After having such an excellent time last year at the Fiesta Americana Vacation Club in Cancun, my husband and I decided to return again. We had a whole list of new things to do and see. I hope you enjoy reading about it.
by willowdell on October 8, 2007
We arrived a bit before check-in time and were told to relax a bit until the room was ready. It was around lunchtime so we ate at La Palapas - the on-site restaurant. When we were finished we re-checked at the desk and a room was ready. The bellboy followed us up to the room and it turns out that we were the not-so-happy owners of a room that faced the new concrete skyscraper next-door with a nice little green fuzzy pool of water on the ground. We would be living in this room for 8 nights, and weren't happy with it. We went directly back down to the desk and explained our case. We only had to wait about 10 minutes and another room was ready. This room had a view of the little "village" which overlooked the pool and beach. It was very nice. No hard feelings - they were very nice about changing rooms for us. The accommodations were exactly the same as we remembered - very nice. When we didn't have any warm water the second night it did make us recall that this happened the first time several times as well. We're not sure why, but when we called down to the desk to report it, they said it should be fine in several hours! We weren't very happy about that as we'd have liked to take showers before dinner. The daily maid service was excellent, but not timely, so we never knew when our room was going to be made up. If you decide to sleep in or have a late lunch, housekeeping will hang a sign on your door saying they only offer housekeeping until 4pm. One warning that we forgot to mention the first trip is that the beds are considerably shorter than in the U.S. My husband is over six feet tall and his poor feet dangle over the edge. I thought it was pretty funny, but, alas, he did not. Another noteworthy tip is to buy laundry detergent when you go shopping. Free laundry room privileges are included in your stay, but detergent is not provided.There were only two noticeable differences from last year. Felix, who runs the games and sports program at the pool, was only provided with 8 free drink tickets per day. Last year he had an almost unlimited amount to give out as prizes for winning the games. This was a very welcome refreshment after playing water polo or pool volleyball. We were a bit disappointed that he was limited in the number he could give out this year. He said that the management has changed their policy on this lately. The other main difference is that now the resort has a mexican party once a week. It was about $50 per person and included the buffet, unlimited drinks and entertainment. It was an excellent experience.
After spending three nights in Cancun we decided to branch out and explore outlying areas. We made reservations at a resort in a small fishing village called Akumal. The resort is all-inclusive and was on a huge stretch of beach. Since we booked our reservations over the internet at our other resort, we were unable to print out the confirmation. When we checked in, they told us that we only paid for one person. He asked us if we had our print-out with the voucher on it and we said no but we had the confirmation number. He said he needed the voucher. We asked to talk with the manager then he said everything's okay. The room was very rustic, but clean. We paid extra for the "superior" room, and I'm glad we did. We found out that you have from 10 to 12 to "sign-up" for dinner to eat at a restaurant versus the buffet. If you go on any day trips or if your first day, you have to eat at the buffet. We weren't excited about that limitation. We went to the beach and it was expansive but rocks were everywhere and impossible to swim. It was creepy because this is a huge place but we only saw 35 people the entire time. There were more workers than guests! That night during our buffet dinner, we got eaten alive by mosquitoes in the dining room. It was so bad the staff was passing around mosquito lotion. They bit me in the room when I was trying to sleep amidst the loud pipe groans and creeks that kept us awake. The TV was a mess and no alarm clock. The mosquitoes were flocking around the door trying to get in. Looking back, i'm not sure why we tried to stay another night, except that we were on a mission to eat in one of those coveted restaurants! We checked with the front desk and he told us that the walk-up rate would be $50 more than what we paid from hotels.com. We asked if they had internet access and he said that they do, but need to print out our "voucher" that is required. He told us that we could walk to the village and go to the internet cafe to print it. After getting there we found that there were no rooms available! We checked many sites. Hmmmm. Well, we hoofed it back and talked to the same guy again. We asked to speak with the manager. About 5 minutes later he came back and said that the manager is in a meeting. He said there are rooms available, and asked if we used the computer correctly? He said he'd be glad to offer us the walk-up rate but couldn't give us the discount. The manager wouldn't come out of his "meeting" to talk with us. We promptly went back to the room, packed and then checked out.
by willowdell on October 19, 2007
We signed up for the Mexican Party that Fiesta Americana Vacation Club hosts once a week. It was approximately $50 per person and included buffet, drinks and entertainment. We were a little skeptical about the value, but must say that it was worth about triple that amount. We walked down to the restaurant and were greeted by a table with a bottle of Jose Querva tequila, limes, salt and two cute shot glasses hand-made out of pottery. We promptly did our invitational tequila shot and were seated. A special sound system and stages were set up and a DJ was playing any requests that the guests made. The buffet was utterly awesome and the servers explained everything that was offered. The marachi band then arrived. There was a main vocalist, strings, guitars horns and the sound was outstanding. These were professional musicians and they knew what they were doing! There was nice interaction between the entertainment and guests. Our glasses were promptly filled. When the band was done playing we hit a pinata, which was a ton of fun. Then the dancers performed on the stage overlooking the beach. We learned that this is a new experience that has been added to the resort and would highly recommend it.
by willowdell on October 10, 2007
The Spanish word Cenote is translated into English as "Natural Well". These natural wells are found all along Yucatan Peninsula if you drive south on Rt. 309 from Cancun past Tulum. Some are contained in parks, such as Aventura Akamul and some are privately owned and are marked with handmade signs. You can spot the signs from the road if you look carefully. If you are driving south on Rt. 309, most of them are on the right-hand side. We went to several of them and paid from $3 to $10 per person to obtain entrance. One noteworthy is called Azul Cenote which is fairly close to Cancun. You will need to rent a car if you plan on visiting the independent Cenotes. Otherwise, you can sample one at places like XCaret and Xel-Ha. They are primarily fresh water with a small amount of salt water and are all connected underground. The water is very refreshing and invigorating. I would highly recommend this activity.
We decided to rent a car during our second trip to Cancun. We started out by asking the concierge at the resort. They quoted us around $45 a day with no insurance. This was with Hertz - our preferred agency. Hertz is also about two blocks down the road which was an easily walking distance from the resort. We also inquired with Avis and it was a little more. I thought that this was a little high, plus was concerned about insurance. We've read about renting cars in foreign countries before and how insurance is recommended.The resort provides Internet access for about $2 per 30 minutes. I logged onto the Hertz website and found that we could rent a mid-sized vehicle for about $42 a day including full coverage insurance. We booked it over the Internet and wrote down the confirmation information. I would highly recommend either calling the rental car agency or going online and doing it that way if you are comfortable with that. When we went to pick the car up, the agent told us that walk-ups were given the $45 per day amount which doesn't include any insurance at all. Before we took the car off the lot, a guy did a walk-thru with us and noted any defects in the car, including little scratches and dents that we wouldn't have noticed. I have the distinct feeling that if we had not purchased insurance we would be held accountable for any new ones that may be created by us. Throughout our travels outside of Cancun, we were hit many a time with flying stones and rocks from stone trucks. There are also a lot of potholes in the roads. It is not smooth by any means. The laws in Mexico hold you responsible for any damage to the car if you don't purchase insurance. I hope that this helps anyone that wants to rent a car in Cancun!
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