Punta Cana or Riviera Maya?

Jun 6th, 2002, 08:17 PM
Chef Jason Girard
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Punta Cana or Riviera Maya?

After reading some of the posts on these boards, I'm considering changing my travel plans from Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) to Riviera Maya in Tulum, Mexico. The trip to DR is about $150 more.

Any hotel suggestions? Favorite shopping spots, activities, restaurants? Daytrips or excursions? Anybody been to either or both places???

My wife and I enjoy relaxing, less touristy spots(which is why we picked DR over Cancun) and we’ll be traveling with two young toddlers. The resort we’re considering (in Mexico) is called Robinson Club Tulum. The resort in DR is Fiesta Bavaro. Any thoughts? Alternative suggestions??? We’ll probably book our trip through Apple Vacations from Chicago. Any great experiences or horror stories? Your input would be much appreciated. Thanks so much!
Jun 7th, 2002, 09:35 AM
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Jason, do a search on "Robinson" on the Latin America board for reviews. They looked pretty good to me. Honestly though the reviews of The Fiesta have been quite good too. Do a search on "Fiesta" on this forum.

Robinson is much more secluded. I believe that it is the only hotel on it's strip of beach than the Fiesta, and you can do excursions to the Mayan ruins, Xel-ha, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. I've been there and really like it. As far as I know Punta Cana doesn't have many excursions. It's the kind of place where you hang around the resort.
Jun 7th, 2002, 01:25 PM
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Try the Gala Resort in Playacar. Excellent service, many activities, good food and gorgeous beach. It is about 30 minutes closer to the airport than Tulum. Not too touristy, a lot of Europeans. Mostly families and couples. The Royal Hideaway is a few doors down and caters to adults.
You can visit ruins at Tulum, Coba or Chitzen-itza. The Xcaret eco-theme park is less than a mile away from the resort. You can snorkel the cenotes (underground rivers) or swim with dolphins here.
Cannot compare to DR. Going there in a few weeks though.
Jun 8th, 2002, 08:51 AM
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We stayed at the Robinson Club last July. It was great. The pool is enormous and beach is wonderful. We also went with Apple Vacations. Would go back. We've also been to DR, stayed at the Allergo, again with Apple Vacations. Sightseeing will be much better from Riviera Maya then at DR.
Jun 12th, 2002, 09:54 AM
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DR or Mayan Riviera?
Have not been to DR because I have heard conflicting stories re food, and no off site activities. Have been to the Mayan Riviera and loved it. I would recommend the RIU Tequila or the Yucatan (a RIU as well) Food is fabulous at both, the Yucatan is right on the beach. A friend took her two children to the Tequila and they loved it. Both are all inclusive, including free mini bar in the room with alcohol provided. Excursions include ruins in Tulum, Chichen Itza (an all day affair), a ferry to Cozumel (very nice) and the ride fronm Cancun airport is about 45 min. While at either hotel, take a tour of the RIU Palace which is offered to RIU clients....even the kitchen. Have a good holiday.
Jun 13th, 2002, 06:27 PM
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Wow you asked a great questions. We've never been to the carribean and we've won an all inclusive trip to take in the next 14 months.

The original locatin was Tampico mexico but after some research found it wasn't great. We started looking at DR and we are traveling with 2 small children as well. I love the feed back as we have heard the mayan coast is less touristy and very nice. DR scares me as I've found lots of bad reviews about food, water pressure problems etc..

Now we are looking at the mayan coast as well. We were also looking at Aruba and like the holiday in there (about the only one in budget). You may want to consider that, but figure they will be busier but at least there is a whole island to explore where in DR there really doesn't sound like much outside the resorts.

It's so hard to choose! I am so happy to have this forum!
Jun 14th, 2002, 11:45 AM
a Travel Professional
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I also recommend the Mayan Sun Coast.
I have been there about 6 times and loved it.
I like Riu or Iberostar Properties.
I have not been to Punta Cana, but have been to Puerta Plate in the DR.
I did not like DR as well as Mexico, not as much to do, not as scenic, but the beaches are lovely in Punta Cana, as are the hotels.
Depending on the city you are departing from Cancun (Mayan Suncoast) is also a lower price.
Jun 15th, 2002, 01:35 PM
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I guess I'm "going against the grain" when I say that the Punta Cana area seems to be more what you say you want. I've been to both...Punta Cana (once but going again this Xmas) and the Mayan Riviera (three times). From where I live, the DR is very much cheaper!! That is not why I'm saying Punta Cana, however. Here's why:
1. You stated, "My wife and I enjoy relaxing, less touristy spots." Punta Cana is much more relaxing and much less touristy than the Mayan Riviera. Everyone else who posted told you about all the wonderful excursions in the Mayan Riviera but if you're travelling with two young toddlers, you won't want to do any of them...it's simply too hot and too long for any of the excursions mentioned. Your kids won't be interested and you'll have two crying tots to deal with in the heat. They just want to play in the sand and the water! I can tell you FOR SURE...the beaches in Punta Cana are far superior to those in the Mayan Riviera....yes, the Mayan coast is lovely but NOT as lovely as Punta Cana. The Punta Cana beaches are voted to be in the top 10 beaches in the world. The Mayan coast, while lovely, isn't nearly as good.

2. If anyone brings up sickness, that doesn't cut it either. The ONLY place I've ever been sick was the Mayan Riviera. I know that can happen anywhere but Punta Cana isn't any more "dangerous" from that perspective.

3. People say that they haven't been to Punta Cana but they heard there isn't anything to do there. Well, that isn't true either. We took the most interesting day trips I've ever had in Punta Cana. We went up into the mountains (not far away and they are really more like rolling foothills) and saw the most interesting plantations of coffee growers, sugar cane, rice paddies, etc. We saw wonderful little villages with beautiful, friendly people. We saw the most beautiful artworks (original...not Mexican mass produced stuff). On the way back from that tour, the operators had large waterguns in the back of the open-air jeeps and we had a great time "squirting" the other jeeps in our group. Your toddlers would enjoy that! We took quad bikes out and found lovely secluded beaches and lagoons surrounded by cliffs with wonderful, crystal clear water. We took a catamaran trip to Catalonia Island (you could also do Saona Island) for fabulous snorkelling and diving.

Your holiday will be what you make it but don't discount Punta Cana. We're heading back there after several trips in between and before to the Mayan Riviera and both trips are different but wonderful for different reasons.
Go to this website for resort reviews for both the DR and Mayan Riviera:

P.S. If you are a golfer...Punta Cana is FAR superior for golfing!!
Jun 25th, 2002, 08:49 AM
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OK Jason, I just returned from the Fiesta Bavaro in Punta Cana yesterday. We had a FANTASTIC time! The resort was beautiful, the beach was absolutely gorgeous, white sand, turqoise water, lots of palm trees for shade. My mother and sister thought it even better than the Riviera Maya for that reason.

The resort had tons of activites. We sailed 2 or 3 times a day (they have plenty of catamarans, wind surfers and kayaks), my kids did archery twice a day, we played ping pong, went on banana boat rides, played tennis and played mini-golf. The only thing there was a charge for was the banana boat ride (5.00), because it wasn't part of the hotel.

The food was good, especially at the a la cartes. The service was excellent. Always someone around the beautifully landscaped pools asking if you wanted a drink. The people were wonderful. All in all a great vacation at an unbeatable price. My sister thought it was much better than any Sandals she'd been to. I was unsure about an all-inclusive but I'm sold. I'd go again in a heartbeat.
Jun 25th, 2002, 08:54 AM
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Oh, and not one of the 6 of us got the least bit sick. Just be smart and drink bottled water. And my mom, who only wanted to relax, stayed on the lounge chair at the beach and no one bothered her, so you can do as little or as much as you want.
Jun 25th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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Has anyone done a Apple Vacation in Punta Cana? I am going on one in three weeks. It is a 5 apples all-inclusive. Any info would be appreciated.

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