Cancun? Thanks to Development and a Marketing Plan, It’s Not Mexico–It’s Gringoland!
We’re in Mexico—we spent a few days in Cancun before taking off for other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula—the old colonial cities of Merida and Campeche—the latter a UNESCO world heritage site. But Cancun? Thanks to development and a marketing plan, it’s not Mexico–it’s Gringoland!
I’ve done a lot of traveling, and while I’ve passed through my share of resort areas, including the Costa del Sol, the French and Italian Rivieras, Portugal’s Algarve and Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh, they’re all pretty much the same. Beaches, pools, people aggressively courting skin cancer, expensive restaurants and water sports. And so it is with Cancun. It has very little relation to the real Mexico.
The Mexicans have completely sanitized Cancun
You’ve got to love the savvy Mexicans for building and marketing their resort towns. They think of everything so you don’t have to. Cancun is miles of fairytale hotels, pristine beaches, palm trees and tropical breezes. We checked into the Marriott and never left; I’ve been under a lot of stress and found the perfect antidote. I swam for an hour and a half every day in a blue-tiled pool that overlooks the ocean. I loved that I could swim right up to the bar to order my first Margarita of the day.
A self-contained environment
We ate in three of the Marriott’s five restaurants. You never have to leave the hotel because they bring the world to you. We chose among Thai, Argentine and Japanese cuisine. The most amazing? Champions, an American sports bar with multiple screens to watch our favorite teams. We ate sliders and watched the Giants beat the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS playoffs. Not to be found? A good Mexican restaurant that serves the wonderful regional specialties that we later found in other parts of the Yucatan.
Mexican marketing vision
I love Mexico—a short, direct flight, a rich culture with a wonderful history, and a strong dollar. It reminds me of what Spain, Italy and Portugal used to be like, and I admire the Mexican vision and their determination to capitalize on the tourist dollar.
There is nothing Mexican about these resort cities
They are overpriced and artificial, marketed to tourists who don’t want to be inconvenienced by things like foreign currencies, language or missing their favorite ballgames. Kudos to the Mexican government—they’ve thought of everything, and we enjoyed a few very indulgent days in Cancun before continuing our journey to the real Mexico—the one where they speak Spanish and pay for their purchases in pesos—not American dollars.