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Advice for upcoming trip to Cancun in January?

tartanwood

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Previously I've asked general questions about Cancun.

Now the actual trip is only a few weeks away in early January.

We will be staying 12 nights at Villa del Palmar Cancun and would appreciate advice specific to the resort.

Which building should we request?

What about All Inclusive? We did AI for all 7 days in Loreto last spring and it was worth it due to remote location. I know I don't want AI for all days in Cancun, but would it be worth it to try a 3-day package?

Dining recommendations when we are away from the resort?

Activity recommendations? We know we want to go to Chichén Itzá, so we'd like advice about tour options and also recommendations for other activities in the area.

All advice will be welcome.

Thank you!
 

nomadio

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Do a day trip to Isla Mujeres. Rent a golf cart and cruise around the island. Awesome beach next to the main commercial area. The ferry ride over is about 20 minutes. Isla is the anti-Cancun.
 

Slinger

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We have been to VDP twice in the last 12 months and very much enjoy the all inclusive. We like to relax and not be all over town on our vacations. So it fits our style. The food is pretty good if you ask me. Make sure you do both the steak house (make reservations) and the sushi place.

For activities I would check these parks out. We have had a blast.
www.xcaret.com
www.xplor.travel

As far as building, it's only one building basically a huge V. All rooms have relatively the same view. A higher floor will give you a better view of the ocean however.

Have fun! Wish we could go back that soon. Jealous of you. :)
 

bobpark56

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Snorkeling = Xel-Ha

If you like snorkeling, take a look at Xel-Ha. If it appeals to you, check out tours from Entertainment Plus, Canada transfers, and Solution Tours. Or drive, if you have a car.
 

buceo

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Yes to the ferry over to Isla Mujeres, you are right next to the ferry dock, Puerto Juarez. Also from there tour boats go to Isla Contoy, that is a natural park island about 15 miles further north. A great day if the boating weather is good. I have not stayed at VDP, but I think you are bit isolated from restaurants, so the AI might sound good. Yes to a few days with AI to start and decide later about the rest of the week. Have a great trip.
 

timesharejunkie4

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We were there last February and had a great stay. We will be going back in March. You will be very isolated.We ate about 1/2 of our meals at the resort and did not do AI as we are not big eaters and drinkers and it is not worth the $$. We went to the Walmart nearby and got some breakfast and lunch foods. We did not venture out much as I was recovering from an illness and was in a wheelchair. Fortunately, that should not be the case next time.
We did take the ferry to Isla Mujeres, rented a golf cart, enjoyed the sights and had lunch. It is well worth doing. We did drive down to Puerto Jaurez and saw there was a small ruin there. We did not get out to see it but will next time. There are also a few restaurants there which we will try. This upcoming trip we are planning to go to Xcaret for bird and wildlife viewing,
We have been to other resorts in Playa del Carmen several times which is closer to Xcaret and Xelha but have never gone. We used to scuba dive and the area is very good. If you like to snorkel, try finding a trip to the cenotes, they are one thing you will not see elsewhere. You can also see the ruins at Tulum.
There are tons of things to do if you don't mind traveling a bit. Have a great trip!
 

easyrider

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Previously I've asked general questions about Cancun.

Now the actual trip is only a few weeks away in early January.

We will be staying 12 nights at Villa del Palmar Cancun and would appreciate advice specific to the resort.

Which building should we request?

I like building 2 on an upper floor. My trip picture is of a one bed upper floor.

What about All Inclusive? We did AI for all 7 days in Loreto last spring and it was worth it due to remote location. I know I don't want AI for all days in Cancun, but would it be worth it to try a 3-day package?

If you do a three day minimum ai you can purchase this ai daily after the three days are up. We didn't do the ai but did have diner at the resort a couple of times. The kitchen is largish and there are all kinds of stores.

Dining recommendations when we are away from the resort?

We liked going to Isla Mujures. There are many restaurants.There is a restaurant about 2 miles south of the resort and one next door at the ferry terminal. There is a little place called La Pireta about 2 miles north past the resort. This gal has a swim-able beach and showers at her restaurant.

Activity recommendations? We know we want to go to Chichén Itzá, so we'd like advice about tour options and also recommendations for other activities in the area.

We drove to Chichenitza and stayed at Mayaland Resort. There is a restaurant and pool. The cool thing about staying at Mayaland Resort is you get to enter Chicheitza two hours before it opens to the general public. You also can do the night lighting of the temples and enter 40 minutes before the general public. The drive was easy. Its a toll road. We drove there on the toll road then took the highway back so that we could stop in and visit some of the cities and cenotes on the way back. It took about two hours to get there. If you take a tour it takes about 14 hours from VDP as this is the last drop.

All advice will be welcome.

Thank you!

Here is our 2012 trip.
http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162723

I would advise you on stopping along the way to the resort to purchase 5 liter bottles of water and a case or two of bottled water. The water at the resort has an odor and taste. If you cook with it you might taste it, its safe and you might get used to it, we did. Also note that some people have complained of a moldy odor in their room. Its not mold, its the sulfur content of the water. There were plans to fix this so it might not be a problem anymore. We are heading back this year so I hope so.:D

Bill
 

tartanwood

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A number of people recommend the ferry to Isla Mujeres which we definitely will do. Can anyone recommend "must try" restaurants or places to avoid on the island?

We also will check out Easyrider's suggestions for places within a couple of miles of the resort.

We don't plan to rent a car, so we will have to find tours or other ways to get around. Many years ago we stayed at the southern end of the hotel zone and used the public bus in that area. I doubt we will be going in the direction of the hotel zone this time, but we would like to see more of the main city.

We will be there during the first two weeks in January. Are we likely to encounter big crowds when we go to Chichen Itza? Since we won't be driving, can anyone recommend tour options? The Mayaland Resort sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how a stop there would fit into a tour.

Should we try to book tours online before we go or should we wait to book through the resort?

We appreciate all advice and may have even more questions as we get closer to the trip.
 

buceo

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By location from you and high on people's list including TA's are Peters and very near it, Locanda Paolo. The original downtown La Habichula is a place to go too. El Cejas at Mercado 28 is a good lunch place. The market area is interesting too, Mercado 23 though is a more enjoyable market area, imo. We tend to use the tours at the resort when we are there. I have booked in advance with outside vendors, but the resort does a good job, they'll even sometimes use other outside providers and waiting until you know your schedule, energy level, weather etc makes it all easier. We went late in the day to Chichen & stayed for the night show. We hired our own van and hired a guide once there. A lot of buses go, but the area is enormous.
 
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T-Dot-Traveller

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Transportation - local bus system - easy and cheap

since VDP is next to Puero Juarez ferry - you are on the R-1 bus line . It travels
on Lopez Portillo (180 on G maps) and turns on Ave Tulum (307 on G maps) .
and after going thru cento Cancun the R-1 takes Blvd Kukulcan past all the other TS resorts you have read info on . No need to take a cab .
We took it from the other end ( Club Regina /.Raintree ) which was about a 40 minute ride to Puerto Juarez ferry .

We got off R-1 where it turns onto Ave Tulum from Lopez P. and walked around
as there is lots of (local) shopping . We bought some groceries at a mid size grocery/ market that also had a money change facility that was about a block or two west on Lopez P. ( north side ) If you stay on the bus after it turns onto Ave Tulum it will go past Mercado 23 ( about a block in / away from getting off bus ) and the main ADO intercity bus terminal . I think there was a MacDonald's in this area which helped as a visual landmark. Note that not every R-1 heading back goes all the way to Puerto Juarez ( some seem to be " short turn ") On return make sure the R-1 says Puerto Juarez on the windshield or ask . <I think there is more than one bus company licensed for these routes as. there are variations in bus colour etc >.
You can take a ( intercity ) bus from the ADO terrminal to Playa del Carmen for about $ 6 USD ( cash only for tickets ) which we did as a day trip . The terminal in Playa del C . is a block from the beach .

Walmart & Mercado 28 are on the R-2 bus . The R-2 bus runs from Blvd Kukulican ( resorts ) into
Centro . However when coming from VDP / Puerto Juarez I am not sure how to connect from one bus line to the other ..You could walk or take a cab from Ave Tulem / near ADO bus terminal.

Isla Mujeres is great . We got off the ferry and walked to (go left ) Playa Norte and spent a couple hours on the beach ( took towels etc) and then walked around for an hour or so and then ate at an Italian restaurant ( owner originally from Italy ) for 600 pesos ( under $ 50 USD at the time / even less now)
We probably walked by 20 -30 great looking restaurants - everything from a bucket of beers and fish tacos for $ 10 to fancy enough to have one hour waits if you did not have a reservation . Many took credit cards
We did not rent a golf cart to tour the island but it looked like fun and could be a separate day trip . There is really no need to pay (extra ) for a tour - you can do it on your own and have more fun . Many of those going over from Puerto J Ferry. for the day are locals - it seems to be a " special date adventure " since the ferry is about $14 USD ( 1470 pesos / I think )round trip . This makes for more of a local flavour but in a very comfortable to any tourist way .

VDP is next to Puerto Juarez . The idea that it is isolated is based on a thought process that says resorts in Cancun should be near - The Outback Steak house , Ruth and Chris and a bunch of tourist bars on Blvd Kukulcan . Nothing wrong with Blvd K - and if that is were you want to be because of the bar action then ...... VDP is not nearby to that .

I had a great Tamale for 15 pesos while we waited to catch the R-1 bus back to Club Regina . The seller had a cooler full of them in the Oxxo parking lot a block from the ferry terminal .

Mexicans invented the " pop-up " restaurant before it became a foodie trend


Hope you enjoy it all
( we were there Feb 2015 / 8th trip to Mexico - first to the Cancun / RM area )
 
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tartanwood

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Thank you so much for the detailed information. We will find it useful as we explore the area.
 
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