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Karla Hatfield

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Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Year: 2016

We spent a week in Playa del Carmen in April 2016.  While we didn't stay in a resort (we had access to a private condo), it was great to wander the area and experience the destination.

First off, getting there... We had direct flights from Halifax to Cancun with Transat Holidays.  The service was great and the flight actually left early on the return flight.  One thing I can definitely say is that pre-booking/paying for seats is worth having the choice.  While most people seem to want the front of the plane to be able to get off faster and some seats have extra legroom, some of the Transat planes have a few rows of 2-seaters at the back of the plane.  These were AWESOME!  Extra legroom and space without having anyone else next to you.  Yes, you have to wait for the whole plane before you can get off, but really everyone ends up waiting in the same lineups anyway! :)

 Staying right in Playa del Carmen was a great experience.  You could wander around outside the "tourist area" and see how people live and experience the town.  We were travelling with children and never felt uncomfortable or unsafe.  Taxis were easy to come by and relatively inexpensive but always ask the price to your destination before getting in and they are sometimes negotiable.

Since we didn't stay in an all-inclusive resort we got to experience the local restaurants for a number of our meals.  The food was fabulous and really reasonable with good portions.  My recommendation to people now is even if you are at an all-inclusive, you need to go to some local restaurants.

Another tip I've been giving is this...since the Canadian dollar vs the US dollar has such a poor exchange rate at the moment, take Mexican pesos with you.  Our exchange rate is more favourable and you don't have to worry about trying to convert prices as much.

One of our favourite things we did was to visit Xplor Park .  It is an adventure park with zip-lines, underwater caves etc.  We spent a full day here and did everything!  Lots of fun and your food is included in your ticket price.