Isla Mujeres, Akumal or Puerto Morelos?

Dec 15th, 2004, 08:45 PM
  #1  
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Isla Mujeres, Akumal or Puerto Morelos?

My husband and I stayed in Playa del Carmen last year and decided to spend a couple of nights in Isla Mujeres. We LOVED Isla - the quiet, quaint, authentic Mexican atmosphere with beautiful water and a little bit of nightlife. We are both 26 and still enjoy just a bit of the party scene (although Playa was too much and Cancun would be WAY too much.)We didn't care much for Playa - it just didn't feel like Mexico to us. We are going back to Isla Mujeres in May and are considering checking out Akumal or Puerto Morelos. Can you give me an idea of what these towns are like? How are they similar or different from Isla Mujeres?
nichole is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 03:29 AM
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Hello nichole,

I have been to all three of those places in addition to PDC, so I will try to help.

We also absolutely love Isla Mujeres, and it is our new favorite place after finally stopping going to Cozumel for nine years since it has gotten so crazy there.

I'm afraid PDC is headed for the same fate, but we still enjoy going there.

I think Akumal is a good choice for you based on what you said you like. There are some very good places to eat and just a bit of nightlife - but not very much. It is pretty quiet at night.

One of my favorite things about Akumal is renting a golf cart and zipping everywhere. There is very good snorkeling there too.

Puerto Morelos is REALLY quiet - the locals joke and call it Puerto Mortos - but it is also very cute and there is good snorkeling there also and a handful of good restaurants.

You may also want to look into Tulum.

We took two weeks this spring and split the time between PDC, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos, and plan to do the same next year; substituting Akumal or Tulum for PM as it was just a bit too quiet for us there. (I liked it but dh was bored.)

But, my personal fave is now Isla Mujeres. Wow! What a beach! I love the little funky beach bars and the great places to eat.

Let me know if you need any more info and happy planning!
Diana is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Diana can I pop in here with a question? Is there any good diving on Isla Mujeres? Diving was great in Cozumel but the Presidente's rates are quite a bit higher this year and I think we'd like to find an alternative that won't blow the budget. Thanks
joeb is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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The Presidente (Scuba Du) is who we always dive with when we go (we stay at the hotel so it's easier for those early morning dives), and you are right, their rates are too high, and their manager can be a bit surly.

One year, one of their boats broke down and left us at the surface for more than an hour. It wasn't too bad until the cold rain started...and then the jellyfish came...

To add insult to injury, the dive shop manager was mad at US when we got back because they had needed the boat - like it was OUR fault.

We bring some of our gear along, but we have heard the diving is not too great around Isla so haven't tried it yet - maybe in 2005!

I had thought about the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks (around Isla) because I am nuts for sharks, but it is in very deep water. I know there are dive shops on Isla because I saw them, and I know the rates are reasonable. Maybe google it?

I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has dove both Coz and IM as I can't imagine IM being close to the things we've seen on Cozumel.
Diana is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Diana,

Thanks so mcuh for your help! I think we'll split our time between Isla and Akumal. Can you recommend any nice places to stay? We're looking for clean, affordable and quaint. I'd like to stay on the main strip downtown when we're in Isla but I don't know the names of any of those hotels. Any ideas? Thanks again!
nichole is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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Oh, one more question for you Diana. Would you say that Akumal has more or less nightlife than Isla?
nichole is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 05:57 PM
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Nichole

This site is great source for planning a trip to Isla Mujeres ( http://www.isla-mujeres.net/home.htm ).
RobertoB is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 06:54 PM
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I would say that Akumal has less night life than Isla, and that it can be pretty quiet - especially in the off season - but is a really neat laid back place.

We stay at Na Balam on Isla, but Media Luna is nice and very affordable also. I like the choices of condos that locogringo.com has for Akumal. We have stayed in both Villas on the Reef and Vista del Mar and were pleased with both. You really can't go wrong as they are all pretty nice and very similar.

The locogringo.com site will also give you a good feel for Akumal with great aerial shots and dining info.
Diana is offline  
Dec 16th, 2004, 07:49 PM
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Great. Thanks so much for the tips. We are already counting the days until May!
nichole is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 03:59 AM
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Nichole,

We have been to Isla and Akumal - Isla definitely has more nightlife - but both places are great. On Isla the place that I would stay would be the Hotel Media La Luna (I think that's it) - but it is on the beach not downtown. It is a very short walk to the downtown area. Check out www.isla-mujeres.net and you will find all kinds of info on the island - for Akumal check out www.locogringo.com. I am sure you will have a great time!
JuliePA is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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JuliePA,

Thanks for the info. You are the second person to suggest Media Luna. I think that's the place for us! I'm a little curious about their pricing. On their website, they list some rooms at $40 while the rest are $80 plus. Do you happen to know the difference in the rooms? Thanks...
nichole is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Not Julie, but I think the difference may have a lot to do with the size.

The room we had was on the ground floor close to the pool and TINY. (We reserved late, and that was all that was avaialable.) I know they have larger rooms on the upper level, and I think they may have a new section as well, so those may be more $.

Personally, we spend so little time in our room that I don't feel the price difference warrants the upgrades in a lot of cases.

If you are going in May, chances are the hotel will be very slow, and you may want to look at other rooms and upgrade if you feel it's worth it.
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Dec 17th, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Diana thanks for your input on scuba in Isla Mujeres. That's too bad, it was sounding like a nice alternative to Cozumel but the diving is pretty important. Our other trip each year is usually someplace in Europe which doesn't really lend itself to diving opportunities so I really look forward to getting in at least some diving on our "sun and beach" vacation. We may have to postpone this trip until later in the year during the off-season when the Presidente's rates come down or consider somewhere else.

That's quite a lousy experience you had with Scuba Du. Luckily I didn't have any mishaps like that when I dove with them, but I think their association with the hotel allows them to charge more for relatively lackluster - well in your case pretty appalling - service.
joeb is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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I think the really cheap rooms listed for Media Luna aren't even in the same building or on the beach. I'm not sure exactly where they are, but it wouldn't be where I'd want to stay. Last December we had a king room, on the third floor, breakfast included for $85.00 per night. I think the rates are $100.00 now, but, those rooms really do have a million dollar view.

Our current favorite destination is Ambergris Caye in Belize. A bit busier than Isla, but not nearly at the level of Playa del Carmen. Since the barrier reef is only half a mile from the shore, the beach isn't nearly as beautiful as in Mexico, and there is sea grass. But the water is beautiful and the beach is pretty, just not very swimmable. Many of the hotels have docks with swimming off the end. Very short boat rides to absolutely amazing snorkeling. We aren't divers, but there is great diving as well.

Belize is easy, because everyone speaks English. Exchange rate is fixed at $2BZ to $1US. The mainland is a fairly shrot boat ride away with jungle tours and Mayan ruins.

Jean
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