Beach vacation for non-beach lover...Tricky ;)

Old Jan 5th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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Beach vacation for non-beach lover...Tricky ;)

My husband and I will be traveling to Tulum for a wedding in September. While I adore the beach, he can only handle a little bit before he gets bored and cranky. So, I'm in need of ideas of how to keep us busy.

We're 30 & 31, love good food, exploring other cultures and finding the "real" place we are visiting. We also really like history. Our favorite place in the world is Rome because we can eat great food, indulge in good booze and go, go, go. We have to stay busy during the day and then we like to relax with drinks and a great dinner at night. We love to meet locals and I speak rudimentry Spanish, so hopefully that will help.

While I've done some research, I'd love to hear what the pros say. What really awesome things have you done in the Tulum/PDC/Cancun area? What town/resort do you think would be best for us? We'll be there for 3 days with the wedding party and then will go off on our own to another town, probably PDC (other suggestions) for a week or so. I'd love suggestions on great towns/cities other than just the "regulars" or tips on finding the "spice of life". I'm open on costs, it's not that it's "not an issue", it's more that it just depends on what/where.

So far, we're planning on visiting the Tulum ruins, I went to Chichen Itza years ago and loved it, so maybe there. I'm also thinking of heading up north a little ways to snorkel with the whale sharks but what else? We love festivals and all sorts of fun things, we just can't be laying around a lot. DH doesn't know what to do with that much time on his hands.

Thanks in advance!
dahlie is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Hi, dahlie -

I enjoyed snorkeling in stalagmite- and stalactite-filled caves just north of Tulum, which I did through Hidden Worlds:

I also enjoyed a visit to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve just south of Tulum:

Hope that helps!

kja is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 04:49 PM
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Although I've never been, the colonial city of Merida is on my list of places to go. Lots of history, live music, and it just sounds like a fun city.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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Yes, Merida is probably where you should go for at least part of your stay. It's one of the most "European" cities in Mexico and is an excellent base for visiting the ruins of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and several others that are nearby.

Some of the haciendas in Merida also offer cooking classes. The Yucatan cuisine is outstanding and the best place to experience it is in Merida.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Things to do. Where to start:

ATV's - Playa del Carmen
There are 2. One on Maroma Beach and one that takes you through the jungle

Bull fights - Cancun

Captian Hook lobster dinner cruise -Cancun

Chichen Itza and evening light show




Xcaret and night show

Ak Tun Chen - underground caves

Maroma Beach for snorkeling and beach dinners

Dolphin swim


Jeep Safaris

Zip Lines


Party Hopper bar tour - Cancun

Aquaworld - Cancun

Subsee Exployer - Cancun

Jungle Tour on jet skis or small boats - Cancun or Maroma Beach outside of Playa

Cenote swimming and snorkeling

Day trips to Cozumel from Playa and Isla Mujeres from Cancun

Horseback riding at Maroma Beach

Catamaran sails



5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen - lots of resturants, sidewalk cafes, shopping, bars and entertainment

Web-sites to check out:

That you get you started in some more research.
KVR is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Oh, thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for! Keep them coming!
dahlie is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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I think Tulum would be too quiet for you to stay there. You'd love being 'in the action' at PDC.

There are new places on the newly popular 'north beach' area called Luna Encantada. Check for VRBO and HomeAway for better deals. They look fantastic. We stayed at La Tortuga which was a short walk from everything BUT there prices have gone up a bit.

In Tulum, we stayed at La Luna and loved the rustic chic laid back vibe of Tulum. PDC was too much hustle and bustle for us but great for the 2 nights we were there. The food was better and less expensive in PDC.

You have to spend a day at Tulum beaches. The northern beach is calmer and prettier but a little more crowded [though not like PDC], there's a beach bar there called Zazil Kin. Mezzanine has great happy hour drinks and killer view.

You can also grab a cab [can't walk the beach in certain spot] to go to the 'southern' beach area that is more remote and goes for miles.

La Zebra, Ocho are great places to hang out too.

You have to snorkel in cenotes. You can do on your own Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote [many others but those are popular] or do hidden worlds.

I would skip the ziplining personally. It was 'ok'.

Coba is supposed to be great ruins and there's a cool cenote near it. But if you're going to Tulum beach, might as well save time and do the ruins there. Either one, do ruins early before crowds.


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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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We did 3 or 4 days in Merida last year and then a few days at the beach near Akumal. I also can't do much beach time so this was a good compromise. We did have a car so we could explore on our own. We started with one night in Vallodolid at a great authentic hotel then drove around the countryside on our way to ruins. This was a very fun day just seeing how people lived in the small towns. Then into Merida. From here we went to Progresso to explore and stopped at the ruins along the way. We also wandered alot in Merida, again just to see more of the real Mexico. We loved the Tuesday night dance in the town square and there are some wonderful restaurants in the downtown area.

Forget the dinner cruises and light shows if you want something less touristy.
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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Thanks all! Trish, we'll be staying at La Zebra. The wedding will be held there and a ton of our friends will be staying at the cabanas. I think that part will be fun and Rob will be able to stay busy with all of his friends.

The cenotes sound wonderful...Right up my alley.

dwc, your trip sounds like what I want. I'm going to chat with DH tomorrow further. Poor guy's getting a root canal today so I'm staying far, far away from major decisions while he's all hopped up. Ha!

Do you all think it would be too much to spend 3 days in Tulum, head to Merida for 3 days, plus a day for Uxmal, then head back to Holbox to snorkel with the whale sharks for the day and end up back in PDC for a day or two? That's seven days...I'm thinking we could spread it out to 9-10 days.

Thoughts? Is that too much driving?
dahlie is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Hmmm, totally a rough draft but how's the below?

Tues: Arrive Tulum
Weds: wedding
Th: Tulum ruins
Fri: Cenotes
Sat: Head to Merida
Sun: Merida/Uxmal
Mon: Merida
Tues: Holbox/Whale sharks
Weds: Cancun
Thurs: Cancun/depart

I would prefer PDC over Cancun but we're flying in/out of Cancun. Do you think with the above, which may already be too much (?) that it would be excessive to stay in PDC and then fly out of Cancun?
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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It was alot of driving for us but it was also always interesting driving so it was okay. We did something similar in that we also went down through Tulum before staying just north of Tulum 20-30 minutes.

I don't think there is anything wrong with staying in Cancun and would be easier then going back down to PDC which I can't say that I enjoyed very much. Jump on the bus in Cancun and go into the real town, there is a market there that was fun to wander and some authentic restaurants. You don't have to go to Planet Hollywood and The Gap. And for you , the beaches are much nicer in Cancun than PDC.

Just a heads up that Sunday is market day in the main square in Merida so you may want to do your ruins on another day. I will get you more information on the great restaurant we went to (kind of a blend of French and Mexican with an open air ceiling). We stayed at Cascadas de Merida which served a great breakfast.

We also went to the ruins at Dzibilchaltun because it was on the way to Progresso. I also recommend going to the Paseo Montejo (I think) to see the mansions and have lunch and a glass of wine.

You will have a great time.
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