Entrance into Mexico:
You must present a passport to the airline during check in to be admitted into Mexico and coming home. Single parents traveling with minor children need a notarized letter giving permission to leave the country from the other parent.
Arrival in Mexico:
You will first present your papers at Immigration, then pick up your luggage. You will then proceed to the customs check point which is the “Stop and Go”. You press the button and if the light turns green you walk right through, if it is red you will be asked to step aside and your bags may be inspected.
What to Pack:
Bathing Suits, Sunglasses, Suntan Lotion, Sun Hat and a Lightweight Windbreaker, Sweater or Shawl. Bring your Diver Certification if you have it. Also bring your own SCUBA or SNORKELING gear if you have it. You cannot rent tubes and masks, fins can be rented from the Akumal Dive Shop in Akumal. Bring one pair of comfortable rubber soled shoes for climbing Mayan pyramids, walking and tennis. Camera, a small flashlight, shorts and lightweight shirts, one lightweight pair of long pants, socks and insect repellent for jungle treks. Bring your own music (iPod, iPhone, laptop, etc). Most properties have the docks for these electronics.
Ladies: one or two casual sun dresses or skirts if you like to dress up for dinner (you can buy colorful ethnic clothing at the boutiques in the area). After you finish packing … wait a day and unpack half of what you packed and leave it behind. You’ll be happy you did and will not miss it!
Gas Stations – Pemex locations:
Gas stations are located in numerous areas now, see the map with their locations. When you are near one fill your tank. Locations en route are – outside of Cancun just after you exit the airport, Puerto Morelos, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Adventuras and Tulum. If you take road trips to the ruins, etc. take the map with you, it will have most of the station locations on it. Click here for easy recommendations to pay exact cash for your gasoline and avoid any “misunderstandings” – How to buy gas in Mexico
Currency – Money Tips:
It is best to exchange your money into pesos upon arrival at your final destination. Always take your Passport if you are exchanging money at the banks or money exchange places. Take $20 and $50, NO WRITING OR TEARS on them. (You can give these at any of the grocery stores when you first arrive and they will give you change in pesos.) Take $100 bills to exchange at the bank. You can exchange $300 a day maximum.
In the Centro Maya in Playa del Carmen there are kiosks where you can exchange US dollars. In Akumal you will find a money exchange in the TSA Travel office behind The Original Akumal Dive Shop. You must have i. d. if you would like to cash your travelers checks. None of these places will give you the best exchange rate, the ScotiaBank in Tulum is the only bank that will exchange money and give you the best rate.
In Tulum here are several exchange windows in the Tulum town. It is best to bring sufficient cash/travelers checks and not be dependant on credit cards. There are many places that do not accept Credit Cards, ask first. Note: In Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras you will find your cards accepted almost everywhere, but once you head south cash is necessary.
There are several ATM’s in Tulum, one in the Bancomer at San Francisco Market, several at the various banks around. Bancomer is the easiest to get in and out of.
How much to bring?
$500 in cash per personper week for travel expenses should be plenty unless you expect to do a large amount of shopping. Only a few of the Restaurants in Akumal accept credit cards so that can be a consideration when planning your travel budget. Restaurants in Puerto Aventuras do accept credit cards.
Water in Mexico?
Is the water safe? Bottled water is readily available. All hotels and rental establishments will provide purified drinking water. All restaurants in the area at the major resorts wash their produce, etc. in purified water. All ice is also made with purified water. All rental properties provide bottled water for their clients.
Beach Health Tips:
The sun can be very intense in Mexico. It is best that you use sunscreen before you even venture into the sun. A bad burn can ruin a vacation. A hat and sunglasses are also a must for the seasoned sun bather. Sunscreen is a wonderful thing, it protects our bodies but it is not allowed if you plan on entering a cenote, caleta or lagoon. Sunscreen is prohibited in Yal-Ku Lagoon in Akumal and at Xel-Ha. Wear a t-shirt instead! Or plan to purchase some of their organic sunscreen.
If you do become ill with Montezuma’s Revenge the very best remedy is Super Immodium. Take some with you. Take 2 at the first rumble (do not think it will go away, it wont!); take 2 more at 4-6 hours, You should be ok after that. Or use the following recipe. It works every time. Squeeze the juice of two (2) fresh limes into a glass, add a good size pinch of salt and down like a shot. Symptoms will ease in about an hour, if it has not stopped in 2 hours repeat the treatment, you will feel much better by the next day. Lime will kill bacteria and microbes in your system. It is also served with most meals, use liberally.
Driving highway 307 can be a interesting experience. Please stay within the speed limit as marked and drive carefully. Important Note: If you see a car ahead of you with its left blinker on that is decreasing speed, this can mean either please feel free to pass, or I am making a left turn- So Please Pay Attention. To be on the safe side – When making a left hand turn – put on your blinker and pull over to the the right – wait for all traffic to pass and then turn left.
There is a large super market in Playa Del Carmen called Sorianna, it is in the Centro Mayo shopping mall on the south end of town. Akumal has two small groceries, the Super Chomak and a local Mayan store across the street at the entrance to the Akumal Arch.
In Tulum you will find the San Francisco Supermarket, very nice and completely remodeled. The newest is Chedraui, on the Boca Paila road (SF is on the right at the stop light, Chedraui is a block down (turn left at the light) some small local bakeries, fish markets, fruit markets, and liquor stores in Tulum town proper. Note: Playa has Wal-Marts (3), and Sam’s; Cancun has a conveniently located Costco. Unless you are planning to stay for several weeks, the bulk groceries are a little much.
We recommend renting a car so you can get around (Soliman Bay is 7 miles from Tulum and 11 miles from Akumal, approx 2 miles from the highway). If you choose not to rent a car there are public transports that will take you to Tulum, and then you get a taxi from Tulum to Soliman Bay. Since the transportation companies and prices change all the time, please let your booking agent know you are interested and they will be able to give you the latest information.