2021 has been a year that many people withdrew their plans, but now they are exploring the holidays. For those traveling for the next six months or so, here are some tips to help you plan. We have all seen how things change and how regulations affect our daily lives. We hope that with this information you feel more comfortable traveling and that you are prepared for some things that are still different from normal.
Current restrictions of covid-19
This is something that is asked of us a lot and that changes with the conditions. In general, face masks should be worn in public hotel spaces, walking down 5th Avenue and while shopping. Some stores limit the number of people at a time. No masks are needed for the beach or by the pool.
Most restaurants are open and most things feel pretty normal. Two notes on restaurants: Restaurants require masks to enter, but you can take them off once seated and make sure you bring your smartphone to scan menu codes. The Riviera Maya has been open for business since last year, so everyone is pretty used to living with Covid-19 right now.
Most tours and parks are open. Xavage Park opens in December. This is one of the last parks to reopen.
No covid-19 test is required to arrive in Mexico. If you need to take a test to leave, there are many places to take the test. Some hotels offer it if you stay a week or so. There, Cancun Airport even offers the test.
Tips on hotels for the winter season 2021-2022
Many people have postponed their travels at a possibly more predictable time. Having a lot of restrictions and changing regulations has kept a lot of people on the ground during the spring and summer of 2021. But now, waiting for the winter season, a lot of people are already booked into hotels. When talking to hotel owners, managers, and local travel agencies, many hotels are already booked in full or nearby. For those of you who want a certain hotel or better options, it is best to book as soon as possible.
Tip: Hotel stays are usually more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights. More people incorporate the weekend into their travels to extend vacation time. Prices between weeks are usually cheaper. Of course, you probably come for a week and that doesn’t help much. But if you travel there, staying in more expensive places (like Tulum or Playa) on weekdays and weekends in other places can save you a lot of money.
Tip: It can be overwhelming to select an all inclusive with so many options. Also, many want the perfect trip after the last two years. If you need help booking, we recommend a local travel agent based in the Riviera Maya. Lori stays and visits hotels and is very helpful to readers. Here is an article with your contact information if you need help booking a holiday.
Tip: If you are staying in an all-inclusive hotel, there will be some notable changes. Most law firms are not self-service at the moment. Most dishes are served to you. Some hotel functions are not open like nightclubs. Nightly shows are common in all-inclusive hotels. Many of these spaces are separate or in outdoor theaters. Cleaning is often done only every three days or on request. This prevents people from coming into your room often and providing you with your space.
Don’t expect discounts on accommodation. With high traffic rates on the Riviera Maya, there is no need to lower prices. This not only affects hotels, but also vacation rentals and short-term rentals, as we’ll talk about below.
Longer term accommodation booking
For those of you who may be coming for a longer stay and want to rent an apartment or vacation rental, get ready for a price hike. The pandemic has displaced many trips. Many people who tend to go to other destinations in the Caribbean or even Asia are exploring to get to Mexico. In addition to people looking for open countries, there are people with more flexible work arrangements. That means working remotely for some. Many more come for a few months to work online while sunbathing and having fun. Mexico’s tourist visa policies are also very generous and offer up to 180 days of travel in the country.
With a more diverse crowd arriving and people booking work or vacations, rental prices have gone up a lot. Many Airbnb owners only make shorter stays because it is also more profitable. What are some tips for this travel time?
- If you see a place you like, but only rent per night or weekly, write directly to the landlord and offer to pay for a long-term stay. This can work because a good client who wants a long stay has a guaranteed income.
- Making a reservation early is always good advice. Last minute options are usually the bottom of the speech type.
- Be sure to book in a neighborhood that suits you. Some nice-looking places are west of the Playa del Carmen road. This means you need public transportation or taxis to get around. This can add a lot of extra time and expense to your stay that you may not be interested in. Check out our guide on where to stay in Playa Del Carmen.
- Think of alternative cities or split your time between locations. If Playa Del Carmen is your main destination, it will probably be your highest cost per night (except Tulum). So, for example, if you come for three months, you could do two months in Playa del Carmen and split a month between two places. Merida offers a completely different atmosphere, for example. Merida is more affordable and is a great colonial city. Valladolid is a small colonial place that facilitates insertion into a community. There are even digital nomadic getaways to small towns like Espita.
- See our guide to renting apartments in Playa del Carmen here for more tips.
Transportation tips for traveling to Mexico
Travel with your ID
The first tip is one that covers all types of trips to Mexico. You must have proof of your stay in Mexico (your tourist or residence visa) and your identification with you during the trip. This has always been the requirement, but Mexico is checking and making sure people are in the country legally.
Some people, especially residents with visas, usually travel with a copy of their visas, as it is expensive to replace them if they are lost. However, copies are not legally accepted.
Why does Mexico check the legal status of people in the country? There are two main reasons. The first is that Mexico has an influx of people entering the country from the southern border and also flying to Mexico and looking to stay illegally. The second is the number of people who have passed tourist visas or have not legally extended their stays. Mexico has been generous in extending visas for humanitarian situations (i.e., Covid-19). The movement of people from Central and South America looking for opportunities has increased greatly since 2020, so Mexico is tightening with the immigration status check.
Transportation to the hotel from Cancun Airport
Since most people arrive by plane at Cancun Airport, you will need transportation to your hotel. Here we have a comprehensive guide on how to get to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun airport and also a guide on how to get to Tulum from Cancun airport. It is recommended to book your private transfers before you arrive so that you can have a driver waiting for you.
How to Save on Bus Travel
For those who can catch the ADO bus in Valladolid or perhaps in Chichen Itza, you can save on these trips. ADO offers a 20% discount if you purchase tickets 7 days or more in advance. This can be difficult to do if you only come for a week, most online purchases do not work with a foreign credit card on your website. Therefore, it requires going to one of the ADO bus stations in Playa Del Carmen to buy tickets. Even if you don’t buy 7 days in advance, it’s good to buy them a day or more before you travel. Some popular routes are booked quickly. Some weekend trips and buses going to Holbox often fill up quickly and leave you with expensive alternatives.
Domestic flights flying to Mexico
If you want to travel beyond the beaches of the Riviera Maya, you can easily reach all parts of Mexico by flights. Flights to Mexico are usually very affordable. We have a complete guide of local airlines with tips here.
Tip: For air travel, ARC (Airline Research Corporation) has shown in recent months that Sunday is the best day to buy your tickets and the worst is Friday due to increased demand.
Tip: In Mexico, in general, it is best to buy tickets about a month in advance. Also consider alternative airports. For example, if you travel here, you can leave Cancun or Merida to fly to Mexico City. Prices can vary greatly.
Tip: Mexican airlines can cancel last minute flights. It seems like a horrible thing to do and to customers and it should be protected. Most of the time a different day or credit is given. This does not help much with your reservations and hotel plans. Keep in mind that this can happen. The largest carrier, Aero Mexico, is better than the others, as it is a larger airline with more options for transporting people on other flights. It is also the most expensive airline.