Cancun is an amazing vacation, filled with beautiful beaches, wonderful sites, inexpensive meals, and great people. Just like every city, Cancun has a major downside that can quickly turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. These are the 7 things you want to avoid in Cancun to keep your experience positive.
Let’s just start with the most common and easiest thing to avoid, the drinking water. I am sure everyone has heard or seen on television how you should avoid the drinking water. Bottled water is very inexpensive so you want to make sure you stock up on some for your hotel room. But remember to use bottle water for things more than drinking though. I used bottled water for things like brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, and boiling water when I decided to cook something for lunch. When showering, do not get lost deep in your thoughts where you slightly open your mouth and get water inside. To stay on the safe side, keep all faucet water away from your mouth.
Whenever you travel out of the country you always want to be on your best behavior. There are certain laws and customs, which make certain westernized behavior unacceptable in other countries. When visiting Cancun, avoid the police unless it is an absolute emergency. Police and security guards are easy to tell apart because the police are in military uniforms and carry assault rifles, but beware because security guards still have guns. You want to avoid security guards and police officers because you can possibly get scammed out of a lot of money for a very small infraction. I met a girl on the beach who told me she was making out with a guy outside of a nightclub and a security guard detained her. The security guard informed her that she was breaking the law and it was a $250 fine that she had to pay right away. She told the security guard that all she had was $30, which they gladly accepted and let her free. I am glad she only got scammed out of $30 versus $250, but think of all the people who just fork over all the money they have. Try your best to avoid law enforcement and stay on your best behavior.
- Spring Break
This is mainly for my people who have graduated from college but it can even apply to college students who may get wary of Spring Break culture for an entire week. My main issue with Cancun during Spring Break is the watered down drinks you get on the strip. I never thought I would have such a challenge finding a decent margarita while I was in Mexico. Due to the Spring Breakers, many who are under 21, the strip waters down the drinks severely. Most nightclubs and bars have an all you can drink policy so these kids are drinking nonstop all day. I can understand because if they got a proper drink, then Mexico would have a huge alcohol poisoning problem on their hands. This does no good for people who are past the drinking age and want a strong drink. You can find places off of the strip or reason with a bartender to make you a strong drink. Other than that, you will be drinking nothing but sugar and drink mix, with a drop of alcohol.
I went to an ATM and received no money out but it was deducted from my account. This was a nightmare because I had a very difficult time trying to contact my bank to get the matter straightened out. The hotel that the ATM was located in could not help, so I was pretty much stuck with a loss of my funds until I got back home. Luckily, I was not down to my last few dollars but it was still a pretty stressful experience. I would advise people to just stay away from an ATM all together but if you have to go, find one that is attached to a bank or inside a mall. Those machines look to be in better condition and have more measures to help you if something goes wrong. It is easier to get all your money out while still at home and exchange it somewhere. Those ATM fees, international fees, and debit card fees can all add up, so it is better to just pay in cash as you go.
The bus system in Cancun is very efficient. Buses literally come around about every 30 seconds to take you around the city. The best part is you do not have to be at a bus stop for the bus to pick you up. I still have not quiet figured out the bus payment system because some drivers would just take a few pesos and let you on the bus while others wanted 20 pesos, which is still only about a dollar. At some points, I was literally giving about 8 pesos and still being able to get on the bus. The same cab ride up the strip, cost $15 USD and took the same amount of time. The cab system is pretty much pointless unless you are going back to the airport.
- Buying Drugs
This should be a no brainer but you will be surprised how many people get caught up. Locals will randomly come up to you as you try to get on the bus and offer to sell you drugs. Kindly decline because it is likely an informant for the police. Informants are everywhere so if anyone offers you drugs, decline and keep it moving. My friend’s boyfriend speaks Spanish and overheard his cab driver on the phone with the police while they were discussing setting them up to buy drugs. JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS.
- Over tipping
This may be an American’s dream since it is ingrained in us to tip. Cancun still relies on tips but since the exchange rate is so good it becomes easy to over tip. You can get a full meal for 2, drinks, and dessert but only run up a tab of $30 tab. Let’s say you tip 20%, which would be $6, but when you convert that to pesos it seems like a pretty hefty tip. My best advice is to pay in pesos and tip in pesos without converting it to dollars in your head. If you are afraid to be a bad tipper, once you convert it to USD in your head, it will always seem like you are tipping fairly but in actuality you are over tipping.
Be sure to comment below with your experiences!
Photo Credit: Taylor Middleton