THIS IS A POST THAT I ORIGINALLY WROTE AFTER HURRICANE WILMA... I have some ideas for making Cancun even better than before. Some may be original while others are probably just recycled. I hope that Steve, Brant, Cancun Care Members and others can add to this manifesto and then forward these ideas to planners, FONATUR, developers, hotel owners, politicians, and others of influence. The hope is to take this opportunity to make Cancun even better than before. I have been going to Cancun since about 1980. Our family stayed at the "new" Sheraton when it was the only hotel between the Hyatt Caribe and the Club Med if you can believe that. Since then I have been back to Cancun 9 times and I really care about the entire region. For those of us that get CWS the moment we get back to our hometowns we know Cancun is unique, but it can be better. There is no better time than now to start making Cancun the best it can possibly be. Please feel free to add to, critique, or come up with new ideas. Hopefully at some point these ideas can be forwarded to people who can make a difference. While not all will be considered and even fewer implemented, anything we can do to make Cancun better will make a difference. These ideas are presented in no particular order... 1. CLEAN UP THE LAGOON Now is the best time to focus on making the lagoon cleaner. For years 2 stroke boat engines and irresponsible hoteliers and restaurant owners (I have heard) have polluted the lagoon to a point where it is just nasty. If you've ever seen a boat or a water skier plow a trail thru the water you can see the residue just foaming on the surface. I actually think that in addition to stopping these polluters two "cuts" should be made thru Cancun island, one about 1/3 down the surfside and the other about 2/3 down the surfside (Surfside being defined as the eastern shore of Cancun from Dreams to Club Med). I think this would help keep the lagoon fresher and also it would create small harbors with easy access to the Caribbean. Attractive bridges on the beach and the road would keep Cancun connected. 2. EASY BEACH ACCESS BETWEEN EACH AND EVERY HOTEL I know there is supposed to be beach access between the hotels but damn if I can ever find the paths or if they even exist. These hotels are not joined together and well-marked paved paths between the hotels would really improve beach-going for tourists and locals alike. It would also keep non-guest traffic out of the lobbies of the nicer hotels. 3. IDENTIFICATION OF HOTELS FROM THE BEACH I love to hike the beaches of Cancun. In fact, over several vacations I have hiked the beach from BBG all the way past Club Med (until I was stopped by some FONATUR guard - apparently there is some type of government beach/guest house and research station between the Club Med and that water park). Although some hotels are marked I am amazed that most are not. This is free advertising for the hotels. Some beach walker sees an attractive pool area/beach front and maybe wants to stay at that hotel on the next trip only discovering later that he or she can't figure out which hotel it was (it is not always apparent from the boulevard side what the beach side looks like). Every hotel should have signage on the beach side. Why would hotel owners not do this? 4. PUBLIC RESTAURANT, BAR & ENTERTAINMENT ZONES ON SURFSIDE BEACHES "COCKTAIL ZONES" One thing that is really missing in Cancun is great public bars and restaurants on the surfside beaches that anyone can walk up to. Sort of like in the movie "Cocktail". Every mile or so there should be a small area designated for attractive little bars, restaurants, clubs, and other entertainment venues. I think putting most of these establishments on the lagoon side of the island was a mistake, at least until they clean-up the lagoon. The beaches along the "7" are so world-class, yet there is nowhere besides one's hotel to enjoy them. The best areas for these "zones" would be at public parks like Delfines, small undeveloped areas between hotels (There used to be a small tract north of the Ritz Carlton). One of my favorite bars used to be the small beach bar at the Costa Real, but they won't let me have a beer there anymore because it is private and all-inclusive. I'm not saying that hotels should give up their private areas, let's just have public bars and small restaurant huts every mile. Can you imagine how fun strolling the beach would be if these "Cocktail Zones" were built? 5. PALM TREES Here is an old post http://www.cancuncare.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2876&highlight= with photos from Cancun in the late 1960s and early/mid 1970s before development and during initial construction . It was basically a small fishing/lobster outpost and a coconut palm plantation with a population of 3. There were palm trees everywhere - of course some were natural and some were in the plantation. Even before Hurrican Wilma I thought Cancun needed more palm trees. On the surfside beaches there are long areas where hotels have built seawalls. This is a perfect place to plant a row of palm trees. Can you imagine how beautiful and peaceful it would look to have a row of palm trees along the beach all the way from Club Med up to BBG? And there should also be palm trees in the boulevard median (I think there are in some places) and along the lagoon. They don't have to be all coconut palm trees either. http://www.sunpalmtrees.com/ Personally I love coconut palms, but there are hundreds of varieties and some are very exotic: date palms and royal palms are two that come to mind. I think it would be great if Cancun had palm trees of as many varieties and species as can be found. Cancun officials might even be able to get other islands and countries to donate shiploads of palms in light of Hurricane Wilma. 6. TURQUOISE CONNECTION BICYCLE PATH I wrote a post on this about two years ago but I haven't been able to find it yet. Basically I think there should be a narrow paved bicycle path along the entire length of Cancun. Cancun is perfect for this because of how long and narrow the island is. The path would be concrete and painted aqua or turquoise to make it easily identifiable and set it apart from streets and other pathways. Following is an example form another coastal resort... http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/BandH/Beaches/BikePath.htm This meandering patch would be continuous and go alongside beaches in some areas, wind around the small lighthouses (which need to be rebuilt bigger and better) at either point of the island, go thru thick jungle areas, along golf courses, a cleaned-up lagoon, shopping centers, etc. Imagine how great it would be to ride your bike a mile up the path to go shopping or all the way from Club Med to Dreams if you are feeling more adventurous. 7. BIGGER LIGHTHOUSES AT THE NORTH AND SOUTH POINTS The small lighthouses on the north (Dreams) and south (Club Med) points are so disappointing. When I think of a beach paradise I always imagine an extremely tall white lighthouse with black rings or spirals. http://www.bansemer.com/prints/florida_lighthouse_prints.htm There are many variations of lighthouses that capture the imagination. I'm surprised that some entrepeneur hasn't offered to tear down the pathetic small lighthouses that currently exist and replace them with towering classic lighthouses. These could be restaurants, bars, lookout towers, gift shops, or some other money making venture. Also imagine the photo opportunities these lighthouses would afford. Travelers come to Cancun in part for the romance...let's give it to them! 8. BEACH RESTORATION I realize that some of the beaches will slowly regenerate from tidal action, but this is an opportunity to fix some of the problem beaches that were there even before Hurrican Wilma. I always hated that concrete barrier in front of the Westin Regina. They had no natural beach and there was this concrete montrosity out in the surf. I don't know the history of this particular beach or what it looks like now, but placing concrete crap out in the surf is not the answer. Also, there is a new condo development on the bayside that was built so close to the beach that all that remains is surf coming up to the seawall. This property is near the Riu Palace, but is not one of the Riu properties. Anyway, areas like this need beach even if they didn't plan for it. The beaches from BBG all the way to Club Med need to be wide and even better than before. And please, no more sandbags, concrete barriers, and that other crap. 9. THE HOSPITALITY CARD - GET RID OF THE RIP-OFF ARTISTS Probably most of us have been ripped-off in Cancun. Even as an experienced traveler I have been royally screwed in Cancun. Some of these rip-off artists may have left when Hurricane Wilma hit and maybe if we are lucky they took their craft somewhere else. The last time I was in Cancun a friend (who is known as Count Me In on the BBG forum) and I went to one of those outside bars near Slices (It was not Slices). We ordered four of those yard glasses full of beer for us and our dates. The beers were way overpriced and two different waiters carefully approached Steve and I seperately and asked for the total bill plus a big tip. Neither Steve nor I knew until later that both of us had paid the same bill, but you can bet the waiters did. Anyway, by the time we had left we had paid over 500 pesos for 4 beers. I have also gotten very tired of taxi drivers who try and rip off tourists. I'm sure most taxi drivers are honest and friendly, but sometimes I think they are the exception. There must be a way to require the workers who come in contact with tourists to earn some type of "hospitality card". It should be easy to complain and tourists should be assured their complaints will be acted on. Every hospitality card holder should have a card (sort of like a business card) that they give a tourist upon request. This card should have the offending person's name, an ID number, and a toll free number to complain. Someone getting out of a greedy person's taxi should be able to hand this card to someone at the hotel and the problem should be taken care of - easy as that. Three strikes and you are out. I know for a fact there are some people who have gone to Cancun and will never return because they were ripped off. That should be a problem of the past. 10. PORTAL TO PARADISE Another thought is to take a look at what the first-time tourist sees in Cancun upon his or her arrival. The airport is really nice for the most part and the drive to the hotel zone becomes more scenic the closer one gets to the south end of the hotel zone. Somewhere in between there is a disconnect. I've seen trashed-out areas and unplanned roadside development immediately after exiting the airport. First impressions are so important. It is not a long drive from the airport to the south end of the hotel zone and most of the problems are within a mile of the airport. If you can make the drive from the airport to the entry of the hotel zone as attractive as possible it will really heighten the experience of the arriving tourist. We all know how attractive the hotel zone is once you are there. It is simple to control what the tourist sees upon arriving in Cancun since practically everyone goes directly from the airport to their hotel via the south entrance to the hotel zone. Since that first impression is so controlled why not make it as good as it can be? I'm talking about landscaping, trash pickup, palm trees, controlled roadside construction, signage control, etc. Basically I'm saying let's make the portal to paradise perfect.