7 boring but important things you should know before going to Quintana Roo, Mexico
A couple of things you should know before you go to Quintana Roo, Mexico (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, etc – Basically anywhere along the Caribbean coastline of Mexico).
First things first, make sure you have the departure tax. Whether you book independently or through an agency, all tourists have to pay this when they leave. It’s 1200 MXN, 65 USD or 50 GBP. They accept all currencies but not card payments. The minute we got to our hotel we separated this from our spendies and made sure it was left securely in the safe for when we left.
Oh and on that note, DO NOT lose your tourist card. You have to fill out a form on the way there where you give the authorities all of your details (passport info, where you are staying, etc). You then get part of the form back which you have to keep safe. There’s a fee of around £20 if you lose it which doesn’t sound like a lot but honestly, not losing a little bit of card if the easier option. Again, we just tucked ours in our passports and popped them in the safe.
Before I left I read a lot of conflicting information over whether to take pesos or US dollars and in the end I went with pesos. And yep, the local currency is king, obvs. I can see why Americans would take dollars but if you are from the UK, pesos are way easier. Don’t get me wrong though – You can use dollars. Jody had some and he bought some t-shirts with it but it only seems to work in stores that have a proper cash register (the screens tend to show prices in both currencies) or with tour operators.
The weather in the Quintana Roo region is bloody beautiful but when it rains, dear god it rains. Keep this in mind when you are packing – After spending days in tropical 30 degree sunshine the sudden drop to 20 and raining was a bit of a shock. I was grateful for the husband’s hoodie, put it that way!
Following on from this, it never hurts to do a bit of rainy day research. The day it rained on our holiday it rained from 11.30am tip around 6.30pm and it was relentless. We didn’t really plan so we ended up playing cards on the (covered) balcony and watching the one English film channel for most of it. Maybe have a look around for some indoor activities – A restaurant you’d really like to try, an English movie theatre or some tenpin bowling? I dunno but be ready just incase.
One mistake I made was under-estimating the cost of the area. I didn’t think it would be Bali/Thailand cheap but I didn’t think it would be as expensive as it was – Although it’s a prime holiday destination and is rather close to America so what did I expect? But, as with everywhere you go, it can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it so mooch around for deals etc. If something doesn’t have a price on you can haggle but I’m not one for it really.
My final piece of advice? Set an alarm and be up and at ’em in order to beat both the crowds and the relentless heat. Don’t get me wrong, most places will be busy regardless of what time you go, but a lot of the attractions (the Tulum ruins, Akumal bay) will be quieter first thing, before all of the tour groups get there. It’s also cooler then so you won’t sweat quite as much as you would at midday.