Cancun or Playa del Carmen and AI vs not?

Old Jan 13th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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Cancun or Playa del Carmen and AI vs not?

We are planning a trip to Mexico in early May. We are looking to relax, but still want a little night life and adventure. What type of activities are offered in Playa del Carmen, are they similar to ones offered in Cancun, ie parasailing, Jungle tour, ruin tours?
We weren't going to go AI because we wanted to sample foods from different types of food and don't plan to spend every hour at the hotel. Is it much cheaper to go AI? We do enjoy our drinks on the beach.
Thanks for any help!
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Old Jan 13th, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Most resorts and hotels in either of those places offer those types of tours and activities. You can also find tour companies in either of the towns (sometimes cheaper than going through the hotel). PDC is closer to the ruins and also has the ferry to cozumel. Cancun on the other hand, is close to Isla Mujeres.
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Old Jan 13th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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My family went AI to Cancun a year ago. I wouldn't do it again. I would stay in a downtown Cancun hotel and make my own tour arrangements. There is public access to the beach on the strip, but you wouldn't have all the perks offered by a hotel. I guess you would have to make that choice.

ALso, I highly recommend the evening performance at Xcaret. Its was fantastic!!

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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 06:38 AM
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Whether an AI is cheaper or not depends on how much you eat and drink and whether the activity add ons are things that you want to do. Although I have enjoyed stays at AIs in Jamaica and the DR where we spend more time on the property, I would not stay at one in Mexico.

Why? There are so many places to explore outside the property and there are bunches of really good restaurants in both Cancun and Playa del Carmen. If you are a little more adventurous, food can be very inexpensive and very authentic. For Playa del Carmen, check out They have good boards there on dining, lodging, activities, etc.

We stayed at the Gran Porto Real in PDC, it's an AI that offers a EP (European plan, no meals or activities). It was an additional $49 per person per day to become AI, I know we did not spend that much additional but many people might.

Another thing to consider is how much time you want to spend on the property. We did excursions every day so we would not have eaten lunch there on any of the days.

PDC is a good place to base yourself if you are interested in visiting Tulum, Xel-ha, Xcaret, Coba or Cozumel. Chichen Itza is probably about the same distance from both (2-3 hours away). Isla Mujeres is closer to Cancun.

Trips from PDC can be done on your own (rent a car, use colectivos or buses), they can be arranged through your hotel (most expensive) or booked in town with an agent which was more reasonable than the hotel offerings. But watch out for the time share salesman!
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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I agree with Kristi re: staying in PDC. Personally, we're not high rise people and enjoy the 2-3 story buildings near Playa. We are definitely in favor of Al's: no need to carry money to the beach, the buffets, the bars. We stayed at the Bahia Principe Tulum the last 3 times we were there and the last time was really the last time. Service was not at all good, beach was nothing but rocks, youngsters running around with tequila bottles, pool problems. So instead, we've book the Riu Palace (pricey compare to the Bahia) and hope to fall in love with the place. If you're city people, stay in Cancun; if not PDC is a better bet as it is very close to Tulum, Xel-Ha, Xcaret, etc. Hope this helps!
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Thanks for all the help. I think we've decided on PDC and non AI. I'm looking at Playa-Maya, El Faro and Mosquito Blue. I'll start a new thread for suggestions. Thanks again.
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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There are many conviences to doing the AI.. so it depends on your holiday style.
Many times the AI in a package deal is cheaper than going the air only , hotel extra route.
Then there are the Theme nights the nightly shows etc.
It also to a point depends on age also .
If you are "older" you might not want to go looking for meals 3 times a day elsewhere, taking a taxi each time.
Even more so if you have Arthris, had Hip Surgery, maybe you have Diabetis or what ever.

Also remember you are not at prisoner at the AI hotel, if you want to spend a few extra buck to go here and there to have lunch outside of your resort..that is your choice.
I have done both in Mexico many times and neither way is any big deal over the other.
I have been with friens and we went AI but then decided to go out for Lobsters to another palce... well..some in the group did not like this and some did not like that,
so after we ate and went back to our resort they went to the AI something extra..
You cannot please everyone.

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