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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Discerning vacationers around the world have long discovered that renting a private villa or condo offers them a level of luxury, convenience and privacy hard to find in a hotel. What you might be surprised to learn, is that when renting a villa or condo as a family or group, the cost is frequently similar or even less than hotel rooms. In addition to the value, you will certainly appreciate the little extra things you get when renting a private villa or condo. Such as being able to stock the refrigerator with your favorite beverages and snacks. Or having your own private pool in the case of a villa rental. You will also enjoy the extra space, personal touches and additional amenities only available in a private villa or condo. Plus the owners connection to the local community and culture can be a valuable resource to finding those special places that only the locals know.

Please see this page of our web site for full details on the services you can expect with a rental.

 

In spite of what you may be hearing in the media to the contrary, the truth is that most of the country is very safe. Yes the government has gotten tough on the drug cartels and the drug cartels are fighting each other over distribution routes, which has resulted in a great deal of bloodshed and spectacular media reports.  However, while we do have a growing cartel problem in this area too, the problems are mostly concentrated near the US border and in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, all of  which are 2000 – 2500 miles (3200 – 4000 Km.) from us here in the state of Quintana Roo on the Riviera Maya.

There is no question that the violence and murders have increased statistically in our area. There are new cartels that have moved into our area and they are fighting the established cartel, each other, and the authorities for control of territory. However we who live here year round do not feel any more unsafe today then we did last year or the year before that or the year before that. We still invite our family to visit each year, and we still feel perfectly safe taking them out on excursions to enjoy the many sites and activities that the area offers. The violence is 99.9% targeted. There are rare occasions where innocent bystanders have been in the wrong place at the wrong time but that ‘wrong place’ is normally a night club or bar in the less than savory part of town and not during daylight hours. We would estimate the number of innocent people involved is a very low number. Unlike the US and other parts of the world, we have had no incidents of crazies openly shooting innocent people in places that should be safe. We truly believe that most dangerous thing that a tourist will encounter visiting our area is driving on the highway. We are certain that there is a much higher chance of getting in an accident than being an innocent bystander in a shootout.

Just like at home, you should avoid sketchy bars/clubs and not go looking for drugs or hookers as that can put you in contact with some nasty people.  No matter where you travel you should not leave your common sense at home and always take normal precautions. This includes leaving your precious jewelry at home, getting local advice about what areas to avoid, don’t stumble around drunk, lock doors and windows, put things away and lock them up when you are not using them, keep valuables out of site and don’t make yourself a target by bringing unnecessary attention to yourself. Be watchful of exchange rates, check your bill, count your change, watch out for smooth talking over friendly people and when you are going out don’t carry more money or credit cards than you need. When purchasing gas for your rental car, get out, check that the meter has been brought back to zero and make a point of holding your payment until the attendant has counted the correct change.  Be especially cautious of offers for free or highly discounted items and services. This is almost certainly going to lead to a high pressure sales pitch for a time share or fractured ownership in a condo or resort development. Don’t let the sunshine, margaritas, and beautiful scenery rob you of your good sense.  Before getting into any real estate or business deal, ask for recommendations and speak to people who have already purchased.  They are going to give you a much more honest assessment of what it is really like to invest here.  If you use your common sense and take the same precautions you would at home or when you travel anywhere, then you will be like the 99% of visitors to the area that never have a problem.

No, English is spoken quite extensively throughout the area by businesses dealing with tourists. However, you may become frustrated and upset if you expect everyone to speak fluent English or to understand you. Remember, we are the guests and Spanish is the native language. We recommend that you pick up a small Spanish phrase book before leaving home. A very good one is “BERLITZ Latin-American Spanish Phrase Book & Dictionary.” It is small making it easy to carry and logically laid out making it easy to use. You will have some fun learning a few words and win the respect of the locals no matter how limited your vocabulary or poor your pronunciation. 

Most visitors agree the best time is during the winter months when there is less chance of tropical rains and good reason to escape the weather at home.  However, you certainly will not be alone should you choose to come during the spring or summer when many families visit the area. You take more chance on the weather when you come in the fall, due to the risk of hurricane and higher rainfall averages. Please note that average rainfall statistics in general are a little misleading in the fact that sometimes nearly the entire months’ average can fall in a matter of hours. Also misleading is following the weather predictions and reports from afar that may report rain every day. Yes… somewhere in the area it may rain every day but it is usually not everywhere or much more than a short torrential downpour that blows off nearly as quickly as it rolled in.

You are in the tropics and so there can be bugs. All accomodations are fumigated regularly to try and keep this to a minimum, plus usually the light ocean breeze helps keep the mosquitoes away. You might need some mosquito repellent in the evening when you head out or if you are visiting the ruins.

You are required to have a passport to enter Mexico, Canada and the USA regardless of your nationality.  If you are a single parent, parent traveling alone with children, or parents with children bearing a different last name, you will require a signed, notarized letter from the other parent consenting to the child leaving your home country and possibly additional documentation. Check with your travel agent, airline or US & Mexican Embassies for current document requirements long before flight time.

With all of the additional security at the airports these days, you may want to check out what the Transportation Security Administration is advising to make your trip easier. TSA home page  http://www.tsa.gov

We recommend that you seriously consider it and that it should be done within 7 to 14 days of booking your trip in order to be covered.  What would happen if you had to cancel your trip due to family emergency, work related issue, medical problem, hurricane etc?  Does your existing medical insurance cover you in Mexico, including an emergency evacuation? What if your luggage was lost or delayed? Are you covered if your airline goes bankrupt before your trip?  Depending on the insurance company you choose and what policy you sign up for, these unforeseen things can all be covered. With some policies, the coverage includes rental cars, with the premiums being not much more than you will pay the rental car company for local coverage. Please note though, that in most cases, this insurance must be purchased in less than 14 days from making your reservation and/or flight arrangements.  Here are links to some web sites where you can compare prices, policies and purchase insurance on line. 

1)   www.csatravelprotection.com/
2)  www.insuremytrip.com/
3)  www.squaremouth.com/
4)   www.travelinsured.com     
5)  www.travelsafe.com/ 

There is normally a doctor on call in Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum. There are good hospitals in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.  There are several pharmacies in Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum.  Contact information for all of these services is provided at most villas. You should ask the villa administrator about this material when they do their orientation and consider what you would do in the case of an emergency so that you are prepared.

You shouldn’t if you don’t drink the tap water and use common sense about where you eat. Some people find the change in eating and drinking habits and/or the spicy food may give them a little “Montezuma’s Revenge.” Cancun and the Riviera Maya contribute over 25% of the tourist dollars coming into Mexico.  Most food service businesses understand basic hygiene and the importance of healthy tourists. A good rule of thumb when you are preparing fruits and vegetables at the villa or condo is, “if you don’t peal it or boil it, rinse it in Microdyn or Fit.”  These antibacterial drops are used to rinse your fresh fruit and vegetables.  You can purchase this at any grocery store. Bottled water is also provided for drinking at all of the villas & condos and used extensively by restaurants. Everyone uses purified water for ice so you needn’t worry about this. Bathing in the tap water is fine. Here is a link to the Center for Disease Control who has lots of additional information which you might be interested in http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm

You will no doubt want to have some spending money while here in order to go to a restaurant, take in a tour, shop for that special gift and tipping.  Mexican pesos are the currency of the land and accepted everywhere and best to carry. US dollars are the only foreign currency that is sometimes accepted for smaller purchases but often not accepted for more expensive things. A general rule of thumb to get the best exchange rate is to pay in the currency quoted. A few tourist attractions quote their prices in US dollars but you would always be able to pay in Mexican pesos. US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros and British Pounds are accepted at the money exchange booths and banks. Travelers checks are rarely accepted by businesses but will be taken at banks and most money exchange booths, but not all of them. Most places will require a passport to exchange them. 

There are ATM machines in Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancun where you can use your bank debit card to receive pesos. The ATM’s are handy because you don’t have to bring as much cash and they usually have the best exchange rates. However, it is not so uncommon in some of the smaller centers for the machines to run out of money and be down for a day or two. Most ATM’s have daily withdrawal limits equivalent to $200 – $500usd. Please be aware that some of the ATM’s in Mexico will not accept a PIN with more than 4 digits, so you may need to change yours before coming down. You should also check with your bank before leaving home to ensure that they will release funds to your ATM card in Mexico. We do not know of anywhere that you can use a Bank Debit Card.  The exchange booths at the airport usually offer very competitive rates. The exchange rates are good at the airport, exchange booths and through the ATM’s so we would not recommend exchanging lots of money at home before leaving. Our advise is to bring as much US cash and Mexican pesos as you feel comfortable carrying, then offset this with either your ATM card and/or travelers checks.

Yes and No. Do not count on credit cards being readily accepted and don’t be surprised if they are accepted, if you are charged as much as a 5% surcharge for the privilege. The larger businesses that cater to tourists are more likely to have the facility to accept your card than the smaller ones.  A strong underground economy and the not so distant memories of runaway inflation have kept Mexico from the credit craze.  It is still very much a cash society where most everything is paid in cash. NOTE: If planning to use your credit or debit cards in Mexico you should advise your bank in advance of leaving home.

Tipping (“propina”) in Mexico is both customary and expected. The cost of living is high and even the best wages are low.  It is a struggle for most people.  For a 2 bedroom condo, $10usd for the cleaning staff at the end of your stay and each time they come in would be appropriate and greatly appreciated.  At a villa $100usd per week per employee would be a minimum.  At a condo, don’t forget to tip the staff at the complex if they help you with personal services such as carrying luggage, groceries, bringing you water, etc.  It is best to give propinas directly to the person or persons who provide you with the service. When out, 10-20% of a restaurant or bar bill depending on the class of establishment and level of service (there is sometimes a 10% -15% service charge included in the bill so check). $5-10 per person to dive masters/boat captains/cavern guides for diving. For other services we recommend $5-10usd per person to tour guides (depending on time spent and level of service), $15-25usd per person for fishing charters, $5-10usd for a massage, $1-5usd for baggage porters, depending on number of bags and time spent. A little loose change for the person packing your groceries, taxi driver, guy watching your car in the parking lot, and the attendant filling your gas tank. NOTE: there is no social net beside family and friends for locals to fall into when they need financial support. When you purchase a newspaper from someone on the street, let someone push your grocery cart to the car, watch your car while it is parked or assist you backing out of a parking space… please consider that they are just trying to earn an honest living. If they can’t earn a living honestly, then the alternative is not good for anyone.

Mobile cell phone coverage is pretty good in the entire Riviera Maya. Some US and Canadian cell phone providers have agreements with the two Mexican mobile phone companies to provide service to their customers. However, in most cases you must contact your provider at home before leaving to have this feature activated on your cell phone.  You should also know that this service is expensive. Check with your provider on rates and be aware that additional local charges may be added on.

The electricity is the same as the USA and Canada, with 110 volt, 60 Hz.,  American standard receptacles.

Half of what you think you need. The weather is most often warm even if it rains, the dress is casual even at the best restaurants. We rarely put on long sleeve garments, full length trousers or closed shoes. You might want one light pair of pants and a light sweater or sweat shirt just in case. Likely you will purchase a nice sun dress, a few t-shirts and some souvenirs while you are here so leave room in your suitcase. Don’t forget the sunscreen. We ask you to bring a bio-degradable type to help preserve the coral, aquatic life and to keep the swimming pool clean and clear. You should have a hat to protect your head, sunglasses, a few good books, your camera and some insect repellent (don’t fly with aerosol cans). All of these items are available locally if you forget them or don’t want to carry them with you. If you are going to visit the ruins, comfortable walking shoes are important (preferably open style) and a day-pack is nice to have along to carry water and a snack. Water shoes are handy as some of the beaches have coral outcrops. A small flashlight can be very handy for evening strolls and for fumbling with the access code and key of your condo or villa.

You should bring your prescription medicines and perhaps something for an upset stomach, diarrea and sea sickness just as a precaution. We suggest to carry a list showing your blood type, special medical conditions and emergency contact phone numbers. It is a good idea to have a list of all your credit/debit cards, emergency health care card, and the contact numbers listed, should you loose one. Include a copy of passports and other important documents. You can leave this information with someone at home that you know you will be able to reach in case of an emergency, or carry a copy with you in a safe and different place than your cards. It also makes good sense whenever you travel to leave your precious jewellery at home. All too often we have guests contact us in a panic after they get home saying they think they left a piece of jewellery in a room or by the pool or down on the beach and can someone go look for it. Avoid the potential stress/loss and leave it at home.  If you would like to help the locals through our charity, please bring some school supplies, children’s books or old clothes.  See Friends of Puerto Aventuras.

Remember that you are flying to a foreign country and a very popular tourist destination so there could be lines and delays. Normally it will take aprox. an hour to pass immigration, retrieve your luggage and clear customs.  If you are picking up a rental car, expect another 30 to 60 minutes to handle this task.  (You are requested to be at the Cancun airport 2+ hours before your return departure). There are four terminals at the Cancun airport. For this reason it is important to provide airline name, flight numbers, and where the flight is coming from if you are meeting someone at the airport. Pay attention to which terminal you arrived at to avoid confusion when you leave. 

Before leaving the plane you should of filled out immigration and custom forms.  Unless your flight stopped in Mexico City before arriving in Cancun, your first delay will be with immigration where you will present the immigration form and your passport. The immigration officer will grant you a number of days in Mexico, which he will mark on your immigration form and return the bottom portion to you. Don’t loose this part, it is required when leaving.  Next you will retrieve your luggage before clearing customs.  At customs you will pass your luggage through an X-ray machine and then find a crosswalk type button to push. If you push green and they did not see anything suspicious with the X-ray, you will most likely be allowed to continue on without further delay. If you push red, then your bags will be inspected. Once past customs you will exit the doors and are officially in Mexico. Bienvenidos/Welcome. 

Before getting outside, there are a number of booths for transfer and rental car agencies where you can organize a transfer or rental car if you have not done so already. PLEASE NOTE: The first group of seemingly helpful people you meet are salespeople for time share and fractured ownership properties. If their deals or offer to help seems too good to be true, it is because you will be forced to sit through a very high pressure sales presentation at which point you will be wondering if the freebie was worth it. Just be polite and firm with these people and you will find the legitimate transfer services just beyond this gauntlet of salespeople. If you have a rental car arranged or transfer set up then continue outside a representative should be standing out there waiting for you with a sign.  If you are at terminal ‘3’ and meeting someone, then once you step outside on your left you will find a sitting are with tables and chairs. Right here is also a restaurant. There is only one road out of the airport so follow the signs. Directions to your villa or condo were contained in the ‘Pre Arrival Package you received. 

If you are staying at a villa or condo outside of Puerto Aventuras then you will be somewhat isolated without a vehicle. We therefore recommend that you have at least one vehicle so you have reliable transportation in the case of an emergency. If you are staying in Puerto Aventuras, you should base your decision on what you want to do while you are here and how much freedom you want. If you are too nervous to drive or don’t plan on heading too far a field then you can get by without one. We can arrange for an airport transfer service to meet you & your group at the airport and have you driven right to the villa or condo. If you are a large group and want to be shuttled around, we can arrange that as well with sufficient notice. If you want to rent a Van and driver by the hour, we have you covered there also. Within Puerto Aventuras most services and activities are only a 5-15 minutes walk away. From Puerto there are taxis and tour operators available when you want to leave. However, if you think you will want to explore the area, (which you really should) then a car gives you a great deal of freedom from the restraints of tour operators and taxis.  Larger groups may want to hire a Van with driver. We can assist you with this.

It is so long as you are aware that Mexico does not require a written or driven drivers test to become licensed so you MUST adopt a defensive driving attitude, always pay close attention to what is going on in front, beside and behind you. You should also recognize some differences in the local driving rules and habits. If involved in an accident, a representative for your insurance company must come to the scene so be sure to have local contact information. It is also important to know that if you are in an at fault accident that involves an injury to the other party, you may be held by the police until the other party signs off with your insurance company.

The highway from Cancun to Tulum is now 4 lane and divided so there are proper lanes for making a left turn. However if you are driving on any of the other highways in the area, you should be EXTREMELY AWARE when turning left that the rules are different here than in most other places. Unless there is a designated turning lane (as there is on the Cancun to Tulum highway), you MUST move over to the right shoulder, wait for the traffic to clear in both directions and then make your left turn. DO NOT make a left turn from teh through traffic lane. Another peculiar difference is that a left turn signal might mean  A) the car in front of you is signalling that he is about to pull out to pass  B) the car in front of you is advising you that it is clear for you to pass them C) the car in front of you is turning left. We still haven’t figured out how to tell the difference so be very careful and always check your mirrors before you make a left turn yourself. The driver behind may think you are telling him to pass.

When backing out of a parking stall, you DO NOT have the right of way and even though someone may realize you are backing out, there is a very good chance they will not give you the right of way. Therefore be very careful that there is not only no vehicles behind you, but that there are no vehicles coming. You will be at fault if you collide. This is one of the reasons that there are often parking attendants to help you. Please give them a couple of pesos for their assistance. Please remember that these people are just trying to earn an honest living.

The roads in this area are fairly well marked and in relatively good condition. However, not all the vehicles on the road are. As a result you may find the latest model Mercedes speeding past you with seemingly no concern for the speed limit or a 63 Beetle converted into an overloaded pickup truck poking along so slow you will think it is parked. You might be tempted to use the shoulder for an extra lane as some locals do. Don’t, there are often pedestrians, bicycles and busses traveling slowly or stopped right around that blind corner. You might also be tempted to speed. Don’t, not only is it dangerous but illegal and monitored by radar. Please remember that it is illegal to drink and drive or to drive under the influence of alcohol.

RENTING a CAR: Choose a reputable company with good representation in the area so that if you have a problem, they will have people and cars available to assist you (Executive, Hertz, Avis are just a few). Be sure to take time to inspect the vehicle with the agent to ensure that any physical and cosmetic damage to the car is marked on the form since they will likely check it closely when you return and may charge you if it is not indicated on the contract. Make sure you know where the spare tire, tire iron and hazard markers are located and if missing that it is marked on the contract. Make sure that the agent has given you the telephone number of an English speaking person to contact 24/7 in case of a problem.

We STRONGLY suggest that you purchase the full coverage insurance even if your credit card company will cover you. If you are not going to purchase insurance because your credit card company automatically offers this, be certain before leaving home that this coverage is valid in Mexico and EQUALLY IMPORTANT is that you have a local contact number for your insurance company representative. Should you have an accident, you will need to call them and they will most likely need to come to the scene. If you are in an accident which is deemed to be your fault, you will be held in custody until the matter has been cleared (even if you have insurance), so be certain that you have contact information for the insurance agent so they can send a representative to the scene to assist you.

HELP on the ROAD: Along the Maya Riviera we have a roving mechanical service called the Green Angels. These well equipped trucks and friendly mechanics are available to assist tourists with car problems. The service is FREE of charge. You may see them up and down the highways or can reach them by telephone at 998 884 1107.

SPEEDING and the POLICE: Unfortunately at times some corrupt police will see tourists in rental cars as an easy mark for a little extra money and stop you for speeding or some other imagined infraction. If you are stopped then don’t panic you are not in any kind of danger. Consider it an opportunity to interact with the locals. Most likely it will get to the point where the officer offers to ‘take care of this’ for you in the form of a cash payment on the spot. This is a bribe and is illegal.  Remember that the officer doesn’t want to give you a ticket, he wants to collect a bribe. You should insist that he produce his identification and write it down if he dares to show it to you. Let him know that you are OK if he writes you up a ticket and tell him you will be reporting this incident, which will most often result in them letting you go. If you really did have an infraction and they do write up a ticket, then they will remove the license plates off of the vehicle and/or take your driving license, which you will recover when you pay the ticket at the police station. Despite threats of the fine being very high, unless you are way above the speed limit or you have done something particularly dangerous, the fine is usually reasonable. Do not support corruption by giving in.

GAS STATION RIP OFFS: For some reason gas station attendants across Mexico have learned there is some easy money to be made at the pumps from people who are not paying much attention (tourists and locals alike). Here is what to watch out for to avoid it happening to you. First of all get out of the car and walk back to the pump. Then make a point of ensuring the attendant has zeroed out the amount owing before starting (the guy in front of you may have purchased a small amount of gas and they never turned the pump off so you will pay for his gas again).  Next watch for the old bait and switch where someone takes your money, turns around, pockets part of the money or switches one of the bills (like a 500 for a 50) and then turns back to you claiming you did not give him enough to pay for whatever  it is you are purchasing. You avoid this by holding onto the bill(s), saying to him exactly what amount you are passing him and keeping it until he has the change ready to make a hand to hand exchange.

If you don’t have a rental car, you have a few options:

Option 1)  Airport Transfer Private Car/Van
We can organize for you and your group to be picked up at the airport and transferred with a PRIVATE service (not shared) DIRECTLY to and from the villa or condo through the services of a licensed and insured transfer agent who can be trusted to meet you even if your plane is delayed, won’t get lost taking you to the property, won’t forget to pick you up for the return transfer and most importantly…  employs drivers who will NOT try to impress you with their impression of a race car driver… For more details and pricing, check out our private airport transfers here.

Option 2)  Airport Transfers Shared Van
If you are only one person you may want to consider a colectivo. The price of this shared van service is around $40usd per person to Puerto Aventuras. The rate to Akumal is around $50usd per person. After exiting the customs area you will see a number of desks with people offering transfer services. Here you will find a stand for ‘Gray Line’. They sell tickets until they have a Van load and then drop people off as they get further from the airport. The down side is that  you might have to wait for some time while they fill the van, and you might get have stops at various hotels along the way.  If using this service, make sure that you have the directions to the property since it is unlikely he will know the villas or condos by name.

NOTE: There are many very friendly salespeople at the airport offering you fantastic deals on transfers, car rentals, golf, diving, snorkelling tours, dinner, tours of the ruins, entrance to the eco parks, or anything else you might be interested in. These helpful salespeople are representing time share or fractional ownership properties so your great deal, will come with the price of sitting through a high pressure sales meeting at their property. Even this meeting may be disguised as a free breakfast or lunch.

Option 3)  Airport Transfers Public Bus
The bus service is safe and cheap (aprox. $10usd per person) but only takes you as far as Playa del Carmen, where you will need to then take a taxi to your property (aprox. $20usd to Puerto Aventuras). Ask at the transfer desks for more information on where to catch the bus and schedule.

With sufficient notice we can organize a private Van with driver by the hour or trip.  There are taxis, rental cars, and tour operators operating out of Puerto Aventuras, Akumal center and Tulum to provide transportation to the area attractions. These are not so easily accessed from the villas located outside of Puerto Aventuras and most locations in the Akumal area.There is a local bus/van service called ‘colectivos’ that run up and down the highway between Cancun – Playa del Carmen – Tulum. These Vans stop anywhere along the highway that someone might flag them down and will carry pretty much anything you can fit inside and/or tie on to the roof. There are also very good, non stop, bus connections between Cancun – Playa del Carmen – Tulum. The bus/van is a little inconvenient because you need to get up to the highway from the properties, but it is very cheap and fun to ride with the locals.

NOTE: Due to environmental reasons, most grocery stores do not provide plastic or paper bags. You should either bring your own reusable bags or be prepared to purchase at the grocery store.

Please remember that you are visiting a foreign country and culture where the local tastes and spending habits may be different than your own. This is reflected in the grocery stores where you will still find everything you need, but the selection and number of processed products will be less. The price of groceries is similar to the USA and Canada except for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables which in general cost less. Beer, wine and liquor is readily available at all major grocery stores and most convenience stores. Bourbon, Scotch, Canadian blended Whiskey, name brand Vodka or Gin, and liqueurs are expensive here and sometimes difficult to find. Rum, Kahlua, national brand vodka & gin and of course beer is easy to find and reasonably priced. There are a number of wine and liquor specialty stores in Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras. Please note that alcohol is not sold in the stores on Sundays. 

PLAYA DEL CARMEN: There is a Sam’s Club & City Club which are large volume box stores that require you to have a membership. Playa del Carmen also has two Wal-Mart stores and a number of similar large Mexican department/grocery store chains called Soriana, Chedraui and MEGA. To get to Soriana & City Club: Stay in right hand service lane as you enter Playa del Carmen from Cancun. They are located at the far south end of the city.To get to Sam’s Club & Chedraui: From highway 307 when coming from the airport, go right through Playa del Carmen watching on the left for McDonalds restaurant, the Chedraui supermarket, Sam’s Club and the two entrances into PlayaCar. Once you past these landmarks go a short ways and you will find a U turn lane to bring you back on the proper side of the highway. Wal-Mart is located in Playa del Carmen on Avenida 30 between Calles 8 and 10. Another Wal-Mart is located on the ring road ‘Arco Vial’. MEGA is on Avenida 30 on the corner of Constituentes. If you are wanting to shop as the locals do for very good fruits and vegetables you will find these at DAC. It is located on Avenida 30 just north of Constituentes.

PUERTO AVENTURAS: There is a Chedraui grocery store on the  highway near the entrance gate which is walking distance or a short taxi ride from any of the properties in Puerto Aventuras. This is a medium-large size store similar to a WalMart, with a wide selection including in store bakery, meat and fish counters, and even beach toys and beach wear.  Here you should be able to find most everything you need for a week stay. Inside the gate there is a convenience store in the village center that have a selection of snacks, beverages and the basics. There is a small but good fresh fruit and vegetable market  named Del Prado located in the village center (next to the pub) that is open 7 days per week. On Wednesday and Saturday there is a farmers market set up beside the gazebo in the village center offering a good selection of fresh fruits and veggies. There is a specialty wine and liquor store in the village center. You can often purchase fresh fish from the sport fishing boats on the dock at 1:00 and 5:00pm.  Everything in Puerto Aventuras is within walking distance to all the properties there.

AKUMAL has two convenience stores but not large grocery.  Both are located just before the arched entrance into Akumal.  Super Chomak has many imported goods from the USA. The prices also reflect the difficulty in finding many of these things.

TULUM  has most everything you should need for a week or more stay. Turn off highway 357 at the traffic light towards the beach and a short way down on the left you will find a large Department/Grocery store named Chedraui. The San Francisco supermarket is on the corner of highway 357 at the Coba traffic light. Just up the road towards Coba you will find Bodega Aurrera.

 

Each adult is allowed to bring into the country up to 3 litres (quarts) of alcohol.

There are a couple of companies offering this service. In most cases groceries etc. cannot be dropped off at a property before you have checked in since property managers will not often be available to receive the delivery, nor are guests allowed to give property access codes to others.
Riviera Maya Groceries
Deliver VIP

A cook is included in the rate at some of the villas (if included it will be listed under the amenities). At most of the other villas the owner has organized chef service to be available for an additional charge either for a single meal or for the full week. Depending on availability cook or chef service might be available at condos (details vary by property). Puerto Aventuras has 12 restaurants, a pub, and two bars which serve a fairly wide variety of meals and are within a 15 minute walk of the villas and condos. There are no restaurants within walking distance of most of our villas in other areas but there are numerous within a 5 to 15 minute drive.
Many of the condos have washer & dryers which the guests may use (please see the amenities under each property). The laundry facilities at all of the villas are restricted to staff use only. The owner will provide you with clean bath, hand, face towels and linens. These will be changed mid week or more frequently at some properties. They also provide a large beach towel for each guest. There is a laundry service in Puerto Aventuras, which offers same day service for your personal things. An iron is available in most of the villas. At a few of the villas the maid will do your personal laundry for a fee.

There is a professional baby sitting service available in the area. You can contact Little Bear Care. Near the entry gate to Puerto Aventuras is a shopping mall where inside of the mall you will find a kid’s play club called MiClub Estrellitas.

There is a supervised “Kids Club” in Akumal – it’s located on the beach on Akumal Bay near the Lol-Ha restaurant and Palapa Bar. It consists of acting, supervised play, sand castle building, kite flying, scavenger hunts, videos, painting, crafts, mini-Olympics and visits to the pizza parlour. Lots of fun for the kids and a chance for Mom and Dad to do their own thing. The “Kids Club” hours are 9am to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm. The rates are around $6usd per hour and $35usd per day. The “Kid’s Club” also has several babysitters for hire. The number for Lol Ha Restaurant is +52 (984) 875 9012.  They can put you in touch with Fatima at the kids club.

At some of the villas the maids will sometimes agree to watch the kids for extra money. Just ask them, but we do ask that you respect their decision if they say no.

Your privacy, being comfortable and enjoying yourself are of utmost importance to the owners and their staff. They are there to ensure that the villa, pool, and gardens are kept clean and that things work properly. They will try to work around your schedule and respect your privacy while doing their work. You will have exclusive use of the villa, pool and terraces.  In most cases where the staff is living on the property, they have a casita or little house which is usually near the street entrance to the property. When using the villa your activities will most likely be focused around the ocean side of the property. Most guests find having these people near by enhances the service and experience.