Old Reviews – Grand Mayan Riviera Maya

   Grand Mayan   Shawn ~ New York

April 2009

Resort meets you with a shuttle, air conditioned and clean.

Very spacious, very clean.

Restaurants and Bars
several choices, reasonably priced, nice wine selections. Theme nights at different restaurants.

Beach/Pools/Grounds very large pools, lots of options for sun or shade, plenty of lounge chairs.

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   Grand Mayan   Bob ~ California

January 2009

Vacation Photos URL:

Arrival: November 2008
We were able to arrange for free transportation to the resort from the airport. This is free for vacation timeshare owners and/or their guests. The ride was comfortable and took us straight to the resort. Check-in was a breeze and the front desk was friendly. A timeshare rep greeted us after we checked in, but we told her we were already owners and that we were not interested in a presentation this go around. She was respectful and did not bother us. She called to our room twice later in the week reminding us that if we changed our mind she could arrange a tour. We said no.

The rooms were comfortable and very large. We stayed in a Grand Master Suite and loved the fact that we had a nice kitchen.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was outstanding. There are more than 5 different restaurants at this resort in Riviera Maya. Our favorite was Tremontos. It is elegant, the food is great and the prices are very reasonable.

The Mayan resorts are known for their outstanding pools and they did not disappoint here. Even though Grand Mayan guests have their own private pool, we enjoyed the Mayan Palace pool more because it was larger and had more action.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on two excursions. We took a zip line tour through the jungle. There were 12 zip line platforms. We loved it. They then took us on a bike ride to an open sink hole to go swimming. The water was warm and yet refreshing. The lunch that was served was "ok."

Other Comments: Strolling down 5th Street in Playa del Carmen is a must. The shops and restaurants are fun and clean. The prices in the shops are high however.

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Grand Mayan Brad and Maureen

April 2007

General Comments
There have been no recent reviews posted for the Grand Mayan and Mayan Palace resorts, so we thought that we would offer an updated one now. Along with my wife and 17 year old son, our family stayed at a hotel room in the Mayan Palace in March 2004 and then we stayed in a full 2 bedroom suite at the Grand Mayan in March 2007. To explain, the 2 resorts are typically shown as 2 separate places in most brochures and the RCI catalog. To me, this is very misleading as the 2 resorts share the lobby, pool, restaurants, shopping and just about everything else. The difference is that the Mayan Palace (MP) buildings on the north side have hotel style, although large, rooms. The Grand Mayan (GM) buildings on the south and west side are 2 bedroom, lock-out suites. These suites have a single bedroom on each side with a main, front room / kitchen between them. Both the MP and GM rooms are clean, nice looking and kept in great shape.

Like many of the Riviera Maya resorts, the MP and GM complex is between the Cancun airport and Playa Del Carmen. This is important to note since you can not walk to Cancun or PDC. I recommend renting a car (get full insurance!) unless you plan to mostly stay at the resort. A few trips to get groceries, shopping and site seeing and the rental car will pay for itself. There are cheap buses that can take you to these places, but we watched as people sat on the side of a very hot road waiting for the less-than-clean buses to arrive. If you do rent a car – stay within speed limits. The police love to stop violators and the stops can be unpleasant with cash payment expected.

Checking In
This was done quickly and easily, BUT, you will then be asked to attend a timeshare presentation with the offer of 10% off all charges or something equivalent. We chose not to do this and we were not harassed at all about this. Your choice, but plan on a full morning if you take the invitation. You might wish that you were in the pool as your guide walks you through the complex.

The Resorts
The MP and GM are on a sprawling complex. In the middle is a large lagoon and near the ocean is a huge pool. Plan on walking and walking and walking as this place is big. There are some golf carts to take people around, but for the most part, you will walk between your room, the restaurants, the pool, your car, and anything else you choose to do. Although the place is well landscaped and beautiful, it is just too big for my tastes. You’ll find yourself constantly planning ahead to keep from making another hike around the place.

Couldn’t be nicer! It was huge – lots of room for everyone and fun chairs and pool bars. Happy hour at the pool bar was 11 – 1, kind of early with nothing offered later in the day. But we managed.

Some past reviews suggested that a lazy river was being added for 2006. Well, there is no lazy river and we did not see the making of one. On the day we were leaving, a new pool area opened up, specifically for the use of guests from the Grand Mayan. MP people were not to use this, but no one seemed to stop them from going there.

Disappointing. There was plenty of sand and chairs and shade for those that want to sit and watch the surf. But at the shoreline, it was nothing but rocks. No one ventured into the water, not for swimming or snorkeling. This was a big disappointment as we hoped to do some snorkeling off the beach. There is a nice sand volleyball area and a pier to walk out.

Construction of a new, large activities area had begun when we were here in 2004. Now in 2007, much of the main structure is in place, but the activities center opening appears to be a long time off. With this being in the middle of the resort complex, you could hear construction noises all day and there were many detours in the already long walking paths. Actually, there is construction going on in many areas of the complex. To the south-west, new rooms are being built and we were told that this will become the Gold Mayan. It will be a LONG walk from the Gold Mayan buildings to the oceanfront.

Each building is 3 stories high, no elevators. We stayed in room 1461 which is the first floor, building 4. If in the GM, buildings 3 and 4 are the furthest from the pool and restaurants, but closest to the parking lot. Buildings 1 and 2 are close to the action and less walking, but expect nightly sounds from the entertainment building. Buildings 5 and 6 seemed to be a nice compromise. At the MP, I did not pay attention to the building numbers, but those buildings that are west of the lobby are close to nothing and should be avoided unless you just love a long walk in the hot sun.

This was covered in previous reviews. Get up early and place things on the chairs if you want a covered palapa later in the day. This is the way it is at this, and at every other Riviera Maya resort that we have stayed at. Some vacationers like to complain about this system. They are the ones getting up at 11 and expecting to find a shady bed waiting for them. Sorry folks. Get up and get out or get burned.

Having been to several other resorts in the Riviera Maya, we were disappointed with the quality and amount of entertainment and activities at this resort. There were plenty of kids activities and just about something happening every half hour. If you have not been to other resorts, you will enjoy the many things offered by the MP/ GM. However, the resort does not have the fun and daily scheduled activities to match the Iberostar or Riu properties. At night, and keep in mind that we were there at peak season, there were only 2 nights during the week for nightly entertainment. And to see these, you had to eat at the restaurant. Other resorts offer free nightly shows.

Zip Line – We used the MP / GM travel desk to sign up for a bike ride, zip line, snorkeling in a cenote, lunch tour. This was great and well worth the $47 each we paid to do this. Highly recommended, this was all done within 20 minutes of the resort and fun for everyone.
Chichen Itza – Did this in 2004, but did not need to repeat it in 2007. I love the Mayan history, but wife and son can do without it. I would recommend using the travel desk and the bus trip over a rental car. CI is far away and a bus would make this more comfortable. You arrive in mid-day and it will be HOT! Too hot maybe. A better way, if you can do it, would be to go late in the day and stay at the local and nice hotel at the entrance. Have dinner, enjoy the pool and have a cervesa. In the morning, head to the ruins and enjoy them in the cool of the morning. Head back in mid-day when everyone else is arriving in the heat.
Tulum – A nice compromise for those that want to see the Mayan history, but not spend hours getting there. These ruins are not up to Chichen Itza, but still very nice and on the oceanfront. A day trip of Tulum and Xel-Ha would make for a great day.
Xcaret – Highly recommended. But this is pricey if you take the bus excursion. If you have your own car, drive there early in the day and pay the admission price. Do the underground river snorkeling and/or dolphins first as these get crowded later in the day. Snorkel in the inlet later – you’ll love the fish. This place has lots to do and you’ll find something for everyone here. Xel-Ha

– Nice for the snorkeling, although we found the waters a bit too cold. I would recommend Xel-Ha as a shorter, cheaper version of Xcaret. Not as much to do, but still very nice.

Playa Del Carmen
Not very long ago, PDC was just a bus and ferry stop. Then shopping was added to a few blocks along 5th street. Now, 5th street is a couple of miles long with lots of shops and restaurants. We love to go here, do bit of shopping and then eat a lot cheaper, and many times nicer, than the resort prices. There is a Wal-Mart in town and a huge grocery right on the main street into PDC. Can’t remember the name, but on Jaurez street, about 3 blocks north of 307 (the main street), south side of the street, there is a restaurant in a cave – highly recommended and tons of fun.

Fun Around the Pool
The pool is huge and although shade may be at a premium, there were always chairs available at all times during the day. In mid-day, the activities staff hosted some pool games and dance instruction. Volleyball games were going on regularly at the pool and at the beach.

Summary The GM / MP is a beautiful resort with fine amenities, pristine golf course, fine meals (wine), huge, well decorated rooms, very, very clean and with top service throughout. Certainly, the MP / GM is worthy of the 5 star rating for high class service and accommodations. The construction was distracting, but I’m sure that the finished work will add to the quality of the resort. On the negative side, the beach was rocky and of no use for swimming. The daily activities were a bit lame, the entertainment was almost nonexistent and the resort, while gorgeous, was too big. Overall, this is a top resort, but I would prefer being closer to the action of Playa Del Carmen (or Cancun, if you enjoy the crowds) at a place with more activities and a working beach.

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Grand Mayan Wendy & Steve ~ Toronto

May 2005

This was our first trip to this Grand Mayan location. The hotel is about halfway between Cancun Airport and Playa Del Carmen. My husband and I are in our forties and love to travel. For pictures of the Grand Mayan please go to http://community.webshots.com/user/holakitty also note that same site has pictures of Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta.

This location is still undergoing a major amount of construction. It will have a water park/lazy river, but that will not be completed until sometime in 2006. Although there is construction, it did not hamper our experience or cause any problems. I would probably not go back to this location until 2007 or 2008 when amenities and beach area are completed – although we had an excellent trip.

I would suggest emailing the concierge desk conciergerm@mayanpalace.com.mx to arrange your pick-up from the airport. The cost is $15 per person and is charged directly to your room. The transport only goes from the airport directly to hotel, so you don’t have to stop at other locations along the way.

The check-in counter for the Grand Mayan is currently at the same reception area as the check in for Mayan Palace. Not a problem. Keep in mind check out is 10am and check in is 5pm. We arrived at around 3pm and checked in, but our room was not ready for about an hour. No problem, we went back at 4pm, got our keys and luggage, but at least all our paperwork etc., was filled out and it only took moments to get keys. Please note that if you are an owner (we are) take a copy of your contract with you if you have any special discounts etc. that are to be rewarded to you. We received our discounts, but took a few days for staff to check with main office. Easier if you have contract with you, then no confusion.

We stayed for two weeks. One week was in building 4, room 3469. This is on the top floor (all buildings are only 3 stories high) and faces the front entrance fountain/golf course. The view of the course is not like Nuevo Vallarta (NV) where you can watch the green, but it gets the late afternoon sun, so is nice in the evenings to watch the sunset. The second week we had a studio and were moved to building 2 rooms 3420. When you check in, make sure you are not in building 2. We moved rooms twice in this building and both times the mold from the A/C was over powering and impossible to be in the room more than a minute. When you get to your room, BEFORE you unpack I would suggest that you turn on all your A/C on high. Go and relax on the balcony for a few minutes – read up on the hotel amenities, room service, spa services etc…then go back into the room. If you smell mold, call the front desk and move rooms. This is not just a bit of a musty smell because the room has not been used for a couple of weeks, this is overpowering and I am sure not healthy. I went and complained, moved our room again and our 4th room in building 4 was fine, no smell. This room was on the ocean side. It was nice, but a bit noisy at night with the entertainment, as the sound travels across the open piece of water between the buildings.

Just so you are aware this is a no cash resort. You need to sign all items to your room. Keep your receipts to check your bill. As it is usually busy at check-out time they will give you your bill the night before. You can review and pay the bill so you don’t have to wait in a long line up the next morning.

Unlike NV or Puerto Vallarta (PV) location where you tip what you want, at this location all restaurant/bar services here add an automatic 15% to the bill. So unless you want too, don’t add more tip to the bill. The service from all restaurant staff was excellent. The poolside service was also very good. They have a happy hour from 11:00am – Noon, also they don’t seem to have a drink of the day as they do in NV and PV, or later happy hour from 4pm-6pm.

The food was excellent. Buffet breakfast is a good deal at $140 pesos per adult. A great variety, including regional Mexican dishes, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits, juices, cereals, made to order egg station, made to order crepe/pancake/french toast station, fresh fruit syrups and other breakfast favorites. If you want bacon you need to ask your waiter and they will bring to the table. Considering that a juice, coffee and meal at the beach restaurant would cost you about $120 – $160 pesos the buffest is good value.

The Italian restaurant is fantastic. They have evening entertainment, one night a solo violinist, another night there was a solo sax player. The restaurant and also the bar on the other side of the building are very interesting. It is on a archaeological theme and there are many pictures of ruins being unearthed. Check out the bar (underneath, there are shovels and picks. The decor is great. I had one of the best pieces of prime rib that I have had in a long time. I usually stay away from beef in Mexico and the islands, but on Tuesday nights they have 10 oz cut prime rib, with appetizer and desert for $340 pesos. The salad is fresh and has a wonderful dressing, the beef and veggies were done to perfection (beef carved at your table) and the dessert – grand marnier mousse – was to die for! We had another meal there and my husband is still raving over the osso bucco. Wait staff were very attentive and Sam the manager has an excellent crew working for him. This restaurant is located upstairs from the gift store/internet cafe. Both sides are 24 high glass and the view is stunning. Also a very nice wine list. Go to the bar between 6pm-7pm for a pre dinner drink (happy hour) and then enjoy the rest of the evening in the restaurant. Lots of area for dancing as well.

We had dinner on the Friday night at the poolside restaurant – it was a Mexican Grill, which was very good. Save room for dessert. Also the poolside service for sandwiches etc. is good. They have an excellent fruit salad which is big enough to share and served in a half pineapple.

The staff at this location are great, except most of the Management level (although not all) seem to have a bit of an attitude. The Manager at the breakfast buffet got a bit shirty with me because I took two thermal mugs of orange juice with me, but frankly, too bad – I wasn’t taking plates of food out and I paid for my breakfast so I don’t see what the problem was – especially as it has been no problem at other Mayan locations. Also had some attitude at spa. As Grand Mayan owners we can use the spa/gym facilities at no extra charge, any time we like. A few times instead of having an evening shower in our room we would leave the pool area, go to the spa and enjoy the hot tub, Swedish shower etc. A couple of times we were asked to call 1/2 hour before we arrived. One this is hard to do when you are laying by the pool, two if the place was packed I could understand it, but both my husband and I used the facilities about 7 or 8 times in two weeks – we never saw one other person in the place. It wasn’t that we were asked to call (which we didn’t) it was the way we were asked.

The spa is wonderful. It is a huge 22,000 sq.ft. building with gym upstairs which has great views of the ocean and pool areas. There is also a cafe restaurant upstairs, with sandwiches, salads, fruit, muffins etc. Very bright, clean and top notch equipment.

The beach is walkable and is great for snorkelling. It is shallow, but there is reef there. At the end of the beach where they have the jet ski’s etc., it is a little easier to get into the water and if you take a snorkel and flippers you can do some snorkelling. You need water shoes at this beach. Personally I wear water shoes when ever we are at a beach, one you don’t rip your feet on coral, but also because I find most beaches do have some broken glass and garbage and cigarette butts laying around. But this is my preference.

The pools are great. Although the pools are not heated, because it has been hot, sunny and still not raining they are warm. The good side to this is that you can relax in a floaty ring with a good book for hours. They need shade at this resort. They need to spend some money on umbrellas around the pool. The palapas are gone early in the morning, in fact there was one couple that slept there every night….that is extreme….what the hotel really needs to do is stick to their rule of moving peoples belongings after one hour. There were many times that Palapas were taken (with the bed or just with loungers) for the day and I never saw the people actually use it. When I was by the pool, I spent most of my time floating with a hat for shade and a good book and thermal mug of a frosty beverage, so it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but it was an issue.

In the large building by the pool, where the Italian restaurant is, they have the internet cafe, gift shop and store. You can get most things here at a price. The food items are not that over priced. It is handy if you want some flavoured water, try the tangerine, it is very refreshing, or if you need some milk, bread, bits and pieces. If you want to do a larger shopping with fruits and veggies then I would go into Playa Del Carmen and go to the store Chedraui. I had seen some reviews suggestion San Francisco’s, but when we went there I found the produce department awful. Chedraui’s is an everything you could want grocery store. It is large, clean and has a great produce/bakery/deli section. They also sell wine, beer, liquor etc., so you can stock up for your trip. We take down a small collapsable cooler, with ice packs and enjoy a few cold beers by the pool. As long as you take cans you are fine. The beer at the pool with an automatic tip included runs almost $40 pesos…..that is high. Also remember to take your thermal mugs, great for beer, water, coffee or juice.

The gift store has everything you could want, at very high prices.

The internet cafe is fine. There are about 10 terminals and we never had to wait for one. Connections are highspeed. It cost $70 pesos for one hour. I had some problems with one terminal one day and told the girl, no problem they gave me back the time I lost.

They do have washer and dryers available at $35 pesos per load (that is a wash and dry). There is a lady when you go in to do your washing, who will do your washing for you and you pick it up all folded. I belive she charges $30 pesos. I took advantage of this as I have to pay to do my wash at home, the day before we left I took all our laundry down at 9am. I then relaxed by the pool for the day and made sure to pick up my stuff before 5pm. Then all I had to do was transfer my folded clean clothes to our suitcases and my packing was done! Always nice to go home with clean clothes at the end of your holiday, and it saved me folding stuff that I had to pack.

It costs about $200 pesos with tip to get into Playa Del Carmen. Is more expensive that collectivos or buses – yes, but compared to cab fare in Toronto, it is a good deal. Also we didn’t like the idea of standing around on a 4 lane highway, in the middle of a construction zone (which should be finished in July), in 90 degree weather. I would rather spend a few $ and have door to door service in air conditioned cabs. All of our drivers were friendly, polite and got us to where we needed to go safely. This was a personal choice, and I am sure that buses etc. are also good ways to travel.

Just a couple of quick notes on the ferry service. I would not hesitate to take the ferry again. Having said that, please realize that the currents across the stretch of water to and from Cozumel and PDC are strong. We noticed one day where the ferries we not at dock, but also not running, so I would not take this trip the day before I was scheduled to travel or if I had another excursion booked. If you get there and you can’t get back that day you could have muy problemos!. If you enjoy the odd splash/spray from the water then sit upstairs on the outside deck on the port side (left) going to Cozumel and the starboard side (right) going to PDC. If you have a tendancy to get motion sickness then definately sit upstairs outside, ask any sailor and they will tell you the same. The wrist bands that you can buy are excellent and then you don’t feel drowsy, although you do need to put the bands on the night before you travel.

We took the 9am ferry across to Cozumel. A great restaurant for breakfast is Las Palamas, which is right across the street. Excellent food and value. We then took a $80 pesos cab ride to Playa Corona (Corona Beach….shouldn’t be hard to remember). Excellent snorkelling. The reef has easy access as it is just 3 small steps down to the water and about 15 feet out to your right. If you swim out to deeper water you see some great fish and then go to the right along the shore and you see even more fish and coral and it is quite shallow with almost no current. Mario – who runs the spot is great. He has quite a large menu and the beers, are nice and cold. Plenty of chairs, shade and washrooms and an outdoor shower. There is no charge to snorkel from this spot, but it is expected and in facted noted that you should purchase food or drinks for use of the area. For pictures of snorkelling go to http://community.webshots.com/user/holakitty

We decided to take a taxi to and from the hotel to Xcaret. A cost of $250 pesos each way. This was well worth it as we heard many people complaining about getting picked up at their hotel at 9:00 and not arriving to park until almost Noon. The taxi ride is about 25 minutes. What a day. First to say, book the dinner and show. You will not be disappointed. The food at the show was excellent, large portions, very tastey and excellent presentation. The show was spectacular, the talent amazing and the stories memorable. Just walking into the stage area was great. Make sure you leave yourself a few extra minutes to view people with costumes as you walk in. This was another good reason to take a taxi. The show finished at 9:00pm and we were back at our hotel, showered and enjoying an evening cocktail by 9:45pm. There are so many buses in the parking lot and I would imagine that if your bus left at 10:00pm you would be lucky (by the time everyone finds the bus and it gets out of the parking lot). Again I have pictures of park and of show on http://community.webshots.com/user/holakitty

Go early in the morning and the you can snorkel in the river without bumping into people as it gets busy early. It will cost you about $110 pesos per person if you need to rent mask, fins and they give you the snorkel. It is mandatory that you wear a life jacket. This operation is very well run. When you are ready to go, you can put all your stuff into a large nylon bag, which is locked. You have the key and when you exit the river you can pick up your stuff at the check-out point. You don’t see a lot of fish in the river, until the end, but it is interesting to swim through the tunnels and there is one spot where you look up and there is a beautiful stained glass window of butterflies.

This is a full day. We managed to see most of the park and still have time to relax, have lunch and swim and snorkel in the bay. This was a great spot to snorkel, and in fact while we were snorkeling we even managed to swim with a very friendly sea turtle.

There is only one way to do this trip…..overnight! After looking at a number of tour sites etc., I could not beat the value offered by Entertainment Plus 2 for 1. Because we were not staying in Cancun, we did not have to purchase the $15 card, but we could still book our tours at the preferred rate. http://www.entertainment-plus.net/english.cfm I could not believe that my husband and I could get bus transport from Cancun to Chichen Itza, lunch, entrance ticket and overnight accomodations for only $80 per person! I emailed entertainment-plus and had correspondance with Trina. Trina is excellent. She will answer any questions you have and has some great advice. I don’t think words can discribe how great Trina was and how wonderful our experience was.

First a little note about Gray Line Tours. We were instructed to be there no later than 7:45am and the office was beside Fridays at Playa Tortugas. This is correct, but it is a bit hard to find. The office is actually in the coral colour building beside Friday’s. It is in the Flea Market at the back of the building. We arrived a little early and at exactly 7:45am they were open for business. I showed the man my internet booking slip and he gave me our tickets and we were on our way. We found our bus and at 8:15am we left for Chichen Itza. Our guide was very good and not only did he have some great information and stories, but also you watch a movie which gives you some interesting history of the Mayan culture. We stopped at one shopping spot just outside Chichen Itza for about 30 minutes. About 20 minutes later at about 11:45am or there abouts we arrived at the Mayaland Hotel.

The Mayaland Hotel is a gem in the middle of the forest. Rooms were clean, neat and we had a 200 sq.ft. balcony all to ourselves. The pool was refreshing and the staff very accomodating. The food was excellent. I hope to return to this hotel for a 3 or 4 night stay. It is very relaxing and handy to other ruins in the area. To view pictures of the hotel and one of their resident peacocks go to http://community.webshots.com/user/holakitty

As my husband and I were the only two on the bus that day that were staying overnight, we went and registered at the front desk. After dropping of our overnight bag, we joined the rest of our group for lunch. This was an excellent lunch buffet and tehre was also local entertainment. When you are walking the grounds keep your eye out for one of the many peacocks that are roaming around. The rest of our group then headed over to Chichen Itza…..we headed straight for the pool.

By mid day it is really hot. You don’t get a nice tropical breeze off the ocean……it’s really hot. We enjoyed our afternoon by the pool and around 3:30pm or so noticed our wilted group returning. They left at 4:00pm. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon and then great dinner. At 7:30pm we went to the sound and light show (make sure you grab your tickets for this after lunch). This is a show that should be seen. You can purchase for $25 pesos each head sets. This allows you to listed to the presentation in english. You really get a great history of the ruins and Mayan People. Upon returning to the hotel (it’s a five minute walk) we were asked if we would like to go on a tour for $100 pesos each in the morning. We agreed to meet our guide around 8:30am giving us time to climb up the pyramid in the cool of the morning.

Next morning we had a lovely buffet breakfast and then tackled Chichen Itza. This was a thrill. We were the first people in the park and the first ones up the pyramid that morning. What a rush. This is not for the faint at heart if you have any problems with stairs or heights. Our guide meet us at the bottom of the steps at 8:30am. He was excellent. Great information, I highly recommend you have a guide. There are very interesting things happening in certain spots and unless you have guide there is no way you will know about them. Our tour was almost 2 hours long. We did our own thing for a bit and then as it was getting crowded and hot we headed back to the pool.

Again we enjoyed a lovely lunch and an afternoon by the pool. We were picked up at 4:15pm and got back to Cancun around 7:00pm. To view pictures of Chichen Itza please go to http://community.webshots.com/user/holakitty

Had a terrific snorkelling trip booked at the blue building at the pier in Puerto Morelos. Paco offered us a two hour trip out to the reef for $220 pesos each. He promised us a 15 minute boat ride to the reef, snorkeling for 45 minutes, a further boat ride, snorkelling and return trip. We got all that and more. We were in the water for at least 50 minutes at a time. The reef was great, and the guide that we had showed us an eel, lobster, conch and many other tropical sites. You have to wear a life jacket on this trip, the currents in this area are quite strong. I would in future snorkel with a whistle. We could have used one. When we were finished from our second spot of snorkelling we were trying to get our boat’s attention so we didn’t have to swim so far – a whistle would have been great. I have since picked a couple up and it standard equipment when we are out in the water.

We also went snorkelling to Akumel. We were directed to go to La Buna Vida. This is a restaurant that has hammocks, a small pool, tables at the water’s edge. The reef here was great, We swam with some cuddle fish, and huge parrot fish.

We then went to Yal-ku, which is a national park. The snorkeling there was not so great. We were there later in the day and it was quite a busy spot, so it may have just been that a lot of sand had been kicked up, but didn’t see a lot. The park it’s self is nice and many nice statues around, but I wouldn’t go there again.

This is a great town, which is growing like crazy. Fifth Avenue reminds me of the romantic zone in Puerto Vallarta. All kinds of shops and restaurants. If you want it, they have it. Two great restaurants to go to, Esparragos (just remember asparagus) at 5th and 8th and also at 5th and 8th is Yaxche Mayan Restaurant http://www.mayacuisine.com/index.html

TIME SHARE SALES Just want to mention that if you want cheap excursions or cash and you say yes to the 90 minute tours (which always take the whole morning by the time you get there, eat, tour and return) then don’t complain about them. You wanted the freebe or cheap stuff, then you are going to pay with your time. If you don’t want to go, then it is simple, just say no and walk away.

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