Cancun - Learning and Living

Going to Cancun to celebrate the day of the child, my daughter and I took a direct Mexicana flight from Los Angeles.  As our guide explained it there are mother’s days and father’s days but no kid’s day.  I laughed and told him that to my daughter every day was a kid's day.

Cancun: Kukulean Mall

Considering it was one of the first computer generated tourist sites, it’s quite a city with plenty of history behind it.  Our guide, a proud Mayan native, told us that a mere 38 years ago, this site had just been a fishing village. Now there are dozens upon dozens of hotels and the airport is one of the biggest in Mexico.
The first night we went to the huge mall on Kukulean street with many upper-class restaurants and a wide variety of stores including DKNY, Elizabeth Arden, Apple many others including a Harley Davidson store.  Besides all of these wonderful upper end shops, they also had a great kid’s area where mothers and fathers could leave the children while they were shopping.   This includes arts and crafts various toys, story telling and other activities.  Costs for the kid’s area are very reasonable they even have a section there for babies.  Hours of the kid’s center hour 11 to 8 p.m.

The Mayan show which is in the center of the ceiling as you first enter.   7:30 is the Spanish showing and at 8:30 the showing in English talks about the history of the Mayan.

On the second floor of the Center there is a history of how tequila is made.  I had no idea there were over 100 types of tequila and learned that tequila is made from a plant. The mall it self is several miles long with shops scattered among game rooms and exhibits.  The upper floor also has a small bowling alley.  

Next we visited Chocolate City a sports bar known for its circus shows and its fabulous chocolate desserts as well as a menu of over 100 items.  We had a fondue of melting chocolate that pored over various fruits and cakes.  Shows are Wednesday nights 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and also on Sunday afternoon 3:30. I also learned about to interesting drinks mojito and a Miami Vice neither of these drinks have been familiar to me before.  Up a winding stair Chocolate City has its own kids room complete with computer games for the older children while mom and dad enjoy the show and games.

Cancun: Serita and her friend Picasso

The following day we took advantage of the Dolphin Discovery tour of which there are three different programs.  There are several variations in these programs can be custom designed.  Besides the boat fare -this includes breakfast and unlimited drinks -- as you travel to the Isla Mujeres.  You have options for your dolphin experience.  Some of these programs include actually riding the backs of the two dolphins as if you were skiing and experiencing the manatees as well as swimming and snorkeling with the dolphins next to caged sharks. This is called the Dolphin Royal Swim. The Dolphin adventure is riding the dolphin’s back.  The Dolphin Encounter is a kiss and a dance with the dolphin and some performance.  Some people prefer watching an admiring from afar and doing the Sea Lion Discovery.   I chose the encounter and made a
wonderful friend of Picasso.  Costs range from $89 US dollars per person to $199 US dollars.

Cancun:lighthouse on Isla Mujeres near Ixchel's temple

I am told the town itself-- on the north side of the island --has some quaint shops but we chose to go to the southern most end of the Isle where there stood a Mayan temple to the fertility goddess Ixchel.  The island was called Isle of Women (Isla Mujeres)  such because it when the Spanish discovered it there were dowels of little women.  This cliff of dawn is the southernmost point of Mexico and where the sun first hits in the mornings it is also 300 km from Cuba.  As you can imagine there are many refugees trying to come over.

Returning to the compound we had a lovely buffet lunch which was included in the price as well as all we could drink.  Our next choices were swimming, snorkeling, zip line, or just laying in the hammock.  I did the latter.


Our evening was spent on  Captain Hook’s ship for a lobster/steak dinner and unlimited drinks.  I especially enjoyed when our boat pulled up along side the “enemy” ship and the  pirates had to fight it out or escape down the rope lines.
Our morning trip that day was to the CroCoCun – an interactive zoo.  An open air refuge for the animals of the area,  it houses many crocodiles, snakes, birds, and other local wildlife that you are allowed to hold with care.  The young boy in our group especially liked this. The spider monkeys, however, are chained to keep them from escaping into the forest beyond.  

Cancun:Concocun Zoo

Salventica meaning the jungle is just that.  

On pulleys to which you’re double-belted, guests zip down inclined steel cables suspended some 50 feet above the jungle floor. The experience is a head rush, and even more so, when the guides convince you to ride one leg of the circuit upside down. (Insert Tarzan yell).

“Don’t brake until you’re there (the next platform),” they’ll tell you, before giving you a swift swing to help gravity along. Your “brake” is a strip of leather sewn inside your glove, on which you can pull down on the cable to slow yourself.  I unfortunately braked too quickly and several times - causing them to come down the line after to bring me to the next platform safely.   The activity, they say, is safe for ages 3 and up. Guides accompany younger kids and rescue jittery adults, left dangling after they braked too much.

Following the zip line, guests hop on mountain bikes and ride a two-kilometer path to swim in a “cenote,“ or natural spring. After the adrenaline-producing zip line, plunging from a swing rope into the chilly waters below is not only a snap, but a welcomed, refreshing treat.

The half-day experience, including transportation from your hotel and a tasty chicken fajita and rice lunch, cost $75.One of the kids said this was “Better than Disneyland.”

Later in the day I had a chance to visit with the young Chabad rabbi, Mendel Druk, who had entertained over 400 guests for the Passover Seder and 800 for the High holidays.   Despite what many people think the local Chabad are all self-sufficient running on whatever donations they can get.  Rabbi Mendel has already performed several weddings down here in Cancun and, for those interested, has helped to kosher several of the hotel kitchens.  

Nightclubs include Coco Bongo, which has shows Vegas style, Senor Frogs, The City Cancun , Carlos and Charlie's, Hard Rock Cafe, Margaritavilla – of the famous song – which serves great Margaritas and has a wonderful circus show

Pesos are approximately 100 to one so if the bill says 2680 it really means $26.80.  Because of the tourist trade many prices are quoted in US dollars

The island of Cozumel is another place you might elect to go for a day trip.  This is where the port is and where many ships stop, scuba diving here is reportedly excellent.

Only a 35 minutes drve away from Cancun is Xcaret.  Here you will find much of the same experiences at Discovery including dolphin swim .  Kids under 40” are free, older kids pay half price.  

Cancun: Ixchel's Temple

If you have time, you might also want to check out Xel Ha, 90 minutes from Cancun, near the Tulum ruins, it incorporates all food and drinks, snorkeling and other water activities and biking.  You can feel the sacred energy of the hidden lagoon and swim with the dolphins and other friendly fish.

The Maya site we know as Tulum may have been formerly also known by the name Zama, meaning city of Dawn. Tulúm is also the Yucatec Mayan word for fence or wall (or trench), and the walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to serve as a defense against invasion. From the numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been a site for the worship of the Diving God.

Cancun: ruins at Tulum

First mentioned by Juan Diez in a 1518 expedition by Juan de Grijalva, the city remained occupied through the early years of the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, but was abandoned by the end of the 16th century.  A detailed description of the ruins can be found in the 1843 book by Stephens and CatherwoodIncidents of Travel in the Yucatan .  Local Maya continued to visit the temples, to burn and  pray, until the late 20th century, when tourists overwhelmed them.

History buffs will also love the archeological sites which include El Rey, Ek Balam, and of course Chichen Itza  (now listed one of the 7 wonders of the world.)

There is something for everyone in Cancun and I am ready to go again.

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