Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Visiting Cancun

It was kind of last minute booking. As Piaw used to tell me it is cheap in Cancun, so I got the cheap flight first. However the hotel stay was very hard to get around Christmas and New Year time and the rate of the hotel is almost doubled comparing to other time. After trying to call a few hotels, I gave up. I just used bookit.com and made a reservation at Regina Vacation Club for the first 4 days including the new year eve. I bought a  JW Marriott package from Costco for another 4 days.  The website information at bookit.com is quite confusing. I thought I had bought the all-inclusive package. But when I checked in at the hotel, people there told me the package I bought was just for room no meals. Such a disappointment as I paid almost the doubled rate as JW Marriott to stay at Regina. Luckily I didn't book the whole stay there and saved some money.   

Raintrees Regina Vacation Club

It is a great place for diving, especially to get diving certified. The wind is strong, so we didn't do much swimming in the sea as Bowen still doesn't know how to swim. We swam in the swimming pool most of the time. 

Beaches around Hotel Zone

Beach at JW Marriott

At JW Marriott

Swimming pool overlook the beach at Hardrock Hotel

We went to Xcaret park for a day. It was a great trip for small kids. The underground river swimming was fun. Bowen enjoyed it a lot and I loved it too.  

Big Turtle at Xcaret Park

Character in the night show at Xcaret Park

Character in the night show at Xcaret Park

 My mom and I went to Chichen Iza for a day. It was a long day as it is a long drive from the hotel zone to there. When we got there, it was around noon. It is one of the great monuments for Maya culture. It is really sad that no any books or written materials  are left that record the history of the Maya culture. We can just get little information about Maya culture. 

Another unique thing one can do here is diving/swimming in Cenote. The water is a little cool in Cenote, but it is really fresh and clean. Try it when you get there. The spa at JW Marriot is really great. Usually one can get one free spa for two day stay, use it.  

Underground water swimming at Xcaret

I don't have plans to come back again though it is a nice place to relax and explore the beach. Maybe one day I was so into diving, I may consider to come back to do those exotic diving 

Some tips and highlights: 
Prepare some Mexican pesos and one dollar bills in advance to pay tours and food. Dollar bills are easy to pay bus tickets and tips. Some hotels like JW Marriot give a reasonable exchange rate, but most of places don't. Or bring a credit card with good rate and low transaction fees. 

Book direct flight if it is feasible as it saves time and the hassle to do custom at the transition.

If you plan to visit those theme parks or visit Cozumel, stay 2 or 3 days around Playa Del Carmen, as it is closer to both theme parks and the island of Cozumel.  The downtown of Playa Del Carmen is a very nice place to dine or walk around too. It is worthwhile spending a few days at the Hotel zone area. It has the specular beaches. The location around JW Marriot and Hardrock is great.  One can easily take bus to other places around here.  It is easy to visit Isla Mujeres Island too.  

The View from the room of JW Marriott

Overlook the beach and the resort at JW Marriott

The tour to Chichen Iza can cost from $50 to $100, I don't see the big differences between them. Talk to a few agencies to get better rate. Usually the agencies at downtown or shopping mall can give better rate for most of tours, like at La Isla shopping mall at hotel zone area or downtown of  Playa Del Carmen. To visit Xcaret it is better to reserve taxi or take private tour instead of going with a big crowd as the pickup may take much longer time and one doesn't have enough time to play at the park. 

To save money and avoid crowd, visit in Nov or Feb. Book the hotels in advance as good deals are gone fast. Imperior has very reasonable price and convenient too as it has branches both at Hotel zone and Playa Del Carmen. If you want to go to a more luxury resort, Hard rock is a good choice. You can drop me an email, I can give you the member access rate. Most hotels give credits or free spa for the stay, it is nice to use those credits to get diving certified.  

Sleeping bed at Mextreme Restaurant

Decoration hats at Mextreme Restaurant

Coconut, pine apple virgin drink at Mextreme

Delicious Tacos

Try the local authentic Mexican food, tacos are really good there.  We went to Mextreme and Pericos, both of them are great! The people are so nice and warm there. At Mextreme, my son fell asleep, they even provide a bed for my son to sleep.  

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