Booking excursions through resorts in Mexico takes away a lot of the stress of vacation planning. Travelers can land in Cancun or Tulum and float directly onto a beach next to the bright blue Caribbean Sea. No need to worry about things to do in Puerto Vallarta; just wait to be swept into the ocean on a catamaran or jet ski. This is all possible with proper excursion planning. However, book the wrong excursion and those stress levels may just double.
Like any other aspect of travel, it’s important to do some homework first. We’ve made it easy by preparing this list of 15 things to know before booking excursions off the resort in Mexico. Now let’s take a look.
15 Resorts can’t guarantee excursion quality
A good resort will vet a company before sending over guests, but dips in quality can always happen. To ensure everything is up to par, check out independent reviews. While a boring excursion is probably the worst that you’ll encounter, excursions led by negligent staff can put lives at risk.
14 Plan the excursions yourself
Travelers who ditch the guides can create their own schedules that emphasize their interests. A little bit of Spanish and some research go a long way when planning your own excursions. Do still seek out a guide for activities that can be dangerous or that require official permission.
13 The dangers outside the resort are different
Resorts are often seen as safe havens in dangerous cities, yet excursions can put tourists right back into harm’s way. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported several instances in which a resorts’ failure to warn guests resulted in disaster. Research your destination instead of taking the resort’s word for it.
12 Group sizes change the atmosphere
Social people who like to be surrounded by lots of laughter and conversation will love going on excursions in big groups. Tourists seeking out calm settings should book with smaller groups. Excursions with fewer people are also preferable for those who want one-on-one time with the guides.
11 Equipment costs might be excluded
Sneaky surcharges for things like snorkel gear are added on at some resorts. Luckily, both of these items tend to come cheap. When excursions involve motorized vehicles like jet skis and catamarans prices begin to go up. Be careful to question the necessary equipment when budgeting for these trips.
10 Tour languages can vary day to day
English-speaking tour guides aren’t guaranteed unless stated. Often, the language depends on the schedules of staff. If the reason for booking an excursion rather than going it alone is to benefit from the knowledge of the locals, make sure to confirm you’ll be able to understand them first.
9 Many excursions are available in any country
Ordinary activities become more appealing once the chill vacation vibe sets in. Except booking these activities while on vacation may come with an exotic cost. Budget travelers should consider waiting until they’re back home if the excursion seems a little familiar. Take the opportunity to brighten up everyday life instead.
8 There are still some things only available in Mexico
Mexico’s best attributes can’t be captured within any resort. Step outside to discover the things that make this destination different from every other popular vacation spot. There are Aztec ruins, stunning landscapes, vibrant festivals, and a population considered one of the most welcoming in the world, according to Internations.
7 All-inclusive resorts fit some excursions into the price
Excursions that simply require guests to walk down to the resort’s private beach and hop on the provided equipment are often included in the price, according to Oyster. Activities that call for tour guides, transportation, and extra labor are the ones that get excluded. Even at all-inclusive resorts.
6 Some excursions can eat up the whole day
Excursions adhere to their own strict schedules. Guests might find themselves bored after spending 5 hours on the beach. On the other hand, walking tour guides can interrupt easygoing shoppers before they’ve had enough time to look around. Consider opting out of provided transportation to counter this concern.
5 You can do too much
No one wants to come back from their vacation more tired than when they left. Leave yourself some room to breathe. Other than the exhaustion factor, excursions that run on the easygoing vacation atmosphere can return tourists home late. If activities were planned back to back, you might miss out.
4 Don't forget to appreciate what the resort has to offer on-site
One reason to choose a resort over a hotel is the available amenities. Take some time to enjoy the spa, arcade, or whatever else the resort has to offer. Even a day spent in the hotel chowing down on room service in a soft bed can be delightful.
3 Meals can make the difference in terms of value
The promise of dinner after a strenuous excursion is enough to allure some travelers into booking. Especially on excursions that take guests to high-rated restaurants. However, if the food is included in the price, you might end up eating warm cold cut sandwiches instead of Cancun’s finest enchiladas.
2 Sudden changes in weather can clear your schedule in an instant
Mexico’s best destinations are in its tropical regions where the rain comes down hard, says TripSavvy. Don’t depend on resort-sanctioned excursions to occupy each day if the thought of a dull moment sounds frightening. We recommend coming up with a backup plan that works in any weather just in case.
1 Getting there can be the hardest part
When transportation isn’t included with an excursion, guests can depend on taxis, combi buses, and bicycles instead. Even if transportation is included, knowing these options is important. They give guests the ability to decide to leave a boring excursion early or stay longer to spend more time doing something special.