“It seems like yesterday that I first set foot in Cancun,” says Ricardo Rodriguez, Operations Manager at Thomas More Travel, who is celebrating 28 years with the company. “I was born in the state of Hidalgo in the Mexican highlands; you would be hard put to find a spot that’s further away from the sea than my hometown! On my first trip to Cancun in 1983 I fell in love with the white sand, turquoise waters and tropical climate of the Mexican Caribbean and knew that I wanted to move here and work in tourism.”
“During my stay, I bumped into a friend of mine who was the Thomas More Travel rep at The Royal Cancun.” Ricardo reminisces, “Three years later she called me out of the blue to tell me that she would shortly be moving to The Royal Mayan and the position at the resort was vacant. Would I be interested? I remember the date was December 23, 1986, and instead of spending Christmas with my family, I jumped on a plane and came straight out to Cancun as a sales representative. I arrived at 1 p.m. and by 4 p.m. I had already started my first training session at the tour desk!”
Ricardo remembers the early days at Thomas More Travel and the first tours he sold. “We didn’t have the amazing variety we have now,” he says, “ Back then in the early 1980s, we offered Tulum, Xel-Ha and Chichen Itza; boat trips to Isla Mujeres and a lobster dinner cruise on board the Columbus. Then there was a fishing trip on a boat called the Lucky Hooker, which generally left people feeling seasick for three days. By the time you disembarked on the island your face was green! Our top-selling activity was the Folkloric Ballet at the Convention Center, and, Xcaret? It didn’t exist back then!”
“As Operations Manager at Thomas More, I am always looking for new tours and activities for Royal Resorts members and guests to enjoy and I love exploring this amazing area myself.” He adds, “There is so much to see and do in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan. You really do have a world of incredible travel experiences on your doorstep! There’s something here for everyone, whether it’s family fun at the Riviera Maya’s famous nature parks, scuba diving on the world’s second longest reef, visiting ancient Mayan cities, jungle zip lining or ecotourism. From catamaran cruises and island hopping to water sports, visits to Mayan communities, colonial cities and haciendas or private tours, we have it all. It is our job to help visitors plan their vacation sightseeing and have an unforgettable stay with plenty of memories to share with their friends and families back home.”
We asked Ricardo to give us some tour recommendations and he said, “I always say that our beautiful area has four activities beyond the beach that every visitor should try, and they can take their pick from a variety of magical places in which to do them.

Must-do activities

  • Visiting the many Mayan archaeological sites
  • Island hopping to Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Cozumel and Holbox
  • Snorkeling and diving on the Mesoamerican Reef
  • Nature and adventure trips in the Mayan Jungle

For first-time visitors

  • A trip to Tulum or Chichen Itza
  • Sailing to Isla Mujeres
  • Snorkeling adventures
  • The Mayan Encounter trip that combines visits to Mayan communities, zip lining and other jungle adventures with a visit to the archaeological site of Coba,
  • Aktun Chen Caves or Rio Secreto.
  • Evening trip to Playa del Carmen

Something new
For members looking for something new, Ricardo suggests five new Thomas More Travel trips and activities for them to try:

  • Bacalar
  • Holbox
  • Snorkeling at Xcacel or Tankah, both pristine beaches with fewer visitors
  • Flyboard or Race Car Drifting for thrill seekers
  • Snorkeling in Akumal to see the turtles and other marine life
  • Mexican culinary experience cooking classes

Once in a Lifetime experiences
On the subject of Once in a Lifetime experiences, Ricardo adds, “There are so many incredible experiences awaiting visitors in the Yucatan Peninsula, here are my favorites:”

  • Spend a couple of days in colonial Merida and the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal and combine it with a trip to Hacienda Sotuta de Peón. This gives you a glimpse of Yucatecan history from ancient times to the coming of the Spaniards and up to the late 19th century.
  • Swim with the whale sharks in the summer
  • Go off the beaten track and explore at your own pace with a private tour
  • A private guided trip around the Yucatan Peninsula (3 days or more), visiting natural and historical wonders in the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan
  • Explore southern Quintana Roo, including Bacalar, the Lagoon of Seven Colors

Thomas More Travel is also offering more trips to the biosphere reserves such as Sian Ka’an, bird watching near Puerto Morelos and visits to Mayan villages that enable tourists to meet local inhabitants and learn about their culture in a way that benefits the community through sustainable tourism. An example of this is the new Maya Ka’an eco and community tourism project.

“It has always been my pleasure to serve Royal Resorts members and guests.” Ricardo adds, “It is very rewarding to think that I have helped them enjoy their stay in the Mexican Caribbean and through me they have discovered the area’s natural and cultural heritage.”