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Trip Report - Jan 2012

New Jersey
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Trip Report - Jan 2012

Just got back from a 6 night stay in PDC – here’s our report: There were 4 of us traveling, my husband, myself and two grown daughters. We landed at Cancun International at around 4 pm, went through immigration (15 minute wait), picked up our bags (which were already off the carousel), went through customs (getting a green light) (less than 5 minute wait) and then headed out to find USA transfers, which we reserved in advance. One thing to note is that the airport was not nearly as “shark” infested as I expected from reading other posts, at least it wasn’t that day – the whole ordeal was rather easy. Our driver was very nice, but had a difficult time finding our hotel, Maya Villa. The accommodations at the hotel were absolutely amazing. The living room/bedrooms/bathrooms were nice, but the rooftop deck (we had a 2 bedroom penthouse suite unit 417) was really something else. There was a large hot tub up there; an outdoor shower; a grill, a sink, a couch, some lounge chairs, a table & chairs; a bar with seating and another comfy chair. It was a great place to hang out. Although the staff was polite, the service was just okay. It seemed a little as if the hotel was still trying to get its act together. However, all in all, it is definitely an accommodation we would recommend highly. The normal price for the room is quite high, but we found a great discount on Bloomspot, so I assume discounts are regularly available. The location of the hotel was also phenomenal. One block east to the beach, one block west to 5th Ave and one and a half blocks north to Av. Constituyentes. *Tip: Most of the cab drivers did not know where Maya Villas was located, even when we told them it was on Av. 1 between calle 14 and 16. Once we told them to take Av. Constituyentes to Av.1 and turn right they had no problem finding it.

The first evening we headed over to El Fogon for dinner, followed by a trip to the Mega Store. El Fogon lived up to its reputation; the food was excellent, the prices reasonable and the atmosphere authentic. Not speaking Spanish was a little difficult, as nothing was in English, but we managed anyway and it really was a lot of fun. The prices in the Mega Store were pretty good and they had everything.

The next day we rode horses with Rancho Baaxal. It was a nice (slow) ride through a jungle and then on the beach (but away from the water). There was a short time where we were allowed to gallop if we wanted (I didn’t, but the rest of my family did and loved it). We were the only ones on the ride which was pretty cool. The guides were very nice. That afternoon we headed over to the beach to sample the coconut shrimp from Playa Maya that I read so much about on these forums. It was good, but didn’t live up to the coconut shrimp I once had in Virgin Gorda after leaving the Baths (can’t remember the name of the restaurant). My daughter had a Veracruz fish dish at Playa Maya though that was really really excellent. Dinner that night was tapas a Tierra Espana which was just okay.

The next day we went to Rio Secreto. That was my favorite day. Rio Secreto was really something to behold and a lot of fun to experience. The buffet at the end was surprisingly good as well. Because we took a late tour, we had pizza delivered to our room for dinner (better than I expected). Note - although we really enjoyed Rio Secreto, because we took the tour at 2 pm, the water inside the cave was not as clear due to all the tourists who preceded us and the wetsuits were wet and not very pleasant to put on. We went to Coco Bongo that night, paying the VIP instead of general admission (which got us a table and top shelf drinks). We are really happy we did it that way because the place was crazy and crowded.. However, considering it was such a crazy, crowded place, it was run really well run and the security was great. The show was also amazing. Our waiter kept our glasses filled without ever having to be asked (part of the VIP treatment I assume). Definitely worth it to see the show. One thing that amazed us was when we left the show at 3 am (before it was over), there were long lines outside to get into some of the other bars. What a town.

We slept in a bit after Coco Bongo and then headed to Xcaret in the late afternoon. Xcaret was much emptier than I anticipated; in fact, my daughter and I were alone on the underground river for most of the ride (45 minutes). The underground river, although pretty, required work (swimming wise) as the current was not too strong. I think they should either provide tubes or kayaks for the ride. While you can get off the river early (there were several exits), your clothes and shoes are waiting for you at the end of the river, so you would have to walk through the park without shoes and.in your bathing suit if you chose to do so. The rest of the park was nice, it was Disney-like, but without the rides. There were some animals and a bunch of Mexican type shows. We did the dinner show at the end of the day; the food was very good; the show was very good – although a bit long (2 ½ hours).

The next day we headed over to Mamita’s beach club for a lazy day at the beach. I would not recommend Mamita’s. We arrived right before a rain storm so we had lunch in the restaurant which was good. The rain stopped so we asked the beach attendants where we could sit. They said sit where you like so we did. We paid 150 pesos for four chairs and an umbrella. About 45 min later another attendant shows up with two couples and said we are sitting in their chairs and have to move. They obviously double sold the chairs. We wouldn’t have even been that upset but they didn’t apologize or even help us find four new chairs together.

We decided to take a walk along the beach and stumbled upon a great beach bar/restaurant Canibal Royale – I highly recommend a visit there for their inventive and tasty drinks and delicious food.

That night, my husband and daughter watched the Giants beat the 49er’s at a local bar and then we ended up ordering food to our room afterwards.

Our last day was spent at Tulum in the morning and ziplining at Aktun Chen in the afternoon (we hired a taxi for the day. It cost $120.00 US and the driver waited for us at both Tulum and Aktun Chen. It was a bit more expensive than taking busses but saved us a lot of time and gave us door to door service). Tulum was interesting, that was the only place in PDC that was very crowded; the ziplining was a lot of fun – there were 10 lines and 2 hanging bridges. The tour was just for the 4 of us which was great. While the ziplines were pretty fast, they were not that high. I was chicken in the beginning, so the guide went with me the first few times. One thing we really liked about the place was that we were provided disposable gear to wear under our helmets and our gloves for cleanliness. We had dinner that night in Yaxche which was very good, but a little pricy. My husband got the Mayan cafe at the end which was quite a show.

All in all, PDC is a great place to visit; one which I would highly recommend. You can stay there and do nothing or be busy every moment of the day. There was a lot we wanted to do, but didn’t get the chance – oh well, just means we may have to go back.

If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to help.

ann arbor
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1. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

wow ---you sure did alot. Just wondered how much walking and how difficult Rio Secreto is to do? We are an older couple and dont want to have to do a lot of climbing and walking----how far is Rio Secreto from Playa---

New Jersey
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2. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

Rio Secreto was a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride from PDC. It was not hard or strenuous at all - you just had to be a little careful walking due to uneven terrain and rocks in the water. For the water part, you you wear a life vest so all you really have to do is float (and move your arms some). I would highly recommend Rio Secreto - it was unlike anything we have ever seen.

Meridian, Idaho
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3. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

Thanks for your input on Rio Secreto. Its been on my list for a while and your 2 cents has made it a must do on my next visit. :)

ann arbor
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4. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

so it would seem the caves are the main attraction at Rio Secreto---how do you get into them? Would water shoes be the best? We dont want to do the ziplines they offer at Hidden Worlds and Explo

Did you feel you had time to do alot of stuff at Xcaret?

New Jersey
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5. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

The caves are the only attraction at Rio Secreto. We brought our own water shoes to Rio Secreto, but if you don't bring your own, they will supply you with them. You will need them.

As for Xcaret, I felt I had enough time, my husband wanted more. It depends what you are into. There are a lot of ethnic type shows to see around the park if you like that kind of stuff (i.e., horse shoes; flying acrobats, Mexican dance). There are animal exhibits, but each exhibit only has a handful of animals. We did like the butterfly exhibit. Didn't have time to do any water stuff other than the underground river. Nothing there was amazing, per se, but it was a nice day.

Northern Michigan
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6. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

Susan, thank you for your report. I leave tomorrow morning! What was the cost at Rio Secreto? And, for how long? Secondly, where is El Fogon located? What is the price range there? Thanks again!

New Jersey
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7. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

Rio Secreto was $69 US. El Fogon was very reasonable; I can't remember exactly but it was more taqueria type prices than restaurant type prices. Have fun!

New Jersey
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8. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

One more thing - the El Fogon we went to was right across the street from the Mega Store on Constituyentes - there are 2 other locations, but I am not sure where they are.

Moose Jaw, Canada
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9. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

Susan, where did you find the cab and driver for the day ? Do you know if they had mini vans as well. You paid a good price !

New Jersey
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10. Re: Trip Report - Jan 2012

We used him when we went to Rio Secreto (the concierge in our hotel called him) and then we asked him about a price for the Tulum/Aktun Chen day. He gave us the price and showed up right on time to pick us up. His name was Jorge Vazquez (#325), he works for Servicio de Taxi Taxi Serive and the phone number on his card is (045) 9988 964 341