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All Inclusive Travel to Cancun: Sun Palace & Xplor Adventure Park

When December 21 rolled around, I was pretty excited that the Mayans were completely wrong about the world ending. That meant that we could celebrate the non-existent year in the place where it was all supposed to end, which is kind of a nice paradox.

However, around 8 PM last night, I began to believe that the Mayans were just off by a week. When we came back to the main lobby from dinner, we walked into darkness and a stage where a policeman and Iron Man were addressing a room full of guests. Apparently, there had been a power outage in the entire area due to an accident, so they were going to help us get through it with entertainment. At least it wasn’t the Mayans.

For a couple of hours, we sat in the lobby area, listening to the house band and watching people dance to Gangnam Style (this is not the song I’d like to play me out of this world, for the record).  It’s at that point, as I watched the policeman break out every move to the song, that I realize he was not actually a real policeman. This comforted me a little less.

It’s also around that time, and I’m not sure if it was the food or the fact that I hate the song Gangnam Style so much that it repulses me, that I began to feel terrible. As the night progressed, I realized that I had food poisoning. Now I’ve crossed off everything on the “Must Do in Mexico” list, including “get incredibly sick from the food.” Since I’m really into authentic experiences and making sure I try everything out firsthand for you, dear clients and readers, I took this one for the team.

Just kidding. I say all of this to say that getting sick in Mexico does happen and I wasn’t smart about what I ate (it’s day 4 so I was a little cocky and got adventurous with my meal choice and that was just dumb), but it’s not a reason to avoid traveling here – the country has plenty to offer besides food poisoning and we experienced that within the past 48 hours.

Just a few hours prior to this almost-world-ending-night, we celebrated the first day of the year with a day at the beach. Instead of staying at our resort, we decided to explore (hopefully my family won’t notice that this means I disregarded everyone’s advice and went off property) by hopping the complimentary shuttle between the Palace Resorts in the area. I’d also like to take this time to tackle another stereotype in Mexico: we are two girls in our early twenties traveling by ourselves and at no point have I felt uneasy or unsafe. It’s been totally fine and I wouldn’t let that stop me from going to Cancun.

The Palace shuttle runs to Beach Palace, Sun Palace, and Wet n Wild. Since Moon Palace has had quite the number of families running around, we thought we’d escape to the adults only option: Sun Palace (and God knows we had no desire to go to Wet n Wild).

Oh my goodness – it was heaven. The beach was breathtaking, the hotel itself was gorgeous, and the crowd was amazing, except for that awkward moment when you realize you’re in a crowd of only couples with your best friend and you question if maybe you should’ve stuck back at the family resort. Other than that, and the fact that the revolving door was electronic so I actually got stuck in it (I have bruises on my arms. That door bear hugged me), the resort was over the top fabulous and a great way to begin a new year.

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This morning, we had already booked an excursion to Xplor, an adventure park in Playa Del Carmen, that includes zip lining, swimming and rafting in an underground cave, and riding in an amphibious ATV. After battling food poisoning all night and barely being able to keep toast down, I couldn’t think of a better thing to do than swing through the air at accelerated speeds, so we pressed on with the tour (that and we couldn’t get our money back at this point).

By the time we reached Xplor, I was feeling a little more tip-top, so we started off with the underground river swim. The water was freezing. I questioned our judgment and asked Kayla, “WHY did we choose this over sitting on the beach for our last day in Cancun?!”

Neither of us could come up with an acceptable answer. After we proved to be the fastest and strongest swimmers on the planet, we took our skills over to the river rafting area, where we were given small paddles that made me feel like an otter, except less coordinated. We tried to paddle around and eventually just pushed ourselves off of the cave walls (did I mention we’re in a cave?! There are stalactites and stalagmites, which are the only two words I remember from my 6th grade science class).

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After hours of being underground, we emerged like mole people into the sunlight and made our way to the zip lines, which we were told would take approximately two hours per course (there are 2 courses). This lengthy zip line is well worth the price you pay to go to Xplor – most zip lines cost close to the same price – and it includes water landings, water dips, and even a water slide (which I was very confused about at first. I couldn’t find where to fasten my harness until the guide looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “It is a water slide. You sit down and slide on it”).

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The zipline even had the option to go down as a pair, which Kayla and I did until we realized how close zip lining together gets you. Seriously the closest I’ve ever been to my best friend. Ever. It was a little weird, we both admitted.

Once we finished with the zipline, we decided to complete the fourth and final activity: the amphibious ATV track. Kayla drove because I would’ve had a panic attack driving something like that, although I still had a panic attack during the ride. The twists and turns in that course were out of control – every photo taken by Xplor’s well-placed cameras was of me freaking out (we would’ve bought said photos had they not cost as much as our day at the park).

After a very long, tiring day, we made our way back to the property for the first uneventful night that we’ve had here, which is kind of a nice break (and we’re finally getting a chance to order that complimentary room service!). Unfortunately, it was also our last night in Cancun – the trip flew by and we are very sad to leave and return to reality. 2013 has been great so far, can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

I’ll be posting all next week a more in-depth review of the hotels we visited, so be sure to like my Vacations and Honeymoons by Lindsey Facebook page and follow me on Twitter (@lindsey_epperly) to keep up with the details!

Lindsey Epperly

My name is Lindsey Epperly and I’m a travel consultant and owner of Epperly Travel, a national affiliate of Century Travel. I’m most passionate about building lifelong relationships with my clients and suppliers, discovering the globe in a way that makes me a better agent, and celebrating with my team when we reach a new milestone. One of our core values at Epperly Travel is to create fun and celebrate constantly – and I’m fortunate to be in a career that allows me to do just that. I’m proud to announce my recent achievements: landing a spot on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List as their Caribbean expert, being nominated for Virtuoso’s Rising Star Award and receiving a place on Jezebel Magazine’s Trailblazing Ten list.

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