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i am a chicken...planning 1st trip to mexico...need advice

i am a chicken...planning 1st trip to mexico...need advice

Old Dec 28th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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i am a chicken...planning 1st trip to mexico...need advice

i am planning my first trip out of the u.s. with my husband and 15 year old son. we are considering mexico - cancun, cozumel or the mayan riveria area. i am looking for a safe area and activities for my teen. i have been researching all inclusives. it is appealing to me to pay up front and not have to worry about budgeting while on vacation. but i am unsure if ai's are a good value. we are not looking for night life, just fun family-friendly activities. um, we also dont speak spanish, will that be an insurmountable obstacle? any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated!
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Go to a family friendly all inclusive resort in the Riviera Maya. It is safe, they will provide activities for you and your son and you do NOT have to speak Spanish as a good number of the staff of these resorts speak English.
Look into the Iberostar resorts and the Barcelo resorts for some good options.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 03:24 PM
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I can only reply in the most general way. I love Mexico and have spent a lot of time on the west coast side mostly in Puerto Vallarta (also La Paz and Cabo San Lucas on the Baja). I don't know the Mayan Riviera specifically but it is well known as a safe and family friendly place. No, you will not have problems not speaking Spanish in the tourists areas. Most tourists don't and the local people are friendly and used to that.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 03:55 PM
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I agree with the others ... you will probably be most comfortable in a family-type all-inclusive. I would also suggest that you might want to arrange a tour in order to see a little more authentic part of Mexico - perhaps Chichen Itza or similar. Your hotel can likely refer you to a reputable tour guide. Have fun!
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 04:46 PM
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We have been going to the Mayan Riviera for many years. Yes, it's quite safe, and there is lots to do - beach, Mayan ruins, cenotes, snorkeling, fishing, caves, etc. Lots of people stay at all inclusives, but we have no desire to. We prefer small hotels close to the beach, and choose our own dining options. In all fairness the all inclusives we've seen look quite spectacular. New ones are popping every year along the jungle lined coastline. If you're not planning to rent a car (driving here is very easy), then an all inclusive may be the way to go.
You don't really have to know Spanish, but it helps to know a few phrases. Of course bring a Spanish-English dictionary with you. Just fyi, many of the tourists are European.
There are many fun and interesting towns along the coast. Sleepy Puerto Morelos, lively Playa del Carmen, family oriented Akumal, and funky Tulum are perhaps the best options. I would have no desire to go to Cancun, although some folks love it's Miami Beach vibe. Get a guide book to become familiar with the whole area. Also go to locogringo.com for tons of info, aerial views, hotels, etc.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 04:39 AM
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www.cancun.bookit.com great sales

on safe PDC Cancun AI values

Perfect for nervous first timers

Paradisus Riu 2 good ones also Secrets Maroma Capri best

Happy Hunting,
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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My personal suggestion would be Cozumel. It is a small, family based culture and it is very safe. We've been going there for nearly 20 years. There are several nice AI on the island, but it really isn't necessary to limit one's self to the repetitious food at an AI. Two nice family structured resorts, near the small town of San Miguel are Playa Azul and Coral Princess. They are both on the water, on good reefs, for easy access to snorkeling every day without the need of a boat. "Town" is only about 2 miles and is easy by taxi. Everyone speaks English. The staffs are great with kids. I think you are missing the whole point of going to Mexico if you stay exclusively in an AI. The town is wonderful, the food is great, on Sunday nights there is usually music on the town square. I have lots of information about Cozumel that I would be happy to share. Contact me via email at corbinco2 at aol dot com if you would like.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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I think Cozumel is a good idea. Also maybe look at Isla Mujeres? Both are smallish islands. As overall encouragement, there's nothing to be scared about going on this kind of vacation in Mexico imho.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 09:07 AM
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thank you so much for your replies! i am considering an ai for two reasons: more teens for our son to interact with and the cost. i like the idea of not having to worry about how much i will have to pay for things. will i have to pay $15 if i want a margarita or $5 for a bottle of water? but i have been looking at some smaller places in cozumel that look really lovely. please, keep your suggestions coming. i am getting excited!
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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I love Isla Mujeres, but, if it's your first trip to the area, and want to see some sights, it's much easier from Playa del Carmen.

Our first trip to the area was to Cancun. I knew within an hour that we'd make a mistake. Turned out not to be a bad trip, mostly because every day we weren't touring, we headed to Isla.....

I don't like all inclusives, but, I think your thoughts are very valid with a teenager. More chances to make friends, than at a small local place. That said, food and drink in Playa can be very reasonable.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Tamrabee, You will never pay $15 for a margarita or $5 for a bottle of water in Cozumel. Happy Hour 2x1, water available in any grocery store or tourist shop for a few pesos. If you are looking to save some money, take a condo style room with the ability to fix breakfast and lunch. Then dine out in the evening. At the Coral Princess, I think our food and beverage bill is about $500 -- for an entire month!
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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I would stick to the Riviera Maya/Playa area if you want things to do. It's easier to access the ruins, etc. Also the AI resorts there will have more teens for your son.
Look at Riu, Barcelo and Iberostar resorts.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 12:00 PM
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Sure, I'll agree, it will be easier getting around by not staying on one of the islands. The stretch around Playa del Carmen offers lots of AI options.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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This will be the fifth year that I vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula; I would not recommend going to Puerto Morelos if you are going with a teenager, he/she will get bored. I am going to Puerto Morelos with my 60 year old husband as he wants a quiet vacation. I have gone to Playa del Carmen several years and I would recommend that instead....google Luna Blue, it is a small hotel owned by two Americans, you will like it a lot! It is located on a side street so it is more quiet than places right on Calle 5, but you can walk to dozens of good restaurants and shops from there! The owners will be able to tell you which places are especially good. I have stayed at a couple other smaller places (I don't do resorts), and I this is the nicest place, just google it, or check it out on Trip Advisor, you cannot go wrong! Get one of the larger rooms with the kitchen area, or at the price they charge, you could get two rooms! The staff that are there have worked there for years,, they are very helpful as well. Have fun!
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 03:27 PM
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The original poster is looking for an all inclusive resort. As nice as Luna Blue is...it is NOT all inclusive and will not have daily activities for her teenage son.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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I'd agree that Riviera Maya and AI is the way to go for you. My husband and I have been to that area many times, and we love to stay at AI's for the reasons you mention. Mexico is the only time we do AI's because you get so much for what you're paying for and in general, the upscale AI's are really great quality with great food. You will find a lot of activities both on the property and be able to organize tours (which will cost extra) through your resort. The resorts schmerl mentions are great to start with. I'd also check out the Dreams resorts.

We stayed at Dreams Riviera Cancun last year (they have several - and we were at the one NOT right in Cancun, but in Riviera Maya and it would probably be great for your family. We always look for an AI with several restaurant options, and with both a la carte and buffet choices.

Also the Palace Resorts offer free excursions, which is a nice option. Certain tours are only offered on certain days, but it can save you a lot of money if you plan to book trips to the ruins etc. Moon Palance and Xpu Ha might be good choices.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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We returned from Playa del Carmen just this morning. We brought our 19 year old and 21 year old with us and did not do an AI. We stayed at a condo in town and loved it. I felt safe enough to let my 21 yo son stay in town at a bar while we returned to the condo. I think an AI is a fine option for you but make sure to get into town to see it. The AI's seem very isolating sometimes.
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Old Jan 4th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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The trip sounds awesome, i'm thnking of heading there myself ...lets see when it happens
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