WHERE TO PLAY
When on vacation, if there is a chance to take a mini-vacation inside of your vacation—do it. For Cancun, there is La Isla de Mujeres or The Island of Women. Charter a private catamaran ride or jump on one of the many ferries from Cancun that offer hourly service across the bay to la Isla, it’s the perfect day-long getaway from the mainland. While there, navigate your way through the many stalls of souvenir shops selling traditional hammocks, silver and home goods. There are some authentic gems to be found with local artists and craft workers who have studios on the island.
There are a variety of beach clubs on the island that allow you to stay on the sand while enjoying a nice meal along with your sunbathing session. But for a real experience dock your boat or drive to the south side of the island and head to Playa Lancheros to experience a traditional Yucatecan cuisine dish called TikinXic. Traditionally prepared with fish, this achiote and citrus flavored grilled dish is meant to be consumed with your feet in the sand and a Sol or Tecate beer to wash it all down.
If you prefer to keep things close to Cancun, contact your hotel concierge to get in touch with the Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum and schedule a private tequila tasting in the lobby bar. A typical session involves a brief history of Mexico’s national spirit, as well as a primer on tasting and pairing tequila correctly with food. During my stay, our ambassador Magdalena also broke down the differences between tequila and mezcal, and the actual worth of various popular labels so you can make sure you get what you pay for when buying a few bottles on the way home.
For those who want to shop locally, head to downtown Cancun to Mercado 28, an expansive open air market full of vendors selling Mexican wares, souvenirs and more. Most stalls carry the same items and there are plenty of cheap imitations to be found, but you will quickly be able to tell the difference between what’s real and authentic based on appearance, price and the vendor’s selling style. This market is also home to plenty of food stalls for local eats.
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