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For certain travelers, the experience of immersing yourself in a new place involves disconnecting from the rest of the world. This isn’t the series for them. Consider STYLECASTER your HipAdvisor: we’re providing cool, first-person accounts of where to stay, shop and savor in a city—all while capturing content worthy of being On The Grid.
No matter what season it is, and whether your Instagram feed is full of summer wine pairings in the Hamptons, pumpkin-spiced lattes in the fall, cozy, winter days, or flirty al fresco spring picnics, there is one travel destination that boasts permanent paradise status: Mexico. And if you’re into an affordable, fun and relaxing getaway, look no further than Cancun. There’s a plethora of things to do in Cancun that will make you forget what you do for a living.
Personally, I love Mexico given its proximity to most East Coast cities (after all, it’s only a 4 or 5-hour flight). What I don’t love though is several days of poolside lounging; there are only so many books I can pretend to read or selfies I can take. Mexico is a culturally-rich destination diverse in its food, liquor and spirits, excursions and impressive sights, and for those looking for a couple of days off from reality, Cancun is the perfect getaway. From the popular downtown flea market Mercado 28 to the La Isla open-air shopping mall, you can score unique pieces at unbelievable prices. And if you’re interested in capturing content, read on for the special locations (and private beach photographer) that will make your followers squeal.
Below is your complete guide to where you should stay, eat, shop and see in Cancun. Only thing left to do? Grab your Away suitcase and sunscreen.
Though Air BnBs are a great option for traveling, when it comes to Mexico, opt for an all-inclusive resort. The Secrets Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Lagoon of Bahia Petempich, is a luxurious all-inclusive adults-only resort for those seeking an effortless getaway.
Located mere minutes from the Cancun International Airport, this resort is a personal favorite full of endless entertainment options that strike the perfect balance of quiet relaxation and social sophistication. If you and your partner are looking for a romantic getaway, you will love the tranquility this resort has to offer. Indulge in a couples (or singular) massage, experience a rejuvenating hydrotherapy circuit, watch a live flamenco show, taste exquisite Mexican tequilas, play volleyball or corn hole, or engage in one of many water sports available at the resort. Whatever it is you are into, chances are the resort can accommodate it.
If instead you are traveling with your crew on a bachelorette or birthday trip, or going on a solo trip, consider staying here so that you can experience nearby Xcaret, an ecological and archaeological theme park. This makes for a great group trip activity and you’ll learn a thing or two about Mayan ancestry. Gone are the days when vacations revolve around the pool—there’s a whole wide world out there to explore.
I always love collecting souvenirs and trinkets from my travels, as they make for great travel stories and are lifelong reminders. Last-minute airport shopping is satisfactory, but I prefer the authentic experience. In Mexico, there is nothing more local than Mercado 28, a popular flea market in downtown Cancun, filled with vendors who sell Mexican handicrafts, all types of jewelry, pottery, clothing and of, course food and beverages. This is only 35 minutes away from Secrets Resort & Spa and a nice way to immerse yourself in local Mexican culture.
If you’re looking for upscale boutiques and souvenir shops, then La Isla Shopping Village (also 30 minutes from the resort) is one of Cancun’s modern and lavish open-air malls. Though, if you’re not interested in leaving the premises, the resort has a great gift shop to pick up some beach wear, Cancun branded apparel and any essentials that you forgot to pack (let’s be real, we all forget or run out of the toothpaste and mosquito repellent!)
Let me tell you a little secret: before I go on vacation, I always scope out places to take photos. Luckily, Mexico has plenty of Instagrammable and TikTok-worthy places to shoot your next content. After all, the white sand beaches, swimmable turquoise waters, and glorious sunsets overseeing your hotel room will guarantee to make your followers jealous.
If you decide to venture out, Puerto Morelos (located only 15 minutes away), is popular for its beachfront restaurants, deep sea fishing and bars and lounges that will give you your picturesque photos. At Secrets, you also receive a complimentary photo session—have a professional from Adventure Photo take photos of you whether you’re traveling with your loved one, friends, or flying solo. Keep the shots that you are absolutely in love with and ditch the ones you dislike.
Good food and drinks are one of the key elements of a successful vacation. At Secrets Resort & Spa, you have plentiful options from whatever cuisine your stomach desires. The Rosewater Restaurant features an international menu so your love for avocado toast and oatmeal bowls can follow you down south. If your palette fancies other dishes, then try Coquette for an exquisite French dining experience or Spumante for Italian pastas and wine. Both of these restaurants are in the connected sister resort Breathless Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa, and I guarantee you will feel like you’re in either France or Italy. Couple the dining with a private wine cellar tasting or tequila tasting from experienced sommeliers.
What’s a trip to Mexico without margaritas and tacos? Picante serves Mexican-fusion cuisine and locally inspired small plates. But, if your thing is street tacos, head to downtown Cancun to satisfy your craving. There’s no such thing as too many tacos.