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Advice on Mexico/Playa Del Carmen vs TCI or other carib. destinations

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Hello all,
So we are exploring the option to travel to Mexico and still contemplating the idea although I have heard from different people that things aren't that great in mexico...Realizing that this is a broad generalization, I wanted to hear from fellow fodorites and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. We are looking to travel sometime end of June (last week possibly) through mid-July. As I am researching the weather during that time frame, it seems that humidity and heat could be a negative, however we are used to or are OK with 90s...but we would be very disappointed if rain is a daily thing...Those who frequent the area, how is typically the weather (rain-wise as well)?
We are looking for crystal clear and calm waters....I saw various pictures of Playa Del Carmen and seems OK...but I would love to hear from any of you here if Playa Del Carmen is a good choice. We are 3 adults and 3 little kids travelling from DC. We would be happy in resort (NOT all inclusive) type of lodging with full kitchen and amenities, on the beach, and near super markets, shopping, and possibly other (exploration) activities. If we need to rent a car/van we are OK with that. We are also open to the idea of a villa/condo but it has to be on/very close to the beach, but also near other housing so it is not isolated. Without wanting to sound paranoid, I am a bit skeptical about safety....Our budget is UP to $400/night but IF choice A over B is $450 or so and choice A is superior in terms of accomodations, cleanliness, service, friendliness, accessibility, we would be willing to spend the extra money. We would like to have the possibility to cook on site but also explore local food. I have read negative things about several different food outlets where people had poisoning and were not impressed, but we are still interested in exploring the possibilities. If Playa Del Carmen is good, are there any better alternatives in that side of mexico?
My apologies for the long inquiry and if I forgot to mention any criteria please point them out so I can add.
Thanks again
Chris

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