Old Jan 18th, 2003, 06:35 AM
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Please pardon my ignorance to this destination. We have never been to Mexico at all. We have been to the Caribbean, and several times to Florida beaches. We were thinking of taking the kids(15 & 12) to the beach in July. We have airline miles that will take us non stop to Cancun, so other Mexico destinations are out, as we want to do directly to the destination. Are all the baches over crowded? To me the main pro is the value of the vacation. Any and all help is very much appreciated! thanks
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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Look into the Playa Del Carmen area. It's about 50 miltes south of cancun. You still fly into Cancun. Cancun is overdeveloped with big hotels, chain restaurants and malls. Not much mexican character. PDC is less developed (although rapidly expanding with big resorts). The actual town of PDC has some mexican charm. You're also near many sights and can easily take the ferry to Cozumel. The beaches are lovely there too. In Cancun, the beaches vary depending on resort, some are very eroded, sometimes they can be very rough and some in the newer develeoped area closer to the airport are very sea-weedy.
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 01:44 PM
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I live in California, and went to Cancun for the 1st time this summer with my 2 kids, 15 and 13. The kids loved it! Never have I seen water so blue and sand so soft. The weather was perfect, and the water was gentle, perfect for swimming. we stayed at a very nice hotel, the JW Marriott, and enjoyed going into town for meals. I think Cancun is wonderful if you stay at one of the nicer hotels, and not next to the top of the "7" where all the bars are, and it is more developed.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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I agree with Ann. Marj's info is outdated. Just got back 1/02/03 from Cancun - our third trip in a row since winter, 2000. We have 2 boys, ages 17 and 20. We stay on the Pacific side in a time share and have encountered both calm and rough waters, but the beaches are fabulous and most have recovered what they lost when the hurricane hit 2 years ago. Also know that Cancun did not take a direct hit by the hurricane so damage, thank God, was not terrible. You can walk for miles and miles on the beaches. The J.W. Marriott is really nice, so is the Ritz Carleton, as well as the plain Marriott. With regard to the Americanization of the island - you can eat at a "chain" or you can take the initiative and ask your concierge where to find the flavor of the area. Perico's downtown is lots of fun and the food is good. Both restaurants owned by the Camino Real, La Brisa and Maria Bonita are terrific. Iguana Wana in the Hotel Zone in Plaza Caracol is also very good. I could go on and on. We did not eat at a chain restaurant once and Cambalache, an Argentinian steak house in Plaza Forum is outstanding. We love this place!
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 10:49 AM
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Cancun can be as "touristy" or "mexican" as you want it to be. I have gone there at least once a year for the past 7 years and I love it. I have been to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen and prefer Cancun hands down over those destinations for an all around general good vacation.

The downtown area of Cancun still has very much the Mexican feel and flavor. You have a large variety of restaurants from local eateries to the main chains like Ruth Chris Steak house and anything in between. Most of the nicer hotels and resorts have wonderful restaurants as well. You will enjoy your stay very much.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 11:04 AM
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I agree-just avoid spring break time. We stayed at the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach...just beautiful
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:27 PM
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I agree with the Cancun advisors. Our family has been to Cancun each summer for the past four years. The kids are now 19, 17, and 13 so you can do the math re. their ages when we began! We all love Cancun. The beach and the water are without compare, the people very accommodating, and prices rather reasonable. There are many beautiful hotels, and the advice re. staying away from the "top of the 7" is a good one. There are MANY things to see and do, some very Americanized and touristy, and others historical and cultural. You can decide how much depending on your kids' interest and/or tolerance. For a beach vacation, you can find no better anywhere. Good luck though re. cashing in on your airline miles. Those "free" seats fill up really fast, usually 320 days in advance.
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 04:03 AM
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The replys so far have been helpful and encouraging, thanks! Great tip on the miles, will call today to see if our July dates are even available. Pardon, once again the ignorance but what are the top7? We would like to stay at a very clean, newer, 2 bedroom unit that offers pool, tiki hut, and directly on the beach, beachfront unit. Cost is not the major deciding factor, meeting all of my long list of wishes could be the tougher task!! As far as food, would not eat at any place that is familiar, like to try the local flavors. Thank you all for the info!
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 06:23 AM
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You got great information on all the replies, I have never been in July but keep in mind that it's vacation time in Mexican schools too and it might be overcrowded. I know that some friends experience that the first week of August, but basically they had a hard time getting shadow on the beach if they wake up too late. June may be better.
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 09:21 AM
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There's one in every crowd, and I'm the one to disagree this time. I've been to Cancun and had a good time, but I've discovered that I'm not a big fan of huge hotels. I much prefer Playa Del Carmen. The water is almost as blue, it just seems to have a much more 'laid back' feeling. It's only a 45 minute ride from the airport, if you take the Riviera bus, it's only $6.50 per person.

Food and drinks seem cheaper in Playa as well. Lots and lots of smaller hotels, some right on the beach. A couple larger ones right in town, and if you're into the all-inclusives, Playacar, is full of them. And you can still walk into the town of Playa Del Carmen, if you desire.

Location is great, I don't think it's much further to Chitzen Itza, and Tulum, Xcaret, and Xel-ha are much closer. Cozumel is a short (although fairly expensive), ferry ride away.

Cancun can also have some pretty rough water, unless you stay 'at the top of the seven'. Seems like there were red flags out the entire week we were there.
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 02:09 PM
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The "top 7" they are referring to is that the resort part of Cancun is shaped like a giant 7. Some people prefer not to stay at the northern or top of the 7 because of the proximity to all the bars/clubs and the noise. Also the surf is much calmer. Some prefer to stay along the southern end or the long part of the 7. The surf can be rougher at these resorts, but they have really beautiful beaches. There is great bus service the runs the entire 7 and is relatively cheap (55 cents or so depending on exchange). So it's just a matter of preference. Enjoy your trip.
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