Boutique or Bust! The Soggy Peso Returns!

Recently returning from Cancún, Mexico, my visit was highlighted by my hotel experience in a new boutique-type hotel by Hilton. Thank you Coronavirus (COVID-19) 2020 for disrupting so many of my international travel plans this year.  Before you accuse me of whining, I am keenly aware of the death toll and severe financial hardships the pandemic has effected countless families and businesses.  But, the ache to travel is real.

Just after Covid hit, my trip to the Netherlands in April was canceled.  I had really looked forward to mostly gathering a huge collection of tulip season stock images along with doing a deep dive into the local culture(s).  After that trip was canceled, Portugal was one of the few central European countries still allowing international tourists and I was excited to capture the XXXXL waves of Nazaré, Portugal. With updated mega-zoom optics in my camera bag along with the new DJI Mavic Air 2, I was ready to document surfing similar to the YouTube vid below:

Plan B resulted in using my purchased ticket with Delta and flying to Cancún which is in the Mexico state of Quintana Roo.  To date, I have never returned to an international destination twice but my initial visit back in 2017 was so successful I wanted to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday week and Mexico was more open for business than doing domestic inter-state travel.  This time I opted for staying dead center in the Hotel Zone for ease of access mostly to the wonderful Aquaworld which does an impressive job of delivering high quality water adventures around Cancún.

Model: Aurora
Model: Aurora

It took me a few days to determine that this new breed of boutique hotel by Hilton called Canopy was perfect!  Worst case the pool would be a stellar place for a partial or full photoshoot with a model I connected with on Model Mayhem. This hotel was the epitome of what I never knew I desired in a hotel  experience.  As many of my friends and customers know, I mostly will refuse to patronize any business if they opt for really bad design or fonts in their branding.  The Canopy exceled in every area of design, art, composition and service!  Once a vaccine is legitimately deployed, I would forecast that international travel will once again become an economic engine for so many industries.  And, I would hypothesize that Hilton has secured a visionary foothold on what travelers REALLY want from their home away from home.

Most trips I try to make significant pre-planning efforts and then be prepared for that all to change.  This trip had the following goals and I achieved all but one and there was a bonus experience added later.

Snorkel tour to Musa

The Cancún Underwater Museum (Spanish: Museo Subacuático de Arte, known as MUSA) is a non-profit organization based in Cancún, Mexico devoted to the art of conservation. The museum has a total of 500 sculptures, most by the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and the others by five Mexican sculptors, with three different galleries submerged between three and six meters (9.8 and 19.6 ft ) deep in the ocean at the Cancún National Marine Park. The museum was thought up by Marine Park Director Jaime Gonzalez Canto, with Taylor’s assistance, with the objective of saving the nearby coral reefs by providing an alternative destination for divers. It was started in 2009 and officially opened in November 2010.

Jungle tour with Aquaworld

Hop on your two person speed boat and follow the guide across the Nichupte lagoon. The Jungle Tour is Cancun’s signature snorkel tour. No one does it better than Aquaworld. Follow the guide across the Nichupte lagoon, instruction is included and your bi-lingual guide will take you through the various safety signals prior to departure. As you navigate through the winding channels, sit back and enjoy the beauty of nature and look out for the wildlife. The lagoon is home to many creatures such as leopard frogs, iguanas, white turtles and crabs. It’s a Jungle out there! The Mesoamerican reef is the second largest reef in the world, presenting a variety of places to snorkel in Cancun.


One of the top things to do in Cancun, adrenalin, speed and excitement. Feel the wind in your face and the adrenaline run through your veins. An adventure junkie special, speed across the Nichupte lagoon in this high powered Aquatwister, a need for speed joy ride Are you looking for the ride of your life? Power brake stops, fishtails in the waves and 270º spins make for a great ride.

Hit the Hotel Zone Beaches and fly the drone

The hotel I was staying at does not have direct access to the Hotel Zone beaches but they did offer coordinated van shuttles with a local hotel.  I just could not fit that into my schedule so did not actually make it to a Hotel Zone beach.

Bonus Trip to Isla Holbox

On my previous trip to Cancún, I had considered basecamping on Isla Holbox.  All the blog posts I had researched sort of gave the vibe this was an undiscovered pre-Burning Man-before-the-yuppy-Instagrammers took over and in 2020 I can report that cancerous segment of over-privileged entitled 20-30 y/o’s have infected this delightful small fishing island about 20 minutes off the coast of Mexico.  As a beach island, golf-carts provide the transportation which brought back fond memories of San Pedro in Belize but poor “municipal” planning and outsiders building trinket hotels left me with the desire to get back on the ferry 90 minutes later.  Not to say it isn’t a reasonable destination, but the vibe was not there for me.  I think my drone vid below relieves you of the US$350 fee to hire a GREAT private van from Francisco to get a round trip transfer out there.  It was a long road trip  for minimal payout but NOW I KNOW.  Breathe in and breathe out for maximum joy!

My accent was horrible. In Mexico, nobody says, ‘You speak English with a good accent.’ You either speak English, or you don’t: As long as you can communicate, no one cares. Salma Hayek

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I have been shooting for $$ since 2000 opening my shop with a Nikon D1.  I am primarily interested in shooting adventure lifestyle and travel with a host of my  day-to-day clients being within the industrial sector.

Many of my editorial stock photos have been published in all major news outlets, with my primary focus is distributing my images on a client-by-client basis to ensure their branding is unique and compelling.

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