Pumpin up the volume, breakin down’ to the beat
Cruisin’ through the west side
We’ll be checkin’ the scene
Boulevard is freakin’ as I’m comin’ up fast
I’ll be burnin’ rubber, you’ll be kissin’ my ass
Pull up to the bumper, get out of the car
License plate says Stunner number one Superstar
Cancún, a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. It’s composed of two distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants.
We visited in February 2019. We came with a direct charter flight from Oslo (Tui Airways). And before we went, one of my co-travelers who had been there before, told me to expect something similar to “Gran Canaria on acid”. So let’s just say I had low expectations regarding the tourist trap factor. And I guess he was right. But Cancún definitely has it’s positive sides as well. This blog post is about the good stuff…
Cancún is a lot of things, but one of them is definitely a tourist machine. Mostly made for American tourists. They like it loud and they have (or like) cars to get around. What’s the point in creating a nice promenade along the beach, when you can hop into your SUV and drive to your next destination or gigantic beach resort? Fortunately we had rented a car for the first week of our stay. And we decided to rent a car for an extra day the second week as well.
We were 4 couples travelling together (where 5 were full time or part time wheelchair users). The first week we spent in a nice Air bnb (owned by super friendly Antonio) in a gated community in the downtown area. The second week we spent in the hotel zone in a big resort by the beach called Chrystal Cancún.
And here’s the best parts of our trip to Cancún & Mexico:
The Maya pyramids
Our trip to the Maya pyramids in Chitzen Itza was nothing but amazing! A huge area filled with history and amazing sights, with a very friendly guide. A little bit challenging with the manual wheelchair, I must admit. But our guide Jonathan was very helpful, when he needed to. Hopefully there will be a separate blogpost about Chitzen Itza, because I have a lot of cool photos and travel tips.
It’s hard to beat temperatures between 25 – 30 celsius and sunshine every day. As the weather refugees we were, there are hardly more comfortable places to stay, while escaping Norwegian snow and ice in February.
The Mexicans were very friendly, helpful, relaxed and easy going with the wheelchairs. Perhaps a little bit too relaxed in some circumstances, but I prefer that to creating a lot of fuzz because I’m disabled. If we needed help, we got it. If not – we were left alone.
It’s unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. But the beach in Cancún is so beautiful and long, that it’s relaxing just to lie around a gaze at it.
Whatever you prefer doing – there’s a lot of choices in and around Cancún. Beach, partying, water sports activities, cenotes, Maya ruins, activity parks, you name it. But make sure to rent a car! Public transportation is old fashioned and we suspect it’s not accessible at all. One of our highlights was the daytrip to Cozumel – the island outside Cancún, which is also one of the major cruise harbors in the Caribbean.
Price of food & drink
The upscale restaurants in Cancún were surprisingly expensive, but to shop for one week in the air bnb did not break our budget in any way.
It’s hard to be bored in Cancún if you like people watching. No matter if you prefer people with or without very small bikinis. Or weird balloons on their head..
The airport assistance
I had really low expectations, since we were five wheelchair users travelling together. But how wrong I was! I think we set a new record in disembarking a plane in no time at all. And our own wheelchairs were waiting outside. It was a bit hard to get rid of the assistance people (who also asked for a tip) afterward, but I guess they have to make a living as well…A greater challenge was getting the rental car. It took forever. Fortunately we had two able bodied friends who could take charge of this part of the expedition. They also volunteered to be our drivers in the slightly crazy Mexican traffic.
The air bnb
Antonio’s house was great. The biggest disadvantage was that you basically needed a car to go anywhere. We had to walk along the highway to get to grocery stores and restaurants, or we could walk along a smaller street with no sidewalks (also a bit dangerous). But the house itself was nice and doable even for five wheelchair users. The challenge was the bathrooms, where some of the showers were a bit hard to use and the some of the sinks were extremely high and difficult to use.
I’m not a big fan of Mexian food. But they do know how to make tacos, which is probably the best food you can get in Mexico. We also had good seafood in Cancún. And the home made guacamole is of course hard to beat.
And not to forget. Cancún is a very nice place to celebrate your birthday party if pool parties is your thing. Considering that your friends have bothered to come along with you to celebrate on the other side of the planet…
Stay tuned. The next blog will be about the worst of Cancún & Mexico…