Too often lumped in with North America, Mexico is a country that stands out on its own.

Cancun or Playa Del Carmen


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Armchair Traveler
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Joined: November 17th, 2009

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Tags: Cancun Playa Del Carmen All inclusive Resort Apartment
  • Added on: September 27th, 2011
Hi, our Big Bend trip has hit a snag so we've decided on a Mexican beach instead.
We are hoping for some help from the learned travelers here.

I've looked on other forums and can't quite work out what we should do. We are looking at 7 days in either Cancun or Playa.
Mid 40's not into night clubs nowadays (but not against them) looking for a nice easy beachside holiday with good food and drinks.
Normally we are the apartment type and like being self sufficient but think a resort type thing with all inclusive may end up cheaper as drinks and food seem quite expensive and we intend to spend quite a few afternoons and evenings enjoying both and like the idea of the beach on our doorstep.

I've heard the beaches are better in Cancun but is wall to wall resorts and expensive. It is also supposed to be quite safe and has reasonable transport.
I was wondering if for a once ever trip to the area should we "do Cancun" or look a little further afield to a possibly less crowded Playa?

Our budget is around $200/night but can be flexible if something looks pretty good.

Any help would be appreciated.



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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: June 9th, 2007

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  • Added on: September 27th, 2011
I've been to Cancun a few times for Spring Break in the past but never Playa Del Carmen.

The beach is great and the area seemed very safe.

We always stayed at the Omni Cancun Hotel which was a 5-10 minute walk on the beach over to the MTV Spring Break parties at the Oasis Hotel.

If you want to avoid the college kids, don't go during late February through early April.

Felix the Hat

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Extra Pages in Passport
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Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

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  • Added on: September 28th, 2011
Playa del Carmen, no contest. Beachside hotels in Cancun are enormous and impersonal. Traffic is dangerous, and distances large. Nearby restaurants are tacky, and tend to US chains with mediocre food. Playa is low-slung and walkable, with boutique hotels right on the beach and a wide range of tasteful restaurants. Cancun's crowds tend to be rather ... rustic, while Playa is more sophisticated, with a good mix of Mexican and international tourists from Europe and North America.

There are buses leaving from Cancun's airport terminal direct to Playa, taking 55-60 minutes. It would take you at least half as long to get to the Hotel Zone on the beach in Cancun.

The only people who would choose Cancun would be springbreakers from US colleges. For everyone else, Playa is superior in every way imaginable.


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Joined: November 17th, 2009

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  • Added on: September 29th, 2011
Thanks for that info Felix.

We have now booked AI at The Riu Palace Mexico in Playa. Can't wait!

It has almost overshadowed our trip to New Orleans straight afterwards...almost...
I'll have to do some research on the best ways to spend a day or two there now!

Thanks again.


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Lost in Place
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Location: East Coast/Seat 2A/

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  • Added on: November 3rd, 2011
Homer1 wrote:
We have now booked AI at The Riu Palace Mexico in Playa. Can't wait!

So ? How did it go ?


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  • Added on: November 7th, 2011
Just returned on Saturday.

What a fantastic place playa is! :D

The Riu Palace Mexico resort is superb with great food and plenty of drinks and one of the best palm covered beaches in the area.

Had some great tours with yucatreks, swimming through caverns in a Cenote and 15 minutes later swimming within arms reach of big sea turtles is an indication of some of the great things in this area.

Safe as houses to walk around and very friendly locals. I can't recommend this area highly enough :D


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: February 17th, 2012

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2012
Glad you had a great trip. For future reference, I would say Playa as well instead of Cancun. Or even the resorts just south of Playa, and then you can take a quick taxi ride into Playa when you want to check out the city.
An almost-married couple exploring at home and abroad:Couple of Travels

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