Standing on the main beach at Club Med Yucatan, you look to your left and see a long row of resorts stretching onwards, some of which were established to entertain and indulge the masses in the latest 1970s. But this is where it all began – Club Med was the first all-inclusive property in Cancun’s renowned hotel zone, initiating the development of an area that is now one of the most tourism-driven regions in the country.
But Club Med Yucatan isn’t just any all-inclusive resort; sure, you can have a cocktail on demand, find something to eat at any hour of the day and spend your time baking on the beach if that’s what you’re into, but its appeal takes the all-inclusive experience to the “next level.”
Millions of dollars were recently invested in refurbishing Club Med Yucatan, from restaurants to rooms – including the Jade 5 Trident luxury space, which is considered a more exclusive section of the village. And while the updated décor is comfortable and brightly appointed, it's likely that you'll find – like I did – that the breadth of activities available across the resort makes your room was an afterthought in the experience; it's a place to shower and sleep when you're not otherwise occupied by watersports or terrifying challenges (I’m looking at you, trapeze!).
So what exactly makes Club Med Yucatan stand-out in the Cancun’s Hotel Zone? Let me count the ways.
Let’s be clear about something off the top: I am not an athlete. I’ve never been an athlete and I have no desire to ever be an athlete. I live an active enough lifestyle but my coordination (or lack thereof) has prevented me from partaking competitively in any sport. But the great thing about Club Med is that regardless of limitations in talent, there are ways for guests to enjoy various physical activities. If you have little experience in sport, there are countless opportunities to learn something new thanks to different classes and patient staff; for example, I spent a lot of my time on the dock with other watersport enthusiasts, and since it had been years since I last waterskied, the drivers of the boat adjusted their routes and speed to accommodate my skills. More experienced skiers, however, were challenged just the same.
Waterskiing is one of the many sports included in the Club Med all-inclusive experience – windsurfing, tennis, sailing, archery, snorkelling… the list goes on. Among guest favourites, the flying trapeze is a main attraction, where participants have the chance to test their skills in acrobatics. Scared of heights? Me too. But it makes the rush of flying through the air that much sweeter.
My recommendation: Spend the first few days of your stay enjoying all the activities. Do things that you’ve done in the past, and then try something new. Test your physical limits. But when there are only two or three days left in your stay, spend time hanging out by the ocean or the pool. Let your body recover so you can go home feeling rested and rejuvenated. This way, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The appeal for families, singles & couples alike.
Because of the million-and-one ways one can pass the time at Club Med, it makes for a great vacation destination regardless of whether you’re travelling with young families, mature families, friends, couples, or even on your own – there’s literally something for everyone. And because of the community vibe at Club Med, you can feel confident in breaking away from your group and doing your own thing; guests embrace other guests, which seems only natural as like-minded individuals come together. There are separate scheduled lessons and activities for children, teens and adults which means everyone can learn at the appropriate level. This also makes for fun conversation at the dinner table when everyone you're travelling with reconvenes to share the details of the day.
My recommendation: If you’re travelling with a group, make a pact that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their time – have zero expectations of one another. While partaking in a lesson or activity together every now and then is fun, the beauty of this place is that travellers can enjoy the activities that make them tick.
An engaged, interactive staff.
You’ll come across a lot of acronyms at Club Med Yucatan, which are universal across the brand. Most staff are considered “GO”s (short for the French term, “gentils organisateurs” or in English, gracious/kind organizers) while guests are "GM”s (or “gentils membres” – gracious/kind guests) The GOs facilitate the activities around the resort, including the evening entertainment. Their job is to keep guests involved and excited about their stay. Don’t be surprised when a random dance party breaks out in the middle of the day – there are specific routines you’ll learn throughout your visit – and there are themed events each evening whereby the GOs dress-up (in costumes, when necessary) to mark the occasion. Each GO is hired through a rigorous recruitment process, and commit to six months at a property before they move on to the next location. They’ll dine with you, dance with you and become your friends during your stay, as a vital element to the Club Med spirit.
My recommendation: Don’t be embarrassed when you don’t pick up the dance moves on day one. Or day two (this might just be me – refer back to point about lack of coordination). No one is there to judge – it’s all just in good fun.
The property is within a reasonable distance to top attractions in the area.
Tulum temple and beach
Of course the beaches of Mexico are a prime attraction for Canadian travellers but the nature, history and culture of the country are equally captivating. And there are tours available through the Club Med Discovery Centre, allowing guests easy access to immersive experiences. Like a day trip to Tulum, an archaeological site overlooking the Caribbean Sea, or Chichen Itza and Valladolid, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and charming colonial town, respectively. Big game fishing, boating in the mangroves, horseback tours through the jungle and swimming with whale sharks are also among the many excursions available, which means that there are just as many options for travellers interested in venturing off the resort as for those who aren’t.
My recommendation: Have your travel advisor book your excursions in advance, so you are guaranteed a spot and don’t have to worry about the details once you’re on vacation.
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