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Your Trip to the Royals

 

Getting Ready:

At timeshare resorts, just as at other accommodations, careful trip planning can make the difference between a Royal vacation or stressful "..why didn't I remember.." vacation. We offer these travel tips to help make your Caribbean stay perfect.

Buy your tickets as soon as possible and find out if the fare includes all taxes, particularly the departure tax, which if not prepaid, must be paid in cash before you leave Mexico. Vans, taxis and buses are available at the Cancun airport for transport to the resort, but you can arrange transport in advance with the Royals' travel agency, Thomas Moore. Call 1-800-930-5050 or e-mail : vtm@royalresorts.com to make these arrangements in advance. For larger groups private transport is available and economical. Entertainment-Plus

Each Royal resort will exchange money or travelers checks into pesos at their lobby desks at about the best rate you can get (they do not change pesos to dollars). Current rates are posted in the lobby and at the Royals' website. Beware of the little exchange booths which almost always charge a commission or short change you. Electricity is the same as in the U.S.A. and television also follows the US standard which is NTSC.

Another thing you might want to do in preparation is order the Entertainment Plus 2X1 card for savings on dining. The card website also offers tours at substantial savings over the Thomas Moore tours. You can check out the details of this card and the tours at: Entertainment Plus 2 for 1 Card

 

What to Bring:

Photo ID's will be required to get on the plane and a birth certificate with raised seal (and marriage license if a name changed) or passports will be needed at immigration. Children travelling without both parents will need special authorization to leave the country, so check those requirements with the airline. As of December 31, 2006, a passport will be required to enter the U.S. when traveling to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by air or sea. Effective December 31, 2007, anyone traveling across the U.S. border by air, land, or sea will be required to present a passport or valid identification for entry.

The Royals supply hair dryers, if there is not one in the room call the front desk and one will be delivered. Items not furnished may include: paper towels and liquid soap for hand dishwashing. The kitchens all have automatic dishwashers and soap powder for them is furnished. There are no laundry facilities in the units, but each resort has an attended laundry room for guest use (fee charged).

There are limits as to the amount of film, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages that can be taken into Mexico. Cigarettes in Mexico are as cheap as anywhere in the USA. For duty free limits, call the airline. When packing, keep in mind that you may be bringing back more than you came with. Do not attempt to bring any beef, raw fruit or vegetables into Mexico.

 

When You Arrive in Cancun:

You will enter the airport and then proceed first to immigration. Unless you get lucky, there will be lines to wait in. After you pass through immigration put the paperwork in a safe place as you will need it to leave the country. Next stop is to pick up your baggage, so memorize your flight number. After picking up your luggage, you head to customs where you will be asked to press a button. If you get a green light you pass, if you get the red light, they will check through your luggage. Do not bring beef, fresh fruits or vegetables into Mexico.

After customs a porter will grab your luggage or you can take it out of the airport to where all the taxis and vans are. Look for a Thomas Moore sign or whatever sign it would be for pre-arranged transport. Last I heard cabs were around $ 40-45 (agree on fee before you get in). Van transport is usually $ 8-10 per person.

When you arrive at the resort a bellman will take your bags. Go into the lobby and check in. Your luggage will be delivered to your unit (a tip of around $ 1 per bag is suggested).

 

The Resorts:

The Royal Islander, Royal Caribbean and Royal Mayan are all together, with the Royal Caribbean in the middle of this 3 resort complex. Club International (VCI) is located closer to downtown on the bay, while the Royal Sands is located in between, about 3-1/2 KM from the tri-Royals. The facilities and amenities of all 5 Royals are available to members/guests at any of these resorts. The Royal Solaris and the infamous Royal Sunset are not a part of the Royal Resorts of Cancun group.

Daily maid service is provided, except on Sunday and some Holidays. A concierge and assistant will be assigned to your unit, but you should be aware that one of their duties is selling of resort memberships at the newest resort, the Royal Sands. They will provide you with invitations to free events- the orientation (Sunday AM), the welcome party (Sunday PM) and the cocktail party. They will also provide you with a discount card (10-15% off) at selected Cancun restaurants. There is a loose leaf book in each side of the unit that details the rules (which should be read immediately) and other information.

Each resort has an ocean beach with palapas, chaises, chairs and tables provided for the use of guests. Each resort also has pool(s) with chaises, chairs, tables and a swim up bar. Drinks and food can be purchased from waiters at the beach or poolside. Generally the pool/beach happy hour (2 for 1) is 3PM to 5 PM. Each resort has a sports desk where you can sign out beach towels (1 per guest) and sports equipment such as golf clubs, tennis rackets and balls, snorkeling gear and more. Sailboats are available at the Royal Marina for 1 hour per day at the Royal Marina (next to Captain's Cove restaurant) or at the VCI beach. Beach towels can be exchanged as required (no charge), but be sure that you turn them in prior to departure and get your slip back or you will be charged 110 pesos per towel.

All charges at the resorts are made to a card which also doubles as a room key. It is a good idea to match your charge slips to the bill in the unlikely event an error should occur. On Thursday night or Friday morning an itemized bill will be delivered under your door ( a breakdown of charges by card is available). This bill can be paid by cash or credit card, but checks are not acceptable. When you pay your bill on Friday or Saturday you will be given a check out card. You can then charge up to $ 30 (US) to a credit card if you present the card. When you leave the resort give this card to the bellman as this will inform the resort that your unit is available to be cleaned. A day prior to departure, I suggest you confirm your flight schedule with the airline. I usually take my tickets or itinerary to the travel desk and ask them to do the confirmation as I am not proficient in Spanish.

The resorts have a full range of activities, both for adults and children and a book detailing them along with other data will be given to you at the orientation meeting. It is highly recommended that you attend this meeting. There is a Spa at the Royal Sands and it is one of the few amenities where a daily usage charge applies. Many spa services such as massages and beauty treatments are available at extra cost.

There is at least one restaurant at each Royal resort and they all have an all you can eat breakfast buffet. The Royal Sands even has a lunch buffet. The Royal Mayan has a restaurant called El Conquistador which is one of the finest in Cancun. It is only open for dinner and does have an affordable "sunset special" menu for early dining. Reservations are required and El Conquistador is next to the Royal Mayan lobby at pool level. Each of the restaurants also has special theme nights and information is posted in several common areas about these nights.

 

Transportation in Cancun:

Transportation is largely a matter of personal preference. If you like driving around and doing trips on your own schedule, then a car rental may be for you. You can rent by the week(s) or day(s) and there is an elite car rental desk at the resorts. On the other hand, parking is often hard to find in many places, gasoline is expensive and the public and private transportation is good. The resorts even offer a free shuttle service between the tri-Royals and the Sands and back every hour and every two hours between the Sands and VCI (with a stop at the Pok-Ta-Pok golf course included). The schedules are not in writing yet, so its best to check on them when you arrive. There is no service on Saturday.

Local buses run about every 5 minutes or less until late at night (less frequently) and cost 6 pesos per person per trip (no transfers). They run from Wet and Wild to downtown and beyond. All the buses run to downtown, with R-2s running to Walmart and beyond. On the way back from downtown be sure to get on a bus that says "hoteles" or "hotel zone". Tell the driver where you are going to get off and press the buzzer when you approach your stop. Hang on to the ticket you get(for the duration of the bus trip) in the event the bus auditors get on and request it.

Taxis are waiting on call at the resorts and start at 60 pesos per trip for up to four people. Prices are posted at the resorts fixing the cost to popular destinations. Tipping is discouraged unless an extra service is provided. The rates on the street and downtown are much less than at the resorts or mall cab stands. While it costs 120 pesos to go to Walmart, I have paid as little as 50 pesos to get back. Fares should be established clearly before you get in the cab. Rates on the street may be quoted in pesos or dollars and I have paid as little as $ 2 for a trip within the downtown area. Vans can also be obtained for personally scheduled trips.

Shopping:

Each resort has its own mini-market, but a better selection and price can be found downtown. Chedraui and Commercial Mexicano are two stores in the downtown area on Tulum avenue that carry groceries and many department store items as well. Walmart and Sam's club located just beyond downtown have groceries too. There is even a Costco and another Commercial Mexicano in a plaza not far from Walmart. The hotel zone has many plazas and flea markets for souvenirs, clothing, jewelry and other items. Strong bargaining and price awareness is suggested when bargaining outside the malls. There is also a place called Market 28 where items for sale are a little more geared towards locals. If you go there, try the seafood restaurant there called El Cejas.

English is fairly widely spoken in Cancun and US currency is almost as readily accepted as pesos. When the exchange rate is higher (pesos per dollar) than the resort is offering, it is better to pay in dollars when the option is offered. There are limits on the total value of goods you can bring back to the US duty free. Liquor and cigarettes have specific quantity limits. Liquor can be purchased in the lower level of the airport at the Duty Free shop with US currency at somewhat competitive prices as you are preparing to leave the country. I believe the limits are 1 or 2 bottles of liquor and 1 carton of cigarettes per person. It is illegal to bring Cuban Cigars back to the USA, but customs is looking for large quantities and they generally have no problem with you bringing back one or two. Cuban cigars are both overpriced and overrated.

Precautions:

  1. Drink the water in the hotel zone and at the resorts. It is purified and safe. Sickness is generally more the result of Tequila and other liquor products and dehydration. There are some bacteria that are different that may cause some minor problems, but generally its not the water. Downtown and outside of Cancun, the water is more suspect as a cause of problems.
  2. Mosquito like bumps in areas under where swimsuits are worn after swimming in the ocean may be a condition called "seabathers' rash" or "the bumps". If this occurs, do not wear the swimsuit you had on again unless you wash and dry it. This condition is caused by the stings of jellyfish larvae that get trapped under swimsuits. This condition may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Topical applications on affected areas with hydrocortizone seem to alleviate the itching as well as anything. This occurs generally from March through August and there is no way to easily tell on a day to day basis if the larvae are present. When the condition is evident, signs are sometimes now posted on the beach. For more information on this problem see: Sea-Bathers Eruptions
  3. Trips to Chitzen Itza and other remote areas may expose you a very small risk of malaria. Insect repellent is advised for such excursions.
  4. Exercise normal cautions that you would on any vacation. Do not display large quantities of currency and don't give your resort and unit number to strangers. Cancun is generally safer than most US cities.

Also please visit:
Cancun Dining Guide
Tony's Web Page