After a 5 ½-hour flight, the captain advised us of the temperature outside and the weather conditions. (Half the passengers on the plane were already on their phones checking.) As the cabin doors open, it hits you - a wall of heat like opening an oven door. It's the tropics.
In the ride to the resort, police and military officers are visible through the bus windows. With roads that look poorly maintained and falling-down houses missing roofs and doors, it seems that no one actually lives here.
But, after 20 minutes with the Spanish version of
Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the wheel, the bus rumbles down the cobblestone road and everything gets brighter. Out of a fairytale, the resort's entrance swims in marble with swirls of brown and gold. At the
Moon Palace, one feels like royalty walking through the front doors.
At night, the resort reflects and shines in a golden glow. Low incandescent lighting and gold-coloured trim adorn everything, turning spotless marble floors into solid sheets of bullion. For the next seven days it's our palace - Cancun Mexico, all of 35 years old, surrounded by amazing shorelines, coral reefs, five-star resorts known only to the Yucatán Peninsula.
Cancun is one of the youngest tourist destinations with unspoiled coastline, previously home to fishing villages and towns occupied by Mayans.
The Yucatán Peninsula has witnessed the birth of one of the most stunning tourist destinations on earth, and there is land recompense for Mayans as resorts must ensure that 65% of their workforce is Mayan.
Vacationers find so many excursions and sites that a seven-day trip isn't nearly enough time for swimming with the dolphins, amazing experiences aboard a real submarine, zip-lining through the jungle, taking a one-of-a-kind ATV ride through the rain forest or exploring the recently discovered caves. Resorts offer five-star à la carte dining, world-class spas and some of the most remarkable beaches you will ever see.
Cancun is also filled with some of the world's most unique and ancient history. To get a real sense of the history behind this beautiful land, you must visit one of the four Mayan ruins -
Tulum. These sites will give you a feeling of what life was like for these people thousands of years ago. The amazing part is that
throughout Cancun, Mayan culture is alive and well.
It wasn't until Day 3 that a life-changing event occurred for me. The rain and the wind had stopped, and as we walked towards the steakhouse, in the distance a group of people had assembled on the beach. As we walked towards them like insects drawn to light, a distant voice yelled, "Senor come, come; you have to join us!"
With our imaginations running wild, down the cobblestone stairs and onto the still warm, soft sand we moved to realize that magic that occurs in October - the release of one-day-old baby sea turtles, a marvellous sight.
Watching the hundreds of turtles scurry to the ocean water with moonlight reflecting off their backs, glowing until they're out of sight, one feels a sense of pride and realizes that all the myths about Cancun being nothing more than a party town couldn't be further from the truth.
Turtle release at The Royal Resorts Cancun
Turtles birth at the Royal Sands
With an interest in travel, culture, history and photography, Collin Stachura is a freelance writer for Sun Media, and a graduate of Niagara College with a degree in Digital Photography and Journalism and recent recipient of the Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild Award. He is also the owner of
in Welland Ontario.