March 22, 2016
March 22, 2016
How did I pick the first city of my trip?
I knew I wanted to work out on the beach, that I wanted to visit a continent that I’ve never been to before, and I knew that my trip would begin in March.
I used www.nomadlist.com and entered my 3 requirement – it presented me with many amazing options and I chose the city with the cutest picture. I usually spend more time selecting an avocado, so how did this quick decision fare?
The best place to work out here is definitely the beach: an amazing view, soft white sand (which is great for protecting joints) and should the body begin to overheat, there’s a turquoise blue Caribbean Sea to jump into. Unfortunately though, accommodation located close to the beach is frightfully expensive.
There are a lot of playgrounds in Cancún, so it’s never hard to find pull-up bars. There are also many free outdoor gyms should you prefer to workout with weights. One problem though – there’s no grass in the playgrounds – so most bodyweight exercises will be painful unless you have a mat.
I tried an indoor gym as well – the equipment was good and the girls were cute. However, it was pretty hot in there so it only took a few hundred burpees for me to decide to never go back.
The latest accommodation I booked had a garden and a swimming pool: good for workouts, but still not the same atmosphere as the beach.
I love Mexican cuisine, but the mainstream food is unhealthy so after eating mostly street food everyday, I was feeling like a slob. I discovered the Mexican salad boxes that I was used to eating in London weren’t really so Mexican after all, as I couldn’t get them outside the hotel zone. Blenders are widespread though, so I swapped my morning burrito for a green smoothie and I’m back to feeling awesome again. They also have many healthy and tasty dishes that I’d never eaten before, like Ceviche and Pozole. Fruits and vegetables taste amazing here! The same goes for meat, especially steak. I have however been having problems finding good yoghurt. Even the greek ones are sugary crap.
Some people before warned me about safety here, so what’s it like in reality? In Cancún there’s a hotel zone (area close to the beach), a touristy part of downtown (where most hostels are located, pretty close to the hotel zone) and the rest of the city where mostly locals live. I’ve stayed 1 week in a hostel in the centre, and almost 2 weeks in Airbnbs in 2 different areas for locals. Even during the night, I’ve felt completely safe. My second Airbnb host never even locked her door. The only thing that might have been considered as unsafe was when an older American asked me for money because his taxi driver had robbed him. Overall impression – it’s safe touristy city, you don’t need to be afraid of people here.
Mexicans from Cancún are very welcoming, and not at all greedy for my tourist money. When I didn’t have change for the bus one time, the driver just smiled and let me on for free. When I’ve asked taxi drivers for directions to the nearest bus stop, they’ve answered me politely, instead of trying to sell me their service. Mexican are very helpful, however in the area for locals, there was often a problem with communication and finding English speaking people, but in the end I was able to get what I wanted without speaking any Spanish. Google Translate and mobile internet were extremely helpful though. People here are crazy about working out, but 6 packs are rare, I guess that’s due to their diet.
There are 2 different worlds in Cancún and the price difference between them is huge. The hotel zone close to the beach is almost as expensive as London with prices for a hotel room averaging $300 per night, and $14 for lunch. Downtown on the other hand is much more affordable – hostels are around $20 per night. The best value is probably Airbnb, especially if you want to hang out with locals or be in a more comfy spot: I got a room with private bathroom and swimming pool for $16 a night. The taxis are cheap provided you don’t want to go to the hotel zone: for 5km outside the hotel zone I paid $3, for the same distance to the hotel zone, the taxi driver wanted 3 times more. Buses are cheap and cost around $0.60. An average lunch in the local area is around $4. Fruits and vegetables from the supermarket are well priced, my shopping list has generally cost about 40% less here than if I were to purchase it all in London. Attractions and nightlife are also expensive, entry to the most famous clubs will set you back $60.
The most famous clubs are Cogo Bongo and The City. I personally like Mandala the most, because of the good vibe and good pool parties. Cogo Bongo definitely offers the best shows though. Entrance to the clubs seems expensive at first, however inside is an open bar. Also big plus for location – all famous spots are located in the same area. If you are looking for great nightlife, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
It’s good town to visit as a tourist and I’ve met people who moved here and are happy here, however don’t expect low cost attractions and accommodation close to the beach to come cheaply. My quick decision to start off in Cancún was great, but I’m hungry to see more.