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Top trips & tips for Riviera Maya?

(11 Posts)
zeebee Fri 24-Jul-15 13:39:38

I am befuddled by lots of different reviews etc on what to see & do once we get there. There are 6 of us (DC 4 - 12) so need to budget wisely as some of the places seem £££ eg Xcaret, Xplor. Your advice is very welcome, this is a v big holiday for us so want to make the most of it.

Are the expensive places to visit worth it? Is easy/advisable to hire a driver once out there and does this work out cheaper? I think we can get to Akumal easily ourselves to try and snorkel with turtles. Also wondered about visiting some of Tulum ruins, Coba, monkey place, couple of cenotes. DD1 also wants to swim with dolphins - but certainly not in a dolphinarium so not sure if that's possible. (Would look into animal welfare).

We're staying in a big hotel just north of Tulum at the end of August for 2 weeks. Any recommendations for private airport transfers also gratefully received.

Many thanks.

Heels99 Fri 24-Jul-15 14:56:00

Hi lucky you been to tulum twice its fab. Yes excursions are expensive xel-ha is amazing a fabulous day out but not cheap. Yes akumel is great you will get more out of it if you hire a snorkel guide, we saw loads of turtles, rays etc. Cenotes are everywhere. Ruins at tulum very hot and our guide at the ruins wasn't very good but stunning locati. Coba you can walk up so may be a good option if you want to do some of the main ruins but expect youngkids to get bored and hot. xplor the 4 year old be too young for.
Have a great time!

zeebee Sun 26-Jul-15 11:24:00

Thanks heels99 all good to know. How easy is it to get to the cenotes if you don't have a car? First time in a long while we are on a package holiday and without a car. Thanks again.

Tagetes Sun 26-Jul-15 11:41:39

There are minibuses called collectivos which go up and down the 307 highway between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen - we stayed midway between the two and it cost 40 pesos (about £2) in either direction.

Frequent (although they cost a bit more and run less often late evening - they run until about midnight), safe and fun and will pick up/drop off at all the resort hotels, tourist attractions and cenotes en route - just tell the driver where you want to go, and stick your hand up for them to stop. The only scary thing is having to cross the dual carriagway if you are on the wrong side!

Siennasun Sun 26-Jul-15 15:25:15

We booked a tour when we stayed in pdc a couple of years ago. They picked us up early, went straight to the ruins at Tulum, then did some snorkelling in a censote, amazing picnic at the beach on Tulum, then we had an unscheduled stop on the way back at a gorgeous river/lagoon for more snorkelling. Saw loads of fish, a turtle and baby cayman.
There was about 8 people on the tour plus driver and guide - they were mostly Canadian and all really nice - guess that's just luck tho. The guide was great. It was the best day we had in Mexico.
We also went to Isla mujeres

Siennasun Sun 26-Jul-15 15:28:55

Oops posted too soon.
Got bus to cancan then collectivo, then ferry to isla mujeres. It was nice but not really worth the time and effort to get there!
If we go back with DS id book another organised tours - we booked with yucatreks,as they can take you to stuff you would never know about if you do it by yourself.

Siennasun Sun 26-Jul-15 15:37:54

*caiman blush

zeebee Tue 28-Jul-15 10:51:30

Thanks tagetes and siennasun. We are all very excited and want to make the most of it but still havelazy days at the pool/beach. Dolphins been mentioned again.....

Trickydecision Fri 31-Jul-15 17:52:07

We absolutely loved Xplor, despite my near death experience on the Zipline. The zippy bits were fine, but at one stage you are forced to go down a long twisty waterslide - not my thing at all. Somehow at the end I managed to plummet into deep water, rapidly sank because you keep the disconnected harness on, and had to be hauled out by DH and DS1. I was fine once I had puked up what seemed like gallons of water. General merriment from the DGCs.

However, swimming and paddling on floats in the vast network of underground caverns, driving the all terrain cars (and DH getting us stuck in another underground lake) were just fantastic. Free smoothie bars at various places, excellent included lunch. Save money by not buying the expensive photos on the memory stick. The day was on the dear side but totally worth every peso.

You are right to be very concerned about the welfare of dolphins in the dolphinariums.

QOD Fri 31-Jul-15 18:20:57

I was at xcaret just 3 weeks ago.
"Like a bit of paradise. Not enough time though given on the the organized trip. We arrived at around 10am and picked up 4.30- next ti,e we will get our own transport back. We did 2 of the extra activities and again, will pre book as there was a long queue,.

There are no maps handed out so take the one you get when you book!
We were late for both experiences as we were just lost

The under ground tunnels you snorkel throug are long, the water is cold, lots of whinging children and if you can't swim, perhaps don't do it ... You do wear a buoyancy jacket, flippers and snorkel but some people really struggled.
It took a long time, you go right across the park
It was utterly beautiful, the only downside was time. We had no time to simply relax and absorb. It's all a learning experience and we will go back"

zeebee Mon 03-Aug-15 22:11:45

Thank you. Tricky think I would probably mirror you!! Apologies for snorting at your prose.,
Sounds like both Xplor & Xcaret are as fab as they seem. But for our sanity, given the younger ones, maybe Xcaret would be a better bet....

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