Playa del Carmen help

Old Feb 15th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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Playa del Carmen help

Hi. My boyfriend and I are going to Playa del Carmen for 10 nights in March. I have a few questions and concerns about the trip. I have been traveling to different Mexico locations for many years now and this is my first time in playa. We are staying at Hotel Alejari, has anyone stayed there. My concern is I did not use a travel agent for this trip. I contacted the hotel myself and to hold a room they took my credit card number, they told me you don't pay until you get there. I am alittle worried because i have always paid for my trip through a travel agent and the room is already paid for when I get there. When we get there i am worried they will tell us they don't have a room for us. We also just finished our pool and classroom training for diving, we are going to be doing our open water certification down there, should we go to cozmel or stay in playa, and is there any suggestions to which place we should use for first time divers? We also are looking for any recommended places to eat, hang out, or things to see. We always have done the tourist things, but we are looking for some off the beaten path places and resturants. We are thinking of going to Tulum for a day, is it worth it? We also would like to check out some ruins, are there any that are not big tourist traps.Any suggestions, recommedations or helpful hints we should know aboutfor our trip? Thank You.
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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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I haven't used a travel agent for travel to Mexico since our first trip to Cancun several years ago. I wouldn't stress too much about your reservation. You might e-mail them and reconfirm a few days before your departure. Even if there is a snag, there are literally dozens of nice hotels in Playa del Carmen.

For more authentic (and cheaper) restuarants, you only need to wander a block of two off the 'main drag' (5th Avenue) to find some wonderful local spots. For good cheap eats, try the shrimp tacos at El Oasis, they're really good.

We've been to the ruins at Tulum. Get up early, get on a collectivo and get there before the tour buses arrive. It's a small site, you can be pretty much through touring before the 'hoards' arrive. Coba (I've never been) doesn't get as many tourists, it isn't far from Tulum. I'm not sure how you would arrange transportation there, but I'm sure it's possible. Jean
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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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You should be fine with your hotel reservation. We've travelled in Mexico and Europe many times, always booked the hotels ourselves, and never had a problem! You don't need a travel agent. There is lots of diving activity in Playa. Akumal, which is about 1/2 hour south of Playa is another very popular diving area. Playa has many, many good places to eat. We loved Ajua, where the waiters are all comedians, and the food was excellent. Limones was another good spot - very exotic. Tulum is DEFINITELY worth it, even though there are crowds it is very impressive. The beach there is one of the best in the whole area. Another interesting Mayan site is Coba, which is about a 45 minute drive into the jungle from Tulum. You might see some crocodiles in the lake at Coba!
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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Get on the collectivo to Tulum as early as possible (I think they start running at 7 AM) to beat the crowds at the ruins. Or else go late in the day (3-5 pm).

From the ruins we walked south along the road that parallels the beach, then east on a sandy access lane, and found a beautiful stretch of beach - hung out at El Paraiso Beach Club.

We ran out of vacation days before getting to Coba. There are organized excursions there; or you can rent a car; and we read that there is a bus from Tulum to Coba that is inexpensive. It's supposed to get far fewer tourists than Chichen Itza or Tulum.

As for your hotel, if you have any information that indicates it's a reputable place, I wouldn't worry too much. Certainly an email or phone call to confirm would be wise. Finding another place after arriving is usually feasible in PdC, but March is very busy.

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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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If you want to relax go to Tulum. A great place to stay is cabañas los lirios loslirios.com they have a beautiful cenote. In Tulum for great seafood and pasta go to Zamas.

Go to the Tulum ruins by yourself, there's no need to go with a group. Coba ruins are beautiful too (Try to go with a guide)
To dive I recommend Cozumel.
In playa I stayed at the Lunata (only 10 rooms) it's a really good place to stay lunata.com

The only tour that I recommend is provided for alltournative

My only warning advice, watch your credit card. All the operations must be in front of you.
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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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You shouldn't have a problem with the hotel. We stayed at Playa Maya on our last day (after 4 wonderful days at Kailuum II), and I reserved the room with a credit card before the trip.

There are plenty of restaurants off of Av. 5, we ate at Di Gabi on our only night there (cash only, but good pizza).

Definitely visit Tulum but go early before the crowds. We had rented a car, so it was easy to also visit Coba (very cool ruins) earlier in the trip. We drove to the Sian Ka'an Bioreserve too (on the scenic dirt road to Punta Allen).

If you have 10 nights, you'll have plenty of time to visit ruins and dive. There are a number of cenotes off the highway, and I'm sure others on this board will recommend Akumal (we don't dive, but heard it is nice).
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