Tulum - first time in mexico

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Jul 6th, 2011, 04:31 PM
  #1
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Tulum - first time in mexico

trying to plan a very low budget trip for me, husband and 2 kids ages 12 and 16. Would like to be on the beach and need the kids to each have their own bed (one boy and one girl). Can't decide if all inclusive tour through cheap caribbean with food included is best or if I should use miles to fly into mexico and stay at hotels i pick and eat locally. We eat everything and would probably prefer to eat at roadside restaurants but I am concerned about driving around too much. Any input is greatly appreciated. Any experience with Cheap Caribbean or another tour outlet?? We are going the end of july or first week of august so i thought there would be more "last minute deals" but don't seem to see many.
THANK YOU!
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Jul 6th, 2011, 06:36 PM
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Are you sure Tulum is where you want to be? For how long, what are your minimum hotel requirements?

Tulum beaches are among the most beautiful in the world but hotels on the beach are usually either very expensive or very low amenities. Not sure that's going to be attractive to 12 and 16 YO.

Personally I never go AI in the Yucatan and probably never will given the ease of transportation and fabulous local restaurants and small hotels but I also usually stay in Playa and do Tulum as a 1 or 2 day side trip.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 06:43 PM
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I guess I am not really sure at all! We went to Costa Rica last year and stayed in some beach "cabanas" with lots of bugs, worn out sheets and weak showers and had the best time then stayed at the JW Marriott and liked it but preferred the other hotels. I was thinking AI just because I am a bit jittery about traveling around but all the posts seem to indicate it is totally safe. Where in Playa would you recommend and can I take a cab or busto Tulum
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Jul 6th, 2011, 06:58 PM
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If your family is comfortable with very rustic lodgings, Tulum is beautiful!! Maybe you want to consider splitting the trip?

As for transportation to and from Playa/Tulum, I do either the ADO which is a fairly lux bus on a regular schedule or the colectivo's which go from Playa to Tulum for very cheap and are used mostly by locals going to and from work. Either is a good option IMO. Taxi to Tulum is a little $$$ for me as I go to Playa several times a year and do it on the cheap.


http://www.playa.info/index.html
http://www.locogringo.com/

Check out both these sites for a wealth of info.
Playa/Tulum and the Yucatan are very safe and great family destinations. Don't worry about getting away from the AI scene, there are just too many small hotels, restaurants, beaches, and easy transportation to limit oneself to a stuffy AI. IMO.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 07:24 PM
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thank you so much! I feel better having a logical place to start. You are a lifesaver. I will report back once I decide.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 04:19 AM
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I suggest you look into Akumal. It's between Playa and Tulum and has the most beautiful bay and beach! We fell in love with it. Easy cab to Tulum from there as well. There are bungalows that are quite nice and right on the beach - very inexpensive, if memory serves!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 04:20 AM
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Oh, and in Akumal you can swim alongside sea turtles right from the beach...it was an amazing experience!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Restaurants along the beach in Tulum are kind of pricey, you can go to the Tulum Pueblo (town) but it is a mile or two away so you would either have to take a cab ($5 up each way) or rent a car and drive. There are no AIs in Tulum (Dreams is north of there despite its name).

Akumal is a good idea, you can get AC and pool most places (some condos on Half Moon Bay have pools, others do not). Take a look at the lodging over on locogringo and also take a look at the hotel reviews for Tulum on TA.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 01:03 PM
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I'm no expert on that side of Mexico but I think Playa del Carmen (where you'll have MANY more choices than Tulum) or Akumal are better suggestions. I would never stay at a budget AI in Mexico... too many great local places to eat cheap. No worries about safety in the tourist areas where you'll be.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 05:15 PM
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My fiance and I went to Playa del Carmen at the end of September and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! It was our first time to Mexico so we weren't really sure what to expect. We got a very good deal for an AI via Liberty Travel. We stayed at the Royal and got 65% off the std rate. The hotel is a 4 or 5 star adults only resort with a sister resort right next to it that is a step down but is for the whole family. I agree that in Playa you don't need to go AI! There is a long street (maybe 2 miles or so) with plenty of resturants, touristy shops, bars, etc. Very safe! Food was great and reasonably priced. I think your kids would love it there! We went out almost every night. A couple of times we ended up in a small resturant/bar listening to a local band. Sometimes we just went for a long walk window shopping. One thing to keep in mind is that some foods are prepared with local water and may upset your stomach. I believe the more touristy areas handle food in a "safer" manner to avoid this. We had no problems eating out or at the resort. Regarding transportation, the Colective is a cheap alternative but it only runs up and down the main highway linking the various towns. I don't think it's allowed too far into Playa. (We ended up walking the rest of the way.) I think we spent about $3-5/pp or so for a ride between Playa and Tulum. The taxi cost about $50. Another thing to note, Playa may not have a nice a beach as Tulum or others as the shores tend to be more rocky / coral. Check that out before you book at a hotel.
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Jul 9th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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It really depends on your comfort level. Tulum is off the grid so expect a rustic setting. Most places have solar/wind power for fans and lights at night; some have backup generators.

We go with our kids every year. Our oldest is now 17 and loves it - but he is happy in a hammock reading or boogie boarding.

Some hotels to look at are:
La Luna has Capt Dale's, Jungle Penthouse would fit your family.
Nueva Vida has Blanca Duna.
Playa Selva has a few houses for rent that might work.

Going out to eat along the beach is no big deal. Just about every place has good food. Prices are as you would expect in a tourist beach area.
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