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january89 Feb 22nd, 2013 02:47 PM

Puerto Aventuras
A friend suggested this as a possible vacation destination for this summer. We love Grand Cayman and Turks and Caicos but are on a tighter budget this year. She mentioned Chac Hal Al as a good condo choice. Need 2-3 bedrooms. Want on the beach. Prefer second floor or higher. White sand, clear water and snorkeling opportunities. A few good resturants, minimal sight seeing would be great. Hoping for $2500/week condo and $2500 airfare for 4. Thanks for any advice!

Stewbear Feb 23rd, 2013 05:26 AM

If you are referring to Puerto Vallarta do not expectant anything remotely like The Turks & Caicos or Grand Cayman.
First the beaches are are nothing like the soft white sand of those two nor is the water clarity anything close.
Both of the two you mentioned are small bodies of land & do not have the heavy Humidity you will find in Mexican beach locations.
Now the good Stuff
Lots of Mexican culture, much to see & do & excellent food at reasonable prices. Inexpensive air fair, friendly people & safe .
When I first went to Medico in 1986 after many years in the Caribbean I kept my expectations very low. I am now here for the 26th straight year. Do I like it? You bet!

KVR Feb 23rd, 2013 07:49 AM

Actually, Chac Hal is in Puerto Aventuras as section of the Riveria Maya on the Caribbean side of Mexico. No where near Puerto Vallarta.

However, I agree that area will also be nothing like T & C or Grand Cayman. However, some of the areas are very nice like around Maroma Beach and good snorkeling can be found but not usually in the resort areas. Places like Xel-Ha, the Ka'an Sian Biosphere, and Centotes.

I know nothing about that condo complex. You might want to research it further on Trip Advisor:

Also look at for accomemdations. We prefer to be as close to 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen as possible. There are some condo complexes in that area also.

january89 Feb 23rd, 2013 11:53 AM

Yes, I did mean Puerto Aventuras, not Puerto Vallarta. I know it won't be just like T & C or Grand Cayman. It is listed in Fodors as Caribbean Coastal so I was wondering if indeed there were white sand beaches and clear water for snorkeling. In reading about P. A. it is mentioned as a safe Mexican destination. I was hoping for some feedback from folks who had been there. Thanks for your help.

emd3 Feb 24th, 2013 04:42 AM

I have a condo in Playa del Carmen and I have been to PA several times for dining and shopping and meeting people who were staying at the Omni Hotel in PA. PA is very much like some of the planned communities on the Florida coast. It has a gated and manned extrance at the 307 Highway that runs south from Cancun. However, in our experience there i snot much security in the gated and manned askpects, as every time we go tthere, the man just waves us in n our car, without asking us anyhing about where we are going, who we are visiting, etc.

Once inside the gate, there are canals where the houses and townhouses, and condos are situated. The dwellings are on the canals and people have their boats tied up right at their homes on the canals, a lot like Florida. And the architecture looks a lot like Florida too, not so much like Mexico. It is very pristine and clean, and homes are stucco and painted in colors like Florida.

At the beach area there is the Omni hotel right on the beach, and a comples of many restaurants. The restaurants open not to the beach side but to the "dolphin encounter" and dolphn show areas. There are some good restaurants and bars, you can look those up online. There is a small but adequate amt. of shopping, small convenince stores and one market a bit larger, clothing stores, mexican handcraft stores, etc. All very nice and they fit in w/the archecture and decor of the place.

It has a "planned community" feeling instead of a usual Mexican resort town feeling. You coudl walk all the way around PA and hardly ever notice that you are in Mexico.

I do not have experience w/the beach or ocean water in PA.

schmerl Feb 24th, 2013 05:26 AM

You may also want to look into Puerto Morelos. It is a small town north of Playa del Carmen. Nice beaches, good snorkeling, etc.

emd3 Feb 24th, 2013 06:13 AM

Look into the beachfront condos at Half Moon Bay at Akumal, whihc is not far from Puerto Adventuras area. I think this would be perfect fit for you. Great whit esand beach, clear turquoise water, snorkeling (and also snorkel w/sea turtles right off Akumal beach), some good restaurants but not overwhelming amt., and minimal sightseeing if you just don;t go anywhere to find it.

january89 Feb 24th, 2013 11:17 AM

Thanks so much. Akumal was another place I was going to investigate. Have not heard of Puerto Morelos and will definately check that out. Husband now wants me to "check into" Puerto Rico as well. Thanks again.

emd3 Feb 24th, 2013 04:25 PM

I've been to beaches in PR- not as inexpensive as MX...and beaches and water not at all like the Caribbean of MX, since sand, water, and snorkeling were on your want list.

january89 Feb 25th, 2013 04:51 AM

Thank you you emd3, that is great to know!

emd3 Feb 25th, 2013 06:08 AM

For comparison info re difference btwn Akumal and Puerto Morelos:
I have also stayed in Puerto Morelos, twice in the last yr when our condo was booked and I needed to be in the area and was waiting to get into our condo to stay. I was able to get a cheaper decent room in PM than in Playa both times, which were both during high season.

Puerto Morelos is a small fishing town. There is a town square, and it is very quiet and sleepy all the way around. A handful of restaurants, and you can snorkel on a good reef but you must hire boat to get there. Two small handicraft sales areas, one a block off the beach and one 3 bcks off the beach on same side of the square. I hesitate to call them markets because that evokes something bigger to me, these are 10-12 or so stands each, selling clothing, hates, some souveneris, etc. There is one smallish independent grocery store, on the square.

In Akumal you snorkel right off the beaches. Snorkeling at Half Moon Bay is very good and easy, no boat required,, there is a coral reef right in the bay. There is also snorkeling at Yal-ku lagoon, down the road from Half Monn bay. And of course the snorkeling right off the beach at Akumal Bay is where you snorkel with sea turtles.

I think Akumal has nicer beaches than Puerto Morelos. For some reason, the streets in PM always seem to be torn up, they are always tearing up one of the roads in the area of the hotels every time i got there, there seems to be a lot of dust adn working going on with the roads. I think they have been laying new water lines throughout the whole town, bit by bit over the last year or more. This is not the case in Akumal. Akumal has an area for shopping right after you drive into Akumal beach area, right past the arches. There are two large convenience type stores. And other handicraft and jewelry shopping there, and also at some shops down on the beach. There is a dive shop for renting snorkeling equipment. There are about a dozen restaurants right in that area, in a densely tree-filled area right by the parking lot where people park to spend a day at the bay, and on the beach, some palapa style restaurants, some of them pretty large and good (like Lol-Ha). At Half Moon Bay I know of at least 3 restaurants/cafes, Gynn-Ak (Thai), Cafe Te Latte, and La LUnita.
There is also a fairly new CHedraui superstore that has groceries and is like a regular Walmart, and it is right across hwy 307 at the turn to PUerto Adventuras. SO if you needed more grocery shopping than you can get at the smaller stores in Akumal Bay (which we would if we wer there for a wk) and you don't have a car, then you can take a short taxi ride, or a colectivo form hwy 307 at the entrance to Akumal, and get to that store easily. In Puerto Adventuras, there is no option like that for better grocery shopping.


emd3 Feb 25th, 2013 06:09 AM

oops, last line should have said Peurto Morelos, not PUerto Aventuras

jamie99 Feb 25th, 2013 10:44 AM

Good post emd3, I stayed in Akumal again my last trip with an overnight in PoMo. I think maybe you mean La Buena Vida on HMB as Cafe Te Latte is next to the Lol-Ha and just has great ice cream and coffee drinks. Also Que Onda near Yal-Ku lagoon has reopened its doors about 6 months ago.

january89 Feb 26th, 2013 06:52 AM

Thank you so much! Now I am thinking Akumal would be perfect for us. I assume Cancun would be the closest/easiest airport to fly into? Or am I incorrect? Do you know anything about the condos? Casa Coral is on Jade Bay, La Joya Half moon bay, Las Casitas? Would a car be advisable or is a walkable area? We usualy grocery shop and do breakfast, lunch and a few dinners in, then out a few dinners. So we would need to do a fairly decent shop once or twice.

Perhaps we would need to fly into Cancun and rent a car there?

Thank you for sharing your information.

emd3 Feb 26th, 2013 11:18 AM

YEs, you will fly into Cancun. I am not sure abotu options to get to Akumal from the airport, Iam only knowledageable about getting to laya del Carmen by bus fromt he airport as that is where our condo is located.

You can get to Akumal by colectivo, and I would think you can get a collective from the airport straight down Hwy 307 to Akumal, but you'll need to check that out.

Hopefully others who have stayed in Akumal, either right on Akumal Bay and in Half Mon Bay etc, will chime in regarding how they dealt with transportation around Akumal. The road down to Half Moon Bay from Akumal Bay proper seems to be at least a mile when I have driven it. Maybe you can rent bikes, I don;t knkow how peole get around if they do not have a car as I always drive when I go to Akumal.

I think Akumal will be a great choice for you. Akumal Bay has nicer beach and nicer swimming than Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay is snorkelng heven wcoral ref right there. But it is rocky, you need to e=wear water shoes in the water, and the beach is not as nice as at Akumal Bay. SO you need ot look into those aspects of both areas before you nail down where to get your condo.

jamie99 Feb 26th, 2013 11:18 AM

La Joya just put in a pool a few months ago, Las Casitas does not have one. Sorry not familiar with Casa Coral but I would want a car there, long hot walk into Akumal. I'd go with La Joya, may be staying in their studio in May, just booked airfare this morning. Also maybe check out Playa Caribe, they have a reverse osmosis system so you can drink the tap water.

If you do not want to rent a car, you can rent golf carts in the lobby of Hotel Akumal Caribe, they are $40/day, and car with insurance is going to run about the same, up to you. Hope you have a great trip.

emd3 Feb 26th, 2013 11:18 AM

p.s. Jamie, you are absolutely right, thank you for the correction.

suze Feb 26th, 2013 03:29 PM

I think you're on the right track considering the "Mayan Riviera" (the Caribbean coast of Mexico).

I also would go with Akumal or maybe Isla Mujeres (island off Cancun). You'd fly into Cancun for these.

january89 Feb 27th, 2013 05:10 AM

Thanks again for all your help. I think Akumal will be a good fit for us. I can't beleive airfare right now. I assumed Mexico was still fairly affordable to get to, but wrong!

Now investigating condos. Seem to be several at a decent price right along Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay. I am sure to need more help, probably should start a new topic! Thank you again.

suze Feb 27th, 2013 10:02 AM

Mexico is (or at least can be) cheaper once you are there, but I've never found plane tickets to be cheaper than flying elsewhere of similar distance. Actually I can usually get to Hawaii (from Seattle) cheaper, but it costs more once you're there.

emd3 Feb 27th, 2013 10:11 AM

It depends on where you are flying out of in the U.S. to Mexico. I fly from Baltimore Washington (BWI) airport and many times can get $200 each way nonstop to Cancun on AirTran. Or similar fare less than $440 RT with one stop on US Air from DCA (Reagan) Airport in Northern VA to Cancun (got that fare for both 2012 Thanksgiving and Christmas trips).

I am flying on United to Cancun from Dulles (IAD) at end of March and flying bakc mid_april, and I got a fare of $502 total w/taxes.

So I think it depends on where you are flying out from.

PuraAventura Mar 4th, 2013 07:26 AM

Go to Bacalar and enjoy snorkeling in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere! I can assure you that you'll be amazed by the place! No other place like that in whole Mexico.

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