A November to Club Med Cancun

November 2016

The Set-up

After our visit to Club Med Turkoise in October and the disappointment over the sailing equipment and conditions, we decided to try Cancun in the fall. All our previous trips to Cancun had been in the spring so we thought we'd see what it was like in November and also see if they still had some of our favored Hobie 16 sailboats. We quickly put together our flights on Delta and Steve at Mill Travel took care of the Club Med arrangements with his usual efficiency and speed.

Getting there and back

Our flights were comfortable and on time on both directions. Transfers between the airport and the Club Med village were included but there was significant confusion (chaos?) at the ground transportation area of the airport and there was no good indication of who to see or where to go for the transfer. We eventually found the right person and we were soon on our way with just the two of us in a large SUV. On the transfer back to the airport our printed instructions said to meet our driver in front of reception at 1:30, so we showed up at 1:25 only to find our driver was about to leave without us as he had been told to pick us up at 1:15.

The Cancun airport is large and modern, but still has its share of chaos.

The Cancun airport does not assign gates until the inbound flight arrives, so when departing you have to keep watching the flight information screens to know where your flight will be departing from.

Around the village

Our last visit to this village had been about 3.5 years previous but not a lot had changed in that time. The village square had been freshened up some and some other minor tweaks. Probably the biggest change was the new building with rooms for GM families along the sailing beach and the facilities related to this. We were in the Opal building about half way between the village center and the sailing area, which worked fine for us. We did see more children around the village than we saw on our last visit. Our visit was the week before Thanksgiving week, so perhaps some families were getting an early start on the holiday. The grounds and landscaping at Cancun are very lush and the humid tropical conditions are hard on the buildings so there were always people working on something, whether trimming the plants or painting the buildings, there was constant maintenance.

The main beach, and looking up the Cancun strip.

Our room on the first floor of the Opal building was the basic Club Med room here and was comfortable and well maintained. It was not big or fancy but had a nice balcony which was handy for drying wet clothes but generally too warm to relax on. The rooms have been renovated several times and ours was modern and attractive with the expected amenities like a safe, hair drier, coffee pot (which I don't think we ever used) and a nice bathroom (shower only, no tub, but it is a very nice shower).

Food and Drink

There are three restaurants: The main restaurant (all buffet) La Hacienda is just off the village center, the Polynesian style Las Cazuelas (all buffet, but with a more Mexican food style) is adjacent to the sailing area and La Pergola is an Argentinian style steakhouse sited on the point of land in front of the village.

Inside Las Cazuelas for an early breakfast.

We ate most meals in the main restaurant but enjoyed afternoon drinks at the Las Cazuelas bar and also ate breakfast or lunch there several times (the restaurant section, not the bar). La Pergola is by reservation only and we got reservations twice. The first evening we went there we asked one of the sailing GOs to join us at the last minute and we were able to get him in with us. The second time we did the same thing only with two sailing GOs. We enjoyed the meals with the GOs, although with four people seated at a table for 2 or 3 it meant we were a little tight for space.

In the main restaurant there were several serving stations manned by the chefs preparing the food.

Overall, we though the food was very good; certainly better than at the Turkoise village, although probably still a notch or two below Columbus Isle. The chefs did seem to go a bit easy on the spices, especially on some of the Mexican dishes, but the variety, presentation and taste of the food was very good. The meals and the service at La Pergola were especially good with very tasty steaks.

The "house wines" were drinkable but certainly nothing special. We did purchase better wine at La Pergola and the last night at the main restaurant when we had a number of GOs joining us.

The dessert table at the main restaurant.

As mentioned, we usually ended our days of sailing by going next door to the bar at Las Cazuelas where the bartender mixed some very good drinks, although he did seem to like to put a good helping of lime in every drink. In the evenings we would generally go to the main bar at village center and have a glass of wine before dinner. Most evenings a couple of the sailing GOs would show up here and we would "buy" them some drinks and then we would go to dinner with a couple of them.


As we had hoped, the Cancun Club Med still had a couple of Hobie 16s, even if they were not in the best of shape. There were only a few other GMs who wanted to sail the 16s so we usually did not have to wait long to get one. There was one Hobie 16 sailor, Katherine, would go out on a 16 whenever she could get one and also, sometimes, get someone to go with her. She was not very big and the winds were blowing pretty good, so Katherine usually needed someone to go with her as "ballast". She was serious enough about sailing that she even had her own "hiking stick" (tiller extension) that she would put on a 16 prior to taking it out and then remove it when done.

A bunch of Hobie Waves sit idle while Katherine flies a hull of the 16 in the distance.

The conditions were pretty good for sailing most days although there was a little "chop" on the days with the best wind. On one end of the sailing area there is a reef and you have to be careful because the reef is hard to see in the waves but that area is where the best wind tended to be.

Short video of the sailing area.

There was a regatta (sailing race) one day and we decided to watch rather than participate and I think that was a good decision: it was more fun to watch. The "Armada" or Sailaway to another beach across the bay was cancelled because the wind was not favorable. From what I could see, I suspect the wind would seldom be favorable for this trip. Besides the two Hobie 16s they had about 8 Hobie Waves, the normal collection of kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and some generally old and rough windsurf equipment.

The GOs

We did not meet or get to know many GOs other than the sailing team, but they were a lot of fun. As usual, the sailing GOs were not real sure of our sailing ability until we got out on the Hobie 16 a couple of times. Once they realized we knew what we were doing and that we generally tried to help them out as much as we could, they always tried to help us and give us as many chances to sail as they could. I waited too long to write this review and cannot remember the names of all the sailing team, but I do remember Ragab (Chief of Sailing), Luis, Alejandro, and Eduardo.

Dinner with a couple of GOs at La Pergola.

All the GOs were good and were usually having fun but Eduardo was especially good at having fun: he had significant parts in a couple of shows and one night he showed up wearing shoes with LED lights on them. They did not just light up, but they changed colors and flashed in patterns. Eduardo got a lot of attention (and kidding) that night.

Eduardo and his (in)famous glowing shoes. Susan was amazed.

One thing that struck us was that most or all of the sailing GOs were well educated Mexicans. Most of them had some university degree, were well traveled and spoke English very well. They were friendly and there were usually several of them around for drinks before dinner and one or two of them usually accompanied us to dinner, either in the main restaurant or at La Pergola and, perhaps the most surprising part is that they actually seemed to enjoy hanging around with us old people!

This and That

As in much of the Caribbean lately, the sea weed was a problem in Cancun this year. All along the main Cancun beach the sea weed would wash up on the beach and the staff would try to rake it up every moprning.. The sea weed tended to pile up into one corner of the main Club Med beach and there would be a significant obnoxious order in that area while two hundred feet away, the beach and the air was clean and fresh.

We generally like to take a walk in the mornings after breakfast and before the sports activities start. At Cancun the main place to walk is to the Northeast along the main Cancun beach. Although it looks nice, it is not a good walking beach because there is a quite a bit of slope to the beach and the sand is the kind you sink down into, making it hard to walk.

All in all, a good and fun visit. I suspect we will be back again

Contact me via mike@hammocktree.us