Post by : Palav Desai (Follow on Spotted Places @Palav.Desai)

Cancun: A Tropical Narnia

A Caribbean vacation promises a bunch of exciting adventures to look forward to! Pristine beaches with waters that play out an interesting intermix of a million hues of blue, sun kissed sands, crystal clear skies, beyond perfect weather, a thousand and a half adventure sports to gorge upon, enticing bars with some of the choicest of bar wizards, groovier-than-thou nightclubs, limitless shopping options, a whole lot of tradition and history interlaced with the resort-town-vibe and so much more than meets the eye at first! But, most of all, and, rather, most noteworthy of all, is the peace of mind that emerges out of nowhere and seems to overpower all other emotional and cerebral chaos that ensues once you step foot on this surreal land!! As oxymoronic as it gets, it is just not enough to soak in all of this awesomeness into mere words!! The dreamy, uptown-funky Cancun metropolitan stands tall across the South eastern tip of Mexico, crowning the Mexican Riviera Maya with its strategic placement, and rightly so!

Never thought once how weather could affect moods really!! Methinks, it does! Majorly! And, when the sun shines bright on a cloudless day, with near-virgin white sands and sublime blue waters to add to that already perfect combination, life becomes a whole lot incandescent, what with all the sprightly spirits and the perennially positive tropical vibe! I, for one, hardly came across a frown face in Cancun! It is such a happy place with even happier people! Even the sun seems to shine a little brighter here! Although most tourists optimize their stay here across the Zona Hotelera (the essential core of the resort town dotted with everything from laid back to adventurous!), there are plenty parts in and around it that scream for attention from a traveler's curious eye, hungry soul and open heart! History agog with tales from the yore, monumentally fascinating buildings that date as far back as the 8th century, a myriad of traditional shopping nooks, adventure sports to quench every adrenaline junkie's thirst, and a culture that refuses to be bogged down by the perils of poverty and natural disasters! We fell for this delightful city real hard, and our sincerest thanks to the people out there may never be enough for the life-size-bucket of happiness that we brought back with us to cherish for a lifetime and some more! 

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Indulgence is synonymous with routine in Cancun! Everything is enormously blown out of proportion! Of course, in a good way! Bottomless drink bars, never-ending food courses, impeccable service and an unbeatably soothing vibe!! No grumpy service reps, not a single 'Can't do, Sir' and no waiter/ress sans a smile! No wonder, everyone's always smiling here!! For kicks, we played this silly game where spotting a frown face would get you a point! We failed, miserably! Not that we hoped we'd find one, but in our heads I think we were just giving ourselves another reason to love this haven of happiness even more! If that were possible, that is!!


Another striking and appreciable high point of Cancun is the people at your service, and just people in general! I mean, God these people are happy to help! I've experienced luxury at handsome prices before, but these guys, really, deserve a standing ovation! Working such long, taxing and boring hours would get anyone down, but not these wonderful humans! They are just out there, on the field, like magicians fulfilling your bizarre-est of wishes! Need a pick-me-up-pinacolada right on the beach, bam! There! Towel emergency at the pool, got it covered! Need a float to laze hands on in the pool, yes ma'am! Hungry while doing absolutely nothing at the spa, well hello chips and salsa! Bored and parched out of your mind after downing 15 cocktails at the dive bar, be introduced to random cocktail concoction no. 16! Siesta plans on the beach, well, there, bed on beach!! I mean, I wouldn't have been surprised at all if they brought me a unicorn from beyond the rainbow, I swear! I exaggerate, but, well I got to get my point across and that is really the level of sincerity in their service! And, it's not always about the money! Tips and rewards aside, I think they get some sort of 'karmic' kick out of accommodating your whims and flairs! Best customer service, hands down, goes to the congenial to the core Cancun locals!

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Nightlife in Cancun is nothing short of power packed action! It's eye popping, heart stirring, spine tingling and beyond! Boundless bars, hip clubs, an inexhaustible list of buffets and restaurants to choose from, countless entertainment options and never ending beach attractions! And if you're traveling with a significant other, you're in honeymoon heaven! It's an absolute paradise for romantics! After a tough day of pool-dipping, sun-bathing, beach dilly dallying, and spa-idling, warm Caribbean winds caressing tropical palms that overlook thatched cabanas, the bright blue ocean taking to the deepest shade of indigo by nightfall, and the clear, cloudless sky blessing this idyllic land of enchantment all feel like regenerative therapy to your soul! Honeymooning couples are literally spoilt rotten here, and needless to say, the quality of services offered surpasses all bars of expectations!! 

 

Buffets, all-you-can-eat-restaurants, bottomless bars, drinks on tap! Oh, doesn't that sound like music to your ears? That's what an all-inclusive vacation brings to the table in Cancun!! The best part, you get to walk around sans a wallet! Obviously, dollar bills come in handy for hefty tips, for who wouldn't want to reward such large-hearted people at your service! Palace resorts have a multitude of properties sprawled across all of Cancun! And, your only job is to hop onto wherever you may please and avail of the larger-than-life indulgences that they offer!! Disclaimer: Spending a week here may inadvertently cause you to subconsciously ignore actual food bills when you get back to the real world!! Also, the weighing scale may ghost you for as long as you barely recover from the rapid and massive influx of mass in your body!!

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History and tropical indulgence are at a unique and spectacular confluence on one of the last preserved walled cities believed to have been built and inhabited by the Mayan civilization called Tulum!! Tulum is the literal Yucatan Mayan translation for fence, wall or trench! Located about a 130 kms away from the glam and glitter of the Cancun-ian resort town, a 2 hour ride into Tulum transports you into a glimpse of the real Mexico, the Mexico that is replete with embellished history and opulent heritage. Some of the locals here probably still live a life that may be considered primitive per recent living standards, but I think that is a good thing. Holding onto your culture is a good thing. Especially, in this fast-paced era of forgotten times and immaculate traditions of the yore! How else would one be able to pass on this rich cultural history to future generations? One, maybe two generations later, these slowly dying traditions may become obsolete, ending up never seeing the light of day, and that maybe a sad, sad day in the history of time. Holding on to history isn't bad, being insensitive to its significance in current times is. Moving forward by taking these customs into stride and evolving with them is desirable! Being trapped in the past, however, with too much pressure on dated beliefs that harm more than heal may be disagreeable!! 

When you experience something monumental during your travel, it gifts you a sense of wow, a sense of how mind blindingly pulchritudinous this universe is. And every single moment in life that you took for granted comes rushing to you, and you hope and pray that you may never end up doing that ever again! Top of the list on the modern wonders of the world, this anciently preserved (we're talking ever since the early 600 AD) site attracts millions of tourists each year, and it is almost as if witnessing vignettes of intriguing mythological history right in front of your naked eyes! Also, that explains all the 506 attempts in vain at trying to get a people-less shot, but what can you do?? It is what it is, and sometimes the understanding that people are as much entitled to every corner of the earth as you are, is much further consolidated during such times, and this feeling simply renders one more consciously accepting of the hazards of picking popular travel destinations! Nevertheless, Architectural prowess that transcends beyond conventional forms, and an eclectic blend of various styles is a sheer blessing to experience! Albeit, in the midst of a million races of people! It gives you a sense of communal harmony that breaks all barriers of racial, cultural, religious, linguistic and temperamental differences! And, if that's not what travel can accomplish for you, then what's the point of getting away to experience a different culture altogether anyway??!!

The Temple of Kukulcan greets millions of tourists at the forefront of the world-renowned Mayan ruin spread that has been preserved for centuries! El Castillo, as it is popularly referred to, stands proud at a whopping 98 feet, in obeisance of the feathered serpent God Kukulcan of the Aztecs and several other Mexican settlements! It is one of many MesoAmerican pyramids that bear stark resemblance to the Mesopotamian ziggurats, and a relatively weak similitude to the likes of the Egyptian pyramids! The stairs lead up to the actual temple structure atop, and the step formations are symbolic of the serpentine deities that predominate Aztec history, namely Kukulcan and Quetzalcoatl!! On a completely side note, if you happen to travel to Mexico during the summer months, you'd be praying you were a camel, or owned an oasis for that matter! The heat can be scorching and excruciating, and your imaginary oasis could come in handy every once in a while!! But it's all a matter of momentarily temporary endurance, for most of the agony is in your head and the beautifully beckoning beaches are always a welcoming treat after a long day of touristy shenanigans!

In my opinion, beaches are God's way of showing us all a glimpse of how paradise may look like! And when they are as spotless and pristine as the ones in the Caribbean, it feels like you owe them a charming sonnet glorifying them of their stark gorgeousness!! Frolicsome, alabastrine sands flirting with your tootsies, cerulean waters romancing your lazy and idle bodies, tropical winds breezing through and caressing your hair; clarion, cloudless skies invoking hope and optimism, golden rays of the golden sun illuminating your entire being, and an endless train of beaming faces passively but convivially socializing with you! Volumes could go down and words adorning the highest degrees of figures of speech could reach exhaustion in writing for and eulogizing the beautifully resplendent Cancunian wonderland! The legerdemain of the conspicuously clear horizon leads you into spinning yourself a fairy tale of your own!! My husband and I fell for this wonderland, hook, line and sinker! After all, our retirement plans have since been in rightful order, and yes they begin with a C and end with an N! Cancun, you have a piece of our hearts! And, we are definitely coming back for it someday!

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