Cancun From My View: Traveling Internationally During a Pandemic
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
One of the best parts of being a Travel Advisor is getting the opportunity to visit different countries and explore resorts by taking part in FAM Trips. FAM trips - aka "familiarization" in the travel agent world - are our opportunities as travel consultants to get an insider's look at specific resorts and destinations so we can bring the absolute BEST information to our clientele.
I had been jones-ing for a Cancun trip since I hadn't been there since last year in November, and I was also curious to get a first-hand look at how things are going during the Pandemic. Cancun also happens to be one of my top selling destinations as it's an adventure for everyone to enjoy from solo trips, family trips, girls trips, guys trips, destination weddings, honeymoons, etc., so when the opportunity to join in on the FAM trip arose, I didn't hesitate to press 'BOOK' and start packing my bags!
My adventure started with an early morning flight on Southwest Airlines on November 15th. Some people have a true disdain for early morning flights, but there are definite perks to flying early including short layovers and arriving at your destination early enough to enjoy the majority of the day on the beach or poolside. Nobody wants to waste an entire vacation day on traveling!
Southwest Airlines currently has the middle seat blocked and only serves water and light snacks due to social distancing on the flight. Of course you are free to bring your own snacks on the flights, but you cannot bring your own alcohol onboard to drink. Masks must be worn the entire time of your flight unless you are drinking or eating. Trust me, being put on the "DO NOT FLY" list is not a risk you want to take!
Pro Tip: Remember for International flights you have to be at the airport at least 2-3 hours before departure. This is always something I highlight for my clients when their final documents are ready. I have had friends get denied boarding because they weren’t checked in and waited an hour before departure to try to check-in. Talk about a disappointment!
The night before my flight I checked in for my flight on Southwest Airlines app and completed my Mexican Tourism Card online. Make sure you have your passport, resort and flight information nearby because you will need it in order to complete the Mexican Tourist Card online. Also, you will need a printer to print the form out. This form is also passed out on airlines if you're unable to complete it ahead of time (take a pen with you).
Pro Tip: Whether you do the tourism card online or on the flight, once you receive the bottom portion back from customs..DO NOT THROW IT AWAY!! You will need that when you get ready to leave and could be fined up to $500 if you don't have it.
There was no negative COVID test required for entry into Mexico, but they did do digital temperature checks as we entered through customs. Social distancing markers are on the ground for you to follow. The customs line was very short and getting through customs was a breeze only taking about 20 mins tops. I retrieved my bags and headed off to my private transfer.
If you’re visiting Mexico for the first time, here's a helpful tip for outside the airport: don’t make eye contact with the taxi driver stands or timeshare representatives - they’ll try to get you to book with them. Upon finding my transfer company, they provided hand sanitizer and a QR Code for communicating my return transfer. My bag was also sanitized before it was put inside the vehicle which was a very comforting touch!
Pro Tip: Download WhatsApp before you leave home for all communications when out of the country. Most transportation companies will also communicate with you via the app as they are very limited to being on the resorts.
My hosted resort for my FAM Trip was Temptation Resorts Cancun (full review blog coming soon!). However, no matter where you are staying, the bottoms of your shoes will be sanitized upon arrival, hand sanitizer is provided, and bags are also sanitized before being delivered to your room. All resorts require masks must be worn in all common areas, lobbies, restaurants, and when going to the pool and beach, but different resorts may have slightly different rules and occupancy percentages.
On Monday, November 16th my schedule was full of site visits in the Playa Del Carmen Area which has some of the prettiest blue water and white sands. One of our stops was the adults-only Live Aqua Beach Resort, which had a very modern look and feel. As we walked throughout the resort, the scents in the hallway provided that calmness/relaxation feeling that everyone wants to feel when they are on vacation. Upon check in, the resort completes temperature checks, sanitizes the bottom of your shoes and takes your luggage to be sanitized before it's taken to your suite.
Live Aqua has a hidden gem of a restaurant with breathtaking views of the ocean and white sand that all guests love. The higher the room category the better the view...lol! If you follow along on my Facebook or Instagram, I did a little teaser video of the Oceanfront Master Suite. I would've loved to stay and explore the resort more - an hour just isn’t enough time! - but we covered a lot of ground. The room has a separate living room and bedroom area which is a major plus and prevents you from feeling like you're standing on top of each other when in the room. The bathroom has a standalone soaking tub, and the bedroom is complete with King size bed and balcony with oceanfront views for watching the sunset/sunrise.
For the foodies, Live Aqua has 8 specialty restaurants onsite each offering different food options from sit down dinners at MB to grabbing a quick snack at Shore Bar. And I don’t know about you, but I am a huge Spa snob and enjoy taking full advantage of spa services while I'm on vacation. Live Aqua takes aromatherapy to the next level especially in the spa area. Feel Harmony Spa is a full service spa that includes massages, facials, hydrotherapy pool and other beauty services.
Pro Tip: No matter which resort you are at, most Spa Services are still not currently available due to COVID-19 protocols. Check with your resort or travel consultant for updates as your travel dates approach.
Live Aqua is a short ride from the airport (20mins) and sits across from La Isla Shopping Village, just steps from Luxury Avenue, the two most renowned shopping destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. Live Aqua values their relationships with Travel Advisors and we love them back for it!
At the end of my trip, once I arrived back at the airport, there was a QR code I had to scan which took me to a health questionnaire that I had to complete in order to get through security. Just as during my arrival, getting through customs was a fairly quick and easy process.
Overall, I felt incredibly safe during this 4 day/3 night trip and I was definitely impressed with the way the resorts we visited were enforcing sanitation and social distancing measures to keep everyone safe. This was a much needed getaway, especially after the year we've had! Check out the full photo gallery below!
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