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About ucfchuck

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  1. Hey all! Thanks for getting back to me. I will respond in order. JohninDC: Sanborn's is really what I am after. I know very little about Playa Del Carmen other than that it is a mainland resort town across from Cozumel. I remember the ferry across when I went to go see Tulum. I had earlier thought about going to Coba, and still might want to at some point, but for this trip, I am doing the Xunantunich site in Belize instead, and just planning on doing something more foodie based/cheaper in Cozumel. I like ruins, but I think there is something to be said for variety. That said, my worry was that most places in Cozumel's downtown would be somewhat touristy. CrewSweeper: That information you provided was what I was looking for. And you seem to know enough of Sanborn's to know what I'm talking about, so I trust ya : ) https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sanborns/@20.6290842,-87.0711726,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8f4e432fb225c6ab:0x731145d27b1dfef0!8m2!3d20.6299377!4d-87.0706254 Here is the current location for the Sanborn's. I see a number of other attractions near there including a Frida Kahlo museum (that is my wife's favorite artist). Is that particularly interesting? Are there other things worth seeing that are cultural and/or historic that wouldn't be found in the San Miguel area? SmokinMike: Thanks for the recommendations, sounds like you have some good experience there. HOSKI: It's pretty enjoyable then and there's various things to see? What types of places would you look at when spending the day, I heard there was some type of market? I'm open minded, but last time we only explored briefly while close to the ship after the ruin tour, and while it was reasonably nice, it kind of felt more like many touristy shops/strip mall type places, but maybe that's because we didn't go out far enough, or were in the wrong area. Sid: Thanks for some good local recommendations!
  2. Hello All, Looking for advice on a day in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen spent eating, walking, checking out cool stuff, that ideally isn't over touristy. When we visited Mexico City in March, one stop we really enjoyed was Sanborn's. I know full well it is a chain, and I get that it won't have quite the same aesthetic, ambiance, maybe even quality of the Casa de los Azulejos location in Centro Historico, but, it's still Sanborn's. So, getting there might be one of our goals for the day. That said, our questions are as follows. 1. Safety of walking around central areas of Cozumel/Playa del Carmen in daytime? 2. Ferry service between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen? Cost, logistics, reliability in relation to the cruise ship? 3. Interesting, preferably safe streets to walk around, obviously it will be more touristy than many places in Mexico in general, but some places that aren't quite that way, but still walkable/pleasant to be around. Thanks in advance!
  3. Haha! Puerto Rico, Cayman and Aruba, while nice, aren't countries, they're all territories belonging to other countries:) : ) But they are all interesting in their own way. Thank you for reporting back! I hope to get to all of them though some will be more difficult than others (Nicaragua is having some stability issues right now, in particular as is El Salvador).
  4. Thank you for your input! Yeah, that seems to be a 2 for 2 for the fact that doing the self guided walk here: https://www.frommers.com/destinations/belize-city/walking-tours ...is not the best idea. I have been around other LatAm and Caribbean port cities (Nassau, San Juan, etc.) on walks like this and I haven't had much trouble, but I'm getting the impression the city isn't as safe and pedestrian friendly or with as many noteworthy sites as these have. That said, I know that the cruise excursions might be somewhat overpriced, but whether I do cruise excursion or independent company excursion, I will sign up for something in advance. I haven't decided which yet, though for certain. I know in one of Cozumel or Belize City I would like to a ruin tour, and in the other of the two I wouldn't mind doing something on the water, but I'm not sure which. I'm leaning towards booking an excursion to Xunantunich in Belize City, and doing something water related or just eating at a few places and walking around in Cozumel, but that is not set in stone yet, either.
  5. Just wanted to see how well traveled some of my other fellow cruisers are! So, there are 21 countries in what is considered North Latin America (Central America/Mexico), and the Caribbean. So far, I have been blessed enough to get to the following (places where I have seen the capital are starred, also): Been: -Mexico* -Guatemala -Costa Rica -Panama -Belize -Honduras -Bahamas* Additional Non-Countries Been To: -Puerto Rico* -Cayman Islands* -Aruba* Haven't Been: -Antigua and Barbuda -Barbados -Cuba -Dominica -Dominican Republic -El Salvador -Grenada -Haiti -Jamaica -Nicaragua -Saint Kitts and Nevis -Saint Lucia -Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -Trinidad and Tobago So I've seen a decent bit, but still have some work to do! Cruises go to a fair amount of these, but not all. I think my favorite place I've been period in this region would be Mexico City, but that is cheating I suppose since not a cruise port, and so I'll say San Juan, Puerto Rico. Part of that perhaps to do with my wife having heritage from there, but also, it's just a nice, well rounded place. San Juan functions as arguably the Caribbean's most complete city, filled with history/culture and other attractions, great food, and the natural scenery of Puerto Rico is spectacular with caves, desert, mountains and rainforest all within an hour's drive of the capital. My most eye opening experience was in Guatemala, near Lake Atitlan, where I saw very pretty landscapes, but also just heart wrenching levels of poverty that it wouldn't occur to someone exists in North America around 1000 miles from Miami which has one of the highest purchasing power levels on the planet.
  6. Thank you for your input! I certainly will take that into account then. Out of curiosity, was this from the cruise itself, and how long ago were you given this guidance? I certainly believe whoever said it, but I wanted to make sure this was the most recent situation on the ground. That said, I'm not sure the risk vs. reward for a place like Belize City is all that great, as it's downtown likely doesn't have as much character even as a decent sized American coastal town like Beaufort or Galveston (roughly the same, maybe), let alone some of the Great Latin American cities/capitals I've had the chance to visit even right in the Caribbean (like San Juan). I'm very much leaning towards perhaps doing ruins here like say Xunantunich, though I have heard the barrier reef can be quite outstanding here. Is the reef snorkeling here much better than in Cozumel? Or could I just do that there and enjoy just as well? Belize City looks to have the best selection from a ruins standpoint.
  7. I was originally going to book an independent excursion to Coba from Cozumel. However, in doing some more research and seeking additional input, I think I may now be hitting ruins in Belize City (Xunantunich, which had a population at it's peak of 200K, about 2/3 of ALL OF BELIZE'S present day population). Chichen Itza is by some considered the New York City of the Mayan world, that said, it's 3 hours out, so unless your content with rushing around the whole site in an hour? Better to save your money. I've bemoaned in other threads the fact that cruise lines rarely if ever offer routes that allow one to stop at Progreso (which has best access to cenotes, several biosphere reserves, gorgeous towns like Merida and Izamal, and some of Mexico's most acclaimed ruin sites, like Chichen Itza and Uxmal and dozens of others. It's a hub of sorts. However, on that, I plan to just take matters into my own hands. We have a family cruise planned this November that hits Grand Cayman, Roatan (Honduras), Belize City and Cozumel, but at some point in the next several years, I plan to simply spend around 4-5 days with the lovely city of Merida, capital of the Yucatan region as my base, and stay in an AirBNB. Ultimately, everyone can make their own decisions, but Chichen Itza looks to me like a place I'd want to stay a minimum of 3 hours at. So, I'd rather get a feel for some of the closer to the coast ruins that actually allow time and don't take up the whole day (on a previous trip, we quite enjoyed the ruins of Tulum), and go to the most famous inland ones later. That's if I ever get over my obsession/admitted snobbery with DF (Mexico City) though. Even though I just went in March, it is certainly the most vibrant, exciting cultured, varied offering city I've seen in Latin America (and top 5 in world), and I'd probably choose going back there over hitting a number of other places for the first time. Anyways, I know that's longer than you probably wanted but I digress. Short version? Tulum (not that big but a gorgeous setting), Chacchoben (Costa Maya), and Xunantunich (Belize City area ruins in general), would be my top picks for a cruise like this. Cheers! : )
  8. https://www.frommers.com/destinations/belize-city/walking-tours How is the situation on the ground in Belize City of late, would walking around and hitting these spots during the day be pretty safe overall, from your perspective? Otherwise, are there potentially local tour guides that would be willing to take you on a route similar to this for perhaps a nominal fee (like 20-25$ pp. for 2 hours?) I personally think it would be great fun, however I have unique tastes as I understand it, and most tourists that go there aren't going for the architecture and the history. I want to see a proud former capital of a country, and see how it has adjusted since the hurricane, and how it has and can use it's major tourist amenity (Mayan ruins/barrier reef), to transition itself into a cool and relaxing little base town for adventures. That said, if anyone also has recommended food stops, coffee shops, etc. I'm interested in that as well as most places in town have a limited number of Google reviews. FWIW, I may be doing an excursion here and not even have time to explore the town, but at the same time, I'd like to have the option as well.
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