When we started telling friends and family that we were headed to Mexico, so many people asked us what resort are you staying at. Everyone seems to fly into Cancun and stay at a resort, so people naturally assumed that we were doing the same. And then I would promptly inform them that no we aren’t staying in a resort, we’re road tripping around Mexico and figuring it out from there. And while we got lots of crazy eyebrow raises, I know that this was the best way for us to travel through Mexico.
We travel to step outside our comfort zones, to challenge ourselves, and to see a world beyond our own.
And a resort would have been the death of all that. It was definitely nerve-racking and scary to take this on, but it was perfect and wonderful and I don’t regret a thing. So I felt like I had to share our reasoning for why we chose to skip the resort stay in Mexico.
Experience the Country
The biggest reasoning was that we wanted to actually experience the country that we were visiting. If you go to Paris and sit a fancy hotel room all day vs. going out to the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, well that’s not really experiencing Paris. And we felt like visiting Mexico and never leaving the resort beach was the same thing. I knew if we stayed on a resort, we would be too tempted to stay put. And I can’t imagine visiting a gorgeous country like Mexico without having a chance to experience the amazing wonders of this culture and interacting directly with its people.
Resorts tend to charge American prices, regardless of the individual country’s economics. In Mexico, we found that a resort stay was around $200+ USD a night, whereas a boutique hotel with the same beach front access and to-die- for cocktails and amazingly serene pools charged local prices, more like $50 USD a night. This one was kind of a no brainer for us budget travelers.
Still Got Spoiled
Now, I’m not knocking resort stays completely, they have their place, especially when it comes to being spoiled. But I don’t feel like we missed out on this. With the money we saved not staying at a resort we had plenty to spare on things like spa treatments and gourmet meals.
Our Own Schedule
Instead of scheduling pricey excursions through the resort, we went on the same excursions for a fraction of the cost, but we did them on our own time. It was amazing to set our schedule each day and not be dependent on anyone else. We would start each day by visiting a Maya Ruin first thing in the morning. Not only did we beat the heat of the day, but we also beat the hordes of tour buses that start arriving midday. By that time, we’d be long gone and enjoying cocktails + afternoon naps on the beach.
Mexico is a genuinely beautiful country, filled with history and culture. And now I will always think twice about booking a resort stay because it's never worth it to trade in bucket list experiences simply for the convenience of a resort.