Topic Wiki

Trip Reports:
Mikeoracle, Dan, JayR, lunatic, mgoldhammer18, Markus, mtag17, sam28, stooges44 (mini), Mootkim, @Yehuda, @besttaylor


General information:
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To get a grasp of where you are, Cancun is located on the edge of Mexico that wraps around the Gulf of Mexico and separates it from the Caribbean Sea. As you can see here, Cancun is fairly close to Cuba and really not that far from Florida.


                    The greater Cancun area includes the Zona Hotelera (translation not needed) in the north, which is a strip of land separated from the mainland by a lagoon and packed with hotel after hotel in a similar fashion to Miami Beach. In this thread, when people refer to Cancun, they are usually referring to this area. A ferry ride away is the island of Isla Mujeres. Below Cancun on the map, you'll see the airport in red. The area south of Cancun is known as Riviera Maya which contains many resort areas including Playa del Carmen, and within Playa is Mayakoba. A ferry ride away is the island of Cozumel.


Cancun hotels and Kosher restaurants map.

Getting there:
From NYC, award tickets have about $30 in taxes/fees on the outbound and $50 on the return. You can fly nonstop with: (cheapest way to book)

AA - Book with BA
B6 - Book with B6
DL - Book with DL
F9
UA

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

Airport security / food restrictions covered in the Kosher Food section below. Wifi at Cancun Airport Business Center - Network: businesst3 Password: businesst3.


Getting around:
Some people rent cars, others seem strongly averse to car rental due to many reports of being pulled over for speeding. Those reports often conclude with being able to give the cop ~$20 to avoid the ticket.

If you plan on only staying in Zona Hotelera, you don't need to rent a car. You can stay at the top of the strip (Hyatt Ziva, IC, Aloft) and be within walking distance to Chabad and the restaurants, or you can stay further down the strip and take the convenient bus up and down for MEX12 (currently about $0.65USD); drivers happily make change, at least from small peso bills. Reports that they will also take a $1 bill but won't give change. Taxis outside the strip to Walmart or Costco shouldn't be too expensive either. To get to/from the airport, you can book a private shuttle (see below). If you plan on going outside the Zone to activities with a tour, you can usually pay extra for transportation, but if you plan on going out on your own schedule, you'll want to rent a car.

If you plan on staying in Playa del Carmen, you'll likely want to rent a car, although it's possible to avoid it by taking the express nonstop ADO Bus which runs every 30 minutes (216 Pesos) or an airport shuttle (see below) there and staying at the Grand Hyatt which is within walking distance of Chabad and the restaurants or at the Fairmont/Andaz and having Chabad deliver food to you. Same advice for activities above applies here - go with a tour and pay for transportation or go out on your own and just rent a car.

If you plan on staying in Mayakoba, you will likely need to drive back and forth to Playa del Carmen for food/davening and taxis can get pricey so you may want to consider renting a car for the 15 minute drive each way. Most restaurants deliver to the hotels in Mayakoba for a small fee if you are just interested in staying in.

There are several companies that offer private shuttles to/from the airport and your hotel that have positive DDF reviews. Best to book in advance so you can pay with a credit card. The airport arrivals area is known to be packed with pushy taxi drivers dressed very formally to trick you into using them, but stay strong and go past them to find your ride at the pickup spot. (Prices to Zona Hotelera):

Canada Transfers: $55 RT (if you choose to pay in CAD, currently you'll only pay about $50).
USA Transfers: $55 RT for 3 people; $65 RT for 7 people.
Happy Shuttle: $53 RT. No DDF reviews, but Google reviews are positive.

Car rentals can be relatively cheap, and many hotels have free parking, but liability insurance is mandatory (you should be able to use for CC for collision insurance), and they won't allow you to use your car insurance from back home, so that can jack up the price. Make sure to have your reservation quote with you as some reported that the rental agents tried raising the price in person. And remember, keep to the speed limit.


Where to stay:
Cancun
Westin Lagunamar - Cat. 6 Marriott. (low season/high season) for a studio room. Studios can be booked with points online but one-bedroom suites require PUTPAC. Seems you can get 1BR suite for 1.5K more SPG 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 (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 and dishwasher (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.
Hyatt Zilara - 25K Hyatt (all inclusive, adults only). Lots of rave reviews in the thread.
Hyatt Ziva - 25K Hyatt (all inclusive, family friendly, 1 tower is adults only). Beautiful resort hotel+spa, excellent service, great for adults and kids, right next to Red Heifer restaurant and Ember Grill and 5 minute walk to Chabad and Dag Dag restaurant, separate water playground by kids club zone, next to ferry to Isla Mujeres, has water sports and dolphins on premises.
Ritz Carlton - Cat. 6 Marriott.
JW Marriott - Cat. 6 Marriott. Great service, beautiful hotel, pool and beach.
Marriott - 30-40K Marriott (Cat 5).
Intercontinental Presidente - 25-30K IHG. Derived from shiframeir - Great location for Shabbos, close to Chabad, nice big lobby to chill in the afternoon, lots of first floor rooms (no steps needed), decent pools (one adults only, one family, felt a little cool might not be heated), really great service.
Aloft - Cat. 3 Marriott. shiframeir - pretty lousy though very cheap and close to Chabad and Dag Dag, pool on roof is small and not heated, rooms are 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, but a great location. Not a luxurious place to hangout, but if you're going to be out and about, it's good value.[/i] Cheapest option for 1 night.
Westin - 30-40K Marriott (Cat 5).. Mixed reviews, general opinion is not as nice as Lagunamar, but not a bad option. (Old will rumor to be torn down soon...)
Canopy by Hilton - 60-70K Hilton.

Playa del Carmen
Grand Hyatt - 25K Hyatt.
Hilton All Inclusive - 60-70K Hilton.
The Fives (Curio Collection) - 25-35K Hilton. Very nice rooftop pool with great views of the city and the ocean.
Hotel La Semilla - 30-40K Marriott (Cat 5).
Thompson Main House - 12K Hyatt. Right on the corner of 5th and easy walking distance to all Kosher restaurants and Chabad's. Full access to facilities at nearby Beach House too.
Thompson Beach House - 20K Hyatt. On the beach is the draw here. I would personally stay in Main house and just walk over here 5 minutes to use the beach.

Mayakoba
Fairmont - Covered in Dan's TR (top of wiki).
Andaz - 25K Hyatt.
Rosewood - Non-points hotel considered to be the most luxurious in the area.
Banyan Tree - Non-points hotel with all rooms being private villas with private pool. Many travel agents can get you an upgrade. "Chef Chaya" special hotel.

Cozumel
InterContinental Presidente - 40K IHG.
Westin - 30-40K Marriott (Cat 5).

Kosher Food/Restaurants:
WARNING: Lots of food gets confiscated at airport security. Meat, random cheeses (some make it through, some don't) and un-packaged foods are not allowed. Snacks are okay. You will be asked to push a button, if the light turns red, they will go through all your bags for food; if it turns green, you can officially go free, but there are enough reports of being pulled to the side anyway and searched for food - hypothesized due to "looking Jewish", but plenty who look Jewish have reported getting green and going free as well.

Cancun
Chabad Kosher Cancun - fleishig takeout food with a very timely delivery option run by the Rabbi Mendel Druk and family. They also offer Shabbos meals on premises for $25 a meal ($15 kids) or delivered to your hotel. There is supposedly a sit-down restaurant coming soon. Reports are that the food is really good and restaurant quality and comes with very timely delivery. Detailed review here. There is an additional menu for Yeshiva week here.
Falafel stand - located right outside Chabad and under their supervision. 
Kosher Luxus/Red Heifer - fleishig, Israeli-style restaurant under the supervision of Rav Yosef Maleh and the only real eat-in restaurant with delivery also available and a nice outdoor eating area overlooking the lagoon. People seem to either love or hate this place, very mixed reviews. You can eat Shabbos meals here or get delivery to your hotel with a hot plate. Some reviews and pics on GKRF, suggest getting apps/drinks/desserts over steaks and to always call before going to see whats available/what they ran out of. Be sure to confirm that the meat is from Mexico City and not a local supplier. (Source that this is an issue?) As of Aug 2018 they don't take AMEX - Closed as of December 2020.
Garden Beach - milchig, breakfast section of Red Heifer open 8am-2pm. - Closed as of December 2020.
Dag Dag - homey, milchig and fish restaurant, covered in Dan's TR, zow - fish and chips were very good, as was the pizza, but also has mixed reviews in taste, long wait times and randomly being closed. The owner is a little eccentric, but nice, and if you order in advance, it's not too bad. Was/Is (?) under supervision of Rabbi Mendel Druk of Chabad of Cancun.
Ember Grill - Meat restaurant down the block from Hyatt Ziva and across from Red Heifer. Very quick service and pretty good food.

There are several box stores / groceries with Kosher items:
Costco - cheese (large cream cheese box "Raskas Queso Crema" is Cholov Stam, Natural and Kosher is Cholov Yisroe), hummus, salmon spread, lox, PB and J, bread (Star K), milk (both shelf stable "La La" brand, as well as Kirkland brand - not sure which Hechscher) and mantequilla/butter (OU).
Sam's Club - breads ("New York Deli and Bagel") and other essentials.
Walmart - cereal, milk, eggs, avocados, drinks and many other things you need like pans and spatulas.
Chedraui Selecto - near Chabad, has frozen bagels, cereals, tuna, one Kosher meat product and many other products.
Minimart in Westin Lagunamar - bunch of imported Kosher items (La LA milk is under KA Kosher), but sometimes runs out. They have beer at about $1/bottle.
Erupea - has 1 or 2 Kosher wines.
Soriana - many Kosher items.
Random stores - many have OU snacks from America.

Playa
Chabad of Playa del Carmen - fleishig food delivery run by Rabbi Mendel Goldberg, a DDF member, that's really good, restaurant quality. Contact them for an updated menu with more choices than listed on website. They also host Shabbos meals for free, but ask for donations (they say it costs them $40/$20 adult/kid per meal).
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. They have a Hebrew website.
Hotel 770 - fleishig restaurant, grocery and hotel under Rabbi Chaim Brod's supervision. Calle 10 Norte Bis. - Closed as of December 2020.
Menfis - Israeli restaurant, review, under Rabbi Chaim Brod's supervision. Calle 14 Norte, Entre 5a y 10. - Closed as of December 2020.
Mas Pan - dairy restaurant serving pizza, sandwiches and paninis, under ??? supervision.
Yummy Kosher - Calle 6 Norte S/N entre 5ta Avenida y calle 10, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico - Is this place closed?
Moshe Cube - Israeli/Sfardi food - highly recommend, accepted credit card which is very convenient. Avenida Constituyentes lote 01, mz 079
Platinum Grill - Israeli food - better than most Israeli places I've tried in NYC, "Mercado de la 10", calle 6 y Av 15, Centro 77710. It's located as part of a small strip mall/shopping center.
The Green Village Eco Boutique Hotel - Calle 20 #145, between Avenida 10 and Avenida 15, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, 77720, Mexico.
Yala - Calle 10 Nte Mz 30, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico. - Closed as of December 2020.

Cozumel
Jerusalem - Nice fleshig place with good food and quick service, under Chabad of Cozumel - R. David Caplin and R. Shalom Peleg (yellow flag). Calle 10 North and Av. and General Rafeal, second floor.
Cafe Rimon - milchig restaurant also under Chabad of Cozumel (yellow flag). Calle 4 North and Av. and General Rafeal.
Chocolatte - milchig cafe under ???.
Falafel Sombrero - falafel place under Chabad of Cozumel (yellow flag).

Isla Mujeres
Cafe Maya - [Currently closed for renovations] milchig restaurant, under some Chabad (R Druk of Cancun vouches apparently), cash only, but bring pesos as it's much cheaper here than USD. Food is excellent and prices here are very reasonable, so long as you pay in pesos. Family of 5 can feast on paninis, pasta and pizza, with soft drinks/coffees, easily under $50USD. Pictures of store and food (scroll down). Directions: two blocks straight ahead (5 min walk) when you exit the ferry terminal (Calle Bravo?), then 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. Reviews on yelp, TripAdvisor.
Chabad downstairs - falafel and pizza
Chabad upstairs - meat restaurant

Hechsherim: (Beneath each logo is the site that recommends them.)
   
CRC                    CRC & KosherQuest
   
KosherQuest & Chabad of Cancun          KosherQuest

Chabad of Cancun             

KosherQuest & Chabad of Cancun

Via email to @Yehuda, Rabbi Eidlitz from KosherQuest recommended Rabbi Mendel Druk of Chabad of Cancun.

Shabbos and Minyanim:
Chabad - has Minyanim during busy seasons, but check with them to confirm (they are really great, give a nice donation!). They also offer meals, see Kosher section.
Kosher Luxus / Red Heifer - offers meals, see Kosher section, and may have Minyanim, check with them.
Westin Lagunamar - check with the Chabad Rabbi whether there has been a Minyan recently, but enough Jews have timeshares at Lagunamar and come for winter break that they seem to have a Minyan during 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).


Activities:
Ferry to Isla Mujeres - small island off the coast near Cancun, rent a golf cart to go around the island - can get carts by walking left or right for a few minutes after you exit the port and get a decent rate; shiframeir got 2 fast carts for afternoon for $70 total going left (right has mixed reviews on speed), get some Kosher food, visit Garaffon Reef Park, Turtle Farm, Playa Norte, Dolphin Discovery, Shark Beach.
Xplor - 5 activity course / theme park of swimming and kayaking in a cave, jeeping in the jungle, ziplining high in the air over trees, and ziplining on a hammock into water; highly recommend, night version is cheaper and offers ziplining through ring of fire. Can save money by booking online a couple of weeks in advance.
Xel Ha - theme park (for older kids and adults)
Xcaret - theme park, one reviewer spoke to people that went who said it was waste of time & very costly.
Boka del Puma - theme park, cheaper option to Xplor.
Selvatica - ziplining and biking, Alma's LDS tour includes this and Mayan ruins.
Emotions Jungle Night - another theme park.
Jungle Tour - motor boat tour through lagoon to an area where you snorkel, recommended.
Mayan Ruins - Chichen Itza - most famous, Tulum, Coba - only one you can still climb.
Cenotes - natural pools/caves to go swimming in; Ik Kil - near Chichen Itza, Sistema dos Ojos.
BOB - Breathing Observation Bubble, underwater scuba-like contraption, highly recommended.
Ferry to Cozumel - larger island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, with an Intercontinental and Kosher food.
La Isla Mall - has an aquarium, dolphin show and Haagen Dazs.
Mayakoba Lagoon - boat tour and biking, hotels in Mayakoba provide this.
Swim with Whale Sharks - June, July and August, one company with high review is Whale Shark Daddy.
Cancun Underwater Museum
Zoo Crococun
5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen - shopping street.
Wet and Wild
Scuba Diving - one company with a high review is Squalodivers.
Hummer Tours - fun way to see more of Mexico.
Isla Contoy - small island north of Isla Mujeres.
Secret Beach/Pool - found by Suave, location here.


Random:
Electricity - US plugs and voltage
« Last edited by yuds70 on April 29, 2021, 12:32:06 AM »

Author Topic: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread  (Read 519403 times)

Offline Joel

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3300 on: January 25, 2021, 05:25:59 PM »
Hechsher is not CY
Whatever he bought at chabad its the same hechsher as the one at Hyatt Ziva

Offline mochjas

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3301 on: January 25, 2021, 05:31:07 PM »
Whatever he bought at chabad its the same hechsher as the one at Hyatt Ziva
Again Hechsher has nothing to do with CY

Offline lybbtthl

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3302 on: January 25, 2021, 06:00:40 PM »
from my last visit there, chabad provided me a bottle of UHT milk that they did a CY run on (it had a code by the exp date)

I asked him if he'll still have for my upcoming visit, he said yeshiva week guests may deplete him

Offline lybbtthl

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3303 on: January 25, 2021, 07:16:58 PM »
any way to get discount Xplor tickets?
I found a small discount code for their website, but nothing special;

Offline shopcomputer

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3304 on: January 25, 2021, 09:40:48 PM »
The kosher milk at the Banyan Tree and Ziva are not Cholov Yisroel, according to the Chabad rabbi. Ember and Chabad sell Cholov Yisroel. Chabad cancun $4, Chabad Playa $3, Ember $6.

Offline ar

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3305 on: January 25, 2021, 10:30:57 PM »
Any reviews on Ember @ Banyan Tree?
Are they being there permanently or just for Yeshiva Week?

Offline MosheMonsey

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3306 on: January 25, 2021, 10:47:48 PM »
Food was decent. Meat wasn’t the best quality but acutely cooked very good

Offline flaggie

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3307 on: January 25, 2021, 11:19:02 PM »
Being that I got so much helpful info from DDF I figured I’ll report back on my trip.
 We took a red eye flight from LAX-CUN Thursday night, Landed at about 7am. Had to fill out the papers at customs because they wouldn’t accept the barcode from the online form. Had to fill out a for even for my baby. Being that we were the last ones from the flight to exit the airport we were sitting ducks for the dogs to smell our suitcases loaded with food. They confiscated our raw meats packaged cholent beans and barley but allowed a pack of pastrami, frozen milk , yougerts and frozen chicken soup (after we convinced them it was vegetable soup) After exiting the airport  we USA transfers waiting at the airport. I did not pre pay and the driver happily accepted $55 Cash for RT. Arrived at Hyatt Ziva at about 8am. The workers there treat you as if they are your servants. Although we booked the reservation on Hyatt points we had a confirmed upgrade to ocean front by e-mailing Marisol the room controller ( thanks to the info posted up thread)
   It helped to mention her name at check in because the agent magically found a ocean front room that had a no show the night before and was available at 8am.
 We got the corner room in the pyramid tower. Great view and ex large balcony ( no jacuzzi) Slept for about 2 hrs and off to the beach.  Hung out on hotel ground and later walked to ember to get some shabbos food. They were mostly sold out but had some grilled chicken and salad for us. Paid $70 for 2 portions of grilled chicken and 1 salad.
 Shabbos was very restful and Shabbos morning at Chabad was a nice experience (I would estimate over 100 men at the minyan)
 Sunday morning we were off to Isla Mujeres. The problem was that the ferry from Hyatt only leaves at 11:45am and we had a flight to catch at 645 so we took a cab to the next port 6min ride. The boat to Isla was about $20 one way per adult.
 After leaving the port we got a decent golf cart for $60 for 3 hrs.  May have gotten cheaper if shopped around, but we were on a tight schedule. Drove around the island a bit. The police stop you there for not having a mask on ( really strange that that’s all they care about) We had a car seat but the golf carts don’t exactly have seat belts. DW sat in back and held car seat in place. There are lots of speed bumps.  We went to Playa Norte beach. Was very empty at the restaurant spots and paid the guy $20 plus more for water to sit on his beachfront chairs with a umbrella. The light blue water is breathtaking. Went to Chabad of Isla Mujeres for lunch but the wait was to long so we got Ice for our by now warm coffees. They were super nice to us in Chabad.
The return boat ride had to be to Juárez port as that’s the only port that has return rides every hr and we couldn’t wait to 645 for the return boat to hotel zone.  Keep in mind Juárez is out of hotel zone and boat tickets are half the price. Made arrangements through WhatsApp to USA transfers to have a driver waiting at the Juárez port to take us back to Hyatt to get our luggage and straight to airport. They were happy to for an additional $50 (I had already paid for the Hyatt to airport portion).
 We arrived at airport extra early about 2 hrs prior to flight. But it’s a good thing we did as united had only 2 workers and the wait was long. We had issues with the baby’s ticket and they couldn’t seem to figure out the issue.  Eventually we got our boarding passes and had to fill out some COVID questionnaire.  We had our Immigration papers from the way in and had no issues boarding.

Offline rileywiles23

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3308 on: January 26, 2021, 12:04:56 AM »
Again Hechsher has nothing to do with CY
Correct. The hotel doesn't have C"Y milk but ember and Chabad did have.
Life is as good as you make it...

Offline iluv2travel

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3309 on: January 26, 2021, 10:32:57 AM »
Being that I got so much helpful info from DDF I figured I’ll report back on my trip.

Thanks for reporting!

Offline flyer1836

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3310 on: January 26, 2021, 03:35:14 PM »
xcaret, use mastercard, must buy online prior to visit
GET 25% OFF BY PAYING WITH YOUR MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD!
Pay with your Mastercard credit card using the code MCXC25 and get 25% off to the best adventure parks in Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Promotion is valid exclusively for purchases made with Mastercard and using the code MCXC25. Only applies when purchasing individual admissions and tours at the official Grupo Xcaret websites, the official promotional Mastercard - Grupo Xcaret landing page, by phone to the Grupo Xcaret Contact Center, and the official kiosks of Grupo Xcaret. Promotion valid without pre-purchase.

Offline lybbtthl

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3311 on: January 26, 2021, 03:41:09 PM »
xcaret, use mastercard, must buy online prior to visit
GET 25% OFF BY PAYING WITH YOUR MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD!
That code is expired, best I found is LOVE2021 and it only takes a few $ off

Offline flyer1836

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3312 on: January 26, 2021, 03:45:07 PM »
flaggie...thanks for the report...
where does the 11:30am ferry leave from? is their a pier at the hyatt?
and you said 6 minutes away is another ferry, is that 6 minutes walk or taxi?
i have been to the puerto jaurez ferry terminal, and its about 25-35 minutes from hyatt ziva, smart move to do usa transfers..
we spent 10 minutes walking away from the port to get a taxi at a decent price.

Offline flaggie

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3313 on: January 26, 2021, 03:56:50 PM »
https://www.ultramarferry.com/en/routes-and-departures

We took the ferry from playa tortugas which is about a 6 min drive from Hyatt Ziva. There is no port in the actual Hyatt but there is one about a 5 min walk away. However that location has very few trips per day.  The link above shows all the times and locations.

Offline Banillareloads

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3314 on: January 26, 2021, 05:19:19 PM »
As a different poster said above, I gained so much knowledge and information from the forums that it would be selfish not to participate and reciprocate. I won't write a full tr as I don't think many people will find it that interesting. Instead, I will outline some data points and anecdotes that I think will be helpful to some.

Booked flights and BT serenity villa thru csr and got promotional 20% off food and amenities in hotel.

I traveled with a 5 month old as a lap infant and the doona was a lifesaver (used in car, plane, and boat). Every child is different, but dd was very unhappy during taxiing, take off and landing on both flights and let it be known far and wide. Thankfully, she fell asleep as soon as we were airborne or was awake and mostly content the rest of the time.

Ex-jfk I flew delta and they made no issues with the doona, and overall were very friendly and relaxed about things. Nobody issued me a tag or anything, wheeled it straight onto the plane. It looked like it would not fit through the aisles but with a bit of willpower it did ;). Delta blocks middle seats so was able to sit together comfortably with dw and baby in doona. Besides the point, flights are at least 50% empty dtc so seat space should not be an issue regardless.

Ex-cun I flew B6, they were a bit more rigid and gate agent put a tag on the doona, which I tore off as soon as the coast was clear. On this plane (a321), the doona did not fit through the aisle and I needed to fold the wheels and carry it all the way to my seat (just be careful not to hit any seated passengers otw). I found b6 to have a drop more legroom than delta (basic economy in both). Again lots of empty seats, even though b6 doesn't block seats dtc.

Immigration forms galore, phew. As mentioned, filling out online without printing is a waste of time. Stewardess handed out forms on inbound cun flight (text is tiny so put on your reading glasses). Needed to fill out one for all three of us, this was collected by mex customs and bottom half is tore off and returned to you for when you leave Mexico, hold onto these they will be collected upon departure. They also gave us another form which folds into sort of a booklet (I think it was about covid). Nobody asked for this at any point. Also when leaving Mexico, they give you a covid form (again tiny paper and letters) to fill out for each passenger with countries visited etc (I think you can do this online too). Customs asked to see it but gave it right back to me...

Baby bottles with plain water, and even regular water bottles were not confiscated. Container of formula was also not an issue. When arriving in cun, at baggage claim, there was an officer walking around with a dog between passengers. At first pass it ignored me. Since I was standing there waiting for my bags, she kept walking around and stopped at my carry on, she asked me to open it and if I had dairy, meat etc and I said no, she poked around for a bit and moved on (guess I forgot about those yogurt bars in there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Walked through nothing to declare quickly and no issues. Saw some people moving slower and looking confused and got stopped.
Upon return to NYC in JFK, right after baggage claim before exiting the terminal to the taxi stand it looked like a zoo. Indeed I'm talking about the contact tracing covid form zoo, compliments of the state of NY. National guard in uniform blocking the exit, handing out forms, no pens or any normal surface to write on. From reports of others, if they can decipher your information, they will call and harass you. Bh haven't heard from them yet and don't expect to.

For transportation in CUN I originally booked canada transfers. However, once I got on the various banyan tree whatsapp groups, Avraham  (mentioned in this thread by many people) reached out to me and coaxed me into canceling and using him to support another jew etc. I obliged when he went down in price significantly from his initial high asking price and even lower than canada transfers. He told me to look for his logo when I got out of the airport and driver would be waiting for me. Did not go smoothly, could not find driver, could not reach Avraham by phone only by whatsapp msgs where he kept insisting to look for logo. Language barrier was also a big issue with him throughout. After running around for about 15 minutes and being harassed by all the various taxi drivers I found someone with my name on his sign. No logo. When departing the banyan I made sure to message avraham the night before to confirm and was not really understanding his replies... Thankfully, his driver showed up on time. Weird side story, on my chase travel booking it said my return flight leaves from terminal 3 but it actually was from terminal 4 as my driver insisted. We pretty much stayed put in the hotel, and only ventured out to playa on one occasion to stroll down fifth avenue and a restaurant (see below for more on that). For that, we called the front desk to order a taxi for us which cost $21 USD one way with a verified company that works with the hotel. For the way back to the hotel the owner of Platinum grill called us a taxi that he personally knows and works with which was 20$ in a slightly more beat up taxi.

Foodwise, as pointed out many times in this thread there are no "restaurant tier" dining options in playa, so taper your (NYC or Miami) expectations when traveling here. I ordered dinner for our first night from chabad of playa about two weeks in advance which was a good thing because they shut off orders for my dates as it got closer and booked up. Food was at my villa within minutes of checking in. I dont know if we were hungry from our  journey but we devoured our portions ( sesame chicken and schnitzel platters), it was very good and "heimish". The babka is insanely good, have never tasted anything like it. Hotel can serve it to you in other eating areas if you desire for $25 pp. All restaurants were also delivering to the hotel (moshe cube, platunum, mas pan).
Second night we took a taxi to fifth avenue in playa which was quite interesting and reminiscent of a shuk. It gives you a taste of the poverty and third world country you are actually which was a huge contrast to the luxury of the BT. The vendors were pushy but not harassing and I was offered all matter of narcotics every 5 feet. From there we walked to platinum grill for dinner. Made reservations via whatsapp and there were still tables available (all outdoor) probably because it was still relatively early. Nice Isreali couple own/run the place. Owner recommended beef arais which are mini pitas with shredded beef etc. We also took a burger. Both were very tasty and fresh. Got a bit of a rundown of the politics between the 2 chabads from the owner, who is under the supervision of the yellow flag chabad (r' brod). It all comes down to a machlokes l$hem $hamayim of course.
Third night we ate at the new ember @ banyan. Let me choose my words carefully here as they were only open for the third day when we ate there. It is a great convenience to have a kosher restaurant in a hotel such as the banyan without having to travel somewhere else so I don't want to disparage. In the spirit of constructive criticism I will say that we got one wrong dish (guacamole nachos which were good, instead of pulled beef tacos), burger was a bit dry and rubbery, rib steak was cut into many small pieces and definitely overcooked. Oh well, at least we got the 20% off from chase since they go through the hotel.
For breakfast we ate at the kosher breakfast in the hotel which is housed in one of the other (non kosher) hotel restaurants from 8-11. You can bring your own pots and pans although hotel supposedly has their own separate kosher set. There's kosher oil/spray. You can check the eggs, turn on the fire. In general, the hotel  is extremely accommodating and knowledgeable about kosher and their Jewish patrons' needs. There is also a coffee urn with disposable hot cups, cereals, fresh pressed orange and grapefruit juices, plates with cut up fruit or avocado. It cost us on average $50usd /day for two people.

As far as the Banyan Tree, we could not be happier. Front desk and all staff were very friendly, responsive,  and very accommodating, they really treat you like royalty. No mention of mask requirements except right at check in and at the kosher breakfast area until you are seated. The property and villas are beautiful and peaceful. The beach club was recently redone and is beautiful. The beach was kind of crowded especially with our brothers and sisters  ;). First row seats were kind of hard to come by. On my second day there I discovered there is an adjacent beach (on the left) that I believe is part of the BT which is much quieter but not as fancy and updated as the Sands beach club. Also they are nearing completion of construction for their new beachfront villas (look amazing online, should be ready any month now according to staff) so there was a lot of noise from the machinery which luckily was often drowned out by the strong winds  ;D. There was a guy who drove up onto the beach with a jetski and banana boat for rent (weather/wind permitting). Wanted $90 for half hour, you can bargain him down especially if paying in cash, was a lot of fun. Getting a buggy ride (golf cart) from the beach can take some time and there is no bench to sit on while waiting (first world problems, I know), you can use your bicycle. We also took the free eco tour in the lagoon, which must be booked in advance so call a day or two in advance. If there is no availability, you can try to stand where the boat leaves and see if people don't show up, which is very often the case since its free and nobody bothers to cancel if they can't make it, for example we had the boat to ourselves. It is a relaxing and informative 45 minute tour of the Mayakoba lagoon, so relaxing and serene that you may or may not fall asleep...

Thanks to Dan and all DDF'ers for contributing to our most enjoyable trip