Cancun vs Playa Del Carmen

Dec 26th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Cancun vs Playa Del Carmen

There are 8 of us going to Mexico in the summer. I chose Mexico due to the airfare being the cheapest Beach vacation from The Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport.

The family going includes:
2 grandparents - won't be too active, likes to lay on the beach/by the pool, shop, gamble, be with family.

2 Teens (15 and 13)

1 18 year old

3 adults (2 will scuba and do water activities - 1 will not)

Everyone but the grandparents will do excursions like ATV tours, and lots of other activites and sightseeing, like that (just 3 of them won't go in the ocean snorkeling but might go in the water a little bit on the beach).

No one is into the nightlife scene. Not even the 18 year old. Basically we will love doing lots of activites and then hanging out playing games etc in a condo.

I was going to Playa Del Carmen as I heard Cancun was more the night life scene and too much like a big city. But I might find it easier and cheaper to get a condo there. Playa was a smaller town, but we could still see the Ruins in Cancun and take the trip to Cozumel. etc.

Does anyone have any opinions (stupid question huh!) on if I should deinately NOT go to Cancun? Or if it will be just as nice as Playa Del Carmen.

bgsnmky is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Been to both quite a few times.
For what you are wanting, and who you have going, definitely PDC.

We (husband and I) normally go alone, but this year we had a group of six people aged 30's to 70's, and everyone had a blast!

PDC is much easier to get around than Cancun - you can walk almost anywhere - and has much better dining choices for the foodies in the group.

The beach is gorgeous, the shopping is great, and there is something for everyone.

(I don't think there's any gambling in Mexico though?)
Diana is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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No gambling that I know of either. My parents are going to meet me down there next week in PDC and they are 77 and 82 years old. They've never been before so it should be interesting. I'm planning on taking them to Chichen Itza, fishing and snorkeling. Everything is withing easy walking distance in Playa but the bus system and the collectivo's are great too.
colokid is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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I like them both, we're not big on nightlife and have had a fine time in Cancun with our kids.
Before Wilma, I even preferred Cancun, but Cancun was ravaged by that hurricane and Playa came out in better shape. However, Cancun's done an amazing job in coming back, and it needs visitors! Depending on the quality/location of the condo, your family could really enjoy Cancun. We sure do.
You do not have to be a big partier to stay in Cancun, I've taken my kids twice to the JW Marriott and we've all enjoyed it. Cancun also has the better restaurants, imho.
Little_Man is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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I've only been to Cancun once, it was ok, but wouldn't go back. I guess I'm not a city person. Way too much concrete for me. I prefer smaller places where I can walk most places I want to go. I also prefer less of an Americanized 'feel' when I leave the country. Not that Playa del Carmen isn't pretty touristy as well. I just like it better.
JeanH is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I would prefer Playa now I just have to decide on the place to stay that we can all afford if I don't get a timeshare. Unless someone has one they are needing to rent in exchange for some maintenance fees or exchange for one of mine.
bgsnmky is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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We just returned from Cancun and stayed previous in PDC in 1998. I much prefer PDC. It is very easy to take a ferry to Cozumel and the diving/snokeling there is tops. The ruins are closer too.

If you do stay in Cancun, I recommend going over to Isla Mujeres to the Dolphin Discovery. And there are great shops/restaurants there too.

Have fun!
motor_city_girl is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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I have been to both many times. Cancun was nice at one time, but it is so Americanized/commercialized and touristy and party central now (think Girls Gone Wild). Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera area that includes Playa del Carmen and south of Playa del Carmen is more like old Mexico with beautiful resorts, most with water purification systems on site and beautiful beaches.

Personally I can recommend the Barcelo Maya resorts and you can find out more information and see lots of pictures at this website below that is solely for this resort.

This resort has snorkeling right off the beach and their is a dive shop on site and you can leave right from their beach. There are ATV tours and lots of stuff for kids, teens and adults to do, including mini golf. We have had 3 family reunions at this resort (ages 8 - 80s) and everyone loved it. There is a great indoor disco that rivals any in Cancun if you want to do that and there are 4 beautiful huge pools and one has a waterslide and play area. The evening theatre puts on great productions.

Whatever you pick have a wonderful family vacation.
ONZGO is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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when I was in Cancun last summer, it was very quiet and peaceful. Whereever I went, there was no girls gone wild atmosphere AT ALL. It's a bit of a cliche, and I think it's driven tourists away, because I've never found it crowded in the summer, perhaps springtime, but only at specific low end hotels.
Last year Playa was full, and buzzing, Cancun was very quiet. I felt bad for the restaurants I went to, which were very good, but suffering from lack of business.
Little_Man is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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thanks everyone....

ONZGO - there looks like there are two resorts..have you stayed at both? Are they connected. I am checking the webstie out now.
bgsnmky is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Actually bgsnmky, I posted the old website for these 4 resorts. Try this link below to see the two new resorts of the Colonial & Tropical. The original 2 resorts are the Beach and Caribe. All 4 resorts are on a almost 2 mile long quite private beach. Any resort can use the whole beach area. Their are 4 pools in total and you can use all the facilities for any of the resorts, but with 2 origianl resorts of Caribe/Beach you have exceptions with some of the restaurants. With the 2 newer resorts of the Colonial/Tropical you can use all the facilities and restaurants. We have stayed at the original resorts 3 times now, but have never stayed at the newer resorts. Check out the discussions forums for a never ending photo thread sticky to see people's vacation pictures of the resorts.

The 2 newer resorts of Colonial/Tropical look fabulous.
ONZGO is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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Although I have never be to casino night at the Barcelo Maya, apparently they have a casino night every week, but never having been, I have no idea of what it is like, but there is no true gambling in Mexico.
ONZGO is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 11:29 AM
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We just spent a week in a condo in PDC and loved it. We've done AIs in the past in both Cancun and the PDC area, but preferred the condo. We were with our kids (15 & 17). We stayed in a 3 bedroom at Xaman Ha condos (ours was managed by We had plenty of room, we were only a couple of blocks from town, the beach at the condo was good and the pool area very nice. I would rent there again in a heartbeat. My kids went into town on their own for breakfast and lunch if they didn't want to eat with us. It's perfectly safe and the town is filled with little shops and restaurants.

The ruins are closer to PDC than Cancun. Tulum is about a 3/4 hour south, and Coba is a little inland from there. We rented a car and went to Coba (we've been to Tulum).

We flew to Cozumel because the airfare was quite a bit cheaper than Cancun for the time we went. From there we took the ferry and were able to walk to our condo from the ferry dock in PDC (all our bags had wheels).

There are dozens of dive shops around, and lots of places to rent jet skis, or go parasailing, etc.
MFNYC is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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MFNYC - thanks..for the info. I would have never thought to fly into cozumal but I will check that out.

So you didn't have a car the whole time you were there. Just rented one when you needed it??? Was it easy to get one from the condo's you stayed at.

any suggestions on things to do that your kids liked too.
bgsnmky is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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bg, we rented a car only for 1 day, when we drove to Coba. There are car rental places all over. We went to one very near the condo (maybe 2 blocks). It was a small storefront and I suspect it only had a handful of cars. Luckily they did have 1 available when we inquired but they do take reservations in advance (we didn't realize that or we would have planned a little ahead). We picked up the car the night before so we could leave early in the morning. The condo had free parking.

My kids mostly spent most of their time at the ocean (they are city kids, so the ocean is a nice treat), sometimes they went into town on their own for breakfast or lunch, but that was about it. Our last day we were going to rent jetskis and maybe do parasailing, but it was windy and the water rough, so none of the rentals places made them available. On either side of the ferry dock, there were rental places for this, and also sailboats, kayaks and other water sports type rental.

My son joined in some football games on the beach with other groups. There were tennis courts very close, but we only checked them on CHristmas day and they were locked. I don't know about the rest of the week. I believe they were public, and free.

Other than the car rental, once we took a cab back from the big department/food type store (Chedreui, we walked there), and once we took a cab to the north end of town to check it out, but than walked back. AT chedreui (sp?) we picked up drinks, snacks and some breakfast food for the condo. We also bought boogie boards for 50 cents (a bargain!), and left them in the condo.

In town, there are dozens of travel agents offering all kinds of excursions, and tours. You don't have to look very far to find anything. AT the condo there was an ethernet connection at the main desk. Some people brought their laptops and plugged them in there to use the internet. We got internet access at the sports bar at the end block where the condo was. It cost 15 pesos (<$1.50) for 15 minutes.

There were always lounge chairs at the pool, and even though the complex was full, it never really felt crowded. There was a snack bar at the pool, although we had our own snacks in the condo so we didn't buy anything there.
MFNYC is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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thanks for the details....I just found an offer for a 3 bedroom for 1360 at the same it is a good possibility.

sounds like everything is in walking distance.

Besides what you listed if you have any suggestions on things to do, restaurants etc..let me know.

I really appreciate the feedback.
bgsnmky is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 05:21 AM
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If it's unit 7016, that's the one we stayed in.
MFNYC is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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We enjoy spending a couple of days at the front of our vacation in Cancun then complete the rest of it in the Play Del Carmen area. Two days usually gives us all we want of Cancun, but we do enjoy it.
Curt is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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Am thinking of going to pdc with my 2 children (2 & 4) and my parents. Not interested in all inclusives since seem very expensive for me and the kids. Any suggestions on accomodations that would be young kids friendly? Would prefer one on or very close to a nice beach and with pools since my kids are water fanatics.
serkoh is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 03:59 AM
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I would also highly recommend Akumal - this is a large beach village about 15min south of Playa del Carmen. There are many houses and condos to rent in this area with everything in walking distance and several great restaurants. It has some of the best walk-out snorkeling in the entire area with Half Moon Bay and a fresh water lagoon for snorkeling as well. There are 2 dive shops and perfect white sand beaches. You are only 15min from Tulum and the best thing is you are not in a city with all of the traffic and congestion of the cruise ships. If you go to you will find tons of info and rental prices. We stayed in a condo right on Half Moon Bay and booked through from an American couple that own a condo here.

Good Luck!
locolowe is offline  

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