Please help choose beach break near Cancun
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 31, 2012 2:56 PM Last Post By: rjonsun
Oct 29, 2012 4:07 AM
Please help choose beach break near CancunHi All
First of all, apologies for asking what must have been asked a thousand times, but despite reading tons of previous replies and spending ages poring over my LP guidebook and internet sites, I still can't decide:
Our first ever trip to Mexico ahead, I've been putting together an itinerary as follows:
- Arrive in Cancun in the evening after a flight from Europe, 2 nights in Cancun downtown.
- Bus to Merida, maybe 4 nights there; is this enough time to explore the city and see the sights?
- Bus to Valladolid, 3-4 nights there with visit to Chichen Itza.
Then comes the difficult bit: prior to returning to Cancun to catch our flight, we'd like about 4 nights beach break, but can't decide between Tulum, PDC, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. Maybe someone can help...
What we're looking for: a low key place on the quiet side (we're a mature backpacking couple and prefer not to be kept up all night by partygoers), but with a selection of bars / restaurants for whiling the time away in the evenings; small, independent budget/midrange accommodation (can't stand big corporate hotels); we don't dive or snorkel but strolling on the beach would be nice; any cultural sights a bonus but not a priority for this last stop.
We'll be travelling by bus so this is also a consideration. Any recommendations will be gratefully received.
Oct 29, 2012 5:06 AM
1Personally I would choose Isla. It is small, good beaches, lots of restaurants and bars, quiet if you want to, hotels with local flavour. Playa has wonderful beaches, is very big and busy, although quiet can be found. Don't know Tulum, Cozumel is full of tourists, large corporate hotels, hardly any beaches.
Plan to stay in Merida over the weekend, in order to enjoy all the week-end festivities there. Merida is also gateway to numerous archelogical sites, visits to cenotes...you can find cenotes around Valladolid as well.I would only spend one night in Cancun, and go to Merida. You can sleep and rest on the bus to Merida, the bus system is superb.
Edited by: bokajo
Oct 29, 2012 5:39 AM
2I have been to Tulum, PDC & Isla, and would suggest Isla. Tulum has good beaches but a lot of the hotels are on the pricey end and the beach restaurants were too. Didn't like PDC at all, too conjested. Isla has a good beach, some decent hotels in the $50 to $75 range and a ton of great places to eat. Another suggestion might be Puerto Morelos, which has hotels in the $75 range and a number of places to eat. I wasn't as crazy about the beach there, but there is a pretty neat botanical gardens just outside of town where we saw a lot of spider monkeys. Puerto Morelos is the most laid back of all the towns listed. And it is just a short ride away from the airport.
Oct 29, 2012 6:33 AM
3Another vote for Isla Mujeres, tons of restaurants in all price ranges for such a small island, friendly people. Tulum hotels are on the beach (well there are some in town) and you would have to take taxis or bike into the pueblo.
2-3 nights is plenty for Valladolid, see Ek Balam while you are there, great ruin and consider a trip to Rio Lagartos to see the flamingos, although might be a long
bus ride (think you have to change buses).
Oct 29, 2012 7:14 AM
Oct 29, 2012 8:48 AM
Oct 29, 2012 10:06 AM
6We just got back from a similar route yesterday, although we rented a car from EasyWay to do it (U$239/week and well worth it, plus about U$70 for gas). Roads are good. No problems. Picked up the car right after landing and took off for Valladolid immediately. Glad we didn't waste precious time in Cancun from what we saw afterwards..
Weather was perfect--very hot, very humid and sweaty inland. and no rain.
I would suggest Tulum for your beach stay--just gorgeous! Swim at the ruins and also at one of the beach clubs. We found a comfortable posada for U$62 in town (low season). And about the same in the other places we stayed. Although you can find less expensive options for food in the interior, do expect prices (for food etc) in Tulum and up the coast into the tourist areas to be just like, or more than, a restaurant at home (i.e. a hamburger for U$10-12). We enjoyed the less touristy areas much more than, for example, Playa del Carmen.
While staying in Valladolid, do try to get to Ek Balam and climb the pyramid, and to swim in some of the cenotes. Enjoy some of the festivals if there are some when you visit. Sunday night on the plaza is nice, with music and crafts. One very high quality craft store is found in the block to the left of the church (when facing it)--artisan quality compared to the tourist junk most have.
Oct 30, 2012 9:07 AM
7You could just return to Centro - downtown Cancun and hit a different beach in the hotel zone each day. You can get around on the public bus system. Centro will give you many options to eat cheap and all in walking distance. Il love staying in Centro and just hanging out in say Palapas Park and other spots. Hotel Zone has a ton of beaches and all the beaches in Mexico are free. Photos of Centro see my website wolfcalls.com. All along Avenida Tulum are hotels that dont cost much. Ask for discount if staying more than one night and you can also do day trips over to Isla Mjures.
Oct 30, 2012 9:17 AM
8I would suggest either Tulum or Isle Mujures. We did a very similar trip to yours last year with Isle at the start and Tulum at the end. Agree with all the above for Isle. Our favourite stretch of beach was at Tulum along the hotel zone. Plenty of nice affordable hotels which open onto the beach......eating and drinking along here is more expensive than Tulum town....worth noting that the town is a few kilometres inland.....however only $5 or $6 for a taxi. From Tulum the ruins at Coba are only 40 minutes away and the grand cenote enroute is worth checking out.
We also loved our time in Merida....a very cultural city and there was always something happening in the main plaza each night. Certainly recommend a day trip to the Mayan Ruins along the Ruta Puc.....Uxmal was the most impressive Mayan ruins we saw. If the heat gets too much in Merida you could go on a day trip to Celestun on the Gulf Coast.....nice stretch of beach
Oct 30, 2012 11:55 PM
9Great replies - thank you everybody. It seems that Isla is the favourite of many. Two things that put me off though - maybe I've got the wrong impression, please correct me if so: LP book says booking accommodation beforehand is necessary even in the low season (our stay there would fall on the first weekend of March); we prefer having flexible plans and not do that. Secondly, where would you find a place to stay that would be walking distance from the bars / restaurants but still quiet enough to get sleep. We don't want to repeat a previous mistake elsewhere where a nearby disco kept us awake every night till 4am...
Might take the advice to head out of Cancun the morning after arriving. Really looking forward to Merida and Valladolid with the nearby sights.
Oct 31, 2012 7:49 AM
10The first time I went I had no problems getting a room at my first choice but that was in May. You are coming after Carnival (I think) and before Easter, so you may be OK with a walkup, just have a second choice in case the first place is booked out.
I would stay on North Beach for a first time visitor, the two places I have stayed at were Playa Media Luna (not on Norte but a 3 minute walk) and Cabanas Maria del Mar. Posada del Mar (across the street from the beach) is a favorite of many.
Oct 31, 2012 8:07 AM
Oct 31, 2012 2:56 PM
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