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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Places to Go > Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula



Yucatan Vacation over Thanksgiving

March 2005

We are planning a family reunion of sorts with my husband's siblings over Thanksgiving this year and are interested in learning more about options for the Yucatan. The siblings are all very active, fun empty nesters and travelers, but we will have a 2nd grader and a kindergartner so of course are looking for family-friendly ideas as well. We're in Berkeley, but the rest of the family is joining us from Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland.

In a perfect world, we'd find a reasonably-priced kid-friendly resort with lots of closeby activities like hiking, biking and so on, but also within easy driving distance of places of natural and historic interest. All-inclusive or half-board would be nice, but not mandatory. We are interested in exploring the area near Celestun, however we are very open to other options. Has anyone had an experience with the Eco Paraiso resort in Celestun? Are there other places we should be considering? Anything we absolutely MUST see while we're there? Anything we shouldn't waste our time on? I consider the members of this list a godsend for these types of inquiries, and I thank you for any insights you can share.

Cheers! Yucatan-bound and clueless


Try Playa Del Carmen, if you'd like to go to the beach. Email me for more info. We went there with our extended family and lots of little kids. It was excellent. rach

Cancun vacation with kids

Jan 2005

My husband and I are thinking about vacationing in Cancun with our one-year-old and four-year-old. I've always steered clear of Cancun because of its spring break/party place reputation, but it's accessible, the beaches look so inviting, and the diving is great. Is it suitable for a family in September? We would like a higher-end place that is family-friendly with a nice beach, a pool that is good for kids, and a kids' club. A place that has suites or bedrooms so we can tuck the baby's crib in a separate space would be ideal. Any suggestions? Also, we've never done the all-inclusive thing before, but it seems like maybe a good way to go since we don't plan on venturing out a whole lot due to the kids. Thoughts? Trixie


I've stayed at the Westin before. It's a nice hotel. I stayed there before I had kids though. However, we stayed at a Westin with our baby and they are great. They provide wonderful cribs and amenities. Check when you make a reservation to see if they have similar amenities at the one in Cancun. anon
We went to Cancun with our 13 year old daughter in December. We stayed in the ''Hotel Zone''. I would not recommend that you stay in this area. Our trips out of Cancun were the highlights - Cancun itself is very commercial, except in the downtown area (but there are no beaches in downtown). Playa del Carmen is very nice. I don't know of a specific place that you could stay, but I'm sure there are some nice ones. From Playa del Carmen you can take the ferry to Cozumel. It is not too far from the Cancun airport. Melanie
Hi! My family and I stayed at Casa Maya, Cancun, last year. It's a time-share place, nothing fancy, but very OK. I don't know if it's all inclusive, though. It has suites with living room and kitchenette. What I just LOVED about it in terms of kid- friendly-ness was the beach. Since the hotel is located exactly in front of Isla Mujeres, the beach is very quiet, no large waves nor tide. It's just like a large swimming pool, no deeper than knee-level, so it's the perfect beach for little kids to get in. There's also a small playground at the hotel, so in general it's very, very kid-friendly. It's too bad Cancun has such a bad reputation because of spring- breakers, but the truth is that it's a BEAUTIFUL place, with lots and lots of things to do and places to visit. Hope you enjoy it. Toni
a couple years ago i visited tulum, which is about 70 miles south of cancun. there are all inclusive resorts along the coast from cancun to tulum, the Maya Riviera (or Riviera Maya?) it's called. the coast is beautiful and doesn't have all the business and drinking of cancun. cancun didn't really seem like a family place to me, more like a party place. most of the mexicans speak english and there are way too many Hard Rock Cafe type places. even malls. it reminded me of Las Vegas to be honest with you. look online for all inculsives in the Maya Riviera (the coast). it's beautiful and more family friendly. the beaches all along the coast are outstanding. monica

Posada del Capitan Lafitte Resort

Feb 2005

Re: Playa del Carmen: Kid-frendly hotel

If you are willing to drive 15 minutes into Playa del Carmen, consider La Posida del Capitan LaFitte resort. It's located on a quiet beach, caters to families, and is moderately priced. The rooms have two double beds plus a private bath and open out onto a little patio with a hammock. Two meals a day are included in the price, and they have a nice pool w/a bar, plus a play area for little kids and a gathering spot for teens with pool, table tennis, and foosball. They also have an onsite dive shop for going out on snorkeling tours. You will need a car to get there from the airport and to get into Playa del Carmen, but it is SO much nicer than being in PC--unless you enjoy crowds and a party atmosphere. You can find La Posida del Capitan LaFitte at www.mexicoholiday.com. Maria


About 10 kilometors north of Playa del Carmen there is a wonderful kid friendly resort right on the beach - La Posada del Capitain Lafitte. In fact someone recently raved about it on a posting here (maybe a month ago?) It includes breakfast and dinner, so if you didn't want an all inclusive this could be a problem. But the rates are competitive enough that it might make sense even if you weren't going to eat dinner there every night. Our room had two double beds and connected to another room with two double beds. We stayed in one and our two kids in the other. They each had a porch with hammock and were right on the sand. You could walk straight out and directly into the ocean. Lovely! Very nice staff too and we met lots of other interesting and like-minded families (didn't attract the middle America types - go Blue states!) Amy
Jan 2005

Re: Warm, cheap, hassle-free place in Mexico?

I can't comment on the price of flights to Mexico, but we did find accomodations there that sound like just what you are looking for. (It's likely that February is already booked because this is a popular place, but it's worth a try if you are flexible on dates.) The hotel is called Capitan LaFitte, and it's part of a chain of small, all-inclusive resorts. LaFitte is located south of Cancun and north of Playa del Carmen. The web address is www.mexicoholiday.com.

The resort is made up of small, duplex style casitas, and many are right on the beach. There are no large resorts nearby, so you won't find anyone selling anything on the beach. At the poolside bar area at dinnertime, a vendor might set up shop selling local ''art,'' but they are not pushy. The wonderful thing about LaFitte is it is a truly relaxing place to bring kids. They have a small pool, one restaurant, a covered area with pool, table tennis, and foosball (for the teens), and a playground. The only paved walkways in the place are right around the main buildings. You'll walk in sand, in your barefeet to get from your room to the pool and restaurant. There is only one T.V., and it plays mainly Spanish-language programming. They also have an onsite dive shop that offers snorkeling and diving trips. Unfortunately no babysitting but you and your spouse can take turns going out to snorkel. The rooms are very nice--all tile with a nice tile bath, a mini- fridge, bottled water, and a hammock on the porch. No A/C unless you stay in one of the units away from the beach. The rooms are kept very clean, and the staff are very nice.

The beach near the lower numbered units is the best for swimming (and those units are closest to the playground), though I would say in general the beach at that resort is not one of the nicer ones we've ever visited. But for younger kids it is fine, and the pool is nice and is right on the beach. The food is average. They do serve a lot of fresh fruit, but we found ourselves wishing for some simple grilled fish rather than the ''saucy'' continental food they served for dinner. If you want to go to a neat water park for your child, try one of the ''Ecoparks'' that are within a 30-minute drive (XCaret, Xel-Ha). They are a bit touristy but fun nonetheless. Our kids also liked the Crocodile park (Crococun) that was nearby. LaFitte is pretty cheap considering how nice it is--we paid around $250 a night for two adults and two children, which included breakfast and dinner. The food at the pool-side grill for lunch was actually really good. February is the best time to go. Once you get into early April the winds start picking up, and they get evening rainstorms. There are no phones in the rooms. Don't plan on getting any email there, and your cell phone won't work either unless you have an international plan. (I highly recommend getting one because it can be hard to dial numbers in the U.S. Our son broke his wrist while we were there, and we were unable to get a hold of our insurance company because you can't dial toll-free U.S. numbers using a Mexican pre-paid phone card.)

I've done a lot of research and I've never found anything quite like Capitan LaFitte. We shy away from ''mega-resorts,'' but I really wanted an all-inclusive so that I (the chief cook and grocery shopper) could actually relax. I found the guests in general to be down-to-earth, friendly families. The swingers were no where to be found, as they would want someplace more happening. maria


June 2003

We're planning a trip to Mexico south of Cancun next spring break and wonder if anyone has had a personal experience with the Capitan LaFitte family resort run by the Turquoise Reef group. It is described as low-key and family oriented. We wonder about the quality of the accomodations and the food (it is an all-inclusive) as well as the snorkeling right at the resort or nearby. We're also interested in any other recommendations for similar resorts on that coast of Mexico that are family friendly, all-inclusive, and moderately priced and where we can get by with very little Spanish. Maria


We've been to Capitan Lafitte twice, both before we had a child. First time was about ten years ago, then about two years ago. It has grown a lot in that time, but it is still a wonderful place. The food is very good, there are lots of families, a beautiful beach. I recommend renting a car, there is lots to do in the area but you do need to drive. The snorkeling is fair, but the water often seems to be choppy and difficult (that was our experience.) Also, be sure to check on the weather for the time of year you would like to go, avoid hurricane season. I don't remember there being organized activities for kids but there is a pool, game room, playground, and other things to do. I would not hesitate to go back with my son. Enjoy!

House to rent in the Yucatan

Sept 2004

My husband and I are looking into going to the Yucatan wih our son in February. He'll be one then and we would like to rent a house near the beach. I've looked into Playa del Carmen but we're open to any place other than Cancun. We'd prefer to stay somewhere that's not built up with big condos/hotels. Can you recommend an area that's particulary good to go with a young one? Do you know of a specific house or rental agency to use? I'd love to hear your experience. I'd welcome anything...places to eat, sites to see, beaches to go to, places to avoid. Thanks a lot! Melissa


We took our two boys to the Yucatan when they were 6 and 8 and had a such a fabulous trip that, almost two years later, the kids still talk about it! We rented a house on the beach at Akumal, about an hour south of Cancun, and half an hour from Playa del Carmen. I would be happy to give you details about Akumal and the agent we used. Please e-mail me privately at andrea
I do not know of specific rental agencies in Yucatan, but I can definitely recommend some places to go with your young child. I grew up in that area and know it fairly well. I visited Playa del Carmen about four years ago and found that it has a mixture of family friendly resorts as well as singles-type places on the beach that range in price from very expensive to budget. I think it would be a good place for children and have contemplated taking my own there. The beaches are quite nice as well. The most popular resort at the time was called Xcaret where there were many families with young children present. I think it's still around. You might also want to check out Cozumel, Tulum, or Isla Mujeres (all with beautiful beaches as well as Mayan ruins to visit). If you make Playa your base, you can take easy day trips to each or some of these places. Buses from the terminal run quite frequently to Tulum. In the case of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, it is a bus trip plus a ferry trip, but you can do either in a day. Each of these places is far less developed than Cancun which you are right to studiously avoid, esp. with your kid. If you feel like taking a trip to a quaint, Spanish-style city for a day or two you should check out Merida.

A good website for additional recommendations is: http://www.travelyucatan.com Enjoy your trip! SWG


I have been to Akumal (south of Cancun by about 1.5 hours) many times with kids of various ages, including toddlers. It is still lay back, very safe and friendly, with all kinds of different accomodation. There's wonderful food, a very sweet beach that's good for small kids, etc. etc. I can't rave enough! Contact me for specifics on accomodations, if you'd like. Sindri

Yucatan with a 1 year old

Sept 2004

Hi, we are planning to travel to Yucatan, Mexico (Merida, Playa Maya) in January with our 1 year old daughter. Her pediatrician says there is risk of malaria because of the jungly area (we will probably stay at the beach but are planning to visit some maya ruins). And she will not quite be 24lbs by then, which is the requirement for the malaria vaccine. Does anyone have experience travelling to this area with a 1 year old (without being vaccinated?). In addition, are there any other preventive measurements we can take (e.g. mosquito net)? Or would you recommend not taking her to this destination yet? Any additional information regarding this will be helpful. Thanks, Padminie


We just got back from one week in Merida and one week just north of Tulum with our two and three year old. We all took the malaria medicine, but here was our actual experience of the mosquitos, plus the feedback we got from people who live there. There is no malaria risk in Merida--however, there are mosquitos there that carry dengue fever, for which there is no vaccine. We all, but our son (2 year old) especially, got many mosquito bites in Merida, despite pretty vigilant efforts with the DEET spray, having them wear long pants, not going outside during dusk, etc. Once we where on the coast, though, we hardly got bitten at all. This may be because we were RIGHT on the water, so there was a fairly contant breeze coming from the ocean. We went to Chichen Itza, Tulum, and some smaller ruins in the area, which were not jungly, and we didn't get any mosquito bites. I think Coba is one that is fairly jungly, so there may be more mosquitos there. Most of the people we talked to on the coast side were surprised that we were told to take chloroquinine. Also, from the research I gathered, there are two kinds of malaria strains, and the more dangerous strain is rare in the mosquitos on the Cancun-Tulum corridor.

In terms of mosquito netting, we brought quite a bit in case our bungalow was not adequately screened in. We ended up not needing it because the place was very well-built and screened, but if you were planning on staying at all in the beach cabanas along Tulum, it would probably be worth bringing.

That's just my experience. Since we didn't have the issue of our kids not weighing enough for the quinine, I'm not sure how I would have felt about traveling with them to the Yucatan without it. But it was a great trip! Good luck! meli


We traveled to the Yucatan last year with our then 6-month-old and 3-year-old sons. We stayed at the beach (Playa del Carmen and Tulum) and went inland to ruins (Coba and Chichen Itza).

To protect against the incredibly small risk of malaria we used mosquito repellent and relied on my breastmilk protecting the baby. If you're interested, catnip-based mosquito repellents work great, even better than DEET. You can buy them online or make your own.

We're taking our now 4-year-old and 15-month-old sons back in November and will use the same strategy. Have a wonderful trip. DL


Well, I'll be interested to hear what any other medical professionals say. But I would say this: I have been to the Yucatan and can't imagine it presenting a particularly strong malaria risk. Seems a rather surprising concern to me, particularly the places you are talking about visiting. It's not all jungle out there! I think it's an ideal vacation spot for a young child -- they can waddle around ruins or squat on the beach. sabrina
My husband and I took our 8 month old twins to Merida last December. We stayed with my in-laws in Merida and did not even notice any mosquitos. In fact, my pediatrician did not even suggest the vaccination for malaria. We did take day trips to see some Mayan ruins and again had no issues with bugs. We only used bottled water and jarred baby food while we were there, and our twins did not have and intestinal issues either. I think you will be fine, but you need to do what makes you feel most comfortable. Karen

Renting a Kid-Friendly Villa

Sept. 2004

My husband and I are looking into going to the Yucatan wih our son in February. He'll be one then and we would like to rent a house near the beach. I've looked into Playa del Carmen but we're open to any place other than Cancun. We'd prefer to stay somewhere that's not built up with big condos/hotels. Can you recommend an area that's particulary good to go with a young one? Do you know of a specific house or rental agency to use? I'd love to hear your experience. I'd welcome anything...places to eat, sites to see, beaches to go to, places to avoid. Thanks a lot! Melissa


We took our two boys to the Yucatan when they were 6 and 8 and had a such a fabulous trip that, almost two years later, the kids still talk about it! We rented a house on the beach at Akumal, about an hour south of Cancun, and half an hour from Playa del Carmen. I would be happy to give you details about Akumal and the agent we used. Please e-mail me privately. Andrea
I do not know of specific rental agencies in Yucatan, but I can definitely recommend some places to go with your young child. I grew up in that area and know it fairly well. I visited Playa del Carmen about four years ago and found that it has a mixture of family friendly resorts as well as singles-type places on the beach that range in price from very expensive to budget. I think it would be a good place for children and have contemplated taking my own there. The beaches are quite nice as well. The most popular resort at the time was called Xcaret where there were many families with young children present. I think it's still around. You might also want to check out Cozumel, Tulum, or Isla Mujeres (all with beautiful beaches as well as Mayan ruins to visit). If you make Playa your base, you can take easy day trips to each or some of these places. Buses from the terminal run quite frequently to Tulum. In the case of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, it is a bus trip plus a ferry trip, but you can do either in a day. Each of these places is far less developed than Cancun which you are right to studiously avoid, esp. with your kid. If you feel like taking a trip to a quaint, Spanish-style city for a day or two you should check out Merida. A good website for additional recommendations is: http://www.travelyucatan.com Enjoy your trip! SWG
I have been to Akumal (south of Cancun by about 1.5 hours) many times with kids of various ages, including toddlers. It is still lay back, very safe and friendly, with all kinds of different accomodation. There's wonderful food, a very sweet beach that's good for small kids, etc. etc. I can't rave enough! Contact me for specifics on accomodations, if you'd like. Sindri
July 2003

We're planning a vacation in September to the Yucatan Peninsula with a few other families with small kids (all around 1 year old). Our dream is to rent a kid-friendly villa and hire someone to cook for us. Ideally we'd like to be on the beach and close (walking distance would be great) to a small town. We'd rather not be in the thick of a big tourist area. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to find a villa that fits the bill? It would need to be at least a 2 bedroom, possibly up to 4. Ideas on how to find a cook? Or general suggestions about traveling in Mexico or specifically in the Yucatan with young children? I've reviewed the information on the archives and it seems to pertain to resorts, not to villa rental. Thanks in advance! Julie


Check out www.locogringo.com. They specialize in Yucatan accomodations, including villas, condos, etc. They have many different beachfront villas available in several areas along the coast. Though I've only used the site for mental vacations, I've heard good things from those who have booked through them. Good luck! Tara

Yucatan trip with preteens

Sept 2003

We would like to go to the Yucatan with our sons, 10 and 13 in February. We are open to staying in a house, condo or all inclusive resort. We are not fancy folk, but a few comforts are welcomed. Good food, a good beach and easy access to margaritas is important, as is being able to share some culture with our children. We read the previous posts, but no one said anything about traveling with older children. If you are familiar with a particular destination or resort, please share it with us. We have heard to stay away from Cancun and concentrate our search around Playa del Carmen. Martha


For a family looking to stay in the Yucatan, I highly recommend staying in Akumal, which is on the beach about an hour south of Cancun and about 20 - 30 min south of Playa del Carmen. We were there in April with our 7 and 9 year old boys, and found that adventure was within easy distance (or event just outside the door for great snorkeling). We took a several side trips, Tulum (20 min), Casa Cenote (15 min), Coba (1 hr). The lagoon on the north end of Akumal, Yal Ku was amazing for snorkeling. Aktun Chen, with underground caves and cenotes was 1/2 mile away. Another poster recommended Zamas in Tulum. The accommodations are rustic (cabana style), but the beach, the margaritas and the food made for more than one a great afternoon. We booked our house through akumal villas, which is the agent for a number of homes in akumal. You can contact them through their website: www.akumal-villas.com. We stayed at Hamacas in south akumal, and thought it was perfect for us. South akumal is, to me, the nicest part of akumal. There are about a dozen homes on a lovely bay. The main part of akumal offers several good restaurants, a small market and an outdoor market, as well as a dive shop. That's pretty much it! Have a great trip.

Villa in the Yucatan Peninsula for family reunion

June 2003

We're planning a vacation in September to the Yucatan Peninsula with a few other families with small kids (all around 1 year old). Our dream is to rent a kid-friendly villa and hire someone to cook for us. Ideally we'd like to be on the beach and close (walking distance would be great) to a small town. We'd rather not be in the thick of a big tourist area. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to find a villa that fits the bill? It would need to be at least a 2 bedroom, possibly up to 4. Ideas on how to find a cook? Or general suggestions about traveling in Mexico or specifically in the Yucatan with young children? I've reviewed the information on the archives and it seems to pertain to resorts, not to villa rental. Thanks in advance! Julie


Check out www.locogringo.com. They specialize in Yucatan accomodations, including villas, condos, etc. They have many different beachfront villas available in several areas along the coast. Though I've only used the site for mental vacations, I've heard good things from those who have booked through them. Good luck! Tara
Hi, my extended family (3 mothers, 4 girls ages 2-13, and one grandmother) had a great vacation this winter in the Yucatan, in the area called Tankah. We rented a house called Villa Tres Delfines in Soliman Bay, which had the option of hiring the woman who cleaned to cook as well, which was great! It was right on a quiet beach, 15 minute drive to the town of Tulum, with many restaurants, and was perfect for all of us. The website where we found it, which has many listings in the area is www.akumalmexico.com. enjoy! Lucia

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen: Kid-frendly hotel

Feb 2005


Check out El Tukan Condotel. Their website is at: http://www.eltukancondotel.com We stayed there last year with our two kids and were very comfortable. We had a two bedroom suite with a queenbed in each bedroom and a fold out couch in the living room. The prices are very reasonable and it's very comfortable and child friendly. There are a couple of downsides: their beach club is a ten minute walk away and their swimming pool is not heated. But we had a good stay there, with plenty of swimming and sightseeing. ad
Two people also recommended LaFitte>Posada del Capitan Lafitte Resort (click for reviews)
We took our two kids (then 3 1/2 & almost one) to The Blue Parrot Inn in Playa del Carmen a year ago and had a great time. It worked out beautifully with the kids and was warm and relaxing. Sarah

More Reviews

Re: Active vacation with 2yo and 4yo (June 2002)
Hi, we took my VERY active 2 1/2 year old to Cancun, Mexico. I know I should not recommend a foreign place by saying that you will have all the comforts of home, but, hey, with small children you need it! We stayed at a strip lined with big Hotels right on the beach, south of Cancun. The hotel, Oasis, had all meals included. It was only 2 story high, so it was like being in a house. We went to their 3 restaurants every day, and for once somebody else cleaned up after baby afterwards! The swimming pool had a large area for kids, and my baby made friends with lots of Canadian and South Americans. The place was clean, efficient, everybody spoke English, everyone was polite and friendly. The busses to the little town run every half minute. The town was safe, had many small shops and a big Mall. We took an organized one-day trip to the piramids, and my baby insisted on climbing all the way to the top, running, while I was terrified! (climbing down is difficult, for adults). It costs less than Hawaii. The rest is much the same as Hawaii (we went too, the previous year). Oh, another thing, the water is warmer, so you can swim in the Ocean (in Hawaii my daughter refused to set foot on the beach!). Laura
I cannot rave enough about the Yucatan Peninsula. However, I would stay away from the resort area of Cancun simply because that's all it has to offer (i.e., one giant resort backed up to another). Instead, I would rent a car and drive south along the coast exploring on your own. Playa del Carmen is a GREAT town about 1 hour from Cancun and has fabulous beaches, food, etc., and is within driving distance to several ruins. The Yucatan is very tourist friendly.
I just returned from Playacar (about one hr south of Cancun) yesterday with my two daughters (4.5 and 27 months). I went knowing little of our destination (our original plan was to go elsewhere). I don't know the specifics about the particular condo but i do know prices around cancun are generally very expensive. don't expect to find many, if any, bargains; the goods and services are for those with lots of cash. however, Playacar and Playa de Carmen have individual houses for rent that are much bigger than your 2 room cottage. if you can afford it the cancun area is a great area for kids (clean and safe enough for the littliest tot if you can survive the flight). mexicans are wonderful people, and the beaches beautiful. you can easily get by without knowing any Spanish. The mexicans were extremely patient with tourists (except while driving) and used to interpreting broken spanish and know some german, french, etc. Must sees with children are: Tulum (Mayan walled city), Xel-Ha (a "natural" aquarium for snorkeling, swim with dolphins [i didn't], playground and kiddie pool) and if you need the name of a beach with no waves for little tots let me know, the name escapes me right now. there are drawbacks. coming from berkeley i wasn't used to the cigarette smoking from mostly europeans, and this is a tourist area so you can't go expecting to get a real mexican experience. also you might find that the private little excluded spot you discovered can be inundated by a big tour bus at any moment. Carrie
My spouse and I visited Playa del Carmen about three years ago. We, however, did not have children at the time and were not concerned with family entertainment. You will find that Playa del Carmen is definitely removed from the hustle and bustle of larger resort areas. You will find tourists, but not nearly as many as, say, Cancun. If you are looking for an authentic Mexican village (as described by our taxi driver) Playa del Carmen may be your answer. The beach was beautiful, and it was far from crowded. Unfortunately, I do not recall organized activities geared towards children. Please contact the resorts and find out exactly what they offer. Stacey
We had a fabulous vacation at Iberostar (Playa del Carmen) last June. All non-motorized watersports were included. I also really loved the Kids Club. the three year old is a little young for the Kids Club if she is shy, but the staff is very friendly.. Every night they have kid activities and a show suitable for all ages. Many all-inclusives have mediocre food, but this is not the case with the Iberostar. For an even more secluded spot, they opened a new resort called Iberostar Paraiso. The vegetation isn't complete though. Oh, the pool is not to be believed. The beach is okay, but the pool is the most wonderful I have ever seen. Lots of activities, sunshine, etc. Bennett
We went to the Yucatan area for 2-1/2 weeks just before last Christmas. It was great. We stayed at an all inclusive resort on Cozumel called Allegro. There were lots of people from the midwest who thought it was very cool. We thought that it was a bit overdone-hyper on the activities and the food was so-so. We stayed there for the first 5 days, and did get sick from the food there (although minor). We then took a ferry across to Playa del Carmen and rented a car. We had no reservations, and ended up renting a condo on the beach right next door to the Omni. We walked around the grounds and it was very new and beautiful. There seemed to be alot more European travelers staying there. The beach at Playa Aventuras is incredible, and it is more off of the beaten path. Avoid Cancun if you're allergic to crowds and tourist hype. We then ventured off to see ruins (Tulum, Chitzen Itza, and the best-Coba). We drove across the peninsula and stayed four days in Merida. I highly recommend it. It's a 500 year old colonial city with great food, really nice people, and great shopping. It's touristy, but nothing like the Mayan Riviera. We ate from stands and restaurants and had no problems. Just don't drink anything except for sealed bottled water.

We traveled with our almost 2 year old daughter, and she was fascinated by the ruins. The diving is better on Cozumel, but there were dive groups going right off of the beach at Playa Aventuras. Also between Cancun and Tulum there are many ecoparks with birds, dolphins, and incredible fish--a must see. My only comment on the whole trip is that tourism rules on the Mayan Riviera, and it doesn't feel much like Mexico--you could be anywhere, and sort of miss out on Mexican hospitality and culture. Tom


Yucatan resort for trip without the kids

Sept 2003

My husband and I are planning our first vacation sans baby in November. I looked at the website for past recs. but we are looking to hear more from the ''travelling without child'' standpoint.We are leaning towards Cozumel or a smaller then Cancun town on the Yucatan Peninsula. We would like to stay at a higher end place that is relaxing and mostly adults. We SCUBA dive, sun bathe, enjoy water sports and love to eat good food. (sounds like a personals add!) We would appreciate any recommendations of places and hotels that might meet these requirments. Thanks so much!
Destination Mexico Mamma


Check out Playa del Carmen. It's about 45 mins south of Cancun. I first went there roughly 10 years ago and it was a small village. Now it is much larger, but nothing close to Cozumel or Cancun in terms of it being a ''tourist trap''. Definitely check out the cenotes (cave diving) since you scuba - very unique. We stayed at the Blue Parrot. Reasonably priced and a very social bar, right on the beach. They just completed a new section a couple years ago, stay there and ask to stay on the top floors. Rooms are spacious and clean. If you want more info, email me... rach
For our honeymoon, we stayed at Las Ranitas in Tulum and we loved it. It is run by a French couple, Yannick & Leila and is very, very lovely but also very low key. When we were there, in 2001, it was defintly the nicest on the beach. It's also environmentally sound and it is the only place in Tulum with a French chef. There is also Maya Tulum, we didn't like the rooms as much and the beach isn't as nice as Las Ranitas, but they do have yoga on the beach. Zamas is the place for dinner, fresh yummy and inexpensive. If you want to dive do it in Cozumel. But I would go just to dive and then I would leave. I haven't been but I have heard it is very touristy. Check out lasranitas.com for pics. and info. OH, I wish I was going. Have fun. If you want you can borrow our Yucatan guide book. I could go on and on email me if you have any other questions. Francine
We stayed a couple of years ago in a wonderful place down 45 minutes south from Cancun area which is almost surrounded by all inclusive resorts. It is called Akumal - wonderful snorkeling, night cave diving ( the resort where we stayed specializes in scuba diving). You can rent a fully equipped studio or 1-2 bedroom right on the beach or stay at all inclusive resort.

There are a couple of small cities with tons of places to eat fresh lobster and all kinds of seafood, shopping and tequila bars just 15 minutes away ( by car) (one of them is Puerto Aventures). There are sacred senotes ( wells) and eco resorts within half an hour away.

You would either have to rent a car ( I would make a reservation - because EVERYBODY wants to rent a car) or take a taxi everywhere outside resort area. Feel free to e-mail me if you need websites for hotel reservations if this is what you are looking for. wish i could go there too again


Three years ago, before baby, my huband and I stayed at Zamas just north of Tulum. The food was wonderful - they had an ex-pat Italian chef who spear fished in the morning and cooked his catches at night. They have many types of rooms and cabanas to choose from. There are ruins near Tulum with a lovley beach, and there are cenotes (fresh water caves) all over the place which are great for snorkeling. We saw people scuba diving the caves too. You can rent bikes at another hotel close to Zamas and ride into the nature perserve. The beach at Zamas wasn't great, but the Mexican Hot chocolate on the beach at sunset was great. Buen viajes
For a rustic but beautiful, relaxing vacation, try Zamas. Its near Tulum. The food is fabulous. Everyone I've sent there has loved it. Its a world away from Cancun, but only about 1 - 2 hours drive. Their web site is www.zamas.com Lee
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