How To Plan The Ultimate Guy’s Getaway To Cancun

Above: The turquoise water of Caribbean sea, Cancun, Mexico (Photo: gumbao/Shutterstock)
Above: The turquoise water of Caribbean sea, Cancun, Mexico (Photo: gumbao/Shutterstock)

Forget tequila shots and wet T-shirt contests – Cancun has grown up and it’s now a destination you can associate with style, elegance and luxury. We have a few tips for planning the ultimate guy’s getaway in this iconic Mexican destination in a way that easily blends all of the enjoyment you would want from a beach vacation, with some local flavour and sophisticated fun.

Where to stay

All good getaways begin with finding the right accommodations to suit the type of trip you want to have. For a guy’s getaway to Cancun (or anytime, really), make a beeline for the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa where you’ll find amenities well-suited to a laid back few days of fun without the generic feel of so many other beachfront properties you come across. Not to mention, there are plenty of spots to chill out with a Modelo Especial (one of the local brews) without having to rub shoulders with a sea of other vacationers. For starters, grab some beers and head straight for the property’s adult only pool. It’s tucked away, set back from the other two resort pools, and offers comfy lounge chairs and an ideal space to hang out with your co-trippers.

Other bonuses: all of the rooms have balconies with great views, staff is super-helpful, and if you really want to make this a luxurious guy’s getaway, upgrade to Club 91. This nets you private roundtrip airport transfer, three buffet meals a day in a private club room with spectacular views (including open bar from 6p.m. to 10 p.m.), Wi-Fi, and express check in/out, among other perks.

What to do

Take a dip in a cenote: If you’ve never been to a cenote, a trip to Cancun is the only excuse you need to visit one. Think of a cenote (natural sinkhole) as an idyllic escape from the heat and a break from the beach (should you need one). Cenote Azul, at the southern end of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera is pretty beautiful just to look at – but there’s no doubt you’ll want to dive right in on sight. The limestone walled pools are crystal clear, surrounded by jungle and refreshingly cool. If you’re feeling brave, there’s a platform you can jump from, as well snorkel equipment available to rent for a small fee. Swimming in a cenote is an unforgettable experience and one that’s well worth taking advantage of if you’re in Cancun.

Drink up: Whether you love tequila, or your only memory of it is a particularly rough (and hazy) night in college, do yourself a favour and take some time to learn about the oft-misunderstood alcohol. You can (and should) book an educational tequila tasting through the JW Marriott or their sister property CasaMagna Cancun Resort. You’ll try three different types: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo and learn about how long each is aged, tasting notes, how to choose a good quality tequila, and how it gets from the agave plant into your margarita. The sensory experience is as interesting and informative as it is tasty – bottom’s up!

Where to eat

Staying at the JW Marriott means having your pick of a few restaurants, including Gustino, an elegant Italian restaurant with an extensive menu of handcrafted pastas, seafood, pizza, salads and meat. Portions are large so be prepared to walk away full.

Since you’re in Mexico, of course you’re going to want Mexican food. A great place to get it in downtown Cancun is Julia Mia where traditional Mexican fare gets a contemporary update without compromising on the flavours you crave when you think about eating things like quesadillas (seriously, order the quesadillas).

Where to explore

Playa del Carmen is only about 45 minutes from Cancun and if you have time and feel like exploring, hop on a bus or rent a car to make the short trip. This is where you can shop for souvenirs, grab a drink at one of the many spots offering two-for-one deals on beers and margaritas, hit the beach and just wander down 5th Avenue, which is pedestrian-only and lined with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. While you’re here, make a point of seeking out La Cueva del Chango (monkey cave), popular with both locals and tourists. The natural setting, eclectic and totally charming décor, and great food (again, massive portions so beware) make this a great place to refuel, regroup and have a good time before heading back to Cancun.

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on Styleathome.com, ElleCanada.com, Slice, Travel + Escape, Thrillist, AmongMen.com and SheKnows.com among others. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula

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