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Here's What It’s Like Traveling to Cancun and Riviera Maya Right Now

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 6/24/2020 Paul G. Smith
a cup of coffee and a glass of water on a beach: Drinks on the beach © Paul G. Smith Drinks on the beach

Over the course of the past three months that we have been at home in the Northeast, we have been canceling and rescheduling clients every day from their destination weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, milestone celebrations and just general vacations.

When the gateway opened and we had the opportunity to visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya, we jumped at the chance. On June 6, the Northeast was able to travel to Mexico.

Owning a travel agency over the last couple of months has been rather challenging – lots of cancellations, lots of moving trips and frankly having to work from home. It’s also tough when there’s a lot of money going out and not a whole lot of money coming in. The worst part about it is that we were having our best year ever going into this, and it just shut the door. I’m sure many of the people reading this are feeling the same thing.

When Sally Jane Smith, the owner, president and chief executive officer of TravelSmiths, heard the word that the doors were opening, we had to go down to Riviera Maya and see how they were handling the new protocols for dealing with COVID-19.

We called a few of our valued travel partners—Lomas Travel, AM Resorts, El Dorado and Generations Resorts by Karisma, UNICO, the Fives Hotels, Palace Resorts, Barcelo—to see if we were available to do site inspections and see their safety protocols.

Flight and Airports

We flew out of Philadelphia with 48 people on a 737 plane. Everyone wore their masks; there was no alcohol being served on the American Airlines jet; we were handed a bag with a bottle of water, pretzels and of course a handy wipe, and we were asked to keep our masks on except for when we were eating.

The plane was nearly empty, so everyone could have had their own row. We arrived in the Cancun airport and walked off the jet, into the airport and through the scanner where they checked our temperatures. We only had carry-on bags, so we headed towards the doors, where we were stopped by customs and asked if we had any alcohol or tobacco.

After getting through screening and walking through the doors, we immediately found our Lomas team, were greeted with open arms—with social distancing of course—and were off in our Lincoln Navigator to our first destination. Prior to departing, our team at Lomas showed us their entire cleaning protocol. Spotless!

Arriving at Our First of 13 Hotels

Our temperatures were immediately checked; we were offered hand sanitizer; they sanitized our shoes, and we were told that the bags would be sanitized if we were checking in.

We began the site inspection, and the property was only at 12 percent occupancy, which for anyone is pretty thin. They were hoping to be at 30 percent by the weekend.

Unfortunately, the Mexican government is only allowing a maximum of 30 percent of total occupancy at this time.

Over the course of seven days and six nights we visited 13 different properties, did two hardhat tours and had more fantastic meals than you can imagine. We were greeted by owners, general managers, assistant managers, sales teams, head chefs and butlers.

Our travel partners were so excited to have us view their safety protocols, try the food, experience the service and view how clean everything is. All the hotels now have a new app that allows guests to scan a QR code and download the menus at the restaurants. They are ready to receive guests now!

We found some hidden gems, some new rising stars and our consistent favorites who were ready to go, but we also got to experience one of the most beautiful beaches in the world all by ourselves.

All of the hotels we visited are taking the COVID-19 protocols very seriously. All the staff at all of the resorts are wearing masks; the good thing is that they are not requiring guests to wear masks. As it turns out, the Mexican government has closed the beaches to the Mexican people, but the resorts we visited are allowing their guests to go into the water.

We can tell you that if you were planning on getting away, especially after being trapped in your home for several months, now’s the time to go. Call your travel advisor to get there. It’s amazing how quick you are in and out of the airports, and there’s very little traffic on the highways, so getting to and from your resort is quick and easy.

The one thing that travelers need to know is that when you are leaving and just about to go into the security screening, you need to download an app and show that you have taken the questionnaire. It is rather difficult if you do not have an internet connection, and the internet at the Cancun airport is not great.

Coming home, there were only 20 passengers in coach heading back to Philadelphia.

The most interesting thing was that security screenings were more in-depth. There are fewer passengers traveling; therefore, they are able to screen a greater percentage of passengers.

You’re still going to have more than enough time to get into your seat, put up your luggage and travel home.

And right now Mexico is on sale, and it's ready to handle the volume.


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