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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

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AlbusPercival · 02/06/2019 18:55

Go to playa del Carmen

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sidsgranny · 02/06/2019 19:02

Just booked our 5th trip! Stay in Riviera Maya which is out of the main Cancun drag (that's the airport you will fly in to). Loads of hotels. We have stayed at Grand Palladium Kantenah and Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal - both twice. Playa del Carmen is 20/30 mins in a taxi (which the hotel will arrange) and has shops etc. Lots of great trips - Xel-ha, Xsenses, Xcaret. We love it!

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sidsgranny · 02/06/2019 19:03

Sorry, missed a big chunk of your original post. We have been twice during Feb half term - one year the weather was amazing, the 2nd year it was not as good. Last 2 times have been at Easter and weather has been great. There is a 5/6 hour time difference so the jet lag does hit (especially coming home to the UK) so if you could manage 14 days it would be better.

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sidsgranny · 02/06/2019 19:04

PM if you need to - am happy to answer as much as I can!

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Xyzzzzz · 02/06/2019 19:05

I booked via TUI and booked the moon palace in cancun in was amazing. Wish I went for longer than a week it was pricey but well worth the money imo. I’d go back

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Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername · 02/06/2019 19:05

Been many times, always AI , so can't help with the restaurants side. We booked with Thomson and saw the rep inside the hotel to book excursions. Did cenotes, Yucatan, Xel Ha, and Chichen itza. Beautiful sandy beachs all along the Cancun side. We stayed at the Riu hotels there, as it gives u access to the other Rius. Shopping centre opposite, and a larger mall further down the road

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Redandblue11 · 02/06/2019 19:07

Hi, it is an amazing place to holiday!!
My top suggestion is Tulum, or another place nearby is Akumel. The latter a bit smaller. Both very safe, blue pristine waters, snorkelling, ruins nearby.
There are plenty of places (local companies) that will take you on day trips to Coba (Mayan ruin), Chichen-Itzá (Mayan ruins), etc.
We went to a smaller hotel found thru air bnb , I would recommend that route to find cheaper accommodation as you have money guarantee (we had an issue in a separate holiday and air bnb refunded as we could not travel due to plane delays/cancellations).
Cancún itself is a lot more built up, the beaches are still amazing.
You can also stay in Isla Mujeres, lovely place.
I think is the perfect time of year Dec - April

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Hollowvictory · 02/06/2019 19:07

Don't go to cancun go to the riviera Maya, a bit further to Tulum , fly to cancun though. There are plenty non all inclusive hotels in Tulum, lots of boutique style places and eco lodges. We've been a few times with children it's fantastic. Go to xel-ha eco Park your teens will love it. 12 nights is fine.

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Halo84 · 02/06/2019 19:15

Many beaches in Mexico have sting currents, rip tides, and even rogue waves. Just keep note of that when visiting beaches.

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NicoAndTheNiners · 02/06/2019 19:20

Someone here recommended xcaret Occidental hotel which I've now booked for a holiday. Looks amazing, but not cheap.

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HavelockVetinari · 02/06/2019 19:22

YY to Riviera Maya, it's loads better than Cancun. Go to Xel Ha for sure!

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CoolShoeshine · 02/06/2019 19:23

Wow I just checked back to see if anyone had replied and so many replies thank you!
I think I have ruled out Cancun and will concentrate on Riviera Maya/Tulum and Playa del Carmen. I think I will change to Easter, thank you @sidsgranny as that sounds good weather-wise.
Hadn’t thought of Airbnb, thank you Redand blue, will give that a look.
All the trips and parks sound fabulous- why have I not considered going here before?

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CoolShoeshine · 02/06/2019 19:27

I really love the look of the Occidental hotel but would be too pricey for 12 nights - maybe we could do a couple of nights there and the rest elsewhere. Do you get free access into the water parks at that hotel or have to pay extra?
What’s the public transport like there? Can you get buses or trains to other resorts or does everyone do organised excursions?

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NicoAndTheNiners · 02/06/2019 19:42

I think you get one free entry into xcaret park but not 100% sure.

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NicoAndTheNiners · 02/06/2019 19:44

And from the Occidental hotel you either pay for a private taxi somewhere, so maybe about $15 Into playa del Carmen.

Or if you walk to the main road there are shuttle mini buses going up and down between Playa and Tulum and you can flag one down. I think the Occidental is a 15-20 min walk from the road though so might just do taxis.

We've booked a tour to Coba.

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Redandblue11 · 02/06/2019 20:08

Public transport ok but not great. We hired taxis and sometimes a driver for the day, thru our accommodation host. Very reasonable. We have the driver a good tip at the end as they might not get enough.

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Hollowvictory · 03/06/2019 12:40

Occidental has a small man made beach.
Op one thi g to warn you about is that they are having some problems with seaweed on that coast at the moment.
Akumal is fab for snorkeling with turtles we saw 12 in an hour
Get taxis the prices are set.
Trios can be v expensive, entry fees are high.

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SJane48S · 03/06/2019 19:04

We stayed at the Occidental on Cozumel - it was a bit cheaper than the mainland one from memory, probably because you need to get the ferry over! I liked Cozumel - seemed more peaceful & far less built up than Playa del Carmen & we hired a jeep to bomb around the island. I really liked the hotel - it was AI though which isn't my favourite & we were the only Brits there. Tulum was nice - if we went back, I'd stay there in an independent hotel there. We went in April & the weather was fanrastic. We did combine it with a stay in Mexico City so we got a bit of Mexican culture & history in too!

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SummerSazz · 03/06/2019 21:35

We stayed at Akumal Bay hotel - was a bit smaller than some others on the Riviera Maya but we loved it. 1km walk into Akumal town. We saw turtles laying eggs, turtles hatching and swimming in the sea. We were there in August and was £6k for 4 for 2 weeks to including flights with extra legroom seats (through Thomas Cook).

We went to Xcaret, Tulum Mayan village (right on the coast) and one in the jungle I can't recall the name of now. Flew into Cancun.

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64632K · 03/06/2019 21:44

Flew into Cancun and stayed in Akumal, gorgeous place, its near Playa Del Carmen for all the shops and restaurants, near Tulum for sight seeing. We went to Xoximilico which was absolutely amazing, very different! Ek Balam was well worth it too. Plenty of Xenotes to explore.

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pintsizedblondie · 08/06/2019 21:15

I personally wouldn't go to Mexico if you are after a beach holiday. I'm here now in Playa Del Carmen and they are having a huge problem with sargassum. They have 2 diggers and men in the water shovelling it out constantly but it still isn't helping and the stench is foul. We really wish Tui had made us aware before our holiday and given us the opportunity to change destination.

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Hollowvictory · 09/06/2019 11:37

Yes the seaweed has been an issue for a few years now

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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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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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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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