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Old 12-07-2017, 02:56 PM
Location: Atlanta
3,201 posts, read 3,195,476 times
Reputation: 2026


Next week will actually be my first trip to Playa del Carmen (3 nights) and Cancun (5 nights).

A few questions:

Any recommendations on places to eat in both spots? I love tacos, tostadas, desserts, healthy options. In PDC I won't be in a resort. In Cancun I will be but I might venture out once or twice.

Any recommendations on a place for a massage in PDC or Cancun?

Is it true I should avoid leaving the resort as it could get dangerous (I'm a solo female traveler and tend to venture out)?

Anyone been in early December before and can comment on the weather? 80 degrees does not seem that hot and I pray I can get in the ocean during the day (not sure what the ocean temp will be). Rain is forecast for several days too I didn't think December was rainy season....?

Any "must do" activities? Only thing I was thinking was Chichen Itza as this will pretty much be a relax on the beach type of trip.

What are my best options for transporation to/from the hotel? Shuttle? I don't want to pay a taxi and not sure if Uber is there if it's safe. What about getting from my hotel in PDC to my hotel in Playa del Carmen-any recommendations?

What is my cheapest bet for withdrawing money? The ATM at the resort will be outrageous with the fees. Should I get pesos in my home airport or Cancun airport upon arrival?

Anyone stay at Secrets the Vine hotel in Cancun? If so I'd love to know how you liked it. Do I have to listen to the timeshare sale upon arrival? I realllly don't want to do that. Also, if you stayed here did you have to pay any resort fees? I understand there are no fees (unless you get a bottle or charge something to the room or something like that). I've never done the all inclusive thing before. Just want to be sure I'm not surprised with anything extra upon checkout.

Any other additional tips or pointers are for a first time visitor are appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:28 PM
Location: Upland, CA
3,661 posts, read 6,482,326 times
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Don't get Pesos at the Airport, I don't think the ATM at the hotel will be that bad.. Also, most of the resorts will exchange at the front desk.

My favorite company to use for tours and excursions is called Local Quickies.. A couple of other people I have referred to them have come back raving. We did one where we went swimming with sea turtles, went to lunch at a super local joint, went to Tulum, and went cenote snorkeling (which I highly recommend)

December can be rainy but my experience has been that it moves on pretty quickly (you never know though)

You can easily find a massage on the beach for cheap.

You can usually go on tripadvisor to find a shuttle service. The hotel may offer or refer a service as well.

I don't believe that resort is a mandatory time share one.. If they offer, just decline, or just don't show up.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:10 AM
Location: NoVa
2,125 posts, read 2,909,278 times
Reputation: 2929
I actually prefer Cancun to PDC in terms of things to do and ease of transportation. I remember when we first went there we barely even spent time at the beach or ate at the hotel zone restaurants because we're too busy exploring. We rented a beachfront condo at the time so we had to go out to buy food, etc.

Keep in mind we are city people so we love going to markets / fairs and eat local food at hole in tbe wall places and Cancun has that in abundance.

There's a waterfront hut at the hotel zone that has killer fish tacos, across the street from Cancun Plaza hotel. The place barely has a sign and you have to go down a flight of stairs to the lagoon level. When we ate there our fellow diners were mostly cab drivers and local families looking for excellent and affordable food.

Then another memorable evening was the one we spent at Parque La Palapa in downtown Cancun. We were there by accident, looking for a restaurant without GPS and only a written direction that I scribbled down off internet before we left. Needless to say we got lost and we saw this park getting ready for some night activities and tons of food vendors lined up the edges of the park. So we decided to stop and enjoyed our surrounding. The local band was playing, I ordered a chicken mole from one of the food vendors and my husband had one of the best flans he's ever had from another food vendor. We had a blast!

Some restaurants inside Mercados 28 and 23 are worth trying too. I had one of the freshest chicharrones and spicy pork from a food vendor selling out of her push cart inside mercado 23.

For proper restaurant on Cancun hotel zone, the place where we caught the ferry to Isla Mujeres served excellent seafood ceviche and grilled fish. Plus the view of caribbean sea from the restaurant was really breathtaking!

For airport transfer we always used USA transfer but be prepared for a little chaos when you arrive.
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:23 AM
Location: Durham, NC
2,536 posts, read 8,122,145 times
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In PDC, I highly recommend El Fogon for a fantastic traditional Mexican mean and La Famiglia for some awesome Italian. Reservations recommended for La Famiglia. I also recommend a stop in Puerto Morelos for a great seafood meal on the beach at La Playita.
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:29 AM
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We had a very nice dinner at Cafe Sofia in PDC, on the road out of town. Mostly locals.
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:31 PM
Location: Tampa
285 posts, read 296,015 times
Reputation: 305
Consider taking the ferry to Cozumel from PDC. Nice snorkeling (and diving if you're certified). Chichén Itzá is a bit of a drive, but Tulum is great and is right on the ocean.

Anyone traveling abroad should consider having a checking account that reimburses for ATM fees. I have a separate one for just that purpose through Charles Schwab. Something to consider in the future.
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:19 AM
Location: Seattle
1,756 posts, read 1,013,777 times
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From Cancun take a day trip to Isla Mujeres, beautiful and historic.
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