Resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula

Dec 28th, 2016, 01:50 PM
  #1  
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Resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula

We are headed to Guatemala for a non-profit-led tour this spring. We are thinking about spending a few days at the beach and visiting ancient Mayan sites in the Cancun area first (either also visiting Tikal or skipping Tikal in favor of the ruins in Mexico).

Where are the best beaches?

Is it necessary to stay at an all-inclusive if we won't have a car?

Are there restaurants worth going off-site for?

Cancun or Playa del Carmen?

And between Tikal and the ruins in Mexico, which are more interesting?
sf7307 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2016, 02:32 PM
  #2  
 
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I think the best beaches are in Tulum, which is to the south of PDC - miles of soft white sand, turquoise water, not too crowded. Tulum is also closer to Coba, which is one of my favorite Mayan sites in the area. The Tulum ruins themselves are just ok - fantastic location, but kind of sterile.
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Dec 28th, 2016, 06:33 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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I agree that the best beaches are in / near Tulum.

No need for an all-inclusive if you don't have a car -- there are buses and "collectivos."

I ate at some wonderful restaurants in the Yucatan! Here are my OLD notes:
http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...nd-chiapas.cfm

I strongly recommend the Moon Guide for the area.

Enjoy!
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Dec 29th, 2016, 06:52 AM
  #4  
 
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Absolutely no need for an AI in Playa. The city is just bursting with small hôtels, condos and apartments. There are literaly hundreds of restaurants to choose from.
No need for a car in Playa, you can find anything you want within walking distance...you might want to check out the site called EVERYTHING PLAYA.
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Dec 29th, 2016, 08:48 AM
  #5  
RAC
 
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Definitely see Tikal--it's an amazing, amazing site. There's nothing close to the beaches in Mexico that compares. The best Mayan site in Mexico is Palenque, which is closer to Tikal than it is to the beach areas of the Yucatan.

Would recommend Tulum or Akumal for beaches and walking-distance restaurants. Plenty of places accessible by bus in Cancun. Not a huge fan of Playa del Carmen--too crowded and touristy for my liking so can't give any good pointers there.
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Dec 29th, 2016, 01:43 PM
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Best beaches would be in Tulum and fortunately there are no AIs there. Without a rental car you will need to pay for taxis if you stay at a hotel on the beach road, as neither the ADO bus nor colectivos travel that road (there is one intermittent colectivo but it is for the local workers only).
Second best and very close would be Akumal. Only 2 AIs on main Akumal playa.
Third place would be Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres.
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Jan 4th, 2017, 09:28 AM
  #7  
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I'm 90% certain we're not going to do an AI. Does anyone have a specific recommendation for an upscale (but not ridiculous -- more Marriott than Four Seasons) hotel that is:

1) on a nice beach,
2) has a great pool,
3) has very pretty grounds, and
4) is walking distance to town (any of the towns).

By way of reference, we loved the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, don't love the Marriott in Lihue (tired), loved the Victoria Hoi An and La Residence Siem Reap (but expect that hotels of that level on the Mayan Riviera will be out of our price range). We liked the pool at the Marriott in Wailea, but not the rest of the hotel (the Andaz and others were less boring looking). It doesn't need to be adults-only, on the other hand, hordes of kids probably isn't what we're looking for either. Nightlife totally unimportant.
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Jan 4th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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I think that removes Tulum from the running - the hotels on the beach are small, more rustic places. There are a few hotels with pools, but nothing really that would be considered a great pool, and there aren't generally much in the way of grounds at the hotels there since they are pretty small anyway.
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Jan 4th, 2017, 01:09 PM
  #9  
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Funny, I found an article about Tulum in Travel & Leisure that makes me think it IS where we want to stay I may have to revise the criteria!
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Jan 4th, 2017, 05:10 PM
  #10  
kja
 
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Revising your criteria could easily make sense.
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Jan 4th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Yes, if Tulum looks good to you, then definitely revise the criteria It's a good place to spend some time, but only really fits with the 1st item on your list. For Item #4, it depends on what you want to do in town - the beach road is several km from Tulum pueblo, but there are lots of small hotels with restaurants and bars along the beach road, and a few shops here and there - so if the reason to be close to town is so that you can walk to restaurants and bars other than the ones at your specific hotel, then you are golden - you can walk all along the beach or the road and pop in at various places. Tulum pueblo is a larger town with all of the businesses and services you would expect in town - grocery stores, shops, restaurants, banks, etc. - but you'd have to drive or get a taxi into town. It's also a bikeable distance if you are up for it, but not really walkable.
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Jan 11th, 2017, 10:25 AM
  #12  
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Thanks all. We decided on Tulum for 5 nights, followed by Tikal and then the rest of our Guatemala tour. All booked.
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Jan 11th, 2017, 05:09 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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The beaches of Tulum are stunning -- enjoy!
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Mar 29th, 2017, 03:47 PM
  #14  
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Well, we spent five lovely days in Tulum, and will definitely return. We only spent one day sightseeing (Tulum and Coba ruins) - the day that the weather wasn't so great. We stayed on the beach (Colibri La Zebra) and loved the fact that it had such a low-key, beachy vibe (this part of our trip was definitely the R&R part, we then spent 1-1/2 weeks in Guatemala on the sightseeing/non-profit tour part). We did go into Playa del Carmen one evening, and it isn't my favorite - just a giant mall near the beach. We did have a good meal and chatted with a very nice Canadian couple during and after dinner.

We ate at:

1) Our hotel - excellent food, although slow to bring food at one lunchtime.
2) Casa Banana - several breakfasts and one dinner -- very good fruit platter, and a great steak.
3) We tried to get into Hartwood, but we hadn't reserved and it didn't work out time wise.
4) Don Cafeto's (in the pueblo)- food was good, entertainment was great. Loved the vibe and the fact that it wasn't all tourists.
5) Ice cream in the pueblo at Campanella Cremerie - great.
6) Good seafood tacos at Los Aguachiles in the pueblo.
7) La Vagabunda in Playa del Carmen (very good Mexican food). Next time, we'll try Plank - it's a beautiful place and was very busy.

To whomever it was who recommended Easyway, thank you. Very very "Easy...". You can rent from them without all the insurance - it was more expensive with, but certainly much easier and no need to stress about it.

Choosing to stay in Tulum on the beach, rather than at a giant all-inclusive, was the right decision. Thanks for all your advice on that matter.
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Mar 29th, 2017, 08:04 PM
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I'm glad you reported back to let us know how it went Sounds like you had a reaaly nice time in Tulum.
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Mar 30th, 2017, 05:19 AM
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Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad it all worked out so well for you.
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