Written by samer_k on 21 Mar, 2005
Now, for some of you, the constant barrage of sales pitches--"Hello, Amigo, come to my store!", "Where you from?", etc., is agressive, but take it in stride; they are looking to make a buck, sell you a tour, sell you souvenirs, etc.
I have said this…Read More
Now, for some of you, the constant barrage of sales pitches--"Hello, Amigo, come to my store!", "Where you from?", etc., is agressive, but take it in stride; they are looking to make a buck, sell you a tour, sell you souvenirs, etc.
I have said this before: be prepared to haggle. Now, it will be tempting to buy souvenirs and gifts from those boutique shops in Cancun, but it will cost you, and you can can find the same stuff cheaper. They have some really decent open markets that sell all kinds of stuff, from T-shirts to pottery, chess sets, coasters, etc.
We shop downtown; you just have to ask for "Mercado 28" or "Kiwi Market". They're similar, but I found the Market 28 more affordable and with some decent seafood restaurants nearby. Also, remember that if you need anything else, there is a huge Wal-Mart and Chadrawi supermarket for groceries, bottled water, disposable cameras, etc. These places are all in the "centro area" downtown and not hard to find--the good thing about Cancun is that bus transport is easy and only about 6 pesos. In general, everything is cheaper in downtown.
Written by JesusW on 30 Apr, 2005
In Cancun, you really don't need a car.
Of course, it's more convenient to have your own car so you can set your own times and schedules, but to enjoy this city, a car is not mandatory. Distances are long, and if you are in the…Read More
In Cancun, you really don't need a car.
Of course, it's more convenient to have your own car so you can set your own times and schedules, but to enjoy this city, a car is not mandatory. Distances are long, and if you are in the middle of a sunny day, walking doesn't seem like a good idea, but the public bus system does work efficiently and cheaply.
There are many towns and cities in Mexico where you won't see any tourists riding in the public buses; in Cancun, it's quite the contrary, as this is an efficient service and very safe. Basically, if you are staying in the tourist strip or island, there are only two ways to move: toward downtown or the opposite direction, which takes you to the aquatic park at the south end of the island.
You don't need to know the routes, nor speak Spanish, to use the buses going south, but if you are planning on going downtown, it would be wise to ask the driver or the other fellows waiting for the busabout which one to take, as there are different destinations once you are out of the touristic zone.
From downtown, you can go north to catch the ferries to Isla Mujeres in Punta Sam, or you can stay in downtown for shopping and dining. Also in downtown, you can get to the bus station and get a trip to Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, or even the airport, all of them cheap alternatives to taking taxis if you are traveling light. Forget it if you are bringing two big suitcases each. This is for cheap traveling around and enjoying the culture.
Both city buses and out of town ones are clean, safe, and cheap.
Written by chasindaylight on 02 Jan, 2005
We were feeling adventurous, so we ventured out into Cancun on your own. We took the free shuttle to Cancun Palace and ate lunch there. From there we explored the Hotel Zone. We took a ride on a city bus and learned that…Read More
We were feeling adventurous, so we ventured out into Cancun on your own. We took the free shuttle to Cancun Palace and ate lunch there. From there we explored the Hotel Zone. We took a ride on a city bus and learned that not even the bus drivers are exempt from being pulled over by law enforcement. The ride on the bus was about 6 pesos, and it was a crash course in Mexican culture. There's nothing like riding a bus with a chicken in a cage nearby. We rubbed elbows with the residents and loved every minute of it!
We took the bus past the Hotel Zone, into what I believe was downtown Cancun. The first things we see are militia men on the corner with machine guns. It was an interesting sight, but I never felt that I was in any danger.
Barter with the merchants in the open-air markets, but if you don't like being touched by strangers, stay away. The merchants are very aggressive, and some of them will take your arm to guide you into their shop. You must have the right attitude, or else visiting the markets will be more stressful than it's worth. Be willing to walk away from something you really want if the price isn't right and don't take anything too seriously. A lot of the merchants have the same items, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to get what you want at the price you are comfortable with. It was fun just to talk with some of them.
Written by trekkin treena on 15 Nov, 2004
So far so good-we arrived in Mexico without a hitch, apart from having a 5-hour wait in the dismal surroundings of Miami International Airport. It seems the whole place is tinged with a dull shade of yellow, even the people. Oh, and the nutter that…Read More
So far so good-we arrived in Mexico without a hitch, apart from having a 5-hour wait in the dismal surroundings of Miami International Airport. It seems the whole place is tinged with a dull shade of yellow, even the people. Oh, and the nutter that sat across the isle from us on the plane. Partway through the journey, she started wailing like a possessed banshee, pretending to be sick and being extra weird. She was a very strange American. She was carted off in a wheelchair when we arrived in Miami.
We headed to Cancun in a shared taxi, which was a quarter of the price of a normal taxi. As we drove towards town, it was incredible to see the prominent strip of magnificently grand hotels, evidently destinations for the rich, with golf courses and vast gardens.
Following this were huge purpose-built plazas, clearly built primarily for the tourist market, with bright neon lights and imposing English strap lines.
There seemed to be little reference to what we imagined Mexican culture embodied, apart from the few hints in hotel architecture and the beaming images of Mexicans on the taco bar advertisements.
Our hostel was absolutely sweet, Soberanis in downtown. We thought it was going to be a hostel, but we ended up in our own room, with a double bed each, air-conditioning, and a telly-all for around a tenner each a night. Breakfast was even included, and after filling up on the first morning, we were keen to put an end to our milk-bottle complexions- to the he beach it is. We hopped on the R1 bus and asked, in Spanish of course, where a good beach was.
We ended up at Delfines. It was absolutely stunning. There was sparkling blue and turquoise sea and wide beaches of fine white sand. It was perfect, and there was hardly a soul on the beach (well, it was about 9am!) It is supposed to be the rainy season, but it is scorching! Though a little windy, it takes the edge off the heat and is perfect.
The second day, we took a short boat ride to Isla Muujeres as recommended by a club chico on the beach. This is where we encountered "Techno Nan" and "Funk Gran." They were definitely American, as "Techno Nan" was over 70 and sporting fluorescent yellow-hoop earrings, while "Funk Gran" had the funkiest visor I have ever seen, blue with pink stars, teamed with some unforgivably huge octagon-shaped, pink-tinged glasses, giving Deidre Barlow a run for her money-the duo was complete. Then they cracked open a couple of beers. It was only 10am. Go on, I was waiting for them to get the tabs out.
The island was, again, very tourist-orientated, but beautiful. There was a lot to see and do, but we just headed to the beach. Caz and I are just relaxing and doing sod all for the time being. The Longuras beach was lovely, as the water was much calmer, and we even saw a pelican fishing for its dinner, which seemed to have a tag-along Mexican gull mate that followed it everywhere. We called them Peli and the sheep.
Tomorrow we go to Pelenque; it is supposed to be a beautiful little village, with some ruins not too far away. The coach journey is actually 13 hours. I am thinking happy thoughts; I know it will be amazing when we get there.
Written by C.Kowalczik on 26 May, 2005
I have done a lot of traveling and have been to many wonderful places, some of which I get to write journals about. I have had okay trips, really good trips, and "I can’t wait to do it again" trips. However, if there is…Read More
I have done a lot of traveling and have been to many wonderful places, some of which I get to write journals about. I have had okay trips, really good trips, and "I can’t wait to do it again" trips. However, if there is one thing I have learned in my travels, it is that you make your own experiences and vacation what it is.
You can make an okay experience one to remember by proper planning. We have found that the best two way to plan a memorable vacation are to spend hours researching and trying to find the lowest fares when booking on the Internet or giving all of your vacation likes and dislikes to a travel planner and letting them do the work for you. RCI has their own travel department, but I have to say that we have found their fees and prices less competitive than members would think.
WOMAN’S DAY magazine said,
In the past, we have stayed up late and spent several hours searching through different sites to book the lowest airline fare and car rental that we possibly could, searching the Internet for hours looking for the best days, dates, and flight times. We have found great deals with Delta, Jet Blue, and Spirit Airlines. We live in Connecticut and usually find it cheaper to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York City rather than Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford, Connecticut.
However, for this particular vacation, we exchanged our timeshare from Vacation Village in the Berkshires (#6057) to Royal Sunset-All Inclusive (#4363) in Cancun, Mexico. This was a last-minute exchange due to Hurricane Francis; we were originally booked to go to Nassau. We were able to book the last-minute exchange through RCI and booked the rest of the travel arrangements through CnC Travel.
We have booked through them before, and this time, they found us airfare from JFK into Cancun with Delta Airlines at a rate much cheaper than what we found on the Delta website. They offered to book accommodations for us, but since we already exchanged through RCI, we didn’t need to.
When we travel, we still find that we research both options, but since this trip, we have used a travel planner to help us with our vacations when we exchange, and even when we take vacations without utilizing our timeshare, as we found the rates to be more affordable.
Written by worldwind on 29 Feb, 2004
Cancun has it all! That’s what makes it one of our favorite vacations spots. It’s very easy to get to from any city in the U.S. and, from our experience, very inexpensive for airfare and hotel accommodations. Cancun has everything going for…Read More
Cancun has it all! That’s what makes it one of our favorite vacations spots. It’s very easy to get to from any city in the U.S. and, from our experience, very inexpensive for airfare and hotel accommodations. Cancun has everything going for it -- it’s beautiful beaches and there are many different excursions that take you to beautiful eco parks and other historical sights.
The Hotel Zone is sectioned off from the locals, so only the tourists and employees of the Hotel Zone are allowed in this area. You can walk down the street without feeling uneasy, which is not common in a lot of other vacations spots we have visited.
They have several nice shopping malls and a market within the Hotel Zone, and many known American restaurants i.e. Hard Rock, Rain Forest Café, Outback, and Ruth Chris just to mention a few.
Cancun has a great nightlife with lots of dance clubs to dance the night away. Sammy Frog’s is a must visit -- it is lots of fun. They have a limbo contest, which is hysterical to watch.
With the daytime activities and the nightlife that Cancun has to offer, you will never run out of things to do! This is one place that has a little bit for all age groups and is worth the money to visit. I would suggest when choosing your Hotel you select accommodation in the southern end of the Hotel Zone, the beaches in this area seem to be much nicer; however, if you want to be closer to the nightlife, you should plan to stay in the northern end.
Written by Gerdgal on 30 Jan, 2004
When you're in Cancun use the bus! At 6 pesos, it's one of the few bargains to be found. One evening we spent $7 to visit the Hyatt Caribe by taxi. Silly me! I didn't realize it was only 5 properties away. We walked back…Read More
When you're in Cancun use the bus! At 6 pesos, it's one of the few bargains to be found. One evening we spent $7 to visit the Hyatt Caribe by taxi. Silly me! I didn't realize it was only 5 properties away. We walked back for free. Speaking of the Hyatt Caribe, they have a wonderful jazz combo there (been there 4 years, so they'll probably be there for your visit).
I really enjoyed the food at the Beach Palace, probably because I ordered shrimp dishes (oh my gosh, they had 5 inch prawns w/cocktail sauce at one buffet). For lunch, I suggest grilled fish w/tortillas on the side (all you have to do is ask) w/pico de gallo and guacamole. Yum! yum! Conversely, my husband who ordered steaks or hamburgers was disappointed with the quality of the all inclusive food. If you visit Aventura Palace ask for grilled scallops and Ahi tuna. They cook it to order, although there is no indication it's available at the buffet. Also, if you like wine, be sure to try the Mexican wine served at the Palace restaurants. I was amazed at how good it was.
Regarding side trips: DO NOT GO SNORKELING AT ISLA MUJERES. The Isla Mujeres trip was fun, but the number of fish is NOTHING like Hawaii and the crew way over-manages the snokerlers. DO SPEND A SPA DAY AT AVENTURA PALACE. If you ask, the guy in the Beach Palace lobby will take $15 off the price of a service. So for $83 I was transported the 1 1/2 hrs, got an excellent hour massage, was tended by three handmaidens, ate a great lunch overlooking the ocean. Ahhhhh.....
If you're in to saving money, there is a 2 for one dine out card you can buy online. If you want lobster (or a REALLY good steak) one night, it's well worth it. This trip was business for my husband. He attended the Cancun Spanish Language Institute to improve his business Spanish. He highly recommends this school and its teachers. It only costs $200 for a week of intensive Spanish immersion. Finally, if you enjoy great service you'll love the Beach Palace.
Written by bmoore1109 on 12 Oct, 2005
RCI reps at Hotel Y Villas Solaris helped greatly with plans for the tours we had planned before we left home. Loreena, our RCI rep, helped so much and made sure we were invited to special activities and dinners. The four tours we did were…Read More
RCI reps at Hotel Y Villas Solaris helped greatly with plans for the tours we had planned before we left home. Loreena, our RCI rep, helped so much and made sure we were invited to special activities and dinners. The four tours we did were Isla Mujeres/Garrafon Park, Jungle Tour, Chichen-Itza, and Xcaret.
Isla Mujeres was our free tour, and it was just beautiful. There was a very nice facility with an excellent restaurant and a sea walk along the edge of the island with great sea views of the reef, etc. The snorkeling was just great off the dock, with crystal-clear water that was very calm. There were not a lot of fish, but it was still quite beautiful. Barracuda lay underneath the dock. It was a great first day visit in Cancun.
The Jungle Tour was quite unique in that you drove your own speed boat following the tour guide's boat through some mangroves and out into the bay to a reef for snorkeling. It was a little rough getting used to handling the boat but a lot of fun and quite fast!! The snorkeling was also great, with very clear waters and a good variety of fish. The coral, as at Garrafon, was quite varied. Chichen-Itza was more incredible than the pictures. You have no sense of the size of the main temples and ball courts from photos. Plus, many temples in varied conditions of reconstruction were there. You get the feel that there were a lot of people in this huge number of temple grounds. Our guide demonstrated the knowledge of acoustics the Mayans were clearly aware of. The ball court was 170m long, and you could hear from one end to the other. Echoes off the temples just amazed you. The warrior temple, not shown in many pictures, was with huge number of pillars. It is just an incredible site if you're interested in this history.
The Chichen-Itza tour includes a stop at a Cenote, which was just beautiful--don't miss it.
Xcaret was our final tour, and you must go for the night show!! That was worth the entire trip. Hundreds of players in this live show of Mexican history and the costumes, especially of the Mayan-Aztec depictions, were incredible. The demonstrated the Mayan ball game and "hockey with fire balls!" It was a huge football stadium-like facility with eagles and macaws flying from end to end. Your entrance to the show is flanked by people in Mayan costumes--incredible. Xcaret is too big, though, to catch in a short day. Our tour did not get there until nearly noon. I would definitely say to skip the snorkeling trip offshore-- it was a very shallow reef with rough waters and very few fish, which was disappointing. We saw more fish in the snorkeling inlets right at the beach. There was a lot to do.
On snorkeling trips, bring your own fins from home. I had rented fins on other trips and had problems with fit, etc. I brought a pair of $50 full foot-split fins from home, and what a difference!! They are the best fins I have ever used!! Mexico requires life vests, but that was okay.
Written by EagleFlier on 12 Feb, 2004
My wife and I spent a very enjoyable week at the Eldorado Resort and Spa (ER&S) in October 2003. This was our third time to visit there. We have taken other trips to Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, and other Caribbean locations over the last few…Read More
My wife and I spent a very enjoyable week at the Eldorado Resort and Spa (ER&S) in October 2003. This was our third time to visit there. We have taken other trips to Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, and other Caribbean locations over the last few years, but the ER&S provides the best overall vacation value we have found anywhere.
Our first trip to the ER&S was in 1998. We truly enjoy the ADULTS ONLY guest policy, which results in a very quiet and peaceful beach and pool area. The service and the facilities have improved significantly each time we return. The resort is continually renovating and redecorating inside and outside the rooms. We have stayed in a Jacuzzi suite at the south end of the resort each time and we have thoroughly enjoyed them. The second floor Jacuzzi rooms have the tub on the balcony and you have a nice view of the ocean and beach while in the bubbles. The ground level rooms have the Jacuzzi just inside the room next to the patio. (NOTE: DO NOT USE A FULL (small) BOTTLE OF BUBBLE BATH ALL AT ONE TIME IN THE JACUZZI! You will be lost in a small mountain of bubbles. Use the whole bottle of bubble stuff in a second floor (outdoor) Jacuzzi only!) We had no problems with the plumbing, but on this last trip we did need to exchange the TV and phone for ones that worked better. The staff have always been more than willing to help with any such facility problems.
The beach to the south of the ER&S is made of beautiful white (cool even in the hot sun) coral sand and perfectly clear blue water with gentle and low rolling surf; it’s as pretty as the nicest Caribbean postcard and perfect for swimming. This area of beach just south of the ER&S is a federal sea turtle preserve, so it should stay undeveloped in the future. The turtles are smart: over the centuries they have learned the best places to swim ashore to lay their eggs and this is one of them. While we were there, baby sea turtles were hatching at night right in front of our room and they needed human help to guide them to the sea as they became confused by the softly glowing lights along the resort beach walk.
Since our second visit, a very large resort has been built about a mile south of the ER&S at the other end of the same cove. From the ER&S, you can see the jet skis and parasail of the new resort in the distance. It's about a 20-minute walk to the new resort along the long white sandy beach, so there are very few people from either resort who visit the other. My wife and I like to walk, so we checked out the new neighboring resort thoroughly. It is very big and spread out, nothing like the small and cozy atmosphere of the ER&S.
The ER&S has added a "naturalist" side to the resort ("Hidden Beach") in the last year. That side of the resort is completely hidden from view by a very high and sturdy fence, guarded by a uniformed hotel Security person. You can't see any of the private beach or the guests, even from the ocean pier way out over the water. It really is "private". The resort buildings in the area block the view of Hidden Beach from the rest of the resort. Some previous guests wrote that they were able to see the Hidden Beach sun-worshipers from the elevated hot tub near that high fence and were offended by the view. Rest assured, it is now not possible to see any part of the Hidden Beach guests or facilities from the highest part of the hot tub Jacuzzi area on the swimming pool (clothed) side of the fence. I tried. We never saw an unclothed body for the entire week we were there. We wanted to walk along the beach at the north side of the ER&S to access a shipwreck located on the rocky beach that we have visited over the years. The security guard at the Hidden Beach fence would not let us through. He said that part of the beach is reserved for Hidden Beach guests and that no one from the ER&S side can go past the fence. We found a trail that starts north of the hotel lobby where some of the large busses park and the trail winds through the resort behind the buildings. That path took us behind the fenced in Hidden Beach complex to the open public (rocky) beach to the north side of the ER&S. According to several people at the resort, all Mexican beaches are public spaces along the water line and can't be closed to public access. The Hidden Resort apparently has some an agreement outside of normal Mexican law. We have noticed over the years that each time we visit the ER&S there are a more and more ladies who sun themselves topless near the South end of the resort beach away from the main complex. No problem with that! A short part of the sidewalk along the ocean water line right in front of the main restaurant now sports a sign that warns guests not to walk there because of hard-to-see, very slippery mossy surfaces in the area where the ocean washes over the walk at high tide. We discovered that spot years before the warning sign went up, by slipping and sliding and quickly learned to walk on the sand in that area -- no big deal. Many writers have complained about the slippery walk over the years, so the sign should stop the complaints.
We have always found the food at the resort to be average to very good, especially in the Mexican and Italian restaurants. The sign-up list for the specialty restaurants is in the hotel lobby until late in the morning. We like to sleep late and eat dinner early and we never had a problem getting our names added to the list for an early dinner. You can go to the restaurants in the afternoon and find the lists if they are not in the lobby when you get there. If there are open spots, you can sign up then. We ate our first Italian meal this last trip with no reservations at all, as we had just arrived back at the hotel from a day in Playa del Carmen (and the Mayan Palace / Grand Mayan). The food in the main restaurant was always good, but seldom excellent. One thing we did different this time was to take about $100 in US$1 bills for tipping the resort staff. We left a couple of dollars each day for the maids and tipped the waiters a few dollars each meal for their good service. The service got even better as time went by. The small tips were well received and we were cheerfully and personally greeted by name at each meal.
On this last trip (Oct 2003), the ER&S did not provide the excellent nightly entertainment and native shows in the large high roofed theatre facility as they did in past years. The larger resorts have apparently taken the spotlight for night time entertainment. The nightlife at the ER&S now consists of the two well stocked beach bars with swings, quiet strolls on the beach and starlight/moonlight on the water -- quiet and romantic.
We used a travel agent for the first visit, Funjet Tours, for the second visit and made our own reservations directly with the hotel the third visit. This last trip we had to provide our own transportation from the Cancun airport to the ER&S. We learned the going price for a van ride is about $30 US per person each way. Just outside of Mexican customs and still inside the controlled area of the airport, we were offered (by some enthusiastic people in booths) free transportation from the airport to the ER&S and back, if we would visit a new hotel under construction and take a brief 90-minute tour. We agreed. We got our free transportation to the resort. Later in the week, we took the 90-minute tour of the Mayan Palace and of the attached Grand Mayan resort. This included brunch and a long specialized sales pitch. It is a very beautiful five-star facility. We were offered a "really good deal," which was "valid only that day," typical Mexican used car salesmen tactics. After about three hours and an array of sales managers and classical sales pitches, we took the best deal they had to give (maybe). Time will tell if it was really a good deal or not. Avoid the "free" offers at the airport.
Bottom line, dollar for dollar, you will have a hard time beating the Eldorado Resort and Spa for a really great, relaxing all-inclusive vacation at a very reasonable cost.
Written by melallen on 21 Sep, 2003
While at the Moon Palace, we spent most of our time by the pool. We knew that in order to get a palapa we had to reserve our seats fairly early. Every morning between seven and eight I would go out and put…Read More
While at the Moon Palace, we spent most of our time by the pool. We knew that in order to get a palapa we had to reserve our seats fairly early. Every morning between seven and eight I would go out and put our towels on a couple of lounge chairs. I would also leave a few personal items such as books and hats. Now, if you loose a beach towel they charge you $20. This made me a little leery of leaving our towels to reserve our chairs. Next time I would make sure to bring our own beach towels. Besides, the towels they provided were a bit rough. Not very nice for sunburned skin.
I know there have been complaints about the beach at the Moon Palace. I thought it was still nice to look at, if not necessarily optimal for swimming. The stretch of sand between the Sunrise and Nizuc section makes a particularly nice evening walk for a couple wanting a little romantic stroll. One evening we got a bottle of champagne from one of the bars and enjoyed it on the beach while watching the full moon rise over the ocean.
The Palace resorts have a program that allows guests at any of the resorts to use the facilities at any of their other resorts. After a few days at the Moon Palace pool, we decided to take advantage of the shuttle to the Hotel Zone. We got off at the Beach Palace and had lunch overlooking the ocean. While the view was fantastic, the food was not nearly as good as at the Moon.
After lunch, we headed down the Hotel Zone and spent a little time at some of the malls. The best deal we found was at the Hard Rock. We always buy a Hard Rock hurricane or pint glass whenever we visit a new destination. If we bought a hurricane for $12, we could keep the $10 glass. Since we were going to buy the glass anyway, the hurricane was just a bonus. The rest of the shopping was a joke. You can get better deals in the States. Don’t even bother.
We caught the bus back to the Cancun Palace, as we had heard that it was nicer than the Beach. It was. If I wanted to spend some time playing in the ocean this is where I would do it. I heard that the showers available in the gym can be used to clean up after a day of beach frolicking for an evening of bar hopping. The only problem with spending an extended period of time at the Cancun Palace was that the only way to get bottled water was to buy it. I could have used a small, soft sided cooler loaded up with the bottled water available everywhere at the Moon.
I thought about heading down to the Aventura Palace to take advantage of some of the Spa services that were highly advertised. The only problem was that the round trip cab cost would have been about $80. Also, we had gotten so sunburned on our first day that it would not have been very pleasant to get a massage after that. I think if I had not been so burnt that I would have tried to make a deal for the round trip transportation to be included in the price of the spa services. EVERYTHING can be negotiated in Mexico.
We also missed out on spending any time at the Xpu-Ha Palace. One of the tours that we could have chosen to do would have allowed us to play at the Xpu-Ha after taking a tour of Tulum. This sounded attractive to me, as I wanted to see some ruins, but I did not want to spend all day in a bus