Test your limits in paradise during an exhilarating stay at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.
Ichthyophobia—that’s the fear of fish, and I have it. I’ve had it since I was kneecap height, when my mom first took me to an aquarium. I was big-eyed, pressed so hard against the wall opposite the tanks I could have become a permanent fixture.
Fast-forward some decades and I am in a two-person speedboat skipping over waves in Cancun, Mexico. Our destination: the Punta Nizuc reef. Our purpose: to snorkel. I am shaking in my flippers when we put our boat in neutral. Buoys barricade the designated snorkeling zone. I lower myself into turquoise waters and breaststroke to where the rest of the fearless group dips their heads and collects views of octopuses and coral. Before I stick my goggle- and snorkel-equipped face in the water, two brown fish part and swim along my sides. “Nope, nope, nope!” I say through a clogged nose. I turn and head back to the boats.
After pulling myself out of the water and flopping back into my seat, I still feel a sense of accomplishment—like I did the night before, when I’d hopped on a karaoke stage for the first time. “There are no can’ts in Cancun,” a group member said, so I picked a Spice Girls song—yes, it required more screaming than singing, but hey, it counts.
Vacations conjure the adventurer in all of us. Maybe it’s a fear that we’ll never have the chance to do something again, or maybe it’s that we’re truly living in the moment.
It must be impossible to not to live in the moment on Cancun Island, caught between the Nichupté Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. During my stay at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, before I opened my eyes every morning, I’d have to wonder if the ocean was flooding my balcony—the sounds of the waves crashing seemed that close.
When I wasn’t running away from fish and torturing innocent restaurant-goers with my acoustics, I was in a cabana looking out onto the resort’s infinity pool, which seemed to run into the ocean—which seemed to run into the sky. Or, I was at the hotel gym taking a boxing class with the on-site trainer (who I later found out was named Mr. Mexico some years back). Or, of course, I was stuffing my face with tacos de canasta and churros, chased by frozen mango margaritas.
A trip to Cancun always grants a bit of the expected—Mexican fare, powdery sands, guaranteed tan lines and tropical sights—mixed in with some of the unexpected—local lunch spot discoveries, wildlife encounters and explorations of ancient Mayan temples. It’s this combination of the known and unknown that makes for a successful, memorable getaway.
When you go…
Your reservation: Book the JW Wellness Beach Retreat for fitness classes, a stress relief spa treatment and cabana rental; JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.
Where to eat: The JW Marriott Cancun offers nearly a dozen dining options. But, take a night to venture off site to Porfirio’s Restaurant where a Mariachi band may parade through the restaurant during dinner; Porfirio’s Restaurant
Where to rent your speedboat: AquaWorld Jungle Tour offers guided speed boat tours through the Nichupté Lagoon and snorkle equipment once you’ve arrived at the Punta Nizuc reef;AquaWorld Jungle Tour.