Riviera Maya Journals

Pre-Christmas Break on the Mayan Riviera

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A November 2004 trip to Riviera Maya by berky

The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico More Photos
Quote: The Grand Mayan is part of the enormous Mayan Palace Resort Complex, which is located approximately halfway between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. There is dining, swimming, water sports, activities, golf, groceries, and entertainment. Bus service to Cancun and Playa del Carmen is available. Other excursions can be arranged.

The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya

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Hotel

The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:There is very little near the resort, but everything you could want to do is right there, along with three different shuttle buses to move guests from one area to the next because it is so large. The complex is enormous, and if you had a car, you had to park it a fair distance from your unit, a bit of a nuisance if you were carrying packages or were traveling with no-so-fit people. Best Things About the Resort:The older Mayan palace buildings and the newer units of the Grand Mayan are all within the walls of a huge Mayan Palace resort complex. All buildings surround a large lagoon inhabited by a crocodile. He is fed daily by the staff. There are lots...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 18, 2004

The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
Kilometro 48 Carretera Federal
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
984 2064000

Casa de Margarita

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Restaurant | "Casa de Las Margaritas"

Casa de Margarita Photo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Quote:
We had gone to the wonderful shopping complex of La Isla, and at one point, the older people we were traveling with said that they had had enough and just walked into the closest eating establishment. From the outside, one could not tell that around the corner was an absolutely amazing indoor courtyard decorated very much like a typical Mexican plaza, with brilliantly colored tapestries and blankets, textured walls that had freeform foliage painted on them, bright cloth table coverings, and lovely china and lace. We were seated promptly and our waiter brought us some tortilla chips and delicious salsa. My husband had the chicken with three sauces; my mother had shrimp fajitas; her f...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 19, 2004

Casa de Margarita
La Isla Shopping Center
Cancun, Mexico

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya

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Attraction | "Bicycling around the Mayan Palace"

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya Photo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Quote:
The Mayan Palace has about 30 bikes, but they are mostly all the same size and not in very good condition. Bicycle tours are on the activities list twice daily, and you meet at the activities centre near the pool. We were given helmets—one size fits all, whether you like it or not. There are straps you could try to adjust if you like. Guadeloupe showed us to the bikes. Our group had five people in it, and the other couple around our age quickly grabbed the best bikes. Guadeloupe gave me one whose seat was way too high. When I complained, she gave me another with a seat that was way too low. With a wrench, one could easily have adjusted the height of the seat or the handlebars, but she was ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 18, 2004

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya
Km 48 Carretera Federal Cancun Playa Del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
01 800 543 7044

Ki-huic Handicraft Center Photo, Cancun, Mexico
Quote:
The two older ladies we were traveling had wanted to go to a genuine Mexican flea market, so we battled the traffic into downtown Cancun and were fortunate enough to find parking right in front of the market. No sooner had we crossed the street than were we accosted by one Mexican after another to come and see their wares. There were stalls after stalls of silver, blankets, lace, pottery, carvings, and T-shirts. Each vendor claimed his or her merchandise was unique and offered at the "best price." If they did not have your size, somehow it would be produced from the back of the store or perhaps a relative’s booth. This would not be a place I would go to at night, and I felt like I should...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 19, 2004

Ki-huic Handicraft Center
Avenida Tulum 17
Cancun, Mexico
+52 998-84-33-47

Tulum Mayan Ruins

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Attraction | "Tulum"

Tulum Mayan Ruins Photo, Tulum, Mexico
Quote:
It was relatively easy to find the ruins at Tulum; however, we did have to make one U-turn, but then we had no difficulty finding the parking lot, where we actually had to pay to park in the potholed lot. "Guide" and "timeshare-selling" booths were setup to confuse visitors, who would naturally assume these were the places to purchase entry tickets. Eventually we figured out that we really did not need or want a guide or to see a timeshare presentation and that to purchase tickets, one had to walk about a half kilometer down a hot, dusty road. Prior to making that trek, we followed the signs through a mostly empty, rundown "shopping centre" to use the public washroom, where we paid 20 pesos for a c...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Tulum, Mexico

Xcaret

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Attraction

Xcaret Photo, Cancun, Mexico
Quote:
Xcaret is a huge eco-archeological park that has something for everyone. Although there are markers, signs, and maps at each intersection of paths into the lush jungle, we found ourselves confused as to which direction to go in, much like the different parks in Disney World—which attraction to see first before the crowds hit and how to negotiate the park without a lot of backtracking—especially important if you are traveling with children or the less agile. Throughout the park, during the day, there are shows and demonstrations and feedings of the wildlife and sea animals, but you must check the board at the entrance for the times and endeavor to be at those stations for that time. We arrived...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Xcaret
Km 282 Chetumal - Puerto Juarez highway
Cancun, Mexico 77710
(984) 883-3144

Xcaret

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Attraction | "Xcaret - Snorkeling in an underground river"

Xcaret Photo, Cancun, Mexico
Quote:
I had heard about swimming in the underground river and was very anxious to do so. Lifejackets were arranged by size, and there were plenty of personnel to help you—they were mandatory. It was optional to rent fins, snorkels, and masks ($10). We had our own snorkeling equipment and skipped the flippers. We deposited our belongings in a large numbered pink bag that was locked in front of us, and we were given a key with the matching number to hang around our neck. At the entrance to the underground river, you could spin the dial to help you decide whether to go along the left or right path. We went left and never did end up at the opening in the stained-glass plaza. The water felt somewhat c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Xcaret
Km 282 Chetumal - Puerto Juarez highway
Cancun, Mexico 77710
(984) 883-3144

Xcaret

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Attraction | "Xcaret - Paradise River Ride"

Xcaret Photo, Cozumel, Mexico
Quote:
The Paradise River Ride is a peaceful 20-minute ride on a tropical river through the lush vegetation of the Jungle Trail Tour. You cannot access the ride unless you follow the Tropical Jungle Tour, which is a very interesting walk, with stops at greenhouses, botanical gardens, and the flamingos and the fish and shrimp farms. This is quite a hike through the tropical vegetation and not for those with mobility issues. Once you reach the embarkation point, you must wait your turn. Then you are loaded on in a precise order, so that the river raft does not capsize. Once everyone is on, we were told it is meant to be a relaxing ride, so silence is encouraged. After that, everyone spoke only in whis...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Xcaret
Km 282 Chetumal - Puerto Juarez highway
Cancun, Mexico 77710
(984) 883-3144

AquaWorld Cancun

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Attraction | "Aquaworld-Jungle Cruise Snorkeling"

AquaWorld Cancun Photo, Cancun, Mexico
Quote:
We had read some reviews of Aquaworld and decided to check them out before committing. As we got out of our parked car on the lagoon side along the Kukulcan Boulevard, we were met by the most congenial man, Jose. He was funny and patient with us as we asked questions about what was offered and what it would cost. Eventually we decided that my husband and I would do the Jungle Cruise, my mother and her friend would do the underwater submarine, and my mother’s friend and I would go parasailing. There are all sorts of packages available, and the more you take, the more you are discounted. Since we were technically four people taking three tours in groups of two, the most we got was a 10% discount, bu...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

AquaWorld Cancun
Boulevard Kukulcán Km 15.2
Cancun, Mexico

Playa Del Carmen

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Attraction | "Buying Groceries in Playa Del Carmen"

Quote:
Since we had a stove, fridge, and microwave, we opted to prepare some of our meals rather than going out to eat. For this we needed groceries, so we headed into Playa Del Carmen, where we were told we could buy groceries at both Sam’s Club and a local grocer. We stopped first at Sam’s Club and were turned back at the entrance to get our free daily membership card at the booth right around the corner. With that in hand, we were allowed in to shop. Just like in the States and Canada, most items were available in bulk portions only, so it was not ideal for a week’s holiday. Ever on the lookout for bargains, I found these really cute little skirts for $8. Liquor was also being sold for a good pric...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 23, 2004

Playa Del Carmen
Mainland Highway 307, Km 68
Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77500

AquaWorld Cancun

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Attraction | "Parasailing with Aquaworld"

AquaWorld Cancun Photo, Cancun, Mexico
Quote:
Our traveling companion said that the one thing she absolutely had to do in Cancun was go parasailing—this from a woman approaching 70 years of age who had not left her home province of Quebec since she landed there from England as a child. We had both done some research prior to our trip, and I was somewhat concerned that safety standards were not as stringent in Mexico as one would expect in Canada or the United States. We decided to book our experience with Aquaworld, which has you seated in a double chair—quite different than the excursion offered along the beach, where you go up alone wearing a harness. Our host, José, took care of all the particulars, and we were soon boarding a 25-foot...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 27, 2004

AquaWorld Cancun
Boulevard Kukulcán Km 15.2
Cancun, Mexico