Talk to me about Mexico, yucatan pininsula!

(51 Posts)
ihatethecold Sat 23-Mar-13 11:19:48

I have been looking at going to Riviera Maya with my family, me dh and 2 kids 13 and 10.

It looks so lovely there but when i read some of the reviews on tripadvisor i start to get put off the accomodation/resorts.

It wont be cheap to go there and im worried i will have worked my arse off for a year to save up for it and it will be a bit pants.

The scenery looks amazing, ive no doubts about that, just the resorts.

anyone got any recommendations for families.

sannaville Thu 11-Apr-13 20:57:49

Springlamb is there a beach restaurant there or a beach bar to get drinks? Also is there a kids disco in the early evening ? Thank you! Looking forward to going! We are going to visit Xcaret, Chichen Itza, Akumel for the turtles, and do a bit of shopping somewhere!

springlamb Thu 11-Apr-13 21:17:07

Oh yes yes and yes.
Each of the 3 sections has its own buffet restaurant, its own selection of a la cartes (you will probably be entitled to 2 a la carte meals a week with your package) and also a lobby bar and beach bars/restaurants and there are also a couple of small bars around the beach area. Maybe take in a pina colada or margarita at the Swing Bar on the Akumal section beach, I have seen many people swinging away there, and I mean like sitting on the swings and swinging). Each section also has a 24 hour restaurant/bar although I think alcohol may be restricted between midnight and 9am now. Remember you can use any of these bars and restaurants for whatever meal you like. The shuttles whizz you around, it's about 5 minutes between the sections. There is a large Hacienda at the main gate with lots of shops and Playa del Carmen is about half an hour away for more shopping.
The small town of Akumal Playa is where the turtles lurk and that's about 5 minutes away by cab, you can take a guided snorkel trip from there or just go in independently. You can hire bouyancy vests from the Akumal Dive Shop there on the beach and have a good meal at the Lol Ha.
There's sometimes confusion about where the turtles are, the 3 sections of the hotel are named after 3 local towns, the turtles are to be found at the town beach not the resort Akumal section beach (although lots of tropical fish are there). I saw green turtles almost immediately at Akumal Playa and also a little ray in about 10ft of water there.
All sections have kids club and there is a kids disco each evening at each section, but you can also dip into entertainment anywhere on the resort too.
It's lovely and although I wouldn't venture into Cancun central independently, on the whole the people are great and friendly and you feel safe.
Oh god, I'm starting to flex the credit card...

sannaville Fri 12-Apr-13 07:02:30

Amazing thanks for that springlamb really helpful x

sannaville Fri 12-Apr-13 07:08:14

Sorry forgot to add I read its nest to get to beach with turtles early in morn to avoid crowds, any idea if the dive centre there is open fairly early for life jacket hire? Can't wait to go now! Hope weather good in august

BellaVita Fri 12-Apr-13 07:26:25

sann, when visiting Chichen Itza, make sure you wear hats. Try and go on a day that will promise a bit of rain in the afternoon. It is very very hot. DS1 had a touch of sunstroke after, nothing that a day in bed the next day didn't sort, but obviously you don't want your holiday spoiled. When booking, do the luxury tour one (means an air conditioned coach) and they will also a continental breakfast and cooling drinks. When I finally getting back on our coach for the journey home, we were given lovely cold flannels to freshen up with.

Our hotel had turtle enclosures on the beach and we were lucky enough to see some hatch and let some go too.

Never heard of a BBD springlamb, I will go google.

springlamb Fri 12-Apr-13 14:55:06

There are lots of boats coming along the coast (there is one also from the resort beach) and the snorkellers go in from the boats. The dive centre also run their own boat trips from the beach. But I've never seen it so packed that it was not enjoyable. Sometimes it's useful to watch and discreetly follow the guides as they know where the interesting stuff is. The dive centre opens quite early and will fit you with bouyancy aids and snorkels. I'd advise aids for adults too, although the water is generally very calm, it means you can stay in longer and also gives you two hands to help kids and adjust snorkels etc. Take your hotel beach towels with you as it is a public beach so no sunbeds, although you can hire sunbeds from the dive centre and set them up in their small reserved area. Have a look at the bay on locogringo's webcam (which is mounted on the Lol-Ha's wall). Many a time I have stood waving at it whilst texting family in the UK to get on the internet and see me!
In August I'd advise doing your excursions as early as possible anyway. When you go to Xcaret, don't get rushed into the secret river ride immediately, save it for a little later as it is a lovely way to cool down, much of it is through lovely white-stone tunnels and lush groves and the water is quite cool. The kids will have bouyancy aids supplied for this too so you can all just float along through the noonday sun.
Bella is quite right about Chitchen Itza, and also the Tulum ruins if you are visiting. They are really really hot.
OK, I am googling prices for October as DD's new secondary school has very odd holidays and she gets a fortnight then. Stop me now as I cannot afford it.

sannaville Fri 12-Apr-13 20:07:48

Thanks spring and Bella that's really helpful! Haha do it spring book now! We got a great deal with virgin

Me again, what's the best currency to take? I usually take half cash half travellers cheques, what would you recommend? Thanks

springlamb Mon 22-Apr-13 10:41:43

Gosh that was good timing wasn't it.
Exchange rates say take pesos, but by golly they are fiddly and I find it difficult to work out how much things are. You will find everywhere readily accepts USD, try to get smaller denominations as if you decide to tip, one or two dollars is perfectly sufficient. (You might decide to leave a dollar for your room attendant if they do some lovely towel art for you, or a dollar in your fridge for extra chocolate, or leave a dollar for very good service at the buffet or bar, but you don't have to tip).
Reception will exchange money and there's an ATM in each lobby and also one down at the Hacienda. I believe there's a HSBC in the town of Tulum but can't swear to it.
Don't forget you have exit tax to pay on your way back and I think it has to be paid in pesos, so put it aside in an envelope!

That's fab thanks will take us dollars and enough pesos for the tax!

suburbophobe Mon 22-Apr-13 14:36:51

I went to Yucatan with my then about 17-year-old, it was great. We stayed in Playa del Carmen which has a nice evening vibe on the 5th Avenue. Good beach too.
We went to Cozumel for a day for his scuba diving, the ferry is lovely but for me I found it a bit boring. Only place to hang out was a beach club (the town is not much going on).

We went to Chichen Itza, Tulum (you can get on to the -very small - beach from there, so take bathing stuff) and Coba, which has only been excavated about 5% so very "jungly", it's the only pyramid you can still climb up and you can rent bikes to cycle around, it's so big - they also have rickshaws.

We were there in August but I don't particularly remember a fierce heat (but I'm well-travelled....).

Perfect opportunity for your kids to get to know about the Mayan culture

Oh, and the food is to die for! grin

I'd go back any time too.

BellaVita Mon 22-Apr-13 22:17:38

Last year we took the majority of our spends in pesos and about $300 dollars. This year we will take all pesos. I did feel sorry for the lady in M&S who had to count them all out for me grin

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 24-May-13 21:55:50

bumping for MarshmallowFarm smile

Got another question!!! When we go swimming with turtles at akumal beach does the hotel run boat trips to akumal beach? Thinking of doing a boat trip there rather than getting taxi and will the boat trip provide life jackets etc? Will be taking my 9 year old with me smile

Also we would like to sample real Mexican food would it be quite safe for us to venture out of the hotel complex and go to a nearby local restaurant? Within walking distance? Thanks

Heather100 Fri 31-May-13 22:31:20

I have been to Mexico twice with the family, it's fantastic. Stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe both times. Coba first time & Akumal second time. Couldn't fault it. Extremely clean & well maintained and very safe. Private beach. Fantastic.

Heather100 Fri 31-May-13 22:34:26

Yes the hotel does a turtle snorkelling trip it's awesome & yes closes place to go is Puerto Del Carmen fantastic day out or evening looooads of restaurants and the most beautiful beach, about 45 mins away but well worth a trip

Heather100 Fri 31-May-13 22:36:32

Nowhere in walking distance! It's a taxi to puerto del carmen, totally worth a day/evening out the bars, restaurants, shopping & entertainment

Great thanks heather how far is PDC from gran Bahia roughly? Many thanks for info that's great can't wait to go!

Heather100 Sat 01-Jun-13 10:04:28

It's about 45 mins in a taxi, but it's a nice drive you get to see all the hotels & a little culture. There taxis at the resort however they will charge you a fortune. If you walk up to the resort entrance there are big people carrier taxis that stop for you they stop all along the hotels and people get in and out $3 a person and they go to and from PDC all day & all night

That's fab thanks so much

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 02-Jun-13 11:14:24

Heather do you mean Playa del Carmen? Never heard of Puerto del Carmen...

Heather100 Sun 02-Jun-13 12:25:35

Sorry yes I mean Playa.

Puerto del Carmen is lanzarote lol smile

HollaAtMeBaby Tue 04-Jun-13 21:56:49

It's not that bad! You just need to get off the main pedestrianised tourist strip. The people carrier taxis that drive between there and Akumal are a cultural experience in themselves...

Spring lamb I have another question smile what travel adaptor will I need? I know it's the flat prong one but is it two prong or the 'earthed' 3 prong. Also I read that the plugs are recessed into the wall making it difficult to plug chargers in with some sort of adaptor (unless they were perhaps Americans talking who didn't have an adaptor anyway perhaps) .

Any issues with plugs before I go that I need to know as need to be able to charge phone and iPad, than youuuuu

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