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Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

toronto
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48 posts
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Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

I am planning a trip for the end of December beginning of January with my Husband and 2 kids (16 & 11) but am worried it will not be warm enough to swim at the pool and the beach in Riviera Maya....having second thoughts.....and am now wondering if Aruba would be better. Apparently it should be warmer in Aruba. Anyone been to both? Which did you prefer?

Hull, Massachusetts
Destination Expert
for Palm - Eagle Beach
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1. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

It's very hard to compare Aruba to the RM. The weather is how we ended up coming to Aruba-kept heading South in search or guaranteed warm weather in the Winter. Not only will you have warm weather you can swim in, but you'll also be able to travel and walk around the Island safely with you family. Add in the wonderful restaurants and you have the makings of a great vacation. The one advantage the RM has over Aruba are the big beautiful resorts, but that is because they tend to be your end destination.

Good luck with your decision.

Massachusetts
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2. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

Yes and Absolutely no contest here... Go anywhere in mexico and risk/probable of getting sick and risk the safety of your family.

will never look at mexico again..ever

or

go to aruba and walk freely about any time of day or night anywhere with amazing facilioties and dining and beaches and zero health concerns.

ohh.. and exceptional weather. 85-88 every day, low of 80 every night

going back 4th time this december....

new jersey
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3. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

I've been to both and you can't compare the two places........ Aruba hands down is better than Riviera Maya.....

Minneapolis...
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for Aruba, Palm - Eagle Beach
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4. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

We've been to MX 15 times (Riviera Maya 8 of those) and been to Aruba 25 times.

We like both for different reasons. If you want some adventure (swimming in cenotes), culture (Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum), in addition to authentic food and great beaches, then try the Riviera Maya in MX.

If you want great beaches, more Americanized restaurants, snorkel trips, and a do-nothing, relaxing vacation, then Aruba.

However, MX will be colder (as far as water and nighttime temps) during those months (I've been there in Dec. and although it's fine in the day it does get cold at night that time of year - you'll need a light jacket.)

toronto
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48 posts
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5. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

Ok now I'm leaming towards Aruba.....can you recommend a good Hotel ?...We were originally thinking AI...is that also a good choice? Any recommenations for hotel and sightseeing would be greatly appreaciiated.

Thank you in advance!!

North Pole, New York
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6. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

We very much prefer the Riviera Maya to Aruba, I am really surprised to hear Aruba chosen over the RM!

You will find the ocean is very nice in the RM in January. Some pools may be chilly, depending on the size and depth if they aren't heated. But the evenings are generally comfortable and the days very hot. Our last visit in January it was gorgeous and one of our best visits ever. The large pool was chilly but the ocean was just perfect.

For us Aruba offers very little in the form of entertainment or even exploring. We stay at a resort in the RM that puts in a perfect location for both neat PDC, and also offers its own excellent entertainment. The resort is situated on a beautiful beach in a jungle setting. The kids would get a kick just from seeing the monkees in the trees everyday! This resort also has great activities to keep the kids entertained during the day.

For us Aruba is like St Thomas - a very "Americanized" destination that just doesn't feel like a vacation in the tropics. It's just too much like a US beach city. But this appeals to some and I can understand that as it's more comfortable. We've been to many Caribbean destinations - some very undeveloped - and we prefer being able to experience the places and try a variety of foods, etc. And the thing that most draws us back to the Riviera Maya are the people - there is just no comparison to the service and care that you get here as compared to many other places.

So from our perspective Aruba is fine if you want to spend the majority of your time on the beach and your evenings at a casino. For a bit more spice and options it's the RM for us. Eventually the entire Yucatan coast will be saturated with tourists and there may not be alot of difference. So that's another reason to go to the RM now!

[EDIT] If you do look at resorts in Aruba check the RIU Palace.

Enjoy wherever you go, and I hope that you have perfect weather!

Edited: 03 October 2011, 20:32
Boston
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7. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

My husband and I go away every year in the fall and in the last 3 years we have been to both - 2008 Aruba and 2009 & 2010 to Riviera Maya & Cancun. We're heading back to Aruba in mid-November this year. We like both! Each has their pros and cons. It really depends on what you are looking for, as others have noted. RM has been considerably less expensive in our experiences, but we did All-Inclusive resorts. We didn't explore much in RM because we were at AI resorts, but also due to the concerns about safety. We never had any problems, but besides a day trip to Tulum and another to Cozumel, we never went anywhere - which was fine for us because the resorts are considerably larger with more amenities. My husband did have some stomach issues in Mexico our first year, but I mostly blame him for getting too adventurous with hot sauces, peppers, etc. IMO, the food in Aruba is much better- there are so many great restaurants to chose from. We just made a reservation at Carte Blanche...so excited! AI food after about 3 days all tastes the same. I also found the pools to be quite cold in RM as they were not heated. We had beautiful weather in both Aruba and RM in late November/early December. We are very much looking forward to coming back to Aruba in just 6 weeks, but would consider going back to RM again someday.

jl
Waltham...
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for Aruba
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8. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

While we have never been to Riviera Maya, I would never say that Aruba doesn't feel like the tropics. That is an opinion. You can explore the culture in Aruba just as you can anywhere else, it just takes a little research and time.

Please check out the links over on the right under "top questions about Aruba" and read up on the Eagle Beach Area and the Palm Beach Area. It will give you an idea on where you think you'd like to be - more quiet and not a ton within walking distance - Eagle Beach. In the middle of all the action and being able to walk to many restaurants, shops, etc. - Palm Beach.

I wouldn't suggest AI in Aruba as it is safe to venture out at night and walk around, and there are tons of restaurants to choose from. Again, the best way to familiarize yourself with the island is to read up on the many threads available over to the right hand side. That way you will be educated enough to figure out if Aruba is really for you or not. Happy planning!

san francisco
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270 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

We stayed at the Bucuti and it was heaven. One of the best vacations we ever took! Check out my review. I wouldn't do AI on Aruba as others have mentioned because of all the great restaurants. One of the things we love about Aruba is that the people are so friendly compared to many of the other Caribbean destinations that we have been to. Never been to the RM, but every time I go to book, something bad happens. The first time I booked, the swine flu hit. Then I was about book a month or two ago, that Mexican casino attack happened. I would like to go someday, but my girlfriend refuses because of all the bad news. We had the time of our lives in Aruba and will never forget it. Also, I think that Aruba has a very tropical feel to it especially when looking at all the beautiful palm trees on the gorgeous white sand beach. It looks surreal. Whatever you choose, have a great trip! :)

Rob

Ontario, Canada
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995 posts
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10. Re: Aruba or Riviera Maya?????

I have been to both a few times and i will not return to MR. Aruba has much better weather, better food and is MUCH safer.