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


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 Ember Grill and 5 minute walk to Chabad Vicoís Grill Kosher and Dag Dag restaurant, close to Kosher Italian Gourmet. separate water playground by kids club zone, next to ferry to Isla Mujeres, has water sports and dolphins on premises.
Very accommodating to Jews, all inclusive means it's all free: Coffee shop on premises with kosher milk delicious latte and more. Plates of cut up fresh fruit whenever you're in the mood. Fruit smoothies, and of course all kinds of alcoholic beverages. They'll bake you fresh salmon vegetables in silver foil in front of you.
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. Always call before arriving making sure they're open.
Ember Grill - Meat restaurant down the block from Hyatt Ziva and across from Red Heifer. Very quick service and pretty good food.
Vicoís Grill Kosher Cancķn - Meat restaurant 8 minute walk from Chabad and Hyatt Ziva. Great service and amazing delicious food. Phone/WhatsApp +52 55 1566 4127
Kosher Italian Gourmet - Milchig takeout restaurant 12 minute walk from Chabad and Hyatt Ziva. Small area (4 tables) with Outdoor seating. Great service and amazing delicious food. Phone/WhatsApp +52 55 1566 4127. *Had a horrible experience with them over winter break. Was originally told an hour to an hour 30 min for delivery. Ordered lunch at 11:40am. I was told numerous times via whatsapp that the food was 2 min away. It wasn't. Was promised it's really coming this time. It wasn't. Waited almost 3 hours when the owner "delivered" the food at 2:30pm. He asked me how much they were supposed to charge. I said you tell me. He fiddled around for a few minutes to figure out the amount and I said let me just take the food to my family since they're starving while you figure out the amount and I'll call you with my CC number. He said no, then took the food out of my hands, threw it on the floor like a crazy animal, told me that he knows my name and room number and to remember that I'm in Mexico. I'm sure the pressure of all of the winter break orders got to him, but, behaving like a maniac by throwing food on the floor and threatening me isn't going to win anyone over. Beware.* ---Closed for renovation. No expected opening date available

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 (1 for $35) 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 cgr on January 29, 2024, 09:19:49 PM »

Author Topic: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread  (Read 1145245 times)

Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3960 on: January 23, 2023, 05:09:46 PM »
regarding the ferry schedule from playa to cozumel there are two companies and they rotate every hour and different days of the week. theres winjet and ultramar. ultramar is more luxurious. i recommend not buying roundtrip tickets since you might end up taking the other company ferry back and the tickets are non refundable (lesson learnt)
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline yuguy

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3961 on: January 23, 2023, 09:23:34 PM »
Anyone know what the story is with regular milk? CY not required.

Offline Travellover1

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3962 on: January 23, 2023, 09:36:21 PM »
https://www.getyourguide.com/cozumel-l309/cozumel-vip-glass-bottom-boat-snorkelling-3-reefs-tour-t255797/
we did this was really incredible but was our first snorkeling experience so not much to compare it to. it was a cab ride away from the ferry terminal. the boat was all ours and the operator was amazing. they also have an onboard photographer to take underwater pictures. the reefs they go to are very close to shore but i understand most cozumel snorkeling is so
regarding the ferry schedule from playa to cozumel there are two companies and they rotate every hour and different days of the week. theres winjet and ultramar. ultramar is more luxurious. i recommend not buying roundtrip tickets since you might end up taking the other company ferry back and the tickets are non refundable (lesson learnt)
Thanks for the info!

Offline CRC

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3963 on: January 23, 2023, 11:38:00 PM »
Staying at Banyan Tree Mayakoba and heard there is a whatsapp group I can join for minyan times and other info.
Anyone able to send me the link?

Offline SBC

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3964 on: January 24, 2023, 07:39:32 PM »
Went to the grill, Moshe cube and two smokers. Staying in playa, any other meat recommendations?

Dw, Iíll send a recap

Offline AJK

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3965 on: January 24, 2023, 07:43:41 PM »
Platinum & let's meat
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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3966 on: January 25, 2023, 05:48:04 AM »
When flying to CUN with kids (18 months to 6 y/o)  do we need anything other than their passports? No birth certificates, correct?

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3967 on: January 25, 2023, 05:56:50 AM »
When flying to CUN with kids (18 months to 6 y/o)  do we need anything other than their passports? No birth certificates, correct?
correct

Offline vague

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3968 on: January 26, 2023, 10:49:14 AM »
Anybody have any info on departing from CUN back to the US regarding the FMMD? On arrival I went through the automated kiosk that scanned my passport and gave me a receipt. The receipt says I need to download the FMMD, but when I try to do that I canít register because the US (Estados Unidos, I checked) isnít an option for Nationality. Do I just assume I donít need to do anything, just go to the airport with the original receipt and Iíll be fine?

Offline Dan

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3969 on: January 26, 2023, 12:15:50 PM »
DPs on AGs at the GH Playa?
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 vague

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3970 on: January 26, 2023, 06:13:19 PM »
Anybody have any info on departing from CUN back to the US regarding the FMMD? On arrival I went through the automated kiosk that scanned my passport and gave me a receipt. The receipt says I need to download the FMMD, but when I try to do that I canít register because the US (Estados Unidos, I checked) isnít an option for Nationality. Do I just assume I donít need to do anything, just go to the airport with the original receipt and Iíll be fine?
I did eventually get the site working, figured out the right option for US nationality, but once I uploaded my passport it didnít let me generate any documentation. Non-issue at the airport, Iím not even confident my passport was scanned anywhere on the way out.

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3971 on: January 27, 2023, 07:15:00 AM »

Offline Dan

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3972 on: January 27, 2023, 07:40:10 AM »
Additional guest
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 AJK

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3973 on: January 27, 2023, 11:14:18 AM »
It works. At least for reg account.

But don't expect to get Glob bennies. The Globalist concierge told me when applying DSU that hotel specifically told her it would be rescinded if someone else checked in. Who knows what would happen in practice.
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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3974 on: January 30, 2023, 02:25:48 PM »
Heading to Isla Mujeres for a wedding early March and staying at Ixchel Beach Hotel.  Traveling with wife and 14 month old son.  Any MUST do's?  Hard to do a lot of activities with the little one but wanted to see if there was any recs.

Thanks!

Offline yr

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3975 on: February 03, 2023, 08:13:48 AM »
Anyone stay at Hyatt Zilara recently and know how helpful and/or knowledgeable they are regarding kosher?TIA

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3976 on: February 06, 2023, 03:03:32 PM »
I'm staying at the Grand Hyatt PDC, We're looking to make a day trip, between Cozumel & Isla Majures what's a better destination for a couple ?

Offline cfried

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3977 on: February 06, 2023, 08:49:11 PM »
Sent PM.
Can you please send me as well?

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3978 on: February 06, 2023, 08:51:17 PM »
What are transportation options from Cancun airport to Hyatt Ziva? Am I best off just going with USA transfers for $65?

Offline MAJ

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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
« Reply #3979 on: February 07, 2023, 04:51:19 PM »
Anyone know what the latest is with hechsher of moshe cube?