Uncrowded Experience in Yucatan

Sep 22nd, 2016, 02:20 PM
  #1  
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Uncrowded Experience in Yucatan

Hi all,

So we are a couple (30s) looking for our next vacation, around April time. We thought of Mexico, because of the food, beaches, weather, wildlife and scenery. I started reading online but then saw many reports from people bashing Cancun and PdC for being too crowded and touristy.

Here's the thing - we prefer a more secluded experience and one where we can explore smaller, quaint cities/villages and quiet beaches, and have a more authentic experience.

Which areas/cities would you recommend then - assuming we fly into Cancun (thought about PV but I think the Caribbean water is more appealing) and staying for about 10 days.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and respond!
Danielm is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2016, 03:01 PM
  #2  
 
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If you change your mind about Puerto Vallarta, I can help. Sorry don't know "the other side" at all.
suze is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2016, 05:19 PM
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Try looking in Puerto Morelos. It has the feeling of a small fishing village with no high rises or chain restaurants, etc. It is between Cancun and Playa so still very accessible to everything, but such a wonderful town. One of the best snorkeling reefs is out from there and there are many boats that will take you out from the pier. Or further south about 45mins. from Playa into Tulum for an even more relaxed feel. The water is gorgeous down there. Many great condos type places in PM and more rustic hotel types in Tulum.
maried11 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2016, 07:29 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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Puerto Morelos is worth considering, IMO, as are some parts of Tulum.
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Sep 22nd, 2016, 07:35 PM
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We did a 2 week road trip around the Yucatan a couple years ago. We spent our beach time in Tulum. We also spent time inland - Valladolid, Merida, and the Uxmal/Ruta Puuc area. We also went to the beach at Celestun from Merida. It was a great trip. We saw amazing ruins, some great little towns, plus the city of Merida, and some good beach areas.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2016, 11:29 PM
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Our 1st trip to the Yucatán Peninsula was in 2010; we had 2-3 weeks and started with a place in Tulúm Pueblo as a base for diving and snorkeling cenotes and with turtles, flyfishing, and visiting Maya sites, then Valladolid for more Maya sites, more cenotes, and it's a nice colonial town, San Felipe on the Gulf coast - tarpon and flamingos - and then 4 or 5 nights on Isla Mujeres during whale shark season. It was an awesome trip and we managed to avoid the crowds, partly because it was June, partly because we hit the Maya sites 1st thing in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds, and partly because of the places we chose to stay.

Easter is in mid April and beachy places get really busy, especially the week leading up to Easter.

My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy planning!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 05:02 AM
  #7  
RAC
 
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Half Moon Bay near Akumal has a lovely beach and is fairly quiet as it is mostly--but not entirely--condo rentals. You can sometimes spot rays in the water from your balcony there.
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Sep 23rd, 2016, 05:51 AM
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Puerto Morelos, Akumal, Tulum all would fit your needs.
schmerl is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 11:11 AM
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As for the bashing of Cancun and PDC, I could never understand why people do that on this site... one regular poster once put Cancun down, but later claimed that she had never been, go figure !! Each and every Mexican destination has it's good and bad side.
This said, you will most probably arrive in Cancun (airport) and if your stay is for 10 days, then I would go down to PDC for a few just to get acclimatized and aquainted with the surroundings and plan from there. PDC is a great departure point as everything is at your disposal, buses, taxis, tour guides, information, rentals, you name it, it's there.
There are dozens of small, off the beaten track destinations that would most certainly meet your requirements and a good mix of quiet and busy places is healthy in appreciating Mexico in all it's mannerisms.
IZAMAL, (yellow city) comes to mind immediately, although it has no beach it is exactly what most people should experience if culture is important not to mention quaint and secluded, stay at the Arcangel hotel on main square and do take a hoarse and carriage ride to the main pyramid in town, restaurants close early.
On your way to Izamal, you could stay over in VALLADOLID, for the same reasons (Meson de Marquis hotel on main square). There are several more of these small cities all along the same well paved and well kept roads, unfortunately some of their names are difficult to prononce and harder to remember.
If you choose to go south, you could start with Akumal, Tulum, then head north to COBA, then PISTE, (stay at the Dolores Albe hotel). On your way to MERIDA which is IMO, the crown jewel of all of the Yucatan peninsula... well worth staying over for several days. I do believe that Merida is the hearth and soul of Mexican culture(in the entire peninsula) with it's theatres, monasteries and churches, folklore week ends, haciendas, Paseo de Montejo and all within a 40 minute drive north to PROGRESO for the beach.
Rohelio is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 11:45 AM
  #10  
RAC
 
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I have to respectfully disagree with choosing Playa del Carmen for people wanting something less crowded and touristy. It is crowded and it is touristy, in our experience moreso than even Cancun (!). It does offer the benefits Rohelia lists, but that doesn't eliminate the basic experience of heavy car and/or pedestrian traffic.

Pretty easy to plan logistics for a trip before arriving in the peninsula.
RAC is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 11:48 AM
  #11  
 
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<>

Go figure, no doubt Rohelio is talking about me again.

You don't have to have been to Cancun to know it is a "touristy" destination and certainly not the "uncrowded experience" asked for here.
suze is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 12:15 PM
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I don't think that saying that a place is crowded and touristy really amounts to "bashing" it - its just a description of the place. And yes, Cancun and PDC are crowded and touristy. If that is what you want, then that's a good thing. If it isn't what you want, then its a bad thing. Simple. Clearly a lot of people want crowded and touristy, otherwise there wouldn't be so many people in those places.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 01:01 PM
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I think my "bashing" was when I said Cancun looks more like Miami Beach than it does a typical Mexican town. Only on this forum would anyone choose to pick a fight about that.
suze is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 01:57 PM
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"I think my "bashing" was when I said Cancun looks more like Miami Beach than it does a typical Mexican town."

Cancun was developed as a purpose-built tourist area - intended to attract large numbers of tourists with big resorts on the beach - to get people to come to Mexico and spend their money. And it has been enormously successful. Saying Cancun looks more like Miami Beach than a typical Mexican town is not only accurate, it is a compliment because that is exactly what Cancun was meant to resemble.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 02:35 PM
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muchas gracias mi amiga
suze is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 04:05 PM
  #16  
RAC
 
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I'd also note that, especially in La Zona Hotelera, Cancun is not crowded at all--with all of the huge hotels things tend to get spaced a decent ways apart.
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Sep 23rd, 2016, 06:35 PM
  #17  
 
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"Here's the thing - we prefer a more secluded experience and one where we can explore smaller, quaint cities/villages and quiet beaches, and have a more authentic experience."

This is exactly the experience I had in Holbox.

That said, 10 days might be a bit long there, and you said you favor the Caribbean (Holbox is just to the gulf side on the tip of the peninsula) So you might pair a few nights in Holbox with a few nights in PM or Tulum.

I really liked Holbox, we stayed 6 nights. Quiet and isolated it is. Food was incredible.
limmy is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 10:10 PM
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I'm not sure when Easter is next year but check those dates for visits to the beaches in the Yucatan. mexicans and other come out en mass at that time. Spring break is another time to think about the numbers in PDC.
I agree with limmy about Holbox. Great quiet-ish sort of place to unwind but probably not for 10 days.
Isla of Mujeres is also a beautiful island and as authentic as any beach community can be unless it's a fishing village.
You can also find a bit of peace in parts of Puerto Morelos - diving/snorkling are very good but the town it's self doesn't have too many things to do. It's a great place to do day trips from.
Akumel is a favorite of mine. There's a small town, great snorkeling, it's a turtle haven where you can swim along side them. There are also many natural habitats to hike and kayak at. Tulum offers up a beautiful beach, a small town but is much higher priced than Akumel.
Good luck!
cybor is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2016, 10:20 PM
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RAC also brings up an interesting point about the crowds in Cancun.
Many of the hotel properties are quite big and have a lot of space between them. Spring break aside, you can always find crowds if you go to certain areas but there's also a lot seclusion at many hotels.
cybor is offline  
Sep 24th, 2016, 04:59 AM
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Interesting points indeed cybor... (and before I got sidetracked and ambushed here,) I was saying the exact same thing, that every destination has it's ups and downs. Yes, I was also in Holbox for a few days and if laid back is what you seek then laid back is what you get in Holbox, that said, it is a little out of the way and 10 days might prove to be too much. To add to my reply (above) there is a small village north of Valladolid in Rio Lagartos, where the pink flamingos gather in the mangroves, very laid back and quaint for sure... there are literally dozens of places that fit danielm's description, it's all in the planning !
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