A Mayan Riviera All Inclusive Trip For Two
Tips and Tricks to Help You Plan Your Trip To Mexico
As the summer comes to an end and autumn fades bleak to winter many of us find ourselves thinking of a far away paradise to refresh the mind, body and soul. What better way to reward you and your sweetheart then a trip down south to a sunny cloud nine wonderland. Having recently returned from a trip to the Mayan Riviera with my girlfriend (The Yucatán peninsula, the coast south of Cancun) I inadvertently learnt a lot and figured it pertinent to share my experiences.
For the sake of better relating to this article I have provided our trip's itinerary
- Flying Air Transit via Sunquest
- Leaving Vancouver Nov 6th 2009: 1:30am to Cancun Nov 6th 2009: 9:30am
- Returning Cancun Nov 13th 2009: 10:40am to Vancouver Nov 13h 2009: 3:00pm
Planning: Picking a flight package, hotel, insurance and more
First things first, you have to decide how much you are willing to spend and how long you want to go. The trip's pricing are on quite the sliding scale and prices seem to change day to day.
Our flight and hotel package ended up costing roughly $1100 (CAN) each, which is somewhere in between cheap and expensive. If you're willing to wait until the day before you leave to book your flight I saw packages as low as $800.00 for the same hotel, then again talking to other patrons revealed some paying as much as $1600.00.
The lesson to be told here is that it's all about keeping your eyes open once you've decided on the hotel you like. Booking earlier might be slightly more expensive but guarantees your seat on the plane, if you have a rigid work schedule it might spare you the headache to book 3-4 weeks in advance.
Now with so many channels in which someone could book a vacation some may wonder what the best way to book is. While walk-in travel agencies can offer you a live person to talk to, I found they couldn't necessarily find me the best priced package available. Companies such as Travel Cuts and Flight Centre were helpful for their personal recommendations (hotels and travel tips) but came short when pricing the vacation.
With further investigation I found the exact same flight out of Vancouver for 500 dollars cheaper on Expedia then the walk in agencies. Most of these companies will offer to price match any flight you find somewhere else but I found it strange that they couldn't find it in the first place. Better yet they couldn't beat the package price only match it, impersonal be they may Expedia offered a better price with added bonuses. and often has promotions for free trip cancelation, spending vouchers or other valuable incentives)
As for picking a hotel/resort I think it's worth the time to do your homework. A lot of resorts out there have some serious shortcomings and if your going to spend the money then they better live up to your expectations. Consider what your looking for and research appropriately.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself.
- How big is the beach?
- What are the rooms like?
- Are the staff known to be friendly?
- Do they offer room service?
- Does the resort have good activities day and night?
- Are all the drinks and food included?
- Do they offer premium spirits or just cheap domestic?
- Is this resort known for watering down their drinks?
- What do other people have to say about the quality of the food they offer? (you will be mostly living off this stuff for a week or more and this is important)
As many people will probably tell you, if your going to book an all inclusive you should probably book a 4 star resort or higher. Booking a 4 or 5 star resort will have nicer grounds, superior food and drink and better activities. If it's a matter of a couple hundred dollars you don't want to be kicking yourself later because you took the cheap route. In a 7 day all inclusive you spend the majority of your time at the resort no matter how you look at it, you'll want to ensure that it's everything you wanted and more.
An excellent resource for seeing people's rants and raves on a particular hotel or resort is www.tripadvisory.com they offer reviews good and bad, pictures, and sometimes videos. Better yet try googling the hotel name as they might have a website with valuable information. Google earth www.earth.google.com also offers a unique above view for those wanting to know more about the resort's grounds and beaches.
Last but not least you should strongly consider purchasing some travel insurance before you leave the country. Some credit cards offer a great deal on travel insurance as do most banks. I paid 20.00 (CAN) for the both of us at my local bank (For Basic Medical up to 5million) while Travel Cuts tried to talk me into a plan that cost well over $100.00 each. I tend to gravitate to solo medical plans opposed to the deluxe (trip cancelations, dismemberment, baggage etc) but I suppose that's all a matter of who you are.
Keep in mind that when traveling during hurricane season in the Caribbean you might want to consider purchasing some extra insurance against such unfortunate possibilities. These systems can sometimes form out of no where in a couple days and can potentially turn your sunny getaway into a wet re-enactment of Noah's arc.
Many standard trip cancelation plans don't cover this kind of thing and should be looked into before purchasing such plans. A lot of companies such as Sunquest offer a no questions asked cancelation plan for $40-$100 which let you cancel your trip up to 24 hours before departure. Of course I only say this having learnt the value of this lesson first hand.
The day before we left for the Mayan Riviera we found out that Hurricane Ida had been terrorizing Guatemala. Luckily by the time it reached Mexico it had turned into a tropical storm and only hit us with patchy rain for a day or two. I figure I got lucky and think it would be wise to pay attention to The National Hurricane Center when traveling in this area August through mid November.
Hurricane Season in the Caribbean is from August to Mid November
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