Where should we spend four nights in Maya Riviera?

Old Apr 24th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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Where should we spend four nights in Maya Riviera?

Hello all
My husband and I are going to the Maya Riviera for the first time next Feb. We have booked an oceanfront condo in Cozumel for a week, and then have four nights free until we meet our kids and grandkids in Puerto Adventuras for two weeks. These three weeks will be mostly snorkelling and water play I am sure.

As we have three weeks on the beach, it would not be mandatory to spend these four nights on beach as well, we would actually like to do something different.
As I am imagining both Cozumel and PA are touristy, something with a less tourist, more local feel would be great. We have no interest in Cancun, and understand that Playa Del Carmen is also quite busy like Cancun but on a smaller scale.

We are probably going to take our grandkids to Chichen Itza when we are staying in PA. so wouldn't do that on our own for these four nights.

Would Tulum be a good place to spend four nights that is different from the other two?
We love ruins, but also like local flavour as well. I have heard mixed reviews of Puerto Morelos, but it does sound like it may a good place to hang out for four nights too.

Thanks for any ideas.
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 05:24 AM
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The point of moving house along this not-so-extensive coastline is lost on me when you can see most of the coast as day trips from your base. ( But I would also not have chosen cruise ship passenger infested Cozumel either.) I would suggest going inland for your 4 days, but you would repeat that route to take the grand kids to CI (which, btw, would not be my first choice to take kids; those would be Coba and Ek Balam). My preference actually would not be to try to see the Yucatan sights from one base on the coast, but to make a circle inland, coming back to the coast to stay and relax on the beach.
There are four main ruin sites in the area closer to the Caribbean coast. Chichen Itza and Ek Balam (beautiful sculpture, a pyramid to climb, set in gorgeous jungle) can most easily be reached from a base in charming Colonial Valladolid. The ruins at Coba (pyramid to climb, seen by bike or pedicab, in jungle, less rebuilt) are on the way from there to Tulum. There are lots of cenotes to swim in all along that route. There is a lake with alligators to see across from Coba parking lot. And a monkey park (didn't go, so no more info).
Tulum IMO is the most beautiful beach on that coast. We also like the pueblo, but few tourists seem to explore the local's scene, just the new age gringo beachside one. The ruins are not as impressive as the photos of the one tower on the cliff above the sea, but there is a nice beach within the compound. It is an easy day trip to Akumal to swim with turtles and rays, and also into the Sian Ka'an Biosphere to float Maya canals and see manatees, among other adventures there.
If you expand that relatively circular route to include Colonial Merida, you also have access to major ruins at Uxmal, those on the Ruta Puuc, haciendas and more.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas for your own trip,
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 12:20 PM
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Will you have a rental car? Some place are difficult or impossible without one. Sian Ka'an Biosphere your only choices are tour or rental car (no the bus does not run there). In Tulum along the beachfront, without a rental car you will be paying a minimum of 80-120 pesos each way just to get into the pueblo and much more for tours to other places such as ruins, Akumal, etc.
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 04:40 PM
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we probably will rent a car jamie if we go further afield from Puerto Morelos.

Thank you samba. I will look those places up that you mentioned and do more research.

We chose Cozumel because we love snorkelling and swimming in the ocean and found a wonderful little place right on San Francisco beach which is hopefully away from the crowds.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 01:55 AM
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Sorry, but I'm a bit confused -- are you saying that you DO want a place where you can snorkel and enjoy beaches, or are you saying that that is NOT a priority?

I thought you meant the latter -- and if so, with 4 days, you could, perhaps, consider going to Merida, particularly if you can get there in time to enjoy it's festive weekend activities, or you could go to Valladolid or Izamal. or take a leisurely route through the Ruta Puuc....

You have LOTS of choices. Maybe you can help us better understand what you are seeking?
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 04:40 AM
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My understanding is since they will be snorkeling in Cozumel, they don't care about snorkel sites for the four days that are referred to in the initial post.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 06:55 AM
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Yes, I was saying three weeks will be beaches and snorkelling, so these four days don't need to be
I will look at Merida, thank you.
Any comments on puerto Morelos ?
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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Puerto Morelos is a sweet little town.
Some of my friends have taken classes at the Little Mexican Cooking School there and said it was great fun:
http://www.thelittlemexicancookingschool.com/
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 11:07 AM
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Puerto Morelos is a great place to snorkel, particularly for beginners. IMO, it has more charm than many of the Yucatan's coastal towns. If I had to choose between Puerto Morelos and Merida for 4 days and if snorkeling was not my priority, Merida (or maybe Merida and Valladolid) would win hands down -- but that's just me.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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Puerto Morelos is a nice town, have stayed there 5 times now, but usually just for one night. Look into the Jungle Spa for good massages by local Mayan women, it is near PM.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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I have been all over the Yucatan and QR, own a place there the coast, done lots of travel throughout the area. Go to Merida. Merida ties with Oaxaca for most wonderful colonial city IMO, and. Merida is more fun with the dance and music performances every night of the week in different parks around the centre Historico, on Fri and Sat nights they close off streets just off the zocalo and cafés put put tables and chairs, there is live music in the streets. And on Sunday all streets around zocalo shut down for big festivities in the zocalo. Plus you can easily visit a sisal hacienda or the Ruta Puuc ruins from Merida on a day trip.

With so much beach/snorkel time aside from PM , I would skip PM.

Personally, I would not stay on Cozumel for a wk. Lots of great beaches and snorkeling and cenotes and ruins on and just off the mainland beaches (snorkeling off-beach at PM is better than on Cozumel IMO, and at Akumal you can snorkel with the tortoises). So much more to do off the beach on the mainland, and the towns and beaches are in close probity to each other on the mainland, making afternoon trips easy.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 05:12 PM
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Thank you everyone. i appreciate your feedback
It looks like we will most likely go to Merida
We need to spend a week in Cozumel because the condo I wanted only rented for a week. I am not worried about it, I can spend time reading and swimming and just relaxing before our family comes.

Has anyone rented a car with HERTZ or other big name car companies and used their credit card for insurance coverage . I have heard so many horror stories about insurance scams withcar rentals in Mexico. We have never had a problem anywhere else, I always just pay the price for the actual rental and my VISA AVION covers the insurance, but just want to manage expectations.
Hertz said we could use our credit card, but the fellow I was talking to on the 1 800 line was in Ireland....
Thanks.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 06:20 AM
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I recommend renting with Easyway, and taking all the insurance. A compact should run about $35-40 per day (rental, full insurance and taxes). Easyway has an office in Playa del Carmen, in Tulum, and one at the Cancun airport. We have rented form them at their (slightly off) airport location (with airport pickup) more than once and been very happy with the service, price and cars. What you see online is what you get on arrival. No hassle.

I have read too many forum horror stories about most other companies to want to try them. The Hertz is apparently just a franchise and the parent company has no oversight. Many stories of various companies offering cheap rates, but on arrival, the price skyrockets, esp. because of insurance.
Credit card insurance is apparently (according to reliable sources; thankfully I have never had to experience the process) not adequate in the Mexican legal system to keep you from being detained in jail for as long as it takes to have an accident fully resolved.

It's a complicated issue, and I feel confident with our experience with Easyway.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 06:32 AM
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Oh and do stop in Valladolid on your way to Merida just to look around and take a break, if you take the cuota (toll road). Interersting local shopping, including one high quality crafts store (in the row of shops on the left of the cathedral as you face it), and some local historic sights, and also cenotes to take a swim break.
Make sure to have pesos to pay the fairly expensive tolls. And bring enough water and snacks, music, etc. as the cuota is rather deserted and very boring, from Cancun to the first toll (which is surprisingly quite a ways on) and on to Valladolid. The parallel non-toll road is full of speed bumps and much slower though.
Figure about 2 hours to Valladolid and 4 to Merida on the cuota.
You can also go south, past Akumal, into Tulum, pass by Coba and go on to Valladolid that way, and then pick up the cuota to Merida.
Mapchicks (site) has good maps to help visualize all this.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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You might also stop briefly in Izamal.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 11:41 AM
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kja, would you elaborate more on Izamal? I have never stopped there.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 05:47 PM
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@ emd3 -- Izamal is a gorgeous little town, where almost all the buildings -- including some lovely examples of colonial architecture -- are painted a warm shade of golden maize with white trim. There are some partially preserved pyramids right in the town, including at least one that is quite large -- the Spaniards used the stone to build an enormous convent which, like many in that part of the Yucatan, holds at least a few treasures. If I recall, the convent claims to have the largest courtyard of any Catholic place of worship other than Rome's St. Peters -- I could be wrong about that. And at least when I was there -- 2008 -- a major mode of transportation in town was still horse-drawn carriages that could be hired for a pittance. Here's some info; I don't know how current it is.
http://www.yucatantoday.com/en/topics/izamal
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Old May 8th, 2015, 07:47 PM
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Thank you again for all your help. I have decided on the following. We will change and do Chichen Iza during this four days as it is close to Merida. We will take the grandkids to Tulum as it is an easy day trip from PA

We will spend three nights in Merida, explore Izamal one day, (thanks kja) on our way to spend the last night in Chichen Iza to get an early morning there before heading back to PA to meet the kids.

Thanks again. We are looking forward to this trip.
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