Havn't been to Maya Rivera for a few years | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

I won a trip for four for the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe with Club Premium! We are booked for April!Would like to know which ruins are the better to go to as well as what is the best shopping trip that takes us to 5Th ave??Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

TY in advance. & Happy Travels!

We thought the Coba ruins were the best if you want to get up close to everything. They even allow people to climb the one temple which is awesome but somewhat dangerous if you are not steady on your feet. The Coba ruins was on a tour but you can get there on your own if you want. I would hire a guide for the full benefit.We did Tulum ruins as self guided and it was OK. Great beach but most of the ruins were smaller buildings and pretty well an empty shell.

We went to Playa del Carmen on the collectivo vans. Very cheap and safe. You should be able to get one just outside your resort. PDC is a tourist trap and great if shopping is your thing. We didn’t see much that wasn’t already for sale in the resort shops and prices were similar. I wouldn’t go back there again but lots on this forum love PDC. If you take the collectivo, make sure that you know where the depot is to catch it for the ride back.

Wow! Aren’t you the lucky couple!? I can only wish! Congrats on the win.

I think you should go to PDC just for the fun of it. One needn’t go for the shopping but just to soak up some of the atmosphere. Have a beer at one of the famous bars and saunter down 5th Avenue, in and out of the shops. And a visit to the Walmart is truly a hoot. We had our driver drop us off there first and then walked to 5th Avenue. Dax is right: be sure you know where to go to get a collectivo back to your resort. The collectivos are very cheap and far more interesting than a regular taxi. On the way back to the Valentin, our collectivo was filled with Mexicans; we were the only tourists. Our pick-up spot was right next to the bus station, so it was easily found. I would recommend Chichen Itza for seeing the ruins, but Tulum was also great. eloisegirl hopefully will give you some of the wonderful advice she can deal out about PDC!

Have a fabulous holiday!

TY Dax & travelchick for your input. We never win anything I’m one of those if there were me & 1 other person in a draw the other person would win. I didn’t believe it when I got the call. lol5th Avenue is the only thing that was of interest to me. Others in the group want to go to the ruins I am not @ all interested so I’ll stay behind with the kids. lol.Its an 11 hours tour for Chichen Itza from the Barcelo Maya, 4 hours for Tulum alone. PDC is about 30min away if I recall correctly. lol. Cobo I’ll have to check into.

Thanks again & Happy Travels!

11 hours for Chichen Itza?! That sounds very wrong and just can’t be possible. Whoever in your group would like to do the tour should check into that more carefully. Tulum would be a shorter excurstion anyway, I believe, and give a nice taste of the Mayan culture….

I’m like you: I never win anything. You sure hit the jackpot this time. Enjoy it since it may be your first and last win. ;D But I hope not! Happy 2012.

I remember that Chichen Itza was ‘all day’ for the tour, mostly travel time to get there. Even when we did the Coba tour, we didn’t get back until after 5 pm. The bus tours always seem to drag things out way too long for us with ‘stops’ at certain stores.The difference between Coba and Chichen Itza is that Chichen Itza is larger but tourists are not allowed on the ruins. Coba is more in a jungle setting and you are allowed to touch, climb, etc. I’m not saying that this doesn’t harm the ruins but there is nothing like climbing a Mayan temple to give you a real sense of awe. It was the highlight of our stay without a doubt.

Highly recommend the collectivo. We felt very comfortable and had good conversations with others in the van. Almost all will either be tourists or workers at the resorts. The advantage of the non-bus tour is that you can linger where you want and leave when you want. I don’t herd very well. If doing it again, I would not do Coba by bus but would pay for a tour guide, they are always available at the gate. The guides are excellent at explaining details that you would miss otherwise.

Congrats on your big win – love it when people who think they are unlucky find out they are actually lucky!Thanks Travelchick for mentioning me. I’ve just collected all my tips into one spot and will post them here for anyone going to PDC. Eloisegirl’s PDC tipsATM: Scotiabank has a full service bank and ATM on Constituyentes, 2 blocks N of Fifth. You can withdraw PESOS up to 3000 MX per withdrawal. Most prices on Fifth Avenue are in pesos/usd/euros – especially the liquor stores. Since it is a tourist town, they are used to various currencies. If you were in El Middle del Nowhere, I might say stick only with pesos. Sometimes when shopping, I’d ask, do you want me to pay in USD or MX and they wanted the US. This applies to 5th avenue tourist shopping only; I would suggest pesos for any other shopping off the main drag. There are some great stores a block or two from Fifth. I would avoid those free-standing ATMs as you get extra charges for using those.Chocolate: On the other side of the street, right at the intersection (near the roundabout with the giant carved head) is Ah Cacao, a chain like a Mexican chocolate Starbucks. Try the Mayan drink – 2 or 3 USD for a small cup of heaven. They also sell a very high quality vanilla – it is the only one I would buy, in either bean, bean pieces or liquid, as well as Vanilla/Chocolate body care products, etc. Avoid the giant bottles or “clear” vanilla you see in tourist stores. They may contain coumarin. Tequila and liquor: Do buy a Mexico-only tequila, and most liquor stores have samples. Get something you can’t buy at home, and remember that anejo tequila can be as soft as a fine aged rum – your bartender or liquor merchant can advise you. Xtabentun is an anise-honey liqueur which is delicious and a great buy. There is Once Letras and the D’Aristi – I prefer the D’Aristi but I like sweeter. Both are good. You can find Xtabentun for sale at La Europea in PDC for $8 in the liquor store upstairs (store is visible from 5th). I believe the one litre bottle is 15 at Duty Free CUN. Yummy stuff, great just straight on ice. I really enjoy the Clase Azul Platino or Reposado – discovered that the stopper on the Repo is an actually bell. Unusual taste unlike anything I’ve ever tried and quite addicting. Anejos in the 40-45US range: Los Tres Tonos anejo, Afamado, Aha Toro and Alma de Mujer. The Aha Toro Anejo I bought had a small 2 oz Reposado sample bottle shrink wrapped on it, so that was a nice bonus. Alma de Mujer and El Gran Jubileo were recommended to me by the lady at Tequila Town in PDC on Contituyentes, and she knows her stuff – they were really awesome. I would have loved to buy some Fortaleza Anejo but ran out of money. It has a gorgeous antique looking bottle with the stopper shaped like the heart of the agave, a "pina". Ranges from 41 for the blanco to 56 for the anejo. I bought Casa Noble Single Barrel for 108 US – it is awesome – I try to bring back one really high end one per trip. It’s on display on my kitchen counter. Some day would like to bring back Pechoca or Corrido Extra Anejo, they are 80-90 US range IIRC.If you really cannot stomach tequila, at least try La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila. And it is made by the Clase Azul people, so you know it’s high end quality. Walmart: Visit the Walmart – it’s awesome! So different! If you are on Fifth, walk two blocks away from there (away from the beach, toward the highway) when you get to Burger King. They sell tequila, beer, and all kinds of great Mexican stuff. The candy aisle has some great treats at half the tourist shop price, Glorias Las Sevillanas are fudgy nutty candies to die for, made from goat milk. Obleas are dulche de leche de cabra (goat milk caramel) sandwiched between meltaway wafers, and Cajeta is a caramel syrup which is delicious on vanilla ice cream. I also recommend Tang in Jamaica flavour (Hibiscus). It’s 28 cents a package and has a delicious unusual taste.Jewelry: Mineralia – I think it is near the Haagen Dazs or Burger King. Lots of great semi-precious stones, walls of pearls, amethyst, howlite, turquoise – and you can get bracelets for a few dollars, up to a couple hundred bucks for something spectacular. I bought a pearl bracelet with freshwater pearls and two long keshi pearls for 17 USD. They also sell minerals such as rose quartz obelisques, amethyst geodes, etc.Tulum: Awesome but be warned, it is very very exposed and hot. I brought an umbrella, FIVE bottles of water (which I drank, and this is from a person who does not love water), and I wished I had brought bug spray – the site itself is not buggy, but the walk through some jungle-esque area to get there is, and the Mexican mosquitoes were having a fiesta. Tulum is breathtaking, you can still see original paint on the ruins, there are beautiful iguanas sunning themselves, the vista is incredible, and you can go down stairs to the beach, which is just gorgeous. At the entrance area, there is a small plaza of stores so you can do your souvenir shopping there, and there is an exhibit of Mayan pole jumping, for lack of a better word. They climb up onto a tower and then jump off (attached by rope) and spin upside down. There is even an ATM at the site, done in Mayan style!You might want to try Xel-Ha, Xcaret or something similar – there are lots of places with aquatic animals, ziplining, swimming in a cenote, etc.There’s a great store called La Sirena on Fifth (on the North or "shorter" side past Constituyentes) that sells wonderful Lucha Libre art. Also another store called Pachamama. They have Day of the Dead figurines, sculptures, art, all of them highlighting Mexico’s unique personality.Bubbletoes told me about Carboncitos, a great little restaurant with great prices and great food. It is just off 5th closer to the ferry than to Constituyentes and easily seen from Fifth. Try the tacos al pastor – cheap and YUMMY.

Bon voyage!

You’re welcome, eloisegirl. You are a source of delightful information here on the Mexican forum particularly! And these tips you have laid out are invaluable for first-time (and repeat) visitors to PDC. Thank you for compiling them!

My pleasure, Travelchick, and you are the person who originally told Bubbletoes about Carboncitos, so we’re all part of the circle. I just love Mexico, and think it is a fabulous place to visit.

Thank you all very much to all of you for your kind words & helpful information.I will print these out to have on hand for when we do go. This all very useful & good to have information. We were very shocked of the win but very thankful. A once in a lifetime I’m sure. lol! If we can just hit the lottery win now! lmao!

Thanks again & Happy Travels!

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