mexico, so don’t be afraid to haggle.

Here are some things to bring to Chichen Itza:

  • Swimming suits
  • Towels
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hats
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Lots of water (especially if your tour guide doesn’t provide it)

After Chichen Itza, we visited Cenote Saamal, had lunch at the restaurant Selva Maya (which has vegetarian options and was included in the trip price), and went for a swim in the Cenote using the rope they had there. We then requested our guide, Flavio, to take us to Cenote Suytun, the most photographed cenote on Instagram. We paid the entrance fee separately.

In the evening, we visited the city of Valladolid and saw the fountain in the main square. Be sure to try the marquesitas at Marquesitas El Tio Batman in the main square. They are delicious!

Overall, it was a long and tiring day, but it was worth it to see these amazing Mayan ruins and cenotes. We started at 6 am and didn’t get back to our hotel until 10 pm.

Cenotes near Valladolid

There are three popular cenotes near Valladolid: Cenote Saamal, Cenote Suytun, and Cenote Ik Kil. Cenote Saamal is a great place to swim, as it has a large, open-air cavern with crystal-clear waters. Cenote Suytun is one of the most photographed cenotes in the world, thanks to its unique setting inside a collapsed cave. Cenote Ik Kil is another popular spot for swimming, as it is located in a beautiful jungle setting.

Cenote Suytun

Day 4 – Farewell to Cancun

Our last day in Cancun was a whirlwind of activity. We started by visiting the Cancun sign, which is a popular tourist landmark located in the Hotel Zone. After that, we went kayaking and jet skiing in the Hotel Grand Americana. This was a lot of fun, and we got to see some amazing views of the coastline.

In the afternoon, we checked out of our hotel and headed to the airport. We had originally booked a Costco cab service, but the experience was horrible. The cab was late. We ended up canceling the Costco cab and taking an Uber instead. Overall, we had a great time in Cancun. We saw some amazing sights, tried some delicious food, and made some great memories. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing vacation and exploring a lot of fun.

Travel is about embracing the unexpected, relishing every moment, and making lasting memories. Until our next adventure, keep exploring, keep wandering, and keep that adventurous spirit alive!

Happy travels!