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Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

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Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

This will be our first trip to Cancun and I am wondering if it is best to do an AI or not. We went to an AI in Jamaica last year and loved it but we were in a pretty remote area so we would have only been able to eat on site anyway. Hoping someone can give me some insight in to the cost of food/booze if we didn't do an AI this year and some suggestions on where to stay that we could easily find places to eat and drink. Or is it just best to do an AI?

Buffalo, NY
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1. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

Haven't been to Cancun proper but a few years ago 'the strip' was basically mostly americanized food- think Hard Rock,TGI fridays, Burger King...perhaps it's different now but I doubt it. Nothing wrong with good old american food but I'd go AI myself for Cancun strip with no car.

Buffalo, NY
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2. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

With kids we always do all inclusive, too much hassle otherwise.

Without kids we love to go to the Westin Cancun (not Lagumar), we have been three times, it wasn't all inclusive in the past but it was changing last time we were there. We always get the Beach Club upgrade that comes with breakfast and happy hour drinks/appetizers. Food is NOT cheap in Cancun, we go out for dinner only. The Westin is an older property, but we love the solitude and the beach and we've been lucky to get a ground floor beachfront room every time, simply amazing. It's very quiet, no crazy entertainment team.

You probably will end up spending more if you don't go AI just on the food and drinks. Staying in a condo where I have to cook and clean is not for me, but works for some people.

Try booking a package, midweek to midweek, you'll get the best prices that way, try to stay 7 days if you can.

Ask lots of questions, read plenty of reviews before you book, check orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia......

I would not rent a car in Cancun.

Good luck

Edited: 14 September 2012, 22:03
Union, Oregon
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3. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

In Mexico we like to do all inclusive. It is only my husband and I. We like not having to deside every meal where to eat? It is quick and easy to use the resort restaurants. We like to have a few more drinks there, more than at home. So money wise, for us, it is less expensive to stay all inclusive. There are some reasonable all inclusives out there, you just have to shop around.

Boardman, Ohio
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4. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

I'd say AI, just due to the fact you dont know the area well....

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5. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

We went to the Westin Lagunamar last year, non-AI. There were a lot of overpriced restaurants nearby catering to Americans. There were also several excellent local reasonably priced to downright cheap restaurants within walking distance. The bus is also cheap, clean, and convenient, and will take you into town or elsewhere along the strip.

This hotel was nice because the rooms all had full kitchens (and fantastic views). You could cook if you want, but we used the kitchen for breakfast and to mix up large water bottles of margaritas and other drinks, which we put in the freezer overnight. Then we took them to the pool every day (within an hour they would turn into slushy deliciousness), and saved a ton on poolside drinks.

We like AI, too. You can really go either way in Cancun - depends on how lazy you feel like being on your vacation.

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6. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

We have done both. We stayed at the Barcelo Tucancun and did AI. Only problem was we felt obligated to eat and drink at the resort since we paid for it. So we didn't venture out. Now we stay at a NOT AI so we can venture out and eat and drink what we want. Also at the AI, it seemed like the mixed drinks were watered down more. With kids, its the perfect place to stay. They had good food and something for everyone. We actually overate at the AI.

Davie, Florida
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7. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

cancun is a concrete tourist trap. try PDC or tulum and enjoy the local eateries. PDC is also a tourist trap just a bit smaller

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8. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

For non-AI, I would imagine that I would have to go with Playa Del Carmen....

Instead of a strip of huge concrete highrises and chain restaurants and buses and taxi's... I have to imagine that it would be a much better atmosphere for non-AI, with tons of great restaurants, beach bars, 5th avenue, etc.

any Margaritaville...
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9. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

In Jamaica definitely all-inclusive. In Cancun definitely not all-inclusive. JIMHO

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10. Re: Cancun - 1st Timers - AI or Not

Probably depends what kind of traveler you are. We never go AI, but prefer to venture out and find cheap eats and more authentic food. In Cancun this means heading out of the hotel zone and into downtown. I think I am firmly in the minority when it comes to wanting to do this. AI seems to make the most sense for people who like spending time at the resort and not out hunting around for food.