It's very possible that 1 of 10 locals will give you a good deal. In our case, we took a recent trip to cancun and went to Isla de las Mujeres, and although fun at first, we quickly found out we were victims of groping and then money snatchers. When you head to Juarez on the R1 get off the first exit where the big boats take off. There is a tower there. The second stop was where we got off. We paid like 350 pesos and the boat was very small. There were mainly other mexicans on there and the two guides. Overall about 12 of us. It took 20-30 minutes to get to the island, by the time we got there, we were completely soaked. We got off in the downtown area and looked around for a while, then we got back on and headed to a snorkeling area. This is when I noticed something suspicious, the guide was eyeing my bag. They kept trying to find out more about us. They really forced us to snorkel and eventually we did. The place we stopped was not deep, one guy stayed back with the children and then the other one guided us towards the nearby rocks where there was coral reefs. He said he had to take us one by one around the rock so he can be sure we were all safe. He chose me as the first one, when we went around I quickly noticed he started feeling me below my waist. He pulled me close to his crotch. I pushed off him. He said he was trying to give me an experience, I said in spanish 'that's not the experience I'm looking for.' Before I knew it we were around the corner and I just started swimming away, but he still came and grabbed me by my waist. Immediately after he went for my friend and got her to go with him before I could tell her anything. She too swam away from him, and we quickly headed back to where the boat was. The others eventually did too. By then the guy that had stayed back during snorkeling had already gone through our stuff, and took a $100 dollar bill out of my wallet. He left everything else there, but also my friend got 500 pesos taken away. Those were each our largest bill. I checked my stuff, everything seemed to be there. It wasn't until later that I noticed it, because there was no way I was going to count my money in front of everyone. We then went to see the sharks, it was a dock area, so we got off there. The shark not sharks, from what I heard looked like it didn't move at all. We had gone to the restrooms and skipped the shark thing, and the restrooms were horrible, no leg room or seat cover what so ever. It rained when we were there and we waited for it to slow down a bit before we took off. They served us fish and rice. That part was actually good. When we made it back, I was just relieved. I didn't trust them whatsoever. I also don't think they had enough time to go through everyone else's stuff, because the majority had big backpacks and ours were small and easier to go through, also we came back early. BTW we are americans, which I'm sure makes us a bigger target. We never went to the light house, just the first rock. Next time I would just stick to the big tourist trips. Cancun is all about making money. It's expensive, but sometimes paying more and going with a large group of people is better, then accepting anything the locals try to offer. That was the only local thing we accepted. Everything else was done through our travel company and aside from the assholes we encountered there, Cancun is beautiful.
Unique Suggestions: The sales people are very annoying. They will push you as much as possible even if you look away or avoid speaking spanish and even english. It's just best to avoid the locals sales people. I recommend if you have two zippers on your purse to put a lock on it & wrap the key on like a necklace. Make them work for it. That way if I was out snorkeling I would know right away when someone ripped the bag and took something out. Never carry large change, only what you need. Also if it looks sketchy, it probably is. Don't risk it. Also don't hold back information from other people around you so that way they are alerted that something fraudulent is happening.
Fun Alternatives: Pay a little more money on the big tourist trips. Ask questions about where, when, what, how, and everything you need to know about the place ahead of time. Depart off to Island of Mujeres where the big tower is at Juarez, and not the one next to it.
$35.00 tourist boat in the hotel zone or take the peoples boat at Cancun ( newer boat ) or Puerto Juarez. Catch the public bus R-1 or R-2 at the hotel zone. It will say on the window Puerto Cancun or Juarez. Let the driver know and stay near the front if possible. You can see the big blue port tower from a good distance. You then buy a tcket, get on the boat with AC and touring bus type seats & go $7.00 round trip in 1/2 the time, giving you more time to explore the island.
I got so sick of the whole 'Tip' thing - there were people in the toilets wanting money from you for giving you a paper towel. The porters at the airport snatch your bags and then get angry if you only give them a couple of dollars. Even security guards or the chef who cooks the eggs in the hotel want a tip.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you have some 5 peso coins to put in the basket at the loo or you will end up putting more in than you should.
Be warned my boyfriend put a 1 peso coin in the basket and was challenged by the toilet attendent.
Just about all the gas stations in the Yucatan are full service. We ran into a situation while getting gas in Valladolid. While one person was pumping gas (regular unleaded was requested) another was trying to chat with us through the window. When it came time to pay, I was charged for premium. I watched the guy pump in regular and replace the hose on the regular pump. I do know enough Spanish to get by, but not enough to argue with anyone.
This station is the first one you see getting off the toll road from Cancun to Valladolid.
Booking tours independently is much cheaper but you have to be carefull, check your insurance first as most indpendent tours won't insure you to the fullest.
My recomendation is pay a bit more through your travel rep and at least you know you will have there top insurance as well as your own.
In Cancun is there a lot of 1 day?s tour , take a tour to Chichen Itza, Tulun y Xel Ha y Xcaret. But go to Cozumel y Playa del Carmen by yourself !
Unique Suggestions: To go to Cozumel y Playa del Carmen take a bus to the center of Cancun (almost all buses go there , ask the driver). Stop at the bus station.
It is a calm place !
There you can take a bus or a van (in the other side of the street) every 15 minutes to playa del Carmen.
You will spent 1 hour to go there , so when you arrive you can spend a day in Playa del Carmen or go to Cozumel with a boat.
You can go back until 12:00 pm. It is better because it?s cheaper, you take your time (not the tour time) and can know better the place.
Yes Tulum is very touristy,but it is worth seeing and i would go back.I just wish that i had time to use the beach,but because i was on a organised trip,i did not have time.I would like to go back here one day and spend the day here.It sure is beautiful.
Most of the trips to the different ruin-sites and the parks can be done on your own and at a much lower price than all the different agencies and tour operators offer you. But some arrangements may be good to do with a guide, e.g. if you don't feel comfortable enough with the language. Then book your tour at one of the different tour operators in Cancun. There's a lot, so check out the prices and go for the cheaper one.
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