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Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

Ponoka, Canada
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17 posts
33 reviews
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Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

I am going to Mexico for the first time in February with my adult kids, ages 22 and 27. We are staying at the Barcelo Palace. I would appreciate your opinions on the following topics.

1. Where would you do a dolphin swim?

2. Xcaret or XelHa?

3. Tulum or Chichen Itza?

4. Where is the best snorkling?

5. Zipline tours?

6. Jetski trips?

Would you book with the resorts for these excursions, or would you book elsewhere? If so, what companies have you used?

Any other must do's? We are staying for 2 weeks, so will be able to rest one day/enjoy the resort and then a tour the next....so 5/6 tours is what we are looking at.

Thanks so much. As I said, have never been to Mexico, so want to make this a great Mexican experience.

Mentioned in this post
Tulum
Tulum
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Your Private Tour
Scuba & Snorkeling, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, Private Tours, Archaeology Tours, Kayaking & Canoeing
Boutique Tours Mexico
Scuba & Snorkeling, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours, Archaeology Tours
Aventuras Mayas
Scuba & Snorkeling, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Archaeology Tours, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
Edventure Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
CO
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5,477 posts
9 reviews
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1. Re: Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

Hola and welcome to the forum. Lots of must do activities, DIY and tour company info can be found on the right under Top Questions.

Dolphin swims need to be booked in advance but many things on your list can be done on your own any day you decide to without reservations. Also find reviews of tour companies by clicking on the left, Things to Do and then "all traveler's articles", search names like Alltournative, Edventures, Yukatreks.

My favorite snorkeling is with turtles in Akumal Bay. More info under Top ?'s and Itineraries. Enjoy your first trip! :) CW

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Alltournative
Alltournative
503 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Casuarina
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371 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

Just returned from our first trip to Mexico so am not a Mexico expert but have travelled to around 30 countries around the world so know what's good and what's not.

Didn't do a dolphin swim.

Xcaret was great for my young children due to the "theme park vibe" but is somewhat "artificial" feeling so would go for Xel Ha if I had my time again. The night show is good though.

Did Chichen Itza and Tulum and CI wins hands down. We used Yukatreks which do a small group tour which was fantastic.

For snorkelling do not miss Akumal Bay in front of Lol Ha restaurant to swim with the turtles. We caught a taxi from Barcelo (visited Tulum ruins first for a brief visit and swim) then another taxi to Akumal. We took our own snorkel and goggles and right off the most spectacular beach you get up close and personal with multiple turtles (and a barracuda). One of the most amazing experiences of my life (and free!). Lunch at Lol Ha afterwards is great. Back to Barcelo by taxi by early afternoon. Snorkelling at Barcelo is ok too.

For ziplines we chose Hidden Worlds which is amazing. We chose this over Xplor for a more natural, rustic experience including snorkelling in a beautiful cenote. Xplor may however appeal to the adrenaline junkies in your group with bigger ziplines.

Didn't do jetskiing. All trips were done by taxi on our own time except Yukatreks to Chichen Itza. Much cheaper and more flexible than pre-booking.

Have a great trip. Mexico is a fantastic country to visit for all age groups.

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Tulum
Tulum
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Akumal
Akumal
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Texas
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1,233 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

My daughters did the dolphin swim at Dolphin Discovery in Puerto Aventuras........very close to Barcelo. My daughters enjoyed it very much. Quaint little town/shopping area surrounds Dolphin Discovery.

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Dolphin Discovery
Dolphin Discovery
813 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Puerto Aventuras
Puerto Aventuras
Riviera Maya, Mexico
CO
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5,477 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

Also on the right are past threads about the issue of dolphin swims. I personally will NEVER do a dolphin swim. Instead, horseback riding with Rancho Baaxal, snorkel with turtles in the wild, monkeys at Jungle Place sanctuary or maybe even snorkel with whale sharks in season.

I've seen dolphins in the wild from a boat, that's enough for me.

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Rancho Baaxal
Rancho Baaxal
562 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
5. Re: Need Your Help - First Timer To Mexico

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