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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 170771 times)

Offline kingsfan33

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #75 on: June 26, 2013, 04:38:53 PM »
just stayed at westin lagunamar. was amazing.

Offline schneury

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #76 on: June 26, 2013, 04:48:28 PM »
Just stayed at the westin lagunamar nice hotel but the wifi wasn't really working they said they know there is a problem... after a few days and telling a manager that I want a refund within 30 min I got a access point, otherwise nice place  but very humid in the summer and the chabad shliach is not there now

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #77 on: June 27, 2013, 03:43:18 AM »
Just stayed at the westin lagunamar nice hotel but the wifi wasn't really working they said they know there is a problem... after a few days and telling a manager that I want a refund within 30 min I got a access point, otherwise nice place  but very humid in the summer and the chabad shliach is not there now

Bummer. When is he supposed to be back? (I'm thinking of going the week after Tisha B'av.)

Also, I'm not familiar with how these things work... if he's not there now, are they shut down completely? Or does someone replace him in the meantime?

Offline schneury

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #78 on: June 27, 2013, 07:45:59 AM »
Bummer. When is he supposed to be back? (I'm thinking of going the week after Tisha B'av.)

Also, I'm not familiar with how these things work... if he's not there now, are they shut down completely? Or does someone replace him in the meantime?
Not sure you could check is website Jewishcancun.com

Offline Dan

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #79 on: June 27, 2013, 01:03:14 PM »
The Shliach an hour south in Riviera Maya/Mayakoba should be around and he is a DD fan.
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.

Offline chucksterace

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #80 on: June 27, 2013, 01:05:36 PM »
The Shliach an hour south in Riviera Maya/Mayakoba should be around and he is a DD fan.

Are you saying that there is someone who wouldnt be a DD fan? I would like to meet him and knock some sense into him.
You may not hold me responsible or liable for any actions taken that was recommended from my account or username.

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #81 on: June 27, 2013, 02:03:40 PM »
The Shliach an hour south in Riviera Maya/Mayakoba should be around and he is a DD fan.

I hear ya... but if this Chabad house is, indeed, four minutes from the Westin, it would be infinitely more convenient than traveling an hour each way every time I need something. :P

Is he here on DDF?

Offline Dan

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #82 on: June 27, 2013, 02:22:13 PM »
Fairmont Riviera Maya has good reviews and starts at $171 and double miles via this link:
https://www.fairmont.com/reservations/check-availability/?hc=MYK&pc=POWX

Sale details:
https://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/special-offers/hotel-offers/promotions/everyones-an-original-summer-offer/

Might be better off selling the SPG rather than burning.
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.

Offline Ephcc90

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #83 on: June 27, 2013, 02:39:45 PM »
Anybody know anything about the other westin? It's a catagory 3. Is it worth it to stay in the lagunamar or is the other one fine?

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #84 on: June 27, 2013, 06:13:27 PM »
Fairmont Riviera Maya has good reviews and starts at $171 and double miles via this link:
https://www.fairmont.com/reservations/check-availability/?hc=MYK&pc=POWX

Sale details:
https://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/special-offers/hotel-offers/promotions/everyones-an-original-summer-offer/

Might be better off selling the SPG rather than burning.

Westin Lagunamar is $209 for my dates. I just hit SPG Plat, 75 Nights Edition (:D), so that's 6 SPG per dollar on my SPG Amex. At roughly 2 cpp, that's a rebate of around $25 per night (so effectively $184 per night). Plus as an SPG Plat (at Fairmont I've got nothing) I get fun bennies like free WiFi and brekkie. Additionally, I hope to get upgraded, either for free or by using my some of my 10 suite upgrade certs that I got for hitting 50 nights (assuming they're any good at that property). Finally, with Your24™, I can check out at the same time of day I check in, even if it's 10 PM.

Any questions? ;D

Offline listen2learn

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #85 on: July 02, 2013, 04:00:09 PM »
Westin Lagunamar is $209 for my dates. I just hit SPG Plat, 75 Nights Edition (:D), so that's 6 SPG per dollar on my SPG Amex. At roughly 2 cpp, that's a rebate of around $25 per night (so effectively $184 per night). Plus as an SPG Plat (at Fairmont I've got nothing) I get fun bennies like free WiFi and brekkie. Additionally, I hope to get upgraded, either for free or by using my some of my 10 suite upgrade certs that I got for hitting 50 nights (assuming they're any good at that property). Finally, with Your24, I can check out at the same time of day I check in, even if it's 10 PM.

Any questions? ;D

WOW! Yeh I got a question, "How do you do it?"

Offline listen2learn

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #86 on: July 02, 2013, 04:03:48 PM »
Fairmont Riviera Maya has good reviews and starts at $171 and double miles via this link:
https://www.fairmont.com/reservations/check-availability/?hc=MYK&pc=POWX

Sale details:
https://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/special-offers/hotel-offers/promotions/everyones-an-original-summer-offer/

Might be better off selling the SPG rather than burning.

Nice! I am looking to send a good friend to a vacation, flights, hotel and rental covered, for two days.

I was going to fly him with Southwest/Airtran.
I still don't know how to do the hotel.
I am going to use Amex bluesky points to cover the rental.

How would I sell my SPg points, or whats the best way to get a hotel with any credit card?





Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #87 on: July 14, 2013, 09:31:41 PM »
Anybody have any information on the difference between the two Westins in Cancun?

Also, what's the best option for getting for the airport to either Westin?

Offline Ephcc90

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #88 on: July 14, 2013, 09:41:01 PM »
Anybody have any information on the difference between the two Westins in Cancun?

Also, what's the best option for getting for the airport to either Westin?
I'm actually staying by the westin and spa next week and I arranged with the hotel a van service for 35 bucks

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #89 on: July 16, 2013, 08:55:16 PM »
I'm actually staying by the westin and spa next week and I arranged with the hotel a van service for 35 bucks

The Westin Resort and Spa? Not the Lagunamar? From when to when are you going?