Let’s go to the other border – that’s south of the border – sunny Mexico. Is an all-inclusive worth it?
Ah… a trip south of the border.
As a kid growing up in Canada this usually meant driving down to the USA for all kinds of sugar cereals that weren’t available in the Great White North. But now that I’m a grownup, I’m allowed to go all the way to the other border – that’s south of the border – sunny Mexico.
My wife and two kids (ages 11 & 13) flew down to Ixtapa, Mexico for a week at Club Med on the Pacific Coast. Club Med is located just north of Ixtapa on a beautiful stretch of beach with waves big enough for bodysurfing at certain times while giving smooth seas for kayaking at other times.
To say that Club Med has a nice spot on the beach is a huge understatement.
Being an all-inclusive resort, Club Med served up food all of the time. It was like going to a five star restaurant for every meal which happened to be buffet style with tables overlooking a gorgeous ocean view. Also, the staff would bring treats such as nachos and ice cream to you around the pool.
That never got old.
The staff (known as “GO’s” which means “gentil organisateur”) are crazy enthusiastic people who you will enjoy getting to know. The same GO who gives you tennis lessons in the morning might also be on your water polo team noon, join your family at dinner and be dancing on stage in one of the many nightly shows.
There’s an almost endless list of activities to take part in at Club Med.
From sailing and tennis to kayaks and circus trapeze, your family will have lots of options. My wife and I took salsa dancing lessons followed by an introduction to yoga (note: yoga is surprisingly hard; I wanted to give up after 20 minutes but I was determined to keep up with the 60 year old woman beside me who was clearly having no trouble at all; I figured if I passed out I would at least be quite limber and relaxed).
Both the ocean and the pool were easy to jump into.
Here’s what I mean: you know when you have to psych yourself up to jump into water because you know it’s going to be shocking and not very comfortable (ie. when others say “It’s fine once you get in!”)? This is not a problem at Club Med Ixtapa. The water in both is warm and wonderful. My wife said it was her happiest pool experience ever. Oh, and you can enjoy your fancy free drinks while still in the pool (my kids loved this).
So what tips can I give you about Club Med Ixtapa? How about this:
1. Go there. Soon.
2. When sampling the green Mexican sauce…
a little bit goes a long way. My face burned for 10 minutes after eating a chimichanga with that sauce, and 8 hours later I experienced the same burning sensation elsewhere south of the border on my body (those chewable Pepto-Bismol tablets were a wise thing to bring).
3. Learn the language.
It’s easy to use a free app like Duolingo and pick up some Spanish to try out. Even if you sound like an idiot, the effort is much appreciated by the locals.
4. Get pesos ahead of time from your bank.
Though tipping is not permitted at Club Med, it’s ok to leave something for your housekeeper plus you might want to do some shopping outside of the resort. Go to your bank at least 2 weeks before leaving town and order some Mexican currency known as pesos (and ask for some smaller denominations such as 20’s and 50’s).
5. Get a speedo. Or not.
I seriously considered getting a speedo because of how sore my inner thighs got after two days of playing in the salt water and sand. My board shorts were not helping and I saw lots of guys wearing speedos who were in far worse physical shape than me. But in the end I decided against wearing a speedo because I didn’t want to be known as “that speedo guy from Canada”.
For my next trip I discovered No Netz bathing suits. It’s the new kind of men’s bathing suits that are absolutely amazing and you are guaranteed to not have a rash. I will never go back to the old style bathing suit after discovering No Netz.
Vacations are too important to have ruined by a bathing suit rash.
My family agrees that our trip to Club Med Ixtapa exceeded our expectations in every way and we’re planning to return. Hope to see you there. I’ll be the guy speaking broken Spanish and rockin’ my new maple leaf speedo or wearing my No Netz.
“Guests choosing to vacation at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific can stay at the No.1 Top Hotel in Mexico for Families as ranked by Trip Advisor. Guests will enjoy spacious family rooms and activities from sailing and archer to the flying trapeze and salsa lessons. For a more relaxing experience, couples can dine at one of three restaurants, sip on a cocktails under the stars, lounge by the pool or indulge in the full-service spa”. Club Med Ixtapa Pacific website
Some Photo Credit goes to: www.clubmed.com
Guest Blogger: Russ Smith (The Squirrel)
Besides spending time playing music and hanging with people at Camp Qwanoes, Russ Smith enjoys spending time with his family and getting out and travelling. He is also an official Traveling Islander from Vancouver Island, Canada. And for those folks who grew up in the early 1990s you might remember Russ as the lead singer of a band called Hokus Pick.