First Trip to Cancun Area...

Old Feb 27th, 2010, 02:39 PM
  #1  
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First Trip to Cancun Area...

Two of us are looking for a relaxing four day trip to the Cancun area...like relaxing on a nice beach, but a convenient stay for day trips (where suggested). Would like the hotel to be within walking distance to a downtown area for shops, restaurants, mexican culture. Dont know if we should rent a car and stay outside of cancun or what....heard a lot about Tulum, Akumal, Playa del carmen and Puerto Morales, Moroma...Im getting confused and dont know what to look at. (going at the end of march) Any help would be great.
Thanks
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Old Feb 27th, 2010, 10:34 PM
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If you like to snorkel, Akumal would be great. There's not a lot to the town that we saw, although the meal we had there was one of the best of the trip (Lucy's Too).

If you would prefer a pretty beach, Tulum's is prettier (no snorkeling from the shore though), but the beach is not close to the town. The town itself is pretty small, but felt like real Mexico with some tourist shops.

Playa Del Carmen could have been dropped into Florida and you wouldn't notice a change, but the city is on the beach/walkable from the beach.

Puerto Morelos did not impress me- they had a handful of restaurants, the beach we could see was tiny and more of a marina than a beach. The mosquitoes were just awful there as well. But it is cheap.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 06:32 AM
  #3  
KVR
 
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Here's a map that will help familarize you with the area and the hotels:

http://cancunmap.com/hotel-locations.html

http://www.cancunmap.com/rivieramaya-hotels.html

If you want beach and close to town then you need to stay in Cancun or in Playa del Carmen. Some of the beaches in Cancun have erosion and some have strong waves. So check carefully. The hotels in the hotel zone that are on the top of the "7" would be your best choice; RIU Palace Las Americas, RIU Cancun, Oasis Viva or Fiesta Americana Villas. Those hotels sit on a very nice stretch of beach in a cove and is within walking distance to shopping, clubs and restaurants. There is also a convenient bus stop that can take you further down the hotel zone.

In Playa del Carmen there are many small hotels off of 5th Avenue, so great location. However, not beach front. They will proved you with passes to chairs at a beach club that is within a 10 minute walk. Beach front hotels include The Royal Playa del Carmen and the Grande Porto Real. Both are within a 5 minute walk to Playa del Carmen. A little further out will be Grand Coco Bay and the Shangri La. Probably about a 15 - 20 minute walk to Playa del Carmen.

If you stay in Playa del Carmen you will be closer to the Ruins, eco parks and other activities than Cancun. I'm not one for renting a car and driving in Mexico, but that's a personal choice. There are many tour companies that you can book with that have pick up/drop off at your hotel.

Areas like Tulum, Akumel and Puerto Morelos are small cute communities, but out in the middle of no where. You have to get to Playa del Carmen if you want shopping, entertainment, and many bars/resturants. That can be 30 minutes to an hour by car/taxi.

Maroma Beach is between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It is one of the nicest beaches in that area. They are a few adult only resorts there. I would estimate about a 15-20 minute taxi ride to get to Playa del Carmen.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 06:35 AM
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So you want a small hotel, large resort, All inclusive??? More information from you would be helpful.
You have been given some great info, but we could help you more if you tell us more.
If you are only staying four days you may want to stay closer to the airport than Akumal or Tulum.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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Wow...great information from all of you. Thank you so much. I guess since we are only staying for a few days, we should stay in Cancun (to be closer to airport)... We would like something with a nice beachfront and AI. Do you think AI is a good option at these hotels? I would only choose not to do an AI if our hotel was within a short walk to dining in cancun. I was looking at the Fiesta Americana and Intercontinental.
Let me know.
Thanks
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 11:26 AM
  #6  
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It is booked...Westin Lagunamar...if it is not a good hotel, don't tell me or I will be so upset. The location seemed good (mall and bus stop right there) and the ammenities for the price. It was a great deal.
Thanks to all of you...KVR the map was so helpful!
Thank you
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 11:48 AM
  #7  
KVR
 
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I'm not familar with that hotel so looked it up on Trip Advisor. Looks like a nice place. Hope you have a good trip. Please report back.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 07:23 AM
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That Westin Lagunamar is very nice, about half way down the 12 mile stretch of hotel zone. People also have timeshares and ownership there, but they also rent out rooms (w/kitchens, very nice). It is directly across the road from Isla Mall, a very nice fairly upscale outdoor mall on the lagoon, with nice restaurants (lower end but good, and some more upper end)on the lagoon- very nice to sit there and have dinner at sunset. There is also a nice movie theater that shows first run movies in that mall (in English). And the bus that stops right in front of your hotel will take you straight down the road to Margaritaville, Fat Tuesdays, Pat OBriens, Senor Frogs, Hard Rock, Rain Forest Cafe- all the dining and night life you could want.

I've also stayed at the Westin Resort and Spa (at the FRoyal Beach Club part of the hotel where you get nice bfast buffet and free alcohol drinks and apps 5-7 pm) down at the end of the hotel zone, closest to the airport. But that stretch of beach is much more quiet and we felt we had to rent a car to get around (good price, $99 for three days midsize), as the bus took a long time to get all the way down to that hotel.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Make sure you hunt the website for specials at both of those Westins. I was at the Westin Resort and Spa just 3 wks ago and I was able to find a special, stay two nights get the third night free (or 3 nights, get 4th free), and it turned out with that deal that I paid $159 a night for the Royal Beach Club w/the free bfast and drinks/apps. But that deal was not right upfront, I had to search a bit on the website to find it. So be sure you've looked around the website for any specials at Westin Lagunamar. If you find a soecial you can always reserve it and cancel the reservations u have now.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 07:32 AM
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for instance, have u seen this deal at westin lagunamar? Stay 4 nights get a free night with $100 food/beverage creidt and an upgrade?

see:
http://www.starwoodlatinamerica.com/...ies=25&pkg=rom
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 07:55 AM
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one more thing- be sure you have registered for the current Starwood promo that gives you double, triple, or 4x the starwood points for your stay depending on length of stay.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 08:03 AM
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here is another promo re Westin - stay three nights or more and the last night is free. Mexico comes up under Latin America there.

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promot...SEG_GLOBAL_DRE
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 08:50 AM
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You are all so helpful...wonderful information. i will be sure to report back. I just started using fodors and you have made it so useful for me. I appreciate all of you!

Any nice restaurants with good views in the city or on the water? emd3 mentioned the lagoon area??
Thanks
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:51 PM
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"Any nice restaurants with good views in the city or on the water? emd3 mentioned the lagoon area??"

There are a handful of restaurants at la Isla Mall that overlook the large lagoon. It looks great during sunset, since the sun sets behind the lagoon. There is a big buzz about the Thai restaurant at la Isla Mall. Some clients went there and loved it, and said it was well priced, other clients went there and stated the food was ok, but somewhat pricey... Overall they get good reviews

Another restaurant, a bit upscale, would be La palapa belga, on the north end of the hz.

Most of the people that participate in forums like these, are people that travel there often, but are not locals. Us locals usually eat in downtown for much less money, and personally I feel better flavor. Pescaditos in Yaxchilan street is one of my favorite spots. I also like las Quekas de la Costa on La Costa Ave. For a good mexican steak, HC de Monterrey used to have a great steak, now most of the stores changed their name to JR del Norte. Both of these places still offer a decent steak, but not as good nor as cheap as when they first started.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 07:41 PM
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Cancunwithme,
Thank you so much...I want to see local life...I would love to eat at those places...How would I get to the downtown area from the Lagunamar??
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 09:19 PM
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If I can intrude on this post, KVR said the beaches on the top of the "7" are calm. I visited Cancun 15+ years ago and stayed there. I like some waves...any other part of the beach that you could recommend? I would hate to go to a hotel were I couldn't get in the water. I realize storms can kick up, but on a general day any particular area? I was looking at the Royal Sands which is next to the Ritz. There are other Royal resorts further down the seven. Any thoughts greatly appreciated!
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 04:37 AM
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There is the Royal Cancun. There is also a Royal is Playa---the Royal Playa del Carmen.

http://www.realresorts.com/
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 11:41 AM
  #18  
KVR
 
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Allison, not all of the hotels at the top of the "7" have calm beaches, just the ones I specifically mentioned that I'm familar with. Those sit in a cove and is an area that is great for swimming.

Here's a couple of pics of the ocean at the Oasis Viva in April 2008:

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/270...38640397gqaSVm

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/260...38640397kTsGai

We stayed at the the Royal Playa del Carmen and loved it. We looked at the Royal Cancun when we went in April, 2008, but at that time their beach was completely eroded. For that much money without a beach it just wasn't worth it. It may have gotten better since then. We've to Cancun twice and really have no desire to go back. The Playa/Mayan Rivera area is more to our liking.
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Old Mar 6th, 2010, 02:25 AM
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Inspire. It is very easy to make it to downtown. The easy expensive way is to using a taxi to and from. Taxi rates will be anywhere between 150 to 250 pesos each way.

Now if you want to move around like locals do, try the following. Use the public bus to move up and down the hotel zone, about 7 or 8 pesos each trip.

To visit downtown, take any bus going north. Once you are outside the hotel zone (it will be clear you are out of the HZ because you will see real streets) get off the bus and flag a taxi down. They will charge you 20 pesos to take you anywhere I mentioned to you, maybe 25 pesos because you are tourists To get back, take a taxi to the Chedraui on Tulum Ave, right in front is where the buses pass going back into the hotel zone
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Old Mar 13th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Thank You Cancunwithme... Does the bus come pretty often? So when i see the "real streets" I should just get off and walk around? I want to see the area...Are there any markets etc?
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