Where to stay for family vacation near Cancun?
January 20, 2008 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Family vacation to Cancun area - where should we stay?

Six adults (30s to 60s, vet travelers to newbies, one Spanish-speaker), one young child and a baby. We're looking for a place that's in or near Cancun so we can fly in cheaply and then leave that horrid city behind to explore everything around it on day trips: Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Chichen Itza. We'd like a house, ideally, reasonably priced ($300-400/night?), convenient to all of the above...and maybe even near or on a beach.
posted by gottabefunky to Travel & Transportation around Cancun, Mexico (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You've got the right idea - stay out of Cancun but nearby.

I would put aside the "day trip" idea for splitting your trip between Isla Mujeres - good for 3 days of beach, fishing, snorkeling and golf-cart exploring; and Tulum, good for a base camp - you can easily hit the ruins in the southern area, and there are literally dozens of fantastic snorkeling cenotes in this area (the cenote snorkeling is far superior to the ocean snorkeling IMHO).

I've traveled around here a half dozen times and can recommend specific hotels & transport - feel free to email me at typographica (at) gmail (dot) com.

A tourist bus from Cancun to Tulum will run you $15 PP or so, and a government-seal Colectivo bus will be as fast, more interesting and cost about $4 per person.

The hotel row in Cancun is reasonably disgusting.
posted by luriete at 5:41 PM on January 20, 2008

You can rent houses on Isla Mujeres, which I quite like. Last time I was there (more than 10 years ago), there wasn't much around Tulum in terms of places to stay or rent, but Playa del Carmen might also be a good option -- lots of accommodation, and at least last time I was there, still a pleasant, smallish feeling to it.

I'd stay well away from any of the big resort places down the coast south of Cancun, but it sounds like that's not the way you're leaning anyway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 PM on January 20, 2008

If you go down to Tulum, I've enjoyed staying at Ana y Jose.
posted by gen at 7:01 PM on January 20, 2008

2nding Playa del Carmen. There were tons of families there when we went, and it's just as convenient as Cancun for all the trips you mentioned. There are plenty of reasonably priced resorts on the beach. We were happy at the Iberostar we stayed at.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:03 PM on January 20, 2008

I just got back from a trip down that way. We stayed on Isla Holbox and loved it. Once you're on the island you're pretty much stuck there so it wouldn't make a good base but it would be a nice place to stay for two or three days. Very, mellow. Great beach and a nice mellow time. Within two days you'll have eaten at every restaurant on the island. You can see our photos here. URLs to all the places we stayed are in the description for each photo.

Tulum was nice, but not really nice enough to go back to. Too touristy for us.

P.S. TripAdvisor is your friend.
posted by pwb503 at 9:36 PM on January 20, 2008

Response by poster: I should have added that we'd prefer to stay in one place the whole time, no switching hotels. So the closer to more interesting stuff, the better. That's why I'm wondering about being "stuck" on an island.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:00 PM on January 20, 2008

Playa del Carmen *IS* nice, but MUCH MUCH more touristy than Isla Mujeres (which is indeed somewhat touristy, but pleasant) or TUlum, which while a tourist economy is not especially "touristy."

Ana y Jose is great but you said you had small children and I think they may not allow kids. However, it is the nicest hotel in the Tulum area, very very pleasant place, one of the nicest beachfront areas in southern Mexico actually, with a really first-rate restaurant - if you stay anywhere along that stretch of beach in Tulum (there are 6-8 small bungalow operations in the 2 mile stretch there), definitely have supper there.
posted by luriete at 11:40 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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