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Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

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north carolina
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Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

We went to Akumal Dec. 21-28 with our kids ages 11 and 12. We booked through locogringo and stayed at Playa Caribe, room 12. Happy with all those arrangements. The condo was kept very pretty and clean and was very nicely appointed with good dishes, coffee maker, microwave, etc. They even had a little welcome basket with coffee (yay! We got in so late we didn't stop and stock up on anything) and snacks. The people who worked there were terrific. A night watchman was on duty when we pulled in and grabbed two suitcases and practically ran up the four flights to show us in. The manager was always pleasant and helpful as were the ladies who cleaned. We were on the top floor, which was lots of stairs but that didn't bother us. One very windy night, we had a bizarre howling sound where the wind whistled through the doors. The condo had two rooms, each with a queen bed and then there was a nice futon in one of the rooms. Two full bathrooms.

Arriving was a little hectic. I hope it was an unusual situation but when we got there, our flight apparently arrived at the same time as a lot of other international flights. We sat on the tarmac for about a half an hour. When we got to passport control, it was a zoo. It was hard to even find the back of the lines. We probably waited for more than hour. Then, when we got to baggage claim, another zoo. There were bags piled everywhere and none of the indications of which flights were in which area were correct. About another hour to find bags (one under a big pile, the other jamming one of the turnstiles). Luckily all bags found and no damage. Then through the hard sales pitch of the guys who line the exit. They seem official and you almost feel like you are required to stop and speak with them. We finally politely extricated ourselves. We got outside and found the rental car guy holding a sign with our name. There was about a 10 minute drive to the rental car place. It took a surprising amount of time to get a car and another hard sell there as they tried to get you to go to the resorts that they had a relationship with. This was American Car Rental. The car was fine. A full size automatic for about $700 US for a week. The guy at the counter talked me into paying about $10 extra per day for the complete coverage. I thought their website had said the price was all inclusive so I was disappointed but buyer beware, I guess.

By this time the kids were very tired. We knew there was a Wal Mart in Playa and tried to stop there but couldn't find it. I hadn't realized the names of the other big stores that were right along the highway. Now I know. Basically, if it looks like a big box store, it probably is.

The drive is really different than when we last visited twenty years ago, partly because of the intense police presence. It seemed as though every few kilometers we passed through a police "filter" - which would be "topes" (speed bumps) and a slow down on the max speed and passing by a bunch of police in a little building in the middle of the highway. No problem from it, just have to stay pretty aware of speeds as they change a lot. They have a great system of "retornos," so that if your destination is on the other side of the highway, you pass it and then take a left u-turn to get onto that side. We had no problem finding the way to Akumal. The highway is very well marked. The road in Akumal itself is very narrow and bumpy but no problem.

More later on Christmas week with kids about our kids doing their referral dives and various places we visited. This report may not sound like it but we had a fantastic time - just a tiring arrival!

Saginaw, Texas
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1. Re: Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

Glad you enjoyed No. 12. We stayed there for the second time last November. Also we were there in November of 2012 when they brought in the new red coffee maker. What an interesting design, no? Took me a few minutes to figure out how the thing worked.

Jose, the night watchman, is nothing short of awesome. We always tip him and I hope others do as well. Patricia the maid also rocks. Great place to stay.

Trail, Canada
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2. Re: Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

Glad you are posting these informative reports .

For others reading your grocery store search story and the time it takes in a city new to you I would suggest the Commercial Mexicana on Constituyentes , a major highway cross street with it's own exit off the highway and it's own exit off Constituyentes just after the light at 30th Ave , another major Avenue . There are famous and good restaurants just across Constituyentes in El Fogon and HC Carnes de Monterrey to go or stay but often with line ups . Split duties to get rolling again with full stomachs or Tacos al pastor to go . Buy lots and lots they make a fine cold breakfast . Lots and lots and even then they may not see the next day . For first time drivers to PDC from any direction at any time the Mega is a place with lots of free parking , easy to get to as described and close enough to Fith Ave and the beach to use as a base to walk from . Load up on supplies as you leave . We usually have more than a week and enjoy the cultural exchange at a Mexican grocery store and so we shop at night after a full sun day in a relaxed manner and enjoy the experience . Non drivers can cab to the colectivo stand with a comfortable supply of goods . Those little shrinking "nylon" shopping bags are great for this .


A simpler and faster stop is the Chedraui grocery store right off the highway , heading south with it's own exit and entry lane , just as you arrive in Puerto Aventuras . The store is a little smaller but fast with the easy in and out and the savings and better selection over the cornerstores in Akumal make it the best choice for many people and certainly first timers with kids to feed . There were some take out options in the small mall as well including some tasty chinese take out . Tasty chinese take out in Mexico ?? I sense the weariness after your travel day and tasty chinese take out with a mango margarita on your own star lit deck sounds survivable . A group or one person could return to PA or the larger Chedraui in Tulum , a bit further , or craft a second day trip to those places for supplies but the idea of a full Akumal beach day always seems to win out . And the next day and the next day .

That arrival day is always a trade off between just finally getting to the beach or the room if it's late and taking the time to do some shopping for Mexican treats and money saving in room drinks and snacks . Over time we know to stop and get supplies for our group's needs , others buy eggs by the each near the condo and roll that way .

Lots of people will learn from your experiences , and your other posts by searching , Christmas week with kids , so thanks again .

Edited: 15 January 2014, 18:43
north carolina
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3. Re: Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

Mal Perro (although it looks like a good dog!) - Yes, we tipped too. In fact, we were actually there over Christmas so we left an extra on Christmas eve for the ladies. My mom had also given me a children's book (Curious George) that was in English and Spanish that we gave. Sometimes you tip because it is what is done and right to do but in this case, we really did get such excellent service that we would have wanted to anyway.

Juanrojo - excellent info and suggestions! Will print out for next time because we definitely want to come back. If you read the further reports, you will see that first day was the only day with any troubles and those weren't major - just a very tired crew.

4. Re: Christmas week with kids - arrival and Playa Caribe

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