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Trip Reports: Mikeoracle, Dan, JayR, lunatic, mgoldhammer18, Markus

Where to stay:
-Aloft Cancun - 4,000 starpoints 
    shiframeir - pretty lousy though very cheap and close to chabad/fish restaurant. pool on roof small and not heated, rooms interesting but a bit dingy, bathroom uses glass sliding door without much sound protection :)
    zow-I'm not as negative about it as shiframeir. It is very cheap, great location. Not a luxurious place to hangout, but if you're going to be out and about, it's good value.
-Westin resort & spa -7,000 starpoints  (Old will rumor to be torn down soon...)
-Westin Lagunamar -  starpoints indicated as low season/high season: studio is currently 12,000/16000 but going up to 20,000/25,000 effective 3/1/16. 
    Studios can be booked with points online but one-BR suites require PUTPAC. 
    Seems that you can get 1BR suite for 1,500 more starpoints per night.  Some have been able to get complimentary upgrade from studio to 1BR without difficulty, but YMMV. 
    There is no recorded history of anyone getting upgrade from 1BR to 2BR villa, as a 2BR is really a 1BR connected to a studio villa (essentially 2 paying rooms, so hotel won't do that). 
    The 1BR suite is ~1,000 SF, so almost twice the size of the studio, and has expanded kitchen, with  full-size fridge, full-size cook-top, microwave oven and DW. (but no oven)) 
    The 1BR suites have W/D (not sure about the studios.
    Shiframeir - Best value, huge resort with lots of heated pools during winter and big slide, lots to do and good kids club. (went up in category)
-Hyatt Zilara (all inclusive) 25,000 hyatt points.
-JW- 40k marriott points. Great service. Beautiful hotel, pool & beach. Across at from kosher luxus.
    Rosewood- playa de Carmen, considered the most luxurious in the area.
-hyatt ziva brand new hotel (all inclusive) beautiful resort hotel+spa excellent service right next to red heifer and 5 minutes walk to chabad, great for adults and kids.
    (seperate water playground by kids club zone), next to ferry and water sports, getting dolphins on premises (end February)
-Intercontinental Presidente (IHG) (Derived from Shiframeir) Great location for Shabbos.  Nearby to Chabad. Nice big lobby to chill in the afternoon, and lots of first floor rooms (no steps needed).
    Decent pools (one adults only one family, felt a little cool not sure if heated). Really great service.


Ground transportation
Some people rent cars, others seem strongly averse to car rental.
For traveling outside Cancun's Zona Hotelera, e.g., to visit Mayan ruins or if you're staying in Playa del Carmen, rental car makes sense.
If planning on staying only in Zona Hotelera, taking the bus up and down the strip makes the most sense. Bus costs MEX10.50 (currently about $0.60USD); drivers happily make change, at least from small peso bills.
If not renting a car, others have arranged airport-to-hotel via shuttle,private car service, or limo :)
best to book online before arrival
Canada Transfers:  $55 RT airport to hotel zone. On time and reliable.
peeps also like http://usa-transfers.com/ 55 for 3, 65 for 7 rountrip


Activities:
Ferry to isla mujeres + golf cart is probably #1 - can get carts walking left or right from the port either way a few minutes and get a decent rate (shiframeir got 2 fast carts for afternoon for $70 total going left (right has mixed reviews on speed))
Xel Ha (for older kids and adults)
Xcaret - spoke to ppl that went said was waste of time & very costly.
Xplore- did the night version, highly recommend. Zip-lining. Caving & atving.
Jungle tour- snorkel motor boat tour recomended
BOB- underwater scuba-like contraption highly recommended.
Ferry to Cozumel
Swim with Whale Sharks - June, July and August
Isla Mujeres - Turtle Farm, Playa Norte,dolphin discovery

Kosher Food/Restaurants: WARNING, do not bring nonpackaged simple foods (i.e. other than cookies, chips etc) or u have a good chance of them taking them away, esp if you look jewish.
Cancun
1. Chabad Kosher Cancun (food was really good restaurant quality), detailed review here
Delivery and pickup available. Falafel stand located right outside chabad shul. New sit-down restaurant coming soon. http://www.koshercancun.com/
Chabad also has an additional menu for yeshiva week here.
Supervision by Rabbi Mendel Druk of Chabad of Cancun.
2. Kosher Luxus/Red Heifer fleishig restaurant: http://www.kosherluxus.com, Israeli style food. Delivery and eat-in.very nicely served but not so tasty Be sure to confirm that the meat is from Mexico City and not a local supplier. Supervision by Rabb Simantov Nigri of Cancun. some reviews and pics on GKRF here, suggest getting apps/drinks/desserts over steaks, and always call before going to see whats available/what they ran out of https://www.facebook.com/groups/gkrfoodies/search/?query=red%20heifer
NOTE: The Kosher Luxus/Red Heifer is now in a different location than when Dan did his Trip Notes in 1/2015. Current location is very near the Chabad and Aloft.
People seem to either love or hate this place, very mixed reviews.
3. Dag Dag: This homey restaurant, described and photographed in Dan's Trip Notes, had been closed from late 2015 through mid 2016. However, as of December 2016, they were open!  Very much as Dan described. Fish and chips were very good, as was the pizza.  The owner is a little eccentric. Food did take a long time (zow).  Prior notes: food isn't great and takes a long time, but they are nice people and if you order in advance its not too bad. http://www.koshercancunrestaurant.com/  Prior supervision was by Rabbi Mendel Druk of Chabad of Cancun.
* Costco sells cheese (large cream cheese box "Raskas Queso Crema" is cholov stam) cholov yisroel natural and kosher. Costco also has kosher hummus, kosher salmon spread, kosher lox, kosher PB and J, kosher bread (star K), kosher milk (both shelf stable "La La" brand, as well as Kirkland brand, but I'm not sure about the hechscher on the latter.) They have OU mantequilla.  They had PAM spray but I didn't see the usual hechsher on it, so didn't buy.
* Sams Club - Breads ("New York Deli and Bagel") can be found at Sam's club and other essentials
* Walmart - tons of things you need including pans and spatula's to eggs and Avocado drinks etc.
* Minimart in Westin Lagunamar has a bunch of imported kosher items (Lala milk is KA), but sometimes runs out.  They have beer at about $1/bottle (but you can also get it for $2/can at the Westin Lagunamar minimart).
allot of stores carry ou snacks

Playa
4. Chabad of Playa del Carmen is run by Rabbi Mendel Goldberg, a DDF member, and has food available for delivery (food was really good restaurant quality ),.  Contact them for an updated menu with more choices than listed on website. http://www.jewishplaya.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/1336731/jewish/Kosher-Food-Delivery-Service.htm
5. The alternate Chabad of Playa (AKA Bootleg yellow flag version...) is run by Rabbi Chaim Brod and has an in-house restaurant located at avenida 20, entre Calle 6B y Calle 8, 
6. Hotel 770 has a restaurant and grocery in Playa: http://hotel770.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/hotel770-menu1.jpg http://hotel770.com/facilties/ Under Rabbi Chaim Brod's supervision. Calle 10 Norte Bis, Playa del Carmen
7. Menfis is an Israeli restaurant in Playa: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150812-d6989791-Reviews-MENFIS-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html Under Rabbi Chaim Brod's supervision. Calle 14 Norte, Entre 5a y 10, Playa del Carmen
8. Mas Pan Pizza, sandwiches, paninis.

Cozumel
9. Jerusalem Nice fleshig place with good food and quick service. Under Chabad of Cozumel (yellow flag). Calle 10 North and Av. and General Rafeal, Second floor
10. Cafe RimonDairy restaurant also under Chabad of Cozumel (yellow flag). Calle 4 North and Av. and General Rafeal
11. Chocolatte Dairy Cafe also under ?????.
12. Falafel


Isla Mujeres
13. Cafe Maya kosher milchig restaurant Cafe Maya, apparently under some chabad (R Druk of Cancun vouches apparently) only cash BRING PESOS!!! Food is excellent and prices here are very reasonable, so long as you pay in pesos. As of 2/22/2016, they offered to take USD at an exchange rate of 13 pesos/USD (compared with, say, 16-18 pesos/USD elsewhere). Family of 5 can feast on paninis, pasta and pizza, with soft drinks/coffees, easily under $50USD.
14. Chabad downstairs: Felafel
15. Chabad downstairs: Meat restaurant

... can rent a golf cart to zip around the island and have a nice lunch too! it's two blocks straight ahead (5 min walk nice shops around) when you exit the ferry terminal (Calle Bravo?), make a left when you hit the end (on Av Guerrero) go another block and it's a few stores down the next block on the left side. (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=1451.msg1335366#msg1335366
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=1451.msg1197322;topicseen#msg1197322
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kosher-maya-cafe-isla-mujeres
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150810-d7100368-Reviews-Maya_Cafe-Isla_Mujeres_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#REVIEWS
website says hours 9am-11pm sun-thurs http://rivierakosher.com/kosher-maya-restaurant-isla-mujeres/



Shabbos: Chabad has minyanim during busy seasons, but check with them (they are really great, and give a nice donation!: http://www.koshercancun.com/visitor-info.html 

Minyan at Westin Lagunamar: check with Chabad Rabbi, but enough jews have timeshares at Lagunamar that they seem to have a minyan every winter break outside by the BBQs (Fuego) all the way on the south of the hotel (by the last pool to the right coming out of lobby towards fountains)). minyan was like 715 each morning, then mincha/maariv around shkiah.
- UPDATE - perhaps depends on timing for timesharers, currently minyanim are shachris at 8am and mincha at 630pm in the lobby a couple doors from main entrance going left when facing front desk.
Mid-Feb 2016: no minyan at Westin Lagunamar this week, and Rabbi Druk said its occurrence has been very sporadic as of late.

WiFi Password at Cancun Airport Business Center:  network businesst3 password businesst3

Airport Lounges at CUN
Mera Lounge - Accessible with Priority Pass except between 12:30 and 16:30.(not nice lounge)
Aeromexico Lounge

Electricity
US plugs and voltage
« Last edited by Dan on August 04, 2017, 05:36:08 PM »

Author Topic: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread  (Read 170770 times)

Offline Mikeoracle

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2010, 05:22:08 PM »
Spent last week in Cancun at the Hilton resort. I flew AA using my BA points. If anyone has any questions let me know. I will try to write up a trip report when i get a chance although it is not too detailed as we didnt do much (our idea of a vacation is doing very little :-) ).

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2010, 12:47:46 PM »
I will try to write up a trip report when i get a chance

Please Do! I would love to see it

Offline Mikeoracle

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 10:46:03 PM »
Cancun Trip report;
Since the report isnt too long I will also include some of the research I did in planning this trip.
We flew JFK-CUN on AA direct flight using the BA miles earned on the Chase Visa- 35K points each- plus a total of $118 for international airport fees for both tickets (same as if I would have booked on AA using AA points). Some might argue about the value of this redemption, since buying the tickets would have been alittle over $500 per ticket for me personally it is not too bad at about 1.5 cpm. Either way, since I dont travel that much my primary goal is more to travel free rather than maximize points which is only a close secondary for me , the BA points came in handy as I plan on using them for domestic travel mainly instead of AA points which are more valuable...
I made reservations online with "best day" for transfer from CUN- to hotel and back for $17/person which is much better than a taxi which will run at least $50 for one way to the hotel since they are all unionized or any of the shuttles which are around $65 RT so they are only worth it if there are more in the group. I did most of this research on the Tripadvisor Cancun forums and Flyertalk forums.
We stayed at the Hilton Resort on points- 40K points per night- I emailed the concierge a week in advance asking nicely for a confirmed upgrade based on my Diamond status (based on spending on the Surpass card) and am glad i did, since it is high season there was almost 100% occupancy and the concierge reserved the last Junior suite available for me which was really great. It had a nice living room and a huge balcony that was about 300 plus SQ ft with full ocean view and a whirlpool tub on the balcony!! Also as a Diamond member we got access to the "villas lounge" for breakfast (which we never went to although they probably had cereals and fruits...) and cocktail hour in  the evenings, which was good for Beer at least....
The property is huge and has alot of beautiful pools (including a swim up bar :-) ) and a nice size beach since it is so wide as opposed to some of the nearby hotels that are all lined up one next to another so the beach is only as wide as each property. There are also tennis courts and a Spa. As for the beach situation, it was pretty big but had big rocks right at the water edge which mad it dangerous to try getting into the water but that should be fixed shortly as it is being widely reported that Cancun is in middle of a huge "beach restoration project" since alot of the beaches along the coast have totally corroded and the water literally laps at some hotel staircases. They started on the north part of the hotel zone and are pumping sand that these huge "dredgers" are pulling up and pumping them onto the beaches and extendeding them outward about 100' plus feet. The new beaches are really impressive. when i left they were about 2 hotels north of the hilton and seem to be moving pretty fast. There are alot of threads on tripadvisor with daily updates on the project and status of where they are up to. the before and after pictures are unbelievable. I actually got to watch this huge pipe pumping sand out which was really cool.
All in all we didnt do much as our vacations are generally for relaxation purposes and we just chill, tan, read and drink ;-)

There are alot of water sports all over the place including snorkeling, scuba, para-sailing, jet skiing etc... also jeep excursions and ancient ruins... Also alot of nightlife around.

Not much kosher food available, just some items on the Walmart and Costco shelves so we brought along a george forman grill and our own food.

I am not sure if i missed anything, if anyone has any specific questions let me know.

I also wanted to give a shout out to Dan for another mostly free vacation (total out of pocket cos including airport parking transportation food etc... aprox $250) thanks mainly to this website- THANKS DAN!!

Offline Cheap dude

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2010, 10:59:36 PM »
Sounds like loads of fun!

Offline mordys

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2010, 12:42:53 AM »
Has anyone gone to the xplore park? http://www.xplor.travel/
it got a great review in the WSJ.

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2010, 06:41:21 AM »
Cancun Trip report;
Since the report isnt too long I will also include some of the research I did in planning this trip.
We flew JFK-CUN on AA direct flight using the BA miles earned on the Chase Visa- 35K points each- plus a total of $118 for international airport fees for both tickets (same as if I would have booked on AA using AA points). Some might argue about the value of this redemption, since buying the tickets would have been alittle over $500 per ticket for me personally it is not too bad at about 1.5 cpm. Either way, since I dont travel that much my primary goal is more to travel free rather than maximize points which is only a close secondary for me , the BA points came in handy as I plan on using them for domestic travel mainly instead of AA points which are more valuable...
I made reservations online with "best day" for transfer from CUN- to hotel and back for $17/person which is much better than a taxi which will run at least $50 for one way to the hotel since they are all unionized or any of the shuttles which are around $65 RT so they are only worth it if there are more in the group. I did most of this research on the Tripadvisor Cancun forums and Flyertalk forums.
We stayed at the Hilton Resort on points- 40K points per night- I emailed the concierge a week in advance asking nicely for a confirmed upgrade based on my Diamond status (based on spending on the Surpass card) and am glad i did, since it is high season there was almost 100% occupancy and the concierge reserved the last Junior suite available for me which was really great. It had a nice living room and a huge balcony that was about 300 plus SQ ft with full ocean view and a whirlpool tub on the balcony!! Also as a Diamond member we got access to the "villas lounge" for breakfast (which we never went to although they probably had cereals and fruits...) and cocktail hour in  the evenings, which was good for Beer at least....
The property is huge and has alot of beautiful pools (including a swim up bar :-) ) and a nice size beach since it is so wide as opposed to some of the nearby hotels that are all lined up one next to another so the beach is only as wide as each property. There are also tennis courts and a Spa. As for the beach situation, it was pretty big but had big rocks right at the water edge which mad it dangerous to try getting into the water but that should be fixed shortly as it is being widely reported that Cancun is in middle of a huge "beach restoration project" since alot of the beaches along the coast have totally corroded and the water literally laps at some hotel staircases. They started on the north part of the hotel zone and are pumping sand that these huge "dredgers" are pulling up and pumping them onto the beaches and extendeding them outward about 100' plus feet. The new beaches are really impressive. when i left they were about 2 hotels north of the hilton and seem to be moving pretty fast. There are alot of threads on tripadvisor with daily updates on the project and status of where they are up to. the before and after pictures are unbelievable. I actually got to watch this huge pipe pumping sand out which was really cool.
All in all we didnt do much as our vacations are generally for relaxation purposes and we just chill, tan, read and drink ;-)

There are alot of water sports all over the place including snorkeling, scuba, para-sailing, jet skiing etc... also jeep excursions and ancient ruins... Also alot of nightlife around.

Not much kosher food available, just some items on the Walmart and Costco shelves so we brought along a george forman grill and our own food.

I am not sure if i missed anything, if anyone has any specific questions let me know.

I also wanted to give a shout out to Dan for another mostly free vacation (total out of pocket cos including airport parking transportation food etc... aprox $250) thanks mainly to this website- THANKS DAN!!

Well done! Did you happen to stop by the Chabad there?

Offline Mikeoracle

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 09:25:45 AM »
I emailed the Chabad Rabbi because i was thinking of coming for shabbos but it didnt work out in the end. It sounds like Chabad is not yet fully established yet and there is no steady minyan there. The rabbi invited us for the Shabbos meals but he was based out of the Avalon hotel that shabbos and I couldnt find availability there or nearby since it was new years weekend. here is the link to the Chabad Cancun's website;

http://www.jewishcancun.com/

Offline Dan

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2010, 04:18:05 PM »
Thanks for writing up the trip report, sounds like it was great!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2010, 01:15:04 AM »
Great trip report. 
star alliance

Offline stevenk

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2010, 01:53:27 PM »
Im going to Cancun July 5 - 8 staying at Le Meridian. Any hotel advice? Hotel warming up food for us? any advice would be greatly appreciated

Offline BrooklynCPA

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2010, 02:24:05 PM »
Beautiful Hotel. I am not sure about hotel heating up food but try to get upgraded to a  Junior suite that has a kitchenette with a microwave. Enjoy.

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2010, 11:33:59 PM »
Stayed in Westin lagunamar on SPG Vacation promotion. Had a great time. Will post when I can. If anyone wants to discuss, post or PM.

Offline Club2000

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2010, 02:35:43 AM »
Has anyone been to Cancun Mexico? Looking for tips and advice on staying at the Hilton resort vs the Le Meridien (or other *wood properties). Also any info on what the beaches are like i.e. crowded or not, good quality etc...
Also any other tips...

I stayed few time in meridian its very nice

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2010, 02:43:10 AM »
with AA its only 25K miles and something like 70$ tax
very cheap rental car blueway 10$ a day plus aiport tax
 

AND YOU CAN ORDER YOU KOSHER FOOD AT http://www.experiencekosher.com/
I experienced it is extremely good and is worth every penny of you vacation

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2010, 02:44:10 AM »
the AA lounge in CUN dont let in passenger to USA no matter card or status you have