Not A Must but a CANcun

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hostal Ka'beh
What I did

Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Monday, January 23, 2012

It was with sheer dread that we approached the tourist mecca of Cancun. High-rise hotels. Inflated dollar prices. Chainstore central. What redeeming features could it possibly have?
The highest rated hostel in Mexico, apparently. That's where we'll go - where Lonely Planet and Phil said we should. Since we toy with the idea of owning a hostel when we grow up, we thought we'd try Hostel Quetzal and call it research. But alas, they had no vacancies... on a Monday night? The friendly receptionist says they're almost always booked out. He recommended nearby alternatives to us and another guy who'd appeared from the shadows in the park. 

That's how we met Dan from Australia and that's how we ended up at Hostel Ka'beh. D'ren from Kosovo welcomed us with a big smile and light-hearted banter. We discovered that his last boyfriend was from Cape Town too! ;)

Making ourselves at home was easy because of the size, layout and atmosphere made it feel cosy. Like in most homes, the hostel staff were glued to the TV for their favourite series. You have a choice of breakfast that you cook yourself with a range of condiments and spices to choose from. Over at the pc we spotted a familiar face. Another Dan from Australia whom we briefly met in Merida!

The Lees and the Dans had supper together that night plus two fellow-Brit birds who joined us at our table. The plaza was abuzz with live music enjoyed by local families interspersed with gringos. 

Later that night almost all the hostel-dwellers were getting ready for their big night out. Preparation involved playing drinking games like flipping cups. Their destination? Cocobongo, the famous must-do club synonymous with Cancun. Somehow the seed Dan had planted earlier had the whole hostel rallied up. At 50 US dollars a pop, we weren't even tempted! Drinks included or not.
But the next morning listening to everyone's raving reviews, we decided that when in Cancun... We'll decide for ourselves whether it really is "better than a Vegas show"! Lets believe the hype.
After a delayed start to the day we headed over to the beaches in Zona Hotelera. Taxi touts tried to lure us but we retort with a well-rehearsed: "No somos gringos, somos mochileros." (We're not gringos, we're backpackers.) We boarded the local bus with all the worker bees and chugged along past Hooters, Bubba Gump's, Margararitaville, Burger King, and a few McDonald's. Have we crossed an imaginary border into little USA? 

We looked out for Sheri's (met in Merida) hotel. We had agreed to meet up and enjoy the beach together, dragging Dan along. We got a taste of the all-inclusive resort lifestyle as Sheri showed us around her 5-star hotel - the chandeliers and comfy sofas in the huge lobby, the infinity pool, the swim-up bar, the rentable beach-beds, the choice of on-site restaurants, the huge hotel room with rain shower, fancy mod-cons and a daily stocked mini-bar. She kindly snuck some additional beers into her room for us to sip on while we enjoyed the awesome view. 

The sea in front of the hotel was surprisingly rough. We were reprimanded by the lifeguard for swimming beyond the flags that we didn't even notice. Apparently someone needed rescuing not long before we arrived so they were on high alert.

Nightfall came suddenly so we made our way back to the hostel to pretty ourselves up for the big night out. Music videos pumping on the bus got us in the mood for a party! We were still torn between the Tuesday night beach party and Cocobongo's but decided that there'd be other beach parties, but only one Cocobongo (although later we discovered that Playa del Carmen has one too!). Thanks, Jo and D'ren for listing the pros and cons!

We arrived at the club at the same time as busloads of scantily clad revellers. The shows were pretty spectacular. Various impersonators lip-synced their way through popular tunes, supported by back-up dancers and smoke machines. Cirque de Soleil-style performers swung through the air, getting rained on by confetti. Did we get our money's worth? Can't say that we did, but it was entertaining.

Despite the unlimited alcohol we were relatively sober when we ventured home on the night bus. When we saw the McDonald's arch at the roundabout we knew that we were home. 

Cancun. It is what it is. Rather forgettable.
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Gosia on

So close to Tulum! Tell me you went?

thelees on

Hey Gosia! Not yet, but we will do on our way down south. First we're doing some serious chillaxing at Isla Holbox ;)

Aracely on

What's the ea$ie$t way to get to Holbox from Cancun airport?

thelees on

I believe there are mini-van taxis outside the ADO station (at the main traffic circle with the McDonalds). We took the cheaper option which is a 2nd class bus from the same station with a Mayab bus to Chiquila for 84 pesos, then a 80 peso/30 minute ferry across to Holbox. Hope that helps!

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