Mr. Chicken Fry nailed it. He booked us five prime time nights in a familiar, close to our hearts, sunny beach destination….Cancun, Mexico. We share a deep love for clear ocean water and white sand beaches and Cancun was a perfect hop skip and jump from Dallas, Texas.
We were greeted and treated like royalty at the Ritz Carlton Cancún. Our room was decorated with fresh flowers, balloons, rose petals and chocolate covered strawberries. The complimentary bottle of champagne, wine and beers for Mr. Chicken Fry was such a generous touch to kick off our very special 20 year wedding anniversary.
But before I get swept away in our Caribbean get away, let me first fill you in on my re-entry reality.
The gains! Beware of the Mexico gains.
Cancun had me tripping on a trance of tequila, guacamole and chocolate. Two of which I don’t ever EVER eat or drink. I was on a guacamole role. Yall, I ate an obscene amount of chips and guacamole and came home with a thick waist and belly to prove it…so sue me!
I was not only acquainted with my hubby but also my inner appetite. I basically ate chips, salsa and guacamole for breakfast lunch and dinner not to mention dessert. Which brings me to gain two, a temporary chocolate affinity. Every night three pieces of candy appeared on our pillow. A piece of dark chocolate, a lighter chocolate and a mexican coconut candy. Two of the three disappeared into my belly every single night along with a chocolate covered strawberry.
Which brings me to gain three…tequilla. To know me is to know that I don’t deviate much on alcoholic beverages. I’m a wine/champagne snob…but occasionally when in Rome…in this case Mexico, I will sip on a good top shelf tequila over ice with fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s no wonder I came home bloated puffy and fluff. Check out this post called FLUFF OFF!
Back to vacation…we flew in late Wednesday night direct on American Airlines. I couldn’t wait to wake up and see the beach. I was like a little kid…awake at the first sign of light from the thick black out hotel drapes. There it was in all of its majesty, a glorious sun rise…El Sol, the sun accompanied by the natural sound of the waves pounding the white sand. The morning sun out of the hotel zone in Cancun is extremely vibrant …so I closed the drapes and nestled in for a little more shut-eye. In about an hour when I got up again to check the balcony view…I saw something I had never seen before. The edge of the beach about 25 -30 feet deep was dark green, not the usual crystal clear blue water I was waiting for. The hurricanes, storms and 13 day rain spree had brought in massive amounts of seaweed. Althought we had 5 sun filled days, the beach scene was uber disappointing to say the least. However there was no chance it was going to stop us from finding the blue water we so badly desired.
One of the many reasons we love to hang our hats at The Ritz Carlton Cancun is due to the impecible beach, staff and service. We have been staying at the Ritz for 20 years. Many of the employees we know by name. Now owned by Marriott, the staff has very little turn over because it’s such a wonderful quaint place to be.
Just down the road 3 minutes is a JW Marriott and the former Casa Magna Marriott, now called the Marriott Resort Cancun. These two hotels are just three down from the Ritz and all owned by Marriott! The JW Marriott is an all-inclusive style program while the Ritz and Marriott Resort are a’lacarte.
The Ritz offers a laid back but super fine plush experience. It’s a pristine hotel offering five-star service. Two beautiful swimming pools both overlooking the ocean. There is not a lot of loud DJ bumping kind of music playing. There isn’t a bunch of organized poolside party games and bikini contests. It’s super family friendly and or couples resort. It’s not the party palace like the Hard Rock or Live Aqua hotels. From a safe and clean standpoint it’s outstanding. You could literally eat off of the floors, its immaculate and newly updated. The bar area has been refreshed with new contemporary furniture and a full service sushi bar. In the morning, in the same area there is now a coffee juice and smoothie and muffin bar over looking the ocean with indoor or outdoor patio seating. The fine dining restaurant down stairs was newly renovated with modern swanky decor.
Everything sparkles, glistens and shines like the top of Chrysler building. The hotel smells of fresh-cut flowers at all times.
Our second night we had a super casual dinner in the bar mowing on fresh sushi and wine. We had just finished up a 30 minute steam and stopped for sushi. No particular schedule, no hurry, no worry, no flashy get ready…it was fantastic. Due to the hurricane season and bad weather it was like we had the hotel to ourselves.
The next morning…Chicken Fry was on the hunt and used his gift of gab for the down low on the seaweed. Apparently the island north of Cancun called Isla Mujeres was all clear of seaweed, so we packed a beach bag and took off in search of clear water and white sand.
And away we go! We took a 10 minute cab ride from our hotel to the ferry pick up dock. We bought tickets to the Ultramar Ferry a high-speed island hopper! These giant ferrys are safe, fast and entertaining. For $19 round trip per person you can enjoy an open air double-decker cruise which includes a snack bar and live entertainment to and from the island. These ferry’s run both ways every 30 minutes from 9am until 8:30pm.
This was not our first trip to Isla Mujeres. In the past, we have made day trip visits at several well established restaurants and properties. The view from Villa Rolandi’s Italian beach side resort is stunning. Rolandi’s is located at the end of the island with what feels like a 360 view of the ocean. This is a small resort but they allow outside guests to visit the 5 star Italian restaurant. Come to Rolandi’s by boat or golf cart. I love their specialty pizza!
A second choice on Isla Mujeres would be Villa La Bella a bed and breakfast with…beer so cold it will make your teeth hurt.
From the ferry, grab or rent a golf cart to tour the island. Isla is not a third world country kind of vibe. It’s bustling with tourists and locals alike. Ride up to north end of the island to an adorable quaint beach bar with swings and stellar ocean views! Relax in a hammock or a beach chair and soak in the scenery in a casual environment. Kick back in the swings and sip on a cold brew…we did!
This visit to Isla Mr. Chicken Fry and I opted for a more authentic beach side scene. There is a strip of beach clubs offering full beach side chair service including drinks and food! But it is BYOT, bring your town towel. But in case you forget you can buy a $60 hand-made blanket form one of the many Mexican beach peddlers. Look at this water shot! Incredible.
We found pristine swimming pool clear water. Mr. Chicken Fry was well pleased with his lunch. Shocker he ordered a ginormous “hamburgesa” with cheese while I had ordered shredded chicken tacos and more guacamole than a human should eat. Thankfully we did put in a beach walk and walked to back to the ferry and took the 5:30pm sunset shuttle back home. No bad days!
I will say we spent the majority of our trip in the room! Now before you roll your eyes it wasn’t all sexy sappy couple time. It just so happens our two bedroom suite was the bomb. We had three balconies all with ocean and pool views. It was the best seat in the house. We had breakfast and sometimes dinner in our room with the doors open. The humid salty air and the sound of the waves was bliss.
Now for your Cancun travel GAINS!
We did take the liberty of dinning out one early evening to a new authentic mexican restaurant located directly across the street from the Ritz Carlton called Porfirio’s. It’s on the bay side offering golden sunsets and humongeous giant margaritas. They offer 6 different salsas and a bone broth vegtable dish that was incredible.
Located right next door is a well established restaurant called Puerto Madero which is a traditional steak house also on the bay side. It’s pricey but fantastic. Down three blocks on the bay side in another authentic mexican restaurant called La Distelleria. It’s probably one of our most favorite joints because it’s interactive and fun with live mariachi’s and dancers. AHHH YA YI YIE!
If you aren’t afraid to brave downtown Cancun, which I hear is totally safe, any of these long time restaurants would be ideal. Pericos Cantina. Perico’s is a family fun house of sorts. Serving mexican food with a bang. The waiters pull all kinds of stunts and magic tricks while dining. It’s most definitely family friendly boisterous gregarious and after a margarita you will want to join in the conga line! Come join the party!
Also in downtown but more tailored for a quite romantic dinner is La Habichuela . It’s a nice seafood restaurant notorious for their high white fan back giant chairs. They also have amazing well crafted after dinner drinks.
One of the highlights of traveling alone was not being on a schedule. We had no one to meet, nowhere to be and no pressure whatsoever to make any body happy. It was so awesome. We camped on the beach, took walks, has a drink, moved to pool at our own pace and just kept an open mind. We took full advantage of the wet and dry sauna located in the fitness center. Much like the pool and beach we were constantly being offered cold towels and waters as we took our time in the spa. I could get use to that!
Knowing the locals. Turns out Mr. Chicken Fry has a high school compadre who moved to Cancun with his lovely life a year ago. Who better to turn to for advice and a possible day boat trip. What do you know just our luck that their friendly neighbors have a 25 foot Sea Ray with a captain.
We spent our last half day on a boat touring Isla Mujeres by water. Stopping for swimming, snorkeling and snacks. We had such a great time meeting new friends and learning more about Cancun. For dinner, we found another local beach club and had a sunset dinner in a palapa with our toes in the sand. We ate fresh fish tacos and guacamole by the spoon full. We sang and danced until it was dark.
If you have any questions about Cancun, please reach out or leave a comment. If you are thinking of planning a couples get away or a family vacation Cancun is an excellent choice. There are so many attractions and or night life to choose from. The KulKulCan and Liverpool malls offer all of the fine shopping one could want. Local trade markets or designer shops like Louis Vuitton. There are crazy nightclubs like Cocobongo, Carlos and Charlies and Senor Frogs for the all night dance a thons. There are plenty of excursions such as jet skiing, parasailing and swimming with the dolphins all of which we have experienced in the last 20 years.
We love it there and I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. It was the perfect balance of love, food, salt, sand, tan and sleep.
Love, kiss and add a trip to Cancun on your travel list!