Don't count on a quiet water to swim in the lagoon side. There's no beach on that side, and it is used only for sports and fishing.
Beach is only in the ocean side, and I suggest that you choose carefully your hotel, since the sea along the sand stripe doesn't "behave" always in the same way and some sections are dangerous.
Renting a car in Cancun is easy BUT it is different than many other countries.
1) The mandatory Mexican Insurance is NOT included in the quoted price. This adds about $10/day to the cost of the car. There is no way around this. Don't fight it and it is not a scam.
2) Make sure you go over the condition of the car before leaving including the spare tire and all tools required to change the tire. These can be missing. Mark all things on diagram they have.
3) Prices are much more expensive if you try to rent once you are there. Make a reservation, print it out, take it with you. If you don't like the company you have a reservation with, take the printed price to another company and they will almost always honor the price you have on your reservation.
4) Finally, there are some driving rules that are different. Make sure you know them.
With the election of the new president of Mexico there is talk of many changes. There is a hotline where you can report police crimes! Dial 070 or 072 while in Mexico. You can also contact the Mexico Tourism Department at 1 (800) 482 9832. Please don't let these types of crimes happen without reporting them to multiple authorities. Blogging about it helps a lot too!
It's important to immediately write down all the details of your encounter! Don't just get the license plate of the Police car. That is not enough... Todays smart phones can record audio and video with a push of a button. My phone has an audio recorder which I can turn on by clicking "right" on my phone. If you can get a photo or video that is even better!
NOTE: Don't get caught taking audio, video, or pictures of the Mexico Police. They are corrupt and may KILL YOU! We'll let's hope not! Be smart and get as much detail about your encounter as to identify the officer(s).
Here are some added links and information:
http://www.sindicatura.gob.mx/ - I could not find the English version (sorry)
Here is the link to TripAdvisors search page for the Sindicatura.
Here is their Facebook page!
Renting a car in Cancun, and I suspect Mexico in general, is a HUGE liability. I had a $139.00 confirmed grand total reservation for an economy car done on travelocity with Thrifty. When we arrived to pick upithe car the nightmare began. The thrifty agent claimed federal law required a charge of $300.00 addtional dollars in fees and required insurance. I said I was covered already but they would not let us rent a car without it. After arguing for an hour we finally agreed to pay thinking we would dispute it when we got home. Then as we were leaving a thrify agent at the desk by the door said she could get the fees reduced to the original charge of 139.00 if we would tour a time a share for 1 hour. Stupidly we did go to the Mayan Palace and got literally kidnapped. We were taken into a gated facility, driven by a shuttle to an office and 3 hours later still had not seen the time share. We demanded to leave and were told if we tried to exit on our own we would be arrested for trespassing. We threw fits to leave and finally were taken by shuttle back to our vehicle and told we would get no reduction in car rental fees because we did not complete the afternoon with them! Two days later and 80 miles south of cancun we were T-boned by a speeding vehicle in the parking lot of the Chedraui supermarket in Tulum. Witnesses and pictures confirmed it was not our fault but witnesses told us we were better off paying the police to avoid incurring charges since we were foreigners and would surely be found at fault. We did not pay them and were found at fault. We were there 5 hours sorting the mess out. We believe we may have been set up from the get go after leaving the Mayan Palace. The drivers of the real at fault vehicle were paid off on the spot by the Thrifty insurance agent who came to the scene of the accident. We were told by him that luckily we had insurance to cover the damages!!! Our car was replaced the next day at the thrifty office in Tulum. We drove back to cancun a day later to catch our flight. When we returned the car the thrifty agent told us in addition to our now $300 USD rental bill we would be charged $1500 for the damage to the rental car!! An arbitrary figure since the damages were undoubtedly triple that!! We were told if we did not pay they would call the police and we could not leave the country. We paid and when we got home found they had charged over $400 USD for the rental and over 1800$ USD for the car damages!!! I have contacted Thrifty corporate headquarters and disputed the charges with my credit card company. Huge, Huge scammers in Mexico. DO NOT GO TO MEXICO!!!!!! I have travelled all over the world and it is the WORST vacation experience of my life. In addtion to the rental nightmare every day was a battle to fend against scams and corruption
Thay are hanging around at night and steal as much money as they can from the tourists. They try to create a reason why you have to pay hundreds of dollars.. or if not, you have to got to the police station.
I just parked with my rent car at a public parking place with my girlfriend. We were seating in the car and we falled asleep. It was at night around 1.
4 policemen came and woke us up!
Thay wanted to arrest us, because of sexual activity.... ?!?!?!?!?!?
there was no sexual activity at all. My girlfriend had a bikini, I had a short and T-shirt... We just slept a few hours. And they said I'm arrested, I have to go to the police station!
I told them I just slept 2 hours why it is a problem.. and they said we have to go to check did we have sex or not bla bla bla....
or I have to pay 200 USD.
200 USD for nothing.. I think It's too much.
After I said I have only 20 USD.. they said ok, we have to go to the police station..
After a few minutes they said, we have to give them the 20 USD and we can forget everything and we can continue the sleeping…
What COuld I do.. I could pay or if not they can do anything with you... It's not a police, It's a gang of assholes!
And I really didn’t want to pay any mony but I didn’t want them to do anything with my girfriend. They would touch her at the station to check the sexual activity or whatever..
So this case was really disgusting!!!!
I didn’t have alcohol, or drugs. No sexual acticity, so there was nothing why I had to pay money!!!!!
The mexican police is a shame of Mexico.
They are really disgusting! They don’t protect you, they bother you and try to get money from you night by night… DISGUSTING!!!!!
I’m sure I will never go to MExico again!
Please check out the new warning from the US Dept of State regarding Cancun.This was issued Tue April 06 2005.Some of the text is Reposted here.
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the deterioration in recent weeks of local law enforcement in Cancun caused by a persistent shortage of municipal funds to pay for police and public services. Police responsiveness to emergency calls and investigation of crimes has been severely impaired, and the U.S. Consulate in Merida has received several reports of petty corruption and extortion aimed at U.S. travelers. This Public Announcement supplements the Announcement issued on January 26 and it expires on May 31. The U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun has received numerous allegations of tourists being extorted for money by taxi drivers and malfeasant police or individuals posing as police officers. In some cases, tourists have been taken to ATM machines for immediate payment of alleged infractions
We had a long time of delay when we wanted to go back home. They told us that they plane would come in any minute but we had to wait and wait. Frans was walking around and then he saw the plane of us coming. So he ran to me and got the videocamera....and started filming how the plane came in.......suddenly there was a police-officer he pushed the camera down and told Frans on the brusk way that he wasnt allowed to film in and around the airport.......so you better be warned.
Hertz Rental in Cancun. I reserved an SUV the day prior , PU time 1:00 PM Cancun Convention Center at 8 KM, my plan was to drive to Playa Del Carmen and return the same day.
The promised vechile was not delivered, instead another lessor vechile was delivered, this auto arrived late for PU and was dirty. I was on a scheudle, with no time to spare to wait for another SUV , I carried on. After all the paperwork had been completed, keys maps etc, now running 1/2 hr late with my scheudle, I discovered as I was departing the kiosk the Hertz agent was attempting to keep my drivers license.
When I returned a few hours later I had used less than 1/4 tank of gas, I agreed and expected to pay for this fuel, even double the cost based on usage, at peso rate. But instead I was charged for a full tank of fuel @ US fuel prices.
Upon my return a boat was waiting at near by marina for me, to take mw to my hotel on Isla Mejures. I asked the Hertz agent to please call my hotel to let them know I was minutes from the marina to meet my boat. And although this was a local call, the Hertz agent flatly refused to assist.
All told, my day was late from start to finish, I missed my meetings in Playa Del Carmen, also my return boat to Isla Mejures. The total cost for a dirty late vechile, overcharged for fuel, with my driver licence at risk of possibly being stoled, the rental cost came to over $150.00 CAN for under five hours usage.
Add to this the agents absolute indffernce and lack of assisatnce in making a local call to my hotel.
Hertz Cancun are not hospitable, not trustworthy, it appears their only concern is how much can this tourist be ripped off for. In the following days after hours spent trying to sort this out in Adrian the branch manger, with a promise from him to make this right, in the end nothing was resolved. Adrian made promises to issue me a credit whihc he did not keep. Mine was an extremely bad experince with Hertz in Mexico.
It is not a safe place to go anymore =(.. I mean theres unsafe places and violence everywhere.. even in the states.. but it is getting a little out of control down there. My brother has been living there for 15 years.. so we used to visit for a month or two every year.. not anymore tho.. he is really just waiting to sell his house so he can come back to Europe.. extorsion.. kidnapping.. killing.. robbery.. is everyday news.. even though they hide most of this stuff from the media so that people wont get scared.. I was really surprised on our last visit.. i got 2 or 3 local papers a day.. to get an idea of the situation and i was like OMG.. and im sure that wasnt even half of the stuff that happens everyday.. I was also shocked at how easy is for drug dealers to sell drugs at the hotel zone.. is like they are selling candy! and the police are right there! so how can feel safe knowing they are being paid off by the cartels.. like they seriously run the city.. ask any local!.. there has also been even tourist robbed and assesinated at their hotel rooms!
The Daily Telegraph Australia2011-01-10
MEXICAN police found a headless male body and another shot dead in the popular vacation resort of Cancun, after a violent weekend which saw 16 beheadings in Acapulco, on the opposite coast. More than 50 gangland-style... http://article.wn.com/view/2011/01/10/Man_beheaded_another_shot_dead_in_Cancun_8/
People get killed everywhere everyday.. but why travelling so far to end up in tragedy.. is supposed to be a vacation.. without worries and paranoia.. god bless our fellow Mexicans.. and also.. if u wanna go go at ur own risk.. cause from personal experience im telling you.. if u get robbed or anything.. nobody will help.. the authorities are very inefficient
Sea Lice are common in the warm waters of the Carribean and the Gulf of Mexico. Sea lice are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish and other ocean stingers which contain the same nematocysts (stinging cells) as mommy and daddy. In many areas of the Gulf and Caribbean the primary culprit causing "sea lice" infestations is the larvae of the thimble jellyfish. These larvae, sometimes half a millimeter in length or smaller, can become trapped between the bathing suit and skin or in crevices like the armpit and compressed, causing the stinging cells to fire.
The larvae are large enough to be visible to the naked eye but become nearly invisible in the water - unfortunately the only reliable method of identifying when sea lice are present is by the appearance of the rash on other swimmers or divers. Sea lice is not contagious. Sea lice season is generally April through August.
We reserved a convertable at the Hertz Car Rental in Cancun months in advance. It was a lot of money - about $65 per day compared to an economy car for $25 but we really wanted to be able to experience a convertable in Mexico. When we got there they told us that they didn't have one but if we drove to Playa del Carmen they would have one waiting for us. After driving for an hour we found out that they didn't have any convertables and that they never did. Instead of driving back to Cancun and spending my first day in a car rental office we decided to keep the car which is exactly what they hoped we would do. The car was very poorly maintained when we picked it up too - a blown turnsignal, the radio didn't work, a tire that went soft every day, and a door lock on one door that didn't work. And I found out why - when we dropped off the car I spoke to three people and not one asked if I had any problems with the car. When I tried to discuss it no one was interested - they just wanted to send it back down the road again. They didn't offer me any discount for my trouble and I ended up paying a premium price for a broken down car. Plus every time I was on the counter someone was having an issue with their bill. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY WITH HERTZ AT CANCUN!!
They committed to a particular price in US$ and accept credit cards, but when they charged my credit card, they did so in pesos using a highly inflated exchange rate. When I reviewed the charge with them after my bank processed it, the car company refused to even return the excess charge. Unfortunately, using US$ cash to pay them, you lose any protection your credit card company may extend.
If you still want to support a company that does this sort of thing, I suggest agreeing, when making your reservation, to a fixed cost, in pesos, in writing – including the various zero-deductible insurances, taking complete detailed pictures of the car’s defects when you pick it up, and making sure you get a receipt saying “fully paid” and retrieving your credit card authorizations/signatures when dropping it back off.
The company also operates under the names: Caribbean Rent-a-car, Cancun Rent-a-car (cancunrentacar.com), and America Car Rental (america-carrental.com), Fox Rent-a-Car. Car Rental Express (CRX) is one agency that front-ends for America Car Rental (carrentalexpress.com).
Mexico is not safe period! A shocking 32% of all non-natural deaths of U.S. citizens outside this country occur in Mexico. Many of these deaths are a direct result of poor or nonexistent safety standards both inside and outside of the resorts. To read tragic Mexico vacation DEATH stories, many written by heartbroken family members as well as stories written by victims that "survived" their Mexico vacation go to: www.mexicovacationawareness.com
Read this to avoid paying fees at the airport and being told you cannot return to the US.
I unfortunately went through this experience and the only good coming out of it is to be able to warn others. When you are flying into the country you are given a few forms to fill out by the airline during your flight. One portion of the papers includes a small form called a "MIGRATION FORM FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS". Be advised that your airline may not tell you that you need to keep this small stamped sheet of paper and that you MUST HAVE IT WITH YOU when you return to the airport IN ORDER TO GET YOUR BOARDING PASS AND RETURN TO THE US. I have flown international many times and have never been given a small form that I had to have with me upon returning to the airport to fly home. I had the form in my purse the morning I was to fly home, and I was cleaning out my purse of all the things I collected during the trip and did not need anymore. I saw the little form and considered it trash. NO ONE ON THE FLIGHT OR AT THE AIRPORT said anything about needing to hold onto it. I had two other travelers with me and they concur that they heard no mention of needing to keep the little form in order to get their boarding pass to get back into the US.
So what happens if you don't have it when you go to check in at the Cancun airport and get your boarding pass?? You will be told you have to go see immigration and may have to pay a $45 fee among other fees and you may not be able to board your flight!!! Imagine hearing that after you were never told in the first place to hold onto the darned thing. I walked over to immigration and was told by a man in a small immigration office that I had two issues... one was paying the $45 fee at a nearby bank and the other wasn't very clear. He even mentioned that there were problems with Delta and one other airline not informing people of the need to hold onto the form. He began to treat me like I'd be staying in Mexico and was asking me "what should we do" and saying it looks like I'd be staying there. It was a very unpleasant experience. I was so furious at the whole thing and emotional as I am 5 months pregnant. I felt so helpless b/c I did not want to pay any fee or anything else for this nonsense, and I began to cry. Meanwhile, 2 other people showed up at his door with, most likely, the same issue. He told me not to cry and asked why I was crying, and I told him it was b/c I didn't understand what was going on. He then filled a small form out, stamped it for me, and told me I could get my boarding pass with that form. I then walked with my husband over to the airline's check in area. My husband was told by the airline rep that I wouldn't have to wait in line again and could walk straight up there. I had to get past an airport security person to do that. The security person looked at the form I was given and asked if I paid the $45 at the bank nearby. My husband told him we did, and he let us pass through and I got my boarding pass.
I did not pay anything, and I felt like the whole thing was a HUGE SCAM!! Be Warned!! I told a few people about what happened and they had their own stories of incidents in Mexico where they or someone they knew had to pay off police... i.e. for being accused of speeding they had to pay the officer $50 on the spot. Another friend said his buddies lost their migration form and had a lot of trouble getting back to the US.
If anyone has been through this or knows what to do when you are in Mexico and being taken advantage of, please let me know 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Almost all hotels, all inclusive or not have bracelets and security guards. This is for your safety. Two Canadians, after being warned, brought back 2 locals. All drunk, shortened, police, passports, vomit, fear of Mexican jail, money for cab for girls, etc.
Our travel agent told described the accomdations here as luxury but they were a bit less impressive...more
I believe that most everyone that posted positivie comments either on this site or Trip Advisor had...more
The hotel is great and everything went fine on my stay. The staff is friendly, the rooms are...more