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4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

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Albany, New York
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4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

Hi there,

So the GF and I are planning a short budget trip to Cancun in October. This will be our first trip to Cancun but unfortunately, we are only able to get away for 4 days/5 nights as we took a larger trip earlier this year.... We are in our mid-late 20s.

Originally, I was looking at the Riu Cancun or Riu Palace Las Americas (due to both its proximity to nightlife and good reviews of course). But then I got to thinking about the non-AI route....

I am guessing that we will want to relax by the resort for a few days but given that it is our first trip, I know we will also want to explore some as well. I've read that Isla Mujeres is a good day trip, and I'd probably want to do one other trip (Playa Del Carmen maybe? Tulum perhaps? Xcaret? Itza is a bit far given we only have four days in Cancun). For at least two of the four days, I am assuming we will be having the majority of my food outside of the resort (at least lunch and dinner)... which got me thinking whether or not the AI route would be worth it or not.

If we go the non-AI route, we would be leaning towards the Marriott Casa Magna, which in total is about $400 cheaper than Riu Cancun. For such a short trip, I'd be interested to hear opinions on which route (AI or non-AI) would be more appealing and experiences that you Cancun experts have had....

Also, if we go the non-AI route, I was wondering whether people who have also done the same, found it a pain to find good food in Cancun and if they felt that hampered your ability to relax and enjoy the day when you were lounging beach/poolside. Any recommendations of course on food would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, I was wondering if anyone has stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna and found the location inconvenient. I know there is a bus, but part of the appeal of Riu Cancun was its close walking proximity to both food and nightlife.

Thanks in advance!

Louisville
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1. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

If you go Non AI and plan on eating at the resort every meal and/or eat out then AI may be the way to go. However, if you are good with breakfast bars, cereal, toast, fruit for breakfast, and for lunch a sandwich or even a burger at the restaurant, etc, then eat out or order a pizza for dinner (similar to eating at home) then Non AI is less. We average about $50 per day / person going Non AI, and this includes about 3 nights a week eating out at some very nice restaurants. This will require you to make a stop at the grocery to pick up some food, drinks, liquor etc for breakfast and lunch. We go non AI but we are there for 2 weeks, and stock up on groceries like we do when at home. Most AI will be about $100 / day per person unless you find a very good deal on the internet. You should be able to find a Studio type room (AKA hotel room set up) for around $100 a night for a 4-5 star resort, less for some resorts not rated as high. A one bedroom condo should cost about $1000 for a week not sure what the cost would be since you are only staying 5 nights. Go to Redweek.com or Tug2.net you may catch a good deal renting from those sites.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 15:05
Albany, New York
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2. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

The reason why I initially thought that non-AI would be the way to go is because we are only there for four full days and one day we plan to be on Isla Mujeres and then another day somewhere else (yet to be determined)... so for half the time we are in Cancun, we will most likely be eating in other locations.

We both like good food and are just worried about finding good restaurants in or near the hotel zone. Since we would be saving 400$ going from AI to non-AI, we definitely would want to try some good food at dinner time. We most likely would have a breakfast at the resort, a small lunch, and a larger meal somewhere in town.

I will definitely look into those sites. Right now we are finding a great deal for the Casa Magna resort, which I hear is pretty nice. Thanks for the help!

Minneapolis
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3. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

The big question --- do you drink?

spain
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4. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

As just mentioned if you drink are are planning on lazing around for a day without setting foot outside the hotel its a no brainer. Spend the extra and go AI.

Just light breakfast , a burger for lunch and a cheap evening meal adds up but by the time you add in coffees a couple of beers an hour , a sundowner , pre dinner cocktails, a couple of glasses of wine and a night cap you just burned through $150.

Me I would go AI but its your $400 of course.

Albany, New York
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5. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

Yes, I drink but I could always stop at the liqour store and bring a cup with me down to the pool, no?

The Marriott includes free breakfast every day. If I am on the go during most of the day and won't be having lunch/dinner at the resort half the time I am there, I was just concerned it wouldn't be worth it.... Definitely alot to think about , thanks!

Houston, Texas
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for Solo Travel
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6. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

The breakfast buffet at the Marriott is great. So many choices. I actually like it for late breakfast/brunch and follow-up with dinner. I also purchase a six pack of beer and leave on-ice in the room - there are a few convenience stores nearby. The convenience of having a drink or food when you want it, is a nice part of AI - but to me it's a personal choice. I also like the Marriott because I'm elite and more often than not, I get a nicer upgraded room.

New Windsor, NY
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7. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

We prefer to go non-AI in Cancun. There are tons of restaurants that are very easy access from Casa

Magna.

Check out:

Puerto Madero

Cambalache

La Habicuela Sunset

Cool Setting:

Thai - Bungalow's over the water...go even if it's just for drinks/appt

El Fish Fritanga - Beachy setting

Cheap Eats:

Tacun

Surfin Burrito

Go explore!!!! A day on Isla is always fun!!!

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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8. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

Four day trip with two days spent off site? I'd go non-AI for sure.

I don't know how fussy the Marriott is about guests bringing their own drinks to the pool and beach. The idea of bringing a cup to the pool is definitely more subtle than hauling down a cooler filled with ice and beer!

I'm not 100% sure of the location of the Marriott; I suspect it's conveniently located to bars, restaurants, shops where you can buy your own liquor) etc. but that's the one thing I'd suggest you check. When you go non-AI, you don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere (unless you plan on renting a car).

Boulder, Colorado
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9. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

I cancelled my Non AI for same reasons you listed. Planning on being outside of the resort. However at the last minute I changed it to an AI (RIU) b/c even with an AI and eating out it would have been cheaper than to depend 100% on eating out. Drinks alone can be 10$+. Plus I liked the variety of an AI and I didn't want to go grocery shopping on vacation.

Albany, New York
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10. Re: 4 Day/5 Nights- Debating AI vs. non-AI + food questions!

That's exactly my dilemna. Since we only have four days and not sure when we will be back again to the Cancun area, I do want to make sure we can see a few sites, and I am guessing these will be day-long trips. So when I think about the fact that we may only be on the resort for only two dinners and maybe two lunches (since we do like to explore when possible), its been a debate.

Most likely if we go the AI route it will be RIU Cancun. If not, prob. the Marriott Casa Magna. Both are very highly rated.

I will definitely check some of those restaurants out. I doubt we will be drinking a ton during the day but that is def. something to consider. I am guessing a few nights we would go out and check out the nightlife- Coco Bongo, Daddy O's etc, so probably won't go crazy during the days at resorts. Thanks all!

PS- has anyone been to Marriott Casa Magna and Riu Cancun here? If so, anything you DIDN'T like?