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Better to do all-inclusive or hotels in Playa del Carmen?

Better to do all-inclusive or hotels in Playa del Carmen?

Old Mar 13th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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Better to do all-inclusive or hotels in Playa del Carmen?

Reading reviews of both and it's confusing. If we get a great deal on an all-inclusive and decide to dine out a few nights, then it's a no-brainer; however, if we don't..... We're torn. Any input or suggestions welcomed. Going in mid-May.
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Old Mar 13th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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We went there last year and stayed at a condo and LOVED it! We tried different restaurants each day. We're going back in 2 weeks and staying at another condo. Friends just returned from an all inclusive and said they wouldn't do it again. I know that many people like them however. Good luck!
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Old Mar 14th, 2009, 06:42 AM
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Playa del Carmen has a huge variety of restaurants, in all price ranges. Also, a very good variety of bars and night spots. I like trying different restaurants, for me, it's part of the fun of traveling.

If you do decide to go all-inclusive, at least make sure and stay in one that's close to or in Playa. You don't want to have to deal with 30 minute cab rides to get to town.
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Old Mar 14th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Another vote for non-AI - we are headed to PDC in April and this will be our 11th visit to Mexico and our fifth to Playa and we always go non-AI. The best part about Playa (to us anyway) is the variety of great restaurants and bars - all within walking distance.
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Old Mar 14th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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We've always chose the AI option mainly because of the included drinks. We always gotten a good deal so eating a few times off the hotel wasn't an issue. If you chose non-AI make sure you get a hotel very close to 5th Avenue in Playa or you'll be spending extra time and money getting there to eat out. Many of the bigger hotels are AI for that very reason. They are way out in the middle of nowhere and it requires a cab or hotel shuttle to get to Playa.

If you want the best of both worlds go with the Royal Playa del Carmen or their sister hotel the Grand Porto Real. Both are a 5 minute walk from 5th Avenue and AI. We've been to many AI hotels and they have got the better food. We ate out a couple of times on 5th Avenue and agreed that our hotel's food and drinks tasted just as good if not better than what we were paying outside for. We found that the exception and not the norm as other destinations we've been to in which resturants/bar were so close to the hotel, the resturants were better than the AI offerings. I would chose AI again if we returned to Playa.
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Old Mar 14th, 2009, 04:14 PM
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Depends on what you're looking for. I would also stay at the Royal PDC in a minute but would pass on the Gran Porto Real because of the inability to swim off the beach in front of that particular AI. Some smaller hotels include beach club coupons for chairs and a palapa. Some places like the Shangri La Caribe and the Las Palmas are partial AI are directly on the beach and include some things but not others. If you stay in Playacar just to the south of PDC it is a short taxi ride into PDC itself or about a 20 minute walk. Safe to walk there; I run through there in the mornings. Lots of places to eat in PDC; all different cuisines. I've stayed in three AI's in Playacar, three hotels in PDC and a condo in PDC before I bought my own condo. I've enjoyed all of it except for the short period of time I stayed at an AI by myself. Kind of boring there. When I used to travel there with my husband and sons we always enjoyed the AI's especially with kids. The food was nothing to write home about but the kids didn't care.
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Old Mar 16th, 2009, 02:21 PM
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Thank you all so much. My travel agent narrowed it down to a few places (and she's getting us a great deal, in my opinion - and I've checked directly with places and online and with discount places - no one can beat her at all). The places we are considering: Iberostar Tucan (We know it's a $5 cab ride to town) - it looks amazing and the jungle/animal layout is very enticing to us. The other 2 up for grabs: Riu Palace Mexico (same price as Iberostar) and Riu Palace Maya Riviera (a little pricier). Any comments or input re these places? I'm sure we would venture to town one or two nights as well - especially en route back from a day in Cozumel. Love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 16th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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I should also mention that we are going to totally veg out as well as hike, explore, do water sports, tennis, etc., so that's partly why we are going for the AI - no having to pay for extras or think about it. The food issue is not a huge one for us, so we'll play that by ear. Even if we went to town a few nights for different dinners, having the option to just not think and go too far is a plus as well.
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Old Mar 16th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Riu Palace Mexico is an older crowd - no little kids around. Tucan is more of a family environment. My last choice would be the Riu Palace Riviera Maya because the beach is the worst of the three due to erosion. I've stayed at the RIU Palace Mexico and had a wonderful time. Good food, quiet and smaller than the mega resorts.
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Old Mar 17th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Thank you!
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