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-   -   best time to buy/best method to buy for playa del carmen (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/best-time-to-buy-best-method-to-buy-for-playa-del-carmen-735831/)

nkluedke Sep 11th, 2007 04:21 PM

best time to buy/best method to buy for playa del carmen
 
Hey all - Hoping some of the experienced folk will have some advice. Never been to Mexico and looking at 4/2008 (aka prime spring break time). Should I buy flight now (about $300-350 from Milwaukee) or wait for some last minute deals?

Also, I'm not sure how to get the most bang for my buck - booking flight/hotel all together on a site like expedia or separately...what's the best way to get the lowest hotel price?

Lastly, anyone know of a relatively affordable AI? We were hoping to go this route, but stay at about $2500 for the week. Am I dreaming?

Thanks!
Nancy

colokid Sep 12th, 2007 12:50 AM

In Playa the more affordable AI's would be in Playacar such as the RIU Tequila or RIU Yucatan when they have a sale. You can sign up for their newsletter via email with sale info at their website. There will not be too much last minute availability during spring break or great prices during that time since it is high season. I would grab a price like you mention for that time period. Just paid $700 for a flight in March which is higher than I wanted but I remember last year flights were running around $1000. I was able to use my miles last year but already they're gone. I've gone both ways with booking my vacations there when I used to do AI's. Lots of times you will get a better deal if you book air/hotel together.

jette Sep 12th, 2007 05:19 AM

Hola Nancy! I'm from Milwaukee also and have made many trips to PDC. The price you mentioned for air fare from MKE looks pretty good to me. I did find fares last March @$285 but I've seen them a LOT higher. Sometimes you can find fares directly thru Apple or Funjet so check them too.
As for accomodations, I never go AI and never will. There are just too many great places to eat and fun beach bars so why limit yourself to one place and a handfull of mediocre buffets. Just my opinion.
Normally my trips for 10 days run @2K including airfare, hotel, food, fun and plenty of cold beverages. I think $2.5K is easily do-able. You can easily find places for @100/night that are very very nice and find a great meal for under $10.
Let me know if you need any more suggestions.

nkluedke Sep 12th, 2007 12:10 PM

Jette - Can I ask some of the places you've stayed before? I guess we were nervous about activities - we wanted to be able to do things when we were down there and thought an AI would be nice for being able to get it set up through them. Is it easier than I'm thinking it is?

jette Sep 12th, 2007 12:49 PM

First of all, let me introduce you to THE BEST source of info on Playa you'll find any where:

http://www.playa.info/

Spend a couple hours going thru the different tabs and you'll get a very complete picture of Playa.

I've personally stayed at Playa Maya, Tortuga, Luna Blue, and Alhambra hotels and loved all of them. There are many many more great small hotels in a range of prices and locations.
I've done numerous arranged tours thru Playa.info as well as plenty of exploring our own and with groups of friends.

It is much easier that you might think to do almost anything you can imagine.

I spent many hours on the Playa.info site before my first trip and I was armed with so much information that from the minute we got off the bus I felt completely at home and relaxed.

I have only one "caution". Once you've been to Playa and experienced it off the AI grid, you'll have a hard time even considering vacationing anywhere else!

janenicole Sep 12th, 2007 04:25 PM

If you do decide you would like to do an AI, definitely look at Funjet's website for deals on airfare/hotel. You can sign up for their email, and they will send deals your way each week. You may find better deals starting in November/December.

Any hotel will be able to help you with excursions. AIs don't offer the best food, but they are nice if you don't want to be "on the go" or have to think about where to eat next. Guess it depends upon what your main priority is during vacation.

beachbum2 Sep 13th, 2007 06:16 PM

I think it's a toss up. I have already booked our flights to CUN as I know they will only go up. Don't plan on too many last minute deals. How many people are going? Are there kids? There are so many great places in playa to stay that are so reasonable and the restaurant choices are endless. I stayed at an AI last year and enjoyed it, but prefer non AI. There are plenty of areas on the beach to book excursions and the website will help tremendously. You may want to look into a condo if there are 4 of you. Apple and funjet do have good deals, but if you do your own research, you can do just as well or better. Cheapcaribbean.com, and bookit.com are 2 sites I've used to get a good idea of prices...then always check the resort to compare. Good Luck!


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