With only one full day left in the resort before our late flight back tomorrow, we decided to stay local, kick back, and just enjoy the Caribbean.
A brief trip on the local bus after breakfast, back to La Isla mall for some last minute souvenirs we had earmarked earlier in the holiday.
Then a dip in the Caribbean. Such beautifully clear and warm turquoise water, and soft white sand underfoot. I’m not usually a great one for beach holidays, but this really was another unique experience. I’ve never swum before in a sea which is quite so warm and welcoming!
Topped off by an afternoon swim in one of the hotel’s two infinity pools.
In the evening, we decided to splash out (no pun intended) on a seafood restaurant we had spotted a mile or two away from the hotel. Lorenzillo’s Restaurant is long-established, and occupies a beautiful location on the Nichupte lagoon. Google maps rated it as ‘££££’, so we knew it was going to be an expensive night (ouch)!
We got a table for two on the outside decking, overlooking the lagoon. To drink, Mexican beers of course! There’s a limited selection of Mexican wine available in restaurants, notable examples being by the ‘L.A. Cetto’ winery, but prices for these and imported wines are usually obscene. Deborah ordered the grilled lobster tail and shrimp dish, and I ordered a fillet mignon steak. Both dishes were served to absolute perfection!
Tomorrow, we head home on an evening flight after a late checkout. So maybe one more chance for a swim in the Caribbean before we leave our hotel for the airport.
And finally, some odds and ends of travel info’ which didn’t fit into our earlier posts…
Currency. Rather confusingly, Mexico uses the dollar sign ‘$’ to represent Mexican New Pesos (MXN). It’s also possible to pay for items in US dollars, which are clearly signed as, for example, ‘$123USD’. This might seem convenient for our American friends, but of course they are at the mercy of whatever exchange rate the vendor has decided upon – probably not as good as you would get via a bank! Also, any change would be delivered in Pesos rather than US currency. Not a problem for us as we had already obtained pesos before leaving the UK, and could withdraw in the local currency from ATMs if we needed to. So we always requested prices in pesos, and any card transactions we insisted on paying for in local currency also.
Tips. Having read various online guides, and checked out the typical income of service workers in Mexico, we decided not to be too miserly with our tips. Service workers are amongst the lowest paid, and really do depend upon their tips to get by. Small courtesies such as porters showing us to rooms, or bartenders serving drinks, we would tip maybe 20 pesos (80p or 1 US dollar). Hotel maids, we decided to tip every day in case the staff worked different days during our stay. We settled on 50 pesos per day (£2), which equated to just over £20 across the entire stay. Probably a good move, as we returned to the room each day with the bed, towels and our things neatly folded up and immaculately presented. Hotel rooms usually have a little envelope on show, where you can leave your housekeeping tips. Cafés and restaurants, there seems to be almost an expectation of 10% as standard. We increased this to around 15-20% depending on how good we felt the service had been (although considerably less where the restaurant had already included an additional service charge directly onto the bill). Taxi drivers also did quite well out of us, with typically a 10% tip by rounding up the fare to the nearest big note.
Mobile Internet. I needed to keep my own SIM card for some phone traffic I was expecting, so I didn’t go for a travel SIM as I might usually do when abroad. Roaming data on my UK SIM card was insanely expensive (£5 per MB), so mobile data stayed off and I relied upon hotel WiFi instead. Everything I needed was on one of several apps storing information offline – Outlook for my confirmation emails, Booking.com for hotel reservations and the Maps.ME app with Mexico mapping downloaded in advance.
For SIM cards, there doesn’t seem to be anything available within the airport arrivals hall, but there are several potential outlets around town. The big carriers in Mexico are Telcel or Movistar. A quick search on google maps revealed a few likely stores either close to the ADO bus station in the centre, or not far from the hotel. Packages seemed quite cheap, and I was considering this one from Telcel at 200 pesos or around £8…
A handful of local phone stores:
Telcel one mile south of our hotel towards La Isla, Km. 11.5, Blvd. Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Telcel downtown, a block away from the ADO bus station, Carretera Cancún -Tulum SM 22, Benito Juárez, 22, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Movistar downtown, a little further away than the Telcel store, Av Tulum MZ 17 LT 31, 5, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
A wonderful holiday in Mexico, disproving some of the scare stories around personal security in the country. We can thoroughly recommend it as a destination. Thank you for travelling with us!