I’m really not the all-inclusive type.
At least, I didn’t think I was. But on a recent trip to Cancun, I began to see things differently.
I spent a week at the Royal Sunset Beach Resort – though, to be fair, I only spent part of the time actually on the resort. I discovered that it can be a great jumping-off point for exploring a destination.
As you start your day, you don’t have to go looking for breakfast in the morning – just walk downstairs and it’s waiting for you, along with newspapers and all the coffee you can drink. Then hop on a bus and head out for a little exploring.
I visited the Museo Maya de Cancun, a short bus ride from the resort. Open only since the end of 2012, it showcases Mayan culture, history, architecture, and art. For the equivalent of 5 dollars, you can view artifacts, documentaries, sculptures, pottery, and jewelry in both their permanent collection and temporary international exhibits.
The building that houses these collections is a work of art in itself. The structure is stunning, as are the views from balconies and on the grounds. Next to the museum is an archeological site, San Miguelito. You can wander along pathways, winding through the trees and vegetation, viewing a variety of smaller structures, until you come upon a pyramid. It’s a lovely, quiet, leafy green walk, which makes you forget that you are actually surrounded by beaches and hotels. What a great way to inject some education and culture into a vacation that might otherwise be all about indulgence.
My resort had several sister properties with a shuttle bus that ran between them. One day, I felt like a little pampering, so I headed off to the Ocean Spa Hotel. I had a really great massage, followed by a delicious and relaxing lunch in the Fusion restaurant downstairs, while gazing at the beach and the ocean beyond.
Another day, I visited Hacienda Tres Rios, a gorgeous eco-resort set in the midst of a more than 300-acre nature park. The lengths to which they have gone to preserve and save plant and animal species, to operate in a sustainable manner, and to minimize their impact on the environment are incredible.
There are walking trails around the property, ten cenotes, and 150 acres of nature preserve – not to mention great restaurants, gorgeous buildings, and luxurious amenities. All of which can be enjoyed, secure in the knowledge that no fresh water is being used, every possible thing is being reused or recycled, the energy use is drastically reduced and only environmentally-friendly cleaning products are used.
If I return to Cancun – correction, when I return to Cancun – it will be to stay at Hacienda Tres Rios. But on this occasion, I just spent the day exploring the property, taking a segway tour, and enjoying a delicious dinner.
In addition to the bus, I was able to take advantage of a different kind of shuttle, and travel to the Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club by boat, admiring the yachts around the lagoon along the way. In the mood for a slightly fancier dinner one night, I dined at La Vela restaurant at this resort. The food may have been Italian, but the wine was Mexican!
My fear that I would be bored staying at an all-inclusive resort was unfounded. I did spend one day lazing about, reading, and chatting with other guests, but for the most part, the resort was where I began and ended my day, or spent downtime between excursions. Although it’s not the way I normally travel, there was something nice about being greeted by the same friendly faces each morning and evening, about sharing a drink from time to time with a lovely couple I met who return to Cancun every year, about not having to carry money and identification everywhere. As a solo traveler, it couldn’t have been easier to meet people. It felt very safe, like a little community, where the other guests were my neighbors. For those who are new to solo travel, this could be a great way to start. For those who just need some rest and relaxation, it could be ideal.
Thank you to Sunset World Resorts and Vacation Experiences for making this trip possible.