Cancun in January

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andyandyandy
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Cancun in January

Post by andyandyandy » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm

All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!

GmanJeff
Posts: 524
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:53 pm

Consider arranging transportation through your resort.

Quintana Roo State is under a Level 2 Travel Advisory (Exercise Increased Caution), reflecting a notable level of criminal activity and violence in which bystanders in tourist and other areas may become collateral damage even if not targeted specifically. It would be prudent to be fully and currently informed regarding the crime situation before deciding on excursions outside the resort.

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fortfun
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by fortfun » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:02 pm

andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!
1. Hotel might have a shuttle. Check first. Otherwise, reserve one ahead of time. I don't think they allow taxis but I might be thinking of Cozumel.
2. I'd pre-pay for a discounted tour. I've driven a rental car there but if this is your first time in Mexico, you might be more comfortable with a bus tour.
3. Credit cards only! I would bring a bunch of U.S. 1 dollar bills for tipping. You'll get much better/faster service if you leave a few bucks each time you get drinks, etc.
4. I'd go to Tulum for sure. Go to Akumal bay on this day and snorkel with the turtles (do not pay for a snorkel tour, just rent the life vests for $5). Chichen Itza is a long drive. Xehal has great snorkeling for the kids.
5. Consider getting a Charles Schwab ATM card. All fees are refunded, best exchange rates, etc.

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Flymore
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Flymore » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:38 pm

andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!
DW and I just came back from Cancun a week ago.
We arranged transportation through our hotel, that's what I would do. Just walk through the terminal once you exit customs, ignoring the line of hard sell timeshare/tours on your right then go out the doors and cross the street that's where you meet the hotel transportation.

We looked into chichen itza tours at the hotel, but choose to stay in the hotel zona this trip. Tours were 12 hours! We enjoyed the ruins at El Rey
77500 Quintana Roo. Just a short bus trip from our hotel. The beach, pool and food was fantastic. Hotel should provide info on how the bus driver is dressed and what to look for.

Use your visa everywhere except the bus. If you go on the bus it's 12 pesos the hotel will give you pesos for dollars no fee. The buses are fast, frequent and they stop for you if you're anywhere near the street. We ventured out to some shopping malls, I wouldn't recommend them.

You may notice some armed troops (3) in flak jackets as you enter the hotel zona. Also enjoyed watching the Aermacchi SF.260TP occasionally flying over the beach. Nice and quiet not the loud woop woop from a helo. Maybe providing some reconnaissance support for the troops. :D

No idea about chase reserve.
Anyway, hope this helps.
Enjoy your trip! :beer

Shallowpockets
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:57 pm

We used these people several times.

http://www.usa-transfers.com

They will send you all the info about the airport and how to find them. If you have never arrived at the Cancun airport, it will be confusing to you. All kinds of well dressed people will solicit you for transport. Keep walking and follow the directions USA Transfers sends you.

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Nicolas
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Nicolas » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:01 pm

Be wary of adulterated alcohol in Mexico.
http://milwaukeejournalsentinel.wi.news ... =05c4f4bd6
Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil. — J. Paul Getty

Bacchus01
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Bacchus01 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:10 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:01 pm
Be wary of adulterated alcohol in Mexico.
http://milwaukeejournalsentinel.wi.news ... =05c4f4bd6
Sad.

Unfortunately that can happen a lot of places. There seem to be a number of issues this spring specific to Iberostar resorts.

We are headed to the Hard Rock Riviera Maya Dec 20-25

Shallowpockets
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:13 am

I would not go to Chichi Itza. It is a loooong day. If you must,try and get an early AM tour that goes in before the others. Later it will be a zoo. All the paths between ruins will be lined, shoulder to shoulder with booths selling pretty much all the same thing. It will be so crowded it will be hard to walk through it.
There are many other things to do without a 12 hour tour. You are only there for four days. Pick one trip and then just enjoy your resort.

clutchied
Posts: 636
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by clutchied » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:28 am

andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!

1. Schedule through your hotel
2. Take the tour bus; we rented a car previously and drove but it's a bit sketchy on the interstate (need pesos to exit! they don't take dollars) Also it's really expensive.
3. you'll really want all 3
4. Have a great time! Seasonally there can be seaweed. Take the people's ferry to isla mujeres and enjoy the slow ride and it's like $2/person. Fish fratanga is fun and get the molcajetes at the distilleria!
5. utilize cards as needed.

Topic Author
andyandyandy
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Re: Cancun in January

Post by andyandyandy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:03 am

Thank you everyone for the suggestions!!

Doohop65
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Doohop65 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:26 am

We went to a resort last winter in Mexico. I highly recommend booking your own transport for arrival and departure before you leave.

Pay the money and use a personal shuttle and then you are on your best schedule. Some of the resort shuttles or other group shuttles require a great deal of wasted time.

We used Canada transfers. They had the best prices and newer vehicles. They were waitin for us with signs, cold water, beer, and wet wash clothes to freshen up with.

It was a great experience and would use them again.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:30 am

fortfun wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:02 pm
1. Hotel might have a shuttle. Check first. Otherwise, reserve one ahead of time. I don't think they allow taxis but I might be thinking of Cozumel.
DW and I went to Cancun for our fifteenth anniversary (some twenty-five years ago). We took a cab to a local attraction. Never again. Those guys were nuts. Your Mileage May Vary. Good luck.
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

JediMisty
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Location: Central NJ

Re: Cancun in January

Post by JediMisty » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:54 am

andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!
I dive, so travel to Mexico frequently. Do not take any fruits or veggies, even leftovers from the plane. They take that very seriously. You won't be arrested, but will be made to stand around for half an hour or an hour while you wait for their supervisor to come and explain why you are not to do it again. This passive agressive approach is how they punish bad tippers and people being obnoxious, too, BTW. There are armed guards with serious guns everywhere. Don't let this worry you. It's normal. They will not give you any grief. When you arrive at customs, you push a button which randomly will be either green or red. If it is red, they will search your luggage. This is normal and will only take a few minutes. Treat them with the same patience you do our TSA folks and you'll be fine. Others mentioned the well dressed official looking folks with clip boards just outside customs. DO NOT speak to them, even to say no thank you. They will offer you free stuff such as a stay somewhere or tickets to the dolphin encounter. It will take a whole day and will be very high pressure. In Mexico, when you sign a contract to buy a timeshare, it us legally binding with no right to cancel like in the U.S. it will be very very overpriced. You can but a timeshare on eBay if you must have one. The jewelry there is all fake, even from the expensive stores. Even if it it stamped as Sterling silver. It's fake. Watch out for being overcharged on your credit cards and never let them leave your sight. You're much more likely to have fake charges or be double billed for things than encounter violence.All this said, I've been several times alone and no one has ever even been mean. I've been overcharged on my bills at least once every trip, but not a problem in the all inclusives. I agree that chitzen itza is a long haul. Especially with two young ones. And it is a zoo in the afternoons, with literally dozens of peddlars selling junk you can buy anywhere. Also, very hot. If you rent a car, you must have pesos for the toll on the good highway, which I recommend. Also cars usually have an empty tank when you rent them, so you must fill up immediately. I think you need pesos to buy gas, too. Not sure.

momvesting
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by momvesting » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:19 pm

Are you staying at Finest Playa Mujeres (it is a boglehead favorite)? If so, there is a guy named Cesar (or there was when we went ~18 months ago) who works inside the main building downstairs by the tapas restaurant who sells private Chichen Itza tours. We booked through him even though it was more money and after doing a different normal tour of Tulum, I have to say, the private tour was worth every penny (and I am a poor Boglehead). They picked us up at the front of the hotel really early (6 am)? We grabbed a to go breakfast and went with one other couple. They bring a cooler and offer you drinks and snacks and a restroom break along the way. You get to Chichen Itza very early, just as the vendors are setting up. It is much cooler then and there were very few people. We were able to see everything, have a guide who seemed very knowledgeable, and tour at our leisure afterwards. Then we attended a little presentation in their planetarium building and ate lunch at the restaurant on site. All of this was included in the price. I think it was about $80 or $90 per person. I paid at the hotel and used my Discover card to avoid transaction fees, just be sure the vendor charges you in pesos (they will let you pay in dollars but the exchange rate is horrible, Discover's exchange rate is much better).

Also, take LOTS of sunscreen with you. I had purchased mine ahead of time at Target while many people in our group (we went with a few other families) relied on buying once we got there. It was $27/bottle at the hotel! Also buy some of the Alba brand if you intend to go to any of the water parks or anywhere that requires biodegradable/coral reef safe sunscreen, it is even more expensive once you get there and it was the only brand we found that really worked. Even if you were not going to check a bag and have to just for sunscreen, it still pays for itself, we used more than 2 bottles per person in a week there.

https://www.amazon.com/Alba-Botanica-Co ... creen&th=1

Topic Author
andyandyandy
Posts: 303
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Re: Cancun in January

Post by andyandyandy » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:59 am

clutchied wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:28 am
andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!

1. Schedule through your hotel
2. Take the tour bus; we rented a car previously and drove but it's a bit sketchy on the interstate (need pesos to exit! they don't take dollars) Also it's really expensive.
3. you'll really want all 3
4. Have a great time! Seasonally there can be seaweed. Take the people's ferry to isla mujeres and enjoy the slow ride and it's like $2/person. Fish fratanga is fun and get the molcajetes at the distilleria!
5. utilize cards as needed.
Thanks again! Couple more questions:
1) Will the bus tour to Chichen Itza provide Pickup and drop to Hotel?
2)What is best place to get Peso?

Shallowpockets
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:15 pm

Tour will pick you up at hotel. Might be as early as 0500. Long ride and day for Chichen Itza.
You are 4 nights, which is three days. Don't overdoo it trying to do everything. If you go to Chichen Itza then you only have two days. Try to relax. Enjoy your resort.
Unless you buy things on the tour there is no need for any pesos.
Better to go to Tulum if you want ruins. Closer, less time. Every ruin will be so crowded as Disneyland.

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gunn_show
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by gunn_show » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:52 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:57 pm
We used these people several times.

http://www.usa-transfers.com

They will send you all the info about the airport and how to find them. If you have never arrived at the Cancun airport, it will be confusing to you. All kinds of well dressed people will solicit you for transport. Keep walking and follow the directions USA Transfers sends you.
same company we used, and recommend. definitely want to arrange ahead of time and not mess with the crowd awaiting you outside the airport. and it is confusing, I concur, quite messy so to speak.

for other tours or going to Tulum etc. we either used similar van / shuttle or just ask your hotel concierge or doorman to hire you a taxi for the day to drive you around. I think we paid like $200 to have a guy drive us down to Tulum and playa del carmen and back to the hotel. Did not want to risk being stuck somewhere, or having to hire a new taxi at each location and negotiate cost each time.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Watty
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Watty » Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:34 pm

gunn_show wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:52 pm
....or just ask your hotel concierge or doorman to hire you a taxi for the day to drive you around. I think we paid like $200 to have a guy drive us down to Tulum and playa del carmen and back to the hotel.
+1

That is what we did and for three people it was roughly the same price as a tour bus.

We took our food and water with us since we had heard that food outside the hotel zone was sometimes the cause of people getting sick.

Get up very early for this to see some of the sites before it gets too hot in the afternoon.

If you decide to take a taxi to Chichi Itza then be sure that you take the toll road which is much faster, but may cost you a bit more.

The Cenote Ik kil near Chichi Itza one one of the highlights of our trip, but we happened to be there when there were not any tour busses. Take your swimming suits if you go there or to Tulum since the beach there is nice.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_ ... nsula.html

Take lots of sunblock with you, for some reason it is very expensive there, probably some high tax.

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Watty
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Watty » Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:41 pm

GmanJeff wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:53 pm
Quintana Roo State is under a Level 2 Travel Advisory (Exercise Increased Caution), reflecting a notable level of criminal activity and violence in which bystanders in tourist and other areas may become collateral damage even if not targeted specifically. It would be prudent to be fully and currently informed regarding the crime situation before deciding on excursions outside the resort.
For perspective most of Europe is also under Level 2 Travel Advisory.

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gunn_show
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by gunn_show » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:23 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:34 pm
gunn_show wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:52 pm
....or just ask your hotel concierge or doorman to hire you a taxi for the day to drive you around. I think we paid like $200 to have a guy drive us down to Tulum and playa del carmen and back to the hotel.
+1

That is what we did and for three people it was roughly the same price as a tour bus.

We took our food and water with us since we had heard that food outside the hotel zone was sometimes the cause of people getting sick.
Take your swimming suits
Take lots of sunblock with you..
absolutely all top reasons to hire a driver for a day vs. a tour bus or stop and go taxi hire

can bring all the waters you want (we stayed at an all-inclusive so would go grab 10 water bottles before going anywhere), swim trunks, towels, sun screen, snacks, whatever.. and you can leave it in your taxi all day and not lug it around. especially if you make multiple stops and end up buying trinkets. massive ease of use ...

and I think the $200 was leaving at 730-8 am to get on the road early, and not back till late afternoon early evening... well worth it
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

akhilsam
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by akhilsam » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:53 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:41 pm
GmanJeff wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:53 pm
Quintana Roo State is under a Level 2 Travel Advisory (Exercise Increased Caution), reflecting a notable level of criminal activity and violence in which bystanders in tourist and other areas may become collateral damage even if not targeted specifically. It would be prudent to be fully and currently informed regarding the crime situation before deciding on excursions outside the resort.
For perspective most of Europe is also under Level 2 Travel Advisory.

Any recent visitors?Any impact due to shutdown if someone wants to fly in few days?

Ztx
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Ztx » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:02 pm

If you're going to an all-inclusive I don't think you'll have any troubles.
We got back from Playa del Carmen 2 weeks ago and we had good time overall and we just stayed in a condo in Playa right off the Quinta Avenida.

My 2 cents:
- most restaurants/stores in touristy areas take credit cards, so we just used one without foreign transaction fees.
- I did take a bit of local cash out of an ATM for small purchases here and there.... (Schwab card)
- overall we felt pretty safe in the touristy part of Playa (and didn't go far from it), but it's always good to be aware of your surroundings.
- not sure about Cancun, but in Playa , there are a ton of people offering you drugs as you walk by and that could be disturbing . Just ignore them, or shake you head "no" and keep walking. They didn't give us any trouble.

aristotelian
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by aristotelian » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:19 pm

If you rent a car watch out for the gas station scam where you give the guy 200 pesos, and he acts pissed off because (he claims) you gave him 20 pesos, and then you apologetically give him 200 pesos.

wfrobinette
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by wfrobinette » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:07 pm

clutchied wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:28 am
andyandyandy wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:41 pm
All,

I will be travelling with family (kids 10 and 8 ) in Jan in Cancun for 4 nights. We are in all inclusive resort.

Question I have is:

1) My flight arrives around 9 PM. What will be safest transportation to Resort?
2) Safe trip options chichen itza?
3) Should I use credit cards, Cash dollars or convert Peso? If convert, from where.
4) Any other recommendations?
5) Also I got Chase Reserve card- but this package was booked before. Any suggestions to utilize Chase reserve benefits besides food, CAB etc.?

Will do check state department website.

Thank you in advance!

1. Schedule through your hotel
2. Take the tour bus; we rented a car previously and drove but it's a bit sketchy on the interstate (need pesos to exit! they don't take dollars) Also it's really expensive.
3. you'll really want all 3
4. Have a great time! Seasonally there can be seaweed. Take the people's ferry to isla mujeres and enjoy the slow ride and it's like $2/person. Fish fratanga is fun and get the molcajetes at the distilleria!
5. utilize cards as needed.
Never have I ever needed pesos when travelling to Cancun.

DrGrnTum
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by DrGrnTum » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:08 pm

by wfrobinette » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:07 pm
Never have I ever needed pesos when travelling to Cancun.
My wife and I have had a wonderful time in the number of times we have been to Cancun.
If you spend all your time in the hotel zone you would never have a need to use pesos and in my opinion, you can have a great time there.
In the Hotel Zone we have never had issues using our credit cards. The last time we were there I was struck by the professionalism of all the people we dealt with in the tourist area.
For those who are a bit more adventurous, who want to explore, who want to have the “Anthony Bourdain” experience, using pesos will get you the best value.
If you want to explore you should pay for it with pesos. Isla Mujeres is quaint little town that we totally enjoyed exploring. The little restaurants and shops there may not take credit cards. Outside the tourist area you may find that if you use dollars you may pay for things with “Creative Exchange Rates”.

We use our Fidelity debt card to pull money out of a bank’s ATM. This card and the Schwab card will reimburse you any ATM fees.

My wife and I have enjoyed the Cancun experience. Playa Del Carmen, Xcaret, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Chichen Itza, Tulum.

I firmly believe that everyone should travel in a fashion that they feel comfortable with. For us, we feel that there is a big world out there and we want to see as much of it as we can.

akhilsam
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by akhilsam » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:14 pm

Thank you all for the inputs!

Deblog
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Re: Cancun in January

Post by Deblog » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:41 pm

We have used Cancun with me multiple times. You can get a van and driver for 14 hours. We have them pick us up at hotel really early and start with Tulum ruins before all the tour buses arrive. We then go to cenotes like dos ojos and then stop at Akumal to snorkel with turtles. Fianally we get dropped in playa Del Carmen to shop and we set up a corner and time and they pick us up to drive back to hotel. You need peso to pay admission to the various parks. Cheapest way to get is using ATM. Do not get them here. This is the cheapest way to do multiple things for a long day. Well worth it. Just google Cancun with me and it pulls up. They do individual tours too. I love Manny

You can use usd for tips at resort and credit card most everywhere else DO NOT rent a car. Many people get shaken down by police for money. We did years ago and still hear it happening to others. Not worth worrying about damage charges either.
I would not go to chichen itza with a 4 day vacation do it on another trip.

I think you can do pickup from airport with Cancun with me or several other groups are Lomas or amstar. Make sure you set up transportation before you go and do not talk to the people outside of customs. If hotel offers transportation, that would be good.

It is winter there so take sweater or light jacket for evening, you may need them.

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