I had a lot of help and advice from this forum both before and during my trip to the Yucatan, so I thought I might pay back and add my trip report as a Mexico first timer, for anybody else planning a trip
We travelled with Thomas Cook (separate review) to ABBWR( separate review) from 18th May till 2nd June.
The hotel was fantastic and a great fit for us. Beautiful beach with breathtaking snorkelling yards from our room. Man I miss seeing turtles every day! Food fairly good, though as usual, a tad tiring after two weeks. The staff couldn't do enough for you and it felt very personal and welcoming. For more about resort, see my other review.
We went of several excursions:
Akumal Monkey Sanctuary-We paid online the day before, got a discount and a taxi there and back for 500 pesos (a bit steep I think but glad we didn't walk in the heat) We loved our trip there. Please see my review for details.
Xel-ha- booked through resort. Fairly pricey when we realised we could have done it cheaper DIY but again loved our day here and would come back if we came again
Sian Ka'an VIP boat trip- again booked through resort and very pricey. Didn't realise how pricey till we got the credit card bill, back home. We enjoyed our day and were glad we didn't do the jeep tour. We saw lots of wildlife (dolphins, big turtles, eagles and crocs) but feel, for the price and the long arduous day that it wasn't really worth it.
Chichen Itza/Xcajum cenote/Vallodolid-this was a VIP tour in a small mini-van with no other pick-ups which cut travelling time, to and from Chichen to around 2 hours, which for an extra 10 dollars each was definitely worth it. Chichen was incredible and incredibly hot. Xcajum was an absolute joy. Just as impressive as the other major cenote in the area but practically empty. Only a short stop in Vallodolid but loved it. Would go back if we came again. Found a wonderful restaurant, serving the BEST cocktails I've ever had! Good to cool you down in 40c!
A few things that I wondered about before I came and seem to be common questions:
Safety: while it's true it's no rural English village (what I'm used to) it wasn't the culture shock I was expecting. We made a few unescorted trips out and were unlucky to have a couple incidents. In the Oxxo on Akumal Beach, we tried to buy some crisps and snacks and the woman behind the counter took my money then pretended I never gave her it and made me pay twice. Another time we got a taxi to La Buena Vida but decided to walk back and there was a police car that had stopped some tourists and one was in handcuffs with a black eye. Don't know what had happened there! In our two weeks that was the only time we were even uneasy. The resort felt safer than my own home and all our trips out were smooth! I'm not ignorant, I suffer from anxiety and am somebody who is constantly alert and I wouldn't tell people they definitely ARE safe but I wouldn't hesitate and in fact am eager to return!
Weather: They are right. It WILL say rain and thunderstorms all day everyday but it won't. Whilst we were there the start of Storm Alberto ruined a good 3 days. Huffy other half had a dull birthday sampling all the cocktails on the menu as it poured down all day 👌
We were a little down by day three of rain (especially as it was so nice back home) but it cleared up perfectly for the rest of the stay and I would visit that time of year again.
Stomach issues- yes, both of us. For two weeks solid. Lost a stone. Did all the pro-biotics beforehand, laid off the coconut and too much booze ect. Didn't see any bad hygiene methods and ate in lots of places with guest friends we met, not sharing our experiencs.Guess just one of those things. Maybe I will be immune for next time.
Mosquitos- yes, bloody loads. Nothing worked either. Got bites so bad I could bend my leg at one point. Ended up covering up. So what, it's the jungle. It's to be expected.
Overall I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life. This area has such an abundance of wildlife, scenery, culture, history and just generally fantastic things to do, I could have spent a year there and not been bored. I completely fell in love.
I would urge anybody who loves wildlife and adventure or indeed anybody who loves parties and fun (a friend was staying in Playacar in a cheap party hotel and loved it, though thats not me!) To go and experience this wonderful part of the world.
Happy to answer any questions too!