My Moon Palace Cancun Review #ThePalaceLife @palaceresorts #allinclusive #holiday

Hard to believe we’ve been home for Cancun three weeks as of today!

I’ve been pecking away at this review the past few weeks (and actually started drafting it while in Cancun) but having the Easter long weekend gave me time and incentive to finally finish it!

Here you go…

A Note on TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is the leading site for travel reviews but I’ve decided not to upload my review there.  I’m still a bit perturbed about them flagging my review last year because it had *one* external link to a charity site. I also don’t like that their interface doesn’t allow users to easily integrate photos and videos (as you’ll see below, I use *a lot* of photos to help illustrate what I’m saying.)  Worst of all, I know Trip Advisor has been accused of some questionable business practices that could have a direct impact on the safety of users of the site. (More discussion at MetaFilter.)  I know posting this review on my blog instead of Trip Advisor means fewer people will see it. But it also means that those who do find it are the hardcore researchers that a librarian like myself appreciates! 😉

A Note on TripAdvisor Reviewers
With that said, I do use TripAdvisor reviews when researching our holidays.  But I always try to take people’s reviews with a grain of salt, knowing they’re often as much a reflection of the person writing them as anything to do with the resort they’re reviewing.

Some people are pretty demanding and have high expectations for a holiday they’ve spent thousands on so might let the smallest things ruin their holiday – if the maid misses cleaning their room one day (probably because they left the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door!) or the food in an a la carte isn’t cooked to their exacting specifications.

Others are more easy-going and just happy to be on holiday, away from the ice and snow.  So things like tripping on water that sprayed in their room due to a slow-draining tub or being ripped off by a cabbie (both of which happened to us!) – don’t ruin their vacation but instead, might even become a memorable highlight!

(On a semi-related note, I might do a post about some of the more selfish, entitled behaviours I’ve witnessed at resorts over the years which shows when people are acting like they were the most important people in the resort instead of realising there’s a give and take in all aspects of being at a resort with hundreds and even thousands of other people.)

How We Ended Up At Moon Palace
I saw one article that said there are approximately 400 all-inclusive resorts across Mexico and the Caribbean.  So how do you choose?  I’ve detailed the full story elsewhere on this blog but in summary, we had chosen a completely different resort in a completely different country.  But while at my parent’s travel agent to book our trip, I ended up in a side conversation with the travel agent while my parents made a quick call to my sister to clarify a couple details.  I asked the travel agent which was her all-time favourite resort and she said Moon Palace.  She handed me a brochure and it looked pretty amazing.  By this point, my parents were off the phone and listening in.  The travel agent was in the midst of entering our other trip into their system but said “Why don’t you let me look up Moon Palace to see how it compares to the resort you picked?”.  Turns out it wasn’t going to be that much more money (maybe a few hundred bucks per week?) for a resort that appeared to offer a ton more – more restaurants, more pools, more amenities in general.  The travel agent was working off slightly dated information (she thought people staying at Nizuc/Sunrise could still go freely to The Grand which was the case when she’d been there but not when we were going to be there) but overall, it sounded like a great deal.  So without a lot of research or knowledge (which had every bone in my librarian body twitching!), we decided very spontaneously to switch to Moon Palace.  My parents booked through their travel agent, we booked through Expedia (which we use because of our Travel Visa) and six short months later, we were on our way!

One Other Clarification About Moon Palace
Perhaps the one thing that confused me the most is that Moon Palace once I got home and actually started researching is that it has three different resorts in one – Sunrise, Nizuc and The Grand – but people reviewing and talking about them often refer to them as a single, interchangeable resort which isn’t completely accurate.  People staying at The Grand can visit Sunrise and Nizuc, people staying at Nizuc can visit Sunrise (and vice versa) but people staying at Sunrise/Nizuc can’t visit The Grand without buying a day pass ($200 for adults, $100 for kids which equals $800 but, if paid with Resort Credits, works out to only $100 USD for a family of four.)  But, as I said, it was very common to see people talking about Nizuc/Sunrise/The Grand as a single resort and so it was easy to get confused about what was where – for example, I met one couple who thought the Kids Club with the dress-up/modeling catwalk for kids was at The Grand but it’s actually in the Sunrise kids club.  On top of all this, there is even a completely different resort not at Moon Palace which is also called Nizuc and can cause additional confusion when searching for reviews or information online.

Pre-Arrival 
Anytime we book a resort, I often fire off an email ahead of time to ask questions or make requests (eg. cot for second child.)  One sign that we’d picked a good resort was that I wrote to Moon Palace ahead of time using an email address I found on TripAdvisor and for perhaps the first time ever, I actually got a response!  I had inquired about pre-booking a couple milestone meals (a 70th birthday, a 15th wedding anniversary) at two of their a la carte restaurants that don’t normally take reservations and their staff were able to arrange this as well as providing answers to a couple other questions I had (to be fair, they either ignored or mis-understood a couple of my other questions but they were pretty inconsequential so I didn’t worry about it too much.)

Cancun Airport
We made it through the airport very quickly – our bags came off the conveyor right away plus Cancun Airport now have a system that pre-screens baggage so you don’t have to clear security like you used to in the old “Red Light/Green Light” days.  The only thing that slightly confused us at the airport was that the wayfaring path had changed and we came out of a different door than during other trips where we’d exit by Margaritaville, their outdoor bar. (In fact, we didn’t see Margaritaville at all – is it gone?)

Check-In
It’s the small things that Moon Palace excels at more than any other resort we’ve been to and check-in was part of this – when we arrived, we were given a cool towel and the two women in our party were given fresh flowers which started off our vacation on the right foot.

The next part wasn’t as good (though it was mostly my own fault.)  We were ushered to a private room instead of the front check-in desk.  This room was down a long hallway where we offered cocktails of our choice (yes please!) and then taken to a room that had food laid out, a smaller room with a table where our kids could sit while we were in a private office to check-in.

Unfortunately (and this is where over-researching can be a bad thing!), I had read so much online about Moon Palace trying to sell timeshares memberships that I kept thinking this is what was happening, even after the worker assured us that the people selling memberships were in the lobby and this was a legit check-in.  Even after getting our bracelets, I wasn’t sure and after walking out of the room, I went back in and wrote “No Timeshare Sale” on top of the paper I’d just signed because watching too many legal dramas on TV has taught me that a handwritten note after you’ve already signed something invalidates any deal! 😉

Anyhow, the person was telling the truth, no $50,000 membership has showed up on our credit card and it’s just unfortunate that I let what should’ve been a very unique and personalised check-in (still not sure why we didn’t go the front desk like others we saw check-in through the week – we hadn’t paid for any upgrades or special treatment and didn’t arrive at an unusual time – just mid-afternoon) ended up being a bit more stressful than it should’ve been.  Heck, instead of enjoying my first cocktail in Mexico, I got paranoid thinking they were giving me booze to loosen me up for a sales pitch! 😮

Bracelets
Speaking of bracelets, my parents who had arrived a week earlier with my sister and her family, had all been given regular bracelets while, for some unknown reason, my wife and I, checking into the exact same room that my sister’s family had just vacated, ended up with the bracelets that have RFID (?) chips in them.  This means you can use your bracelet to unlock your room instead of having to carry a room key.  This was *awesome* and so handy and another unique thing we loved about Moon Palace.  (We still got one regular key card for our 11-year old son since kids didn’t get these bracelets but he needed a way to come and go.)  The only issue is that we had a couple times during the week where the bracelets stopped working for some reason, necessitating a trip to the front desk to get them replaced.

The Room
We were in room #5511 on the second floor of the Nenufar building (I think all buildings – at least in Sunrise and Nizuc – have a “name” and a “number” and you can refer to them either way). One thing I had requested by email ahead of time was to be placed in an oceanfront building between Sunrise and Nizuc which they didn’t accommodate but this building was a nice compromise – a bit further back but still located centrally between the two resorts and still with a beautiful oceanview from the balcony.

Because of the size of Moon Palace overall, being between Sunrise and Nizuc is nice because you can still easily walk to both resorts (we were technically in Nizuc but steps from the inner-edge of Sunrise.)  One day, we walked to the furthest edge of Sunrise just to explore and another day, when we took out bikes and rode to the far edge of Nizuc.  Both times, we couldn’t believe how far away those outer buildings felt from the lobbies and main pools of each resort and how glad we were to be centrally located.

Resort Capacity
My parents and sister (who is married to a teacher) were at Nizuc during a school break.  I’m not sure how common this break is across Canada and the US but my folks commented on how much busier the resort was during the first week with my sister then the second week when we were there where we didn’t have problems finding pool chairs, rarely had to stand in line for restaurants and generally found the resort less busy overall (though our second week was also noticeably busier than the first.)  Different people online have reported how they’ll ask staff how close to capacity the resort was at and getting answers from 30-90% at different times (if those were even accurate).  But it made me wonder – would it be an advantage for resorts to post their annual capacity numbers publicly so that people might take into consideration booking during slower times if possible which might also help “spread the load” instead of having quieter weeks followed by busy weeks?  Some times are going to be unavoidably busy (right now is Easter Break which is consistent everywhere as the week after Easter Weekend.  So people coming during Easter break shouldn’t be surprised to find a resort at full capacity with the resulting lines for restaurants, battles for pool chairs, etc.)  Other things may impact the resort’s capacity in ways you can’t predict – if there’s a convention or a big concert or a massive wedding or some other special event.

(I have no idea if the Jurassic Park outdoor event was connected to the Mattel Toy Fair as I was unable to sneak in to either of them!  But if anyone from Mattel is reading this and wants to send me free samples, let me know!) 😉

The Spa
We purposely planned to do a massage at The Grand during one of our day trips there as we’d heard it was amazing.  And it was – almost unbelievable, especially considering access to everything including an hour and a half of using the facilities ahead of our scheduled massage time followed by a 60-minute side-by-side homeopathic massage cost us a whopping $50 USD by using resort credits.  (We also hadn’t booked ahead as we weren’t sure which day we’d go to The Grand so it was amazing they could even fit us in after their initial, raised eyebrow “Oh-oh! You didn’t book ahead?” comment!)  The only bad thing was we didn’t realise that the men and women’s sides were separate (duh!) so my wife and I did most of the activities – the sauna, the steam room, the ice room, the sensory showers, etc. apart.  I think my reference to showers probably indicates why the two sides are separate but it’d be even better if men and women went through separate shower/change areas then could share more of the facilities besides the main hydrotherapy room with its pool, cascading jets, submerged massage chairs, cold and hot tubs, lounger beds, etc, the massage rooms themselves (if a couples massage) and the relaxation beds afterwards.


The Good
Honestly, there is very little for us to criticize about this resort.

Pretty much everything – from the rooms to the restaurants to the pools to the variety of things to do – was top-notch and some of the best we’ve seen out of the handful of resorts we’ve been at.

All food – including the buffets – was of very high quality.  We tried a variety of a la cartes – Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, Italian, Steakhouse, Seafood Restaurant at Sunrise/Nizuc and Jade and Habibi during our two day trips to The Grand.  All were really good and the only disappointment was the show at Momo which had only basic tricks and no fire tricks or anything fancy like we’ve seen at other teppanyaki restaurants.  (My son pointed out that the hostess said “Trainee Chef” when seating us but I’d missed that – probably because I had to go two hours early to line up to ensure a show table and spent much of that two hours drinking booze with other people in line as we took turns running to the bar for refills!) 😉   In terms of daytime snacks, there were lots of options poolside and we fell in love with the Mobile Munchies food trucks which were (surprisingly?) good. And if anyone has the recipe for “Palace Sauce”, I’m still craving it!

We also found the 24-hour room service to be handy (and delicious!) for breakfast, mid-day and late night snacks.  Our son was often content to stay in the room and eat room service while the rest of the family went out to different a la cartes so it was a nice option to have available for him.

Staff throughout the entire resort were extremely accommodating – for example, one morning after we first arrived when I woke up extra early, we went to the pool around 8am.  Because we’d woken up so early, it felt later than it was so I went to the swim-up bar for a drink.  It wasn’t yet open time for the bar (I think it was around 10:30am and the bar didn’t officially open until 11am or something?) but the bartender still agreed to serve me.  (I’ve been to resorts that wouldn’t do this and yes, there might be license/legal reasons to not open early but at the same time, I loved that this bartender basically said “Sure, why not?” and gave me my first drink o’ the day.)  Or another example – the only other mega-resort we’ve been to, The Grand Palladium in Punta Cana, had “trains” that ran around the resort on very set routes and schedules.  At Moon Palace, there are numerous 6-8 person golf carts zipping around and though I think most of them also have set routes, they would often accommodate us to go exactly where we needed – one even memorably giving us a ride back from The Grand all the way to Nizuc without question.  Or one staff member in the Kids Club at the Grand who was still smiling after my daughter wanted to try their “treetop climb” activity, spent a lot of time getting my daughter and I both harnessed up then, after we climbed the initial flight of stairs and my daughter saw how high and shaky the various bridges were, turning around and coming right back down the stairs to get unharnessed again!

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this from watching videos ahead of time but this resort comes across as *very* high-end – lobbies that are more like a high-end hotel in Toronto or some other major city instead of the more open-air, tropical feel that we usually experience in resort lobbies.  I joked that even the public washrooms – which are gigantic and filled with marble – will take your breath away (and not in a bad way!) 🙂

So that might not be what everyone’s looking for in a tropical getaway but if you want to feel like you’re in the lap of luxury with high-end jewelry stores just off the lobby, marble everywhere and even a pleasant scent wafting through the lobbies, Moon Palace is for you!

Heck, they even had *the* luxury item of 2018 – avocado toast! 😉


What else did I like?  Again, the small touches – the turndown service with chocolates on the pillow (or at least I think they had them – the kids got to them most nights before I had a chance to grab one!), not only that there was 24-hour room service but that the menus were easily found on the TV plus they had a card in each room you could leave out if you wanted breakfast delivered to your room.

I loved that the Smart TV also had a bluetooth speaker built-in which made it easy to listen to tropical tunes while getting ready to go for supper or whatever.

Not So Good
Without a doubt, the biggest criticism of this resort is the crappy ocean which is filled with seaweed (although to be fair, this is apparently a big issue at resorts along the Mayan Riviera this year so I’m not sure how bad it would be in a “normal” year.)  There is one spot (the “Green Box”) in front of Sunrise where you can wade out without seaweed in water that’s often quite clear and nice and up to thigh height (plus some submerged concrete blocks even provide some okay snorkeling.)  But honestly, if you’re someone who wants to go on a tropical vacation to sit on a white sand beach in front of a crystal clear turquoise ocean, you either need to go somewhere else (or plan to take a few trips to the Moon Palace’s sister resort, Beach Palace in the heart of Cancun.)

Other than that, how desperate am I to find something less than positive to say about this resort?  I’d actually made a note that said “caps on water bottles seem extra tight.”  Seriously!  But in all honesty, there is very little to criticize.

I mean, another super-small quibble (literally) is that drinks served in regular-sized cups often came with small black straws that didn’t reach the bottom of the glass and then those in the bigger, pilsner-style glasses came with longer straws that still didn’t reach the bottom!  Woe is me, right?

Another common criticism going in was that a resort like this should have rooms with two queen beds or one king bed.  But instead, they seem to have rooms with two doubles or one king.  We were in a room with two doubles and it was a bit tight but not unbearable.  (I assume they do this to give maximum flexibility so they can push the two doubles together to quickly change the room into a King if needed.)

We also ended up feeling like we didn’t have enough room for four suitcases in the closet so ended up leaving a couple on the floor in front of the tub in the middle of the room (which is something else that I find to be a weird design decision anytime I see it – who wants to have a bath in the middle of their hotel room?)

The resort heavily promotes that they provide high-end Chi products in the room but not as widely promoted is the fact that if you use up that first bottle, it apparently will be replaced with the Palace Resorts’ AWE-brand products – not a big deal to me but for some, that might feel like a bit of a shell game.

This is the most “get off my lawn!” old man statement I could make about the resort.  But I found that the noise of some of the evening entertainment shows was way louder than it needed to be (a similar complaint I had about the pre-entertainment concert videos at Sandos Caracol last year – yep, old man status confirmed!) 🙂

It’s another small quibble but I personally didn’t like having American beer in the fridge (but a note – and tip – left for the person stocking it early in our trip ensured that the Bud and Bud Light was replaced with nothing but Corona for the rest of our trip!)

(Side note: early contender for our next destination?  Apparently the Hyatt Ziva Cancun is the only all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean a microbrewery *on site* which is very appealing to this beer snob!)

We only had two times in two weeks where staff were arguably inconsiderate or offered less than exemplary service and that was mostly due to misunderstandings as anything.  In the sweet shop one time, my wife ordered her coffee then decided to ask for a mocha smoothie for the kids.  The waitress responded “No, just one order!” and my wife couldn’t figure out why she was being refused an additional drink.  When she came back to our table and explained what had happened, I went up and asked for a mocha smoothie and was refused my drink as well.  But some further back and forth with the server revealed that the machine wasn’t working well and only shooting out frothy mocha drink but no crushed ice.  So I got the server to top up the frothy milk with some ice cubes and I was on my way.

The other time we had a less than perfect experience was after getting caught outside in a pretty heavy rain.  Once we finally made it to the Nizuc lobby, I was trying to figure out the best way to dry off and realised I could run to the spa down the hall which would have towels.  I went there and asked for some and they said “No, only small ones” which seemed weird since we’d just been to the Spa at The Grand which had giant towels everywhere.  But the person at the spa directed me across the hall to the gym which did have towels (and more importantly, which they happily gave me.)


We had (almost) uniform amazing service from everyone we interacted with so this is a weird complaint which most people (including the travel agent who recommended the resort) would normally see as a huge positive.  It is very clear that all staff have been well trained to say “My pleasure!” after fulfilling any of your requests – from bartenders to gardeners to the person who makes you tableside guac at the Mexican a la carte.  In some ways, that’s great and reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to high quality service.  But personally, I felt that phrase sort of took a bit of the humanity out of our interactions and made communication a bit more robotic.  Even allowing staff to say a few other similar phrases instead – “At your service”, “Have a great day”, “Glad to help, amigo!” would feel more natural (at least to me) – though I understand that “My pleasure” is also a bit of their trademark (just like the Hyatt Ziva Cancun I referenced above has staff say “From the heart” as their service commitment.)


Other Random Observations
Plugged in Staff 
I’m not positive but many staff had phones in protective cases and it appeared they used these to communicate with each other – eg. if someone was waiting for a ride at a stop and another golf cart was already full, they could call for a different cart.

Tipping 
Tips aren’t required in an all-inclusive but if you are a tipper (and really, if you’re spending thousands to go on vacation, a couple hundred more on tips over a week or two shouldn’t be a big deal!), I encourage you to think of the “tip hierarchy” and how some jobs (bartenders, waiters, maids) are more likely to get tips than other jobs which get few to no tips and to not forget to tip people like restaurant hostesses, kids club staff, gardeners as all staff in Mexican resorts work for very low daily wages and even a dollar here and there can make a huge difference for them.

Let There Be Light (and Plug-ins)
This is a silly observation but we found that our room had both lots of lights and also lots of plug-ins, something we don’t always find in all-inclusive resorts but which was appreciated.

Internet
Having free, fast, reliable Internet across the entire resort is worth more than I care to admit – from being able to do daily blog posts to being able to watch the livestream of a major event back at home – having the Internet, even while on holiday, is more vital than I like to admit!  (I’m debating making a future trip to Cuba just because that’s sort of a tricky way to enforce a “cold turkey” break from Internet!)

Accessibility
One thing I noticed at this resort more than any other we’ve visited was the amount of people there in wheelchairs or other similar devices.  I would suspect that people who use wheelchairs do an extra amount of research and/or can tap into networks to share info about the most accessible resorts and that speaks well to the Moon Palace as an accessible location for people with special needs.

Division Between Visitor Levels
I commented on this in my review of Sandos Caracol last year but every resort does a better or worse job of providing unique, personalised services/areas for their higher-end Diamond/Club members…without letting those paying only the base price realise they’re not getting the same access/amenities/services (or just enough of a tease to encourage some base-level people to consider upgrading.)  Other than getting gently kicked out of some seats on the beach after “missing” the sign saying that seats were only for Diamond Members, we didn’t really notice much difference between being a regular visitor and those paying thousands extra to be members at Moon Palace.  (From my point of view, that’s a plus. If you’re $50,000 into your membership as one American we talked to was, that might be frustrating.)

Should You Upgrade To The Grand?
One of the most common questions I saw online was people asking whether they should upgrade to The Grand and there was some very good reasons to upgrade and some very good reasons you don’t need to.

We departed our home city fully planning to stay at Nizuc during our first week with my parents then upgrade to The Grand for our second week alone to take full advantage of all it had to offer (one question I asked by email ahead of time was the cost to upgrade and was quoted a price of $100 USD/day, subject to availability.  That figure probably also varies depending on time of year, how many are in your room and maybe other factors as well.  I mentioned we had some confusion with responses to our initial questions and we asked about upgrading to a swim-up room, we were told that was $123 USD/day which we thought wasn’t much more than upgrading to a regular room.  But when we arrived at the resort, it was clarified that an upgrade was $100/day and then to a swim-up room was *another* $123 for a total of $223/day (which did make sense – I know swim-up suites are at a premium.)  That influenced our decision not to upgrade but we hoped to maybe upgrade, even for a portion of our second week – the last 3-4 days if a room was available.  Unfortunately, the person who checked us in promised to do a follow-up call about whether we could do this but we never got that call – which is probably one reason we didn’t upgrade – but which turned out to be okay after all.)

Reasons to Upgrade To The Grand
– way more to do in terms of restaurants and other activities
– way bigger kids club with tons more to do
– only The Grand has heated pools if that’s important to you
– rooms/balconies are much bigger
– although Nizuc/Sunrise are very classy, the Grand feels even more luxurious and high-end if possible – huge marbled washrooms, a million dollar chandelier over the main lobby bar.
– The Grand has the nicest spa by far (one person compared it to the best spas they’d visited in Vegas).  Apparently the one at the Golf Course is being upgraded to a similar level but until then, Nizuc/Sunrise spas don’t measure up.
– staying at The Grand allows you to enjoy all it offers *plus* go to both Sunrise/Nizuc
– if the quote was accurate, it would only cost $700 USD more to upgrade for a week’s stay – not a huge amount extra if you’re already spending thousands on your vacation and want to maximize your experience.

Reasons Not to Upgrade To The Grand
– a big one for a lot of people was that the water park isn’t fully open – the lazy river, a kids slide area and a small wave pool are but none of the water slides are and there’s no known date that they will be.
– especially if you’re only staying for a week, there’s more than enough to keep you busy between Sunrise/Nizuc, doubly so if you plan to do any excursions to Beach Palace or anywhere else where you wouldn’t be using the more expensive resort for most of the day you’re gone anyhow.
– if you want to go to The Grand, you can pay for a pass – either full day or just evening – which gives you a taste of what it has without needing to commit to spending more.
– if you’re at The Grand on a pass, Nizuc/Sunrise aren’t that far away and you can still travel back, for example to change from daytime swimwear and t-shirts to evening clothes to go to a restaurant or show.
– if you don’t upgrade, you can put that $700 towards other expenses/excursions.  For example, we did our own trip to Isla Mujeres for a full day which cost $300 for taxis/ferry/beach chairs/drinks & food and if we’d upgraded to The Grand, we might not have done this amazing trip because we might have felt an obligation to “use” The Grand more since we were paying for it.

Overall
As I said off the top, so much of a person’s experience at an all-inclusive reflects their own personality.  And for that reason, I don’t think Shea and I would say we’ve ever had a horrible experience at any of the eight resorts we visited over the past twenty years – from our first in Mazatlan which was a cheapie but still had a great view of the Pacific Ocean to our stop last year which had a crappy ocean but still had various cool eco-features including wild monkeys roaming the property – and all have been great in their own way. 

But if I’m being completely honest, Moon Palace is probably one of the nicest resorts we’ve ever stayed at overall and the only major negative is the beach which isn’t a deal breaker for many people but is enough to ensure we’d likely not return. 

With that said, Palace Resorts have set the bar fairly high and they’re also the first chain where I’ve thought “I’d definitely consider them again in future” instead of thinking not only “What resort can I try next?” but also “What resort chain can I try next?”

And Since I’m A Librarian…
I’ll end with a book recommendation.

I started the book “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency” by Ioan Grillo a few days before we left and managed to finish it on the plane home (someday Shea and I will take a vacation without our kids and I’ll actually get some serious reading done!)

Anyhow, this book is a bit older (2012) but gave a great overview of the recent history of Mexico through the lens of the rise of the drug cartels and their impact on various aspects of Mexican society from politics to religion to popular culture and more.

It’s a separate post I might write about whether Mexico is safe for tourists or not (disclaimer: in my opinion, yes, for the most part, if you use common sense and stay to tourist areas.)

But I will admit that I took my wife’s advice and read this as an ebook instead of in print as she thought (and I agreed) it was, at best, insulting and, at worst, dangerous, to openly read about the cartels while in Mexico.  Still, I always like reading a book that relates to the area I’m visiting and this was a gripping one to read while visiting a country that contains such extreme contradictions between the beauty of the tourist areas and the depravity of the cartels’ actions.

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