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#175951 - 04/17/05 12:10 AM not about belize
sweetjane Offline
hey...any of you guys been to the mayan riviera? i'm thinking of going and wanted to know if anyone has had good experiences there. thanks. i know it's not AC, but maybe next trip...

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#175952 - 04/18/05 02:16 AM Re: not about belize
Bobber Offline
Hi Jane, if you are looking for more partying, Playa Del Carmen or north. If you want to kick back, Akumel is laid back and fairly relaxed. You might even look at Isla Mujeres, nice beach, still a small island atmosphere with friendly folk. If you are looking for an all-inclusive, they seem to be pretty much the same (except some are crappy and some aren't).
_________________________
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

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#175953 - 04/18/05 05:50 PM Re: not about belize
LaurieMar Offline
Yes, I have been several times (before I discovered Belize!). It is nice. Stay away from Cancun. Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Cozumel are great places. Go to Xacaret and Xel Ha for snorkelikng. Tulum for ruins. I have also stayed on Isla Mujeres and it was pretty nice as well.

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#175954 - 04/18/05 06:04 PM Re: not about belize
mountain Larry Offline
Hi Jane, Nice to hear (see) your voice. Amy (VBall coach) and I were in the area last month. The weather was nice but we both wished we had saved our money and gone to Belize again. As for Isla Mujeres, We liked it better than the mainland it will remind you a little of AC. Have fun, Mountain Larry

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#175955 - 04/18/05 06:14 PM Re: not about belize
XIIthMan Offline
We stayed in PDC in '98 (still fairly slow and small) and in '03 (lots bigger but still not Cancun). We did go to Huatulco in Oaxaca last December and liked it alot. More like what PDC was! Nine more sleeps till Belize!!

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#175956 - 04/19/05 12:48 PM Re: not about belize
dbdoberman Offline
SJ, I recently visited Xcalak, but if you don't dive or snokel alot, you might get bored here. Akumal and Tulum are slower paced than PDC, not AC, but enjoyable.

I have been to PDC, and you can have fun. I enjoyed that famous tourist trap -- Avenida 5, especially at night. It's just a neat pedestrian shopping area with shops, bars, restaurants, etc.
You can get to Chichen Itza easy from here, and it is a must see. I can't say that I would ever stay here again, as PDC and Cancun are really not my thing, but you will have a good time.

On my way back up the coast, I visited Coba. Although I had a jeep, I went on a tour with
www.alltournative.com You can catch this tour from Tulum or PDC.

The Mayan Encounter is an eco adventure tour that includes Coba ruins and a Mayan Community where you will be able to: rappel into the "Jaguar" cenote, zip line above the jungle canopy, walking in the jungle and canoing in the lagoon.

The Mayan Encounter has two destinations: Pac Chen and Chimuch. I would suggest Pac Chen.
You can reserve on line (specify Pac Chen) and get a 10% discount as well.

This was an all day thing, but I enjoyed it alot.

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#175957 - 04/19/05 08:39 PM Re: not about belize
Barbara K Offline
Haven't been to the Mayan Riviera in a while but I just got back from Panama which was AWESOME!!!!!
_________________________
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#175958 - 04/20/05 05:37 AM Re: not about belize
Kra-Z-K Offline
Barbara, I will be in Belize for awhile and want to go to Panama, too. Could you tell me where you went in Panama and your recommendations??

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#175959 - 04/20/05 06:27 PM Re: not about belize
Barbara K Offline
Taca would be the airline with connecting service from Belize to Panama City (via El Salvador). I spent most of my time in Panama City and at a resort near Colon where the Central America Tradeshow was held. Panama City is very cosmopolitan and cool, with a European flavor. Great clubs, restaurants, hotels - felt pretty safe, we walked everywhere. I stayed at 3 hotels in the city - Marriott, Radisson & Intercontinental - all great but different from each other. I can give you specifics in an email if you like. The trade show was held at the Sol Melia Colon which was converted from the old US School of the Americas (AKA school of the assassins! eek ) Looked nice but was pretty bogus with service and amenities. Located on Gatun Lake which was nice for wildlife, water actvities (I kayaked) etc. OK place for the jungle lodge experience but MUCH larger and more impersonal than Belize's jungle lodges. Friendly staff, several bars, disco, kareoke, terrible food! Avoid the town of Colon - dirty and dangerous (we had armed guards "escorting" our bus!!) Then I traveled around with the tourist board to The N shore (Caribbean) to the historic town of Portobello. Looked like decent beaches along the way but we didn't get to stop. There is a fort in the town which is cool and a cathedral dedicated to the Black Christ where someone had a vision/visitation. Lots of great crafts, small village atmosphere. Access to islands off the coast. Diving. Relitively un developed with a few small guest houses, etc. No big hotels. I also traveled to another rainforest resort which was also on Gatun Lake but further south (Gamboa Rainforest Resort). Big massive place with canopy tram, water activities, spa, lots of meeting space, great food, several restaurants, botanical gardens. Not my kind of place but nice, well run. Big. Good for people who want the idea of being in the jungle but with all the amenities/pretentiousness of a big resort. My favorite place was Isla Contadora off the S coast (Pacific). Small island 15 minute flight ($64 R/T ) from Panama City. Very cute. Great beaches, diving, 3 hotels, a few B&B's, a few restaurants & bars. Lots of islands all around. Probably great fishing. Island is pretty walkable - we did about half the island and 4 separate beaches. One nude beach. Very nice place. Great family location as most of the places had playgrounds, etc. Probably some surfing but I din't see anyone.

Overall I liked Panama very much. Relitively inexpensive, very friendly people, some English spoken (big American influence). Lots of variety. There seemed to be great beachs about 1 1/2 hrs S/W of P, City (pacific - surfing) but I didn't get there (got the spiel from the hoteliers and the brochures!). There are also lots of islands off the N coast (Caribbean - diving) like the San Blas, Bocas del Toro, etc. Lots of indigenous culture, not fully exploited yet. They do a lot of business travel but not a lot of leisure (vacation) travel so are looking to increase that. In some ways the coasts reminded me of Belize 10 years ago (average food, poor amenities) just starting with tourism. But Panama City is totally hip and awesome. And the Pacific side beaches have big chain hotels, all inclusives, "party" places. I will post pictures soon.
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#175960 - 04/21/05 04:04 AM Re: not about belize
Kra-Z-K Offline
Please do post some pictures, your review was excellent to read and I greatly appreciate it.
Ke

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