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Old 04-09-2016   #1 (permalink)
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Spring Break 2016 - Playa/Riu Playacar/USA Transfers/Cenote/Tulum

We visited Playa for our 2016 Spring Break and had a WONDERFUL vacation. Let's just get right into it.......

We flew into Cancun and discovered customs/immigration is a NIGHTMARE, at least at our travel time. We waited in line for over an hour to get through. Note, you go through immigration BEFORE you get your checked luggage, then through customs. We then did the gauntlet out to meet with USA Transfers. We had to wait about 10-15 minutes for our driver. The "kids" that met us at the exit did not seem very attending. The wait for the driver was more than I wanted, but it is what it is. Once in the van, the driver was very nice, spoke excellent English and got us to our destination safely.

We arrived at Riu Playacar within an hour, checked in, and headed right to our room. It took us a few minutes to figure out you had to insert your room key into the green illuminated slot on the wall to get power to the room. They didn't tell us that at the front desk. Not a big deal. The room was very nice. The only thing that really bothered me was that no matter how much the AC ran, it would not get the dampness out of the room. The sheets/pillows ALWAYS felt wet. We had room 8115, which was one of the new buildings right new the pools. I emailed them in advance and asked for a room close to the pools. I will also mention that one day we left our safe open on accident. We had about $500USD and $2000 in pesos in the safe along with our passports, iPads, iPhones, jewelry, and other items. When we returned, there was a note stating we had left it open and that we had to have security come unlock our safe to check the contents. EVERYTHING WAS STILL THERE. We left a rather large tip for the house cleaning staff. Bone head move on my part for leaving it open. Very glad I didn't pay for that mistake.....

A couple of pictures of the pools/beach/bar.....

The walls between the rooms are pretty thin. Luckily, the loud neighbors we had on the first night left after 1 day. We also noticed it was a waste of time for people to "save" chairs. We do not practice this, so it didn't bother us, but people were just throwing the towels on the ground of "saved" chairs and claiming them for their own. I also want to note, that it seemed like EVERY SURFACE around the resort was slippery when wet. We slipped and slid a lot. Luckily, the wifey only went down once, without any injury, other than her pride. It was pretty funny, but only after we made sure she was ok....

We spent the first day just relaxing and getting to know the resort. Takes some time to get your head wrapped around on how things work. The animation team that does all of the organized games throughout the day are AWESOME! Especially Valentino. If you see him doing a game or activity, go do it. Regardless of what it is, you will enjoy it. I typically do not participate in cheesy stuff like this, but it was all a BLAST. Seriously.

Let's talk about the food for just a second. Yes, some of it was bland, some of it was great, and some of it was bad. What do you expect? It's just like a cruise, they are preparing food for 1,000 people. It is what it is. We were able to keep ourselves satisfied for 7 days. No worries. We did eat off resort a few times, which was also amazing. I'll get to that later.

I decided to go "Fishing with Ivan" for one of our excursions. $290USD, so pretty cheap, but you could tell once you were on the boat. The equipment was very dated, in rough shape. Don't get me wrong, Ivan and crew did an amazing job. Just keep in mind, the price is cheap...... The wife forgot to take her sea sickness medication until 10 minutes before we got on the boat (don't ask) so we were only out for an hour before she was deathly ill leaning over the side of the boat. We turned back and called it a day. I did manage to catch one Barracuda.....

After heading back to the hotel for a few hours so the wife could recoup, we went in to town to check out Playa. LOVED IT. Walked around 5th for a while, and then went over to 10th, 15th and, 30th, just to look around. At no point did we feel unsafe. Beautiful town.

We spent a couple days just hanging out, relaxing, visiting Playa a few times, stopped at a Cenote. All of which using the Colectivo for transportation. EXCELLENT form of travel. Just be sure you know where you are going and TELL THE DRIVER. They will stop for you then!

We went to Cenote Jardin El Eden. No lockers, so we just left our stuff by a tree which worried me, but it was totally fine. It was a long walk from the road, $250 pesos for the 3 of us, but TOTALLY worth it. Cliff jumping, swimming in refreshing CLEAN water, beautiful scenery. Just amazing.

Note the large lizard (iguana?) on the tree....

We took one morning and went to the Tulum Ruins via Colectivo. Be sure to tell the driver you are going to the ruins, and not just Tulum or you will end up in the town of Tulum. This was an amazing experience. History, beautiful beach, just fantastic. We got there at 8:30am. It was PACKED by 11:30am when we came up from the beach......

Back in Playa after Tulum, we ate lunch at El Fogon. AWESOME tacos.

We ate dinner at a couple of local spots. One of which was La Fragata. Perfect setting for our evening visit. People were just leaving the public beach, and there was a band playing across the street. So we enjoyed the live music and the people watching. The food was amazing, the service was exquisite, and the bill was CHEAP. What more can you ask for?

A night on the town in Playa...

All in all, it was an amazing trip. No real issues on 5th with over pushy salesmen. Yes, we said "No Gracias" a lot, but that was the end of it. Our return USA Transfer driver was about 10 minutes late, not a big deal, but it just goes to show you get what you pay for.

The nightly shows at the resort were kind of cheesy, but not too bad. Worth the watch.

I guess that's about it. Please feel free to ask any questions. I will keep up on this thread as much as possible.....

Last edited by timmay77; 04-09-2016 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 04-09-2016   #2 (permalink)
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Glad your family had a great vacation. Great report and photos!
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Old 04-10-2016   #3 (permalink)
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Really nice pics, seeing you guys on 5th makes me miss it there.

Sure looked CROWDED at that resort!!! Spring break, eeesh.

Looks like you had a great time, thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-13-2016   #4 (permalink)
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Looks like you had some fun and saw quite a bit of the area......thanks for posting......sonofdob
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Old 04-13-2016   #5 (permalink)
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Great trip report guys! Looks like you had a lot of fun.
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Old 04-14-2016   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Debbiec View Post
Really nice pics, seeing you guys on 5th makes me miss it there.

Sure looked CROWDED at that resort!!! Spring break, eeesh.

Looks like you had a great time, thanks for sharing.
This was our first "all inclusive" vacation, other than going on a cruise, which to me, is almost the same thing. Compared to a cruise ship, it didn't seem crowded AT ALL. At no time did we feel as if there were too many people at the resort. We did have difficulty finding chairs 2 of the 7 days, but we didn't really NEED chairs for anything except putting our towels and bag of personal items down. Our room was so close to the pool, I just ran everything back there and turned the towels in. I stuck the towel cards in my swim trunks pocket until we needed towels. No sweat......
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Old 04-15-2016   #7 (permalink)
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Very nice trip report, thanks for posting. You have a beautiful family. I'm glad you got to enjoy quite a bit of Playa!
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Old 04-15-2016   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Washington State
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Thank you so much for your trip report! June just can not get here fast enough!!
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Old 04-24-2016   #9 (permalink)
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Fantastic trip report! It looks and sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time. That cenote looks so inviting right now! And of course seeing El Fogon just makes me hungry.
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