Cancun in july with extended family

Old Jun 21st, 2013, 04:18 AM
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Cancun in july with extended family

Hello everybody. We have a trip to Cancun planned for early July. This trip will include my husband and myself, our two tween children, my husband's elderly parents and my husband's siblings and their spouses/ kids. I have some questions/ concerns. It has been many a year since my last trip to Mexico and after reading the u.s. Travel warnings , I find myself anxious for my in laws, my kids, etc. We plan to stay mostly at the resort, but do have a trip to Chichenitza and X Carot planned. I'm a little worried about safety, mainly away from the resort. Ok. Here goes the list

We won't all be together all the time. Suggestions for communicating effectively. Can you rent cell phones there? International rates for our phones are crazy.

What about eating out on these excursions? The last thing I want is to have sick children on vacation. I know no ice, no tap water but other than that ?

I understand u.s insurance/ medicare is not accepted even if we have foreign coverage on
our policies. Given the fact that we have a multitude of possible complications, diabetes,
asthma, heart arrythmias, joint and back trouble, it is possible that something could happen.
Any suggestions for how to hamdle anything that shouls arise.

The personal safety warnings appeared to be countless. Anyone taken recent trips ? Is it
really that bad? Recent headlines don't seem to be helping my anxiety.

Also pesos/ dollars. We plan to use a credit card and cash. I wouldn't dream of trying to use dollars in other countries so why would I here? What is the best way rate wise to exchange and how much is reasonably safe to carry at a time?

Wow. I never used to worry so much. Can you ease my neurosis?
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 06:01 AM
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First of all, take a deep breath and relax. No, it is not as bad as you are reading since all of the problems that are being reported in the Cancun area are related to drug traffic. Unless you plan on doing that, vacation as you would elsewhere but take the same precautions you would anywhere else. People usually get into trouble if they:
1. Deal or buy drugs.
2. Eat at buffets which have been left out for long periods of time. Or eat huge amounts of food that they would not normally eat.
3. Drink themselves into a state of stupor and then wander around late at night.

Here are some ideas:
Credit cards are not always accepted everywhere in Mexico and it is not advisable to use them. Use cash, exchange your money at a cambio or bank into pesos and use that. Don't walk around flashing money. Not advisable anywhere in the world to do that.

There are very good hospitals in Cancun. If you have a problem, or even when you arrive at the resort, inquire as to who their attending doctor is and ask how that person can be contacted. Many of them will come to the resort to make a visit.

Bottled water, fresh food cooked well, washed fruit and vegetables are all a good idea. I can tell you I travel to Mexico and live part time there many times a year. I have been sick a total of 2 times in the last 8 years. I eat everywhere and probably in places most people would not go. Look for restaurants that have a lot of people. Usually a good indicator of good food and food that is moved through the restaurant quickly so it's not sitting around. Chichen Itza does have a small deli like place but I usually pack my own food when I go there. Many trips will eat along the way at restaurants unless you are taking a big tour bus. Xcaret is a large theme park. Can't say I've been since I tend to avoid places like that but I've heard it's wonderful. Again, look for food that is not been sitting around.

Again, relax. You will have a wonderful time and I hope you can enjoy the Mexican hospitality and amazing food.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 07:09 AM
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Where are you staying? Is it an all inclusive resort? The food/drinks offered at the resorts in Cancun are fine to consume. They use filtered water, so it OK to eat and drink in the restaurants. Just don't drink water from the sink in your room. It's OK to shower with though.

There are several chain restaurants in Cancun as well as local. We've been to many. No issues. The public bus system is fine to take to and from your hotel, but if your are skittish take a cab.

I never use credit cards on vacation. Too easy for someone to scam the number off the card. We always bring and use US dollars, which seem to be appreciated and with the rate exchange is a better deal. Anywhere in Mexico and the Caribbean the US dollar is gladly accepted. "I wouldn't dream of trying to use dollars in other countries so why would I here?" I do not understand this statement.

Are you taking a bus tour to Chichenitza? When we stayed in Cancun we took one of the big bus tours. We toured Valladolid and went to a restaurant for a buffet lunch, which was fine and then to a cenote before going to the Chichenitza. In July in will be very hot and humid. There is a restaurant there and we had the most delicious chicken lime tortilla soup.

How did you plan to get to Xcaret? From Cancun a taxi will be overly expensive. I would suggest a tour that includes transporation. There is a night show with dinner that is awesome. It must be booked in advance. Try and stay for that.

We have been going to Mexico about once per year since 2000. We never had any problems. Just use common sense. Most of the reports that you have seen are for the border areas of Mexico, not the tourist areas. Millions of people travel to Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera all the time with no issues. We live 3 hours from a border town of Mexico in Texas. It's safer for me to visit Cancun than it is to basically live in my own town. Check a map to get some presceptive.

In Cancun, look at Aqua World for water activities. Also the La Isla mall is a nice place to go for the day and have lunch. There is a small dolphin show there also. La Casa Del Margaritas is a very good restaurant.

If you are interested we've been to Cancun twice. I have our most recent pics on our website:

http://kvrlvnphotogallery.shutterfly.com/pictures/4868

All of our vacation pics to numerous areas of Mexico as well at the Caribbean and US on listed at:

http://kvrlvnphotogallery.shutterfly.com/pictures/5
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 09:18 AM
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read the warnings again and pay attention this time. the warnings aren't for this part of mexico.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Thank you. Since we won't be drinking ourselves into a stupor or purchasing illicit drugs, I guess I can breathe on that score. I will ask about doctors on arrival at the resort, just to be prepared.
KVR- my husband is in line with your ideas about using dollars. I, on the other hand, always try to use local currency in case dollars are not accepted and they dont accept credit cards. This has happened to us in the past. Yes, both Chihen Itza and x Caret will include transportation.
I didn't expect to find credit cards a no no. We always have one for emergencies and if we unexpectedly find ourselves low on cash. Perhaps we will reassess that for Cancun. Thanks for the reassurance and suggestions.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Katzgar- although there isn't usually excessive concern about ths part of Mexico , 7 people were murdered in Cancun during spring break. So tourist presence is clearly not always a deterrent. It is due to the spreading drug violence and that I have children and elderly with me that I expressed unusual concern. .Thank you for your suggestion though.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 09:48 AM
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you apparently don't want your neurosis eased. Cancun is close to a million people so you may expect more murders.

"It has been many a year since my last trip to Mexico and after reading the u.s. Travel warnings , I find myself anxious for my in laws, my kids, etc"

The travel warnings do not apply to this part of Mexico.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 10:31 AM
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The ici is fine, everyplace uses purified ice so no worries on that score.
Try not to go overboard on the wonderful fresh fruit the first few days and stay away from coconut drinks like pina coladas as coconut is a natural laxative.
I was in Isla Mujeres and Akumal last month and everything was fine, down south we drove around in a rental car and had no problems at all.
I had pesos and dollars but use pesos when possible. Right now the rate is 13 pesos to 1 USD but often (taxis for one) you will only be offered a 10 to 1 exchange rate. Would you rather pay 100 pesos (about $8.50) or $10? Your choice. If something is priced in USD, ask the price in pesos.
I had to see a Dr. once since I'd hurt my back, no problem, went over to the pueblo, he gave me a shot of something and some pills, cost was 650 pesos.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 01:27 PM
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We always book our excursions on-line with a credit card about 30 days before arriving. When there we only use cash. Take lots of one dollar bills and 5 dollar bills for tipping. Nothing over a 20. I always try to pay in exact amounts for restaurants and shopping. If not, you will get pesos as change. After all of our several trips, I have accumulated way too much peso money that I will never use. My last trip to Mexico, I gave it all away. I do bring one credit card in case of a emergency, but have never used it.

Just stay in the tourist areas. Our last trip to Cancun was for my 40th birthday. We did a bar hopping tour that ended about 2am and we walked from the last club back to our hotel. No problem. Plenty of people out that time of night and cabs keep asking us if we wanted a ride because they wanted the fare. We walked and used the bus system day and night. No issues.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 06:43 PM
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We have ben travelling to the Mayan Riviera for many years, in small hotels. We have never had any problems, so don't be afraid of leaving your 'compound'! You will be pleasantly surprised to see that this part of Mexico is quite safe, and the locals are friendly. Your USA cell phones will work fine. Im not sure about Medicare, but most medical insurances should cover you in Mexico. Eating away from the resort will be fine - there are thousands of tourists from all over the world out and about, enjoying themselves, and they seem to survive. Most eating establishments serve purified ice and bottled water. The local beers are great. I typically use my credit card whenever possible, and carry about $400 pesos (about $35) in my wallet just in case. Your biggest worry might be the heat - July in this part of the world can be very hot indeed.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 01:08 AM
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"Just stay in the tourist areas. "

this advice is overly paranoid. The Yucatan is safe for tourists.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 04:21 AM
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>>>>>
Your insurance will NOT pay for any hospital/medical bill while you are IN Mexico. The hospital will demand payment from you right then and there. You can then be reimbursed by your insurance co. when you get home. Check with your insurance co. to be sure of the details. Take a credit card with a high limit if you are worried about a hospital bill.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 06:51 AM
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I would just reiterate what I said earlier. Be very careful with credit and debit cards. Do NOT use the Cashola machines that are on the street that dispense both US and MX funds. Only use bank machines where the card can just be swiped. Check your accounts when you return for several months and give your bank a heads up if you will be using the cards out of the country. Most people will not get skimmed but it does happen. Do not flash money around.

Staying in the tourist areas with elderly folks may be your most comfortable zone to be in. I can understand that. I also understand that to see Mexico you can't stay in the tourist zone or just go to Xcaret. Chichen Itza will be extremely hot in July so be prepared. There is very little shelter once you leave the entry building. There are also no toilets around the facility other than in the main building. Coba may be a better choice for you as it is in the jungle more with shade and you can rent bicycles or pedicabs to get around. Just thought.
Schmerl is correct. If you require hospitalization make sure you have a credit card with you that will work. That means calling the company before you go and letting them know your plans. You don't want to get into a situation where your credit card is denied and it's an emergency.
Katzgar is also correct - the Yucatan is very safe for tourists as long as they don't act foolish. For the most part those tourists you are injured fall off balconies. I kid you not. Drink too much and hang over the edge. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people rent in my complex in Playa who insist on walking around the railing up on the penthouse roof.
If you only eat in the tourist zone you will be missing a lot of amazing food. Don't be afraid to venture out. You didn't say where you were staying; are you in Cancun itself, down the coast in on of the AI's or in Playa del Carmen? If you order water in a restaurant it will come in a bottle. They will most likely ask if you want mineral water or plain water. Ice is not an issue. The days of people getting sick from food poisoning is not a common as it once was. The only time I've gotten sick was when I ate green leafy salads and like I said that's happened twice in the past 8 years.
With such a large group going with you who have multiple needs it is totally understandable that you may want to stay in the complex.
As far as money - there was a change in the Mexican law a couple of years ago that limits the amount of American dollars businesses can accept because of money laundering. Not everyone is super excited about being paid with American money or tipping and not all businesses will accept credit or US funds. Know that if you tip with US dollars the person you tip then has to make a trip somewhere to get that money changed. The only place I pay with US funds now is either WalMart of Mega as they give a good exchange rate. Just an FYI. Other than that, your best exchange rate will be at the bank. Most banks require your passport in order to exchange money. Your other option is to change money at the cambios. I only know Playa and there are many around town but I'm not sure of the hotel zone in Cancun. You can also arrange to get pesos at your bank in the States before you go.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 01:58 PM
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"Just stay in the tourist areas. "

this advice is overly paranoid. The Yucatan is safe for tourists."

To clarify, what I meant was stay in areas where tourists typically go. ie; Don't be going down back allies or off beaten paths especially at night. Yes, the Yucatan is safe for tourists. As I stated before we have been multiple times and have had no issues and would go back in a heartbeat. Just use the same common sense you would use at home.

I have always been an advocate for people going and enjoying their vacation in Mexico. Being called "overly paranoid" by a troll I think is highly offensive and down right inappropriate especially from someone who has only been once and touted all over Trip Advisor that he didn't like it and wouldn't go back. Interesting.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:01 PM
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. We are staying in Playa Del Carmen.I think we will have a lovely time, but the in- laws have opted to stay in the complex as they dont do a lot of walking anymore, so most excursions are out of their comfort zone.

I will pass along the suggestion to consider Coba rather than Chichen Itza and we will be prepared with a credit card for emergencies. It was very considerate of you to take such care and time in your responses.

We have received some terific advice and some good food for thought as to how to make the most of our week. I umderstand there is a mercado not far from the resort (it is the Grand Mayan Riviera) that we are wanting to explore and we may skip X Caret all together. Happy travels to all and thanks again.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:07 PM
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KVR- enjoyed your photos. Looks beautiful.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 06:01 AM
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You are staying about 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen. If anyone in your party decides to venture out an inexpensive way to do that is to take the golf cart to the main entrance and wait on the highway for a white van called a colectivo. They will take you into the town of Playa. You can take them anywhere up and down the highway from Tulum to Cancun.

An idea for a tour company....one of my favorites and I have used them for years when I have people come and visit is Yucatreks. They use 10 passenger vans so their tours are very personal and they make several stops for souvenirs and food. They will also stop at the prison on the way back from Chichen Itza where they sell excellent hammocks.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:37 PM
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I agree. We have used Yucatreks for Tulum and the Cenotes. Mitch is an awesome guide. Here's their web-site.

http://www.playa.info/tours-anna-james-general.html

We have not been to Coba yet. After all our many trips haven't gotten there. It's on our list for next trip. I would definetly go with Yucatreks over a big bus tour. I thought Tulum and Chichenitza were both worth it.

I think your kids would really like Xcaret. There is a lazy river, zoo, museum, and other attractions. The night show is really fabulous.

Your hotel should provide free shuttle service a least a couples times of day to go to Playa. Do check out 5th Avenue. Lots of restaurants, shops, bars and entertainment.

I'm glad you enjoy our pictures. That area of Mexico is out favorite vacation destination. Can't wait to go back.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Here is their other website:

http://www.yucatreks.com/
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Old Jun 24th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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I think this topic has been beaten to death but I did want to reply to your concern about the murders this spring. Distressing as they are, they were committed way out on the west side in a small local bar far far from any tourist area. Also all of the victims were locals. No tourists were targeted and it was anything but a random act of violence.

I also am a frequent visitor to that area, generally as a female solo traveler. Take the same precautions you would in say Chicago if you were planning a family vacation there. I think you will find the people wonderful, the food fantastic (outside the resorts!)and the area rich in culture and history. Enjoy!!
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