Cancun & the Riviera Maya is one of my favourite vacation destinations. The turquoise waters of the Caribbean, miles of white sand beaches, friendly locals and of the food! Fresh guacamole with homemade tortilla chips and a lime margarita, please!
Last month I was invited by Palace Resorts to spend a week enjoying “ The Palace Life” at 2 of their premiere 5 star luxury resorts in Cancun . I was invited so that I could experience first hand what they are doing to keep their guests safe and comfortable.
The first resort I stayed at was The Grand at Moon Palace. It’s a family-friendly favourite with a large waterpark, lazy river, and the biggest kid’s club I’ve ever seen. Did I mention that kids & teens stay free?
Next up was LeBlanc Cancun. A 5 diamond, adults-only resort. This lavish property sits on one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. From the unmatched culinary experiences to the unlimited hydrotherapy sessions to the personalized butler service for every guest, this is a true luxury all-inclusive luxury experience.
Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for full reviews of both resorts but this week I wanted to share more of what the overall experience of travelling to Mexico is like in September 2021
Checking and getting through security in Toronto was much easier than I expected. The airport was busier than last time I travelled but still nothing like the levels from a few years ago. Temperature screening is done by thermal scan so you don’t even know when it’s happening. There is hand sanitizer everywhere and social distancing is maintained for the most part. When I arrived back in Canada it was once again quicker and easier than expected. With the ArriveCan app filled out and my negative test in hand, it was a quick stop at immigration before heading out to my car.
On the Plane
Being on a plane is much the same as it used to be except now you have to wear masks unless you’re eating or drinking. Airlines now board the planes from back to front with the exception of first-class seating. Food, beverage and alcohol are being served on flights again. Many airlines give you a small care package just after boarding that contains a fresh mask, antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer.
Temperatures are checked by wrist and you are given hand sanitizer upon boarding the shuttle. All passengers are expected to wear a mask while in the shuttle.
Upon check-in to the resort, temperatures are checked again and you are asked to fill out a covid health screening form. Many of the resorts now have machines to disinfect the room after each guest. The doors to the room are sealed so that when you enter, you know you’re walking into a freshly disinfected room. Room cleaning services can be cancelled if you would prefer not to have anyone enter your room.
Masks are worn inside in common places such as the lobby and hallways. Masks are usually not worn by guests while walking around outside, near the pools or at the beach. I’ve stayed at 6 resorts and have inspected another 10 in the last 6 months. Never once have I seen a single staff member without a mask or with below their nose even working outside.
Dining & Shows
Restaurants are running at lower capacities and have QR code menus. Buffets are still available but many offer single-serve portions on a plate to take away, have a server to serve you at the buffet stand or have people making sure each guest uses hand sanitizer and has their mask on while in the area. Some resorts have taken their shows outside and resorts with larger theatres practice social distancing like in a movie theatre here in Canada.
Covid Testing Requirements for the return to Canada
I’ve now had a couple of PCR tests done in Mexico for my return to Canada. I’ve been very impressed with the way many of the resorts have stepped up to make this as easy as possible for their Canadian guests. A PCR test is booked on check in with the hotel concierge. Resorts now bring lab technicians on site each day so the guests do not need to leave the property. The PCR test is usually between $99 to $150 USD per person and takes 12 to 24 hours for the result. There are even a few resorts that offer it for free when guests are staying for a week or more. If a positive test were to occur, many, but not all resorts now offer a complimentary stay in a special area of the resort for up to 14 day with room service but no alcohol service.
Cancun and Riviera Maya have always been popular destinations for sun-seeking Canadians. With the many changes in the last couple of years, the travel and tourism sector in that area has done everything possible to make travelling to Cancun and Riviera Maya as safe and comfortable as they possibly can.