help on Mexican destinations

Old Sep 15th, 2005, 10:43 PM
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help on Mexican destinations

Looks like I'll finally make my first move to Mexico. Planning a X'mas/new year vacation. Would like to get help on destination. I'd like to go somewhere the water is warm enough to swim, but also has culture to explore. If possible, minimum rip off. Tough...

I am thinking about buying a pacakge. Have found some to:
- Cancun
- Cozumel
- Ixtapa
- Puerto Vallarta
- Mazatlan
- Acapulco
- Mexico City

I'd like to go to Mexico City for the culture. But there is no beach... Where would you suggest? Thanks.

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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Mexico City is a great destination, but I have to admit I don't know what it is like over Christmas. You might want to split your time, a few days in MC, the balance on the beach. Most of the beach resorts you listed are relatively expensive for Mexico.

Another alternative might be to split an interesting colonial city such as Oaxaca or Merida with their respective beach areas, although Christmas reservations in Oaxaca might be hard to come by (and the beaches are distant, requiring a flight or very long bus trip).
 
Old Sep 16th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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I love Puerto Vallarta. Personally I would not purchase a package because I don't like those kind of large hotels they almost always stick you in. I just buy airfare and book a nice inexpensive 3-star local hotel in downtown.

I would not choose Cancun or Ixtapa because these are developed tourist destinations as sponsored by the government years back.

Mazatlan, PV, Acapulco and the DF are more "normal" cities with the addition of tourist infrastructure to an existing town/city.

Again to avoid "rip off" I would suggest independent travel, not a package deal. And watch out for timeshare sales people in PV anyway.

The local people in Puerto Vallarta are extremely friendly and welcoming. They are proud of their tourism. But there is still a very normal Mexican city of 250,000 people going about their daily lives. IMO a perfect combination of "authentic" and a fun beach destination with plenty to see and do. PV is lovely at Christmas.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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Puerto Vallarta has a lovely old town and pretty scenery, it's a great walking and restaurant town. I live on the west coast of the U.S., and it makes for a reasonably priced vacation.
I've now been there twice and hope to go again...(I really enjoy Mexico!!)

However, the place I daydream about all the time is the Riviera Maya, the Mexican Carribean coast. Cancun's beaches and sea are amazing, and the there are wonderful hotels there. It's a great base to have both a wonderful beach vacation and visit Mayan Ruins.
45 minutes down the road from Cancun is a great town called Playa del Carmen, and there are some reasonably priced small hotels and condos there. It's got a wonderful, almost European flavor and good beaches.

Those are my 2 favorite spots, but I hope to someday visit Ixtapa/Zijhautenejo. Enjoy your planning!
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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I have travelled a fair amount in the Caribbean and Mexico and I love the Mayan Riviera area south of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea coast. Cancun is very Americanzied now and is party central, but the Mayan Riviera area south of Cancun is more like old Mexico with wonderful new all inclusive resorts. I can personally recommend the Barcelo Maya resort because it is on one of the best beaches in the area with on site snorkelling. It is very good value for the dollar. Try this website for more information and to see some pictures of this resort. Check out the link in the sticky post at the top of discussion forum for website links to people's vacation pictures of this resort and area. Best of all no getting up super early to reserve a lounge chair or shade at either the pool or beach at this resort, because there is plenty of both. 8-)

http://www.unofficial-barcelo-maya.com/

Lots of Mayan ruins to explore, cenotes to swim/snorkel, eco/water parks to check out in this area as well as shopping in Playa del Carmen is just a short taxi or collectivo (recommend this type of transportation) ride away.

The other Pacific coast of Mexico is nice, but the sand is not as beautiful (white), but yellow and the water not that beautiful Caribbean turquoise.

The Mexicans are hard working and very hospitable people. This is true of everywhere we have travelled in Mexico.

Have a great vacation. Enjoy!



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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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While I dearly love Puerto Vallarta, I absolutely agree that the beaches and ocean/water are more classically beautiful on the Caribbean side. The overall scenery around the Bay of Banderas (PV) is lovely with mountains, jungles, etc. but the beaches are nothing to brag about IMO.
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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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OK, Puerto Vallarta! I am sold. Now step 2 - accommodation.

I checked out a couple of hotels - Frommer's pick. $300/night up - really nice, very Mexican (to me)! I got the quote directly from the hotels, and have not been able to find the same hotels on regular travel site, like travelocity, priceline. It surprises me that a Mexican hotel can cost so much. Holiday season should not make up the reason, should it? Any recommended websites for discount PV hotels, or any recommended hotels? Thanks.
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 01:20 AM
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Hi

Have you tried looking at the following hotels? Not 5 star luxury but come at very reasonable rates:

1) Hacienda Hotel & Spa ( 3 star )
On Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio
From 136 USD

2) Villas Vallarta By Canto del Sol ( 3 star)
On Pablo Pcaso 10 Zona Ho
From 120 USD

Also, I beg to differ with a previous post regarding vacation packages. There are fully customizable packages where you can choose 2 or 3 star hotels in your destination.

And the plus side is, you do get to save a reasonable part of your budget--some extra money for a night of tequila partying
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Try the area north of PV, includes Sayulita and San Pancho. It is like the "old PV"...beautiful and still somewhat unspoiled but not as crowed and touristy (no vendors!) Christmas is a tough time to be getting reasonable reservations...most of the places raise their rates. Try Villa Amour in Sayulita or Casa Obelisco in San Pancho for a really special get away in a gorgeous area.
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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YES--holiday season makes a huge price difference. We are going to the Riviera Maya during Christmas week and it is costing us about $800 more than it would if we were going the week before or two weeks after.
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Yes the holidays effect hotel rates for sure. Those weeks are VERY popular!

I hestitate to suggest the hotels I stay at since they are more in the $50-75USD range.

I have never heard of those resorts mentioned above. For me, the beauty of PV is staying within the Old Town. Do be aware when you're looking at hotels and resorts of their location. For instance something out in "Nuevo Vallarta" could be over an hour from downtown.
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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www.vallartaonline.com
www.vallartaspecials.com

www.quinta-maria.com $$$$
www.casa-andrea.com $$
www.cuatrovientos.com $$
www.hoteleloisa.com $$
www.hotelposadaderoger.com $
www.hotelrio.com.mx $
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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www.molinodeagua.com
www.playalosarcos.com
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Old Sep 19th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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Suze, does Casa Andrea require deposit? She has availability during the period I want. But I have not heard from her since. Meantime another place is asking for deposit.

For those that are familiar with Mexico City, is Historic Center a good area to stay for culture lovers? I read good reviews about Catedral.

Thanks.
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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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"For those that are familiar with Mexico City, is Historic Center a good area to stay for culture lovers? I read good reviews about Catedral."

I think the Historic Center is a great place to stay, especially for a first time visitor. The Zocalo is one of the great street-life scenes of the world, full of kite flyers, street kids, marching bands, Aztec dancers and Mexican families. You can stroll to the Cathedral, the Templo Mayor and its museum, and the National Palace with its stupendous Rivera mural. You'll have to take the metro to the Anthropology Museum, but it is not difficult. Head out to Teotihuacan and three days are full.

Haven't been to the Cathedal hotel. Istayed at the Hotel Majestic on both of my visits. Some of the rooms could use some updating, but it's a good place with great views of the Zocalo and Cathedral.
 
Old Sep 20th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Yes, Casa Andrea usually requires a deposit. I have sent money orders via Fed Ex in the past. Also no credit cards accepted (TC's or cash for the balance upon arrival). Especially over the holidays I imagine this would be so as she'd normally be full at that time, I believe. If you're interested you might want to give them a call.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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In PV Playa Los Arcos on Los Muertos Beach has a wide range of rates. They are in a perfect location. If you are on the west coast try going through Sun Trips. The hotel doesn't matter if you are in old town, you only will be there long enough to sleep. There's so much to do and enjoy in PV. Another helpful person I especially like is Wendy at Inside Vallarta Villa's ([email protected]) Tell her Gayle referred you. Christmas week is always more expensive in PV. New Years eve on the Malecon in PV is very exciting. So much activity, so many people to meet, so little time to enjoy it all. The water is always warm. You can take a bus or rent a car to go to Sayulita from PV. Make it a day trip from PV if this is your first trip. Really, trust me, if this is your first trip to Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a good start. You will not have enough time in a week to do all you want to do. Mexico City is great, but that is strictly a cultural/historical trip. The old Zocolo area is pretty fascinating, especially the old Cathedral. Cancun- touristy. Playa Del Carmen has great shopping. Cozumel -fabulous for snorkeling, can't be beat for beautiful water! Merida is the center for trips to two of the greatest ruins. Start in PV-- go next year to another spot in Mexico. But- skip Xtapa, it is only hotels built for tourists. But Ziuhataneho (spelling?) is worthwhile.
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