1A) What is the level of service you provide?
Please see this page of our web site for full details on the
SERVICES you can expect with a
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2) Is Mexico safe?
Compare your home city
to Playa del Carmen or Cancun or Tulum on this site (you might be
In spite of what you may be hearing in the media to the contrary, the truth is
that most of the country is very safe. In fact Shelly and I spent
a month on a 3000 mile (5000 Km) road trip through the
10 most southern Mexican states. We were driving a big, fancy, new
car. We traveled on and off the beaten path. At NO time did we
ever feel the least bit concerned about our safety. What we
encountered is what we have always found. That is friendly people,
fabulous things to see and great food. Since then we have taken a
number of shorter trips and as before, not ever felt the least bit in
danger. Yes the government has gotten tough on the drug cartels and the drug cartels are fighting each
other over distribution routes, which has resulted in a great deal
of bloodshed and spectacular media reports. However, while we do
have a growing cartel problem in this area too, the problems are
mostly concentrated near the US border and in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, all of which are 2000 - 2500 miles (3200 - 4000
Km.) from us here in the state of Quintana Roo on the Riviera Maya.
There is no
question that the violence and murders have increased statistically in
our area. There are new cartels that have moved into our area and they
are fighting the established cartel, each other, and the authorities for
control of territory. However we who live here year round do not feel
any more unsafe today then we did last year or the year before that or
the year before that. We still invite our children and grandchildren to
visit each year, and we still feel perfectly safe taking them out on
excursions to enjoy the many sites and activities that the area offers.
The violence is 99.9% targeted. There are rare occasions where innocent
bystanders have been in the wrong place at the wrong time but that
‘wrong place’ is normally a night club or bar in the less than savory
part of town and not during daylight hours. I would estimate the number
of innocent people involved is a very low number. Unlike the US and
other parts of the world, we have had no incidents of crazies openly
shooting innocent people in places that should be safe. I truly believe
that most dangerous thing that a tourist will encounter visiting our
area is driving on the highway. I am certain that there is a much higher
chance of getting in an accident than being an innocent bystander in a
Shelly and I have not changed our lifestyle in any way over the 19 +
years that we have been here. We still travel without worry to
everywhere we have always traveled and each year we welcome our children
and grandchildren to visit. While they are here we take them out to see
the area and experience the many great family activities the area
offers. If we were concerned for the safety we would not take a risk.
I understand the recent US blanket raising of the Alert Level to 2 for
all of Mexico and the headlines that come from that, could be
disconcerting but….are you aware that the following countries are also
rated as level 2 by the US government. Germany, Denmark, Belgium,
Holland, Spain, the UK which includes England and Scotland, France, and
Italy to name a few. see
You might also be interested in this article which explains the Travel
Alert system in detail and what it really means in terms of risk
Just like at home, you should
avoid sketchy bars/clubs and not go looking for drugs or hookers as that
can put you in contact with some nasty people. No matter where
you travel you should not
leave your common sense at home and always take normal precautions.
leaving your precious jewelry at home, getting local advice about what
areas to avoid, don't stumble around drunk, lock doors
and windows, put things away and lock them up when you are not using
them, keep valuables out of site and don’t make yourself a target by
bringing unnecessary attention to yourself. I heard of someone who made
a big scene in a parking lot rummaging through their suitcases in the
back of their rental car before going into a mall. To their
surprise someone had seen them, then broke into the car and stole their
luggage while they were shopping. I also know of someone who left
their expensive smart phone on the table of a busy restaurant. They
realized the next day what they had done, returned to the restaurant and
were greeted by a happy bartender who had found it and locked it up in
the office. Be watchful of exchange rates, check your bill, count
your change, watch out for smooth talking over friendly people and when
you are going out don’t carry more money or credit cards than you need.
When purchasing gas for your rental car, get out, check that the meter
has been brought back to zero and make a point of holding your payment
until the attendant has counted the correct change. Be
especially cautious of offers for free or highly discounted items and
services. This is almost certainly going to lead to a high
pressure sales pitch for a time share or fractured ownership in a condo
or resort development. Don't let the sunshine, margaritas, and
beautiful scenery rob you of your good sense. Before getting into
any real estate or business deal, ask for recommendations and speak to
people who have already purchased. They are going to give
you a much more honest assessment of what it is really like to invest
here. If you use your common sense and take the same
precautions you would at home or when you travel anywhere, then you will be like the 99% of visitors
to the area that never have a problem.
If you visit Mexico or you have visited Mexico in the past and see you a
significant police or military presence. Should you be
here and see this video
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3) What is the weather like and when is the best
time to visit the Riviera
Today looks pretty good doesn’t it?
agree the best time is during the winter months when there is less
chance of tropical rains and good reason to escape the weather at
home. However, you certainly will not be alone should you choose
to come during the spring or summer when many families visit the area. You take more chance on the weather when you
come in the fall, due to the risk of hurricane and higher rainfall
averages. However, having said that, I have friends who visit
every October they can. They like the fact that it is not so crowded
and they still get more sunshine than they can handle. Here are the yearly
temperature and precipitation averages to help you decide. PLEASE
NOTE: The average rainfall statistics are a little misleading in
the fact that sometimes nearly the entire months’ average can fall
in a matter of hours. Also misleading is following the weather
predictions and reports from afar that may report rain every day.
Yes... somewhere in the area it may rain every day but it is usually
not everywhere or much more than a short torrential downpour that
blows off nearly as quickly as it rolled in.
Temperature and Rainfall for PUERTO AVENTURAS
3A) I have been hearing about seaweed on the beaches of the Riviera
Maya and entire Caribbean. Is there a time to visit that I can
the weather, the time of year or even time of the week, that the
Sargassum seaweed will be on the beaches is unpredictable. For
more information on this please click on this link
Do you want to learn more about Sargassum Seaweed? What is it?
Where does it come from? click on this link
can you tell me about fishing?
Sport fishing is available year round. There are a number of
sport fishing boats available at the Puerto Aventuras marina for 1/2
or full day charter. You will also find smaller fishing boats
for hire in Akumal and Playa del Carmen. The best sport fishing
is considered between February and July when the Marlin and Sailfish
are running. With some of the best fishing just outside
of the Puerto Aventuras marina, you don’t need to go far to find the
Good G-Good F-Fair
Year round fish include: Yellow Tail, Mutton, Grey Snapper,
class fly fishing for bone fish, permit and even tarpon is available
south of Tulum at Boca Paila and Punta Allen. The road down
there is not for the faint of heart but reports are that the fishing
is worth it. For more info follow this link
Boca Paila Lodge or
Bonefish Bum Lodge or Pesca
Maya in Punta Allen)
have never snorkelled or scuba dived before but would like to try it.
What do we need to do?
With both snorkelling and scuba diving, if you think you are going
to enjoy it and will do it more than just on this vacation, I recommend
that you purchase a mask, fins and a snorkel. If you just want
to try it, there is equipment available to rent at most dive shops
and at Villa Brisa Caribe for guests staying there. It is important
to find a mask and fins which fit you properly. A good scuba
diving shop either at home or here will have a decent selection and
the proper training to help fit you correctly. If you want to
try scuba diving without taking a full certification course, you can
take a PADI “Discover Scuba Diving” experience. The
experience involves about an hour of theory followed by a similar
amount of pool training.
This prepares you to make ocean dives to a limited depth, provided
you are accompanied by an Instructor or Dive Master. There are many good dive shops in the
area so you should have no problem finding one that makes you
comfortable. Click here for more information on
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6) What should I do about spending money?
See 'Travel Tip #7 for information on credit cards.
You will no doubt want to have some spending money while here in
order to go to a restaurant, take in a tour, shop for that special
gift and tipping. Mexican pesos are the currency of the land
and accepted everywhere and best to carry. US dollars are the
only foreign currency that is sometimes accepted for smaller
purchases but often not accepted for more expensive things.
A general rule of thumb to get the best exchange rate is to pay in
the currency quoted. A few tourist attractions quote
their prices in US dollars but you would always be able to pay in
Mexican pesos. US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros and British
Pounds are accepted at the money exchange booths and banks. Travelers
checks are rarely accepted by businesses but will be taken at banks and
most money exchange booths, but not all of them. Most places
will require a passport to exchange them. There
are ATM machines in Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Playa del Carmen,
Cancun where you can use your bank debit card to receive pesos.
The ATM’s are handy because you don’t have to bring as much cash and
they usually have the best exchange rates. However, it is not
so uncommon in some of the smaller centers for the machines to run
out of money and be down for a day or two. Most ATM's have daily
withdrawal limits equivalent to US $200 - $500. Please be aware
that some of the ATM's in Mexico will not accept a PIN with more than 4 digits,
so you may need to change yours before coming down. You should
also check with your bank before leaving home to ensure that they
will release funds to your ATM card in Mexico. I do not
know of anywhere that you can use a Bank
Debit Card. The exchange booths at the airport usually offer
very competitive rates. The exchange rates are good at the
airport, exchange booths and through the ATM's so I would not
recommend exchanging lots of money at home before leaving. My advise is to bring as much US cash
and Mexican pesos
as you feel comfortable carrying, then offset this with either your
ATM card and/or travelers checks. See
'Travel Tip #7 for information on credit cards.
Click here for current exchange rates.
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Can I use my credit cards in Mexico?
Yes and No. Do not count on credit cards being readily
accepted and don’t be surprised if they are accepted, if you are charged
as much as a 5% surcharge for the privilege. The larger businesses
that cater to tourists are more likely to have the facility to accept
your card than the smaller ones. A strong underground economy
and the not so distant memories of runaway inflation have kept Mexico
from the credit craze. It is still very much a cash society
where most everything is paid in cash. NOTE: if planning to
use your credit or debit cards in Mexico you should advise your bank
in advance of leaving home.
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Do I need a car
and if so where can I get one?
If you are staying at a villa or condo outside of Puerto Aventuras
or Playa del Carmen then you will be somewhat isolated without a
vehicle. I therefore recommend that you have at least one
vehicle so you have reliable transportation in the case of an
emergency. If you are staying in Puerto Aventuras, you should
base your decision on what you want to do while you are here and how
much freedom you want. If you are too nervous to drive or
don’t plan on heading too far a field then you can get by without
one. We can arrange for an airport transfer service to meet
you & your group at the airport and have you driven right to the
villa or condo. If you are a large group and want to be
shuttled around, we can arrange that as well with sufficient notice.
OR if you want to rent a van and driver by the hour, we have you
covered there also. Within Puerto Aventuras most
services and activities are only a 5-15 minute walk away. From
Puerto there are taxis and tour
operators available when you want to leave. However, if you
think you will want to explore the area, (which you really should)
then a car gives you a great deal of freedom from the restraints of
tour operators and taxis. Larger groups may want to hire a van
with driver. We can assist you with this.
here for rental car Search) OR
(Click here for rental Car Search) OR here is another
rental car company located just outside of the airport so no airport
tax on rates. (Click
here for EasyWayRentaCar) OR here is a Canadian search
engine with Canadian prices
http://www.itravel2000.com/cars.aspx Here is another
web site with a large selection and good prices
8A) When I rent a car what should I watch
RENTING a CAR: Choose a reputable company with good representation in the area
so that if you have a problem, they will have people and cars
available to assist
you. (Executive, Hertz, Avis are 3) Be sure to take time
to inspect the vehicle with the agent to ensure that any physical
and cosmetic damage to the car is marked on the form since they will
likely check it closely when you return and may charge you if it is
not indicated on the contract. (I always prefer to rent older
beat up vehicles that they won't care much about for this reason) Make sure you know where the
spare tire, tire iron and hazard markers are located and if missing
that it is marked on the contract. Make sure that the
agent has given you the telephone number of an English speaking person
to contact 24/7 in case of a problem. We STRONGLY suggest that
you purchase the full coverage insurance even if your credit card
company will cover you. If you are not going
to purchase insurance because your credit card company automatically
offers this, be certain before leaving home that this coverage is
valid in Mexico and EQUALLY IMPORTANT is that you have a local contact
number for your insurance company representative. Should you
have an accident, you will need
to call them and they will most likely need to come to the scene. If
you are in an accident which is deemed to be your fault, you will be
held in custody until the matter has been cleared (even if you have
insurance), so be certain that you have
contact information for the insurance agent so they can send a
representative to the scene to assist you.
HELP on the ROAD: Along
the Maya Riviera we have a roving mechanical service called the Green
Angels. These well equipped trucks and friendly mechanics are
available to assist tourists with car problems. The service is FREE
of charge. You may see them up
and down the highways or can reach them by telephone at (01) 998 884-1107 It might also be helpful if you print a copy of our
maps to help you get here from the airport.
SPEEDING and the POLICE:
Unfortunately at times
police will see tourists in rental cars as an easy mark for a little
extra money and stop you for speeding or some other imagined
infraction. If you are
stopped then don’t panic you are not in any kind of danger. Consider it an opportunity to interact
with the locals. Most likely
will get to the point where the officer offers to ‘take care of
this’ for you in the form of a cash payment on the spot.
This is a bribe and is illegal. Remember that the officer
doesn't want to give you a ticket, he wants to collect a bribe. You should
insist that he produce his identification and write it down if he
dares to show it to you. Let him know that you are OK if he writes you up a ticket
and tell him you will be reporting this incident, which will most often result
in them letting you go. If you really did have an infraction
and they do write up a ticket, then they will remove the
license plates off of the vehicle and/or take your driving license, which
you will recover when you pay the ticket at the police station.
Despite threats of the fine being very high, unless you are way
above the speed limit or you have done something particularly dangerous, the
fine is usually reasonable. Do not support corruption by
GAS STATION RIP OFFS: For some reason gas
station attendants across Mexico have learned there is some easy money
to be made at the pumps from people who are not paying much attention.
(Tourists and Locals alike) Here is what to watch out for to avoid it happening to you. First
of all get out of the car and walk back to the pump. Then make a
point of ensuring the attendant has zeroed out the amount owing before
starting. (the guy in front of you may have purchased a small
amount of gas and they never turned the pump off so you will pay for his
gas again). Next watch for the old bait and switch where someone
takes your money, turns around, pockets part of the money or switches
one of the bills (like a 500 for a 50) and then turns back to you claiming you did not give
him enough to pay for whatever it is you are purchasing. You
avoid this by holding onto the bill(s), saying to him exactly what
amount you are passing him and keeping it until he has the change ready
to make a hand to hand exchange.
If you are renting
a car please see travel tip #9 with some important driving safety
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Is it safe to drive in Mexico?
It is so long as you are aware that Mexico does not require a written
or driven drivers test to become licensed so you MUST adopt a defensive
driving attitude, always pay close attention to what is going on in
front, beside and behind you. You should also recognize some differences in the local driving
rules and habits. If involved in an accident, a representative
for your insurance company must come to the scene so be sure to have
local contact information. It is also important to know that if
you are in an at fault accident that involves an injury to the other
party. You may be held by the police until the other party signs
off with your insurance company. The highway from Cancun to Tulum
is now 4 lane and divided so there are proper lanes for making a left
turn. However if you are driving on any of the other highways in
the area. You should be EXTREMELY AWARE
when turning left that the rules are different here than
in most other places. Unless there is a designated turning lane (as
there is on the Cancun to Tulum highway), you
MUST move over to the right shoulder, wait for the traffic to clear
in both directions and then make your left turn. DO NOT MAKE
A LEFT TURN FROM THE THROUGH TRAFFIC LANE. Another peculiar
difference is that a left turn signal might mean A) the car
in front of you is signalling that he is about to pull out to pass.
B) the car in front of you is advising you that it is clear for you
to pass them. C) the car in front of you is turning left.
I still haven’t figured out how to tell the difference so be very
careful and always check your mirrors before you make a left turn
yourself. The driver behind may think you are telling him to
pass. When backing out of a parking stall, you DO NOT HAVE THE
RIGHT OF WAY and even though someone may realize you are backing
out, there is a very good chance they will not give you the right of
way. Therefore be very careful that there is not only no vehicles
behind you, but that there are no vehicles coming. You will be at fault if you
collide. This is one of the reasons that there are often parking attendants to
help you. Please give them a couple of pesos for their assistance.
Please remember that these people are just trying to earn an honest
living. The roads in this area are fairly well marked and in relatively good
condition. However, not all the vehicles on the road are.
As a result you may find the latest model Mercedes speeding past you
with seemingly no concern for the speed limit or a 63 Beetle converted
into an overloaded pickup truck poking along so slow you will think
it is parked. You might be tempted to use the shoulder for an
extra lane as some locals do. Don’t, there are often pedestrians,
bicycles and busses traveling slowly or stopped right around that
blind corner. You might also be tempted to speed. Don't,
not only is it dangerous but illegal and monitored by radar. Please
remember that it is illegal to drink and drive or to drive under the
influence of alcohol.
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If I don’t rent a car, how do I get to the property?
TRANSPORTATION; Airport Transfers Car/Van:
We can organize for you and your group to be picked up at the airport
and transferred with a PRIVATE service (not shared) DIRECTLY to and from the villa or condo through the services of a
licensed and INSURED transfer agent who can be trusted to meet you even if your
plane is delayed, won't get lost taking you to the property, won't forget to pick you up for the return
transfer and most importantly... employs drivers who will NOT try to
impress you with their impression of a race car driver. For an additional $25. you can PRE ARRANGE
for the driver to stop at a large grocery store for up to 1 hour so
you may purchase groceries, beer, wine and alcohol. Payment is in US dollars cash, paid
directly to driver. NOTE (rates
subject to change until transfer is confirmed)
one way rate in white
round trip in yellow
Sian Kaan Entrance
**** PLEASE NOTE:
Number of passengers is an estimate based on reasonable
baggage with each passenger
BABY/CHILD: the transfer company has 2 baby/child and 2
GROCERY STOP: the transfer company can schedule a grocery stop
on your way to the property. The rate is $25 per van for a
stop of up to a maximum of 1 hour.
RESTAURANT STOP: the transfer company can schedule a
restaurant stop on the way to or from the airport for $25 per van,
TO MAKE A RESERVATION: Please provide your arrival and
departure flight information including which city the arrival flight
is coming from PLUS the number of people in the group that you want
transferred. If combining more than one flight please provide
information for each flight.
Airport Transfers Shared Van
are only 1 person you may want to consider a colectivo.
The price of this shared van service is around $40. per person to
Puerto Aventuras. The rate to Akumal is aprox $50. per
person. After exiting the customs area you
will see a number of desks with people offering transfer services.
Here you will find a stand for 'Gray Line'.
They sell tickets until they have a van load and then drop people
off as they get further from the airport. The down side is
that you might have to wait for some time while they fill the van,
and you might get have stops at various hotels along the way.
If using this service, make sure that
you have the directions to the property since it is unlikely he
will know the villas or condos by name. NOTE: There are many
very friendly salespeople at the airport offering you fantastic
deals on transfers, car rentals, golf, diving, snorkelling tours,
dinner, tours of the ruins, entrance to the eco parks, or anything
else you might be interested in. These helpful salespeople are
representing time share or fractional ownership properties so your
great deal, will come with the price of sitting through a high
pressure sales meeting at their property. Even this meeting may be disguised as a
free breakfast or lunch.
TRANSPORTATION; Airport Transfers Public Bus
service is safe and cheap (aprox. US $10. per person) but only takes
you as far as Playa del Carmen, where you will need to then take a
taxi to your property. (aprox. $20. to Puerto Aventuras) Ask at
the transfer desks for more information on where to catch the bus
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I don't have a rental car
how can we get around?
With sufficient notice we can organize a private van with driver by
the hour or trip.
There are taxis, rental cars, and tour operators operating out of
Puerto Aventuras, Playa del Carmen, Akumal center and Tulum to provide
transportation to the area attractions. These are not so easily
accessed from the villas located outside of Puerto Aventuras, Playa
del Carmen and most locations in the Akumal area. There is a local
bus/van service called 'colectivos' that run up and down the highway
between Cancun - Playa del Carmen - Tulum. These vans stop anywhere
along the highway that someone might flag them down and will carry
pretty much anything you can fit inside and/or tie on to the roof.
There are also very good, non stop, bus connections between Cancun
- Playa del Carmen - Tulum. The bus/van is a little inconvenient
because you need to get up to the highway from the properties, but it
is very cheap and fun to ride with the locals.
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I get sick from the water or food?
You shouldn’t if you don’t drink the tap water and use
common sense about where you eat. Some people find the change
in eating and drinking habits and/or the spicy food may give them
a little “Montezuma’s Revenge.” Cancun and the Riviera Maya
contribute over 25% of the tourist dollars coming into Mexico.
Most food service businesses understand basic hygiene and the importance
of healthy tourists. A good rule of thumb when you are preparing
fruits and vegetables at the villa
is, “if you don’t peal it or boil it, rinse it in Microdyn or Fit.”
These antibacterial drops are used to rinse your fresh fruit
and vegetables. They are supplied at villa Brisa Caribe and used by
(you should not count on it being available at other properties)
You can purchase this at any grocery store.
Bottled water is also provided for
all of the villas & condos
used extensively by restaurants. Everyone uses purified water
for ice so you needn’t worry about this. Bathing in the
tap water is fine. Here is a link to the
Center for Disease Control who has lots of additional information
which you might be interested in
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I don’t speak any Spanish. Will I have a problem?
No, English is spoken quite extensively throughout the area by businesses
dealing with tourists. However, you may become frustrated and
upset if you expect everyone to speak fluent English or to understand
you. Remember, we are the guests and Spanish is the native language.
We recommend that you pick up a small Spanish phrase book before leaving
home. A very good one is “BERLITZ Latin-American Spanish PHRASE
BOOK & DICTIONARY.” It is small making it easy to carry
and logically laid out making it easy to use. You will have
some fun learning a few words and win the respect of the locals no
matter how limited your vocabulary or poor your pronunciation.
Here is the Spanish Travel Helper web site which is a great place
to start having fun with Spanish: http://www.studyspanish.com/travel/index.htm
Or another good site
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What travel documents do I need in order to travel to Mexico?
You are required to have a passport
to enter Mexico, Canada and the USA regardless of your nationality. If you are
a single parent, parent traveling alone with children, or parents
with children bearing a different last name. You
require a signed,
letter from the other parent consenting to the child leaving your
home country and
additional documentation. Check
with your travel agent, airline or US & Mexican
for current document requirements long before flight time.
Mexican Embassy in USA
Mexican Embassy in Canada
Mexican Embassy in the UK
With all of the additional security at the airports these days, you
may want to check out what the Transportation Security Administration
is advising to make your trip easier.
TSA home page http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/theme_home1.jsp
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What should I expect at the Cancun airport?
that you are flying to a foreign country and a very popular tourist
destination so there could be lines and delays. Normally it
will take aprox. an hour to pass immigration, retrieve your luggage
and clear customs. If you are picking up a rental car, expect
another 30 to 60 minutes to handle this task. (You are requested
to be at the Cancun airport 2+ hours before your return departure)
There are three
the Cancun airport. For this reason it is important
to provide airline name, flight numbers, and where the flight is coming
from if you are meeting someone at the airport. Pay attention
to which terminal you arrived at to
avoid confusion when you leave. Before leaving the plane
you should of filled out immigration and custom forms. Unless
flight stopped in Mexico before arriving in Cancun, your first
will be with immigration where you will present the immigration form
and your passport. The immigration officer will grant
you a number of days in Mexico, which he will mark on your immigration
form and return the bottom portion to you. DON’T LOOSE THIS,
you require it when leaving. Next you will retrieve your luggage
before clearing customs. At customs you will pass your luggage
through an X-ray machine and then find a crosswalk
type button to push. If you push green and they did not see anything
suspicious with the X-ray, you will most likely be allowed to continue
on without further delay. If you push red, then your bags will be inspected.
Once past customs you will exit the doors and are officially in Mexico. Bienvenidos/Welcome. Before getting outside, there are a
number of booths for transfer and rental car agencies where you can
organize a transfer or rental car if you have not done so already.
PLEASE NOTE: The first group of seemingly helpful people you meet
are salespeople for time share and fractured ownership properties.
If their deals or offer to help seems too good to be true, it is
because you will be forced to sit through a very high pressure sales
presentation at which point you will be wondering if the freebie was
worth it. Just be polite and firm with these people and
you will find the legitimate transfer services just beyond this
gauntlet of salespeople.
If you have a rental car arranged or transfer set up then continue
outside a representative should be standing out there waiting for
you with a sign. If you are at the new terminal '3' and
meeting someone, then once you step outside on your left you will
find a sitting are with tables and chairs. Right here is also
a restaurant. There is only one road out of the airport so follow
the signs. Directions to your villa or condo were
contained in the 'Pre Arrival Package you received. You
may also want to print the corresponding
“MAPS” fro our web site.
Here is a link to the official
International Airport web site.
What about tipping?
Tipping ("propina") in
Mexico is both customary and expected. The cost of living is high
and even the best wages are low. It is a struggle for most
people. For a 2 bedroom condo, $10 for the cleaning staff at
the end of your stay and each time they come in would be appropriate
and greatly appreciated. At a villa $100 per week per employee
would be a minimum. At a condo, don't forget to tip the staff
at the complex if they help you with personal services such as
carrying luggage, groceries, bringing you water, etc. It is
best to give propinas directly to the person or persons who provide
you with the service. When out, 10-20% of a restaurant or bar bill
depending on the class of establishment and level of service. (There
is sometimes a 10% -15% service charge included in the bill so
check) $5-10 per person to dive masters/boat captains/cavern guides
for diving. $5-10 per person to tour guides, depending on time spent
and level of service. $15-25 per person for fishing charters. $5-10
for a massage. $1-5 for baggage porters, depending on number of bags
and time spent. A little loose change for the person packing your
groceries, taxi driver, guy watching your car in the parking lot,
and the attendant filling your gas tank. NOTE: there is no social
net beside family and friends for locals to fall into when they need
financial support. When you purchase a newspaper from someone on the
street, let someone push your grocery cart to the car, watch your
car while it is parked or assist you backing out of a parking space…
please consider that they are just trying to earn an honest living.
If they can’t earn a living honestly, then the alternative is not
good for anyone.
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Where can I purchase groceries, beer, wine and liquor?
NOTE: due to environmental reasons. Most grocery stores do not provide plastic
or paper bags. You
should either bring your own reusable bags or be prepared to
purchase at the grocery store.
remember that you are visiting a foreign country and culture where
the local tastes and spending habits may be different than your
own. This is reflected in the grocery stores where you will
still find everything you need, but the selection and number of
processed products will be less.
The price of groceries is similar to the USA and Canada except for
locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables which in general cost
wine and liquor is readily available at all major grocery stores and most convenience
stores. Please note that most of the grocery stores will not sell
any type of alcohol on Sundays. There are a number of
wine and liquor specialty stores in Playa del Carmen and Puerto
PLAYA DEL CARMEN
there is a Sam's Club & City Club which are large
volume box stores that require you to have a membership. Playa del
Carmen also has 2 Wal-Mart stores and a number of similar large Mexican
store chains called Soriana, Chedraui and MEGA.
To get to
Soriana & City Club: Stay in right hand service lane as you enter Playa del
Carmen from Cancun. They are located at the far south end of the city.
To get to
Sam's Club & Chedraui: From highway 307 when coming from
the airport, go right through Playa
del Carmen watching on the left for McDonalds restaurant, the Chedraui
supermarket, Sam's Club and the 2 entrances into PlayaCar. Once
you past these landmarks go a short ways and you will find a U turn
lane to bring you back on the proper side of the highway.
Wal-Mart is located in Playa del Carmen
on Avenida 30 between Calles 8 and 10. Another Wal-Mart is
located on the ring road 'Arco Vial'
MEGA is on Avenida 30
on the corner of Constituentes. If you are wanting to
shop as the locals do for very good fruits and vegetables you will
find these at DAC. It is located
on Avenida 30 just north of Constituentes.
there is a Chedraui grocery store on the highway near the
entrance gate which is walking distance OR a short taxi ride
from any of the properties in Puerto Aventuras . This is a medium-large size store
similar to a WalMart, with a wide
selection including in store bakery, meat and fish counters, and
even beach toys and beach wear. Here you should be able to find most everything you need
for a week stay.
Inside the gate there is a convenience store in the village center that have a
selection of snacks, beverages and the basics. There is a
small but good fresh fruit and vegetable market named Del Prado located in the village center (next to the pub) that is open 7
days per week. On Wednesday
and Saturday there is a farmers market set up beside the gazebo in
the village center offering a good selection of fresh fruits and
veggies. There is a specialty wine and liquor store in the
village center. You can often purchase fresh fish from the
sport fishing boats on the dock at 1:00 and 5:00 PM. Everything in Puerto Aventuras is within
walking distance to all the properties there.
has 2 convenience stores but not large grocery. Both are located just before
the arched entrance into Akumal. Super Chomak has many
imported goods from the USA. The prices also reflect the
difficulty in finding many of these things.
has most everything you should need for a week or more stay.
Turn off highway 357 at the traffic light towards the beach and a
short way down on the left you will find a large Department/Grocery
store named Chedraui. The San Francisco supermarket
is on the corner of
highway 357 at the Coba traffic light. Just up the road
towards Coba you will find Bodega Aurrera.
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Can I have the villa or condo stocked with groceries and beverages?
There are companies offering this service. IMPORTANT
In most cases groceries etc. cannot be dropped off at a property
before you have checked in since property managers will not often be available to receive
the delivery, nor are guests allowed to give property access codes to
Riviera Maya Groceries
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What liquors and wines are available and can I bring in duty free
Good wine is now available and relatively easy to find. Bourbon, Scotch, Canadian blended Whiskey, name brand Vodka
or Gin, and liqueurs are expensive here and sometimes difficult to
find. Rum, Kahlua, national brand vodka &
gin and of course beer is easy to find and reasonably priced.
Each adult is allowed to bring into the country up to 3 litres (quarts)
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Can we mail or courier a package to the villa or condo so that it
is there when we arrive?
NO please don't.
I recommend that if you cannot carry it then leave it at home.
Mail service is slow when it works (I have received Christmas cards in July and August).
Couriers quite often say they cannot find the villas or condos so
then you must drive into Cancun to pick up your package. PLUS...
depending on what you are sending there may be import duties and paperwork
requiring a customs brokers assistance.
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What if we don’t want to do our own cooking?
A cook is included in the rate at some of the villas. (If
included it will be listed under the amenities) At most of the
other villas the owner has organized a cook or chef service is available
for an additional charge to come in to prepare a single meal or cook
for the full week. Depending on availability cook or chef
service might be available at condos (details vary by property)
Puerto Aventuras has 12 restaurants, (see
our restaurant guide) a
pub, and 2
bars which serve a fairly wide variety of meals and are within a 15
minute walk of the villas and condos. There are no restaurants within
walking distance of most of our villas in other areas but there are numerous
within a 5 to 15 minute drive. (see
our restaurant guide) for complete details.
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Can you give me some information on the restaurants & bars in
Yes, we have put
together an extensive list of restaurants, bars, and night clubs for
Puerto Aventuras, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum and a few in between.
our restaurant guide) for more information.
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Are there babysitters or children's activities available?
There is a professional baby sitting service available in the area.
Contact Little Bear Care
Near the entry
gate to Puerto Aventuras is a shopping mall where inside of the mall you
will find a kid's play club called MiClub
There is a supervised
"Kids Club" in Akumal - it's located on the beach on
Akumal Bay near the Lol-Ha restaurant and Palapa Bar. It consists of
acting, supervised play, sand castle building, kite flying, scavenger
hunts, videos, painting, crafts, mini-Olympics and visits to the pizza
parlour. Lots of fun for the kids and a chance for Mom and Dad to do
their own thing. The
hours are 9AM to 2PM and 6 PM to 9PM. The rates are $6 per hour and $35
per day. The"Kid's
Club" also has several babysitters for hire. The number
for Lol Ha is (984) 875-9012. They can put you in touch with Fatima at
the kids club.
At some of the villas the maids will sometimes agree to watch the kids
for extra money. Just ask them, but we do ask that you respect their
decision if they say no.
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With the owners, administrators
or other staff
living on some of the properties,
will it be private?
Your privacy, being comfortable and enjoying yourself are of utmost
owners and their staff. They
to ensure that the villa, pool, and gardens are kept clean and that
things work properly. They will try to work around your schedule
and respect your privacy while doing their work. You will
have exclusive use of the villa, pool and terraces. In most
cases where the staff is living on the property, they have a casita
or little house which is usually near the street entrance to the property.
When using the villa your activities will most likely be focused around
the ocean side of the property. Most guests find having
these people near by enhances the service and experience.
While we are there, we want to go fishing, visit Mayan Ruins, swim
with the dolphins and play golf. Do we need to make reservations before
That depends on the time of year. If you are coming during a
peak season or want to do specific activities during specific days, then
yes book ahead to avoid disappointment.
For more information on area attractions, visit our Area
Attractions section where you can find lots of info on Puerto
Aventuras, the surrounding area, Mayan Ruins, Diving, and a restaurant
guide. We suggest that you print this material and use it as
a reference while here.
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Can you tell me
where I can find out more information about the swim with the dolphin
Here is a web site
where you can get all the information.
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Are there laundry services available at the villas
Many of the condos have washer & dryers which the guests may use.
(please see the amenities under each property) We
are sorry but the laundry facilities at
of the villas
are restricted to staff use only. The owner will provide you
with clean bath, hand, face towels and linens. These will be
changed mid week or more frequently at some properties. They
also provide a large beach towel for each guest. There is a
laundry service in Puerto Aventuras, which offers same day service
for your personal things. An iron is available in most of the
villas. At a few of the villas the maid will do your
personal laundry for a fee.
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Do I need an adapter for a curling iron, shaver or other electrical
The electricity is the same as the USA and Canada, with 110 volt, 60 Hz.,
American standard receptacles.
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Are there mosquitoes or bugs to worry about?
You are in the tropics and so there can be bugs.
at Brisa Caribe we
spray regularly as does the maintenance staff within Puerto Aventuras
to try and keep this to a minimum, plus usually the light ocean breeze
helps keep the mosquitoes away. You might need some mosquito
repellent in the evening when you head out or if you are visiting
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What should I bring with me?
Half of what you think you need. The weather is
even if it rains, the dress is casual even at the best restaurants.
We rarely put on long sleeve garments, full length trousers or closed
shoes. You might want one light pair of pants and a light sweater
or sweat shirt just in case. Likely you will purchase a nice
sun dress, a few t-shirts and some souvenirs while you are here so
leave room in your suitcase. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
We ask you to bring a bio-degradable type to help preserve the coral,
aquatic life and to keep the swimming pool clean and clear.
You should have a hat to protect your head, sunglasses, a few good books,
your camera and some insect repellent. (Don’t fly with aerosol
cans) All of these items are available locally
if you forget them or don’t want to carry them with you. You
should bring your prescription medicines and perhaps something for
an upset stomach, diarrheal and sea sickness just as a precaution.
If you are going to visit the ruins, comfortable walking shoes are
important (preferably open style) and a day-pack is nice to have along
to carry water and a snack. Water shoes are handy as some of
the beaches have coral outcrops. A small flashlight can be very
handy for evening strolls and for fumbling with the access code and
key of your condo or villa. As a matter of habit, when we travel
we carry a small first aid kit with basic items such as Aspirin/Tylenol,
Insect Repellent, Antacid, Imodium AD, Polysporin, Motion sickness
pills, Allergy medicine, Hydrogen peroxide or other wound cleanser,
Band-Aids, Gauze, Tweezers, Safety pins, Sunscreen, Sunburn cream,
Bactine or similar, and a list showing your blood type, special medical
conditions and emergency contact phone numbers. It is a good
idea to have a list of all your credit/debit cards, emergency health
care card, and the contact numbers listed, should you loose one.
Include a copy of passports and other important documents. You
can leave this information with someone at home that you know you
will be able to reach in case of an emergency, or carry a copy with
you in a safe and different place than your cards. It also
makes good sense whenever you travel to leave your precious
jewellery at home. All too often I have guests contact me in a
panic after they get home saying they think they left a piece of
jewellery in a room or by the pool or down on the beach and can
someone go look for it. Avoid the potential stress/loss and
leave it at home.
If you would like to help the locals through our charity, please bring
some school supplies, children's books or old clothes. See Friends
of Puerto Aventuras.
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Is there a doctor and hospital near by?
is normally a doctor on call in Puerto Aventuras and Akumal. There are
good hospitals in Playa del Carmen and Cancun. There is a pharmacy
in Puerto Aventuras, Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
Contact information for all of these services is provided
Brisa Caribe and at most villas. You should ask the villa administrator
about this material when they do their orientation
and consider what you would do in the case of an emergency so that
you are prepared.
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Should I purchase trip insurance?
I recommend that you seriously consider it and that it should be
done within 7 to 14 days of booking your trip in order to be covered. What would happen
if you had to cancel your trip due to family emergency, work related
issue, medical problem, hurricane etc? Does your existing medical insurance
cover you in Mexico, including an emergency evacuation? What
if your luggage was lost or delayed? Are you covered if your airline
goes bankrupt before your trip? Depending on the insurance company
you choose and what policy you sign up for, these unforeseen things
can all be covered. With some policies, the coverage includes
rental cars, with the premiums being not much more than you will pay
the rental car company for local coverage. Please note though,
that in most cases, this insurance must be purchased in less than
14 days from making your reservation and/or flight arrangements.
Here are the links to 3 web sites where you can compare prices, policies
and purchase insurance on line.
Compare various insurance policies from various providers
Compare 89 insurance policies from 22 providers
offer plans that will cover you for up to
75% of all costs for canceling for any reason
They offer plans that will cover you for up to 75% of all costs for
canceling for any reason
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29) Will my cell phone work in Mexico?
Mobile cell phone coverage is pretty
good in the entire Riviera Maya. Some US and Canadian cell
providers have agreements with the two Mexican mobile phone companies
to provide service to their customers. HOWEVER, in most cases
you must contact your provider at home before leaving
to have this feature activated on your cell phone. You should
also know that this service is expensive. Check with your provider
on rates and be aware that additional local charges may be added on.
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can I golf?
Riviera Maya is quickly becoming a golf destination with 12 courses
between Cancun and Puerto Aventuras. See our
Golf page for full details.
What is the ferry to Cozumel schedule?
There are two companies running
passenger ferries between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. There
is also a vehicle ferry running between Puerto Morales and Cozumel.
The main passenger ferry is located at the end of Juarez St and then
one block south (to your right when looking at the water) beside Sr.
Frogs. The other ferry is currently running from this same location
on a similar schedule, however this ferry will be moving to the new
ferry dock at the end of Constituentes St. near the Porto Real hotel.
The round trip price is aprox. $16. usd. The ferry schedule
Cozumel - Playa
Playa - Cozumel
10:00 PM 11:00 PM
can I find more information on activities and services available?
We have a
large Area Attractions section on our web site that will give you
extensive information on Puerto
Aventuras. You can find info here for the area Heading
North from Puerto Aventuras which includes Playa del Carmen, Cancun,
Puerto Morales, & Xcaret. Heading
South from Puerto Aventuras you will find information on Akumal,
XpuHa, Jade Bay, South Akumal, Solimon Bay, XelHa, Tulum and the many
cenotes located on this coast. We have also provided a great
deal of information on Mayan
Ruins including Chi Chinitza, Tulum, and Coba. Interested
in Diving? We have lots of
info on this too. Do you want to know about Restaurants,
bars, and night clubs in and around Puerto Aventuras? Are you
headed to Cozumel
or want to make a driving
day trip? Here is some information including the Cozumel
to Playa del Carmen ferry schedule.
We suggest that you print this material to use as a reference
when you are here.
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