Oh the excitement! Travelling abroad again after almost two and a half years! My sister and I were so looking forward to this trip. I am in the process of moving so we had to wait until I had a completion date on my house before we could travel again but as soon as that was finalised we were off to the TUI shop in Westwood Cross, Broadstairs to book somewhere hot and exotic! Kate, the TUI rep was very friendly and very helpful and within minutes we had an eleven nights, all inclusive holiday booked. (In retrospect Kate gave us a slightly enhanced view of TUI, who we had never used before. There were a number of things that were not great about their service but non of this detracted from our thrill of going on holiday again!) (Even the fact that I was overcharged £100 didn’t faze me…and they did credit it back to me!)
We don’t usually do all inclusive. I personally think it kills the area and stops tourists from interacting with the locals. However, everything we read about Mexico stated that two elderly women on their own were probably not advised to be wandering around local areas at night. Plus the main purpose of this trip was to get a little sun and relaxation after a miserable couple of years.
So off to Gatwick we went, the TUI rep was organised and check in was swift and efficient. The TUI plane was good and the only down side was that they didn’t have our veggie meals on board. No veggie meal? Who cares? We are off to Mexico! My sister and I wore masks throughout the flight but not many people did. In the past I have often come back from holiday with a cold and so I was quite happy to wear one just for this reason let alone the risk of COVID. Nine hours later we were in Mexico! A bit of a scramble at the airport and the unexpected news that there was no TUI rep in our hotel but we were assured we could book trips and contact them on their app. Our transfer went OK and we arrived at the lovely Dreams Jade Hotel just outside Cancun.
An absolutely beautiful hotel and our room was a junior suite (I believe all the rooms are) with a separate sitting room, a large balcony and a spa bath! (Which never worked but who wants to soak in a hot tub when it is 30 degrees outside anyway!)
We spent the first couple of days just relaxing and soaking up that sun. Then our thoughts turned to a few trips so we downloaded and tried to book trips on the TUI app. Nope it didn’t work! So we booked through the hotel and TUI lost out on quite a lot of American dollars! The 3 trips we did were to Chichen Itza, Tulum and a boat trip to Isles Mujeres. Chichen Itza was a long day out but worth it. On the way we stopped at the Cenote Ik Kil (basically a large sink hole) where we could climb down some rickety old steps and swim in the really refreshing natural waters. We stopped for a Mexican buffet at lunchtime (with the obligatory shop) and then visited the wonderful Chichen Itza. Supposedly one of the new 7 wonders of the world it has some of the largest buildings of the ancient Mayan cities. It had a port nearby and grew rich from trading. In AD750-900 it was one of the most powerful Mayan cities and a lot of it’s history covered the human sacrifices that were very common. There was an arena of sorts where they played a special ball game and one of the losing team members was usually decapitated! Quite a motivation to play well I would think!
Our boat trip to the Isles Mujeres was a lovely day out on a catamaran. (Disabled readers, this may not be for you as once on the boat anyone with mobility problems might find it hard to move! My sister sat in one spot for the whole trip!) We stopped for snorkelling and I was thrilled to see a large ray and there are also under-sea sculptures which are amazing. Once on the Island we had some free time and it was a bit too busy and commercialised for us at the place we landed so we hired a golf cart and went off on a very slow but interesting trip round the island. (Warning, Mexico seems to have numerous speed bumps and the Island was no exception. Too busy looking around at the views I often didn’t see them and you certainly are not padded very much in a golf cart! Ouch!) Other than the stress of worrying that the golf cart might run out of juice it was a fun afternoon! And the sun set as we headed back to the mainland on the catamaran were amazing!
Our third trip was to Tulum. This is supposedly one of the Yucatan’s most beautiful places. It was a walled town and a prosperous trading community when the Spaniards arrived in the 1520’s. There are old ruins of a main street, The House of Columns and The Palace of the Halach Uinic. It is set by the sea which makes it more beautiful and is also cooler. Our guide told us that when the Spaniards arrived they touched the wall to ask what this place was called and the Mayan’s replied TULUM meaning stone and hence it got it’s name!
On the way to all these places we passed through Cancun and contrary to what we had been told there were no armed soldiers on rooftops or scary people hanging around. I think one should be careful in Mexico but everyone we met was overly friendly and we never felt threatened at all.
Our Hotel was like a little oasis though, there was a main buffet restaurant, a French restaurant, a Mexican restaurant,an Italian Restaurant, an Asian Restaurant, a cafe, pool bars and 24 hour room service. The service was excellent. The only down side was the hundreds of tattooed Americans who insisted on standing in the pool all day with drinks in their hands talking VERY LOUDLY! (I am sure there was more spilled alcohol in that water than there was chlorine). However there were about 5 interlocking pools and there was always somewhere that was quieter. One pool was an infinity pool looking out to the beach and sea. The beach was lovely with lots of bird life but after a stormy night there was a lot of seaweed washed up. (Full marks to the Hotel who had staff working continually to rake it up and cart it away), However there were a couple of days when we couldn’t get into the sea because of the seaweed. The beach was always nice to sit on though and the continual bar service continued there as well.
So, back to TUI! We had not been able to contact them on the app and we had no details for our airport pick up. On the morning of our departure we sat in the lobby until it got late and we began to worry we had been forgotten. We HAD been forgotten! We had to get a taxi to the airport and I am still trying to get this money back from TUI…and there was, again, no veggie meal for us on the return flight! Still at least they were flying then, this week has seen many TUI flights cancelled and I don’t think I could have stood that after all the travel disappointments from last year!
So I highly recommend the Dreams Jade Hotel, I highly recommend Puerto Morelos but I might reconsider about Tui!