This is not really a tourist trap but, to many, it may feel like one! As soon as we were through customs at the airport (had not even reached our luggage yet) we were gestured to the side by an official looking lady with a photo ID. She immediately launched into a spiel about the great tour deals that we were going to be given, etc. etc. and this went on for about 15 minutes. Finally, at the end she said that we could receive all the promised goods if we showed up the next morning at the Moon Palace Resort at 8:30 AM and we would need to give her US$20 each to confirm our arrival. We decided to do it (even though we later wondered whether we had been HAD). It turned out to be legitimate, with the taxi arriving for us in the morning and having the $13 fare paid on arrival at the Moon Palace. Basically, it turned out to be a variation of the old 'sell you the time share' setup (been through that many years before in Florida). After enjoying our wonderful breakfast and an interesting tour of the various suites at the Resort, we were sat down to the hard sell portion of the visit - with 3 waves of attack. However, after realizing that we really did mean NO, we got our money back, a T-shirt each, vouchers for two free trips (Mujeres and Tulum/Xpu-Ha) and an all-inclusive day at the Sun Palace Resort. We were able to pick which tours we wanted and when we wanted them - so it turned out to be a good investment of our time.
Unique Suggestions: We spent the rest of the morning at the Moon Palace on the beach and quite enjoyed the experience as a whole. In the course of our trip, we ended up seeing the Moon Palace, Xpu-Ha Palace and Sun Palace resorts. All were top quality with first-class services! The Moon Palace had a very large series of interconnected swimming pools - they said it was the largest in North America.
Sharetime; Don't listen not even look at them, My parents lost a complete Day of their vacation in this, is a lost of time and what they promise is a lie, even the timeshare is lie you are going to loss money. In our honeymoon why try to avoid them, but look at them is a great mistake too they follow us talking and talking, we are mexicans and even prettend we don't speak spanish (big mistake) they speak english.
Taxi; Is a don't, big danger and lost of money. (Bus is perfect for in town)(Rent a car better for out of Cancun travel as Chichen itza, tulum, and more)
Tour to Cozumel; waste of time and money, not as great as people say.
Unique Suggestions: Sharetime: pretent you don't see and hear.
Taxi; Only if you are Mexican and very friendly.better Bus for night time fun.
An rent a Car if you know a basic Spanish, We had great and Fun travel time in Car From Cancun to Tulum, Playa del carmen,
Xcaret, Chichen itza and Xel ha. Is cheap and safe, better that a tour.
Just about anywhere you stay along the coast on the Yucatan, you will probably be approached by someone trying to give you a free ferry trip, jet boat or sailing trip to Cozumel. The only way to get the free trip is to sit through about a 4 hour time share presentation.
My wife and I ended up staying through the whole ordeal and when we said we didn't want to buy into their project, all doors shut. We were told we could still get our free ride, but we had to pick it up back in town and they would pay for the cab ride back. After waiting for the cab for about 2 hours, we decided to just walk back to our hotel.
Try to remember, "nothing is for free when tourism is involved".
Unique Suggestions: Ask to get the free ticket prior to sitting through the presentation. More than likely, that will be the end of it.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to visit Cozumel while in the Cancun area, just pay the ferry fee and enjoy the day.
A lot of times people will say that they are not selling you a timeshare but they are. A lot of times it is not just people in the hotel but even the guy in the airport at ground transportation and people on the street. I say take them up on their offer but one up them.
Unique Suggestions: Tell them you want either free breakfast or lunch, $100, a discount on at least 5 different tours, and if possible spa treatment. While they are giving their 90 minute talk pressure them to be timely. Afterwards ask questions and ask to see a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, etc. They will back away and just give you your gift.
Fun Alternatives: I think everyone should do these things and save money.
When approached by Time share touts, we told them we were English and it was too far to travel for a time share. We tended to find that most people would leave us alone as many of the touts work for a particular hotel rather than an international chain where you swap your timeshares. We just werent worth the effort and they moved on to someone else.
Even with an American Accent you can still tell them you live in London.
Our first morning in Cancun - on the beach at the Moon Palace Resort! Like everyone says, the sand in Cancun is as fine as can be! We were just thankful that we had survived the various waves of 'time-share' attacks and had actually come out on top with some amazing bargains that we had not counted on!
As soon as we exited the baggage claim area at Cancun airport, we were approached by a gentleman asking us about our transportation arrangements for our journey to the hotel. After supplying us with the necessary transport info, he then started asking us if we've been to Cancun before, and what we would like to do. He showed us a piece of paper with costs of various tours, and telling us that many hotels will charge a premium for tours, and we shouldn't pay more than what's printed on this piece of paper. Then, he mentioned about offering us a buy-one-get-one-free tour of our choice, at 50% price of the usual selling price. This caught our attention. He explained to us that in order to receive this offer, we'd be taken to a no-obligation sales presentation at a hotel called Royal Sunset Hotel on the hotel zone and be provided with a buffet breakfast too. He also asked that we give a US$40 deposit which would be refunded on the day. We were sceptical, but decided to go ahead with it.
The following day, we were collected by a driver at the arranged time, and taken to the Royal Sunset Hotel. There were many other tourists there, who were also in the same position as us. To cut a long story short, we were given the buffet breakfast, and after being subjected to a sales presentation of timeshare condominiums (plus many pushy salemen, but we refused to purchase the timeshare), we were given our deposit back, and they honoured their original offer of the buy-one-get-one-free tour ticket. The tour itself was of no lesser quality than other tour companies that I've used before.
In summary, it's a good deal to go along to these presentations if you have a few hours to spare, and will be strong enough to refuse to purchase. Otherwise, forget about it.
You arrive in Cancun and while still in the airport, an official looking man calls you over in order to "help" you avoid getting ripped off. You are then told that the one of the hotels of the Palace Resorts is having a special because they are in the process of opening. They offer you free tickets to tours, t-shirts, etc for only "90 minutes" of your time.
What happens is that they give you a tour with so-so food while assigning someone to you to sell the benefits of this "5 star" resort. Then you sit down, and before you can say to yourself "here it comes", they are off and running with the hard sell in what might be one of the biggest ripoffs you will ever see. For the privilege of committing to the next 25 years of vacations, you have to pay for the sute approximately $37,000 (plus a "reduced" room rate), with half down at "only" 18%.
THREE HOURS LATER, after you have consentently said NO, NO, NO to each deal they offer, all of which are ripoffs (otherwise they would not be pushing them so hard), they have the audacity to get upset at you for not being the sucker they hoped.
A couple of final points. First, the "gentleman" at the airport tells you to make sure you bring a Visa and Mastercard to the tour of the resort because they are paying for the tickets for the tour. Translation - make sure you have your credit cards so we can charge you for the downpayment.
Second, on the trip to Tulum, they will have a "rest stop" with what may be the most overpriced bunch of souveniers you will ever see. As an example, there was a wooden mask with an original price of $150 for which they were willing to take $65. Almost the identical mask was available at one of the shops in Tulum for an original price of $40, with an offer to negotiate down from there. It gives an idea of just how much of a ripoff the rest stop trap is.
Finally, I visited more of the Palace Resort locations. I don't know how they were rated as 5 star. They are out of their league when compared to places like the Ritz-Carleton or the 4 Seasons.
When we first got to the Cancun Palace, guest services sat us down. In addition to explaining things that we needed to know about the hotel, they tried to hustle us to go to a presentation at the Moon Palace. Another guest warned us that we would waste an entire morning with high pressured sales people.
If you do decide to go to one, make sure you know what you want in return and negotiate accordingly. Otherwise, a vacation is too short for sales pitches, whether it is through people at the airport, on the street, or at the hotel.
In reply to another posting in this group about snorkeling tours, I would say that the ones we took were somewhat disappointing but not a "tourist trap." As with everything, be certain of who you are dealing with and what they are offering.
The guided tours through Aqua World (either off of Punta Nizuc or at the Isla de Mujeres) take you out on a boat. They go in groups of up to 11 or 12, with a guide and lifejackets. We saw plenty of fish, including squid and barracudas. But my wife and I prefer to snorkel on our own, without having to stay next to the group.
It should be noted that there are reasons for their policies -- the reefs have been damaged by people who have not respected them. There are also marvelous snorkeling areas relatively near to Cancun that will not cost anything.
Unique Suggestions: If you do a timeshare presentation, get the best deal you can. Decide what you want to do. You may be able to negotiate for that -- we did a sales tour in Cabo San Lucas, got what we wanted, and felt it was a good trade for our time. Make sure that it is worth a morning of your time -- the sales pitches are never as short as they claim.
We met one person who tells the sales people that she has no interest in buying anything, that she is there simply for the free gift, and she sticks to this. This approach cuts down on the time it takes her to get through the process.
Fun Alternatives: If you are tempted to buy a timeshare, remember that you can get "used" ones at a fraction of the price you will pay through a sales presentation at a resort. And if you can plan your life accordingly, you can trade your week and go wherever you find an open space (the popular places require much more advance planning). We bought a used timeshare a few years ago -- although we are thinking of reselling it, we have used it to go to Bali, Colorado, and now Cancun -- places we probably would not have gone to without it.
Since this was our very first time visiting the island, we had no idea of what to do to catch the ferry. We didn't go through the free tour to Isla that our hotel offered. That was a mistake. We will go with the tour from now on. When we got to Puerto Jurez we were asking about where to catch the fast ferry. A nice local told me it wouldn't be coming for another 20 minutes. In the meantime he proceeded to tell me that he could get us there and pay for our trip as well as lunch if we would visit the Avalon Resort there. By the time I realized he was a time share guy we caught the ferry alright and it was packed and we had to stand the 15 minute ride over.
Unique Suggestions: Either go with a tour or know how to get where you are going without having to ask the locals. Also, when getting your golf cart, do not pay more than $35 for one. They will try to tell you they are $40. Walk away and don't accept. They will come after you and you will get the price you want. Or walk to the left 1 or 2 blocks and you will find golf carts at reasonable prices. Also, try to get a golf cart with bigger wheels.
Upon walking out the airport there is a line up of timeshare "wolves" ready to pounce to anyone interested to give them 5 minutes. My friend went directly to one of the booth for she saw "Free tours". Our friend "Pablo" was very sweet, but I understood now he gets paid with the amount of people he gets to be potential timeshare clients. So my girlfriend and I have at least 2 tours for free, one to Chichinitza, and a jungle tour. But when we went to the "obigatory" timeshare session with another dude, here we spent the whole day with him trying to convince us to buy timeshare in Cancun. Truth is I was slightly swayed but in the end that is not part of my vacation! I'm glad my friend is a whiz with financial issues that she kept telling me it's a scam. Hey, if you like losing 1 day of your vacation to this scam go ahead, but I was at least happy for the free tours.
Unique Suggestions: Upon returning here in Canada, one office colleague said that the best way to keep these timeshare people off your back is to say you are underage. Say you're 25 years old if you can get away with it.
Fun Alternatives: Book your own tour in the spot with your hotel. Do not get enticed by timeshare agents hovering around in the hotel lounge as well!
Another scam I saw in Cancun, not the Gran Caribe Real resort but I did see this at the Oasis Cancun and the Grand, as well as any resort that has the word, "Palace" in it.
Couples or families with children are the target. They first question they ask you is if you are married. And, if you are on your honeymoon. Either or, they will mold their scam to you, and they are very friendly about it, they say, if you are married but not on your honeymoon, something like, "How many years you been married?! Oh it's time for another honeymoon! How about we give you some free breakfast at so and so resort as an excursion and 2 one hour massages for free and you can use the spa?" And then you will be escorted to the place where they will ask you for your credit card just to know that you are you. This isn't true! Be careful! Show them your passport instead and you will see it's not good enough of an identity for them! Imagine! This is basically timeshare!
Unique Suggestions: 1) The best way is to say that you don't own a credit card, or you tried your credit card at the airport and your company canceled it because you forgot to advise them you were traveling, it happened to me!
2) You can say that you don't own a credit card because you had too many debts :)
3) You can say that you have a cap limit on your card and that it's $500 dollars, your other one is at home and you want to keep this for shopping.
4) You can say you know it's a timeshare and you are not interested and most of all, insist that you won't buy to the person who will take care of you, he will refuse to continue at that point.
5) You can say you are not married but just friends, if you have no kids.
6) You can say you are not interested in the activities and you came here to rest and be alone with your family or friend.
Fun Alternatives: You can do some research and choose a hotel that doesn't harass you too much with this, the Gran Caribe Real was good in Cancun for this.
There are many ways that people will try to sell you a time share condominium. At the airport, along the hotel zone, and downtown you will find booths for 'Tourist Information' where they will try to pull you into a conversation and then offer you a free breakfast or tour. If you are not firm with them stating that you are not interested, they will not let you go easily. Regardless of what they may be offering, it is not worth the time or frustration. Many hotels also have time shares, and at ours there were people trying to give us our 'Welcome Package', but we first asked the front desk what it was and they tipped us off. Remember that nothing is free in Cancun...so be suspicious if anything that may seem to be a freebe.
Upon arrival they offered to each one of us a slab with traditional motifs, with the only obligation to spend some minutes in a "information meeting". We had an unexpected dose of time sharing promotion, with all the common show, of periodical clapping hands, proving that we were the only "silly people resisting to the offered marvels".
We did resist, and after not more than one hour, we left, with four slabs that fit very well in a small wall of my garden. I don't know if they keep on selling time sharing, but, if the rhythm of the clapping hands was half true, they had time to sell 50 hotels since then.
Please be very careful at the airport. They are very friendly and want to help but their intention is to get you to a time share
Don't take any deals for excursions.
Unique Suggestions: I guess if you are interested in a time share and have the time or want to spend the time looking
I'd just make sure its a place your familiar with.