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what to do in riviera maya, mexico

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  • Aug 7th, 2010 11:10 am
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Member
Sep 7, 2008
256 posts
3 upvotes

what to do in riviera maya, mexico

hello everyone,

We will be travelling to riviera maya for the 1st time and will be staying in all inclusive resort for 7 days in Akumal (between Playa del carmen and Tulum). Can anyone please share any experience on things to do outside the resort such as excursions? Since we have 7 days and on a limited budget, we would like to visit 2 or 3 attractions and if it is possible, we would like to do it ourselves rather than joining tours to save some money. Can everyone suggest what to see first?

Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated...
21 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2005
1191 posts
22 upvotes
It would help to know ages/kids/interests?? Akumal is beautiful, go snorkelling with the sea turtles there, it's lovely! There is a school in Akumal that we take donations to every time we go. Please consider filling a suitcase of stuff to take. (spanish books, clothing school supplies, etc...)
http://hekabbe.blogspot.com/

We enjoyed Tulum, although Coba is better for seeing the ruins. You can do a self-guided tour of Tulum for pretty cheap. http://www.xelha.com/ is a great day. We enjoyed http://www.hiddenworlds.com/ too. You might like http://xcaret.com/ too, lots of ziplines. You can also tour Playa Del Carmen's 5th ave (shopping) and take a ferry boat to Cozumel. Your hotel will have lots of tours to book for cenotes, ATV's, ruins, etc... We rented a car from Playa on one of our trips last year but I'm not sure I'd do that again.

Hope this helps :)
[OP]
Member
Sep 7, 2008
256 posts
3 upvotes
Thank you so much shoppingmama for all the suggestions. We are 2A in the 40s and 1 14yrs and we all love the outdoor activities and adventures. We are also thinking of climbing up Coba ruins but i am not sure if it is still allowed.
[OP]
Member
Sep 7, 2008
256 posts
3 upvotes
any other suggestions on this? Thanks
Jr. Member
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Aug 24, 2009
140 posts
72 upvotes
Beamsville, ontario
When I went to Mexico when I was in high school (so I was 18 at the time), my friends and I really enjoyed Tulum and Xel-ha; my hubby and I are going to the same area in the beginning of September and are planning on either doing the Xcaret Park or Xplor (Ive read awesome reviews of Xplor)
Deal Guru
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Nov 21, 2009
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xelha is much better than xcaret
besides chichen itza I recommend coba or ek balam. there is a nice cenote in ek balam just outside the site. ek balam is cheap and quiet. not too many people as in chichen itza
what else you can do is swimming with sharks. we did it from isla mujeres last year. to do that we stayed on the island for one night. it is quite expensive though and you must be in good shape. I got sea sick and we cut it short.
we also liked snorkeling in akumal bay. you can arrange a fishing trip there and have the fish cooked for you later
Deal Addict
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Nov 10, 2003
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Edmonton
This is a really good site to do more research.
http://forums.locogringo.com/forums/default.asp

If you are planning on doing any of your own exploration. I would suggest that you pick up a map from Mapchick
http://www.cancunmap.com/rivieramaya-map.html

We basicly rented a car for a couple of days and used this map to tour around. Most of the places where the tours will take you on will allow walk in visitors for a small gate fee. Especially the Cenotes / Zip lines.. etc.

It's really hard to get to Coba or Chitz on your own with out a car or a bus tour. Also, if you are visiting during the summer months..know that it is extremely HOT when you go inland.

The other way to transport yourself is to take the collectivo up and down that high way. The fare cost between Tulum and Playa De Carmen should be no more than 50p per person. And if you are picked up in Akumal.. the fare should be around 30p to either Tulum or Playa.

What I would do on a budget if it was my first time.

1. Take Collectivo to Play De carmen and Taxi back with all my shopping bags(pre negotiate a rate - of around 250-300p - walk away if they don't accept)
2. Bring my snorkle gear and hang out at Akumal bay to swim with the turtles..then take a taxi (70-100p)from Akumal bay to snorkle yal-ku lagoon
http://www.epinions.com/content_403836014212
3. Take Collectivo to Tulum ruins and Tulum village. Just becase you've never seen a ruin.. But otherwise.. I would go find a cenote and swim.

Which resort are you staying at?
Newbie
Aug 2, 2010
2 posts
Toronto
My gf and I (Canadians) stayed in Mayan Grand Palladium in January 09. One of the best trips we ever had for new years. Food and resort were amazing! We did a day trip into play de carmen and it was fun. As long as you stay in the main areas it's very safe. We shopped, ate at all the local restaurants and even came back to catch a ferry boat over to cozumel. You can catch a ferry boat from playa to Cozumel for very cheap and explore cozumel as well. We rented a mo-ped and drove around cozumel. When you get off the ferry boat if you head south (right) you'll encounter a tiny bar about 30 mins down that is very absolutely gorgeous and a lot of fun. Sounds kinda scary but there are a bunch of stops along the way. Otherwise, we visited a few of mayan ruins that were beautiful. I can't remember the name but one of the ruins has a beach at the back that you climb down to and it's one of most picturesque beachs we've ever seen. The ruins is under $50 taxi ride from our resort. Deepending on the time of year the deep sea fishing is also very good. Hope that helps!
[OP]
Member
Sep 7, 2008
256 posts
3 upvotes
Thank you all so much for the suggestions and comments. We will be staying at Gran Bahia Principe Akumal for 7 days. My daughter would like to swim with dolphin. We are thinking of doing Tulum+Coba+cenote swimming in 1 day, Playa del Carmen strolling+shopping in 1 day, Ya kul lagoon snorkeling + swimming with dolphin in 1 day. We are also interested in Xel-ha and Xcaret as well but we are not sure how we plan this since we would like to spend some time at the resort. We are planning to spend at most 3 days on excursions due to budget as well as physical fitness. We would probably have to drop a few places from this list, Any suggestion for 3-day itinerary for 1st timers to Riviera Maya.

Thanks again
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2005
1191 posts
22 upvotes
Hey again! I have kids the same age and we stayed at Grand Bahia Coba in Dec...we loved the resort! For a week stay I wold not recommend more than 2 excursions, and an afternoon in Playa to buy gifts. I forgot to mention we did a great afternoon with spider monkeys too. http://www.thejungleplace.com/

Day 1 - arrival, hang out at resort, book your a la carte for the week (japanese, gourmet, & italian) The Coba buffet was the best for us.

Day 2 - check out Playa in the afternoon. You can take the collectivo for $3/US a person or take a cab. The collectivo only runs along the highway so you have to walk to get to 5th ave where all the tourist stuff is. The walk can be a little frightening to a kid

Day 3/4 - one day to relax, one day at Xel Ha. You can book swimming with the dolphins there. It's a great place to spend the whole day. We did the Sea Trek there too, a neat experience. Book online and take a cab from the resort.

Day 5/6 - one day at the resort and one day for a tour. I'd recommend the Coba/Mayan Village/Cenote tour package. If you have spent you budget, take a cab to Tulum and do the self-guided tour.

Day 7 - enjoy you day at the resort before leaving.
[OP]
Member
Sep 7, 2008
256 posts
3 upvotes
shoppingmama wrote:
Aug 3rd, 2010 11:29 pm
Hey again! I have kids the same age and we stayed at Grand Bahia Coba in Dec...we loved the resort! For a week stay I wold not recommend more than 2 excursions, and an afternoon in Playa to buy gifts. I forgot to mention we did a great afternoon with spider monkeys too. http://www.thejungleplace.com/

Day 1 - arrival, hang out at resort, book your a la carte for the week (japanese, gourmet, & italian) The Coba buffet was the best for us.

Day 2 - check out Playa in the afternoon. You can take the collectivo for $3/US a person or take a cab. The collectivo only runs along the highway so you have to walk to get to 5th ave where all the tourist stuff is. The walk can be a little frightening to a kid

Day 3/4 - one day to relax, one day at Xel Ha. You can book swimming with the dolphins there. It's a great place to spend the whole day. We did the Sea Trek there too, a neat experience. Book online and take a cab from the resort.

Day 5/6 - one day at the resort and one day for a tour. I'd recommend the Coba/Mayan Village/Cenote tour package. If you have spent you budget, take a cab to Tulum and do the self-guided tour.

Day 7 - enjoy you day at the resort before leaving.
Thank you so much shoppingmama. Can we book a la carte for the week or we have to do it on a daily basis? Also, you mind if I ask how much the Coba/Mayan Village/Cenote tour package costs per person and where you booked it?
Thanks again
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Dec 21, 2007
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Markham
tockty wrote:
Aug 3rd, 2010 10:03 pm
Thank you all so much for the suggestions and comments. We will be staying at Gran Bahia Principe Akumal for 7 days. My daughter would like to swim with dolphin. We are thinking of doing Tulum+Coba+cenote swimming in 1 day, Playa del Carmen strolling+shopping in 1 day, Ya kul lagoon snorkeling + swimming with dolphin in 1 day. We are also interested in Xel-ha and Xcaret as well but we are not sure how we plan this since we would like to spend some time at the resort. We are planning to spend at most 3 days on excursions due to budget as well as physical fitness. We would probably have to drop a few places from this list, Any suggestion for 3-day itinerary for 1st timers to Riviera Maya.

Thanks again
I just came back from that resort last month. Great resort, and great service. We never really went on any excursions other than going to 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen which was good for a day out. I think your over planning some of your days, your going to be exhausted after one excursion due to the heat.
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Dec 21, 2007
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tockty wrote:
Aug 4th, 2010 6:52 am
Thank you so much shoppingmama. Can we book a la carte for the week or we have to do it on a daily basis? Also, you mind if I ask how much the Coba/Mayan Village/Cenote tour package costs per person and where you booked it?
Thanks again
Unless you upgraded to the Royal Club you receive three a-la-cartes for your trip. I would recommend that you book them as soon as you get there as they book up very quickly. I found the Arlequin to be an excellent restaurant (but not sure if your children would like it), also I've heard good things about the Japanese restaurant as well.

In terms of the excursions when you enter the Akumal lobby on the left there will be tables lined up with different tour operators (Transat/Nolitours, Apple etc) there they will give you a price list but from what I remember they weren't cheap. I'm pretty sure the one you are looking at was over $100/pp.
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Nov 21, 2009
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I've been to MR few times and Bahia Principe twice. we stayed in Tulum section though which we liked the most because of the beach. Coba has the best buffet mainly because it's air conditioned which you can also use. all the restaurant are not bad. we liked the Japanese the most
re excursions I do not book with the operators but rent a car and do it myself. you can rent a car from the resort (beteen $60-$100US) or outside of the resort. if it's your first trip I would do the essentials: Chichen Itza and Tulum. you can get to Tulum by taxi and rent a car for Chichen Itza. it may be hot though. Tulum has a great beach but for trips inside the land we usually try to find a cenote to refresh (check cenote Dzitnup close to Chichen Itza - it's really nice)
I would skip Playa del Carmen. generally there is nothing you can buy and it's a waste of time imo unless you'd like to try restaurants and night life
for relaxing I would go to Xel-ha or Akumal Bay by taxi (ca $10US). great snorkelling in AB just in front of Lolha restaurant
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