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Trying to decide between Cancun & Playa del Mar?

Old Feb 24th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Trying to decide between Cancun & Playa del Mar?

We (DH and I) are planning for R&R, nice beaches (or ocean view at least), and a little scuba. While we enjoy scuba, it is not going to be the primary part of this trip. I have settled on flying to CANCUN in April for 10 days (tkt was a good price and I've booked the airfare). Now my question is which area(s) to choose. While we have been to Cozumel for a 'day' (on a cruise), we haven't actually been to Cancun or Playa del Mar. I would be willing to divide the 10 days...these places don't seem very far apart.

Anyway, my question is whether to focus on Cancun, Playa del Mar, or a combo of both for lodging. It is hard to narrow down the research until I decide on which one... We won't rent a car (tho we usually do on other trips) -- so we will use the local bus. Lots of nearby nightlife is not a priority, but going to some restaurants would be nice -- not sure yet if we will get accommodation with a kitchenette or not.

So, are Cancun and Playa del Mar BOTH beautiful, great beaches, easy to get around, and well located -- or does one outweigh the other? For background, we have visited lots of the Caribbean islands as well as Hawaii.

Hope I have provided enough info. Thanks!
HorizonBound is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2008, 01:31 PM
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Do you mean Playa del Carmen? If so ,definitely split your time! We first went to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Akumal on a 10 day trip to see which we liked. Loved them all, but Playa and Akumal best. Hve been back 4 times in 3 years!
My husband's a diver. No good diving around Cancun. He had great dives in Playa and Akumal. Coz also is great, but more time consuming if you're not staying there.
The most beautiful beach in Playa is at Las Palapas in north Playa. We've stayed at Las Palapas, Riu Palace Mexico, Playa Maya, Magic BLue, and Natz ti Ha condos. in Playa. All were great. They have great restaurants in Playa, so we don't stay at AI's any more. The beach in Playacar, where most of the nicest AIs are, is a disaster right now. I would stay away from Playacar now.
The most gorgeous beach down there is El Paraiso in Tulum. We drove down to spend the day and it was fantastic!
We loved Selvatica zipline! Also, for some unique diving, to to Hidden Worlds. and Locogringo are great sites for more info. Let me know if I can be of any more help!
summer04 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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Sorry, I guess it's Playa del Carmen! How far is Akumal from Cancun? Not familiar with it.

Yes, I have heard there isn't really diving in Cancun, but if there are nice beach and a nice place to stay, it might be nice for maybe half the trip?

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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 03:38 AM
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I really don't care for Cancun, too much concrete and steel. I would look into Isla Mujeres. Just a short ferry ride from Cancun, but a very different place.

Pretty good snorkeling from there, I'm not sure about scuba.
JeanH is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2008, 03:46 AM
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Stick with the Playa del Carmen area or anywhere along the Riviera Maya. Cancun is like a city. You'll get more of the "real feel" in Playa or Akimal or Tulum.
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 08:29 AM
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My hubby is a diehard scuba diver and he has said many times that the Playa Del Carmen area and south is much better then Cancun. I personally love the PDC area the town has some great places to eat and good places to shop. I feel like I get more of a Mexico feel in PDC then Cancun. Cancun has turned into a Miami in Mexico. It does not have that Mexico flair that south of Cancun has.

The Akumal area is a great area to stay in. It will take oyu about 1 hour and 15 mintes to get there from Cancun airport. It is like a small Mexican village. A lot of people like to rent golf carts to get around or you could walk if you like. There are also 2 great dive operations in Akumal. The beach is really pretty beach there. Akumal means turtle in spanish and they did not name Akumal that name by chance. When I snorkle there I almost always see turtles.
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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Jiffer~~We must have the same tastes in vacation destinations! Where did you stay in Akumal? We've stayed at Casa Redonda, ABR, and Hotel Akumal Caribe. You've probably eaten at my favorite restaurants--Turtle Bay Bakery and
Lol ha!

HorizonBound~~If you stay in Cancun, check out the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach hotel. It's gorgeous, great pool, and nice calm beach. Bad thing about Cancun is that if you stay on the wrong part, the undertow is really bad.
Jiffer really summed up my feelings about Playa. It's a fun place that is large enough to keep you busy, but small enough to make you feel confortable.
Akumal is a very small place with lots of snorkeling and diving. It's very laid back. The first time we went, my hubby and daughter thought it was spooky, but hte more we wetn, the more everyone loved it. It's just very relaxing, safe, and all about the water. ABR and Hotel Akumal Caribe are nothing fancy, but the location on the beach is fantastic. You can also rent gorgeous villas and condos there.
Also, we were in Playa last year June7-14 and it's a beautiful time to go!
summer04 is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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Thanks so much -- this will help me get started on lodging research
HorizonBound is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Right now, I am considering 5 nites @ Cancun (in a small/quaint beachfront hotel w/great reviews) and 5 nites @ a beachfront hotel on Isla Mujures.

I was leaning towards PdC, but the hotel in Cancun seems a good bet.... FWIW, it's Ambiance Villas.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:07 AM
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I love Isla Mujeres..... it is much more laid back than Cancun. IF you are considering staying there, check out "Villa Rolandi" as a place to stay - small luxury hotel-all suite, all overlooking the water, and the food is AWESOME!!! I stayed there last Sept and am planning on returning in May. They do have dive centers on the island but I am not really sure where they take you. get reviews on Villa Rolandi on and see guest's pics of the place. you can also get info on diving and the island on (great forums) have fun!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:16 PM
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blondie ski -- Thanks for the hotel suggestion (Villa Rolandi). Unfortunately, it is $420/nite I am planning a more budget minded I have been considering an oceanfront property (Avalon Reef Club) for $105/nite. Hopefully we will get the chance to 'visit' Villa Rolandi!
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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You are probably thinking of Playa del Carmen, 45 min south of Cancun, a good choice for a location to stay in. A short taxi to Playa and the ferry to Cozumel for the best dive spots. Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal is a few minutes south of Playa and is a very nice all inclusive resort with excellent service, good food, the best beach, and reasonable prices.
Cancun is nice but busy, main beach rough, top beach (Riu Palace) calm. Isla Mujeres a good day trip from there, Riu Palace Las Americas simply perfect, but more expensive than the Tucan - and 2 different experiences.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Finally made my decision -- after DAAAAYZZ of internet reading Six days in beachfront condo @ Playa del Carmen and four nites in an oceanfront hotel @ Isla Mujeres
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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you will enjoy both spots for different reasons!
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