It is always hard to plan a vacation, when you have never been to the place you are visiting. Before I travel, I have usually have a well thought out travel plan. I scour google for tips and read as many blog posts as I can to research the area. For this trip, I was very busy with work, so I did absolutely no vacation planning.
Although, getting away it always nice and It is hard to complain about hanging out by the pool, and having meals prepared for you around the clock; I do have a few regrets about my decision to neglect planning.
Make a List of What You Want To Do
Some people go to Mexico, strictly for sunshine, with no desire to leave their resort. They come for the unlimited drinks and laid back living. I refuse to visit somewhere without exploring it, especially when there is so much natural beauty. I had compiled a list of all the things people had told me to see and do, with the hopes of figuring it out once I got there. I did not realize how spread out the Mayan Rivera area is. Most of the attractions I wanted to see were between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. The resort I booked was between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Vacations are not meant to be spent in a van commuting all day. I usually try my best to avoid this. Choose accommodation close to your desire attractions is key to minimize daily travel time.
Everything at Your Resort is a Tourist Trap
We flew with Air Transat and they insisted that we meet with their reps to book any of the attractions we wanted to see. When we went to talk with the rep, I showed him the list of things that had been recommended to me. He insisted that judging from my list, he could choose the tours that were a better fit. Needless to say, they were not. Our first tour was not at all what we were looking for, so we cancelled the second one.
Not only do the reps not listen to you, they book you on the most expensive tours. I doubt a single rep at the hotel has even been on any of the excursions. They also try to deter you from booking your tours in town, because they are “sharks”. We booked a few activities in town and the rates were half the price of what the resort was quoting us. They were just as informative and more responsive to understanding what we were looking for.
Rent a Car
If you are planning on exploring, renting a car and gps is probably the most cost effective and painless way to do so. You can take the colectivo vans but the journey will be quite a bit longer. Since everything is very spread out, taking a taxi add the additional cost of $30 – $50 each way depending on where you are situated.
Learn Mexican Food Names in Spanish
How can you go to Mexico and know taste the local food? This is a travel tip that I have recommended in previous posts, but it just makes your life that much easier. Learn all the names of all the foods you want to try in the local language. In Mexico, I was determined to have as many Queso Fundidos (melted cheese dish) as possible. Most authentic restaurants don’t have an English menu, so knowing what I want in Spanish was very helpful. You may not be able to speak the language, but if you can speak the food you can get by.
The highlight of my trip was going to Akumal Bay to swim with the turtles. It is easy to do on your own. Once you get there, you can rent snorkel gear. I would highly recommend going on your own, as opposed to going with a tour group. You can easily spend the day there. The beach is very beautiful, white sand and clear water and there are restaurants and coffee shops close by.
Isla Mujeres was another place that quite a few people recommended I visit. The snorkeling is supposed to be amazing and you can rent golf carts to explore the Island. We did a catamaran tour, however it left us with very little time to explore on our own. If I were to do it again, I would just take the ferry over. It is more cost effective, and even though a booze cruise is fun, you can drink everywhere in Mexico. If you must have a chilled beverage, just stop at the 7/11 before you board and stock up for your journey.
I am still grasping to all the memories of my vacation now that I am back at work. It is hard to leave behind sunshine and return to deary rain. Hope these tips are helpful if you are planning to head to Mayan Riveria. Check out my TripAdvisor profile for more reviews on places I visited in the area.
Enjoy the sunshine! Happy trip planning.