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Zero interest in Cancun - going anyway. What is there to do if ..."

Zero interest in Cancun - going anyway. What is there to do if ..."

Old Nov 23rd, 2012, 08:44 PM
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Zero interest in Cancun - going anyway. What is there to do if ..."

I hate the beach and am prone to sun-poisoning?

My niece will be receiving a trip next summer from her father as a graduation present, with me (favorite aunt, helped raise them) as a chaperone. I did this with her sister two years ago - it was a fantastic 17 day, five country tour through Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Goteborg and London. My niece can choose anywhere in the world - and she chose Cancun.
I am not a beach person, nor do I really have any interest in Cancun (I'm a museum, cafe, strolling through European cities kind of traveler.)

So - what is there for me to do other than sit in the hotel room and read?
I'm actually at the point where I think I might say I'm not the right person to take her - and turn down the free trip!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2012, 08:58 PM
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I wouldn't be interested in Cancún, either, but there are some really great things to do in the area. Maybe you can convince her that Tulúm, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, or Isla Mujeres is a better base and spend a few nights in Valladolid or Mérida. Check out the 2 México collections below - there are blog and travelogue links on the main pages. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Nov 23rd, 2012, 11:51 PM
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I'm another not-beach person, but I found Cancun a useful entry point to the Yucatan, with its wealth of interesting Mayan ruins, colonial towns, etc. Hopefulist offers some good ideas; you might also want to check the following web-site:

http://www.yucatantoday.com/

Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Wow; caves, cenotes, Mayan ruins, colonial architecture...as hopefulist and kja wrote, there's a variety of options. I'd have a hard time finding time for the beach!
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 08:14 AM
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There's tons to do in that area, it's not only about the Cancun tourist hotel strip and a beach. Plan some day trips. Go to Isla Mujeres. Or Merida. See some ruins. Head down to Playa del Carmen for some shopping. No reason to sit in a resort hotel room all day. There's even a 'downtown' Cancun.
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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I only stayed there once in 1999 for four nights, we did not care for it and spent all our time traveling around via rental car, visiting Tulum ruins, Chichen Itza, Xel-Ha and snorkeling in Akumal which we loved so much spent the last 5 nights there and I now go there every year. Lots of stuff to do, she might want to go ziplining at her age, there are several other eco parks, lots of nice towns to visit. Be sure and spend a bit of time on the beach in Tulum (not the one at the ruins) at a beach club, you can use their loungers and beach beds if you eat and or drink there, plenty of palms to provide shade for you. And the food is terrific in that part of the world.

Valladolid is a nice colonial town with beautiful cathedral, have not been but heard good reports about Casa de los Venados which you have to reserve in advance, private home with lots of beautiful artwork.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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"My niece can choose anywhere in the world - and she chose Cancun."

I would buy the niece a trip to Cancun and send her there with a friend. Then take the graduation trip and talk her into seeing someplace in the world much more interesting for both of you. Summer in Cancun will be especially miserable for you...and even for her. Hot and humid and not many people.

At the very least, try to talk her into another Mexican location. How about Cozumel? Small town flavor, nice people, cooking lessons, photography tour with an expert, nice little island museum, great restaurants. Maybe you wouldn't die of boredom.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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AS stated above, the heat is a factor in summer, But I disagree about the amt. of people in summer. Plenty of people go to Cancun in summer when the kids are out of schol and prices are lower on airfare and hotels. I was in Cancun and the surrounding Riviera Maya in July 2012 for a month, and it was hopping w/people. So was Chichen Itza. And it was very very hot and humid and uncomfortable, except while in the water, either in a pool or ocean or cenote.

Try to educate your niece about the heat and humidity in summer. If that doesn't work, she chose you as chaperone for the trip. It doesn't sound to me like you can just send her on her own w/a friend as someone suggested above. Personally I would be gracious and go with her. After all, is it the trip that you want, or time w/your niece? She probably wants you to go, and I would think it would hurt her to know you went on a trip with her sister but will not go with her and her choice. There are big beach umbrellas in Cancun in front of resorts, use them. There are cabanas by the pool, use them. Get her to go on some side trips, but be aware that anything inland, like Merida or Chichen Itza, will be unbearably hot.

Talk to her about the possiblity of switching to Playa del Carmen. Lots of nice beachfront hotels and a few AIs there There is much more to do in Playa del Carmen off the beach. I took my college age daughter to Coco Bongo in Playa last week one night, sprang for table service, and we had a blast. It is a great show on par with Vegas. And there is lots of music and good restaurants both on and off the beach in Playa, and great beach clubs with big umbrellas and large canvas covers over the chairs for you. You can have a drink and read while she suns. And one day go to Akumal where your niece can snorkel with sea turtles right from the beach, and you can have lunch under the palapa restaurant and have a drink and read and people watch.

At her age, Playa del Carmen is a better choice IMO. Much better shopping there than in Cancun also. And you could easily ferry over to Cozumel for a day, as the ferry terminal is right at the zocalo in Playa.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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I definitely agree with the switch from Cancun resort district to in or near the town of Playa del Carmen!!
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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That sounds like a good idea (to switch to PDC). I don't really like Cancun much but had a nice couple days once, but only because I didn't want to do much and just veg out on the beach. I did take the ferry to Isla Mujeres but there really isn't anything to do there, either, I mainly went because they have a nice beach.

But you can easily do day trips to the ruins or Rio Lagartos, etc. from Cancun and that could be interesting, if you want to do that. I don't like downtown Cancun, either, seedy and ugly, and lots of harassment around the main market area.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Go with an open mind and a willing attitude, and teach her about accepting things as an adult.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Maybe you could convince her to at least take a cruise - more places to see? I doubt even that would be your cup of tea, but I'm thinking the kind of Cancun resort a recent graduate is going to choose could be pure hell for you.

If you do end up in Cancun, I agree with others that you should hope to stay in Playa del Carmen or anywhere else but the party town of Cancun.

We were in Cancun (as a gateway to the Yucatan) in April a couple years ago, and it was already getting hot and very humid. Can't imagine summer ...
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Funny you mention summer. To me that's the only bad part of this plan. I can have fun anywhere I end up. There's always plenty to see and do in Mexico besides the beach, regardless of the specific destination. BUT summer is rainy season, hot and humid.

What month exactly is this trip? June or July not so bad. August I'd really think twice.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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I have been in Playa del Carmen every month of summer, this past summer for 1/2 of June and the entire month of July and most of August into Sept., and the summer before for all of June and much of August into Sept.

Based on that, I respectfully disagree about the weather being worse in August. June and July are brutally hot and humid. It is no worse in August, and in fact at end of August it has been nicer the past two years, so that by Labor Day it seems a bit cooler than June and July. It also helps a lot that it rains many afternons in July and August for an hour or more, as it it helps to cool things off, although it can add to the humidty.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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I defer to people with actual experience in Playa del Carmen. My statement applies to Puerto Vallarta, I didn't realize it was so different on the other coast. Thanks emd3.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 07:29 PM
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No problema. I respect your expertise w/PV, suze. I think it is perhaps a bit less jungle/true tropical Caribbean weather there.

I have followed your posts on PV for a long time now, and due to those I am thinking of going to PV myself on one of my trips around MX, even though we have the place in Playa. PV, the strolling, restaurants, local culture, it all sounds so nice in your reports!
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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I think July is usually hotter in most any place rather than August (northern hemisphere), even though people commonly refer to August as the hottest, but statistically that isn't often true. I know it isn't true where I live in the US (Wash DC), but people say it all the time, and it isn't true in Europe, either, in most places (like Paris, but people will say it is). You look at actual statistics and July usually has slightly higher temps than August. Which makes sense, really, given the seasons.

It doesn't really matter than much for Puerta Vallarta, either, although statistically August is about 1 degree hotter than July, unlike some other places. But for PDC, it is just that July is 1 degree hotter, it really doesn't matter. http://www.puertovallartatours.net/weather.htm
http://www.weather.com/weather/wxcli...graph/MXQR0076

However, you do get into hurricane season more in August, don't you, in those areas, at least towards second part of the month, which I would avoid. I think a lot of Italians and Argentineans go to PDC in August as it is their big vacation time.
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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As the saying goes, and it is true at least for us, "It isn't just the heat, it's the humidity." The temp charts do not take humidity into account. Humidity can make or break a day if you are out and about, walking around in the tropics. It makes a lot of difference in the sweating factor, being able to breathe comfortably, etc.
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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If that's where your niece has her heart set on going, I think your gut feeling to tell her you're not the right person is dead on. If her vision of a perfect vacation is slurping margaritas on the beach, you'll be miserable; if you try to talk her into visiting ruins and she doesn't want to, she'll be miserable. I think you really need to talk to your niece about what you both want and base your choices on that.
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Old Dec 5th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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What if you asked your niece to join you at a nice restaurant that had as a specialty something unusual, like stuffed grape leaves, and your niece turned you down when she has never eaten stuffed grape leaves before? Is that a mature attitutde?

I am definitely a museum and cafe/strolling kind of guy myself, so I relate to what you are saying, but to use that logic to turn down a trip to a major destination without at least seeing for yourself what is and is not there is a disservice to yourself and your family. 40% of all tourism income to the entire country of Mexico enters through Cancun airport, and you can go anywhere to sit on a beach and get drunk, so the area has more to attract that kind of business above and beyond lots of sun and double strength margaritas.

I agree with the comments concerning Pl.d.C over Cancun, but there are plenty of things to do in Cancun other than sitting on the beach. I suggest you go. After your trip, you can tell people you can't stand the place, then your opinion is based upon your personal experience, not a potentially unfounded assumption.

One suggestion is the relatively new park just south of PdC (which can be reached easily from Cancun or from P.d.C) called Xplor. My wife and I are in our mid-fifties, and took a pair of 40-ish friends with us and we all had a ball. They have ziplines, ATV jungle rides, and this lazy river thing that floats you through caves. I guarantee your niece will love you forever if you take her there. Xcaret and Xel-Ha are also worth a trip.

Also fun to visit is the uber-tacky Mercado-28. Right in the middle is a plaza with a bunch of restuarants where you can just sit and watch the shoppers coming and going.
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