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Looking for a place similar to Playa Del Carmen

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Sep 24th, 2014, 02:56 PM
  #1
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Looking for a place similar to Playa Del Carmen

Hello! I am hoping someone out there can help.
Here's the deal....We are going on a week vacation mid November and we can't decide on where to go. We went to Playacar about 6 years ago and absolutely loved it. We loved the town that we could walk to and shop and try new places to eat even though we were staying in an AI. We heard that Playa Del Carmen has grown considerably over the last 6 years and we are looking for a new place to try. But we want something similar to the small (but not too small) town that is close to AI resorts. We really like staying in an AI resort, but we also like to be able to leave the resort to walk and see different things/people/shops, and love seeing culture in a town that isn't so Americanized. I have been searching and have found so many options, however I am pretty clueless. We have been to Jamaica a few times and want to try something new. We were thinking about somewhere in Mexico or anywhere in the Caribbean or Central America. Any ideas and input on what people have experienced would be great!
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Sep 25th, 2014, 05:45 AM
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Other than Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, there aren't lots of all inclusives. A few, but, not like at the above locations.

Here's some thoughts, take with a grain of salt, I never stay at all inclusives, but, do like staying in smallish towns when I travel.

Look at Puerto Morelos, only about 20 miles south of the Cancun airport. First time I was there on a day trip five or six years, there wasn't much around. We spent a night there last fall, lots more bars, restaurants and such. We never made it across the road to the colonia, but, understand there are good restaurants there as well.

Or, look at Isla Mujeres. Only a couple of all inclusives on the island, but Privilege Aluxes gets decent reviews and is very close to downtown.

On the pacific coast, we love Puerto Vallarta, spent the entire month of October there last year. Even though it's a larger city, if you stay in/near the South Side/Old Town/Zona Romantica, it feels like a smaller Mexican town. Wonderful restaurants. Cheap drinks in many places. Lots to see and do. The sand/beaches don't compare to the Caribbean coast.

A place you don't read much about is the island of San Andres. Technically part of Colombia, but, geographically closer to Nicaragua. It has beautiful water and beaches. Nice sized town, a few all inclusives within walking distance of town. Also has casinos, if you like those. You can get there through Panama City on Copa, not sure who else flies there. We fly in from Colombia itself.

Aruba has a few all inclusives. I've only spent a couple of days there, it felt too Americanized for my taste. Other people love it.
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Sep 25th, 2014, 10:54 AM
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Agreeing with the post above, All-Inclusive resorts just aren't all that common in the various countries you have tagged for this post.

I'm a huge fan of Puerto Vallarta, some people compare it similarly to PdC (never been myself to say) but it IS a large city.

I have to point out a bit of a contradiction in your request, only because you're looking to find something which is extremely "Americanized" (an All Inclusive resort) yet want to be .

That said, why PV might work for you is exactly because it's big enough there are excellent tourist ammenities but still a lot of authentic local Mexican flavor.
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Sep 25th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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Isla Mujeres is a good idea, Privileges Alux runs specials many Thursdays, today they are advertising a standard room (small) for $85 per night, cannot remember the dates. This small island has 150 restaurants in all price ranges so AI not really needed.
PV is another good suggestion, although I prefer the beaches on the Caribbean side.
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Sep 25th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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While it is true that PDC has grown considerably,(and keeps on growing), Playacar for that matter has stayed the same. I dont want to appear negative, but you will be hardpressed to find anything that comes close to the Mayan Riviera. Through the years I have been to all the places mentioned above (exept Panama) and not one comes close to PDC, not even Puerto Morelos on the same coast. I can remember the days when we used to travel for one or two weeks at a time... you want everything to go perfect for the time there. This said, if you want an AI, on a perfect beach that is close to a major destination known around the globe and you have but 7 days to treasure, then the choice in my opinion, seems quite clear... PLAYACAR !
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Sep 25th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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Thank you all for your great input and suggestions! I do agree that I was coming off as kind of contradicting myself by saying I don't want something so Americanized, however I am looking for an AI. I guess what I was trying to say is that I am looking for something like what Playacar was when we went there several years ago. I just really don't want anything like Cancun as I didn't enjoy that at all. I will definitely look into Isla Mujeres and PV. San Andres also caught my interest with mention of some casinos! Has anyone ever been to or have any input on Honduras? How about the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico?
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Sep 26th, 2014, 10:36 AM
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I think Puerto Rico was fantastic even though I had barely enough time to scratch the surface. SJ is an interesting and vibrant blend of Caribbean crossed with a very European feel. Not at all like PDC but wonderfully cultural and friendly with lovely beaches, plazas and architecture. Beaches in SJ are not quite Yucatan quality but are better than those in Belize or CR.

Outside of SJ there are TONS of unique places to see and experience from hi class 5 star resorts to eco lodges. I spent just a very few short days there precruise and kinda wished I'd forgone the cruise and stayed on PR. I've been planning to return ever since.
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Sep 26th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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I've only been to USVI one time, years ago, St Thomas for a couple nights then St John for a week. In my opinion, it isn't anything like you say you are looking for. I mean the islands are beautiful enough but they are heavily touristed and not exactly a hub of "local culture".

If you can give up the All-Inclusive requirement, that opens up tons more possibilities.
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Sep 28th, 2014, 11:19 AM
  #9
 
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Roatan, Honduras has several AIs, and is a cruise ship stop as well. It is a major dive destination. There are small towns in the beach areas, but overall it is not a very safe place to visit. It does not have nearly as much independent day/ night life as PdC.
Cozumel, off the coast of PdC, also has a large number of AIs, and has a great main town a cab ride away, San Miguel, with lots of local flavor. The island is much more low key than PdC, and again is aimed more toward divers.
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Dec 8th, 2017, 06:39 AM
  #10
 
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My wife and I are experiencing similar questions. Where to go similar to PDC. Been a few times, a few months to Riviera Maya including, Puerto Morelos (3 time) , Playacar, Cancun, Laguna Bacalar, Tulum etc..Want to see other than Riviera Maya but close to a city like PDC offering plenty of restaurants choices, shows etc..
Puerto Vallarta seems to come close but brown beaches? No. Aruba? Jamaica? Anyone has ideas?
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Dec 8th, 2017, 09:03 AM
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While the question is still valid... this post was aired in Sept. of 2014
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Dec 8th, 2017, 12:27 PM
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Puerto Vallarta fits your request. It does not have "brown beaches".
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Dec 11th, 2017, 10:13 AM
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And laserman has similar but new questions dated 12/8/17.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 04:00 PM
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In that case lasserman I would strongly suggest you go to Puerto Aventuras, which is 15 minutes (by car) south of Playa. Closed gate community with a beautiful bay and great white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, and if I read your comment again, you are correct, it is unlike the brown beaches of PV, which I for one can attest as we are here now... please research Puerto Aventuras as they have everything you seek...
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