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This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the
Club Baccara in Cancun, Mexico.
There were four ceiling fans and central air. There was colorful original art, lots of windows in unique shapes (creative use of light), privacy doors for the bedroom, and cleverly, the bathroom had two doors – one from the bedroom and one from the living room.
The lobby is airy and colorful. One side has a seating area and the other has bar tables, a billiards table, and some chess tables. There is a circular bar in the lobby and a few steps up is their Avanti restaurant, which overlooks the ocean. The entire resort is spotless (we noted daily pool cleanings) and it is apparent the employees take great pride in Baccara. If you love color and eclectic furnishings, you will love this place.
There are no elevators and a lot of steps. You will definitely get your exercise staying here. We were glad for the exercise, but this is not a good place to stay if you have difficulty getting around. Similarly, because of all the steps, it may not be a good option for families with toddlers.
The resort offers two restaurants. Studebaker's is an "American-themed" restaurant that serves lighter fare. Avanti is their more formal restaurant and overlooks the ocean. In addition, Baccara has a beach bar that also serves food and drinks during the day.
We had three breakfasts at Baccara – one at Studebaker’s and two at Avanti. They have the same menu for breakfast. Lori enjoyed scrambled eggs with their tasty pico de gallo, and Keith mostly went for eggs over easy accompanied by ham. They make these wonderful fried potatoes stuffed with cheese and onion.
We ate a few lunches at the resort. On the first day we had some tortilla chips with refried beans, cheese, and pico de gallo down at the beach bar. Two other days we had hamburgers at the beach bar. On our final day, as we were waiting for our transportation to the airport, Keith had a club sandwich and Lori had a thinly-pounded chicken breast on a baguette. That meal started off with a bowl of tortilla chips and their wonderful pico de gallo.
An all-inclusive dining option is available. Generally we don’t opt for all-inclusive, as we like to experience the flavors of the area where we are staying. All of the food we had was good and the service was great. Room service is also available. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, they set up a wine and cheese buffet in the lobby for a single price (we weren’t around to indulge, but the spread looked divine).
There are three bars: the beach bar, the lobby bar, and the bar at Studebaker’s (which is actually down a level right on the street in front of the resort). They had a decent selection of drinks, and the service was truly exemplary.
The resort is beautiful, and the people are even better! From the moment we first walked into the lobby upon our arrival and were greeted by a warmly smiling Gabriella, who started us off with a drink, we knew we were in for a very special experience. Baccara only has 20-something suites, so the staff came to know us by first name and by our room number quickly. They were happy to help us in any way possible, to reserve trips, make restaurant reservations, make recommendations for shopping, etc.
We enjoyed the company of Marcos, who spent a bit of time making sure we had a great experience. Baccara’s staff work hard to see that their guests have a good time. At 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, we had something weird happen – the plumbing in our bathroom began making ungodly, extremely loud noises, which we thought was probably air in the pipes. We tried flushing the toilet and running the water, to no avail, so we called the front desk at 3:15. There was a plumber and security guard in our room within minutes. They tried to fix it, but recognizing they would be making a bit of noise, they turned off the water in the bathroom and told us they would be back first thing in the morning to fix it. True to their word, they returned (the plumber and security guard) around 8:45 and the problem was taken care of. We noted that whenever someone who was not a direct employee of Avalon Resorts (who owns Baccara and other resorts) needed to enter the room, they were accompanied by a security guard. Even though it was a small resort, security was always present, strolling the grounds, ensuring that only Avalon guests were using the facilities. There was only one small hiccup – at 8:30 Friday morning we awoke to our phone ringing, and the front desk wanted to know if they could get in to clean the windows. This was pretty early for Cancun – some of our fellow guests didn’t rise until near noon. Keith told them after we had a chance to wake up and get out of the room and get some breakfast. This was out of character compared to the rest of what we experienced while we were there.
We highly recommend this resort. If you are looking for a huge place with lots of rooms and people, then this is not the place for you. But if the thought of staying in a stylish hacienda and having your every wish attended to appeals to you, then this is definitely the place. We loved it and would definitely go back.
Cancun is a Caribbean destination, which means you can expect lots of sparkling blue water (actually the Gulf of Mexico, although there are some strong waves), water sports, and beaches. But Cancun is also not far from ancient ruins.
Chichen Itza - Web Site on Chichen Itza
Oscar took us on a walking tour until 1:30 and it was very impressive and amazing. We definitely felt the reverence of the place. At 1:30 we were left to our own devices and told to return to the bus at 2:30 and no later than 3. We walked around a bit more and then headed back to the entrance plaza. You may note no mention has been made of food – we decided to get a bite to eat. There were some stragglers, but we left Chichen Itza shortly after 3 on our way to “lunch” in the nearby town of Piste. It was a huge restaurant designed for buses. Gates closed around the bus so locals selling their wares could not enter the courtyard. The meal was included in the price for the day but drinks were extra. Some local women and children danced for us, including balancing beer bottles and trays on their heads – which was entertaining.
After eating so we opted for a side tour to Ik Kil, a sacred well a few kilometers away. The grounds were beautiful and we had the chance to walk down into the well. We understand that people used to be allowed to swim in Ik Kil. However, due to deterioration, the park has closed the lower layers to tourists, so swimming is no longer allowed.
We picked up the remainder of the group back at the restaurant at 5 p.m. (and again there were some stragglers who just couldn’t get enough of haggling over prices with the locals) and headed back to Cancun. We were dropped off at our hotel at 7:15. Chichen Itza is definitely worth the trip. The tour we took cost $50 per person. There are likely more expensive and less expensive tours. We feel four hours could have been cut off this trip. If you go, be sure to wear light-weight light-colored clothing, sturdy walking shoes (sneakers or hiking boots – no sandals or high heels), and be sure to keep yourself hydrated. The ruins are inland and it is hot and humid there. Also, we would not recommend this trip for children under 10. There were some young children on the bus, and the parents could not use the stroller because of the uneven ground. It is a long day for kids, with little food provided, so if you do take kids, be sure to take food and drink for them.
There are a lot of other attractions in the Cancun area as well. Another Mayan city, Tulum, is a short drive down the coast. Tulum does not contain the large pyramid as Chichen Itza does, but it is still impressive.
Also, there is a "natural aquarium" called Xel Ha (procounced: "shell ha"). The snorkeling is fantastic. Snorkelers are required to shower before entering so no suntan lotions get into the water.
Lorenzillo's - Blvd. Kukulcan Blvd., Km. 10.5, Cancun 883-1254
Cambalache - Forum by the Sea, Kukulcan Blvd., Km. 9, Cancun 883-0897
La Destileria - Kukulcan Blvd., Km. 13, Cancun 885-1086
We were served freshly-made tortilla chips with a bean medley and red and green sauces. Keith requested their hottest sauce, which was served with a warning – it was indeed hot. We were also served warm rolls with cream cheese inside that was wonderful, but not melted. (How did they do that?) We split their cheese fondue, which we put into tortillas with pico de gallo. Lori had shrimp three ways: two done tempura style with different heat chiles, and shrimp sautéed with avocado sauce and served with frizzled potatoes. Keith tried his first ever chicken mole. For those of you who have never had it, mole is a very complex sauce with over 35 ingredients and spicy/chocolate finish. His portion was huge and wonderful. Out waiter explained they like to tear it up and eat it in corn tortillas, which Keith did – and declared the taste sensation heavenly. It was a great dining experience which we savored and will remember with great pleasure!
Lorito Joe's - Kukulcan Blvd., Km. 14.5, Cancun 885-1536
Margaritaville - Plaza Flamingo, Kukulcan Blvd., Km. 12, Cancun
Maria Bonita - Hotel Zone, next to Hotel Camino Real, 848-7000
Porterhouse Grill - Hotel Zone, Next to Hotel Avalon Grand, Blvd. Kukulcan 11.5 848-9311
There are plenty of nightclubs available in the Hotel Zone and many of them don’t even open until after we went to bed some nights! We noted there were several where you can pay one price at the door and have the run of the bar. Some bars let ladies drink for free or let them in with no cover. Our sole late night was at Pat O’Brien’s. Beware the drink maidens bearing sweet but powerful shots. Rest assured, if you are in Cancun for nightlife, they’ve got you covered.
We learned it was actually cooler than usual while we were in Cancun. Some days when the sun went behind clouds it was a little chilly, but most days were in the 80s and nights were in the 70s Fahrenheit. The Gulf of Mexico water was warmer than the pool. We had a few brief spots of rain two separate days, but it was mostly sunny and pleasant.
Take plenty of sun protection. The sun is hot and burns quite quickly. We are big proponents of bug spray, but we forgot ours, and didn’t suffer any bites. The public buses are a great and easy way to get around. Be sure to have pesos. Each trip was 6 pesos per person (approximately 60 cents in USD). The two of us could take a bus as transportation to dinner for 24 pesos (approximately $2.40 USD), which was a lot cheaper than a taxi. If we had chosen to go to downtown for dinner, we would have taken a taxi. We walked as much as possible, so be sure to take comfortable walking shoes – for us, that meant sneakers, good sturdy sandals, and deck shoes.
Beware the timeshare salespeople disguised as those providing tourist info. In fact, every “Tourist Info” stand we saw was actually staffed by people selling timeshares. We got hit in the Cancun airport as soon as we arrived – a man in a booth motioned us over and asked to see our luggage stubs and then proceeded to provide us with “helpful hints” about our visit to Cancun, then went into the hard sell. If you are interested in purchasing a timeshare and don’t mind wasting some time, then go for it, but we work too hard for our vacation time to spend it listening to salespeople.
American dollars are accepted nearly everywhere but be aware things may cost you a little more if you use dollars in lieu of pesos.
It seems more places are filtering their water, but don’t be foolish. Drink plenty of bottled water. Remember that ice cubes – unless they come from filtered water – can give you a good dose of Montezuma’s revenge. For the first 3 days, we drank only bottled water, wine, beer (not on tap but out of bottles or cans), and liquor that was straight and not mixed with anything. Gradually we recognized that some restaurants were “USDA compliant” and we ordered some mixed drinks, but do be careful. Do not even use the water from the bathroom sink for brushing your teeth or rinsing your toothbrush – use purified or bottled water. Why this may seem like a pain, it is worth it to stay healthy and enjoy your vacation.
Most importantly, enjoy your trip to Cancun. We sure did!