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Favorite thing: ARRIVAL IN MEXICO
Upon arrival in Cancun, Mexico you will clear Immigration, claim your luggage and then clear Customs.You are then pointed in the direction of a person who will ask you to push a button. If you push "Green" you are free to Exit. But if you push "red" as what happened to both of us, you will have to go to secondary inspection. The secondary person asks you to undo your suitcases and then he/she proceeds to go through your suitcases and carry-ons. No big deal, just a little annoying.
If you are with a travel company ( we were with Apple Vacations) a representative will meet you outside the airport and direct you to your hotel transfer. If traveling to Playa del Carmen, you can expect a 445 to 90 minute transfer.
MEXICAN TOURIST CARD
A Mexican Tourist Card and Customs Declaration Form will be provided to you by the airline. Both copies of the card must be filled out, signed and presented upon arrival in Mexico. A copy will be returned to you. You must safeguard this copy as you will need it for your return flight. If you lose your tourist card, there may be a fee to replace it.
It is not recommended renting vehicles in Mexico. Buses and taxicabs are plentiful and offer a convenient and inexpensive means of transportation in Cancun.
CREDIT CARDS/CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Major credit cards are accepted throughout Mexico. Most hotels and banks provide currency exchanges where you can convert your U.S., CDN or Euros to Pesos. ATM Machines are available for cash withdrawals.
Due to a new Mexican law, the use of U.S. dollars in Mexico is restricted. Some businesses may not accept U.S. dollars at all.
While the water in most hotels and resorts is treated through modern water purification and sanitation plants, drinking bottled water is still recommended. Our resort supplied bottled water.
Written Dec 6, 2012
Favorite thing: Hans and I are not really into relaxing near the Swimming Pool. The place for us to be is on THE BEACH. We usually had the same routine every day. After breakfast, we headed for the front of the hotel, where the Beach Shuttle "Golf Cart" picked us up and took us to the Beach.(Beach Transport - 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m./3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
We picked our spot, usually under a bunch of palm trees. There were tons of lounge chairs, but really, if you didn't get there by 10:00 a.m., empty chairs got a little harder to find. Some came early and saved chairs with their beach towels, but this is not really allowed.
Once settled in, Hans had his knitting and I usually had a book to read. We located near the volleyball net, so I could watch the hunks play volleyball - very entertaining! hehe! Also, there was always windsurfers and the odd parasail to watch and enjoy. I also loved watching the Pelicans flying low over the sea.
We would take turns going for a walk on the beach. The "Playa" is blessed with a long stretch of white sand beaches and turquoise seas.
Life guard is on duty.
Also, don't forget your sun protection. The sun is very strong, so even on a cloudy day, you can get a sun burn.
Written Dec 6, 2012
Favorite thing: You are going to be on the beach, you can't resist that, however, please force yourself to get off the sand and off to some of the spectacular ruins. Tulum is a mere 30 minutes drive from Playa Del Carmen. It's the closest and possibly the most beautiful.
Fondest memory: At Tulum, which is a set of Mayan ruins on a cliff overlooking the ocean, dating back to the 13th century, it's very alive with Iguanas!
Click on the photo, you can't miss him! Life goes on everywhere, even amid the ruins.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen is a port frequented by Cruise ships. Lucky you though, because if you didn't come by ship, you get to STAY here!
You can walk to just about everything, but there's plenty to do if you rent a vehicle and venture out!
This ship looks VERY close to shore, doesn't it? Well, it was stranded on a sand bar and stayed there for three extra days, much to the joy of the local merchants! Cha Ching!
Fondest memory: I loved waking up, opening the doors and being warm!
Written Feb 25, 2003
Favorite thing: Besides swimming and bar hopping, PDC offers lots of shopping opportunities. You can find Cuban cigars, T-shirts, beachwear, silver jewelry, and even Mexican styled sinks. Here's the proof!
Fondest memory: Playa del Carmen is friendly and a good place to relax and escape from the cold winters up north.
Written Jan 1, 2003
Favorite thing: My favorite thing about Playa del Carmen is my memory of how it used to be! Beware that Playa is not a sleepy fishing village with a few tourists (anymore) but more like a small Cancun (of 10 years ago). If you need t-shirts there is no shortage of shops that sell them but don't expect any local art or artisanal goods. And the food costs on 5th avenue are out of sight. If you want to eat for a reasonable price... eat a taco at a local place or at El Venado y el Faisan out on the highway (still the same great food after many years). The restaurants along the main drag (5th ave.) are spotty in quality, uniformaly over-priced and full of surly waiters. And the hawkers somehow think that being insulting will endear them to you. I aplogize to all Playa lovers but as a person who lives and travels regularly in latin america I think one can expect more.
Written Sep 6, 2005
Favorite thing: Yes Playa del Carmen is safe, it's my home town. It's not crazy like Cancun, just laid-back. If you walk too fast, someone will tell you to slow down! There's lots to see and do, it doesn't have to be expensive if you get away from 5th Avenue. Maybe rent an apartment rather than a hotel.
For meals, I can tell you about 2 small cafes where you can get a meal and drink for around $US3, there are lots more in Playa. Margaritas during Happy Hour for $2. Movies in English at the cinema cost $3 too. Massages on the beach for $20. Swim in the cool waters of a cenote and feel the earth's energy. You can catch local buses instead of going on expensive tours to visit Tulum, and yes it's so worth it. Feel free to email me if you need help with anything. Enjoy!
Fondest memory: I love the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea, it's warm and inviting. I love wandering along the beach, watching happy travellers play beach volleyball, listening to live bands playing Santana music, stopping for a drink or a massage.
There's likely to be a wedding on the beach, or people dancing salsa on the pier.
Written Apr 16, 2011
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen is a really cute town to walk around in, but it can get annoying with all of the people trying to sell you things there.If you really hate to be harassed about buying things then don't bother coming to Playa, although it is better than other places, it can still become annoying.
Updated Nov 19, 2004
Favorite thing: Last Weekend I went to Xel-Há and I swam with dolphins. Days before I bougth a Primax pass with Mexatlantica Agency and I got really sorprised when, once in Xel-Há, the staff from Delphinus Xel-Há repay me with $400 to used in any other activitie organized by the travel agency were I bougth the Swimming with dolphins ticket, Mexatlantica.
So dont let it go and aske for the Cash Back between Delphinus and various Travel Agencies.
Fondest memory: The sea color and the positive vibes.
Written Mar 31, 2009
Favorite thing: If you are concerned about violence and your safety in Playa del Carmen, don't be. A lot of the media reports are grossly exaggerated. Sure there is violence in parts of Mexico, but mostly in the border zones and amongst cartel members. Quintana Roo where Riviera Maya is, is amongst the 3 safest areas in Mexico. I recently spent 2 weeks there and didn't feel unsafe for a moment, and have even bought a condo there so I'm not concerned at all. The crime rate in parts of the USA are higher than Mexico, in fact the murder rate in Washington DC is 4 TIMES that of Mexico City. Do your own research and don't believe all you see on TV.
Written Oct 31, 2010
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