Suggested destinations, Yucatan Peninsula, Xmas/NYE.

Mar 19th, 2017, 09:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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Suggested destinations, Yucatan Peninsula, Xmas/NYE.

Hello! I am planning out a roughly 3 week trip, mid Dec thru the new year, taking my beach-loving sweetie on his first trip to Mexico. We are mid 40s, like great food but are not food snobs, and drink adult beverages with relish, but not to the point of excess. (Well, not usually, heh.) We are definitely more readers than partiers.

I am seeking location suggestions: am thinking a total of three spots so we are not too rushed (and one is already set; see below). If we stay thru NYE, maybe a large enough town that there'd be some public festivities? ADO is great and I thought we'd use them to get between spots, but I'm amenable to renting a car too.

We'll be continuing to work remotely some of the time, so the objective is basically picking places to immerse ourselves – walk to a beach and set up shop; stock the AirBnB fridge; walk out to get dinner and/or drinks sometimes; snorkel where possible. We also both need reliable wifi for work.

The following *highly subjective* opinions are drawn from my solo trip a few years ago & offered simply to help guide your advice. I am also 100% open to being told I didn't get the right end of the stick!

I love Isla Mujeres and that will be our first stop on this trip, for 5 days. I love that there are super touristy bits but also real Mexico bits - if you want to go have dinner in a local place where no English is spoken, you can. (I speak passable, if inelegant, Spanish.) Also, you can walk to the grocery store in town, and there’s always stuff going on at the square.

Puerto Morelos was cute but perhaps a bit too small/sleepy to be nominated one of our stops? The water right off the beach seemed rather weedy too, BUT I was only there on my last 1.5 days to boat out and snorkel, and be close to airport for flyout day. Was also the one day of my trip that it stormed, so my impression is certainly limited.

PdC beaches were beautiful and soooo many restos, but even though I picked a posada slightly away from the tourist center, it was maddening to not be able to walk down the sand without being pestered every five steps to buy something, and Quinta is so Starbucks-y - that is not what I’m in Mexico for. BUT – I am taking a NYC boy to Q.R. and want him to like it, so maybe that’d provide a bit of a city fix?

Tulum: the accommodations I stayed in on my first trip were represented as being *in* Tulum, but turned out to be in Chemuyil (which was actually super cute, but was not the Tulum experience I'd anticipated.) So for a week I drove back and forth to the Tulum beach clubs and was very careful how many cervezas I had, was always hassling with parking, and my short impression of town is solely from running to the ATM: on that glimpse, it seemed stuffed to the gills with young backpackers. (That's no longer my jam.)

The points of activity out by the Tulum beach were distant enough to require car/colectivo, I believe?And the restos looked bohemian and expensive. (I remember the grocery store as being quite awesome, though!) So, I suspect I judged this place unfairly, colored by the hassle from the unexpected rental location. But I am worried about iffy wifi down there - it is required for work.

I really enjoyed Merida, and the Noche Blanca activities were great, but that is probably way too far afield as one of the stops, plus no beach, though perhaps we could just pick a spot with a pool. (Hm. Unless we flew *back* from there. I’ll have to research that.)

For this trip, I'm considering Cozumel as one of the spots – I’ve always been curious to go; the worry over daily cruise ship humanity floods has been holding me back. And not sure if as a mere mostly-from-shore snorkeler I'd be able to see the underwater awesomeness.

Maybe staying in the northern end of PdC would alleviate some of my constant-sale-pitches/chain shop complaints?

Where should we try? What are your thoughts?

Sorry this is so long [and negative in spots], but I read the heck out of the forum whenever I plan a trip, so I know supplemental info is needed for advice-giving – thus I tried to be thorough!

Thank you for your input!
tastytreks is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 11:08 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I would strongly encourage you to get a good guidebook or two for the area -- perhaps the Moon Guide or Rough Guide.

You don't mention Valladolid; you might want to read up a bit on it.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Mar 20th, 2017, 11:12 AM
  #3  
 
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I'm not sure how reliable the wifi would be in the Tulum beach hotel zone and the prices are skyhigh even in the off season. You could probably get a place in the Pueblo for less and either drive or take a taxi to the beach (no colectivo travels the beach road other than a sporadic one for workers only).
Otherwise maybe look into Akumal or a nice condo in Half Moon Bay in north Akumal.
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Mar 20th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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PdC beaches were beautiful and soooo many restos, but even though I picked a posada slightly away from the tourist center, it was maddening to not be able to walk down the sand without being pestered every five steps to buy something>>

SEriously? Where and who are you talking about? I've stayed in PdC several times, I stay a few blocks from the beach in a locally-run hotel, but a few blocks north of avenida Constituyentes, and no one has ever pestered me in the streets to buy anything going to the beach. In fact, the street from my hotel to the beach doesn't have much on it but other people going to the beach, some condos and a few small stores. I don't even know what you are talking about. It sounds like you are strolling Fifth Avenue and talking about some of the people on it that may sell jewelry or whatever. But I don't know where this is happening to you between wherever you are staying and walking due-east to the beach, but think it is a product of wherever you are choosing to stay.
Christina is online now  
Mar 20th, 2017, 02:44 PM
  #5  
RAC
 
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Akumal is a great base--half-moon bay offers seclusion, a number of lovely, intimate restaurants as well as the Buana Vida restaurant, a local institution. And you can walk right to Yal-Ku. Easy to jump on/off for visits to Tulum, Coba, Sian Kaan etc.
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Mar 20th, 2017, 05:54 PM
  #6  
 
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Agree that wifi in Tulum isn't great. Tulum can also be very costly.
I've also never been bothered by vendors in PDC - course, that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.
cybor is offline  
Mar 20th, 2017, 07:54 PM
  #7  
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Ah, Akumal is a super idea. I recall there being a grocery store, and I’m sure there must be several restos (in addition to Buena Vida, RAC!); I will research. And Yal-Ku was great.

Jaime and cybor, you confirmed my exact concerns re Tulum - I will cross it off my 'possibles' list, I think.

kja, yes, guidebooks are on their way! I did make it a point to visit Valladolid for lunch and an afternoon exploratory stroll – I saw when researching my prior trip it has many fans here! Alas, it just didn’t charm me the same way Merida and Isla Mujeres did.

Christina, I see I phrased that confusingly: when I said "walking down the sand," I meant walking ON the beach itself – not en route *to* the beach. To work off all the delicious postres, tacos, and cheladas, I walked up & down the beach daily between the ferry dock at the south end, and.... I think it was likely Calle 16 Norte Bis, looking now at the map. (One had to do a small jog inland at the northern end to circumvent a portion cut off by rocky jetty, but then could resume strolling the final short north strip of beach.) Anyway, it was an almost constant refrain of 'amiga, amiga, masaje? jet ski, senora? snorkel? snorkel trip?' From what you and cybor say, perhaps I hit it on a bad week. :/

Any Cozumel thoughts? The opinions I’ve seen seem to oscillate between ‘avoid at all costs!’ and ‘just do your stuff in mornings or evenings to avoid the cruise ship trippers.’
tastytreks is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:05 AM
  #8  
 
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I got hit up once by a 5 year-old to buy little bobble-head turtles on the beach at PdC.

My husband regularly gets hit up from the shadows to buy pot on 5th.

Is that what you had in mind? LOL
SambaChula is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 10:26 AM
  #9  
 
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tasty,
Akumel really is a great idea. One of my favorites.
As for Cozumel, I have a hard time with the place as I used to go before it was a destination - kind makes me jaded. The boats have indeed changed the landscape.
Do go early if you go - it gets crowded and the snorkeling gets murky as the day progresses.
cybor is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 01:09 PM
  #10  
 
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tasty,
Yes there are a couple of smaller stores in Akumal, the Super Chomak is the main one and the El Pueblito(?) across from it, there is now also an OXXO (like 7-11).
For less expensive and more options your closest supermarket would be the Chedraui just north in Puerto Aventuras, easy in and out right off Highway 307.
To get an idea of various condo and villa options and pricing take a look at locogringo.com - used them myself a number of times and in fact heading back to Akumal May 1.
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Mar 21st, 2017, 02:43 PM
  #11  
RAC
 
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One of the local places on Half Moon Bay has my favorite arrangements for a restaurant--the wife goes out and spearfishes lionfish and the husband cooks them up as part of a fusion cuisine menu.
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Mar 23rd, 2017, 09:39 AM
  #12  
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Thanks all! Sigh - yes, Cozumel still seems iffy at best.

I have been on the locogringo site, covetously window-shopping, and there are many stunning places on offer @ Akumal. Now I'm feeling woeful about how far away December is! Probably should rent a car if we pick Akumal as one of our spots: ADO to PdC and then taxi seems just overly cumbersome compared with ease of own wheels, esp. for the airport return (I haven't yet booked flights back, but I'd feel better having a car if we have an a.m. departure). And we'd have many more options to explore with our own wheels, plus easier Chedraui access.

Dang, still lacking a 3rd location.... I do see nice accommodations in Puerto Morelos; maybe we *should* do that for a few days after all.

And some stunning spots in Merida, hoo-boy. Those colonial mansions are eyepopping.

RAC, yes, Gynna! I ate at their place; I met her! She's a glamazon and a half. They're closed now though, yes?
tastytreks is offline  
Mar 26th, 2017, 05:21 PM
  #13  
TC
 
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I will speak for Cozumel. We have spent a month on the island every year for over 25 years. Other than sitting on the shore watching the cruise ships Sail into the sunset, we rarely notice the influx of people. It's easy to avoid the crowds. Unless you want to be right downtown shopping or at one of the few beach clubs that cater to the cruisers, it's no big deal.

The food scene on Cozumel is amazing. The people are super sweet. I would stay somewhere on the north end of the island. Good resorts are Coral Princess or Playa Azul. There are also some great private condos. Look at Miramar.

The shore snorkeling in this north end area is nothing short of spectacular. It's not the typical swim over reef, but a wall covered in coral, sponges and all the sea creatures. We snorkel numerous times a day....just like jumping in the pool. We even snorkel at night with lights.

With a little planning, you won't regret Cozumel.
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