We really enjoyed our recent trip to Acapulco and the beaches were definitely the star of our time there. We have been to other Pacific resort towns in Mexico including Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Acapulco was unique in comparison to both of those for a variety of reasons. One is the proximity of Acapulco to Mexico City, which makes it a destination for locals who would like to get away from the city and enjoy time at the beach. Another is the combination of restaurants, water sports, and water that is suitable for swimming throughout all of the beaches that line the bay.
The beaches are very walkable and you can easily spend all of your day exploring all along the beach. You will find many different companies offering you the opportunity to rent jet skis, parasail, or take a ride on a banana boat. There are also people selling various items, especially jewelry, which is inexpensive in the area, as well as food. We didn’t find them to be as pushy as perhaps they are in other resort areas. As you walk passed all of the palapas that line the beach, you will get many offers to join the different restaurants for lunch and there isn’t anything that distinguishes where one restaurant’s tables end and another begins.
Perhaps because Acapulco is so close to Mexico City or because it is so far south and not as easy to get to from other countries, but there were not nearly as many foreigners as we have seen in other resort cities. It also meant that the crowds were much larger on the weekend than during the week during our stay. Regardless of its popularity among people outside of Mexico, we found the people to be friendly and the beaches to be very beautiful. The temperatures were quite warm, even in February, with daily temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 32 degrees Celsius). Fortunately, the ocean temperature was perfect to get a break from the heat by walking in the gentle waves or going for a quick swim.
Travel can be exciting and fun, but when it is for work, it can also be stressful and tedious. During the month of November, we will be on the road for three out of four weeks. Two of these will be for work, one to Austin, Texas, and the other to Fairfax, Virginia. At the end of the month, we have our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which we are definitely looking forward to having some relaxing time.
The problem with traveling for work is that you don’t really get the opportunity to explore the city because of being stuck in meetings all day long. We try to take whatever time that we can to see some of the sights, but it definitely isn’t like visiting a place on a dedicated trip. It also means that we might not have as much time to post over the next couple of weeks, but we will be doing our best to keep up with our normal schedule.
We will focus on our trip to Cabo to try and reduce the mental stress of the next couple of weeks. Cabo is not as much about travel, but is an old-fashioned, do nothing, vacation. We intend to sit by the pool, walk to local restaurants, and generally relax. It is our chance to unwind after a long year that has been exciting, but exhausting due to all of the places that we have visited.
First of all, we know that timeshares aren’t for everyone. The year that our youngest daughter went off to college, one of our parents gave us one of their timeshare weeks because they weren’t going to have time to use it that year. So two weeks after dropping our daughter off at her dorm, we were off to Cabo San Lucas. When we arrived at the resort, which was gorgeous, we were asked about scheduling a tour of the property and listening to their timeshare pitch. We decided to go ahead and schedule the tour, only because of the discounts, free drinks, and other offers. The morning of the tour, we both woke up repeating the mantra, “just say no”. We were determined that we weren’t going to be duped into buying a timeshare and we wouldn’t give them more than the sixty minutes that they said the tour would take us. We looked at the rooms, ate breakfast with the salesperson at a table overlooking the private beach, and eventually made our way to the sales office. Our room was spectacular, the beach was gorgeous, and we were feeling relaxed, perhaps too relaxed. Our resolve had wavered, we were no long able to “just say no”, but we were now firmly embedded into the “maybe” camp. We called our parents who had given us the timeshare week and asked their opinion, after all, they had several timeshare weeks with different companies and traveled constantly. Their response, “if you had to go there every year and you couldn’t trade it, would we go?”. We looked out at the resort, the ocean, the beautiful blue skies. Yes, we could do this every year, happily, so in the end, it was “just say yes” and we had purchased our first timeshare. There are a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself before you decide to purchase a timeshare, but we actually are big fans of timeshares after having had a couple of them for several years now.
The most obvious and important question is can you afford it? Timeshares aren’t cheap and you need to understand all of the expenses that are involved. First, unless you’re in the position to purchase outright, you will have a monthly installment payment as well as interest charges. If you decide to exchange your week (we’ll talk about that later) there is a cost for each week that you trade. If you’re not able to use your week, most timeshares allow you to “bank it” or “rescue it”, which allows you to move your week to the following year and gives you longer to use your week, but again there is a cost to do that. The biggest additional expense is for your maintenance fees, which is what they charge for cleaning and general maintenance of the property. It is a big investment, so you need to think about it carefully. One potential benefit, depending on the timeshare that you’ve bought is that it is buying property and you can write off the interest on your taxes and when you’ve paid it off, it is yours and you can will it to a child or relative.
The next question to ask yourself is how often can you travel? If you travel consistently, one week every year or at least every other year, then perhaps it might be a good choice for you. The way that we look at it is that we’re “pre-paying” for our hotel or resort in advance, which is usually the most expensive part of the trip anyway. For us, we know that we will travel at least a couple of weeks a year, with at least one of those trips being out of the country. We find that it reduces our stress when we start planning a trip, knowing that we don’t have to think about the cost of our room and our only expenses will be for food, activities, and airfare.
If you’re leaning towards purchasing a timeshare, the next question is probably which one is right for you. There are lots of them out there, Marriott, Hilton, Disney, and a variety of other hotel groups. We’re not going to make a recommendation, although we have two different timeshares at the moment and are happy with both. Find out if they are affiliated with a timeshare exchange company. One of our timeshares is associated with RCI and the other is associated with Interval International. These companies allow you to deposit your timeshare week with them and exchange it for any available timeshare property in their catalog, which provides properties all over the world, making your timeshare a passport to travelling the world. A couple of years ago, we spent two weeks in Estapona Spain simply by trading weeks that we had in our current timeshares. Also, check to see if you can convert your timeshare for points in a regular hotel rewards program, that way if you can’t travel, you can at least convert your timeshare into hotel rooms that can be used anywhere the hotel chain has a presence.
In our opinion, the younger that you are when you decide to purchase a timeshare, the better it will work out for you because it is that much longer that you will own it after it has been paid off. If you do decide to go on a timeshare tour or accept an offer for a cheap hotel room if you’re willing to listen to their pitch, be prepared for a pushy sales experience. Unfortunately they are sales people and that is what they do. Only buy a timeshare if you feel that it is the right decision for you, which it may or may not be. If you do decide to buy a timeshare, hopefully our advise will help you find the one that is right for you.