After a busy few months at work for Mr. Zed and I, we knew we wanted to get away for Memorial Day weekend. The criteria: somewhere warm, beach and pool accessible, family-friendly, and of course there had to be delicious food. We decided on Cancún, Mexico.
A major deciding factor was that Mr. Zed’s parents own a timeshare there, and happened to be headed there for a couple weeks…so we invited ourselves along. Pro tip: if you’re planning on crashing your in-laws’ vacation, it helps to have awesome in-laws and cute kids.
Cancún, located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, can be divided into two parts: downtown and the hotel zone. Because we had limited time and really just wanted to veg out at the beach, we spent our entire trip in the hotel zone.
When to go: Peak season is December through April. Cancún is also a popular college spring break location. Memorial Day weekend was perfect, in my opinion. The weather wasn’t too hot, the sea was warm, and crowds were manageable.
Airport: Cancún International Airport (CUN) is serviced by the major US carriers and is the second busiest airport in Mexico.
Passport and forms: Yes–you’ll need a passport…unless, of course, you’re from Mexico. While on board your flight, you will complete a Mexican Tourist Permit Form (Forma Migratoria Multiple, or FMM). The form can be confusing, so read it through before you complete it! When you pass through immigration upon arrival, they’ll tear off the bottom of your FMM. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. You’ll need it when you exit the country, or it will cost you $30. Fun tip: if you arrive at the airport early for your departure flight, the people-watching is excellent, especially at the desk where they’re collecting that $30. I mean…really outstanding people-watching. Wal-Mart has nothing on the Cancún airport departures hall. Why, pray tell, are you wearing the slippers from your hotel? I find myself imagining what kind of Hangover-sequence adventures one must have had to be wearing hotel slippers to the airport. But I digress….
Where to stay: Cancún has it all: hotels, all-inclusive resorts, timeshares. Do you want to be close to nghtlife? Shopping? Do you want a hotel that has a spa? A kids club? There’s something for everyone, so don’t settle for the cheapest deal you find online.
Transportation: If your hotel does not provide shuttle service to and from the airport, I strongly urge you to arrange transportation before you arrive. Vet the company you choose–check reviews on Trip Advisor or another reputable site. We use USA Transfers. Their drivers are friendly and courteous, their vehicles are in good condition, and they’re very affordable. Print out your confirmation, bring it with you, and don’t talk to any of the other providers. Once you’ve collected your bags and are exiting the airport, you’ll have to walk through the gauntlet of car services, cabs, and shuttles. Upon exiting the building, you’ll be in a crowd of other new arrivals waiting for their shuttles.
The good news is there’s a bar right there. Grab yourself a cold (overpriced) cerveza–you’re on vacation!