It’s still early days, but spending an hour perusing the Mexican folk art decorating the private home of John and Dorianne Venator in Valladolid is the highlight of our trip to Mexico so far. They don’t call it a house museum, to them it’s just home, but the couple graciously opens their doors to visitors every morning at 10:00 for guided tours of their house and extensive collection. All they ask in return is for visitors to make a voluntary donation to help local charities at the end of the tour.
For the last several days I’ve been trying to understand why the Mexican portion of what is known as the Mayan Riviera is so expensive. In Monday’s post I complained that in Tulum we experienced some of the highest prices for some of the worst services we’ve seen anywhere in the world.
And while I can’t speak for the value proposition offered by the other popular Mexican coastal destinations we didn’t actually visit, a cursory look at prices elsewhere suggests the problem goes beyond Tulum. In Cancun, for example, the cheapest peak-season beach-front hotel we found charged 60% more than similar accommodations in South Beach, Miami.
That doesn’t seem right to me. I’m pretty sure the cost of living is quite a bit higher in Miami than it is anywhere in Mexico, especially now that the U.S. dollar buys nearly 18 pesos apiece. Why is a vacation to Cancun (and especially Tulum) so expensive?
On paper it looked right up our alley – a somewhat isolated spot on the Mayan Rivera complete with beautiful beaches and ancient ruins overlooking the sea. And while Tulum, Mexico, does indeed have those things, what it also has is a major disconnect between the quality of services available and the prices charged for just about everything.
Motorists whizzed past on all sides and from all directions. Some even drove backwards. If we hadn’t perfected the art of crossing seemingly rule-defying traffic on the streets of Hanoi we might still be trapped there.
Of course here on a Saturday night in downtown Cancun, Mexico, only several miles but still a world away from any all-inclusive beach resort, the terrible driving skills we witnessed were completely understandable and not in any way life threatening.