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Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Manchester, New...
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33 posts
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Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

I've never been to an All Inclusive or to the Mayan Riviera, so I'm seeking some expertise. My family consists of my wife and me, an 8 yr old son, 11 yr old daughter, and 16 yr old son. We will be traveling to the area February 24-May 4, 2006.

My primary concern in a resort is a quality program for the 8 & 11 yr olds during the day, as well as something that will keep my 16 yr old interested.

I'd prefer somewhere with at least 5 or 6 restaurants for variety, but we're satisfied with simple fare - no need for gourmet (but if it's there, we'll enjoy it).

We would prefer an ocean location over a lagoon, and a couple of pools as well. We would also like somewhere with PADI training available or included. Also, somewhere that is relatively close to Playa del Carmen or that offers cheap or free shuttles to the location.

Finally, we're not looking for anything 5-star. 3.5 to 4 will be fine if the other qualifications are met.

I appreciate your guidance!

CT
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2,125 posts
45 reviews
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21. Re: Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

You'll love the Gala from everything you've written. We went in Feb 2005 and we loved it and we are returning in 2006. It was our first AI and Mexico trip so I wasn't sure what to expect either. Playacar is a gated community and I felt very safe and very few people sell stuff on the beach and are not allowed to be aggressive at all.

My son said (after only 2 days) that this vacation was even better than Disney!! He didn't participate in the Kids Club but we did family tennis lessons, my son joined in with beach soccer and homerun derby and loved the pool. There were also free boogie boards, free small catamarans with lessons and a variety of other activities. Next year I want to do parasailing which was just down the beach for a fee and my hubby kept eyeballing the jet ski rental!

We went to Xcaret and I LOVED it! My hubby would have been happy staying at the resort but you HAVE to go if you love animals, amazing scenery, and the night show is a must see! It's a day trip with a lot of walking if you want to see a lot. We didn't do the Dolphins but my husband wanted to. It looked fun. The turtles are a must see too and eat out at the furthest point past the lagoon. Make sure you do the night show it is simply incredible! We did the dinner and show and were so glad we did. By the end of the day it was nice to have a very nice dinner (fancier than I thought it would be) and to be served during the show. The show is almost 2 hours but having several course for dinner made it easier for my son to make it through. Have fun! You can get a taxi cab from Gala no need to book a trip through the hotel. We got there at 8:30am and didn't leave until after the show. Wear comfortable shoes and take water bottles. Order the whole pineapple "face" drinks because they are delicious.

p.s. get a massage on the beach at Gala. Wonderful!!!!

Manchester, New...
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22. Re: Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

Thanks for the info. I've heard good things about the massage on the beach - how much do those usually run down there?

If we happen to meet up down there next year, I'll buy you a drink.

Boston, MA
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111 posts
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23. Re: Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

We stayed at the Gala and loved it. We got a family deal on adjoining rooms. I don't know if they still offer it, but I would recommend it over the Junior Hacienda Suites - they are located at the entrance and far from everything. We had a King bed and twin couch in one room and two doubles in the other. Having two bathrooms was a plus too! Our kids (then 11 and 9) didn't participate in many activities because we did a few daytrips, Coba Pac-chen tour, snorkelling, and X-caret. There are two buffets and two a la carte. We didn't know the long pants for men rule, so my daughter and I went one night to the Mexican restaurant. I liked the outdoor dining at the buffets better. Don't miss the Mexican fiesta night and show!

Fort Myers, Florida
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24. Re: Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

Sorry, just curious, but how do you go on vacation while school is in session???

Manchester, New...
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25. Re: Seeking expertise on the Riviera Maya AI's

Coming from the midwest originally myself, I can understand why you ask. In New England, the vacation structure is slightly different. Instead of getting 2 weeks at Christmas time and then one in the spring, we get get one week at Christmas, one week at the end of February called "winter break", and then another in spring. The other interesting thing is that while most of New England takes their winter break during the last full week of February, New Hampshire typically goes the week after that. It makes for less crowded vacation areas wherever New Englanders tend to gather that time of year.