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Beautiful sunset as seen in plaza la isla in Cancun Hotel Zone

Picture of melted wax taken at OM in Tulum

Beach goers at Playa Mamitas in Playa del Carmen

 

We got mr party pimp himself in Playa del Carmen

Picture of Debora playing with fire on a Magical Night at Tulum

Debora showing off punta norte in Cozumel

a windy evening at Playa Ezperanza in Tulum

Isabella snorkeling in Casa Cenote close to Tulum

picture of beach chair in Tulum beach

One of the cenotes at Dzitnup by Valladolid, look at those colors

Picture of the las vegas show at Coco Bongos in Cancun Hotel Zone

 

Two friends posing at the lighted tree in Playa del Carmen

Isabella swiming in Yal Ku lagoon in Akumal

These are some random tips in no particular order:
 

  • If you are going to be in Cancun/Riviera Maya for a week or more and you plan to “explore”, do not book the 7 nights in “Cancun”. Most people have a better time spending 2 or 3 days in Cancun and the rest in Playa del Carmen or even farther south.

 

  • All Inclusive hotels are a good deal only if you plan to stay at the hotel most if not all the time. If during your stay in paradise you plan to visit Xcaret, Chichen Itza, Tulum, cenotes, etc then you will be better off with a “room only” plan.

 

  • In Cancun Hotel Zone taxis are somewhat expensive because of a HUGE surcharge they apply for driving in the hotel zone. It is usually much cheaper to use the local bus to move around the hotel zone. If you want to explore downtown take the bus until you get out of the hotel zone, then flag a taxi down. On the way back do the same, have the taxi drop you off RIGHT OUTSIDE the hotel zone, and then take a bus into the hotel zone. Minimum rate inside hotel zone is about 80 pesos, minimum rate outside hotel zone is about 20 pesos.

 

  • Don’t pay with Euros or US Dollars while you are in Cancun. You will get the best exchange rate by withdrawing money from an ATM (at a bank) than by exchanging you foreign cash for Mexican Pesos at a bank or money exchange place.

 

  • If you plan to drive, or if you plan to do some heavy drinking at a night club carry with you two $20 dollar bills hidden. Do not use this money, think of this money as your “get out of jail” money. If you do not have any cash to bribe a police officer with he might take you to jail, and it will end up costing you much more than the $20 or $40 you might offer them. A bad DUI will cost you much more than $40 USD.

 

  • Do not drink tap water. However ice that is sold here is safe. It is a myth that the ice they serve here is made with tap water.

 

  • If you rent a car make sure you have PLI (personal liability insurance). If you are in a car accident and do not have insurance to cover medical expenses or property damage you might have caused you will have to spend 48 hours or more in jail.

 

  • Verify your rental car rate and requirements directly with the agency that will be giving you the car. You can make online reservations for rental cars for around $8 USD per day, but once you are at the counter to pick up the car they inform you that you HAVE to get their insurance and pay much more, or they will not give you the car. Also they might ask for around $600 -$1200 USD deposit via a credit card.

 

  • If you want to have a “relaxing” day, pay for one night at an all inclusive. Arrive at 11am your check in day, and stay until 7 or 8pm the following day (or later). Your room will usually not be ready by 11am, however the hotel will gladly hold your bags until your room is ready while you start to relax. The following day you have to vacate the room by 11am, but again the hotel will gladly take care of your bags, and allow you to stay until around 7 or 8pm using the facilities, restaurants, bars, etc.

 

  • All inclusive hotels usually offer “national” drinks. Take time to find out what is the best national alcohol brand they have for the type of drink you enjoy. For example, if you order a “margarita” they will use the cheapest tequila they have, but most places do offer “jimador”, which is an OK tequila, so if you order a “margarita with jimador” you will get a much better margarita, and it is also included for free.

 

  • Research! While in Cancun they will try to sell you tours for everything! Do some research before you get here to find out what you would like to do, and get an idea of what the price is. Often tourists end up paying twice as much for a tour, just because they didn’t know any better.

 

  • If you do not plan to go diving then you might want to skip Cozumel. Cozumel is great for divers, but little else to do. If you want to snorkel but not dive, then go to Isla Mujeres instead.

 

  • At “all you can drink” bars/clubs find a waiter/waitress and slip them like 100 pesos (about $8 USA) tip at the beginning of the night otherwise you will spend most of your night around the bar trying to get a drink.

 

  • All beaches, the first 20 meters from where the water ends, are considered federal land, hence they are public beaches. If you are within 20 meters from the water you can have beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas, etc regardless of what is behind. The restaurant and hotel owners will try to get you to move, and might even send “security” to ask you to leave. You do not have to leave! This is mostly an issue in Playa del Carmen where they act as if they own the beach themselves. Do not let people intimidate you.

 

  • If you plan to do snorkeling we advise you to bring your own mask, snorkel and fins. It is cheaper to buy your own set than to keep renting it while you are down here. For example in Dos Ojos, one of my favorite cenotes, they charge 100 pesos if you have your own gear, or 300 pesos to rent theirs.

 

  • Don’t be afraid to explore, or even skip Cancun all together. Playa del Carmen has a very nice vibe and it is worth exploring. Tulum is an extremely peaceful place to stay at, and has many little hidden spots that are not crammed with tourists. Why not spend a night or two in a small town like Valladolid or even smaller like Temozon.

 

  • Take advantage of the fact that you can walk around the streets with alcohol in your hands. You can pack some drinks in a back pack, and walk around places like the hotel zone in Cancun and 5th Avenida in Playa del Carmen having a drink of your choice at a reasonable price.

 

  • The best places to eat are not all in the hotel zone, in fact the better ones are outside the hotel zone in Cancun. It is always a good idea to do some research with the locals as to where to eat.

 

  • Travelling via bus between the cities (Cancun, Tulum, etc) is safe and inexpensive.
     

 

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