mellow girls trip to Mexico - need advice

Aug 27th, 2019, 08:56 AM
  #1  
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Posts: 174
mellow girls trip to Mexico - need advice

Hi, everyone.

I'm going to Mexico in Jan or Feb with two friends from college. We were originally thinking about Tulum but, now that I've read more about it, it sounds too touristy and overpriced for us. What we are looking for is:

-Proximity or easy accessibility from airport
-Decent beaches. They don't need to be world-class. Clean and calm and swimmable is perfect.
-Proximity to at least a few good restaurants.
-Ideally a nice little town with some culture nearby.
-Nearby ruins for a day trip.
-Not super fancy or super rustic.

We don't need a party scene or resorts or a million kids. Does such a place exist? Skimming your threads, the towns that caught my eye are:

Puerto Morelos
Isla Mujeres
Akumal
Yelapa
Xpu Ha
Holbox - but this seems to lack a variety of good restaurants and seems isolated if we want to move around, right?

Your thoughts? Thank you.


jeepyland is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 09:19 AM
  #2  
 
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out of the places you listed, I've only been to Isla Mujeres so I can't do a comparison. But Isla Mujeres does sound like a good fit for what you are looking for.
tom42 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 10:34 AM
  #3  
 
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I can only comment on Yelapa, because you come through Puerto Vallarta (where I vacation twice a year) in order to get there so know many people who have been, although I have not myself (too isolated for my preference).

Do you realize you have to take a boat to get there? It's not an island but there are no viable roads for every day use. You can do that either from the Pier at Los Muertos in PV. Or you can go down to Boca by bus or taxi then have a shorter ride on the panga. There are no ruins. Not sure Yelapa would be considered "a nice little town" but there's the beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta nearby as far as "culture" and hundreds of restaurants (not in Yelapa, in PV in the Old Town aka Zona Romantica and Centro/downtown). Most people would consider it "rustic". Also it's popular with day-trippers from PV, so different 'vibe' during the day than after they leave.
suze is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 12:55 PM
  #4  
 
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Agree about Isla Mujeres. And it does have a world-class beach, Playa Norte, although it has suffered a bit recently from erosion and encroachment from those nuisance massage booths. But it has been free of sargassum, unlike much of the rest of the Riviera Maya. Easy to get to from Cancun's airport, great restaurants, enough adult nightlife if you want it, safe and easily explored on foot or by golf cart. Snorkeling tours available to nearby Isla Contoy. Trips to some ruins are available, but they leave early and you need to take the ferry to the mainland which only takes about 10-15 minutes.
Holbox is indeed pretty isolated, but super tranquil. I believe it could have the sargassum problem as well. We were there years back when there was some, but it only affected part of the beach. Not close to an airport unless you fly there in a Cessna, which is expensive.
You'll not find ruins of any significance anywhere near Yelapa or Puerto Vallarta for that matter. At least not for day trips.
If less touristy and proximity to ruins are big deals, then something like Sisal or Celestun on the gulf coast near Merida is worth checking out. Harder to get to, however. Plus more on the rustic end of the scale.
baldone is online now  
Aug 28th, 2019, 05:44 AM
  #5  
 
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Puerto Morelos would fit your requirements. It is a small fishing village. It has some great restaurants and a laid back feel. It is MUCH easier to get to the ruins from there than it would be from Isla Mujeres.
schmerl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 06:50 AM
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by jeepyland View Post
Hi, everyone.

I'm going to Mexico in Jan or Feb with two friends from college. We were originally thinking about Tulum but, now that I've read more about it, it sounds too touristy and overpriced for us. What we are looking for is:

-Proximity or easy accessibility from airport
-Decent beaches. They don't need to be world-class. Clean and calm and swimmable is perfect.
-Proximity to at least a few good restaurants.
-Ideally a nice little town with some culture nearby.
-Nearby ruins for a day trip.
-Not super fancy or super rustic.

We don't need a party scene or resorts or a million kids. Does such a place exist? Skimming your threads, the towns that caught my eye are:

Puerto Morelos
Isla Mujeres
Akumal
Yelapa
Xpu Ha
Holbox - but this seems to lack a variety of good restaurants and seems isolated if we want to move around, right?

Your thoughts? Thank you.
Been to each and every one of those places...and I would have to agree with the above poster with Puerto Morelos: cosy little village (seaside section) with fantastic beaches, bars and restaurants. Ideally situated between Cancun and Playa. The ADO bus line has a stop in center town (highway side) for every destination. The only downside is the availability of lodging, which can be challenging.
Akumal is also great but somewhat disconnected and fewer restaurants. The colectivo is needed to reach this area.
Yelapa is on the Pacific coast and IMO simply not worth it, also mentioned above.
XPU-HA is a day trip destination only. Located 10 minutes south of Puerto Aventuras where you also need tp pay to access the beach.
Holbox would be somewhat similar to Yelapa. The logistics involved are a little much considering the bus to Chiquita, ferry to island and golf cart to hotel.
Tulum is popular but as you mentioned, quite expensive on the beach side. The village section is reasonably priced but far from the ocean.
Isla Mujeres, would be my second choice, great beaches, restaurants and hotels, but after a few days , the island seems to close up on you as the area is not all that big.
Good luck choosing.
PS. You mentioned Too Touristy for Tulum... where it must be noted that ALL destinations mentioned above are very touristy !

Last edited by Rohelio; Aug 28th, 2019 at 07:00 AM.
Rohelio is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 10:54 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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I agree that, given your interests, Puerto Morelos would make sense.
kja is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2019, 11:03 AM
  #8  
 
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Totally in agreement with Rohelio. We have been to all the places you mention and I would prioritize them in the same way. We personally love Akumal but only for a few nights-3-4, only because it does have limited restaurants as mentioned. But the beach is one of the best we have found and it is always thrilling to swim with the turtles. The calmest beach and we think nicest place to stay there is the Hotel Akumal Caribe. They are on the best beach and they have quite a good restaurant-strong margaritias Many other places in that area have beaches that are too windy and rough-we found also to be the case in Tulum and Cancun. So if beach is a priority then I would consider Akumal
https://hotelakumalcaribe.com/

We stayed 3 weeks in Playa because we wanted to see how it felt for a longer stay and that was nice because we could try out many of the restaurants that you just can't on a shorter trip. We don't love the beach in Playa but do like that there is lots to do.

We also like Isla Mujeres-but be aware that the beaches there can be very shallow-sometimes you have to walk out quite far to even get to your knees in water. Holbox was also great but honestly we didn't feel like that the effort required to get there seemed really worth it-especially that since it is not pretty developed you can get to Isla Mujeres much more easily and have a similar experience.

I am afraid that Puerto Morelos might be a bit too slow for college age visitors since most of the folks I see go there seem to be more retirement aged. But it really all depends on what you are looking for and how much time you will have.
jpie is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2019, 01:18 PM
  #9  
 
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I've been to all those places and stayed at many.
Xpu-Ha is a nice place to visit (try La Playa Beach Club) but has limited lodging mainly consisting of an Adult Only AI (Catalona Royal Tulum) and a glamping place which reportedly only has hot water sometimes.
Much as I love Isla Mujeres, if you are going to be traveling around the area a lot, I would scratch it since you have to add ferry time going to and from (takes 20 minutes and runs every 30 minutes).
jamie99 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2019, 04:10 PM
  #10  
 
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Sorry I had a typo in my posting:

"Holbox was also great but honestly we didn't feel like that the effort required to get there seemed really worth it-especially that since it is not pretty developed you can get to Isla Mujeres much more easily and have a similar experience."

It should have read:

I meant to say that Holbox was also great but honestly we didn't feel like that the effort required to get there seemed really worth it-especially that now that it is pretty developed you can get to Isla Mujeres much more easily and have a similar experience.
jpie is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2019, 05:36 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by jpie View Post
I am afraid that Puerto Morelos might be a bit too slow for college age visitors since most of the folks I see go there seem to be more retirement aged. But it really all depends on what you are looking for and how much time you will have.
That wasn't my experience of Puerto Morelos, but it's been a while since I was there and it could have changed.

In any case, I hadn't thought the OP was talking about college age visitors, rather people the OP met in college. If she's in college now, she must have joined Fodor's when she was a toddler or VERY young child.
kja is offline  
Oct 4th, 2019, 07:50 AM
  #12  
 
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Oh yeah-you are right. Now I see that she has been a member for awhile-guess I misunderstood the "college" reference.
jpie is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2019, 10:42 AM
  #13  
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A belated but huge thank you to all! You are correct - the language about college isn't clear but I did indeed graduate long ago. Will prioritize Puerto Morales and Isla Mujeres above all else. Thanks!
jeepyland is offline  
Oct 24th, 2019, 10:33 AM
  #14  
 
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I have not been, but have had two groups of girlfriends do Holbox. They all rave. I think that would be a great choice for you. I had to miss out both times due to work trips. But, it seems everyone finds plenty of restaurants and activities. I would really consider it.
frenchtoile is offline  
Oct 26th, 2019, 08:22 PM
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by frenchtoile View Post
I have not been, but have had two groups of girlfriends do Holbox. They all rave. I think that would be a great choice for you. I had to miss out both times due to work trips. But, it seems everyone finds plenty of restaurants and activities. I would really consider it.
Thing is, Holbox is some 2+ hours from CUN. OP wanted proximity to an airport.
baldone is online now  

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