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Cancun questions.

Old Oct 15th, 2009, 08:28 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 833
Cancun questions.

A friend and I are visiting Cancun next month. We have never travelled toghether and we have different travel styles. I want comfort and a bit of luxury, budget is much more important to her and we need to make arrangements for the trip that we are both happy with.

We have some questions about Cancun, niether of us have visited Cancun before.

When bargaining at the tourist markets (Mercado 28), how much should we expect to pay for an item, 50% of what we are quoted? We will do some of our Christmas shopping in Cancun. Also, do merchants barter for goods? If so, what goods should we take with us to barter?

My friend and I have had a discussion about time share sharks, i want to avoid them, she wants to attend a presentation for the freebies, any thoughts/comments would be appreciated.

Which zipline can fodorites recommend?

Is there a reputable store to buy silver jewelery in Cancun?

Is Cozumel a must see? (We will be going to Isla Mujeres for a day trip). How can we check cruise schedules for Cozumel without having to check every single cruise line indivually.

Which tour company if any is good for a day trip to Chichen Itza?

Also, could fodorites please explain the dos and don'ts for tipping in Cancun.

Which company is reputable to book a transfer with at the airport to our hotel. I am hesitant to book a transfer in advance in case our flight is delayed (we are travelling in winter and can be delayed due to the weather) or we miss our connection.

Thanks in advance.
justshootme is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I can't answer all your questions, but I would discourage you from doing a time share presentation in Mexico. I've read some real horror stories, the 90 minute presentation ends up taking several hours. Unless you're there for a really long time, it just isn't worth taking of valuable vacation time like that.

As far as transfers, I've used Best Day a couple times. It's a shared van, although last time we were heading to the ferry to go to Isla Mujeres and it was just my friend and I. No complaints with Best Day. You give them your flight number, they'll know if it's delayed. I've also used Cancun Valet, private trasnfer, but more expensive, unless there are several of you.

Unless you're a diver, I wouldn't consider Cozumel a must see. It would be an hour by bus to Playa del Carmen, then another 45 minutes by ferry to Coz. I'd rather spend the time on Isla Mujeres. Or even Playa, it's way different than Cancun.

Do take the trip to Isla, it's a wonderful island. Don't do a tour, it's very cheap and easy to get there on your own.

I'm not a shopper, can't help with those questions.
JeanH is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't bargain much in markets and hate shopping, so can't really help with that one. I have heard 50 pct, but the only place I've bought much and stayed was Playa del Carmen, and those folks wouldn't have accepted that. They don't give big discounts down there, but you can get 10-20 pct off maybe if you buy more than one thing.

As for the time share -- let your friend do what she wants, if she is willing to sell her time for freebies, that's her business. I would never do such a thing as I would never in amillion years want a timeshare and I value my time too much. I have had those folks approach me, but I just don't deal with them and refuse to have anything to do with them. They can't make you listen to them, after all. Your friend must not value her vacation time, that's all. I do, you are probably paying a lot to be in that location, it's not free time as it might be at home. Now the main place I've been accosted by those folks was in Puerto Vallarta, but they never had any great freebies, I don't know what she thinks she would get that would be worth hours of her time. As I recall, all they were giving there was breakfast mostly, big deal.

No, Cozumel isn't a must-see at all. I think there are many things you could do with your time that would be more interesting, like day trips to Tulum or some of those ruins or eco-parks. There really isn't anything in particular to see in Cozumel, and the main town is nothing remotely special or attractive. If you want to go for snorkeling, that's another story. I don't think you have to worry too much about the ferry schedules, as I recall, they go all the time.

I never did anything special for day trips, just booked ones that had the itinerary I wanted that I found at my hotel, they all worked out fine.

I have never heard about merchants bartering for goods, do you mean you take something to them to exchange? never heard of such a thing, and can't imagine why they would do that. Cancun is just over the border from the US, they can get anything they want, you know. What do you have that you think is so rare they couldn't get it and would want it rather than cash? I just don't see how that could work out to be worth the same thing as some small gift purchases and don't know of anything they can't get there.

As for transfers, I just booked the service my hotels have had, they all were great. Hotels have an incentive to get you a decent service, after all.
Christina is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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I just got back from Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

My girlfriend and I did a timeshare presentation and it was okay. We were in no position to buy and so it was easy to say no. However, we had to say no to 5 or 6 different people. Once you said no to one they pass you on to another person who has a better deal. I liked seeing the resorts, I enjoy checking out other resorts and rooms so it was kinda like going to a showhome. Do make sure that you have booked your "extras" before you go. We were suppost to get a free dive and it never materialized because we didn't confirm it before hand. No big deal, we were on vacation and didn't want to fight with them. We did get other stuff, including a trip to Costa Rica.

Cancun is dead, dead, dead right now. There were only about 10 couples at our hotel and all the resturants and clubs were very quiet. With the execption of Coco Bongo. That was a ton of fun. It's $50 usd with drinks, $20 usd without. The show is fantastic and we had a great time! I suggest you go at least once and if you can go with the animation team from your hotel all the better. You don't stand in line and you get a table.

We did a tour to Chichen Itza for $48 usd. I don't remeber the name of the company but it was the ride, entrance and a guide, buffet lunch (no drinks) and a stop at a cenote. Some people on the tour paid as much as $78 usd and we saw a sign for $40 usd after we'd booked. Just shop around and don't take their first price, they'll usually go lower.

Isla was amazing. I'll go back and skip Cancun from now on. We rented a golf cart one day for $37 usd and toured the island all day. If you go on Sunday you have to stop at the Soggy Peso for ribs. It's just outside of downtown. If you don't leave downtown have lunch at Bally hoos. Great margaritas.
RLee is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Thank you for the replies, all are very helpful.

My friend bartered goods in Varadero, Cuba when she had been, she was telling me about this and was wondering if merchants in Cancun would do the same. I don't have anything to barter, in Cuba my friend bartered samples (new clothes, cosmetics and housewares) that she gets from work and was happy she got local handicrafts for the products she took with her.

My question for Cozumel wasn't too clear. I meant to ask how I can check there are NO cruise ships (ie, HAL, X, Carnival, RCCL, etc) in port, since we would prefer to visit on a day when the island is not busy with cruise ship passengers. It sounds like we can safely skip Cozumel, since we are not interested in diving.

I do plan on visiting Tulum.

Surprised to read that there are so few tourists in Cancun at present.
justshootme is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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This is low season for Cancun and the economy plus recent scares (flu and drug cartels) have put off some travelers.

Last time I was there (2 or 3 years ago) I tried bargaining with someone for a silver bangle and failed! I basically asked for a 10% discount for cash and the guy just shook his head.
I left and wasn't called back as I'd expected to be... so no bangle.
I was given a small discount on some ceramic plates I bought (10%).

Maybe the fewer tourists will help bring the prices down so good luck!

We hired a car to go to Chichen Itza so I can't help there.

Book a transfer in advance and provide your flight details, call if you miss the connection and it should be no problem.
usa transfers get lots of good reviews....
sassy_cat is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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bump.
justshootme is offline  
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