CANCUN, Mexico – Travel Agent is on site for the Cancun Travel Mart Mexico Summit, which kicks off with an opening ceremony tonight. Tomorrow, the first day of the trade show, is when the real news is expected to surface. So, be sure to follow of our coverage of this event that concludes on Friday. In the meantime, here’s a few Mexico selling points we came across since we arrived on Monday afternoon.
Xcaret Park, A Gem for Families Visiting Mexico
On our second day here, Cancun’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau took us and other media to Xcaret to spend a day at what is arguably Mexico’s best attraction for families, Xcaret Park. Located about a little more than an hour drive from Cancun, this park offers a little of everything from Jaguar Island, where guests can view the park’s jaguars and pumas, to the Regional Wildlife Breeding Farm, an area filled with hundreds of birds and different species of regional wildlife, some of which are in danger of extinction.
Your clients can experience other wonders such as the Coral Reef Aquarium followed by a display of some of the largest sea turtles they’ll ever see. Clients can also catch a glimpse of some parrots and pink flamingos as soon as they enter, can opt to swim with the dolphins and, at night, can watch the Xcaret Mexico Spectacular, in which 300 performers display as much authentic Mexican traditions as they can cram into two hours.
We watched the show last night and couldn’t get enough, from the live music to an exhibition game of the traditional Mayan Ball Game, or “Pok ta’ pok,” a mythical sport that goes back 1,000 years. Our favorite part of the show, however, was the Burning Ball Game, or “Uarhukua,” a game that could be best compared to hockey except there’s no ice and the puck is substituted with a rubber ball. Oh, by the way, the rubber ball is then set on fire and the competitors takes turns whaling the fire ball with a wooden stick past the other team’s goal.
Coming in at a close second was the Papantla Flyers, four men of Totonacan blood who descend from the top of the “Universal Tree,” located about 30 meters from the ground. The park also offers an array of interactivity including snorkeling and the Underground Rivers, which we took part in. This is highly recommended and perfectly safe. We strapped on a bright pink life jacket, the only uncool part of the venture, and let the light current drift us all the way to the other side, spending primarily the entire swim underground. You can choose to rent a snorkel and mask and admire the river floor or you can do what we did and simply float the entire way on your back, getting lost in the limestone formations on the ceiling and the fossil encrusted walls.
There are 1,500 staff members at the park and guides are available all day for tours. It is open from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. The evening show, however, begins at 7 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. Basic admission is $69 a person. The Xcaret Plus admission is $99 a person and includes lunch and access to exclusive areas and the Basica Con Cena admission is $114 and includes lunch, dinner and exclusive access. We recommend agents call Viangy Rocha, media relations for Xcaret, at 011-52-984-871-5200. Xcaret Park is offered through most major U.S. tour operators selling Mexico.
A Tour of Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa
We skipped a complimentary spa treatment to write about our site inspection of Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa, so we sure hope it’s information you’ll find helpful in selling Cancun. Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa has been a Cancun mainstay since it opened nearly 10 years ago. In fact, our guide, Adriana Vega, public relations coordinator, told us the property is planning a 10-year anniversary celebration in December to coincide with Christmas and plans to offer client incentives.
The hotel is home to 213 rooms, 26 of which are suites. It is ideal for families and business travelers, Vegas told us. At the moment, however, warn clients that another hotel is being built directly next door. The pool area of the hotel was a bit noisy and could be a distraction for clients looking to relax in the sun, but once inside, we couldn’t hear a sound.
The property has six categories, with the best coming in the form of the Presidential Suite. We didn’t have an opportunity to see it but can still tell you that it comes with two bedrooms— one with a king bed and one with two double beds. The master bedroom includes a Jacuzzi. The suite also has a living room, a dining room, two sofas and a 32-inch flat-screen TV. We recommend the room for small private dinners and receptions since it has 2,000 square feet a 300-square-foot balcony.
The rooms we did see were room #626, a Deluxe Room, and room #802, a Meridien Suite. The Meridien Suite has a balcony, a separate bedroom with a king-size bed or double beds, and a separate living room with two sofas. The Deluxe Room was also impressive as it comes with a balcony, the option of either two double beds or one king size bed and a 32-inch flat-screen TV.
The hotel is also home to a spa with 14 treatment rooms, two of which are for couples massages. The spa is also home to a steam room and a relaxation room, which can be used for a $20 charge. This fee is separate from the massage fee. Agents should call Tanya Velazco, sales manager, at 011-52-998-881-2200, ext. 2208.