The Quest for Culture During an All-Inclusive

In Stories, Tales by Ariel0 Comments

Mexico 2013 143In October 2013 I went on my first all-inclusive. While this is not my preferred method of travel, I was never opposed to the idea. However, when deciding my next vacation there always seems to be something I want to do more than go for a week to a resort.

Then my cousins decided to get married in Mexico on the Mayan Riviera, specifically the Azul Sensatori in Puerto Morelos. And I thought – why not? What better reason to try an all-inclusive… plus all the bonus fun of a wedding!

My mom and I were the only ones who decided to go – we left my dad and brothers at home. (This seems to be a trend?). My mom had also never been on an all-inclusive (it’s not really my family’s thing) and so we were both very excited.

We went for a week. And that is definitely enough time for this style of vacation. I have a tendency to book longer, more expansive trips – but those aren’t always very relaxing! Going for a wedding actually made it a surprisingly busy trip. A welcome reception, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding itself, meant that we had plans almost every day. So while I might have wished for an extra day or two at the time, looking back on it… if we hadn’t been there for a wedding, a week would definitely have been enough time.

So, all said and done, we were left with essentially 1 ½ days free. Before leaving home we’d promised ourselves that we’d do at least one excursion – particularly to the Mayan ruins.

We were there Saturday-Saturday… and our only fully free day was Friday. Off we went to our “guy” to see what we could go do. From Puerto Morelos there are two big Mayan ruins sites. The first was Tulum. This site is about an hour from Puerto Morelos, is on the beach, and you can climb on the ruins. The second was Chichén Itzá. This was the larger of the two sites but it was almost 3 hours inland from the resort. You also could no longer climb the ruins. But it was bigger, with more ruins and was much more excavated and much more impressive looking. So this is what we chose.

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to board a bus to the site. We had convinced the tour salesman to give us the “luxury” tour for the price of the regular tour. This means we had a comfortable coach, snacks, coffee, and Corona’s on the way home.

We got to Chichén Itzá and made our way inside. It was enormous. And even though there were crowds, the size of the site meant that it didn’t feel like there were a ton of people there.

I believe I’ve mentioned that I like tour guides? Taking a day tour from the resort meant that we had an awesome tour guide for our visit to Chichén Itzá. A very chatty tour guide… Maybe a little too chatty… It was a hot day with not a lot of shade and though we learned a ton…maybe a little less detail would have been good…

The first thing you see when you enter the site is Kukulcán pyramid. This is one of the most recognizable of the Mayan ruins. It sits in the centre of the site and is a temple dedicated to the god Kukulcán. The sides of the stairs are serpents and during the spring and autumn equinoxes the position of the sun makes it look as if the serpents are slithering down the sides of the pyramid… Or so they say.

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Mexico 2013 160

Do you remember that game in the animated movie The Road to El Dorado? And the sport/game they play where they have to get the ball through the vertical hoop on the side of the wall? Well this is where they played that game. It’s also built in such a way that when you talk in the building at one end, you can hear it in the building at the other end. One of those architectural marvels that I have no idea how actually work…

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Mexico 2013 154

There are many other ruins scattered around the site… and many more that are yet to be uncovered in the midst of the jungle. Once our tour was done we spent our time exploring the other sites and wandering into the jungle.

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Mexico 2013 168

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Mexico 2013 170

Afterwards we stopped at a little town and had an authentic Mexican lunch and on our drive home we stopped at a cenote for a swim.

So we managed to find some culture in an all-inclusive. And while the resort was amazing and I definitely plan on doing it again sometime, I wouldn’t do it without one, possibly two, excursions into the local culture.