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First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

Texas
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First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

My wife and I are getting ready to plan a trip to Mexico. This will be our first time traveling out of the U.S. To be perfectly honest, I've barely been out of Texas in my lifetime. Anyhow, I think we have our destination narrowed down to Playa Del Carmen. We are mainly looking to relax, maybe have a few drinks, but we won't ge too crazy. So PDC seemed like a good destination for us.

One thing we've debated over is staying at an AI place or renting some sort of little villa for the week. It looks like the prices are comparable. We're not heavy drinkers, so I don't know that the AI would be that beneficial to us. Im trying to stay around $1500-$1750 for the initial booking of flight and hotel, and then we'll bring spending money along with us.

Does anyone suggest anyplace in particular that might be within my budget, or would you suggest a a different destination such as one of the islands or something.

I want to thank everyone in advance for your responses.

duluth,mn
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1,287 posts
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1. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

i think you would enjoy pdc.a small AI is a good choice for a first visit to an area.everything is taken care of for you.

delaware
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291 posts
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2. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

With a budget of 1750, the range of available places is dependent upon the time you are planning on going.

For sake of discussion, lets estimate airfare at about $400 each or $800 total, leaving about $900 for lodging, or should that number also include food?

I am sort of steering you non-AI as I don't think your budget ($50 per person per day) will include many of them.

If this total does not include food, and you go in May - June or September-October time lines (the low season), then almost any of the boutique hotels will meet your budget. The rest of the year, prices are a little higher, or a lot higher during the holidays.

I realize this did not answer you question, but the recommendation for a hotel in the $80 to $110 per night range depends on when you will be traveling.

Texas
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3. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

Thanks, I thought I had included when we are going. We would be going in June of this year. The budget I am looking at would be for strictly airfare and hotel, we will be saving up between now and then for food/activities if we were to go non AI.

Oregon
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4. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

I am probably a bit biased toward non AI places. I love to explore the cultural restaurants and not stay in my hotel for meals. I have been to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Headed to Playa Del Carmen this December. I am sure with that budget you can find a nice boutique hotel that is near or on the beach.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
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19,287 posts
69 reviews
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5. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

Im not the AI type (and that is reinforced every time I come on this site and read the lounge chair wars posts)!

You can definitely do a more economical vacation at a small hotel or condo rental in Playa del Carmen. And, eat better, cheaper, local food. Check out Playa Maya, or Pelicano on the beach, or a place like Hotel Cielo a block away. There are also condo rentals that have access to a beach club, but even if you dont have beach access through your accommodation, you can usually rent a chair for a few pesos, or eat and drink at a place that will let you use their chairs.

delaware
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291 posts
10 reviews
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6. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

Good. In June, you will have the best selection of the boutique hotels, including the #1 rated hotel La Tortuga. We were there the last two years. Check out their web site at http://www.hotellatortuga.com/

Another, where I'll be in 3 weeks, is Playa Maya. Their web site is http://www.playa-maya.com/

Look at Luna Blue. It has a beautiful courtyard, but no pool. But, who needs a pool with the Caribbean a couple of blocks away. Their site: http://www.lunabluehotel.com/

There are many other small hotels, ranging from about $40 per night up. They are just too many to list.

For food, you can get by for $30 or less per person per day. La Tortuga and Playa Maya have breakfast included in the room, so that helps the budget. Steak dinner (arrachera national) at HC de Monterey is 130 pesos (under $10), and many comida corrida places have lunch meals for 50 to 60 pesos.

Of course, the absolute best breakfast in Playa is on Juarez and 5th Ave - the taco carts with tacos de cochinita pibil (8 pesos) and the fresh orange juice (15 pesos) cart.

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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7. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

tacos with conchinita pibil! you're killing me! I cant wait for my first good taco al pastor since July in Mexico City...

Texas
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8. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

I wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I think I have my hotel choices narrowed down to a few places.

I keep hearing right now, it's probalby cheapest to book flight/hotel seprately or directly. What is everyone's advice on this. My wife and I have never stepped foot on a plane in our lives, so I am looking for the best and cheapest way to book my flight. We are looking at flying out of the Dallas area on 6/8 and returning on 6/12. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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9. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

it takes a little time, but worth comparing the cost of booking separately or together. Usually the larger hotels are packaged with flights, so you may not be able to find a package to a smaller hotel. Most airlines have packages now on their sites, so worth seeing what hotels the airlines that serve your area offer.

Since I travel alone, and love doing this type of research, I can usually find much better deals online than using a packager who will charge more for a single room.

Some unsolicited since you've never flown before:

get Bonine and take it an hour before the flight. you wont know if you have motion sickness until its too late.

familiarize yourself with the 3-1-1 liquid carry on rules. I cant tell you how many trips I've gone on with people who travel a lot, but are somehow surprised when airport security starts seizing their huge bottles of shampoo

which brings me to - there is no need for huge bottles of shampoo! you can get unleakable nalgene travel bottles at the Container Store, online at Campmor, or in camping/outdoor stores.

bring snacks and food. Airlines dont feed you anymore. Its a short flight, and doubtful you'll be stuck in snow - but remember those people who sat on the tarmac for 7+ hours last Valentine's Day?

Detroit, Michigan
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10. Re: First Time Traveler Seeking Advice

We've used Travelocity and Orbits for a hotel/air package coming in under $900 for non-stop, good times, out of Detroit, so Texas should be somewhat cheaper. The best non-AI hotel offered was Illusion, in the heart of PDC, 3 seconds from the beach. It gets great reviews. Another thing to consider is a few hotels are quoting in pesos, which can be to your advantage right now. The Playa Maya ON the beach starts at $135 USD/night.

We never stay AI b/c were are not huge drinkers and we like to wander around the town which has hundreds of restaurants and bars.