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First Time To Cancun?

Sometimes guests will complain about just one thing in Cancun.  Its just after you clear customs and head out from the airport.  People will be asking you if you want a taxi.  Its actually far better than it used to be.  However, the easy way around this is simple.  Walk with purpose.  Normally you will have already booked your transfer and once you get outside you will be looking for a sign with the name of your transfer company on it.  People rarely approach me when i'm moving through the airport because they can see I know where I'm going and walking with a purpose.  

If you have chosen to take a taxi always talk price in advance of getting in the taxi.  A fair price to a hotel in the hotel zone is $45 for one person, and expect to pay about $10 per person beyond that.  

Plug adapters?

No, not needed in Cancun.

How much do I tip?

Tipping is obviously objective, but here are some norms for various things.

Concierge taking your luggage up to the penthouse: $2-$3 per luggage piece.

If you have groceries also going up figure $3-$4 per luggage piece.

If you are on the all inclusive, I recommend you tip $1 per drink at the bars.  At the restaurant tips are discretionary.  Technically tips are built into the cost of the all inclusive but what most do not know is that this amount is only about 3%.  So please do not hesitate to make someones day.

Going out on the boat with Mike, if you are very happy, $50-$100

For Francis or Abdiel after your stay:  This depends so much on if you want them to be of service to you during your stay.  A lot of folks want to be left alone, some want a degree of help, and others will ask our managers to be a big part of their vacation.  Its very hard to say on this one, use your gut feeling is the best I can offer you.

Should we always give at least something to Abdiel or Francis?  Yes, please, this is the culture in Mexico.  Even if its just $10 it shows you care and are happy with their service.

Transfer company driver: 10-15% of the total is ok.

Other services such as jet skis, parasailing: 10-15%

Tour guides: 10-15%

In home cooking we offer:  This is very subjective.  The only thing I would point out, is that this is being done at our raw cost.  If it were marked up, the cost for food along with the service would be a lot more.  I think around 15% of the total between the food and service total would be reasonable.  The ladies do purchase the groceries on their own, and we almost always have 2 people prepare the meals.  Thank you for your wanting to learn more about this.

Your Money

Its a good idea to go to your bank and get a lot of singles for your vacation.  They are great for tips in a tip rich culture.  The locals much prefer dollars to pesos.  Bringing $30-$40 or more in singles will make life easier.

Should I exchange dollars for pesos?  Yes, absolutely, but you don't need to exchange that much.  The reason is many local restaurants and services will not give you a fair shake on the exchange rate.  DO NOT exchange dollars for pesos at the airport, its a terrible rate.  The hotel offers exchanges but their rate isn't great.  Please ask Abdiel or Francis, depending on who you manager is, for details.  They will guide you to an exchange house that is close and has a strong exchange rate.

How much do you recommend cashing in?  It depends on so many factors, how many are in your group, how often do you plan to go out to restaurants, etc. where you want to use cash.  

Don't forget to use all your coins before you leave Cancun.  The coins add up fast because your change is always in pesos, never dollars (except at the airport on your way out).

What about using credit cards?  This is a great idea because the card is charged in pesos, then the credit card provider gives the exchange to dollars which is very fair.  It doesn't hurt to ask if the bill is charged to your card in pesos just to be sure, but this is the way it is supposed to be done.  Now it is important to note that with almost all credit cards there is an international fee of 3% on all credit card transactions.  But a 3% difference is much better than 10-15% difference often associated with giving dollars instead of pesos because of a bad exchange rate.

My cell phone in Mexico

Things have come a long way in a short amount of time.  Many people are already on a plan that includes unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and Canada.  If you are not on one of these plans, please visit your cell phone provider web site.  You can usually sign up for a temporary plan right there.  If not, definitely call your cell phone provider to get on a temporary plan while you are in Cancun.  It will save you a lot of money.  Almost all these temporary plans now will self terminate when you get back home, without the need to call.  But do verify this as all providers may not work that way just yet.  Of course once you are at the condo you have free wifi for all the streaming of music or video you want.

After you first arrive, you will normally find it necessary to dial the full country number until your phone calibrates itself to a new country.  For example, to dial a US number it would be 001-1 then the 10 digit number.  Or to dial a Mexico number it would be 011-52 plus the 10 digit number.  For some reason, my phone (Verizon user) only lets me dial back to the states when I use the country code, plus 1 and the 10 digits.  This is regardless of how long I have been in Cancun.  If you dial in Cancun to Cancun, if the number is a cell, you need to put the 1 in front of the 10 digit number.  If you are calling to a land line, only the 10 digits are necessary.  

Pack biodegradable sunscreen

There are a lot of chemicals in the non-biodegradable sunscreens.  The Mexican government doesn't want to see this used and going off into the Caribbean.  If you go on any tour, they will insist you wear biodegradable sunscreen and if you don't have it, they will happily sell it to you at a nice hefty profit margin.  This type of sunscreen is getting more and more common and you can find it at most stores in the US including

Night Life

The night clubs in Cancun are second to none in the world.  But the cover charges to get in are very high, you are looking at $30-$40 just to get into most of the Cancun night clubs.  After that, the drinks are expensive and on top of that you can barely move because they are so crowded.  So here is an idea that will save you a ton in cover charges, plus give you VIP seating AND this move also allows you to avoid the lines getting in.  For about $90US, this "tour" is known as the VIP party hopper tour.  For $80 you get to get into several of the hottest clubs in Cancun AND all your drinks are no charge, AND you bypass the lines to get in AND you get VIP seating.  It goes from 10pm to 3am.  It is the ultimate no-brainer.  My brother and I went to a lot of these clubs to celebrate the fact that he passed his board exam for his profession.  We spent a lot more than $80 just getting into the clubs, let a lone what we spent inside.  The link is:

First time renting a condo?

No problem.  The biggest difference is that there is no daily maid service.  You can get additional cleaning days if you like, you order those on the In House Services Booking page.

The check in is a little different.   When you arrive Abdiel or Francis is there at the resort to welcome you.  We ask that you email Abdiel or Francis when you arrive at the airport, just to have a better idea of when you will be getting to the resort.  Once you are at the resort Abdiel or Francis (which manager depends on which condo you booked) will welcome you.  They will work with concierge to make sure your bags are brought up promptly, along with any groceries you may have purchased.  Then they will show you around the penthouse and go over how to work the remotes and many other items that are in Spanish.  You can email Abdiel or Francis anytime if you should need something and they will respond promptly.  

This is a little different than most condo rentals.  With a condo rental, typically what you have is a condo complex with perhaps and pool and perhaps on the beach, maybe there is even a tennis court or a gym.  However we are part of a resort.  So we have a fully staffed 24 hour lobby, concierge, restaurants, bars, gym, spa, tennis court, and resort beach and pool.  You are entitled to use the resort lounge chairs by the pool and beach along with the resort umbrellas by the pool and shade tents on the beach.  Regarding getting a good spot, I recommend you get out there early, especially during high season.  its the same all along the strip.

Bath towels are provided along with linens and all the kitchenware for preparing and serving meals.

Best insect repellent

Mosquitos are not an issue in Cancun along the ocean, but they can be if you take a tour in the jungle.  If you take a tour like this, try Skin So Soft.  The product is amazing, works a lot better than OFF and similar brands and the smell is nice instead of toxic.  

Biodegradable sunscreen:

Packing this is a great idea.  Any water excursion you go on will require it, if you need to use sunscreen.  Regular sunscreen is not allowed anywhere, but they will have it for sale.  And of course, it will be way more than if you were to purchase it in advance of coming to Cancun.

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