This year of work has been very good to me. First a free trip to an incredible experience at The Kentucky Derby, then a working trip to Vegas at the Bellagio for Toshiba’s biggest technology show of the year, and now a trip to President’s Club in Cancun! Judy and I have never been to Mexico together so we were excited to go, and for free no less! As a surprise I called ahead to American Airlines, unbeknownst to Judy, to upgrade our seats to first class both ways. A relatively inexpensive proposition thanks to the many miles I’ve been able to accumulate.

Similar to our derby trip we flew through Charolette before heading off to Cancun. Immigration was relatively quick. I had booked us a private van to take us from the airport to the hotel in the “resort zone” of Cancun. For this trip Toshiba put us all up at the Live Aqua, an all-inclusive adults only resort property along the beach. After a short ride we arrived to the property and proceeded to check in. Here’s where surprise #2 came in! Also unbeknownst to Judy, I had called ahead to the resort the week prior and upgraded our room (at a very reasonable price after some negotiating) to a suite!

The Aqua Suites line the sides of the hotel and feature a large 1-bedroom layout. Our bed had a nice greeting written on it in colored rice to welcome us. A large living room and large bathroom with our own hot tub fills out the rest of the suite. Each Aqua Suite also comes with its own private balcony, with an amazing view of the ocean.

Stunning view of the ocean from the private balcony of our suite

Our suite came with various other amenities, like access to the club lounge. The nicest perk was a private reserved cabana each day. Since we flew in a day early, ahead of the other Toshiba honorees who had also earned a spot at President’s Club, we had the afternoon and evening to ourselves. We immediately headed down to the pool and reserved a cabana, where we ordered our first mojitos of the trip.

Tasting menu dinner at Tempo in the Pardisus Cancun

Of course no trip anywhere is complete for me without some sort of special dining experience. The options are limited in Cancun due to its heavy focus on all-inclusive resorts, but I did find a restaurant at a neighboring property called Tempo which offered a tasting menu. After the conversation rate our 9 course meal ended up being $50 per person, which by US standards is an amazing price.

The next day we woke up early to catch a private shuttle to Xel’ha, which is a major tourist attraction. If you merge a waterpark with an aquarium, Xel’ha is what you’d get. It’s a completely natural system of rivers and waterways that lead out to the ocean. The area is made exclusive to the park and visitors can snorkel and enjoy the waters. We went to Xel’ha with another couple from Toshiba Minnesota, which was a real treat as we could enjoy the property with friends.

Inner tubing down the “lazy river” proved much more difficult than exepcted… but still fun
Grabbed a pair of snorkels and explored a couple of small water caves

Most of the corporate events were just dinners or cocktail hours, so during the day we were mostly left to our own devices (which was fine by us). We spent the days relaxing at the pool, going to the spa, lazily lounging in our rooms, or enjoying a private cabana on the beach!

What time is it? Oh wait, don’t care. Bring us another mojito please.

There was a day dedicated to corporate sponsored excursions. We were given a selection of different options, most of which were close to the resort. However, being that we hadn’t been to Mexico before, we opted to go for the nearly all-day excursion out to one of the New Seven World Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza.

Unfortunately you can’t climb up the steps of the pyramid anymore

I’ve always been intellectually curious so it was nice to take a break from the nonstop relaxation fest at the resort to visit a place of historical significance. It was incredible to learn about the ancient civilizations that built these structures, with nothing more than primitive tools and manual labor. The astrological precision is also intriguing. How did these ancient peoples align the pyramids so perfectly with stars in particular constellations? Or align them against the rising sun as to cast a shadow in the form of their gods?

“Cenote” – Spanish for “big ass hole in the ground filled with water… and bird poop… but mostly water”

On the way back to Cancun from Chichen Itza we stopped off at a restaurant that served some awesome Yucatan style foods. This restaurant also has a cenote out back that you can swim in. While others ran off to eat lunch, Judy and I headed over to the cenote to take a quick dip first. I was in awe of how deep the cenote was. As we headed down the stairs we could see all manner of bird flying around and, unfortunately, pooping into the water. We braved the excrement and swam around in the water for a bit. I even went up to the platform and jumped in a few times.

It was an honor to be recognized for the hard work of myself and my team this past fiscal year with such an amazing trip. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Cancun, and I look forward to visiting again in the future!

Until next time Cancun…!