AROUND THE WORLD ON 80p. CANCUN, Mexico

MXN PESO $1.26 = 80p

Let me entice your senses with words that best describe Cancun...Stunning, turquoise waters, sandy white beaches, ocean views, hot humid and tropical.  Yet surprisingly, no tequila drinking bandidos hiding behind a cactus, dispelling every image ever seen in the movies!
 
So what's Cancun really like? It was built up from sand just 43 years ago, a spot chosen by the government to bring in tourism, and boy did they achieve their goals.  It is the number one travel destination for USA travellers.  
 
I'm not sure if this is a true statement but I have heard "Americans drive up the price, wherever they go!" Based on the US tipping culture (i.e., relied upon as part of salary), this very well could be true.  They are generous tippers.  In fact the tip in Cancun was giving a tip in advance made for much better service! This has to be by far, the heaviest tourism place in the world that I've ever visited.
 
SNOOZE: Dripping with American tourists, The Cancun hotel zone (or hotel strip, think Vegas) abounds with over 70 fabulous flashy all-inclusive resort hotels.  Including the Casa Manga Marriott with a corner suite and ocean view room, in other words our hotel of choice.  The world famous Hard Rock Hotel is also on the ‘strip’ with wow factor styling, infinity pools, and museum of American artefacts, including the outfits worn by US performers from Britney Spears to Elvis to Snoop Dogg.  Incidentally, it was also the hotel of choice by Richard Branson - keep reading to find out about our shenanigans!
 
Cancun by day is beautiful beaches, lagoon lunching, snorkelling, tours etc...By night it’s a place for the 20 something's (or 40 something's, if your young at heart) with infamous crazy partying at Senor Frogs or the equally insane Coco Bongos - nightclub, podiums and pole dancing meets Vegas shows!  If you can imagine US Spring Breakers you won't go far wrong.
 
There’s an underlying theme of "sell, sell, sell" for the clubs with good looking touters on the streets trying to entice you with their loud clubs, scantily clad dancing girls etc with BOOZE: either a flat rate entry/drink all you like fee of around $650/£32.00 or two for one cocktails $80/£4which is a reasonable price, although not within budget, more importantly not really my thing! The Mexican shot of choice - Tequila will cost $70/£3.53 and a Beer $25/£1.26
 
Even by day Concierge desks or market stall holders are consistently trying to sell you tours or time share, but it's subtle, quite often it would begin with a polite friendly conversation, but would very quickly turn into "no thank you, nice to meet you"
 
CHEWS: Restaurant prices vary considerably.  In the hotel zone main courses will set you back around $300/£15.  Even the down town so-called local restaurants, such as La Parilla, are full of tourists.  Main courses priced at $190/£9.58, we decided to stay within budget, and opted for local fish tacos in the shade on the lagoon $15/ each.
 
AMUSE: as mentioned, this is an over-priced heavy tourism destination.  So without doubt the best way to amuse is to forget the hype and opt for the natural beauty, tropical hot humid white sandy beaches picturesque where the hue of turquoise blue merge the skies and sea.
 
But by far, the best AMUSE of this trip - an unexpected text from Sir @Richard Branson’s 'people' to offer lunch on the boss! We (ok around 20 of us) spent 2-3 hours on the beach, munching, chatting, laughing, and mingling.  He must have taken 30+ photos with anyone who asked.  
 
As well as lunch for the invited guests, he personally took over coffees for the folk on the table next to ours.  He is a charming, engaging, people loving, down to earth extraordinary gentleman, with a great memory! About 10 years ago I sang at a crew party in New York, he remembered and challenged me there and then to sing on the beach - how could I refuse......  It went down a storm with cheers from Richard (yeah first name term basis), the Crew, and sunbathers on the beach.  So I then challenged Richard to learn the Gangnam style dance - how could he refuse! 
 

 
He later said "shame we didn't capture the singing on video" and few girls squealed "we did" his response "I will tweet it to my three million followers... Having fun with the crew".
 
Spending time with friends, loved ones, and genuinely cool people creating special memory moments - priceless!
 
Dawne B Stewart
Twitter : @dawneb007

Article by Dawne B / 14th February 2013

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Around the World on 80p