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northernflasher

Excursions and sightseeing review in the Riviera Maya

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Great reviews..thank you for taking the time! Really happy to hear about the shopping in Playa for wedding decor.

 

~Sarah

Dreams Tulum

8/8/11

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Wow! What an amazing review! and I cant believe how much you were able to do and get married! :) I have a question, my fiance and I are both certified divers and we definitely want to get a dive in that week...can you tell me the name of the place you used in PDC? and if you liked their services? also, the resort we are staying at does not have a beach (Aventura Spa Palace)  so if any of my guests would like to go to PDC for the day can you tell me, if there is a cost to get on the beach there and can you get on anywhere or are there only certain sections that are available to the public? thank you so much, Nicole

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wow pics looks great like you guys had a really good time!!!
 

Originally Posted by northernflasher View Post

SEA TREK: 7/10
We then did the sea trek which is the underwater helmet walk. This was my least favourite activity.
It is definately an experience if you are unlikely to go underwater any other way. For anyone not accustomed or comfortable being in the water this is the perfect opportunity as all you have to do is walk around on the sea bed holding onto a handrail.
Click the image to open in full size.

The best thing for me was being able to see the reactions of my family, some of which are really nervous in the water and would never have the experience of being submerged, surrounded by fish any other way.
The guide takes a bait ball down so at certain points in the walk there are a lot of fish feeding and swimming around you as you pass through.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Our whole group enjoyed it overall.
We were allowed to take our camera down with us and one of the guides even took our picture with it.
Click the image to open in full size.


I personally have back problems and I felt that the helmets were heavy, uncomfortable and cumbersome. I found the whole thing to be quite disorientating and the noise inside the helmet is really loud.
I had backache and a stiff neck the next day.
I much prefer scuba diving to this. If you do dive unless you are doing this like we did as a "family" activity. I dont think you will get a lot from this.

SHARK ENCOUNTER: 8/10
This was much more nerveracking than I thought it would be. You have a cheesy presentation from the staff and then a safety briefing in an underground viewing area before entering the water, we were like, yeah yeah its all for show but my god those things are strong!!!

We had a few small barracuda swimming in the enclosure and our interaction was with 3 nurse sharks approx 6ft long.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Before you go into the water you sit at a platform on the edge and they bring the sharks to you to touch and feed and the power of them as they snatch the food is awesome.
Click the image to open in full size.

You are then allowed to snorkel in the enclosure. The sharks tend to stay close to the bottom but they move fast and its kind of exciting. You are forbidden from returning to the "feeding platform" until the staff call you forward one by one to exit the water and they all stand guard. I didnt expect it to be so thrilling but the reactions of the staff show you that these are in fact predators that need to be respected!
We took our camera in with us whilst we snorkelled and also had an official picture done as we sat on the platform. Hubbys dad also took some from inside the underground viewing area which seemed like a good place to watch the snorkelling from. It also appeared to look onto a dolphin enclosure from the other side.
Click the image to open in full size.

This is a closed lagoon area and the water in here is very smelly, wash your stuff asap when you return to your hotel, we left them in the bath and headed to the bar and the smell was awful when we returned!

There's a lot to see as you walk around the resort but we missed so much. By the time we had done our activities it was time to head towards the theatre for the shows. We could definately have done with a second day here. We didn't get any time just to snorkel in the various areas and missed out on a lot of the land areas. Two of our group dont do water based activities at all but they still managed to spend the whole day here seeing other things and really enjoyed it.

We stayed for the show, have your camera ready for the walk to the theatre.
We really liked the first half and the finale of the show, all the mayan history is really interesting and the most visually spectacular parts of the show. Our group as a whole thought the show went on for a bit too long, for me there was a lot of dancing and singing in the middle that it wouldn't hurt to do away with.
Everybody tends to leave at the same time so the exits and photo purchase points get pretty crowded. Unless you're a real culture junkie I say beat the crowds and head off at the interval.

More coming.... Please be patient!


 

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I wanted to go there also how was it?

 

Originally Posted by Lady_Di View Post

Thanks so much for writing this review! We did Xcaret and loved it. We will go back in Oct so will keep this review in mind!


 

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NIce review...wow pics looks great like you guys had a really good time!!!

 

Originally Posted by northernflasher View Post

TULUM RUINS 8/10
27th March 2010

This is a 10 minute cab ride from our hotel Dreams Tulum. It was $7 one way.
We got there really early which I recommend. There is a barricade that prevents taxi's from taking you all the way to the entrance, its approx a 10 minute walk from the taxi drop off point to the entrance. There is a shuttle train that you can catch but if you get there early its not running yet. I dont know how frequent they are or if there is an extra charge cos we walked both ways.

We virtually had the place to ourselves for the first hour. I suggest as soon as you get in there to head to the left, towards the beach and cliff top ruins which are the most spectacular and also the best to photograph when there are less people around.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

There are tons of large iguanas walking around the ruins which is pretty cool and makes for some good photos.

Be advised there are NO facilities here. The toilets are out by the ticket booths. There is very little shade once you get in there so on a hot day like the day we went it really is tiring and much better to be there early. Take plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen.

There is adequate information displayed around the ruins. Tour guides are also available. By 10am it was already really busy with numerous tour guides taking groups and no clear shots of the ruins without lots of people in the background. We were heading out by this time.

The whole thing takes 2 hours max. You could spend longer if you wanted to use the beach which looked beautiful but appeared to be closed when we were there. Possibly it was due to the tide or us being there early?

Our photographer visited here and also went to Coba ruins. He much preferred the location and layout of here. His opinion was that the cliff top setting and lush planting around Tulum ruins made for much nicer photo opportunities.
Coba is much bigger and required them to hire bicycles to see everything. He also said there is little information on display about the ruins and the guides were quite pushy.
If you only have chance to do one, his recommendation was Tulum rather than Coba.

Click the image to open in full size.

HIDDEN WORLDS 9/10
Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park Yucatan Mexico Riviera Maya
28th March 2010

We pre-booked the ultimate adventure wedding package online. This included return transport from our hotel, unlimited use of the ziplines and skycycle and 2 cenote tours, lunch, a personal photographer for our group and a cd each of 50 images. This was $85 each and required a min of 10 people.
We went on a Sunday which is usually a quiet day but was according to the staff unusually busy the day we went.

We loved it here. The only issue was that there had been an oversight when we made our booking due to the fact that the photographers dont usually work Sundays. We were gutted but the manager assured us he would organise a photographer asap as there should have been one included in the package we purchased. He was there in approx 90mins.

Definately pay the extra $3 for a wetsuit before you leave the main building, the water is cool.

The ride to the ziplines in the buggy through the jungle is thrilling, if you're health and safety conscious or have back/neck problems then it probably isnt for you!!!

The whole place has a kind of shabby, ramshackle feel, its a non profit venture and it shows in the upkeep and facilities but adds to its charm all the more.

We used everything except the rappel line which was closed but looked a bit tame. The ziplines are excellent, especially the cenote splashdown, you must do this! I am terrified of heights but forced myself to do it and I LOVED IT, our whole party went back and did this backwards! The new, rollercoaster zipline was still a work in progress whilst we were there but it looks cool, there are some videos of it on the site now.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I also really enjoyed the skycycle, we didnt see much in the way of wildlife but the different perspective through the jungle was nice.
Be aware that the "dads" struggled with this due to their fitness levels. My suggestion is allow the least fittest people in your group to go last. This is because for safety reasons you have to keep the person in front of you to be two brackets ahead of you at all times, therefore if the person in front is slow it holds up everyone or makes it less enjoyable for them cos they feel they have to go faster for the sake of those behind.
Click the image to open in full size.

Lunch was basic but adequate. Only thing available on the menu were the chicken fajitas and refried beans. The cooks said burgers were off the menu cos they had no burger buns left, poss cos it was busier than usual.
If you're looking for fancy cuisine in a sterile clean environment, this isn't it! The restaurant is a shack. It took a long time to get the cooks to understand what we wanted, even longer for our orders to be made, when they came they were plentiful but lukewarm and the "veggie" fajitas were full of bits of chicken where they had been cooked on the same grill! Like I say, the place is charming and we laughed it off.

If possible I would say to skip lunch (or dont pay for a package that includes it) and use the extra 90 mins or so to repeat your favourite activities. Although its an unlimited activity pass the transport didn't collect us from our hotel till 10am, by the time we have travelled, watched the safety demo video, been fitted for wetsuits and travelled to the activity site we only had time to do every activity once except the cenote splashdown which we did twice.

The cenote snorkel was a nice experience but not as visually impressive as I imagined. We were intending to return here the week after for a cenote dive but based on this experience we decided against it.

The staff are all friendly and up for a laugh, skinnyman is a legend on his own right!

We left with our picture cd's which we were happy with and our whole group really enjoyed the day and getting to do activities a bit different from the norm that we hadn't done before.

More coming.... Please be patient!


 

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