The standing-room-only crowd in the lobby bar at the Fiesta Americana resort was enthralled by a Michael Jackson impersonator dancing on top of the bar after dinner.
The tourists – most of them Americans – danced and shot smartphone videos of the white-gloved performer belting out “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” while they sipped margaritas, martinis, piña coladas and other free drinks.
It was the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus crisis being declared a pandemic. In the USA, President Joe Biden was delivering his first prime-time address, somberly recounting COVID-19’s toll but offering hope of a return to some normalcy by July 4th.
The big-screen TV covering a wall in the bar wasn’t tuned to the news. For these and throngs of other visitors to Cancun this month – or in February in the case of Sen. Ted Cruz – normalcy returned by spring break.
Why is Cancun popular with pandemic vacationers?
Cancun is a perennial spring break hot spot – TripAdvisor declared it the “international capital of spring break” in normal times. It has sparkling white sand beaches and water the color of Cool Mint Listerine, resorts for every budget and activities and day trips galore.
This year is not normal, of course, but like many beach and outdoor destinations, Cancun is seeing a spike in visitors as vaccinated vacationers and those with pandemic fatigue book getaways despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice not to travel – even if they are vaccinated – and COVID-19 cases and deaths.
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