Review: The Live Aqua Resort in Cancun, Mexico (Day 4, Leftovers, & the Elite 8)
JFNation, I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane with your friendly neighborhood JFG. So many great memories. I wanted to throw out a couple more photos that I discovered to fill in the gaps of some of the previous days:
This is the first thing I saw coming down the escalator at the Cancun airport right off the plane. A big ol advertisement for Coco Bongo. In case you didn’t know, Spiderman is where I get my “friendly neighborhood ____” reference from:
…so it seemed apropos that that would be the first thing I saw in Mexico. Why does the best review quote they have come from CNN? We’ll never know.
Right after I got off the plane and out into the muggy Mexico air, I was SWARMED by a bunch of taxis/shuttles/buses. YES I’M COACH KRIZ-WOO-SKI. Ceddy had already booked us a shuttle from the airport to the Live Aqua, but honestly, (PROTIP) there were so many companies trying to steal customers from other companies, I’m pretty sure you could go back and forth between two companies and just pay the best price to get wherever you want to go.
Ah, the lovely cocktail napkins at the Live Aqua. That was one of the things I noticed the entire weekend – outside of larger cloth napkins during lunch and dinner that was wrapped around our silverware, there were NO large paper napkins anywhere. That meant if you were eating a large rack of ribs with both hands poolside (like…ah…some other people I saw, not me, of course, those heathens) you were wiping off your fingers with these lovely lovely napkins. Which is fine – I like the push from the Live Aqua to be a bit green, even if I personally went through piles of these.
Just another shot of those amazing pineapple drinks, and you can finally see what was inside one of them with the top off! Some amazing frozen/semi-liquid concoction of orange-y pink alcohol slush. Yum yum yum. Just pipe that liquid vodka rum sherbet into my veins, please.
Ah, the grandness of the Live Aqua. It really was such a lovely lovely place. See that blue glass box at the middle of the screen? On the other side was the entrance, where that pretty water pool was that I saw as soon as I walked in on Day 1. To the right was the Egos Bar, where we spent plenty of time ordering tequila shots. And to the left was the check-in desks and lobby where the room service was delivered. Right in front of that glass box? The outdoor balcony where we sipped our drinks, smoked cigars, and laughed loudly into the night.
Speaking of the Egos Bar…
There is it in the back right! Highlighted in a glowing pink lights, it was our home away from home. This is the crew, btw, plotting their next move. It seemed like every single night, we huddled up to plan our evening. We watch waaaay too many sports.
Remember how Coco Bongo was pushing the whole Spiderman bit? We eventually did get to see him…in a gigantic clay/metal structure outside of the club.
The picture above doesn’t do the size ratio justice; this thing was huge. People were standing inside Spiderman’s crotch and getting tourist photos. It was super awkward.
BTW, one thing I never learned during the course of the trip – the name of the resort was LIVE AQUA. But how was it pronounced? Was it “Live” as in “Where do you live?” Or was it “Live” as in “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Every employee said it differently! Finally when we asked one guy what the official pronunciation was, he told us, “Ah, man, it’s Cancun, you say however you want to say it.” DAMNIT MAN I LIVE BY RULES JUST TELL ME THE ANSWER.
On the evening of Day 4, which was Saturday, the Elite 8 of us made it back to Varenna for some more wine, some more tiramisu, and of course, some more Osso Bucco. Ceddy managed to snap a pic of his before scarfing it down. That sauce was heavenly and dark and flavorful.
#1 side story: Speaking of Varenna, here’s how you know the Live Aqua was looking out for us. Our first time at Varenna, Ceddy was looking over the menu, and asked the waiter if he could order the soup. The waiter shook his head, and said, “Don’t get the soup.” And while it was a bit startling at first, that was GOOD TO KNOW. That dude could have easily have shrugged us off and let us have whatever, but he was courteous enough to let us know what was fresh and what wasn’t. Honestly, that’s a GREAT sign of quality and service. Anthony Bourdain would be PROUD.
#2 side story: Apparently, on Sunday, June 7, Mexican legislative elections were held. As a result, no clubs on Saturday night served alcohol past midnight, and in some cases, CLOSED at midnight. With this in mind, and wanting to avoid paying large covers as we had on previous nights, we stayed in. Grabbed a ton of drinks from the bar next to Azur, pulled up some chairs poolside, and watched the moon.
The next morning, as dawn broke on the Live Aqua, the Elite 8 grabbed their bags, and, one by one, headed for the airport. Presenting to you, for the first time in living color, the Elite 8!
Triple P and the JFG. Yeah Buffalo. Represent.
The JFG and the Burg. He doesn’t know how to smile.
The JFG and Mr. Olympus. Hipster Olympus.
The Jedi, the JFG, and DiPietro. One has an orange shirt and the other has orange hair.
The Hube and the JFG. The Hube abides, man…the Hube abides.
Wait…that’s only seven, right? What about Ceddy? Well, you don’t get to see a picture of Ceddy because his identity is protec* oh what the hell, Ceddy is none other than FIVE TIME PRO BOWLER LADANIAN TOMLINSON!!!! HORNED FROGS HORNED FROGS HORNED FROGS
Heh. Actually, what if Ceddy was like my Tyler Durden? What if *I* was Tyler Durden? HE WAS ASLEEP THE WHOLE TIME.
Hopping in a cab to the airport, I couldn’t believe the whirlwind four days I’d had. But before I left Mexico, I HAD to pick up my favorite favorite treat, Obleas. It’s basically a caramel or dulce de leche in between two less-than-paper-thin wafers. So so good, that I bought four of them. My precioouuuuuuuuuuuus.
So that’s it! Oh, what else can I share with you….oh yeah! The specs! Flights, cost, etc. I wanted to mention this to you, JFNation, because my Doctor Sis asked me last night, “So, how much did this run you guys…like $500 a night?”
Heck no. What am I, an attorney or something? Are you ready, JFNation? Behind-the-scenes time on how we built this trip:
1. When the crew was deciding where to go/stay in Cancun, we began in January – about five months ahead of time. We looked at TONS of resorts/hotels. Obviously, hotels that did were NOT all-inclusive were way cheaper. Many hotels were closer to the downtown bar area, but so what? I never felt unsafe walking down the Hotel Zone streets at night, and there were always PLENTY of buses and cabs to take up and down the zone. By the way, while cabs were cheap – like $5 US person – buses were SUPER cheap – like $0.80 a person. We bus-ed it all over the place. So don’t let the distance from the downtown club area be a deciding factor for you.
2. Once we settled on the fact that we DIDN’T want to worry about food or drinks and wanted to just be pampered, then the question was which All-Inclusive to go with? Live Aqua was among four possibilities, with the Le Blanc, the Beach Palace, and the Fiesta Americana Condesa. Every travel site we looked at ranked the Le Blanc and the Live Aqua the highest, with the Le Blanc being SUPER expensive, and the Live Aqua running for about $400-$450 a night per two people (so like $200-$250 a night per person). Cost and quality made Live Aqua the selection.
3. Then it was time to bargain hunt. Tyler…I mean Ceddy…and I, since we were rooming together AND leaving from the same airport, knew we could get a great deal by packaging air and hotel together. I highly recommend this. After some poking around Orbitz, Expedia, and Kayak, we finally settled on Travelocity where Ceddy and I managed to pay, for flights from DC to Cancun, five days four nights at the Live Aqua, and the upgraded Club Level services for….<drumroll> $1350 a person. That’s taxes included, upgraded rooms, etc….all of it. BOOM.
If you consider that flights roundtrip between DC and Cancun are running ~$450 right now, then that means each day at the Live Aqua was ~$180 a day. Dude, I’ve stayed at hotels in New Jersey that were about as much, and they DIDN’T give me free pan dulce whenever I wanted! Booking flight plus hotel together is DEFINITELY the way to go.
4. Now, admittedly, I think two (2) factors went into why this weekend was potentially so cheap. #1 – time of year. We didn’t go during Spring Break time, which is around March-April. June is just the beginning of the Mexican “hurricane” season, so I think people wanted to avoid. Honestly, however, despite my stupid Apple weather app saying it was going to rain every single day, we didn’t have one speck of rain, like, EVER. Otherwise my shoulders might not be peeling so much. It just got sunnier and hotter each and every day we were there.
#2 – non-direct flights. Yeah I had to endure layovers, which meant I had to put up with the BS that is American Airlines / US Airways. You decided how much that matters to you.
5. Now if you end up at the Live Aqua, which I hope I will again some day, there are some names you’ll want to know. The first is Monica Madrid – the VIP go-to person and PR guru at the Live Aqua. She was Ceddy’s contact during the whole planning stages of the event, and she really hooked everything up for us – the dinner reservations, freebies, suggestions for evening plans. At an all-inclusive, you want a person like this who has all the answers. We saw her going from guest to guest, making sure everyone was taken care of. THANK YOU, Monica, for being that person for us.
The second name is Cesar Germain – the executive chef at the Live Aqua. I don’t know what you put in that habanero soup, man, but I want to marry you now. Ask to meet him, shake his hand, and find out what the freshest thing on the menu was.
And finally, big thanks to Alfredo Santamaria, the GM at the Live Aqua. That is a lovely lovely place you have there. Thanks for helping to make sure it continues to exist.
And that’s REALLY it. Curtain close on the Live Aqua…until we meet again. And thanks…I WILL have a Pepsi day.
Junk Food Guy