Catalonia Yucatan Beach
Travel Blogs from Puerto Aventuras
We made up our minds to do everything today that we didn't have time to do the rest of the week, which suddenly seemed like a lot:
- win the archery competition
- climb a coconut tree
- follow Olga for the day
- jump in biggest waves ever
- try the swim-up bar
- eat at the creperie
The morning started …
Today we were up early with purpose! A quick double check of our items, a quick breakfast (and grab a few croissants for the road) and we were waiting for our tour guide to pick us up at 7:40am. Today we were headed to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, as well as the Jungle Maya adventure tour.
The morning consisted of the Jungle Maya, which took …
Well, I'll be the first to admit it, I'm tired today. All the sun and sea has tuckered me out. I think it's going to be a quiet day... We even woke up later, around 7:30am, instead of the usual 6:30am. Go figure.
Breakfast, then a little relaxing in the room and liberal sunscreen application before going down to Archery again this morning …
Time has a habit of standing still here, but it also seems to be going far too fast. You'll look at the time sitting by the ocean and only 5 minutes have passed when you feel like hours have, but then the sun is setting and it's bedtime. It's weird.
Another earlyish day for us, as in up before 8 again, and down to breakfast and a walk to …
It really can be hot here. Yesterday, for some reason, we didn't really notice the heat and humidity, but we sure did today. Still got up early, since we went to bed early too... but even then, as soon as you step outside the air conditioned room, the weather is always, undoubtedly balmy.
Took a walk down to the marina today, which is a …
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Historical Traveler Reviews Catalonia Yucatan Beach Puerto Aventuras
My 5-year-old daughter and I just returned from a weeks vacation at the Cameleon Marival Jan 20-26. We had the most wonderful time there and couldn't have been happier with the resort. We actually stayed at the Lookea side of the resort, it's the sister hotel, but we used both pools, restaurants, etc. The Lookea side was a bit quieter with the animation, there were only 2 or 3 people in the pool at a time. It seemed like you had the whole place to yourself, even though the hotel was fully booked. I have to say that EVERYBODY, maid, cooks, animators or front desk staff did their best to make you feel comfortable and special. The animation staff was wonderful, from getting everybody to have fun during the day at the pool and beach to the shows at night, they did everything and were amazing. The food was good, we only went to the buffets and the snack bar, so I'm not sure about the gourmet restaurant, but I only heard rave reviews. There was plenty of variety at the buffet, something for everyone. The only time I got sick was after eating off the premises at a little restaurant in town. The beach was different...it has a dead coral reef right off shore, so there are big rocks in the crystal clear water, and the coral washes up on the beach, but there are always workers raking up the coral. There's also a lagune where you can get a kayak and paddle around, fun to do as well.
We also did the Tulum Xel-ha trip. Definately worth the money, but I would take a whole day for Xel-ha the next time. We will definately be back to the Cameleon, and would recommend the hotel to anyone considering the Riviera Maya. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or concerns, I'd be glad to help if I can.
Food so so
spent the week of Aug 6 thru Aug 13 at the CM the Beach was not quite what I would have liked to see and the food was to say the least not good. the Rooms were Great and the Staff was very friendly. I wasnt real happy being stuck on the Lookea side the French just didnt really seem to happy to be with Americans . If you plan on Brushing your teeth use the bottled water the Tap water is horrible. We took a day trip to Cozemel had lunch at the Hard Rock nice Trip and Senor Frog's is a Must My advice is first Day go to Playa and to the Farmicia and get some Lomodal.
A truly great holiday
My husband and I spent two weeks in July at the CM. Our room was on the Lookea side and we had a million dollar view. The room was a good size, very clean and the air conditioning worked very well. We found all of the staff to be friendly and helpful. Reading the reviews here was so helpful in planning our trip. Beach shoes made walking in the water much easier. Snorkelling was great right in front of the hotel (we were first timers and absolutely loved it!)- watch you don't burn as time goes by really quickly when you are snorkelling. We wore a ball cap backwards to protect our head and neck from burning. The food was fine.
Lots of choices. Drinks were good - try the Miami Beach (like a pina colada) and the flaming coffee or flaming dessert in the Mexican a la carte restaurant - it is quite a show. Kayaking in the lagoon is fun - look for the iguanas on the rocks. Try a Hobbie-Cat ride - it is fun!
The evening shows we saw were great! Be sure to pack some Immodium or Pepto - eating and drinking differently and to excess can be hard on your system! For excursions we went to Tulum (half day trip) - very chaotic getting into the site but we enjoyed the guided tour and are glad we went (take water and wear good walking shoes and a hat!) We went to Cozumel and went on the Atlantis Submarine to 110 feet under the water along the reefs. What amazing sights. Also went to Playa del Carmen - lots of good buys but very high pressure by vendors. The marina near the hotel has some shops but prices are set (no pressure) but seemed higher than in town. Also at the marina, you can watch the dolphin shows from a sidewalk restaurant while enjoying a drink, if you don't want to actually interact with them. We booked our vacation with Air Transat and we were very pleased from beginning to end.
Ver Very Nice
My boyfriend and I stayed at the CM for a week at the beginning of May.
The grounds were beautiful and well-maintained, the staff (with the exception of the front desk) was pleasant and helpful and the food was tasty. Head to the lobby bar after dinner and check out Lupo (he sounds like Neil Diamond with a Latin flair and I mean that as a compliment) and Sylvia-- they are great entertainers and very nice.
A few words about the one negative during the vacation-- we were placed on the Lookea side due to the CM being sold out. When we asked to move to the CM side, the process turned into a 2 day ordeal involving several trips to the front desk. Ultimately, on our third morning, the desk moved us to a great room with a view and a king size bed on the CM side. So, there was no lasting damage-- just a little incovenience.
Definitely, pay $11-$12 and go check out Playa del Carmen. It is such a cute area with great beaches and fun nightlife. Also, make some time to and go to the Marina (10 minute walk). On our last day, we rented a car and went to Xel-Ha. Xel-Ha is really fun with great snorkeling, plenty of places to eat and drink, inner-tube river float trips and even a few small cliffs suitable for jumping.
All in all, we had a really fun vacation and would return to the CM!
We had never been to an all-inc. resort before, so we weren't sure what to expect. When we arrived, we were put on the international side (the Lookea) because of over booking on the CM side. We were very glad we were put in the Lookea. It wasn't nearly as crowded or as loud as the American side. The pool had, at the most, maybe 20 people in it. The main pool on the CM side was always crowded. Our first room was loud because it was near the disco. Also, the room safe didn't work, so we were moved the next morning to room 4122 which had an awesome view!! We were right above our daughter, son-in-law and 5 month old grandson. Our beautiful 7 sunny days went by way too quickly. WORD OF CAUTION: Don't brush your teeth with the sink water!! I came home with an angry critter in my intestines and if I hadn't had the foresight to ask my dr. for a "just in case antibiotic" my vacation would have been ruined.
I had 3 days of Cipro which carried me over until I could get home. I had stomach cramps from hell and I was convinced what I actually had was 10 knives enjoying a fencing duel while I silently prayed for a quick death. If you sunburn easily or have little munchkins I would recommend Coppertone Water Babies Spectra. Our pale 5 month old grandson was kept slathered at all times and he NEVER got even a little pink. This includes the day we ferried over to Cozumel and drove all over the island in a very rusted VW convertible with the passenger mirror that was attatched to the rented car with twist ties. We found the staff to be very friendly. The front desk people must have read some of the reviews, because while they weren't exactly service oriented, they were civil. And as for Julio...he must like 53 year old American grandmas with no make-up and frizzy-thanks-to-the-humidity hair because he winked at me. I felt most honored after reading what others had said about him. The food was plentiful and we could always find food we liked. The hot food was always hot and the cold food was always cold. The Mex. restaurant was ok. It was my husband's birthday and they baked him a cake and plopped a funny hat and wig on him. The Italian restaurant was very good. Be sure and get the tiramasu. WOW!
yum-yum We found the international side to have very nice people from France, Canada, and England. Smile and be friendly and people from other countries will smile and be friendly to you. We were there over the 4th of July and the CM had a nice celebration for those from the USA. An English gal mentioned to my daughter that she had no idea the 4th of July was so important to Americans. :-) The Americans that day were searching each other out to wish each other a nice Independence Day. (Ah...American pride!!) The Mexicans are very family oriented and they love babies. My daughter quickly became used to the workers (both men and women) taking John out of her arms, the stroller, or the high chair and walking off with him while they cooed and talked to him in Spanish. Juanito (Little John), as he became known, loved all the attention and rewarded them with giggles, squeals, and giant smiles.
Bottom line: Would we go back? Absolutely!!!
We're ready to go back!
Just returned from a week at Cameleon Marival, June 12-19. The four of us (wife and two kids, 10 and 8 year old girls) had a great time. For us this vacation and resort were a perfect match! We booked the trip through ATA Vacations and were very pleased with them. All air, transfers, hotel, fees, surcharges, taxes, etc are included in ATAs price so we had no surprises. The trip from Cancun airport to the resort takes approx. 1 hour. Once at the Cameleon check in was quick and business like. Our bags were brought to our room immediately and were able to settle in quickly (we arrived at about 6pm). Our room was on the top level of one of the "villas" on the Lookea side of the property (30 steps up) and had a view of the ocean and the grounds. The room itself was large enough for the four of us, the bath large and clean. There is nothing fancy about the room but the maid service was exceptional! The room was always spotless after maid service. The resort complex was always spotless, maintained and very pretty. We liked that the place is sized so that you can get around without losing your breath going from your room to the pool. The food: the buffet is large, plenty of seating, open air, with views of the pools and beach/ocean. It isn't air conditioned but with the breeze it is comfortable to sit even in the middle of the day. We felt that the food was always good to excellent, always a variety, always hot or cold enough as required. If you sit at a table nearer the outside the breeze will cool down your food. The wait staff will quickly come to take your drink order though refills may or may not happen. You can get you own refills if you wish. We never waited to be seated but that might happen if the place is booked solid. I couldn't imagine more than a 5 minute wait as the empty tables are quickly cleared and reset! The buffet line was non-existent for us.
There would be times you might wait a moment for access to a particular dish but there was no line for the buffet itself! As for our tastes- we are not interested in gourmet dishes. We enjoyed all the dishes- from the salads, breads, soups, hot foods, cheeses, deserts (great deserts!). We tried the Italian and Mexican sit down and be served restaurants upstairs from the buffet and really enjoyed that! Great meals, great views of the ocean and beach, great Mayan coffee. My daughters were very impressed at the burning liquor process! I felt the sit down restaurants could have used a little more air conditioning as I was bit sunburned by then. The buffet serves breakfast from 7 to 11:30, lunch from 12:30 to 4:30, dinner from 6:30 to 11pm. The Bamboleo pool side bar serves snacks and drinks from midmorning to very late.
Hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, veggies, etc. so there is always something to eat and drink. It was great to be able to send the kids over there if they got hungry. The swim up bar was fun, the Bambeleo has a bar, there is a nice bar up from the lobby with live music in the evening, the theater has a bar, drink orders were often taken at the pools from roving waiters- drinks were never a problem for us. They serve domestic brands which may not suit everyone. The beer is tap and I never did ask what brand. The drinks are served mostly in 8oz. cups so if you are really thirsty you may want to order 2 or three at a time. I couldn't say if the drinks are weak- I mostly drank beer and pina coladas and did feel quite well off on one night in particular. It would be nice to have international brands and maybe an in room mini-bar but that would add to the cost of the resort to be sure. The pools, three (and use of the Lookeas big pool), were clean, never too crowded and fun. The Animation Staff were always offering something to do all day and into the night if you wanted! The pool games and music kept things lively. If you want it a little quieter there were plenty of beach side loungers available. We can't say enough about the animation staff! They all pretty much start their day at 9am and don't stop till 12:30am at the disco next door! My kids loved them and especially the evening shows in the theater! The shows may be a little campy but we always had fun going/participating! My kids will probably always remember those shows and staff! The beach we thought was nice.
Yes, there are spots of old reef that you may not want to step on but there is plenty of area where you can wade in and swim. There is a lot of sand and loungers spread around the beach and lagoon area. You should pick out a couple loungers on the beach or pool under the umbrellas by 9am if you want some shade later. Those tend to be claimed early on. Beach towels are provided one per guest. You are issued a plastic card at check in to exchange for a towel (don't lose your card-$30.00). I think the towel shed opens at 8 or 9am and closes at 6pm. We often kept towels till the next morning. No problem. I thought the beach, lagoon, and reef were beautiful and interesting to walk and explore. I love a pristine beach area as much as anyone but I also loved discovering crabs, shells, fish, and watching the waves crash in on the rock! My kids did their share of discovery along the water. The snorkeling is fine right off the beach as long as the surf doesn't stir the bottom too much. Go to the bridge to see a lot of fish! Straight out is some old reef but I saw quite a few pretty fish and the water is shallow and good for looking for bits of shell and coral.Don't expect live coral teeming with fish and sea life, though. The coral is mostly gone but the rock and old reef still attract fish. I understand one can take a snorkel tour boat out to the live reefs. We also saw a fair sized barracuda hanging out at the north side of the cove. We read some complaints about the lagoon. We found it to be clean, calm water that was fine for kayaking, learning windsurfing, swimming, etc. I thought it was a bonus if it was too rough at the beach and you wanted to do something watery. Kayaks, paddle boats, snorkeling, windsurfers, boogie boards, hobiecats (with captain), were always readily available (one hour intervals). We never had to wait to use any water sport equipment and they never ran out of equipment during our stay- one of my worries was that there wouldn't be enough stuff to go around but that did not happen. Other sports: beach volleyball, pool volleyball, soccer, bicycles, tennis, handball, table tennis, bocce ball, shuffle board, pool tables, fitness room, dance lessons, water aerobics, and probably a few other sports/activities are available that I am forgetting. There is a kids club though my girls didn't check it out so I can't comment on that. My kids met a 9 year old girl from England and the three hung out together most of the whole week! The weather was as expected, hot (85-90) and humid. We had a few rain showers move through during the week. It might rain for a minute or a half hour then it would move on and the sun would return. The breeze came in straight off the ocean and was pretty consistent during our week. I thought the weather was fine for the season. I could do with less humidity but one could always jump in the pool or ocean or take a break in the room (the air conditioning worked flawlessly). A couple cool drinks work wonders as well. What to do? I would be happy enjoying what the resort offers for the whole week but we did go out a few times. The village of Puerto Adventuras is a 10 minute stroll from the resort entrance. There are shops, restaurants, pharmacy, internet cafe, etc. but the main attraction is the Dolphin Discovery. The dolphins can be watched for free from any point in the village area and we let our kids do the encounter with the dolphins.
The marina also offers boat rides, cruises, fishing trips, etc. We also went to Xel-Ha for a day and did a lot more snorkeling. If you go here be sure to snorkel along the floating bridge- lots of fish big and small and we saw a few rays there. Go into the cave at the other end of the bridge- pretty cool! We didn't really have enough time at Xel-Ha.
We might suggest renting a car for the day and taking in Xel-Ha and maybe Tulum at your own pace. My wife took the kids and friend to Playa Del Carmen about a 20 minute ride back up the coast for an afternoon of shopping. Plenty of shops there according to the ladies (not my bag! I went for a Hobie Cat sail instead). Puerto Adventuras is pretty much by itself on the coast and there isn't as much for night life (though I didn't go looking for it!) and shopping nearby. The sister resort next door (literally) has a disco but I don't think there was much else.
This was fine for us as we had all our fun during the day and up to about 10:30pm when the show was over. This was plenty for us being a family vacation. Puerto Adventuras is a completely gated and fenced town and we never heard of or experienced any problems. We always felt safe and comfortable. Beach vendors were non existent. Vendors were allowed to set up a few tables on the garden sidewalks on a few evenings. Nothing pushy or obtrusive. There was a little stand by the pool were you could get hair braids and/or select and paint pottery to be glazed and taken home. Complaints?? The only room complaint is the fact that other doors closing echoed through the stairways and could be heard. I never heard any neighbors but we were on the top level which probably helped. Some online messages stated the front desk staff were rude. I never got that impression, I felt they were efficient, courteous, and business like. Check in, check out and any questions we had were handled quickly. Being an international destination there were a few topless sunbathers. My kids were a little surprised but we explained that this isn't the USA and not to think too much of it.
Topless isn't allowed at the pools but a few women did so anyway. My only other complaint is that the week went by much too quickly!! I tend to be pretty easy-going and willing to overlook things while traveling on vacation. My wife, on the other hand, can have a sharp eye. She wants a nice clean room, good service, and all the amenities as advertised, etc. If she doesn't feel she is getting what she is paying for someone will hear about it! Cameleon Marival did not give her one thing to complain about- NOT ONE THING! Trust me, that is saying a lot for this resort! My brief opinion: new, clean, relaxing, a lot to do, great staff in all departments, great location (away from any touristy hustle-bustle), fun, great for families, couples seeking relaxation, maybe not so great for singles looking for a party, a great value!! I think you get more than what you pay for here! Sincerely, Dave Drews, Downers Grove, Illinois, USA Feel free to email with specific questions? (see my wifes review also listed here). Go and have a great time!!
My boyfriend and I recently stayed at the Cameleon Marival from May 24-29. We enjoyed our stay at CM and found it a great place for rest and relaxation. The area was very safe, quiet, and secluded. It was nearly an hour away from Cancun and 20 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. We were told taking taxis around was the best and safest route to go and we did just that when heading into Playa del Carmen. However, if you plan on going to Cancun city, it's cheaper to rent a car then taking a taxi. Plus it gives you more freedom to roam around downtown Cancun and the Hotel Zone. I do NOT recommend driving in Playa del Carmen because it is just chaos over there. The hotel grounds and surroundings were very well kept and clean. Same goes for our hotel room; we were put in the sister hotel (Lookea), but had a great view of the pool side and out into the ocean. Our hotel room did not have a "Do no disturb" sign, so sleeping-in was a bit difficult since the housekeeping staff usually comes by in the morning. It will be very helpful if you can learn how to say "Can you come back later (or at this time" in Spanish because not many of the housekeeping staff understood English. Despite the inconvenience of getting their job done, they were always very friendly. The staff, in general, were very friendly and courteous.The buffet resturant was pretty good....lots of variety, liked the theme nights.... International night was the best and Oriental night wasn't the greatest (then again I'm Chinese =P). Look for Roberto at the buffet resturant, he's the friendliest of them all. I thought the buffet resturant was better then the A La Carte resturants, but if you want to go I suggest checking out the Italian one. The snack bar was pretty good if you get tired of the buffet. It had pizza, burgers, hotdogs, etc. Great place for getting a midnite snack of you're hungry at night. A suggestion for all, pack some water bottles to bring with you. The only place you can get purified drinking water is at the water at the gift store. We ended up buying bottled water our first night there and just refilling them throughout our stay, but would have been nice if we knew ahead of time to bring large water bottles instead. If anyone plans on just lounging around the beach, this is not the best place because the beach was small and rocky. It was still a beautiful spot to look out onto the ocean. The lagoon area was very nice. The hotel had paddle boats and kayaks and you can take out onto the lagoon. Wear lots of sunscrean because there is no shade when you're paddling away in the lagoon area.If you get a chance, check out the Aquaworld beach stand. They offer a variety of excursions in and around Cancun and the staff took very good care of us on our trips and tours. Check out the day trip to Cozumel island for shopping and snorkeling; it was well worth the time. The Aquaworld staff that took us out for snorkeling at Cozumel were just awsome!I would defintely come back to Cameleon Marival again and recommend it to anyone who wants some nice quiet R&R.
8 days of paradise
Tax-return in hand, I roamed internet sites for hours looking for the perfect, affordable vacation to take my mind off the real world for 8 days and 8 nights. I chose Puerto Aventuras. We arrived to hot, humid, windy weather, caught a van to the hotel, and found out we were moved to the sister hotel, Lookea. We cranked the AC, investigated our fairly large room and jumped in our suits to hit the ocean. Bring aqua socks, the beach is saturated with coral. We ate at the Buffet that night and were amazed by the selection of International cuisine. The buffet was good, but one night it would be an "A", the next a "C" at best. If you like breakfast like I do, make it to the buffet for the omlettes with fresh pico de gallo. First Fault: I need caffeine in the morning and there is only one place to get it in the morning... the buffet. I would wake up, get acosted by my girlfriend to go get coffee, roll my sunburn ass out of the plank they call a bed, walk about 300 yds, either pour their ulser causing acidic coffee or make two espressos, and drip scalding coffee on my blistered, sunburned feet during the scamper back to our room. After I was caffeinated, I would make it to their pseudo-gym to lift some weights and then return to the room for a quick shower before making it to breakfast. We would then spend the remainder of the day sitting under an umbrella, drinking alcohol, and eating at whatever restaurant was open. Make it to both the Italian and Mexican restaurants for dinner and if you want some good seafood, go to the marina down the road. I thought for sure I was going to end up buying one of the condos and retiring at 24, but the prices weren't in Pesos, but Dollars. The hotel administration is below average, the hotel staff is above average. Bring some $1's, hand them out liberally, practice your spanish with the staff and their smiles become broader. The rooms were cleaned every morning and the resort was being painted and repaired daily, keeping up the beautiful grounds. I hntences. If you are looking for a place to go where you will have no agenda to keep, you want to eat when you're hungry, drink when your thirsty, sit under an umbrella or in your room with the AC cranked catching up on CNN or watching a movie on HBO, this is your place.
We Recommend This Hotel & The whole area, ETC.!!
I just want to RECOMMEND the MARIVAL to anyone out there looking for a place to stay, an all-inclusive, and not looking to pay for a 5 star resort. It is only a 3 1/2 star rating. And we got a very good price on it. I was worried about the rating but it was much better than our 4 star hotel in Cuba. Much much better. In fact, we were more than pleasantly surprised! It has A LOT TO OFFER.The resort is on a bay. There are 2 sides to the resort, one being the CAMELEON and the other side the LOOKEA. We were put into the LOOKEA side, why? we don't know, but we overlooked the beautiful pool and could see the ocean (the pool and bar were more interesting). We were on the top floor (4th) in 4145.......perfect. There are elevators, but we used the stairs to wear off some of those calories accumulated (chocolate cream cake - my favourite. Or maybe the chocolate ice cream sundae's, or the cream puffs). If I were you I would request a view, as we did see a few rooms (only a few) on the Cameleon side that looked onto a slanted walkway up to the 3rd floor and onto walls. Just don't get those rooms. Of course, your travel representative there should be able to help you if you did get one of those rooms. Oh, what the heck....it wouldn't matter anyway......you never have time to sit on your sundeck anyway......it's better sitting at the beach or around the pool. And at other times you're out exploring, walking to see the dolphins, walking to the stores at Puerto Aventuras, or looking at the beautiful boats at the marina there. (Or you can bike there). Or you might be playing pool, foos ball, or ping pong, or volleyball; or just sitting, people-watching or doing exercises, or learning to dance or sleeping or reading that book you've wanted to read for a long time.The ROOMS have tile floors. Very clean. They wash them every day. They gave us sealed bottled water every day (great to take on the bus). We had 2 double beds (you can ask for a King bed). It is air-conditioned, no ceiling fans. There are safes in the rooms (extra charge per day). The resort is pretty, lots of foliage. Thatched roofs for that Mexican look. We found lots to do there. Bikes, free to use; kayaks, free to use in the lagoon next to the resort (look for iguanas sunbathing on the rocks); hammocks all in one place for relaxing; a few large pools; kids pool; kid's activities (the staff were good with the kids, I wouldn't hesitate to leave my grandchildren with them); 2 pool bars (watered down drinks though.....but I'm not a drinker so I didn't care); volleyball; bocce ball; tennis. Lots of walking to be done.....rocky area to the north requires foot protection, sand at the resort, but coral always being washed in. They had young Mexican boys cleaning the coral, etc. off the beach every day. There's a golf course up the road, within walking distance.We SNORKELED just about every day, just straight out from the resort. There's an octopus in the rocks on the right side of the bay (near where you see some lucky duck getting a massage at the next hotel). Saw lots of colorful fish and beautiful corals.There is ENTERTAINMENT everynight I believe. International night was good, not as classy as you would see on a cruise, but the staff do well. It's all a repeat after one week. But it seemed most people were there just for one week anyway (poor guys......I need at least 2 weeks to relax). The woman and man that sang in one of the indoor bars had very good voices......some people were dancing. There is a disco for the lively bunch. Also another large bar in a room all its own between the Italian Restaurant and the Mexican Restaurant. They serve special coffee there too, around 4pm? or was that in the evening? Can't remember. We had a Heather Cream there before bed.......no I don't drink, but this was an exception......it was wonderful. We had a spanish speaking friend with us and he would talk the bartender into this Heather Cream a few more times. So creamy........hmmmmmmLet's see, where am I. I tend to be one who rattles on and loses track...............brain rust from living on Vancouver Island during our rainy winters.We did have to throw our towels and books onto lounges at breakfast time, to reserve a place on the beach. Everyone else did and if you didn't you may not get a place. But there was always room at the pool on the Lookea side. I didn't go to the other side to lay. But I did go by there to the snack bar to get my nachos and cheese and coke and chicken. At supper time the SNACK BAR becomes a STEAKHOUSE. The beef seems to be tough in Mexico....maybe it's the left overs of a bull fight! Of it was just one of those days. There is a wagon of Mexican ceramics there every day. You can buy something already done or paint something yourself. I wish now that I would have painted something as my souvenir and given it to my mother. She would have treasured what her daughter did (Mom's are like that). Kids would love this too.Also, in the evenings, Mexicans set up their wares. One night, the Lookea side; the next night, the Cameleon side, etc. You really have to bargain as they start with very high prices. After Playa del Carmen I realized that the best bargains are not to be found at the hotel. At least, not for me. I bought the ceramic vegies on a rope for 90 pesos there. And in one place in Playa del Carmen I saw them prepriced (no bargaining) at 70 pesos ($7usd). And I had been so pleased at 90 pesos. Oh well, the mexicans deserve it as they work so hard and get small wages).You can use any pool. They supply big beach towels. You supply the sunscreen. Don't want cancer, do you?We all get colored bracelets to identify you as staying there. We had ones that let us use everything, the two buffets, etc. But it looked like some on the Cameleon side had different bracelets and they couldn't use the Lookea restaurant. I don't know why, as we didn't pay any extra. Maybe our travel friend who spoke spanish with the staff when we got there, got us a deal. Who knows!Oh yes........pack so you don't have to use their washer and dryers $$$$$$$$. It was ridiculous. And one washer hardly took in any water. I think it was $6 to wash one load, or was that in Canadian ($4 USD) Don't remember. If you have to, use the washer in the corner......water seemed to not be a problem with that one. Staff was very friendly. Try to say some spanish. One requirement for the restaurants' staff was to know some english and some italian, (and maybe some french) so you can communicate to a degree. The buffet was very good. The desserts killed me.....I came home 5 pounds heavier (I noticed the plane tilting on my side on the way home).There is also a little shop for logo stuff. Actually there is a shop on both sides.....biggest one on the Cameleon side. Shirts, souvenirs, postcards, etc.Don't use the phone at the hotel......will cost you an arm and a leg. Your representative will explain that. Mexico telephone company wants your money!The hotel is in a NICE AREA for walking (whole area is called PUERTO AVENTURAS and we walked often to the highway and caught a BUS......to Tulum, to Playa del Carmen, to Casa Cenote, to Akumal, etc.We found out after a few days that the nicest big air-conditioned buses that go along between Playa del Carmen and Belize, are the cheapest. Just wave at them and if they have room they will pick you up. The white vans (15 pesos, sometimes 10 pesos) that go by every 10 minutes and less, are more expensive but a good way to travel too. If they don't stop you know they don't have room for you. Both are much much cheaper than taxis. The bus was 7 pesos, and it will let you off where you want to go, or into PLAYA DEL CARMEN. You just have to catch it at the bus depot to go home. The bus depot is on 5th where all the shopping is, very convenient. The bank is also on 5th. Now, isn't that convenient for the women!!!! So you can shop till you drop and then catch the bus home (if the man of the house lets you). The ferry to Cozumel is just off 5th too. It's all very simple after you relax; also realize someone will always help you. We were all tourists and everyone talks to everyone.....and all are helpful. The mexicans too! Take along santizer handy wipes (they come in little packages to put in your purse or pocket) to wash your hands after handling money and wares; you can pick up a bug (sickness) if you don't keep your hands clean. This is my BEST ADVICE to anyone travelling in Mexico. I would recommend the other 2 RUINS instead of TULUM if you are interested in history. We did Tulum and it was okay but you can't climb on anything as it is roped off now. Lots of tourists. Small beautiful beach there. You have to pay to use your video camera there.....I never did figure that one out. COBA is suppose to be very wonderful but very humid in the jungle and I didn't think I could take the heat. Maybe next time. I think I will go on the snorkeling trip on COZUMEL next time too. One gal told me it was awesome. We snorkelled at the park on Cozumel. I would like to go back for a few days to really see the island. Nice ferry. We saw a turtle in the turtle grass when we snorkeled at AKUMAL, south of our hotel (had to take the bus). Nice beach! Nice area. Old cannons underneath the water on the left hand side near the shore. Make sure to check out the turtle grass too if you are snorkeling. Things hide in there.....like large conch shells (most are someone's home, but they are fun to find and show someone and then put back, much to the relief of the critter inside).You are lucky I haven't looked at my diary notes or this would be much much longer. We had a really fun time and I could say much more. Oh, on the road to CASA CENOTE (it's free) and the ocean beach there, we did see a crunched black scorpion, done in by a tourist. Made you realize what was lurking in the jungle. Shells on the beach there. A cenote is a sink hole with fresh water in it.....etc.We never had mosquitoes or flies or bugs at our resort. They must stay in the jungle.The tips are already paid in the amount you pay your travel agent at the Marival Cameleon. The workers make a small wage but get a set amount of tips that we have already paid in our package. That was nice to know. A mexican worker told us that. But it doesn't hurt to tip a little extra for someone that goes above and beyond the call of duty. I love the Mexican people. Most seem very friendly and appreciate that we are the reason they have jobs.Okay, enough. I'm just excited about our holiday. It was so good. The only thing my husband didn't like (besides my shopping) was the sound of the lawn mower one day at the resort.......reminded him of home. He didn't miss one day of snorkeling, even if it got windy. Snorkeling was the best part......I wish I was a diver! Next life.To sum this up, I would say I'd go here again if I was looking for an all-inclusive that is not secluded. Who wants seclusion? If I had money to burn I would have swam with the dolphins just for the fun of it. ($80 or $85 usd) It looked neat. And I should have paid to see some of the best cenotes to swim in them. Next time! We hope to go back next year for longer (3 or 4 weeks? Maybe not an all-inclusive as we ate too much - no will power here); God willing. We will pick the same area. And now it's back to reality. Cold rain. Housework. My cooking (the worst). I miss the mango for breakfast, and the rest of the zillion calories I ate.I met a little girl from Italy at the resort. Was it ever fun trying to communicate with her. I didn't know a word of Italian. I must e-mail her. We met lots of nice people.......I'm ready to go back...JANps Don't check in any valuables at big grocery stores.......you could get your stuff stolen....as we did. Long story short, the young man that worked in the store and stole some silver jewellry we had just bought in Playa del Carmen is now in jail in Cancun. Swift justice......sure different than Canada where he would have gotten his hand slapped for theft, if that. Our politicians need a wake up call. The store wanted to make sure we were looked after and not to take home complaints. (They gave us money to cover the cost of our stolen article.) We were impressed.The only not-nice thing of our trip was the AIR TRANSAT trip home to Canada, with a very very lousy meal (almost inedible) and a F (fail) rated movie (I don't know where they dug it up from but it must have been given to them free or they found it thrown out in the garbage somewhere). I don't like to complain but I think I should send them a letter on that. Not that it will do any good I'm sure.I'M OUT OF HERE NOW!!!. I hope I've helped someone out there by this review. You can e-mail me if you have any questions. Please don't e-mail me if you have complaints. This is my first review I've written and I'm having a good day so far. ADIOS!!!
Great Vacation... Great Resort
My husband and I just returned from a week long stay at the Cameleon Marival and all I can say is wow! We have been on four caribbean vacations, this was our first in Mexico and it was much more than we had anticipated! After a disasterous trip to the Dominican Republic 2 years ago we were a bit uneasy...no need to be!
We were guaranteed Ocean Front View so upon check-in the hotel immediately put us in Club Lookea, it's attached sister property, so we wouldn't have to give up the view. No problem there. Lookea does cater to the French but as we had use of every feature of both resorts this wasn't an issue!
The rooms were typical of the Caribbean, though ours was exceptionally clean. A dollar or two on the pillow each morning does wonders! The only downfall...funny colored shower water!
The food was great! Neither of us got sick during our stay even when eating off the property! There was a wide variety to choose from. The only tip here...make reservations for the specialty restaurants the day you get there! They book up fast! Also don't bother with the Mexican Restaurant. We went with another couple and all agreed it was horrible! Between the two restaurants is a great hidden bar...it took us four days to find it!
Entertainment was good as well...both during the day and at night. Staff was courteous and the bartenders were great!
All in all, if you are looking for a relaxing week of fun, sun and optional activities with food you can actually eat, I would highly recommend this resort!