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Trip Reports: Mikeoracle, Dan, JayR, lunatic, mgoldhammer18, Markus, mtag17

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 mtag17 on December 08, 2017, 11:48:05 AM »

Author Topic: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread  (Read 185611 times)

Offline Yossi.

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Re: Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #60 on: January 21, 2013, 05:27:44 PM »
They don't give you problems with bringing meat?
They do! Anything that is cooked apparently. There are about 3 checks that they do at cancun's airport and one of them with an xray machine for the suitcases. We were pulled on the side for that one. Unfortunately my son has food allergy, so that helped us (my wife always has the Doctor's note on her iphone and they let us go. Thankfully they didnt really do the math that my son is 18 months old and we had about 15 frozen boxes of chicken, meat, fish, etc.

Offline elikay

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2013, 03:05:05 PM »
What did you do about a cellphone?

Offline Yossi.

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2013, 03:14:44 PM »
What did you do about a cellphone?
I have GV so before i leave the US i forward my cell phone # to GV to receive calls. For outgoing calls, GV, skype, SIP... At the RIU they have very good free wifi all over

Offline Ai1234

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #63 on: February 01, 2013, 02:47:16 PM »
Did anyone ever try this? Thekosherpalace.com  ...is this kosher year round? I tried to call the number on the site for info but no one is answering (not sure of their hours so will be trying again next week)

Offline daganster

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2013, 12:31:25 AM »
Has anyone anyone been to Playa Del Carmen? I'm travelling there in March for 5 days if anyone has any good  ideas for a nice hotel that's reasonably priced I'd appreciate it. 

Offline lcyitz

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2013, 12:40:25 AM »
Has anyone anyone been to Playa Del Carmen? I'm travelling there in March for 5 days if anyone has any good  ideas for a nice hotel that's reasonably priced I'd appreciate it.
Yes great choice! No idea where to stay ".

Offline daganster

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2013, 12:42:35 AM »
Yes great choice! No idea where to stay ".
Is this a question, response or a  remark? I'm not sure what your saying!

Offline chff

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2013, 01:46:57 PM »
Any info on the Hyatt?

Offline kingsfan33

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #68 on: May 21, 2013, 02:09:47 PM »
can anyone recommend a tour company for the various things to do in cancun?
specifically, there are a number of tour company's offering to Coba
http://www.alltournative.com/tours-expeditions/jungle_maya_expedition.asp

also on my list:
Xplor park
Selvatica
http://www.alltournative.com/tours-expeditions/jungle_maya_expedition.asp

i know there are motorcycle rental places, anyone with any good/bad experience with any of these.

also, what about transportation to/from the airport?

thanks!

Offline Ephcc90

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #69 on: June 19, 2013, 05:40:53 PM »
hey im booked at the westin for 5 nights(thank you starwood amex!). Any ideas how to get upgraded there without any status? It is my honeymoon:)

Offline MEIR613

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #70 on: June 19, 2013, 07:14:28 PM »
hey im booked at the westin for 5 nights(thank you starwood amex!). Any ideas how to get upgraded there without any status? It is my honeymoon:)
Call SPG and ask if they could upgrade you to Gold. (I know it sounds weird, but just do it)

Offline Ephcc90

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #71 on: June 19, 2013, 07:49:43 PM »
Call SPG and ask if they could upgrade you to Gold. (I know it sounds weird, but just do it)

really? Any advice what I should say?

Offline Ephcc90

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #72 on: June 19, 2013, 08:52:40 PM »
Call SPG and ask if they could upgrade you to Gold. (I know it sounds weird, but just do it)
 
Thank you so much!!! it actually worked! I first called the regular number and the guy was like "sorry i dont have the authority to do that" so i called the gold number and the lady did it after 2 seconds "we could do that this one time"!!!

Offline MEIR613

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2013, 12:04:34 AM »

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #74 on: June 26, 2013, 04:25:22 PM »
Anyone have any experience with the (current) SPG properties in Cancun? All three of them seem to be located in the same area, just down the road from Chabad. Any recommendations?