Author Topic: Trip To Playa Del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico - Breakdown  (Read 3867 times)

Offline ShmulieCFS

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Trip To Playa Del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico - Breakdown
« on: May 07, 2023, 09:32:40 PM »
In my searches on DansDeals, I didn't see much recently posted on trips to Mexico, thought someone may find this useful for planning their own trip. 

This is a summary of my trip that I took last week to Playa Del Carmen (known as Playa) which is about an hour away from Cancun. While I did not spend a lot of time in Cancun, my understanding that in Cancun people spend more time in the resorts, in Playa it is safer to walk around, however stay in the tourist area where the concern is more of being ripped off then crime. There is Tulum which is an hour past Playa, 2 hours from Cancun which is supposed to be growing now and is a lot calmer, we did not make it out there on this trip. In my research there are a lot of activities and exploring to be done in Tulum and on the way, i did not have time to go.

We booked the flight from JFK to CUN on Monday Morning, May 1, 7:04 AM with a return on Thursday Morning, May 4 2023 at 11:17. We booked American Airline flight via British Airways for 88k for round trip in first class. When landing in Cancun Airport, there are endless people trying to get you to use their services. I would recommend having your transportation sorted out already. There are reports of people from the USA renting cars getting pulled over by police for extortion. I decided to take taxi's only. There are official taxi's in Playa with uniforms and formal cars which all take US dollar and pesos with scheduled flat fares. Always ask for the price before getting into the car. I would not recommend using someone that isn't official. We did not have pesos at any point of the trip, we paid everywhere in USD. Others said you can get cheaper prices if paying in Pesos, they are probably correct but didn't want to bother.

Note: Bring the cash with you when coming to Mexico. While there are ATM's (I wouldn't advise using the ones in the street, use the ones in the resort), they charge steep fees. For $300 they charge $43 in fees. Bring the cash beforehand. 

We stayed in the Grand Hyatt in Playa. There are plenty of endless resorts with each having its own unique attraction, for us it was kosher food on site. In addition to the many restaurants there are locally, this hotel has a kosher steakhouse on site and a full day kosher room and poolside service.

Before leaving NY we reached out to a driver, referred to us by Cancun Chabad Shliach. His Name is Ray, Driver from Cancun +52 998 340 1927 which picked us up from the airport and took us to Playa for $60 USD. While he didn't come himself he sent a great driver that gave us a tour and info on the area.

The Hyatt hotel to us was incredible with all the things one would expect to find at a resort. When coming up to the hotel there is a clear view of the ocean, was great. When checking in to the hotel they gave the option to upgrade to a swim up pool room which we did however in the future I wouldn't, didn't make as much use of it. However it was a nice touch.



























First day was resort day. Spent the day by the pool, ordered room service, beach and checked out the hotel. Note there is an additional lap pool in the spa on the lower level. That evening we went to the The Grill located on site, this is a steak house. Food was crazy good, comparable to Reserve Cut. Ambience, food, service, everything was top notch.















We took a walk down the main road on Avenue 5, a pedestrian only street, which is comparable to Lincoln Road in South Beach with endless shops, restaurants and bars. Each shop have staff trying to convince you to go in. They use all sort of tactics, one guy told me he saw me in Tel Aviv a couple weeks back, how can i not remember?!?  ;D

On the second day, on Tuesday, we took the Ferry to Cozumel. This is an island about 45 minute Ferry away. There are 2 ferry companies, Winjet and Ultramar. They left hourly in intervals, Winjet left at the hour that we wanted so we booked round trip from them. We were able to walk from the Grand Hyatt to the Ferry, was about a 20 minute walk across many shops including multiple Starbucks.  Cost for the round trip was $32 USD per person. There in indoor air conditioned leather seats or outdoor metal seats. Our boat had 3 levels. On the way there is was half empty and uneventful. On the way back it took about 20 minutes to get off the boat since it was packed, a fist fight broke out on the top floor causing someone to punch and knock someone down a flight of stairs causing many people to fall down. Police were called and arrests made. Thankfully we were on another part of the boat. I guess this sums up the trip overall, we felt safe at all times staying the the tourist area but kept alert as there are some shadier people around.

Once we arrived at Cozumel and deboard, we walked to Chocolatte Espresso Bar-kosher (same brand as found in Crown Heights), run by the Chabad Shliach. Food was fantastic and met the Shliach and introduced us to a local driver that used to work for him. The walk to Chocolatte Espresso from the Ferry is about 4 minute walk.











The Shliach runs 3 restaurants. He also runs a Shawarma shop a couple doors down from Chocolatte Espresso, we went there for lunch and it was great. He also runs a steakhouse out of the Chabad house but we didn't get a chance to go. The shul is right upstairs (from Chocolatte Espresso, its a right down the alley, a right and then another right till you go upstairs and see the double doors saying 770). Shul is renovated, to the left there is the restaurant, the center is a hang out area with a pool table and couches with the right being the shul and bais medresh. It was a pleasant surprise to see people learning during the day in shul. 

We head off to a glass bottom snorkel which had 2 times, we were trying to make the 12:30 schedule. We arrived in time without tickets, the guy there told us it was $60 a person, i showed him how on Trip Advisor it says $30 and i would book it there, he took the $30 cash and hopped on the boat. Was a great experience and great weather.













After this we head back to the Ferry area to book a car however at this time they had closed up shop. We walked back to Chocolatte Espresso, at the corner there are many car rentals, we picked up a Buggy (smaller car with no doors and open roof) from one of those places. Originally he said it would be $85 USD, i told him i only had $40 planned to spend and settled on $50. I videoed the car since there was a few dents and to ensure the gas gauge would be tracked, didn't want to be taken for a ride later on. They showed us in the rental company where to go and where to stay away (can't g on the dirt roads). Essentially the roads outside of downtown is a circle with many things to do and see around the circle which is mostly along the ocean with many beach spots and natural pools (worth taking a stop after the coconut trees, will be obvious to see) to see the rock formation making calm pool water areas in the ocean.

We returned the car toward the end of the day, with only 30 minutes to 7 PM ferry, we went to Fuego By Riviera Kosher, right across the street from the Ferry to pick up some food. We got some drinks there. The place is beautiful, with a walk out deck looking over the water, everything was amazing, we got some drinks from there, waited till 5 minutes before our ferry and walked right across the street to make it back to Playa. There are more Kosher places in Cozumel but we didn't visit them so I can't comment on them.









Walked down Avenue 5 for some gifts for the kids, got to see some street performers







The next day we went to Bake & Roll By Mas Pan for breakfast. Prices is cheap and good. Owner was on site, was a good host. Note that they only take cash. There are many options in Playa, we did not get to all of them. We found a driver that we liked, he hangs out by the Chabad house, has Hebrew wiring on his car to get the Israelis crowd, i would message him when i needed a driver and he would show up. He goes by Taxi Cuate at +52 984 151 6585











We wrapped up breakfast and headed to Xcaret Park. It was very costly, $121 USD per person but this was well worth it. Taxi costs $20 to get there, about 30 minutes away from downtown Playa. Only regret is I didn't get there earlier and come with swim wear. This park is endless with rides, lazy rivers, aquariums, bird sanctuary, many shows and things to see. Everything is larger then life there. We barley made a dent in this park, I will be coming back to finish this up.



































We left towards the evening to get dinner, the owner from Bake & Roll By Mas Pan (next door to one Chabad house) also owns a Fleishig restaurant located in the other Playa Chabad house. When going into the Chabad of Playa compound, its inside called Let's Meat. We got Fajitas (1 salmon and 1 chicken/meat mixed), and a Laffa Shawarma. We took it to go and went back to Xcaret Park for the evening show. We missed the first hour but got the last 2 hours, ate during the show. Well worth seeing to see the culture of Mexico, filled with singers, dancers, hundreds of performers, horse riding, birds, they had it all.     





















Next day we took the original driver back to CUN for our flight back. We ordered from room service the Continental Breakfast and the Caribbean Breakfast. This was a mistake to order both. The amount of one is enough for 2 people. Comes with endless food, we threw most of it out. We left the hotel 3 hours before the flight, one hour for the travel from Playa to Cancun and time to get through the airport. Turns out we didn't need so much time, things went real fast at the airport but I did hear that at times things can be backed up.   

Overall, we were very happy with this trip. I would not go back with kids unless there was a program of some sort, but it does make a great couple getaway. Will be going back.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2023, 12:05:44 AM by ShmulieCFS »

Offline itreu001

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Re: Trip To Playa Del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico - Breakdown
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2023, 02:23:44 PM »
What were the prices for food at the hotel?

Offline ShmulieCFS

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Re: Trip To Playa Del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico - Breakdown
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2023, 09:48:27 PM »
https://www.thegrillplaya.com/menus-1

Here are the menu's. only the pool one has pricing (priced in pesos) but you will get the idea of general cost. Comparable to NYC steakhouse pricing, it is a beautiful place with incredible food however found better value in other locations. 

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: Trip To Playa Del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico - Breakdown
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2023, 12:30:27 AM »
https://www.thegrillplaya.com/menus-1

Here are the menu's. only the pool one has pricing (priced in pesos) but you will get the idea of general cost. Comparable to NYC steakhouse pricing, it is a beautiful place with incredible food however found better value in other locations. 


Ate there today.  Very Mixed feelings

A few of the dishes we wanted were out (bbq ribs and others)
Tacos were 10/10
Chocolate soufflé 10/10
Hamburger 7/10 (wasn’t bad but was missing flavor - would be a 9 if it had a good tasty sauce)
Some Chicken was decent 8/10
Grilled vegetables 2/10 they pour mayonnaise All over them

Ordered three cocktails which were good

But they didn’t offer water and only towards end we got them to give us
Overall beautiful place with a bit of attention has potential to be solid good