Written by JesusW on 14 Mar, 2012
There are two main roads to reach the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve: one is driving south from Tulum ocean side road that goes through the "mayan Arch" after you pass the hotel zone, this road ends in the town of Punta Allen; the other…Read More
There are two main roads to reach the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve: one is driving south from Tulum ocean side road that goes through the "mayan Arch" after you pass the hotel zone, this road ends in the town of Punta Allen; the other road you have to drive on the highway to Felipe Carrillo Puerto after Muyil and Chumpon and cross the whole jungle to reach the sea.I took the second road after talking with the guard at the "arch" as the road was in very bad shape -only jeeps were good for that road- and my little compact car would have suffered the potholes created after too many jeeps at high speed.Be warned that there are no rangers or any other kind of guards on this road, is basically a path cut through the jungle, most of it single lined, and in very few spots you can pass another vehicle. It also has potholes (not many people use it), but not as many as I feared nor too deep to avoid the trip. The road is about 40 km long to El Playón, a little wooden pier just in front of Punta Allen. The locals tell me that there is a lot of wildlife in the jungle: deers, coatis, snakes, all kind of birds, pecari and the more and more difficult to spot jaguar. In our drive we only saw birds, from osprey to crane, to green parrots and pelicans. I'm sure if I drive slower and stop at the proper places, the wildlife would be much easier to spot, but from the seat of a car the chances decreases sharply.Before arriving at El Playon there is a little exit to "Vigia chico" we took it and were highly disappointed as there used to be palapa and some kind of touristic services here but now is all abandoned and ruined. There is an automated lighthouse where the vultures look for lunch, but not more than that, and the day I visited the ocean has carried lot of plastic trash dumped who knows in which country but that was carried all the way to this isolated spot.Things at El Playon are a bit better, no trash, but not by much, there are no services at this dock, you will see a small building, but is also abandoned, and the wooden pier is in bad shape. Here the little peninsula where Punta Allen is located serves as a barrier from the powerful waves of the ocean and that's what creates the safe environment for millions of juvenile fish of many species that take refugee in this shallow and calm waters and also as an added protection can hide between the mangroves.After waiting about half hour we saw a boat passing in the distance and waved a red jacket to them, fortunately they saw us and we had a ride to Punta Allen inner pier, in town we had one of the best seafood dinners I can remember, veeeery fresh and cooked beyond perfection, and to my biggest surprise, at reasonable prices.We were late to do a full tour of the area, which consists in visiting several spots to snorkel or swim, meet the dolphins, look for manatees, but our boat crew insisted on at least doing a boat tour of the mangrove and lagoons in our way back to El Playon, it was a perfect time for amazing pictures, the Sun had just gone down and the moon was high in the cenit, the colors of the sky and the flatness of the water were just magical.I need to plan a longer visit at Punta Allen, there are about 8 little restaurants and half a dozen little hotels. Close
Written by bs13690 on 23 May, 2010
We recently visited a resort with another couple in Riviera Maya, Mexico. My wife and I like to do a lot of day trips and planned one for this trip to go to some ruins, a cenote, and to do some snorkeling. We…Read More
We recently visited a resort with another couple in Riviera Maya, Mexico. My wife and I like to do a lot of day trips and planned one for this trip to go to some ruins, a cenote, and to do some snorkeling. We were picked up from the resort and transported to the another location where we met our guide for the day. We jumped in his Hummer and were on our way.The day didn't start off too well, which according to my wife was partly my fault. The AC was on and I wanted to turn it up a bit. I adjusted the fan knob and the guide yells at me "What are you doing??!!". He proceeds to berate me for touching the controls. Granted, I should have asked if he could turn up the fan but there was no need to get irate.After this incident, he starts telling us a little bit about his story. Supposedly, he was formerly a rich art dealer in the States who lost his fortune due to the crash in the real estate market and moved to Mexico for a change. I find it dubious that he was an art dealer as he didn't know what a print was when my wife said she wanted to get one. He also decided to share his medical history with us. Apparently, he had some prostate problems. Honestly, I did not want to hear that.We went to the Tulum ruins. The guide took us there earlier than most others which was a very good decision. He knew that once crowds arrived the ruins were difficult to negotiate. We were own our touring the site and had a very interesting time.After piling back into the Hummer, we were off to our next location where my friend and I were to zip line. The place was not very organized. We did not get any safety equipment and the "brake" for the zip line was a stick that you put up on the line when you wanted to slow down and stop. Good luck to you if you dropped the thing. The coolest thing about the place was the monkey that was outside the park. He was very friendly with it and we got to feed it yogurt and play with it.The next stop was a centore. A cenote is an underground cave with fresh water. You can snorkel there and the temperature is cool but not uncomfortable. Before going to the cenote, we stopped for some snacks. I got some cookies and after we got back into the Hummer and drove for a few minutes, the guide looks at me and says "That's OK. I don't want any." I didn't really know what to say, so I pretty much just ignored him. I'm paying this guy to give me a tour why should I give him some free cookies? We snorkeled in the cenote which was pretty interesting. We also noticed that we were cool for the rest of the day afterwards, owing to the low temperature of the cave.Our final destination was snorkeling in an area known for having a lot of turtles. We saw two turtles almost immediately but our guide did not stay in that area. He swam off and guided us around to some areas where we saw a few fish but nothing particularly interesting. I am not the best swimmer in the world which he should have known since I had a snorkel vest. I was lagging behind and I heard him yelling "Is he OK? Is he being slow on purpose?" We headed back in and I later learned that he had made a snide comment to my friend that "we would have seen a lot more if Brian wasn't with us". Had I known that at the time, the s**t would have hit the fan. The guide also kept trying to talk us out of putting on sunblock. My wife is very fair skinned and burns easily. Why he would try to say we shouldn't put it on is beyond me. Close
Written by lovethecaribbean on 08 Apr, 2010
We booked this day tour after reading great reviews. It was a very reasonable price for an all day tour and we were able to make it a private tour for just the four of us for only $20 more per person. The…Read More
We booked this day tour after reading great reviews. It was a very reasonable price for an all day tour and we were able to make it a private tour for just the four of us for only $20 more per person. The total cost was about $115 per person. We were picked up from our hotel at 8 am and shuttled in a minivan to another location where we met our guide, Jay. We were then transferred to his Hummer, which was very comfortable to ride around in! Jay is an American who lives in the area. He was quite the character, but very knowledgeable about the area. One of the best things about this tour is that we started early and we really beat the crowds at every stop we made.Our first stop was Tulum. When we arrived there was hardly anyone there. We spent about an hour and a half walking around the ruins and taking in the breathtaking views. With the ruins being right on the water it was really picturesque. By the time we left the tour buses started rolling in so we were happy to move on to our next stop. The next stop was ziplining. Only the guys participated in this. There were two ziplines the first was much shorter than the first. For the first one you walk back to the platform. For the longer one, you canoe back. I have to wonder how safe these were because they were not given helmets or gloves to wear like I have seen at other zipline locations. And they were given a stick to use for the break! The guys did enjoy it.We then stopped and played with a howler monkey, Chachto. I have always loved monkeys, so this was a treat for me. The guide, my husband and friend all fed him yogurt which he seemed to enjoy. He was so cute. I felt bad for him though because he was kept on a chain. The guide did say that he didn’t like that, but that he is well taken care of.Next we made our way to the Dos Ojos Cenote. All the freshwater in the area is underwater. Sometimes the rocks covering it would cave in, creating what looks like caves, with clear, freshwater to explore. The water was cold! But the snorkeling was very interesting. Not really any fish besides some small minnows, but viewing the underwater stalagtites and caverns was amazing. In some areas is was very dark, so it scared me a little. I just had to make sure to not lose sight of the guide who was holding a flashlight. It was also fun to see the divers swimming below us. This was a unique experience and I enjoyed it.Next we stopped for lunch in Half Moon Bay. I wish I could remember the name of the Mexican restaurant! We all enjoyed our meals (one of the best of the trip and a welcomed change after the not so good food at our hotel).Our final stop was Akumal to snorkel with turtles. This was the highlight of the trip for me. I had seen turtles before, but never any this big. They are so graceful in the water and I could have watched them for a while. We then swam out to the reef and did a little exploring there. It was nice, but I didn’t see anything I hadn’t seen before. I would have liked to have spent more time with the turtles instead! Close
Written by Cantin2 on 07 Mar, 2008
Valentin is set on a long cove of beach in Playa Secreto between Mayan Palace and El Dorado Royale. They own alot of beachfront property and have plans to build five phases to the hotel. The sand is soft and the water clear with shades…Read More
Valentin is set on a long cove of beach in Playa Secreto between Mayan Palace and El Dorado Royale. They own alot of beachfront property and have plans to build five phases to the hotel. The sand is soft and the water clear with shades of blue or green depending on the day. There is some surf and at times large waves - again ...more or less depending on weather and storms. This not calm Playa del Carmen-like water.....Don't wear your hat or sunglasses in......the ocean may claim them.It's not possible to swim directly in front of the oceanfront suites or the restaurant - too much coral, but if you walk a few hundred yards north toward El Dorado, there is a fine stretch of easy to enter beach. There are about 100 palapas strung along the beach at this time (February 2008) and more being constructed. The most popular ones are in front of the beachside restaurant, accessible via walking from the pool. There are more palapas beyond the water sports shop where access to the water is sandy. If you want more peace and quiet or privacy, the section near building #9 oceanfront is usually sparsely occupied, but there is no access to the water again because of the coral. The bar servers also do not come to this area, but we did see some guests with a champagne cooler with wine and others with soda and beer from their minibar.The beachbars are not yet fully operational, but waiters do take order and serve drinks and limimted food. Around 12:30PM they come around with trays of finger foods, fruit, small wraps, poppers, onion rings, skewers of beef and chicken and fried Calamari - A nice touch. Hopefully there will be some left by the time they reach your lounges if you got up a bit late and your spot is away from the main center. Towels are plentiful and you don't have to sign for them. There are lots of lounges, but if you want a shady spot, you must be an early riser. By 8AM on most days all were taken. Guests placed books and shoes on them before breakfast, especially on days of high occupancy. After lunch, again you had a chance of getting shade - Most people made their way to the pool for the afternoon.One problem that I found, was that all orders took about 45 minutes or so - they do come along with trays of pre-made pina coladas, beer and daiquris for the taking. One day we order a pizza and after an hour, we decided to go to the restaurant. Unfortunately, there is nowhere - at least yet - to grab a quick burger, hot dog or salsa and chips for a quick bite in your bathing suit. You must cover up and go to the ala carte restaurant beachside or take a long walk to the buffet restaurant - which has better offerings. They grill steaks, chicken and fish to order and have at least three pasta choices, pizza and a carvery.Activities on the beach......walking - you can walk probably over a mile in each direction. Best to carry along something to drink - the resorts along this beach are either all inclusive or cashless. You cannot purchase any refreshments. A couple of times a day a group forms to play volleyball and the watersports center has complimentary Hobies and kayaks. Wave runner and parasailing incur a fee. A little difficult to get out past the surf because of the coral and wave action, but the staff is helpful. Close
Written by Cantin2 on 05 Mar, 2008
Upon check in, we were upgraded from a Junior Deluxe Suite overlooking the pool to a Golden Suite in the "Swim up" area, overlooking the lagoon. the rooms are large and beautifullly decorated and all have balconies with outdoor wicker-like chairs and a table.The…Read More
Upon check in, we were upgraded from a Junior Deluxe Suite overlooking the pool to a Golden Suite in the "Swim up" area, overlooking the lagoon. the rooms are large and beautifullly decorated and all have balconies with outdoor wicker-like chairs and a table.The Golden Suites are 682 sq. ft. The living room has a small table and 2 chairs - convenient for room service. The sofa is rather stiff and hard and faces a large armoire conceling a TV and a CD/DVD player. Only one remote for two TV's - the other is in the sleeping area - a bit inconvenient. We hardly used the living area although it had a view of the pool and lagoon - It was a bit uncomfortable. The bedroom area is separated from this area with a dark wood and frosted glass divider, giving it an Asian feel - very lovely. The king bed is comfortable with lots of pillows, triple sheets with fair quality linens and it's covered with a white quilted pique coverlet. The dark brown runner at the foot of the bed pulls together the dark wood decor of the room. a desk with two lamps, free internet access and a large safe sized to fit a laptop is a nice touch.The minibar is refilled daily with juices, beer and plenty of water - sic to eight bottles dailly. the double closet has an iron and irooning board, umbrella, wooden and padded hangers, extra pillows and blankets, a built in three drawer dresser and a few shelves and enough room to stowe your luggage.The bathroom is special - Two wooden doors with frosted glass panels open to a very spacious, marble and granite area with double sinks, two person jacuzzi tub,lighted make-up mirror, large size shampoo, bath gel and lotion, a powerful hairdryer and robes and slippers. Two other beautiful etched frosted doors close off a toilet and bidet and the other encloses a huge tiled shower.We had no prolems with A/C, water pressure or temperature, jacuzzi tub or TV reception as I'd read on forums prior to this vacation. Buildings 3 and 5 continue to be the source of most complaints. The A/C is set at 67 degrees - you have no control over it, but along with the overhead fan, we felt comfortable. Room towels however were an issue. Upon check in, everything was perfect - we had 4 towels of each type and 2 bath mats. From then on it varied - sometimes no washcloths, no bathmats and one day only on bath towel. We knew where the supply was so we went to the room at the end of the hall to get them......Not what you expect from a upscale resort.The ice machine is not yet installed in Building 8 - yes, you can call for ice, but it is inconvenient and the wait is about 45 minutes. A concierge is assigned to each building, but during our stay one concierge serviced four buildings. Are they understaffed????Turn down service is available each evening - done properly it is great!!! the spread turned down and loosely tied with the decorative runner - a cold bottle of water with a glass on each nightstand, fresh towels in th bathroom, candies on your pillow and dimmed lights for mood......Problem is......Although we called to request each evening it was done properly only twice. Not done at all on four evenings and another time clean towels were "strewn" on the tub - dirty ones let on the floor and no service in the bedroom. We even complained to the concierge and he assured us that we were on the list for turn down each evening.....Lots of walking to be done in this resort - It's huge - long walks along curved landscaped walkways with piped in music along the way - very romantic. Motorized cart that carry 7 guests are scheduled to circle the resort every 15 minutes - doesn't work - do the math - there are only 4 carts for over 700 guests. It usually fills at the first stop. Another day there was only one driver available and he was delivering luggage. One evening at dinnertime all four batteries needed re-charging so......bring along comfy walking shoes.Hopefully...in time...and sooner than later....these problems will be resolved. Valentin is a solid 4* mass market resort....not yet the 5* luxury that is claims to be. The good memories outweigh the bad......Enjoy at the right price. Close
Written by CIARSIMO on 03 Jul, 2004
The Mayan Palace, Riviera Maya (RCI #6483) is located about twenty miles south of the Cancun airport off of highway 307 between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. There is no way we could have missed it -- the entrance is a gargantuan stone gateway…Read More
The Mayan Palace, Riviera Maya (RCI #6483) is located about twenty miles south of the Cancun airport off of highway 307 between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. There is no way we could have missed it -- the entrance is a gargantuan stone gateway that reads "Mayan Palace". We drove slightly past the entrance to a turn-around because you cannot make a left turn from the highway onto the property. We immediately noticed that the property is secure and people cannot just wander in.
Although van service and busses run frequently, we rented a car for convenience and for greater access to shopping, activities, tours, and dining off of the property. We rented a mini van through Thrifty for $355 US for the week plus taxes and insurance. Considering the cost for shuttles, bus excursions, and taxis (for seven people), we definitely saved money by renting the car. We made the reservation online about six weeks before our trip. The rental process was similar to what we would expect in the US. Although we have read horror stories about renting cars in Mexico, there were no surprises and the process went smoothly. We could have been satisfied with never leaving the Mayan Palace as there is plenty to do, but the car made it nice.
We were given red wristbands that identified us as Mayan Palace guests and RCI members. These bands were like having scarlet letters on our foreheads in the tourist areas of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel because the timeshare sales recruiters could spot us in a crowd like flies on a bowl of white rice. They were fairly aggressive. The word "no" meant as much to them as an ALTO (STOP) sign means to a taxi driver in downtown Cancun. I do not think there would have been any harm if we had cut the bands off. No one ever asked to see our bands when we were on the resort property. Although we do not like being rude, the best strategy was for us to firmly decline what ever they were offering us or to just ignore the sales recruiters.
We like the outdoors and are inclined to get a little fresh air and exercise so we easily walked to and from most places on the resort grounds. The three-year-old and seven-year-old children in our party walked the ten-minute stretch from our room to the pool numerous times without ever complaining. Seeing the locals walking or riding bicycles along the highway to and from work put things in perspective for us and a short walk to dinner or to the swimming pool was no big deal. For the few times we were not up for walking, the resort offered shuttle service that ran about every five minutes.
As indicated on the resort’s website and in other reviews, the pool is unbelievably big! There are lots of sections, coves, fountains, etc. We think the deepest part of the pool is only about four feet. This must have been for our protection and safety when we chose to indulge at one of the two swim-up bars during the 2-for-1 happy hours. The sunset overlooking the pool toward the ocean was absolutely gorgeous!
There were quite a few shady spots around the pool, but they were hard to find at times. We used the pool mostly in the late afternoons and we were always able to find seating in the shade. There were indeed beds covered with palapas, but they were always occupied. Apparently, you have to make a mad dash for the pool area very early in the morning to get access to them. In hindsight, we think it is a ridiculous idea to get out of bed early in the morning just to go find another bed, mark it is "our" territory, dare anyone to come within five feet of it, and spend all day checking on it and laying in it. There was so much more to see and do.
The beach was a short walk from the pool. It is rockier than other beaches in the area, but it was fine for children playing in the sand and for wading. We did not even attempt to snorkel there. There is a water sports center on the beach where we could have arranged activities, but we did not use it so we are not sure what they offer. We saw boats with people parasailing in the immediate area. There was a scuba diving flag hanging outside of the center, but we used a PADI-approved dive shop called Dive Puerto Morelos about ten minutes north of the resort instead (English-speaking, reasonably priced, knowledgeable, extremely friendly and highly recommended).
The far end of our residence building was under construction. The ongoing work resulted in some noise and minimal inconveniences through the week. For example, we had to walk around some of the buildings instead of through them. We were amazed at how quickly the construction crews progressed through their tasks without the use of very much heavy equipment or power tools. It made us appreciate the workmanship that went into many of the details throughout the property. Resort staff was always available to assist with making the stay as enjoyable as possible despite the construction.
Our two-bedroom suite was located in a brand new section called the Grand Mayan. It was brightly decorated with a modern art feel. There was plenty of space in the suite for four adults and three children to relax comfortably. Granite flooring and countertops were throughout. The balcony was huge and it included a small soaking pool. The two sofas in the common area converted to twin-sized beds with trundles. The kitchen was equipped with a four-burner cook top, sink, toaster, apartment-sized refrigerator, coffee maker, blender, microwave oven, stoneware dishes, cups & glasses, silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans. Each of the bedrooms had king-sized beds (on the firm side, but comfortable), sofas, cocktail tables, two-person bathtubs (one of the two bedrooms had a whirlpool tub), armchairs, end tables, and dressers. There was enough room for us to add a baby crib without sacrificing any space whatsoever. The resort provided bathrobes that matched the bedding. The bathrooms were spacious and included dual sinks and large showers separate from the bathtubs. We think we may have been the first guests in our suite because resort staff was still bringing in lamps, artwork, and the microwave oven during our stay. Housekeeping serviced the suite daily.
The view from our balcony was of a pond with birds, lots of plants and other buildings. We could see some of the entertainment at the Del Largo restaurant at night. We had a slight ocean view if we looked to our right. Some rooms had better views. Some rooms had worse. The sunset over the pond and the building across from us was quite beautiful.
There were three restaurants onsite. We ate lunch and/or dinner there only a few times during our stay because it was fairly expensive ($15-$25 per person). However, the food was excellent and service was great. At Del Largo, there was live entertainment and an open bar at night. Although amusing, the shows had more thongs than a shoe store in the summer and were not appropriate for children. Reservations are recommended. There is no charge for children age 3 and under.
There is a store onsite that has sundries, some food items, souvenirs, jewelry, books, etc. The prices were similar to what you would pay for the same items in the US. For more extensive grocery shopping, we went south to Playa del Carmen to a store called Chedraui. It is right off of Hwy 307 and hard to miss. It is similar to a Super Target or K-mart. We also shopped for groceries in Cancun at Sam’s Club and Walmart, but these stores were not as easily accessible. There is a Sam’s Club under construction in Playa del Carmen that should be open by the end of 2004.
We liked that the Mayan Palace is centrally located for day trips to Cozumel, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and the Cancun Hotel Zone. For finding our way around, we purchased maps from Laura the "map chick" at www.cancunmap.com. Her maps are practical guides with photos and subjective commentary about many of the area hotels, restaurants, and businesses. These maps were essential for our ability to get out and enjoy the Mayan Riviera.
After we checked out of our suite at the Mayan Palace, the bellmen stored our luggage for later pick-up when we were ready to go to the airport. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will definitely go back in a few of years. When we do, the fitness center and some other amenities will be finished. Hopefully the beach will be better too.
Written by Cantin2 on 01 Mar, 2008
Valentin certainly didn't skimp on pools - although the pools have no view of the ocean, the design and landscaping make it very appealing to spend either part of or an entire day there.The main pool curves along past building four and five. There are…Read More
Valentin certainly didn't skimp on pools - although the pools have no view of the ocean, the design and landscaping make it very appealing to spend either part of or an entire day there.The main pool curves along past building four and five. There are lots of lounges set up around the pool and also on shallow ledges inside the pool. There are a few palapas and lots of trellissed areas to provide shade. Steps are located in many spots around the pool for easy access from anywhere.The landscaping here is lush and the pool design in interesting - an aqueduct with waterfalls at both ends, jacuzzis in the center of the pool, waterfountains, a bridge,two swim up bars and two snack bars that serve very limited food. Cocktail order are taken by very friendly waitresses and finger foods are passed aroun at lunchtime - beef and tuna skewers, onion rings, poppers, skewers of fruit and fried calamari. I did see a pizza menu, but never saw anyone eating any.What impressed me throughout the resort is the barware. Around the pool and beach they have quality acrylic glasses without a lip and in many shapes - depending on the drink ordered - margarita, tulip shaped, old fasioned, martini and champagne flutes. No plastic or styrofoam used here. Each colorful drink comes in its special glass with garnish.Daily activities are scheduled most every hour - stretching, aerobics, yoga, dancing, spanish class, water polo etc. Photographers will be happy to pose you with playful monkeys and colorful birds. You can also for a fee create a one of a kind ceramic souvenir or even have a relaxing massage by the pool.The sports activity pool is a non-descript rectangular pool set apart from the busy area so that it does not disturb guests not participating. More pools are set by the Golden Suites around the lagoon in buildings sic, seven and eight. The lowere floos are "swim out" with direct access to the pool from their patio. These pools are more quiet - no planned activities. There is a bar and a waited does provide lounge side service. As far as food in this area - you must order from room service and take it to the pool.The swim-up suites appeared to be booked by two or three couples travelling together. All on the ground floor with adjacent patios it was easy to congregate and even to spill out on padded chairs in the grassy area and enjoy what was an "almost private" pool of their own.Mayan Palace and Iberostar - neighbor hotels - both have woonderful pools. Valentin resort was not about to take second place to them. They've done a superb job in this category. Close
Written by kathyjohanna on 26 Jul, 2007
We rode the passenger ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. We arrived in Cozumel at the Muelle Fiscal dock, which is one block from the town’s main square. The trip took about 30 minutes and the round trip ticket was $16 a person. From…Read More
We rode the passenger ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. We arrived in Cozumel at the Muelle Fiscal dock, which is one block from the town’s main square. The trip took about 30 minutes and the round trip ticket was $16 a person. From the moment we stepped off the ferry we found ourselves among the hustle and bustle of Cozumel. There were crowds filling into the shops and restaurants, lots of traffic in the streets, and tourists everywhere. There were a few cruise ships docked in the island and a lot commotion everywhere.The island of Cozumel is 28 miles long and 11 miles wide. Driving a car was relatively easy (besides that we got stuck with a stick shift that looked as if it was 40 years old – so ask questions before renting). Outside of the city we followed the paved roads and make one big loop around the edge of the island (except the northern part due to hurricane destruction). The Eastern edge of the island is beautiful with aqua blue-green waves crashing into rocks, but not a place to swim. On the east side, civilization is far and few between. As we rounded the southern tip of the island we come to Punta Sur which is a nice place to stop (read review for more info). As we go up the western edge of Cozumel the island is much more urban with restaurants, huge resorts, crowded beaches, and boats cruising around in the water. The side of the island is the priciest place in Cozumel or the Riviera Maya we explored. Overall, we enjoyed Cozumel, but one day there was enough. The scenery was stunning (especially the west side), everything was more expensive than in Playa del Carmen. In addition, the crowds in Cozumel were significantly larger than in Playa. Close
Written by Cantin2 on 21 Sep, 2005
Unlike other all-inclusives that bill themselves as five-star, Iberostar does not have any full-service breakfast service breakfast or lunch venues.
Since the resort is so large, we chose to eat at the Lindo and Maya restaurants during our stay. Breakfast starts out gradually with coffee and…Read More
Unlike other all-inclusives that bill themselves as five-star, Iberostar does not have any full-service breakfast service breakfast or lunch venues.
Since the resort is so large, we chose to eat at the Lindo and Maya restaurants during our stay. Breakfast starts out gradually with coffee and pastries at 6am and expands to more and more foods, with chef-attended stations from 7 to 11am. There is no need to get up too early.
Maya's breakfast is served in La Marina, but Lindo has more options. The restaurant poolside nearest the beach, El Fogon, had continental breakfast, but this was certainly a mega-continental: eggs, bacon, cheese, sausage, meats, fruit, cereals, juices, and pastries is certainly more than Americans are used to for a continental breakfast. There was also a touch of Mexico with tacos, quesadillas, refried beans, and delicious hot chocolate. The kid’s section, displayed on a lower counter so that they can serve themselves, had pasta, chicken nuggets, individual cereal boxes, and fruit cut up into smaller portions.
The champion of buffets was served in the Lindo's buffet restaurant in the lobby building. It has a unique set-up - the permanent buffet stations are set up in a room adjacent to the dining area and are very large, two separate rooms with many stations. At night this becomes an Oriental full-service restaurant, Pagoda. The tables are linen-covered, you're seated by a hostess, and waiters serve beverages. It has a real restaurant feel without the bother of lines of people waiting at stations close to your table.
Everything imaginable is here: eggs cooked to order, freshly made pancakes, separate stations for pastries, rolls, fruit, vegetables, cheese, carved meats, Mexican specialties, even pasta, fish, and fried mozzarella, but the ones that seemed most popular were the donut stations where a chef continually fried donuts in a big pan and then frosted or sugar-coated them. Unfortunately, they looked better than they tasted. Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme have spoiled us.
A few mornings we decided to just sit for cappuccino and guess what??? We succumbed each time - after all, we're on vacation!!
Written by Cantin2 on 19 Sep, 2005
The beach shared by the four Iberostar resorts is one of the best around - It's about 1/2 mile long with soft fine sand and is very wide. The small amount of seaweed that washes ashore is continually cleaned.
A wooden walkway connecting all the hotels…Read More
The beach shared by the four Iberostar resorts is one of the best around - It's about 1/2 mile long with soft fine sand and is very wide. The small amount of seaweed that washes ashore is continually cleaned.
A wooden walkway connecting all the hotels is lined with a watersport bungalow, bocce and horseshoe courts, soccer court and at the far end, a jet ski rental and parasailing center. There are even a few palapas for massages. Windsurfing, kayaks, catamarans and snorkeling equipment is included in the price of your stay. Snorkeling, fishing and diving excursions can be arranged - banana boats rides, jetskis and parasailiing are also popular at an extra fee.
The water is crystal clear, aqua blue, and very warm. Bring along a floatee, noodle or inner tube for fun on the small rolling waves. There are lots of palapas along the entire length of the beach. Beautiful yellow lounge chairs and very few tables.
Bar service on the beach is sporadic, but there is never a wait at the bar. Being a five-star resort, I was surprised that name-brand liquor was not available at the beach or pool bars - only in the main lobby and specialty restaurants.
Topless sunbathing on the beach during our stay seemed primarily to be at the far southern end of the beach beyond the watersports building. The eight catamarans and 14 kayaks are in constant use when the sea is calm. Snorkeling equipment can only be used for one hour at a time or on a snorkeling trip arranged through the resort.
There is a roped-off section in the center of the beach for safe swimming without concern for boat traffic but you can choose to swim anywhere you want. There is a minimal amount of coral - no need for beach shoes. It can easily be avoided when entering the water.
There is all you need to spend the full day at the beach if you care to - the grill is self-service with at least three offerings daily in addition to nachos with salsa and cheese. Both the bar and grill serve from 11am to 5pm. There are rest rooms, showers and hourly activities to keep everyone busy and happy.