Help Plan New Years Beach Vacation
November 18, 2014 7:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a great spot to get away from New England for a New Year's beach vacation. I realize I'm booking last-minute so flights are expensive and lodging inventory is limited. Tulum is high on the list, but it doesn't seem possible to stay anywhere near the water for less than $500/night (which is WAY beyond my budget). Airbnb has places in town for around $1000/week which is well within reach. Would it be a fun/relaxing/rejuvenating beach vacation experience staying in town in Tulum, renting a car, and driving to the beach? if so, does the hive mind have any tips for staying in town? Also, what alternative destinations might I consider in order to get right on the water?

If we end up staying in town in Tulum, are certain neighborhoods desirable and others shady?

As for other possible destinations, I have found that airfare is also reasonable to San Juan and Nassau. Given that I want to avoid anything overly touristy and ideally enjoy a small town with lots of interesting things to see and good food to eat, are there other destinations to consider flying into these airports? Bonus points for any suggestions that involve non-touristy lodging right on the water.
posted by TurkishGolds to Travel & Transportation around Tulum, Mexico (4 answers total)
How do you feel about Vieques? It's a bit of a schlep to get to (fly into San Juan, have to take a small plane or a ferry out there which you need to get to by taxi) but you can stay right on or near the water and it's inexpensive and off the beaten track. We know folks who run this place and it's inexpensive and across the street from the beach. May be more low rent than you are looking for. I am not sure how interesting it is if you're not into outdoorsy stuff but the bioluminescent bay is really pretty terrific.
posted by jessamyn at 7:45 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

We did exactly this a couple years ago and we went to Tulum. We stayed a little ways north on the town in a little development called Chan Chemuyil. I don't remember how much we spent but I guarantee it was nowhere near $500/night.

Chan Chemuyil is a little isolated, but it's safe. We rented a car in Cancun (well, I did, since I was the only one able to both haggle in Spanish and drive a stick, and there were no more automatics left for a decent rate, and our car reservation had flaked, but I digress). Chan Chemuyil is just a few minutes from Tulum, and some nice beaches (Akumal, and some great snorkeling at a flooded limestone lagoon). Chichen Itza was about a 3-hour drive (go very early and you'll be finished and on your way out just as the huge tour buses are unloading). Coba was good - we rented bikes and ride around the ruins. Less developed and more overgrown than Chichen Itza.

For New Years Eve we went to the underground cave restaurant in Playa Del Carmen. If you do that, be warned that they'll assume you want to be there for the countdown & will drag out your meal til midnight unless you tell them not to.

Also, I have no idea what the rates are like now, but we got a good deal in St. Martin a couple months ago during the rainy season & it was awesome. Right on the beach.
posted by univac at 1:08 AM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you looked at Akumal just north of Tulum? We stayed at the Akumal Beach Resort and loved it. Their website is weird to navigate so you might want to give them a call to check on availability. It's right on the beach. Not fancy but good food. Also there are good snorkel spots just down the beach and at Yalcu.
posted by biscuits at 2:31 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yalcu is the best! That's the limestone lagoon place I was thinking of.
posted by univac at 2:16 AM on November 23, 2014

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