playa del carmen combined with where else?

Old Aug 4th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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playa del carmen combined with where else?

I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to Playa Del Carmen. I don't want to spend two weeks in the same hotel/resport. I am wondering whether to either combine it with one of the following: Cuba, Florida, Cayman Islands or somewhere else; or: go down the road to Tulum or somewhere else in Mexico? Likes: beaches, and nature (birds and mammals) historical sites.
Many thanks for any help.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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Completely a personal choice, but why not stay right in that same area?

You can go up to around Merida. There's Holbox or Isla Mujeres or Cozumel (islands). Akumal or Tulum. There's plenty to see realatively near PdC to fill two weeks time.

Nothing wrong with going an entirely different place for the 2nd week if you want to, but there's no need to... to find what you're looking for.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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How about Chiapas? You could spend 1-2 nights in Campeche in between PdC and Palenque. Best Mayan sites in Mexico are there.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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I would go to the colonial cities of Mexico, around Merida. They have the sweet, charming, small boutique hacienda-style hotels and you can really enjoy the Mexican culture. You might also go further south and get more proximity to the Mayan ruins, off the main tourist path. Cozumel is great, especially if you dive or snorkel, but it isn't much different from Playa del Carmen; Isla Mujeres has a colorful history, but probably not much to enjoy for several days.

If its me, I would go to the colonial cities.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 07:53 PM
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You have many options bc from Cancun you can fly nonstop cheaply on VivaAerobuus or Interjet or Volaris to Oaxaca ( new service on Viva Aerobus) , Puebla, Guadalajara ( and from there can bus to Morelia and Patzquaro and the wonderful villages around the Lake), Mexico City, Villahermosa or Tuxla Guitierrez (and then bus from either on to San Cristobal and Palenque), on and on.

And of course easy bus trip to Merida. Do some research and decide what it is you want, what kind of experience and place out of options above and others mentioned.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 08:42 PM
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I'd stick around the Yucatán. Get a good guidebook; I like Moon Yucatán and if you can wait a few months there's a new one coming out in November.

In the meantime, my photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations for Mexico are embedded in 3 sets from 2010 trips to Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas. Happy trails! http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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take the bus to belize for the second week, they are very good.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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Thanks everyone. Bus to Belize - sounds interesting - is Belize much different from the Yucatan? Great photos hopeflist, I came accross them before as a reply to someone else, and nearly butted in .... looks as if diving is more your interest but wondered whether some of those other places you had visited would be good places to visit especially regarding birds?
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 06:36 AM
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Belize wouldn't offer you much that weren't already getting in the Yucatan--a combination of reef and ruins.

There are great birding areas in the Yucatan--Sian Kaan (a little over one hour south of PdC), Rio Lagartos and Celestun (Gulf side of the peninsula). Belize will add different species to your potential sightings list, but at the cost of a great deal more travel logistics.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 07:53 AM
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I'd save Belize for another trip.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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ditto. I don't think two weeks is enough to do the Yucatan justice and add a bus ride down to Belize.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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The bus ride is about 5 hours and are air conditioned. Belize has cave tubing and atolls and blue hole for diving and is English speaking. chocolate and rum are great in Belize. RAC is incorrect. getting on a bus and transferring to a water taxi or puddle jumper isn't all that difficult.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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Yuctan has caves with water exploration possible (cenotes), and significant reef diving available.

The chocolate and rum are also good in Mexico, as is the tequila if you know which brand to order.

5 hours from PdC to Chetumal. From there several more hours to Belize City, San Ignacio, etc etc.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 09:59 AM
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You appear to have business interests in the Yucatan area RAC the way you hype it. The cave tubing is in Belize not in Mexico, the cenotes are in Mexico. The Yucatan does not have atolls or the blue hole. The chocolate industry is not in S. Mexico but is flourishing in Belize.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 11:22 PM
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I'd skip PDC, it is a busy noisy hot city with unappealing architecture. If I go back, I would not spend my time there at all. If you like to swim in the sea, choose the hotel carefully as not all have a nice beach. Having said that, we had some great meals well away from 5th Avenue. We combined our trip with Miami/Florida Keys, as we travel from Europe it was easy to spend couple days in the US then fly from MIA to CUN. I would not combine with Cuba unless you mean Havana, in which case that could work if you can get a flight from HAV to CUN. No point in going to Varadero as it is very similar to the Riviera Maya as it is mega hotel after mega hotel, flat landscape with Soviet style very grand hotel entrances.
If you are interested in snorkelling or scuba, Cozumel is an easy ferry ride from PDC. If you are interested in ruins, the ones at Tulum are easily accessible and if you rent a car, you can drive to Chichen Itza or take a tour if you are nervous (although about what I couldn't imagine, it's an easy well signposted destination and we stopped in Valladolid on the way back, a charming place). I would explore Mexico a bit more and save Belize for another trip, unless you are a scuba diver.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 01:01 AM
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Thanks Odin, should I think twice about Playa del Carmen - not sure? I have my heart drawn to the Tucan there - it is set in a tropical landscape with monkeys and flamingoes. But we also love Florida and thought about this as a possibility - but the beaches in Mexico seem as nice so why would I mix it with Florida?
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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I don't think you should necessarily rethink PDC. The hotel you like is slightly south of the city, we stayed north of PDC and the beach was not very nice, rocky, cloudy and seaweedy. The pictures of the Tucan look really nice but am sure someone who knows that part of the beach could give you an indication of whether the beach is good in that area. Good point about PDC is the central location to other locations eg Tulum and not far from Cancun. Bad point would be to stay in the centre but thats just my opinion, it's too busy and built up. The beaches are wide and long, so get much more crowded than I am used to.
We mixed it with Florida because the flight schedule worked out better plus we wanted to do some shopping and see Miami Beach and the Keys again. If we didnt have to go via somewhere, then we would have gone straight to Cancun but direct flights are not everyday and they tend to be full. There is enough in Mexico to keep you occupied for two weeks. If you go at the right time of the year, the whale shark snorkelling was fantastic.
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Old Aug 7th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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I've been to PDC several times, it has lots of good things and some bad things, of course. It is built up so you don't get the same vibe as staying in some small town or being in some rural area, of course. I like that myself, I like the liveliness and stuff to do, and how easy it is to get around to various restaurants, etc. Just depends what you want, that's all. Given you have 2 weeks, you have plenty of time for both, I'd say.

PDC is not rural or tranquil, though, you must know that from your research, it is a fairly good-sized city now. I don't find Cozumel more attractive, and of course you are out on an island then. I think the snorkeling at Cozumel has really gone downhill, it isn't that great any more due to all the cruise ships and damage from other things (I think maybe hurricanes affected that, also). I just think there are better places to snorkel.
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Old Aug 7th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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use gmaps and you tube to help look these places over
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 05:15 PM
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PDC is a fun little city with a great beach, but I wouldn't consider it a 'nature' destination. Are you planning to stay in an all inclusive resort, or a small hotel? With 2 weeks I might do 3-4 nights in Playa for beach, dining and nightlife, a night or 2 in Valladolid (a small colonial city)to see Chichen Itza , a week at the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve to get lots of nature, and some time in Akumal to snorkel with the turtles and enjoy the beach. Go to locogringo.com for lots of info on the Mexican Caribbean.
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