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Welcome to Mumsnet's holiday forum. Discuss all international travel here, including both shorthaul and longhaul trips. Related topics: UK holidays & day trips, skiing, camping & campervans.

Please tell me all about Mexico
47

CoolShoeshine · 02/06/2019 18:54

I’ve got a real hankering to do a family beach holiday with our 2 teens in Mexico (east coast, Cancun etc) None of us have ever been before and I’m very clueless so I’m totally open to tips and suggestions!
Some things I’d like to know a bit more about:
We’d like to be near a beautiful sandy beach and also a town with plenty of shops and restaurants for tourists that is lively but not too rowdy and most importantly feels safe - where would be a good place to base ourselves? And what airport would we arrive at? Would it be worth moving between two resorts?
We’d like to do some day trips, are there plenty of companies offering them? Mayan ruins, jungle wildlife, cenotes, water parks, Cozumel etc.
The big all inclusive resorts look wonderful but incredibly pricey- are there some slightly more basic hotels about which are still nice? Is it easy to find places to eat if you aren’t all inclusive?
Is February a good time of year to go and would 12 nights be sufficient? Any tips for getting good value flights?
Thank you for your help Smile

OP's posts:
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SJane48S · 25/08/2019 16:31

@ilovesooty we went to Mexico City about 11 years ago now (so things might have changed) before going on to Cozumel. It’s an absolutely huge city which you only grasp when you are flying over it! I liked it - it’s built directly over the old Aztec city, some of which is being excavated. The Spanish used really heavy dark stone & as the Aztec built their city on a swamp, many of the older Spanish buildings are slowly sinking. The Zocolo (biggest square, where the Cathdral and government buildings are) is impressive and various of the bars have rooftops that give you a great view over it. The Palace in the square has a series of Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s over half) murals on the history of Mexico which are great. It’s a funny place, at points I felt like I was in a Spanish city but just with very different looking people. I liked the Zona Rosa (the bohemian/LGBT friendly area) for a wander and a shop. The National Museum of Anthropology was really interesting with lots of exhibits from the Aztec and Mayan era’s - very bloodthirsty cultures! I’m glad we went and didn’t just sit on loungers for 2 weeks but my DH would have been happier in the loungers - he thought it was dirty, very polluted and smelt of fried street food (which to be honest it did, if Mexico City had a smell it would be fatty corn oil!). It felt pretty safe walking around in the daytime in the centre of the city but we did drive through some very very dodgy neighbourhoods I wouldn’t want to go into day or night.

Hope some of this helps - to sum up, worth a couple of days!

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ComeTheFuck0nBridget · 24/08/2019 17:41

We've been to Riviera Maya a few times. When we've priced it up, we usually find the flights cost almost as much as an AI holiday on their own, so we generally book the AI and then just go out and about as we like to restaurants etc. Taxis are fairly cheap or there is a local bus service (though in reality theyre just a mini van) to get you about very easily.

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SleepingIsOverrated · 24/08/2019 16:19

We went to Riviera Maya in April
and it was hands down the best holiday we've ever had. Have a fabulous time OP

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Loopytiles · 24/08/2019 16:14

Really disliked Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Bad atmosphere, hostility towards tourists. This was many years ago though.

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ilovesooty · 24/08/2019 16:10

I'm considering a trip to Mexico City and Puebla. Can anyone offer any ideas on that? Thanks in advance!

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AlpenCrazy · 24/08/2019 16:00

Whale shark trip about $160-180 per person. Minivan to Cancun and then speedboat for about an hour to whale shark feeding ground. Also highly recommend a tour to Sian Ka'an - again speedboats, we saw turtles, crocodiles and dolphins galore, plus snorkelled and chilled in the most stunning turquoise sea.

Collectivo is a local minivan, like a bus.

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Samanabanana · 24/08/2019 14:24

We went in July a few years ago, stayed at the Karisma Seaside Suites near Tulum. Wasn't impressed with the hotel at all (even though it was top rated!) but the area was lovely. Beware of the seaweed- it's seasonal as far as I am aware and we visited at its peak! I would definitely go back to Mexico, I would just do better hotel research first.

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Rivkka · 24/08/2019 14:18

Also, what's a collectivo? Blush

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Rivkka · 22/08/2019 18:38

And if so was it £££?

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Rivkka · 22/08/2019 18:38

Ooh whale sharks sound fab. Was that a boat trip?

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AlpenCrazy · 22/08/2019 13:57

In answer to your other q it is v easy to get collectivos along the highway - they run very regularly from Tulum up to Playa del Carmen. We got one the other day with the kids and it was cheap, safe, reliable and air conditioned!

So to the pp who said you can't get around unless on an organised tour - have you tried setting foot outside your hotel?! It's dead easy.

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AlpenCrazy · 22/08/2019 13:15

I'm here now and it's fabulous!

Please choose your trips wisely. There's an odd attitude to eco tourism here, with sea turtles well protected but many other sea creatures eg dolphins kept in captivity for paying guests pleasure.

It's perfectly possible to boycott these places (Xel ha, Xcaret etc ) and find trips that allow you to instead appreciate these magnificent creatures in the wild.

We are with teens and the wildlife has been the highlight - raccoons, coatis, agoutis, iguanas (everywhere!!), sea turtles, whale sharks, dolphins, and hoping to see crocodile and manatee today!

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jacala · 15/08/2019 10:52

*have

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jacala · 15/08/2019 10:51

We're booked to go to Playa Del Carmen next Easter with TUI, staying at the Riu Tequila - it's not directly on the beach but the Riu Yucatan and Playacar are and you can use those hotels too. All 3 get great reviews on Trip Advisor and half closed Facebook pages

We've paid £1600 each for 2 weeks flying from Gatwick. Can't wait!

Hope you find somewhere amazing!

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MrsTWH · 14/08/2019 15:54

We just got back from riviera maya and loved it! We stayed in the Azul Fives all inclusive - great beach, lovely pools, fab food. Went into Playa Del Carmen a couple of times for drinks/dinner. Did lots of excursions and day trips to Tulum, snorkelling, Coba, Xcaret, etc. Seaweed is a problem but there were always people out clearing it so it didn’t affect us at all.

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blackistheneworange · 14/08/2019 00:22

Currently at the Iberostar Paraiso Beach on the Riviera Maya coast and it's stunning. Was worried about the sargassum but it's not been a problem so far and they clean the beaches daily.

This was from earlier today...

Please tell me all about Mexico
Please tell me all about Mexico
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hellenbackagen · 19/07/2019 00:02

Eldorado seaside suites and spa.

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sidsgranny · 16/07/2019 22:20

Which hotel were you at Hellenbackagain?

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JustLikeJasper · 14/07/2019 22:39

If i hadn't sat on a plane for 10 long hours I wouldn't have guessed i was in mexico! Nothing outstanding about the place food average and beach/sea totally unusable due to the awful seaweed!

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hellenbackagen · 14/07/2019 22:28

Just back from
Riveria maya and first time ever can say absolutely hated it.

Sargassium - state of emergency declared whilst there. Beaches unusable. Sea like a swamp.

Our resort was meant to be 5* AI
And bollocks was it
We both got ill but I got so ill needed resort docs and injections in my arse

Only cost $725 dollars tho

Couldn't eat or drink for 5days

Hygiene extremely questionable. Loads of people got ill in resort.

Sundress were shite and broken.
Bali beds sheets weren't changed while we stayed - I know because we got same one daily and we laid in our own sand /cream/filth.

Just put complaint in to tui so I'll see where I get ( but at 5k plus £250 tips it was an expensive mistake)
I won't go back to Mexico.

Staff/people were lovely. Only redeeming feature.

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MotherOfDragons90 · 10/07/2019 18:59

I stayed in Akumal Bay in March this year and it was gorgeous, I’ve never seen sea so blue and the snorkelling was absolutely unreal. As other posters have said though the seaweed was a bit of a problem, worse on some days than others and the staff at our hotel worked hard to clear it but it wasn’t always the picturesque coast I imagined.

Did day trips to Xel Ha and Chichen Itza which is were very enjoyable.

Weather in March was mostly really lovely and sunny with the odd shower although in Akumal it was WINDY.

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LiliesAndChocolate · 05/07/2019 05:00

I would go to Playa del Carmen or further down towards Tulum.
The riviera maya beaches are not very pleasant if you want to swim into the ocean as sea vegetation makes it more like trying to swim in a field of high grass. And because nobody swims , boats come very near the beach.

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Sp1nningAr0und58 · 05/07/2019 04:44

Stayed at Occidental xcarat
You have to pay extra to go to the water park next door
Nowhere to walk to a town at night next to hotel
However, get taxi to Playa del Carmen small town for shops, restaurants
We went on trips to Chitcheniza, Tulum, Coba, cenotes
Take US dollars for tips

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timeforawine · 26/06/2019 16:16

Occidental Xcaret is lovely, you can pay for unlimited Xcaret tickets which we did for our 2 weeks, great value, they also have a booking desk exclusively for park trips, we didnt go though as our daughter is only 2, but she loved what she did in Xcaret.
My friend has raved about the other parks though.
Tulum ruins i was less impressed by but loved Chichen Itza, though from Occidental it is about a 2hr 45 coach journey.
There was a lot of seaweed some days but the staff and guests were super at scooping it out.

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Sosayi · 14/06/2019 11:19

If you do consider Cancun I can reccomend the Rui Caribe for your teens beautiful beach and hardly any seaweed and great location as not where all the nightlife is
I’ve stayed there at least 4 times and never had a bad holiday
I’ve also stayed at the Beach Palace and the Live Aqua and although they are better in terms of luxury I prefer the Rui Caribe as it’s beach is one of the best ones for hotels in Cancun

All the rooms have sea views , free Wi-fi that extends to beach and easy access to everywhere via the buses.

And you can also go to the other Rui hotels of the same level if you get bored So Rui Cancun and the Rui hotels in Playa Del Carmen
Depending on the ages of your teens they will possibly find Riveria Maya a bit boring

I know a lot of people have the idea that Cancun is party central and it can be like that especially at Spring break time but it can also be a very chilled out place as well

You also have easy access by ferry to isla mujeres which is gorgeous and well worth doing
The Liverpool 1 shopping area is great with loads of shops and some fantastic restaurants and the marina where there are a few restaurants overlooking the marina

The buses are great 10 pesos will take you anywhere anytime of the day
Plus all the trips you can do in the other areas you can do from Cancun


I’ve been to Riveria Maya and didn’t like it because I found unless you go on organised trips or hire a car your pretty much stuck in your resort there is nowhere to go for an evening walk
Playa Del Carmen is nicer as you have the majority of the hotels behind a gated complex but anyone can enter and you can walk to 5th Ave where all the bars and shops and restaurants are and get the ferry to Cozumel
If it’s mainly a beach resort you want then Riveria Maya is fine
But if you want to be able to go out walking around get on the local buses then Playa Del Carmen or Cancun is better

I wouldn’t reccomend doing Air N B or doing it independtly unless you have been before or speak a little bit of Spanish

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