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gail Dec 8th, 2004 08:39 AM

Mayan ruins or Puerto Rico - Old San Juan
Narrowing down family vacation to 2 possibilities. We want comfortable ocean place to stay, but are not into just frying on beach for a week. (Parents plus 14 and 19 year old - have traveled all over). We want something authentic, historical, etc. to see. Would be summer trip (I know it will be hot). Thought Cancun or someplace near where we could do beach and watersports plus some sightseeing. Others have suggested Puerto Rico (I know that is under Caribbean board). Any comments. Thanks

swimmr Dec 8th, 2004 10:11 AM

I love San Juan, it is one of my favorite cities. I was there over Memorial Day weekend this year and it was great. I've stayed in Old San Juan (El Convento) and at a family flat in Condado. Loquillo Beach is a quick drive outside of SJU, and you can see the rain forest national park at El Yunque too. The restaurants and shopping in Old SJ are wonderful. There are plenty of other historical areas outside of SJU, so it fit with what you are looking for.

Depending on where you are flying from, you might find airfares cheaper to SJU than Cancun. SpiritAir had cheap flights to SJU earlier this year.

I can't comment on Cancun yet but we'll be travelling around the Yucatan in January.

pepper131 Dec 9th, 2004 05:09 AM

If cost is an issue...PR will be more $$$ than Mexico. If you go to Mexico, you'll want to stay south of Cancun (which is not authentic-it's Vegas).

Kristi Dec 9th, 2004 12:36 PM

Just got back from our 2nd trip to Playa del Carmen, about 45 minutes from the Cancun airport. The beaches are beautiful, lots of opportunities for activities, awesome snorkeling/diving in Cozumel just a short ferry ride away.

Options for lodging range from the mega all inclusive resorts (not in PDC but close by) to smaller charming hotels along 5th Avenue or smaller hotels with beach locations.

Loads of authentic restaurants in PDC if you get off 5th Avenue. Several Mayan ruin sites that are reachable on a day trip (Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba).

We also took a daytrip with Alltournative this time which included Coba and a visit to Pac Chen, a small self sustaining Mayan village where took a walk through the jungle, rappeled into a cenote, used a zipline to cross another cenote, canoed and had lunch prepared by the women of the village.

We took a 2nd daytrip into the Sian Kahn reserve, a jeep trip combined with a snorkeling stop on the 2nd largest reef in the world, a boat trip to see the sea turtles and a visit to a mangrove.

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