Take me back to SALSAGUIDES!

by Katrina Howard

> > What we liked about Cancun, Mexico:
Just about everything!  We booked an all inclusive trip through Sun
Trips. $2063.20 for 2 people includes air, taxes, hotel, drinks (including
alcohol), and food.  We stayed at the Continental Plaza, a beautiful, huge,
pink, Spanish Mediterranean style hotel, on the beach of the Yucatan
peninsula and the Caribbean Sea.  Great service, multilingual staff, clean,
and comfortable. 

The weather was perfect, the ocean was gorgeous and warmer than the
pool.  There are plenty of free organized activities at the hotel (on the
beach or by the pool) for those who like that sort of thing; stretch class,
water aerobics, basketball, beach volleyball, water polo  (This was
entertaining to watch!), and language lessons.  There are also a variety of
tours available that can be booked from the hotel.  In the bar the have
live entertainment nightly starting around 9-10pm.

>> Meals:   we had 3 choices or restaurants at this hotel and 3 more at
their affiliate, The Sierra.  There was always a variety in food choices,
and the vegetables were fabulous. 

> > The down side:  lack of choices /variety in beer, wine, and liquor.
You have house wine, Corona, and well drinks to choose from.  Most popular
are margaritas & pina coladas available by the pool.  For non smokers be
aware that people smoke everywhere.

> > What I loved!
> > Cancun is SAFE!  SAFE!  SAFE!  You can be female, go anywhere day or
night, walking or taking buses, alone or with others and do not have to
worry.  Everyone was very respectful, helpful, and kind.   It is easy and
cheap to get around by bus.  They run 24 hours, about every five minutes,
and cost $0.50 US.  Maps are free and easy to read.  It took me
approximately 24 hours to feel comfortably knowledgeable about directions.
Along the hotel strip, most people can understand and speak English.
Downtown, however, many don't so it is a good idea to bring someone along
who does. 

> > Although I am not fluent, I have a medium level ability in
conversational Spanish.  I understand much more than I speak and I had no
trouble being understood or communicating with the locals.  They are
patient and understanding of errors and love it that you speak their
language, no matter how poorly.   
> >
> > LINKS:
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> > Salsa Clubs:

> > La Candela - Avenida Tulum (downtown)
> > Take bus R1 & get off @ first stop on Tulum.   All bus rides are $5
pesos ($0.50 US)
> > No cover- Cuban bands. Tile dance floor, VERY DARK, great jungle-like
decor & the atmosphere matches the temperature; HOT.  Band starts @12
midnight.  Excellent DJ.  Casual dress,  all locals.  If you are female &
there are no single men, the band members & waiters will make a point to
dance with you.  Take a bus back.  It is VERY safe, even @ 4 am being
female & alone!  Open Mon-Sat. 11 PM- 4 am 
> > NOTE:  There is another club on Avenida Tulum not far from La Candela,
unfortunately we did not go there and I have forgotten the name.  Ask
around if you go and report back. :)

> > Mambo Cafe - Plaza Las Americas (shopping mall) in the boonies!
> > Take bus R1 to Ave. Tulum & get a taxi for $15 pesos ($1.50 US), take
a cab back for $70 pesos ($7 US) .  Cover is $30 pesos ($3 US).  The
largest & best wood dance floor of any of the clubs.  Great bands : Cuban
or Puerto Rican.  Great decor, the ultimate in service, mild air
conditioning.  Band starts @ 11:30 or 12 am.  House music during breaks.
Dressy, predominately locals.  Open Thurs-Sun 11 PM - 4 am

> > Azucar  - Punta Cancun, Paseo Kukulklan, next to Camino Real Hotel
> > Take R1 or R2 bus, get off @ The Forum & walk 3 blocks to the end of
the point.   This is the newest salsa club- Cover is $35 pesos ($3.50 US).
Puerto Rican/Cuban bands.  Band starts @ 11-11:30 PM.  Very tropical,
flashy club.  Very dressy.  Small, wood dance floor.  DJ played a wide mix
of music; cha cha, meringue, house, salsa, rumba, bolero....You will need a
date for this club.  Great service, FREEZING air conditioning!  Bring a
sweater or coat.  Open Mon - Sun 10 PM - 4 am.

> > Batacha Tropical  - Paseo Kukulkan  
> > Take R1 or R2 bus & get off @ the Miramar Hotel.  Indoor-outdoor club.
No Cover.  Local band (very entertaining!). Band starts around 11:30.
Small wood dance floor.  You will sweat!  It it very warm here & you tend
to dance a lot! This is why this place was my favorite.  Casual dress. 
Lots of cumbia, meringue, house, world, bolero & salsa.  Not enough salsa
for my taste but this club always had the most & best dancers.  A broad mix
of people, both locals & tourists.  Open Tues - Sun 10 PM -  AM

> > What we liked about the clubs:

All personnel, managers, bartenders, and waiters gave excellent
service, were helpful, fun, nice & often danced with women who didn't have
partners if there was a shortage of single men, as there was at Candela and
Mambo.  The crowd at each club was there to dance and have a good time, not
to get drunk or cause havoc.  Men ALWAYS escort you back to your seat, many
pulling out your chair, and generally thank you more than once for the
dance.    98% of the men were extremely polite, gracious, appreciative,
attentive, and had fabulous old world manners (only ran into 2 rude men in
7 days!).  NO ONE drinks on the dance floor!  NO ONE stands on the dance
floor unless they are waiting for the next song.  Overall, I came away each
evening feeling great about my experience.

HELPFUL HINTS: Change money only at a bank,you get a better deal, or use
a credit card.  Do not use hotel phones for outgoing calls.  Pick up a
phone card at a market and use local phones.  They will save you $5 - $20.
A block away from the Continental Hotel was a cyber cafe.  Very cheap for
those who must check their home email.

I highly recommend visiting Cancun and plan on going again (maybe next
year).  Until then, see you on the dance floor.

Questions, comments, or additional information are most welcome.

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