Mexico travel advice?
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  1. #1
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    Mexico travel advice?

    Wifey and I are thinking we would like to visit Mexico for a week next Oct/Nov. We want to spend some time on a beach (snorkeling, maybe trying to surf), visit a ruin or two, and eat great food.

    We know nothing else about it so any tips on where to go, what to see, and how to stay safe (intestine-wise and other) would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    For what you want to do, Cancun / Playa del Carmen sounds like the right place. You can visit the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza. You can snorkel or scuba dive at Cozumel. I would also recommend a Cenote dive. In terms of food, the ceviche is always a good choice. Enjoy!

  3. #3
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    TimV gives you some great advice right there. ^^^

    The state of Quintana Roo has almost nothing else besides tourism, so it should be one of the safer locales. They know where their bread is buttered.

    Most people also speak English there if that is important to you.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Scorcho View Post
    Most people also speak English there if that is important to you.
    Unfortunately, it is. I've been wanting to take Spanish classes for some time and maybe I'll get to it this year but easy communication sure takes a lot of stress out of the equation.

    That said, we're typically not so into the all-inclusive touristy scene. But, given the negative press parts of Mexico get, and maybe a bit of age-related paranoia, I'm a little more wary of this trip.

    Case in point https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...mexican-resort

  5. #5
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    I'll agree with the Cancun recommendation. It has everything there that you are accustom to.
    You can go other places but, you should know the language enough to get by first. ...and depending where exactly you go and when, becomes more of an issue.
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  6. #6
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    A friend of mine raves about Sayulita. Have any of you been there?

    https://www.sayulita.com/what-to-do.html

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    I've been wanting to take Spanish classes for some time.................Case in point https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...mexican-resort
    In Cancun schools they teach English starting in 1st grade, they know that the kids will have a head start if they can speak to the gringos. I always like to show off my espanol because it's fun and I think they appreciate the effort.

    I know the touristy stuff can be more tedious, but I am convinced that most of those hotels are owned by a cartel. They won't want to shoot the fatted calf.... or in plain english, the fat American calf.

    I was there last year with my bride and 3 kids, they all had a ball and I never felt even the slightest bit threatened in any way.

  8. #8
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    I've traveled and spent extensive time in Mexico over the decades. For what you seek in your OP I would second Cancun as a first choice.

    There many other fine spots but for someone with no knowledge of the country Cancun the best bet or many.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    For what you want to do, Cancun / Playa del Carmen sounds like the right place. You can visit the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza. You can snorkel or scuba dive at Cozumel. I would also recommend a Cenote dive. In terms of food, the ceviche is always a good choice. Enjoy!
    Great recommendation. Wife and I were at Playa Del Carmen for 10 days last winter. Went snorkeling and saw Barracudas, Rays, Sea Turtles. Visited the island of Cozumel and rented mopeds to explore the island. There's so much fun to be had.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    A friend of mine raves about Sayulita. Have any of you been there?

    https://www.sayulita.com/what-to-do.html
    way better for Surf, that's for sure.
    everyone's advice here is good. Cancun will cover most off the things you desire. The ruins are there, great beaches, fishing, diving, just not much surf.
    I'll second the Cenote dive
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  11. #11
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    I second or third Tim's recommendation. Playa and Tulum are nice and lots of fun. In Cancun I stay at the Eco hotel in old town, i.e., Mexican Cancun. The hotel strip looks and feels too much like Las Vegas to me; you'd never know you're in Mexico. Playa has many hotels that are on the beach. Both Playa and Tulum have grown tremendously, so there are even more hotel and restaurant options than just a few years ago. Enjoy the beach, swim or dive in a cenote, and tour the ruins, especially Chichen Itza, eat civiche, go snorkeling. We need to visit again, soon!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve98501 View Post
    I second or third Tim's recommendation. Playa and Tulum are nice and lots of fun. In Cancun I stay at the Eco hotel in old town, i.e., Mexican Cancun. The hotel strip looks and feels too much like Las Vegas to me; you'd never know you're in Mexico.
    Thanks for the recommendation.

    The bolded part is another thing I'm worried about - based on the horrid travel "blogs" I watched on Youtube last night (why does everyone with a selfie stick think that they are Bourdain or Rick Steves?) - lots of stuff looks like the Jersey Shore complete with McDonalds and plenty of other US-based chain stores. I'm not interested in that at all and want something a bit more authentic.

    We're not super worldly but nor are we inexperienced, having spent time in Dominican Republic 15 years ago, Peru, Santiago, and Easter Island...

    Anyone been to Oaxaca? That seems more our speed but we would probably need to forego the beach.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Wifey and I are thinking we would like to visit Mexico for a week next Oct/Nov. We want to spend some time on a beach (snorkeling, maybe trying to surf), visit a ruin or two, and eat great food.

    We know nothing else about it so any tips on where to go, what to see, and how to stay safe (intestine-wise and other) would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    my best advice is TRY not to have to sleep on a bench in the Mexico City airport. I speak from experience.
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  14. #14
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    If you want to be away from the "Vegas" vibe, Here's a suggestion.
    Last resort we went to is Sandos Caracol.
    https://www.sandos.com/sandos-caraco...clusive-resort

    It's got a Mexican Villa vibe and it's got a small jungle in the center of it all. Complete with monkeys, lizards and all kinds of critters. It wasn't uncommon to have monkeys fighting on our balcony. We'll most likely return.

  15. #15
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    we went to cancun two years ago and stayed at the Iberostar. it was our first time at an all inclusive. we really liked it the first few days for sure. after a while, the food gets repetitive, but you find ways around it. they have multiple sit-down restaurants, but you have to make reservations for those. the main dining area is constantly open, and they switch breakfast/lunch/dinner enough that you dont hate the food. there was also a beach-side restaurant/cafe and a poolside burger/fries place. several bars, too. they even did a paella bach party one day.

    the pools were nice, and they had lots of on-site activities. each day we would swim, water exercise, archery, airsoft shooting, volleyball, water volleyball, water polo, beach soccer...the activities staff does a great job keeping you moving if you want. they did have golf, but i think you had to take a tram there. tennis and basketball were available, but it was too hot. there was a gym and spa, but we did not attend those. oh, and a sports bar.

    each night they put on a show, which was fun. some shows are better than others, and they always involve the audience. i was pulled up on stage a few times.

    the beach is not good for swimming, and i hear that about a lot of areas on one side on cancun. red flag warnings every day. there are some areas more protected, but a lot are exposed and very rough. that was the only thing i really didnt like. we could play and lay on the beach, but swimming was too rough. we ried, but thought better of it after a few waves.

    the resort is more than happy to help set up excursions to the ruins, cenotes, discoteques, snorkling, scuba, snuba, fishing, swimming with whale sharks, etc, but all come at a cost. we passed as we were there for only 5 days.

    the resort felt safe, and while hair-braiders and bracelet salespeople walk the beach, it didnt feel sketchy. off-resort is a different story. we walked down to the Cancun sign and it was a little more...modern day ruins? i ran on the beach a few mornings and you could see a definite change by the time we walked at night. not fear-for-your-life, but stay aware.

    alcohol is also all-inclusive, but i had read they water things down and sometimes use cheap-o rather than top-shelf, going so far as to fill up top-shelf bottles with cheap liquor. knowing this going in, i stayed mostly with bottled beer or beverages i could open. we did have a few different drinks, but were fine for the most part.

    The Wife did get sick one night and into the next day, but she wasnt sure if it was due to food, water, or the kir royale she had. i got sick the day we got back, but blamed it on the chilis we stopped at. however, the following week there was a news story that Iberostar had been buying bootleg liquor and serving it at the resorts in mexico, specifically the ones around Cancun. this bootleg liquor was unregulated, and much much stronger than major-manufacturer liquor. in fact, a girl in milwaukee was on vacation and had a serious reaction to the alcohol. she had been drinking what i consider a lot, but the incident led to an investigation, which uncovered the bootlegging. that may have been what made The Wife ill, but we will never know. here is a story about a few busts they made in 2018.

    i know the area is a little "less safe" now than when we went. but if you stay within the resort or only go on major tours with reputable excursion companies, you will be fine.

    oh, one more thing. our room wasnt ready when we checked in, so they put us in a beach-front swim-out with our own pool for a night. if you can afford it, that is the way to go.

    i did make a few videos, so if you wanna see my crap clarity home movies of the trip, by all means....
    https://youtu.be/HRFqx1Kt940
    https://youtu.be/iM97yBNEWJA
    https://youtu.be/PZju6kDctt0
    https://youtu.be/N9xQ6XwBMv4
    https://youtu.be/RaZ_2QXwyPU
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  16. #16
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    You'll probably end up going to Cancun, but consider Oaxaca.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

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    Weltyed. Noticed that about the watered down drinks. I rarely drink and when I do, I get a buzz from just one. The resort drinks, hardly felt anything. I think beer is the safe choice for buzz value.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    You'll probably end up going to Cancun, but consider Oaxaca.
    We are (post #12). What can you tell me about it? I would love to tour a Mescal plantation and the hot spring terraces I saw online look pretty interesting.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    We are (post #12). What can you tell me about it?
    Nothing you can't google.

    Seriously, I thought of the food (which Rick Bayless loves), then googled, and it seemed to hit many of your desires. Including being relatively safe.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  20. #20
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    Update - we're most likely headed to Oaxaca.

    I attempted to sign up for Spanish classes but the course is full. That would have been a fun winter time activity but maybe we can get into something this spring.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    my best advice is TRY not to have to sleep on a bench in the Mexico City airport. I speak from experience.
    I did that in Lima. When you're tired you're tired.

    I'll never understand why more US airports don't install seats without armrests for this very reason.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Update - we're most likely headed to Oaxaca.
    U just like sayin' Whaaahaaakaa

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    U just like sayin' Whaaahaaakaa
    That's a big part of it!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    I did that in Lima. When you're tired you're tired.

    I'll never understand why more US airports don't install seats without armrests for this very reason.
    THAT is the reason they DON'T!!
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    THAT is the reason they DON'T!!
    It sucks though.

    I forget if it was the Portland OR or San Francisco airport where my wife and I slept on the floor during a 5 hour layover after flying through the night from HI.

    Come to think of it, I've also slept on the floor in Houston and at my own local airport. I guess we need to start booking better flights.

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