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   Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal   Chuck and Sharon ~ Saskatchewan, Canada

February 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya for 2 weeks the beginning of February. As such we used all of the Iberostar properties during our stay. For our review of the other Iberostar properties in the Mayan see their listings.

With exchange priveldges we spent a full day at the Tucan / Quetzel. This jungle resorts with wild birds and monkeys is like an tropical oasis in the middle of busy Playa Del Carmen. The resort is on the small side and an older property but your minutes away from shopping and the town site. The pool bar is in a small grotto separate from the main pool. A mobile ice cream cart and lunch served on the beach were nice features. The beach is small compared to the Iberostar Pariso complex but like the entire beach from Cancun to Playa it is experiencing severe erosion. To save the beaches they have installed huge sandbags all along the coast in front of all the resorts that look like and are the size of beached whales. Having to swim and walk amongst these 4 ft high monstrosities definitely reduced the appeal of this once amazing beach and would think twice before staying here. Unless you want the city amenities stay at the Del Mar or the Beach.
Pictures of the sand bags in January 2009 can be seen here: http://travel.webshots.com/album/563791730aikjyK

Other Comments: We would have enjoyed staying at any of the Iberostar properties but if you want a little higher end spend the extra money for the Lindo or Maya, you won't be disappointed. The Tucan and Quetzal were nice but small in comparison and the beach was disappointing. If you want a special treat upgrade to the Grand for a special ending to your holiday.


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   Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal    Cathy ~ Guelph Ont. Canada

January 2009

Arrival: Jan. 16 th to Jan 23 rd. 2009
Late arrival so we took a cab from the airport instead of the shuttle bus. Cost was $90.00 US. We arrived at the resort about an hour before the shuttle bus got there. We just avoided having to stop at all the other resorts along the way to drop off other people. The cab driver will stop along the way so you can pick up Servasa for the ride. If you decide to do this make sure you tell the tour rep that you will not be taking the shuttle so they are not then waiting or looking for you. Then you don't hold everyone else up. Check in was smooth and no problems.

Rooms:
Room was clean. Bed was firm but not uncomfortable. There was always fresh flower petals and some sort of anmial made out of towels on the bed everyday. My only issue was that at certain times of the day you could smell the drain in the bathroom and it wasn't very pleasant. If you run the shower then you don't smell it. Other than that, no complaints. There is a stocked mini bar with pop, water and beer. There is a coffe maker with tea, coffee and all the fixins. Nice views.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffets were good with lots of variety. The specialty restaurants were very good. We were very pleased with the steak restaurant. You usually can't get a good steak on vacation. The Mexican and the Italian were also very good. We did't go to the Japanese.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The jungle is awsome. It looks amazing at night. When walking the jungle path at night or in the day, heels are not recommended as it is a very unevern surface. Lots of waterfalls and wildlife to see. Monkeys, Peacocks, Flamingos, Ducks, Iguanas, Fish, Turtles, Birds, and some little critter that kind of looks like an overgrown squirrel without a tail. We're not sure what they were but they are everywhere. It's a very large resort. The beach was very nice, busy but nice. Large sand bags near the shore to keep the sand from washing away. Alot of people were letting the waves carry them over the sand bags but you have to be careful because the bags are rough in texture and covered in moss so they can be very slippery too.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Walked into Playa Del Carmen which takes about 35 to 40 min. Rented bicycles and rode into carmen. Looked in all the shops. There's alot of shopping, bars and restaurants but the vendors can be a little agressive. We took the ferry from Carmen over to Cozumel for a day to visit a bartender we met last year at the Iberostar there. You can get a day pass and you can eat, drink and use the pool but you already have to be staying at an Iberostar resort to do this. You can rent a car or take a cab for very cheap. It takes about an hour to drive the whole island of cozumel and there is alot of really cool little bars to see. Bob Marleys is great. Ferry ride is $11.00 US per person round trip. The ride can be pretty rocky. If you are weak in the stomach this might not be for you. The entertainment was fantastic, and there was lots of activities for kids and families.

Other Comments:
All in all, it was a great holiday. Loved the resort, would stay at another Iberostar anywhere. We would recomend this resort to anyone.


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   Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal   Stuart & Cathy ~ Glasgow, Scotland

September 2008

Just returned from the Iberostar Tucan in Playa del Carmen and was compelled to write this brief review. We travelled to Mexico from Scotland by Thomas Cook Airlines on 1st September which was uneventful apart from the poor quality of the food on-board. First Choice is so much better.

On arrival at the hotel it was 1600hrs. and the reception was in poor light even though it was glorious sunshine outside. This was ominous. Check-in was quick but no welcome drink as previously given by other hotels in Mexico, IE,Rui Tequila, just across the road.

On our arrival at our room we were stunned to see the lights on, as the room was in darkness due the trees invading our terrace and completely blocking out the perfect sunshine. Our room looked into a jungle in the middle of the complex. This is for the wild animals to roam about in, but it has completely got out of control and is now invading the terraces of the rooms. Someone needs to take control of this jungle before it takes over the whole hotel. The rooms are clean and tidy but your bed is a concrete base with a mattress on top and is extremely HARD. The table between the beds is concrete and the cabinet where the TV is, is also CONCRETE. Someone in Iberostar must have shares in a concrete factory!! We immediately complained and were moved a day later to a room overlooking the Sandos resort next door and with a partial sea-view. The rooms are tired looking and certainly could be brightened by a good paint job.

The food in this hotel is of a good standard but the meals seem to repeat themselves quite often. Chicken and Beef at ALL meal times. Seafood specialities were not very forthcoming. I think we saw shrimps once in our 2 week stay.

The only good part of our holiday was the the staff who were helpful, smiling and polite at all times.

Overall our holiday was just OK but it could have been better if this tired old hotel was brought into the 21st Century by a complete makeover.We will not be returning to the Tucan or any other Iberostar if this is the standard they say is 5 Star. The Rui's next door outclass this hotel by Light years.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Greg

March 2007

This is the second time for us and our other travel couple. We went to the Tucan in 2000 and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in 2004. We went back to the Tucan/Quetzal because it was smaller and closer to Playa del Carmen. Also, there is a strip mall about a 5 minute walk away. Very safe and lighted. All the Riu resorts line the side walk.

We were on the Quetzal side because we flew Funjet. Tucan is the Apple side.

Airlines-We flew Ryan International. Very good flight. Had a movie. Take your own headphones. They charge $5usd on the plane.

Our travel agent emailed the resort with our request that we be close to our friends, a king size bed and we wanted to be in building 21. We got all our requests. We were in room 2106 and the other couple was in 2112. Right across the hall. Ground floor. Excellent rooms. We were about 50 yds from the pool and ocean. We sat on our deck and watched the pool.

Restaurants-The Tropical was our favorite. Followed by the Japanese and then the Steakhouse. We didn't do the Mexican or Italian. Alittle disappointed with the Buffet. One night was suppose to be Seafood night. The only seafood we had was Shrimp. Expected lobster or crab. We were told it was out of season and they couldn't get it. Otherwise, plenty of variety in the buffet for breakfast and supper. Beach buffets also had a good variety.

Bar-we took a 32oz travel mug for our drinks. Saves having to go up all the time. Tipped the bartender a "Washington" occasionally and never had to tell them what we wanted after that. They knew.

Pool-pool water was very refreshing. Always had planned activities for the adults.

Maid Service-we always had a clean room. Many "towel animals" and curtain designs. Only suppose to fill the room refrigerators every other day. But once again, money talks.

Entertainment-The Star Friends really interact with the guests. They eat breakfast and lunch with the guests. So you really get to know them all personally. The nightly entertainment was also very good.

Beach-The Iberostar and the Sandos have the best beach and the most sand. The beaches between the Iberostar and Play del Carmen really took a beating from the hurricane last year.

The only thing we didn't care for was the kids. But I heard that the European kids were on vacation. All and all they were good. But, we found out that most kids were at the early dinner times. Maybe a later reservation, there wouldn't of been so many kids.

We will definitely be going back. We have had good luck with the Iberostar Resorts.

PS. We finally saw the wild monkeys climbing in the trees!!

Any questions you can email us at ebes2@charter.net


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Glenn & Eva ~ Surrey B.C. Canada

February 2007

4.5 star Definitely

Stayed @ Tucan Feb03-17/2007 .Group of 9 adults.Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal are one resort with two lobbies

Hotel ratings as follows:

Room clean; bed - firm,quiet,well maintained

Grounds and beach well maintained

Dining ..... Buffet menu varied every day except feature nights offered these in addition to the main menu Wed-lobster tails Thurs prawn and sushi all you can eat.Food was fresh and well prepared.Note: the beef dishes are well done .The desserts are very good Japanese restaurant, sushi starter followed by rice,chicken,beef,prawns,octopus.desert.Good presentation and quality. Italian restaurant,antipasta / salad bar starter ,the chicken parmasen as well as the veal ...excellent. Steak house salad/ seafood bar starter sirloin,new York, veal all very good.Cooked as requested. Beach buffets... Good Did not try the Med. Restaurant as there was an abundance of seafood at all venues. We decided to skip the Mexican restaurant.

Entertainment ...... The Show Theatre was repetitive but fun Lounges nightly musicians playing soft music. Beach sand bochie,beach parties dancing and grilled seafood,volleyball,horseshoes,bikini contest etc. Pool daily games,aerobics All drinks served by waitresses including the beach,or at the bars.They pour them as requested (doubles,triples) Should your preferred drink not be readily visible ask the bartender.

Location .... Playacar is a secure complex of containing many resorts within walking distance to Playa del Carmen (approx. 2miles) Cab service is excellent with no haggle rates ($5usd resort to play del carmen).We did not experience any trouble. Golfed playa parisio P.D. DYE design $125 usd (green fees sandwiches,beers, liqour and transportation included) The course was challenging and bunkers everywhere.Nice course Attractions i.e:Tulum,dolphins,Xcaret ,Cancun etc are within one hour from the Tucan. Their reps are in the lobby.

The beach at Iberostar Tucan is bordered by a Rui and the Sandos Playacar resorts.The beach is erroded beyond the Rui to Playa del Carmen

The negative;our maid service was not particularly good i.e: forgetting some task regularly, requiring a request from us.The other three rooms in our party had good maid service.

The resort is very good and will see our party again


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Curtis & Lisa ~ Alberta, Canada

January 2007

We went down with a group of 40 for our wedding which was held on Nov 29th. We had a blend of around 12 twenty something singles, 4 twenty something couples and the remainder was 45plus family and family friends. Everyone enjoyed themselves at this resort

Flight
We flew Sky Service through Signature from Calgary and the flight was fine, Our flight left at 6am meaning we were up at 2:30am so we slept most of the way. Pack your own headphones as they charge $5 on the plane.

Arrival/Check In
We arrived at the airport around 12:30pm, and were quickly greeted by our Rep. We were delayed in the parking lot around 20 minutes. It’s a hour ride to the hotel but we also stopped at a few other hotels along the way so didn’t arrive at the hotel until 3:30. As we were arriving as such a large group they were expecting us and had our welcome packages laid out for us. We were served welcome beverages and had our room keys in 20 minutes.

* one tip the resort is large and if you are near the beach/pool like we were make sure to get a porter as you will fight with all your bags for a rather long/hot 10 minute walk like we did.

Room
Our room was very nice, we asked for a upgrade but all the suites were filled. The room was big with a king size bed and good sized patio and a fridge filled with water, soft drinks and a couple of beer. We had hot water the entire stay, though they do crank the a/c up on you after they clean the room. We tipped the chambermaids 1-2bucks a day and the fridge was always full though we had to leave a note to get more than 4 beer in the fridge

Beach
The beach was gorgeous. The wind was strong a couple of days but for the most part the water sports were all available and fairly easy to book. We took the smaller catamaran out by ourselves once (really fun) and the Kayaks and paddle wheelers were readily available. The girls and boys enjoyed bodysurfing in the waves.

Diving
We are both divers and utilized the Dresser's dive shop at the resort - the service was quite good. As we had not dove in a couple years they made us do a pool check before we could go out. You could probably gotten cheaper tank dives if you shopped around but we didn't bother. The only other annoyance was that whenever the first diver in your group reached 50 Bar, everyone had to surface. We did 2 dives at Cozumel and one 5 minutes from the resort and they were all very good.Tremedous coral, and plentiful marine life

Pool
The pool area was great, never waited long for a drink and the kids area is well off to one side. Never were bothered by screaming kids around the main pool. We enjoyed spending the afternoons around the pool, which was much more sheltered from the wind.

Food
We thought the food was very good, breakfasts and lunches were at the buffets, which had a lot of selection. The omelette bar and juice bar were great for breakfasts. We ate at the A la Cartes 11/14 days we were there and were very impressed. The Steak Restaurant was the best( filets as good as any fine steak house in Calgary). Our least favourite was the Tropical and we only went to it once. Though you officially only get 5 reservations for 2 weeks , you can go to the reservation counter at 4pm the day of, and ask for what's not been booked for that evening. There were always reservations for the 8:30 and 9pm sittings which worked perfect for us as we like eating later when on vacation.

Entertainment
We never made the entertainment a single night instead spent out time drinking and visiting with friends. We were also in town a few nights and missed out some of the better performances. The older crowd in our group went a few times and said the Mexican show was great but many of the others were too loud.

Excursions
We made a trip out to Xel Ha on the Friday. Instead of booking the tour from the resort, we took cabs to the park. If you have 4 people to split a cab with, then it actually works out about $5USD cheaper/person than taking the bus tour, and allows you to go and leave when you want. You can also take a cab to the main bus station in town and a public bus out to Xel Ha is even cheaper but you should check the bus schedule or may be waiting 45 minutes.

Wedding
Our wedding coordinator Mariela was amazing. She offered to meet with us the day after we arrived, immediately after our blood tests. On a side note those worried about the blood tests shouldn't worry. The doctor was very professional and used only brand new disposable needles, though the $150 cash grab for 10 minutes of blood work is a little pricey.

We met with Mariela right afterwards(she has at least 2 other girls working for her also) and we went through all the options for decorations i.e. white or Mexican themed wedding ) and flower options for the tables, wedding party, etc. We also confirmed our numbers for dinner and confirmed the private booking of the disco from 8-10 on the wedding day. Because we had a group that nearly filled the restaurant, we were able to dine with just our wedding group. If you had less than 40 people you would be eating with strangers. She also agreed to us having a rehearsal the day before the wedding. There was a wedding planned for that day as well so it was nice to rehearse with all the chairs and alter set up.

Our wedding was scheduled for 4pm so we spent the day on the beach, with the bridesmaids and bride getting their hair/makeup done in the early afternoon. The gentlemen arrived at the wedding site( Jungle location) at around 3:40. We selected the jungle location over the beach location as it was more private. The beach location is essentially the beach volleyball court. It was a gorgeous day, luckily with a little breeze to keep cool. The ceremony went perfectly though the judge was a little late. The ceremony was in Spanish and then Mariela translates the judges speech into English. Though it was a civil ceremony translated from Spanish into English, it was surprisingly meaningful and the exact same ceremony performed at every Mexican Wedding.. It was very quick though so if you wanted a bit longer ceremony you may want to ask a friend to speak, or write your own vows for the ring exchange like we did. By 4:20 we were hitched and the ceremony was followed by a champagne toast in the jungle area before we were whisked off to the beach for photos. The time for photos is narrow as the sun starts to set by 5:15 5:30 ish. We got in all the pictures we needed on the beach and with the group, and then spent some extra time with the photographer at different points around the resort. In total pictures took just an hour and we were back to the lobby bar for a pre dinner cocktail by 5:45pm

Regarding pictures - the photographer takes the maximum amount of photos available regardless of what you say you want before the wedding. You can then go in and pick a package based on how many photos you like. We ended up getting around 90 photos (5X7) that come in an album and include a CD with all the photos saved for you digitally. The also try and sell you a very cheesy, poorly done video which we passed on($300USD). It turned out they through it into our album anyway for free.

Dinner was at 6:30 and were told that we would be kicked out at 8:15 so the staff could get ready for the 8:30 sitting. We had the steakhouse menu but due to the large group we were forced to have a set menu, which was fine. We wanted to do some very quick toasts to the bride,groom, welcome to the family) etc. but we ran out of time and then finished them at the Disco. If we could do one thing over again it would be to do all the toasts at the Disco as then no one would have been rushed, plus there is a microphone at the Disco(also where the cake and cake cutting took place)

Shortly after that we did a first dance(we brought a wedding disc with 15 or so songs on it which the DJ played. At 10pm the disco opened to everyone else at the resort, and we partied there until early into the next morning.

Overall
the resort, trip, and wedding was fantastic. The Iberostar resorts only have one wedding per day so you certainly feel like the center of attention for the entire day. I would recommend this hotel to anybody looking for a quieter vacation. Our group was certainly the loudest and hardest partiers in the hotel. With the resorts close proximity to Playa , it really works for everyone.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Chris & Rosemary

August 2006

My wife and I just got back from a 7 night stay at the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal. We booked through Apple. My wife and I are in our early 50’s and we decided that we wanted a nice, restful, do-little, week by a nice pool/beach. We left on Saturday morning from St. Louis. The flight departed at 6:00 AM. This meant that we had to be at the airport at 4:00 AM. This meant that we had to get up at 2:30 AM. We said “the first thing we want to do when we arrive is take a little nap”.

The flight down went smooth. The Apple airplane had a choice of watching a movie or listening to a variety of music. We brought 2 ink pens so that we could fill out the proper forms as they were handed to us ahead of time. The Cancun airport was no problem. The gauntlet of con artist within the airport was no worse than what we encountered in Las Vegas hotels. We just ignored them, and that was the end of that. Outside the airport we quickly spotted several people with the “Flowered Apple Shirts”. Within a couple of minutes we were sitting on a big Apple bus.

By 10:00 AM we were at our resort. We asked for a quite room close to the ocean away from the roosters, monkeys, and music. They said that they didn’t have one, we would have a room right by the middle of the jungle but on the back side of the building. ( I considered playing the game of tipping for a better room but I didn’t want to encourage that kind of crap.) Now we were ready for that little nap. Problem; they said our room wouldn’t be ready until 2:00 PM. We were welcome to leave our luggage sitting in the front of the lobby and use the rest room to change into some other clothes. We didn’t have a choice. That’s what we did.

We walked through the jungle toward the beach. The jungle paths were fun. Throughout the week we kept finding new paths, different animals, and different scenery to look at. We always enjoyed a pleasant walk through the forest.

The pool was great. It meandered on and on. It was never crowded. The swim up bar was secluded, and very nice.

The big beach was great, the most beautiful blue, clear water that we have ever seen. It had a nice gradual slope in the water. They had a large portion of the water roped off to provide a swimming area, off limits to the boats, jet skis, etc. The Sandos Resort, Iberostar, and several RIU resorts are located next to each other. It always had outfits there renting jet skis, parasailing, and all the other usual beach things.

I started drinking mixed drinks from the beach bar and the bar at the beach buffet. Throughout the day I tried 6 different mixed drinks from these two bars, trying to find some tropical drink that I could brag about. Each time I thought to myself, “Yuk”. As the week went on I came to the conclusion that the swim up bar and the lobby bars mixed noticeably better drinks. I did find one drink at the beach bar that worked real good on a hot afternoon at the beach. It was pronounced something like, “mo-we-no”. It had a lime and some other green stuff in the bottom of the glass, and who knows what else.

At 2:00 PM we went to the front lobby to get our room and take that little nap. We were told it wouldn’t be ready until 2:45.PM. As you might guess we were getting a little short on humor. We stretched out on the lobby couch and within two minutes my wife was out like a light. At 2:45 PM I went to the desk and got our room key.

We were on the first floor of building 24 on the back side away from the jungle on the Quetzal side. The room was just fine. It had a private little balcony. Of course it was very clean and tidy. The little refrigerator was inside a cabinet. This kept it from dissipating the heat from behind the refrigerator. This meant that the inside was cool but not cold. The mattress was extremely firm. We have a firm mattress at home so it wasn’t a huge adjustment. If you have a soft mattress at home, you are in for a big surprise.

At 4:00 PM we had to attend an Apple meeting. It basically consisted of signing us up for different activities in the Playa area. She pretty much said “we strongly recommend that you don’t do any activity that isn’t through us”. She said it was because they were responsible for us. I interpreted it as “don’t do any activity that we aren’t making money on”. Because we wanted a do-little week we only did one Apple activity. It was a half day snorkel trip to the Puerto Morelos area where we were told it was government protected park. I think the name of the outfit was “Snorkel Adventures”. $55. It was great. They were very professional and pleasant to be with. They took us to two places, one shallow, one deeper. The corral was beautiful. The water was crystal clear. We felt like we were swimming around in a giant, beautiful fish tank.

To make sure that we got our choices, after leaving the meeting we went to sign up for our 3 optional restaurant meals. We chose the Japanese restaurant the following day at 6:30 PM. We went back to our room and as we were about to take showers and go to the buffet, the phone rang. The lady said that even though we had a printed reservation for the Japanese restaurant on Sunday at 6:30 PM, she was canceling it because there was a large group that needed the 2 seats. As I hung up the phone my wife announced that there wasn’t any hot water in the shower ( I didn’t verify this ). We hadn’t had any sleep. We needed a shower. We were hungry and slightly pissed.

We went to the restaurant desk and straightened things out. We did some switching around and she gave us an extra restaurant for our trouble. We reported the shower problem and then went to the buffet. By the time we got back to the room the maintenance man had been there and the shower had hot water. After this we didn’t have any problems and the week went nice and smooth.

We found the buffet to be just as good and any other buffet food. There were a lot of choices. If you didn’t find something there to make you happy, then you are very picky. The two buffets by the lobbies were better than the buffets by the ocean. The restaurants were nice but I won’t go around bragging about them.

All week long we ate and drank anything we wanted and neither of us got sick. Of course our eating and drinking habits were completely different that week so I could tell my body was saying “hey, take it easy, you’re pushing the limits”.

We found the place to be very clean, and friendly. They had plenty of workers anxious to be helpful. We enjoyed exploring all the different paths and areas of the resort. We liked the scenery over by the Quetzal side buffet.

We found our room to be quite enough for us. We were never awakened by any noise.

Our Cingular cell phone didn’t get a signal. We bought a Telmex phone card from Apple. $10 for 20 minutes. You have to go out of the resort to find a Telmex phone. The little shopping mall 10 minutes away has several.

One of the things we wanted to do is ride bicycles to Playa De Carman. Iberostar had bicycles but the only way that you could rent them is if you went on a bicycle tour. We found bicycles to rent. You leave the Iberostar resort and turn to the right and walk about 5 minutes until you get to the RIU resort on the left side of the street ( away from the ocean ). Stick your head inside the gate and look to the right. They are right there. You don’t have to be a RIU guest to rent them. They are $6 for the first hour and $1 for each hour after that. This includes locking cables. We rode to Playa De Carman and had a great time. All of the tourist shops and restaurants are on 5th ave. Cars are not allowed on 5th ave. and you are not supposed to ride bikes. We walked some, rode some. A few times we were reminded not to ride. Nobody shot us. We didn’t spend hardly any money in town because we found their prices to be sky high. We had always heard that you could barter them down. They had no desire to barter with us. We told them “no thanks, we can buy it at home cheaper and not have to haul it back to the USA”.

We went on a 3 hr. snorkel trip with Tank-Ha Dive on 5th ave. Nice people. They took us in a boat down the beach to just south of Xcaret. $30. It was nice but not as good as the Puerto Morelos area.

Although this is a family resort with quite a few kids, they all seemed to be well behaved. We never saw any brats or temper tantrums.

If you bring kids you should understand that at all the resort beaches, 95% of the women keep their tops on. But there are always a few that let it all hang out. The swimming pools require tops.

We feel that there are two things that we did that really gave us a nice vacation.

1. We started going to the tanning booths several weeks before the vacation. With being pretanned and good sun screen we were able to lay around the pool and beach all day long and not get burned. I felt sorry for some of the red people that I saw.

2. On our second day we went to the resort store and bought two inflatable rafts ($14 each). We used them every day in the pool and in the ocean. As the week went on we saw more and more people getting these.

Our plane’s departure time on the last day was 10:00 AM. We had to be checked out and ready for the Apple bus at 6:00 AM. That was a bummer.

I would recommend this resort to family and friends.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal two twenty-something girls, one a vegetarian ~ USA

April 2006

 

Booked through TNT Vacations - There is no need to arrive at the airport 3 hours early (as advised by TNT Vacations). There is a long check-in line up. Had at least an hour wait after we checked in. VIP service did not shorten the wait -VIP travellers had to arrive at the same time as us.
- Headphones on airplane cost $3, and the movie was a kids show "Dreamer".
- The Airplane bar ran out of beer.
- Upon arrival in Cancun, our shuttle bus to the airport terminal, from the plane, broke down. We were happy with how they handled this: there was a quick replacement, and they informed us what was happening.
- Everything was on time on our way to our resort, on our return to the USA we had a 2 hour delay at the Cancun airport. Add this to the fact that you arrive at the airport 2 hours early for an on-time flight, and you can understand why people were grumpy (we were all waiting for 4 hrs).
- The bus that took us from the airport to the resort was clean, air conditioned, and equipped with a toilet. Our TNT representative, had a list of all travellers going to the resort, and made sure we were all on the bus before it left. This took 45 minutes. The TNT representative sold Coronas on the way to the resort, $3 a bottle.
- Upon arrival at the resort we found there was only one check-in employee at the resort counter to handle our whole bus load of people! Luckily, we were first in line.
- We brought only carry-on luggage, so we were the first at every line-up. However, the people who had to wait for their luggage found themselves at the back of very long, and time-consuming lines.
- We were served with welcome drinks upon arrival.
- We got no orientation upon arrival at the hotel. If you needed anything else from the front desk (ex, you wanted to change rooms), it would be a long wait because the one guy had to do everything.
- We got a very nice, clean, spacious room with a balcony. Building 15 is in a very good location.
- We were close to the Night Entertainment hall, which had a show every night from 8-11pm. It wasn't overly loud, we were able to sleep with the show going on. Plus, it must have been quieter here than close to the disco tech which only closes at 3am.
- Beds were hard but very comfortable.
- Food: Okay. Not much vegetarian choice. Good service in all the restaurants, dirty plates cleared quickly, and drinks always full.
- Desserts: Not very impressive. They look delicious, but don't taste very good. (We found the Tiramisu quite good)
- Minibar only contains beer, water and softdrinks.
- Mostly families and older couples at the resort. Not many single people from 20-40yrs old.
- The beach and pool were clean and gorgeous. The resort employees were constantly cleaning up and offering to bring drinks over. The beach sand was nice and there were no rocks or weeds in the water at all. You could walk in both directions on the beach for a good mile or more.
- The weather was great the whole week we were there. No rain and temperatures in the low 80s every day.
- People reserve seats under the palapas on the beach by 7am. We found this problem was worse at the beginning of the week. We always found a good spot to sit by the pool or on the beach.
- The one hour snorkeling tour offered at the resort is very good. It's a perfect amount of time for beginners and for people looking for a leisurely swim. Guide points out special fish.
- Roosters crow in the middle of the night, and early morning (as well as at various times throughout the day) outside of the hotel room. They wander the grounds and we tended to hear them crowing at 4AM every morning.
- Look for the monkeys in late afternoon.

Overall the vacation was relaxing and satisfactory. I would not go back to this resort again but I would not tell my friends to avoid it either


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Houston, USA

September 2005

Myself, Wife and child 4years old have been to cancun 12 times in the past 7 years. Iberostar Quetzal MOSQUITOS at dusk through the night were voracious, silent and imposible to detect in the darkness. Remember you are staying at a jungle type resort with wild animals and the hotel doesn't seem to attend to keeping the mosquito population down and out. THEY REALLY NEED TO DAILY! Around the building, the vegetation is their natural habit and the natives have very thick skin! Its not a problem for them but for visitors and small children its downright dangerous. Our first night and a trip to the resturant resulted in 11 bites on the legs of our 4 years old which caused him severe agony for 4 days. Everything is outdoors so spray well and bring mosquito killer spray for your room. When cleaning the room tell the cleaning lady to spray killer in the room before she leaves and returning to your room at night watch out by the door before entering as they linger and come in with you for feasting at night. Also roll up a towel and place it along the bottom of the door as apparently they walk under the door looking for victims. Also, the nightly entertainment (show) was in the only well airconditioned confererance hall but again the mostquitos were everyone biting on any flesh exposed and not covered in repellent.

Daytime there is no problem with mosquitos.

FOOD - was the best we have every had with quality and choices. Agains we have have stayed in many cancun hotels over the 7 years so we can only assume they have improved the food considerably. Kids club, better for 7 years and up. Unless you have a younger and compliant child below the age of 7 forget it! Well worth the trip and staff were super friendly and attentive again the best we have experienced. Take all necessary precautions and have a wonderful time !!!!


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Steve ~ England

June 2005

Having previously stayed at 2 Iberostar resorts in the Dominican Republic (Iberostar Costa Dorada and Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus) we decided to give Mexico a try and stayed at Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal for 2 weeks in June 2005.

Arrival and Check-In
After a 60 minute coach transfer from Cancun Airport we arrived at the resort at around 8:00pm. Check-in was quick and efficient and as usual, for an Iberostar, we were greeted with a welcoming-drink. We left our luggage with the bellboy and after being given a map we started to look for our room, this proved quite difficult as this resort is like a maze and it took us about 40 minutes to eventually find our room. A suggestion I’d like to make is for all guests to be taken to their rooms as the following morning at the welcome meeting it seemed other guests had encountered the same problem.

Room
We were based on the Quetzal side of the resort and the room was much bigger than the rooms we had at either the Iberostar Costa Dorada or Hacienda Dominicus. The rooms are very big and have air-conditioning, a ceiling fan, an easy chair, a couch, a TV, a coffee maker and a mini-bar. The mini-bar was also bigger than the resorts in the Dominican Republic but as in the Dominican Republic it should have been re-stocked every other day but ours was re-stocked daily! The rooms are incredibly clean and all bedding etc is changed daily. You are also given plenty of towels and these are changed daily as well. We tipped the maid every day and our mini bar was re-stocked each day and our towels were made into all sorts of different animals and shapes. The water pressure in the shower was excellent and hot water was available in the room every day except 1. The shower was in a very large cubicle and this was really good. Our room was facing the building work at Riu Yucatan and even though we could hear it we weren’t really bothered by it as we were usually out of the room by 9am of a morning and only occasionally returned to the room before 5pm. The building work could be a problem if you like to go back to the room after lunch etc.

Food
The food in this resort was excellent however we found the food served in the main buffet restaurants to be far better than the food served in the beach and pool restaurants as often the food in these restaurants was cold and they didn’t have as much choice as the main buffet restaurants. It is well worth making the effort to get up before 10am to have breakfast in the main buffet restaurants.

Food is available all day and night in this hotel as the buffet restaurant on the Quetzal side opens up as an all night snack bar. We used all 5 of our A La Carte reservations. We visited the steak-house, the Italian restaurant, the Tropical restaurant and the Mexican restaurant twice, we did not visit the Japanese restaurant. We enjoyed all of our meals in the A La Carte restaurants and it is impossible to pick out our favourite. We highly recommend the Beef Taco’s in the Mexican restaurant and the steaks in both the steak-house and the Tropical restaurant. We all agreed that the food in the Tucan/Quetzal was better than the food in the Hacienda Dominicus but marginally not as good as the Costa Dorada.

Pool/Beach
The pool-area was very nice and was very well maintained. We did not have many problems getting sun-beds, as long as you are down there before 10:30am, after this you may have a problem. The biggest disappointment of this excellent resort (as other people have mentioned) is that the water in the main swimming pool is just too warm and you don’t feel refreshed after going in it, this is probably why it was never over-crowded during our stay.

The beach was also very nice and the sea was crystal clear with a lovely blue colour even on an overcast day and was very refreshing for a swim. The beach could get quite busy but we could always get a sun-bed and it never felt too crowded.

Staff
Every single member of staff in the Iberostar were fantastic. They were so friendly and happy and they all worked so hard. From the receptionists to the waiters to the bar staff to the Star-Friends they all wanted you to have a great holiday and there seemed to be nothing they wouldn't do for you. We tipped several members of staff because they worked so hard and were so helpful and this was greatly appreciated although it was by no means expected. All of the staff speak some English, the majority of them speak excellent English and they all seem to want to practice their English and they go out of their way to talk to you, the staff here were ultra-friendly.

Security in the hotel was fantastic they had so many guards it would be impossible not to feel safe here.

The bar staff are very good and you are never left waiting for a long time to be served. The drinks were good but the cocktails could be a bit hit and miss as sometimes there seemed to be very little alcohol in them and they could resemble a slush puppie as there was so much ice in them. I think it all depended on who made the drink. This is only a minor gripe as every drink you could imagine was available here including major international brands like Smirnoff, Bailey’s and Pernod.

The grounds in the hotel are very well-kept and the groundsmen work so hard and are always smiling and whistling even in 100 degree heat! The jungle area is very impressive and is absolutely huge with all kinds of wildlife in. When we arrived we could not believe what it was like as we expected it to be a few trees dotted around with a monkey in a cage but it is not like this at all. Before the resort was built in 1998, Playacar was apparently just jungle and the Iberostar have done a great job in retaining the area’s history.

OVERALL
We had an excellent holiday at Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal and after our 3rd visit to an Iberostar they have once again not failed to impress. We would most certainly return to this resort in a few years time and will definitely stay in another Iberostar resort.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Ken & Becky ~ Dallas, TX, USA

June 2005

We were guests at Iberostar Quetzal, Mayan Riviera, Playa del Carmen area from June 8 - June 15,2005

We traveled to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in July of 2003 & 2004 where we stayed at the Melia Caribe Tropical Resort. We absolutely loved it there and were concerned that the Quetzal might not measure up in some way. But that was not the case. We enjoyed the Quetzal very much and wish we were still there.

BEACH:
We are "middle-aged" and like to hang out on the beach by day and at the bars at night. Quetzal delivered. The beach was a blast. Soft sand that gives your calves a workout and waves that gives you a thrill. (Very few rocks.) Filled with lots of happy people and a bar right there on the beach. This was a plus for us. The beach is somewhat smaller than most, but roomy enough. You MUST take a walk south down the beach. Lovely scenery and photo ops.

BARS:
True to their promise, there was always a bar open somewhere, even until the wee hours of the morning. They did not have our favorite brand of rum but we did not expect them to. They had plenty of comparable ones. We were just glad that they had Coke instead of Pepsi.

FOOD:
We also enjoyed the food. We both have very different tastes but always found something we liked. We also were able to try many new foods such as octopus and conch dishes. We get lots of guacamole here in Texas but their's was the best ever.

DISCO:
The disco is built really nice. The seating areas are in a circle surrounding a pit-like dance floor. So even if you don't want to dance, you can sit and watch and enjoy your drink.

ROOM:
We loved our room. It was in Bldg. 2100. It was close to the beach and far from the disco. We could not hear any monkeys from there but we could hear construction starting up in the morning. Don't worry about the so-called "hard beds". They are high quality "firm" mattresses. Firmer than what we are used to, but we slept comfortably.

GROUNDS:
The grounds are great. You can walk anywhere on the resort in less than 10 min. and the jungle area is incredible. There really are monkeys in the trees. We saw them often along with lots of other wildlife.

SHOWS:
We did not expect to enjoy the shows as much as we did. They do have professional dancers who perform and the "Star Friends" who entertain with guest members. These shows are hysterically funny! Very much worth seeing. They have a huge theater with plenty of seating and - a BAR!

KIDS:
We travel to get away from our kids and grandkids but many other guests who were there with their children told us that it was the best resort they had ever been for kids. The adult pool bar is separate from the huge main pool and they also have many separate activities and shows just for the kiddos.

EXCURSION: We only went on one - horseback riding "on the beach and thru the jungle". If you love horses and haven't been on one in a while, you can enjoy this. Just don't be surprised to find that the surroundings do not measure up to the photos in the ads. The "beach" is only a bay in which they lead you on a horse, one at a time. Then, everyone saddles up for a long hot ride. It IS fun if you like "roughing it". Make sure you put on sunscreen AND bug spray. The mosquitos are very thick in a few areas and the sun is intense. We took a beach bag with us that we were able to rope to a saddle so carry your towels and camera along with your lotions and sprays.

SHOPPING:
We walked 10 min. to Plaza Playacar shopping area. You can pick up any souveniers here. There is also a drugstore with BandAids, Tylenol, etc. We could have walked another 20 min. to Playa del Carmen but saw no need to do so.

We enjoyed our stay at Iberostar Quetzal very much and definitely recommend it. We would love to go back after we have visited one or two other Iberostar resorts. Go and enjoy!!


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Stephanie

June 2005

Dear Debbie,

My girlfriends and I had just graduated from college and we wanted to treat ourselves to a vacation. Neither of the girls have been on many vacations but I have. I have been to many Caribbean islands and My parents have traveled to Mexico many times so they thought that we should go to Mexico. They loved it and thought that we would as well. We did not want to stay in Cancun because of how commercialized it was and that is when we found the Iberostar Tucan.

The three of us traveled to the Tucan May 24-May 31 of 2005 and it could not have been a more memorable trip.

The Service- The service from the lobby staff to the entertainment staff all the way to the maid service was amazing. Everyone was very helpful and full of smiles. They were there to serve you and make sure your stay was the best stay, even when you were laying on the beach and you needed a drink to cool down they were there to serve you.

The information that hey gave you about different tours was very helpful and that led us to Cozumel for a jeep tour. The Tour was great and we got to snorkel on the tour as well. I have snorkeled many times before and I was hesitant, considering the water was not the same as other Caribbean islands were, but the experience were great. There weren't as many fish as I have seen before but it was still beautiful. We finished the tour by seeing the other side of the island where the waves crashed against the rocks and it was inspiring to me. Cozumel was great.

The Food- The food, I must admit, was not the best but it was good. I thought that the Italian restaurant was great and the service was good but the other places were just okay. The buffet for breakfast was good and the lunches by the beach were very good as well, but I found that the restaurants were just okay. The scene and atmosphere and service was excellent, but the food needed to have a little more flavor.

The Beach and the Pool- This was the biggest pool I have ever seen before and absolutely beautiful but it was just to warm to swim in all the time. The pool was almost as warm as the weather was and it wasn't refreshing. It was amazing and the games played in the pool were too much fun to stay away from but if the pool was a little cooler it would have been perfect (but the pool temperature would never stop me from coming back)! The swim up pool and other pools were fun and I was always in them. The beach was beautiful and the water was refreshing, and I loved the idea of giving out umbrellas for the people who can't take the sun 24/7, very smart and it was perfect. I rate the pool and beach area a five star.

The Entertainment- Just put it this way, I did not want to leave because of the staff of entertainers the Iberostar Tucan had and the shows and activities they put on everyday. This staff was outstanding and the amount of fun I had could last me a lifetime. I will be talking about the entertainment for life and I know that I will come back some day because of how much fun I had. Everyday, my friends and I did the water aerobics with Marcos and the dance lessons with Luis and Luigi, and also the host of the shows Mark was great. I could name them all because they were all so sweet, kind, generous, and fun!!! I learned to dance, I even exercised more on vacation then I do at home because of the fun that was put into it. And last but not least, the 2 songs that you teach every guest and that is sung day and night was so much fun that I have been singing them both since I got home. The shows were amazing and I was sad to leave but I want to THANK YOU for everything!!!! The management of the entertainers, Marcius, deserves to be thanked because it was just so amazing that I would recommend this hotel to everyone traveling to Riviera Maya, Mexico.

I want to thank the hotel again and I would rate this a five star hotel. This hotel will be in my memories forever!!


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal  

February 2005

My wife and I with 5 year old son just returned from a week at this beautiful resort and wanted to share our experience as those before us have done. Thank you, Debbie, for this great forum.We were at the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana a few years ago so there wil be a few comparisons.

HOTEL- the toucan and quetzel are twin 350 room hotels that share beach, pool and outdoor facilities, but each have their own buffets and restaurants, and appear to operate seperately, with seperate but mirror image lobbies. Iberostar is a first class operation and these both are beautiful hotels with gorgeous grounds. The service and staff are generally excellent and are happy to please you in most cases. No one has an attitude.

FOOD- you get 2 reservations at the restaurants for a week stay, but you can get more if you check the same night for cancellations or no shows. We thought the food was generally mediocre, both at the buffet and the restaurants. The buffet at the Bavaro was much better. The Japanese restaurant is fun, but remember, its Japanese food cooked by Mexican people. We were generally disappointed with the food. The buffet at the Bavaro was much bigger, but so is the hotel. The wine served with all meals was not very good.

POOL/BEACH- the pool is large with lots of chairs. I did not see a lot of chair saving early as others have mentioned. Maybe it was a working week for the French. The pool water was cool until later in the day when it warmed up. There were not many people in it whereas at the Bavaro, it was pretty crowded, because it was warmer. The beach is big with many chairs and palapa's. You can also check out your own beach umbrella at the towel stand. There is a bar at the pool/beach to keep you hydrated, that also serves ice cream. The drinks are pretty good, but finding name brands is difficult. I did find Absolut at the lobby bar on our last night.

JUNGLE-this is definately a highlight of this place and is not to be missed. It is between the 2 hotels and between the buffet and the pool. so you have to walk thru it (or around it) to go from place to place. It is very serene and the wild animals are not afraid of humans.There is a large bird cage with several really colorful toucans near the pool. Staff is in the jungle cleaning and feeding every day. The grounds are well taken care of.

ROOM-we were lucky to have an oceanview room on the second floor. It was a great location near the pool and beach. Ask for an oceanfront room.They might have one.The fridge is stocked with beer, water, soda and restocked daily. Don't drink the water from the faucets.

KID'S CLUB- This was our biggest disappointment. The 2 ladies running the club, really didn't have a clue as to how to be encouraging to the kids, and didn't do a very good job overall. In their defense, there weren't many kids the week we were there, and a few didn't speak English either. Our son went for a few mornings, but really didn't want to go the rest of the time, and we didn;t blame him. Luckily, we met nice families from Canada and England with 5 year old boys, and they played well together, which saved the vacation.

Overall, we enjoyed this resort and our vacation, but are unlikely to return here. We still think this is a nice place to visit, and is otherwise kid friendly, if the club is not important to you.

any questions or comments may e-mail me at honstlawyr@aol.com


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Wayne and Tarrie-Lynn ~ Ottawa Canada

February 2005

A group of us just returned from this resort, 17 Jan 2005 to the 31st Jan 2005. Four of us spent two weeks while the other three groups stayed a week at time. My wife and I are seasoned travelers and have visited many places in the Caribbean, Mexico, Thailand and other parts of the world.

The resort forest grounds are the nicest and best kept that I have experienced. The animals and birds although in abundance do not beg for food nor bother the patrons. The illusive spider monkeys, which we did not see the first week keep to themselves in a family of about twelve.

The staff are very friendly and helpful.
We enjoyed the entertainment. The entertainment staff work hard and it shows in the performance. Our group did get involved with the daytime and nighttime activities so we became well known to the Iberostar friends staff. The staff kept the children well entertained and we dropped by each evening to see the children perform before the main show.

The buffet food is very good, as it should be for a resort of this calibre, although I have had better in other resorts. The service staff are excellent and I will say the service at both the restaurants and bars rate the five star. The Japanese restaurant was nice but the courses were served separately and tended to get cold quickly unless you ate each course immediately when it was served. We enjoyed the Italian restaurant and the Steak restaurant. We did not get a chance to experience any of the others. We stayed away from the Mexican restaurant after we heard a young couple say that two of their party had gotten sick after eating there.

The pool is large and has plenty of lounge chairs. The swim up pool bar is located in a very shady area, not bad on hot days but not nice on days that are cooler. The beach is very nice and the water area for swimming is great. There are plenty of chairs in the sun and in the shade. Plenty of daytime activities and the beach restaurants serve a very nice lunch. The bars are plentiful but if you want to be lazy, the serving staff will take your order on the beach and bring you a drink. The beer glasses are a good size, so taking a seperate insulated mug is not necessary at this resort. The beachside bathrooms are a distance away if you are at the beach.

The bedrooms are big and well kept. The lighting in the bath room is adequate but not great for shaving or applying makeup, bring a makeup mirror if your eyesight is poor. We stayed in unit number 29 on the Quetzal side and found it very quiet, close to the main lobby, the main restaurant and bar. We found everything very clean and tidy except for the external bed covers that were dusty and well worn.

The Disco can be lots of fun, great music for all ages you can loose a few pounds dancing, however the smoke can be bad at times.

I must admit that our group like wine with meals, we found that the red was OK, but the white was not very palatable. We wondered if was only our group who felt this way. Our curiosity was satisfied, as we watched other people try the white wine, then watch them leave it untouched on the table. My wife began drinking white wine spritzers, (wine with soda and ice). She found this a more tolerable way to drink the white wine. I enjoyed the beer served at the resort, some of our group did not. All a matter of taste I guess.

The resort is within walking distance to Playa Del Carmen (30 min), or $4.00 by cab. There are plenty of tours that one can take from this resort or strike out on your own and find something in town.

Overall, I would rate this hotel resort very high on the list of places I would return to.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Elizabeth ~ Canada

January 2005

Hi Everyone,

I went to the Iberostar with my husband and another couple, we are between 35 - 45. For comparison, we've stayed in St. Lucia, Riu Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta), Riu Yucatan and twice at the Riu Tequila. Thus, making the decision to come to the Iberostar was challenging, but reading all the great reports helped change my attitude - and the reports were right. A beautiful resort!

For comparison.

Reception - Excellent and professional at all resorts.

Rooms - Iberostar - Nice room, great shower! Beds are not as hard as the Riu's!

Beach - Riu Yucatan has a nicer beach, it's longer (not wider) and it's not as quick as a drop off into the water. The Jalisco has it's sunsets, but not the "Blue Caribbean Sea" The Iberostar has a nice beach too and it has a bar on the beach - big plus! They also have people serving you drinks on the beach. - Plus, Plus!!

Pool - Biggest and nicest pool - Iberostar, but it's quite cold, and very few people were in it the week we were there. They also have a "bar pool", a "sports pool" and a "kiddies pool" Tequila has a nice pool, plus it was warm (in October) and has a swim up bar. Jalisco also has a nice pool. I found the Yucatan's pool lacking, but they have that great, big beach.

Restaurants - Excellent everywhere - and we never got sick from any of them. The Riu's have a bit more vegetables and items for your salads, but there was always tonnes of different food to eat at the resorts.

Dive Centre - Super friendly and professional at all the resorts I was at. The Iberostar's dive centre is a little closer to the beach, so less walking with all that heavy equipment.

Grounds - Even though the Riu's grounds are beautiful and well maintained, the Iberostars were unbelievable. The interior is a jungle with winding pathways, covered bridges, birds, peacocks, chickens, tucans, groose, lizards, ducks, monkeys, flamingo's, swans, parrots, waterfalls, fountains, fish, little caves, statues and a turtle. The outer sides, were manicured lawns and gardens - Take your pick to the beach or the restaurant.

Staff - Excellent at all the above resorts.

Entertainment - Very good! I would rank them this way Iberostar, Tequila, Yucatan, Jalisco. Even though it's a close tie between the Iberostar and Tequila, the Iberostar did fun little things during the day, to keep everyone entertained and having fun. We also enjoyed the live band every night and the band on the beach during the day.

Conclusion: We really enjoyed our stay at the Iberostar and will definitely stay here again! Don't hesitate to book.

If you have any questions, you can email me at liz@cedarwayfloral.com


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Judy ~ Canada

January 2005

Hi there, my boyfriend and I just returned from a one week stay at the Iberostar Tucan. We went from Jan.8-15th. Flight there was a bit bumpy but arrived all in tact. Ride to the hotel was about 45 min. If you do not want to pay someone to bring your bags to the bus, make sure you take it yourself because they are quite quick about it and before you know it, you are being asked for a tip. Check in was okay, they had to get some confirmation since there seem to be a mixed up somewhere. Didn't have to wait long for the room to be ready, went to have lunch while it was being changed. The hotel didn't seem to be in full capacity but we were unable to get a non smoking room but was able to get a room with a king size bed.

The room was quite nice and did not smell. The bathroom was very nice like everyone has stated. The staff keep the grounds and rooms very clean and does a great job in replenishing towels and other items as needed.

The food was good. The breakfast was very nice with a good selection of things to choose from. I found the lunch to be my least favourite meal. It was quite repeatative with very "north american" fair i.e pizza, pasta, hamburger and hotdogs. I understand that they want to cater to the people that goes there but I was paying to go to Mexico and would like to sample some of their local cusine. Dinner buffet was good, again had a nice variety of things for people. One night they had huge jumbo strimp at the buffet, that was very good but a bit on the salty side... but still very tasty. The a la carte was quite nice, we only got to try 2. Really enjoyed the Tropical one. Went on the waiting list for the Steakhouse but did not get to go. In a way it was better that they did not have amazing food because that would make me eat too much and in the end gain more weight than I would want. :>

The beach was beautiful.... white sand and the nicest blue colour water. There was no snokeling to be had around the resort, most of the time the water was too rough and I don't think there was fish close by to see. The sad thing that I notice was that the beach is being erroded. Up north of us at the other resorts, they even have less of a beach. They are trying to stop the errosion by putting sandbags in some areas but it was not very sightly. This resort was the second last one on the Playacar strip and it has a good size beach. The 2 mile beach was accessible by all clients and you could walk it. To the right of the resort there was only one other resort so you have a long stretch of beach that is not so crowded. It makes for great walks. The temperature of the water is very nice, not too cold to swim in. At this time of the year, the weather was warm and breezy.

We took one tour to Chitzen Itza. The guide was very well inform and knowledgable about the ruins and the Mayan people. It was a very nice tour. They took us to a cenotes, had lunch and the ruins. We went to Tulum ruin ourselves and took the local bus for 25 pesos which is $2.50 US one way. It was nice but I liked the one at Chitzen Itza better.

The staff worked very hard there. The entertainment crew did a very good job, it was one of the better night shows that I have seen compared to other resorts I've been to. It is very safe to walk around Playacar and Playa de Carmen.

All in all, we had a very good time at the resort. The weather was great, food was good and the room was clean. Yes, the bed was firm but I rather like a firm bed so did not have a problem sleeping at all. I guess it is just what you prefer and used to but after a day of sun and activities... the bed seem very welcoming. I like a smaller resort myself and found that the chairs at the beach to be too crowded and close together. It is a great place to go if you get it at a good price. Hope this helps and enjoy your holiday!!!


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Sergei

December 2004

My wife, 2 kids (3 and 6) and I stayed for a week at Iberostar Tucan. We are from Boston and we traveled with Apple Vacations this time. It was our 2nd trip there and we enjoyed it a lot.

Since we used Debbie's site a lot to research our vacations, I wanted to share some more specific information that is not well publicized in other reviews.

1. Getting to Iberostar Paraiso Beach/Del Mar/Lindo/Maya

We read here that while staying at Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal we are able to visit Iberostar Paraiso Beach/Del Mar for a day. It was also mentioned that there is a free bus that goes from Iberostar Paraiso to Playa Del Carmen. However when we asked front desk about the possibility of visit and the bus, they confirmed that we can visit Iberostar Paraiso Beach/Del Mar (they mentioned that we cannot visit Lindo/Maya since those are higher category hotels) but did not provide any useful info about the bus. They said that the bus was for Iberostar Paraiso customers and we should take a taxi ($20 each way) to Paraiso.

Well, we had to do some investigation on our own.

The bus stops near Aviary entrance in Playacar. It is a fairly long walk from the Tucan hotel along the main road in Playacar in the direction of Playa Del Carmen. In fact it is not far from the entrance to the town. It took us about 30 minutes to walk there with our kids, probably a mile or so.

There are two buses that have a sign Iberobus - one of those buses goes to Iberostar Paraiso Beach/Del Mar, the other to Lindo/Maya (those hotels are right next to each other).

As I found out the rules for the Iberostar bus specifically say (at the sign at Iberobus stop at Iberostar Del Mar) "There is no access permitted to people who are not guests of any hotel of the IBEROSTAR chain." So you really are allowed onto the bus as long as you stay at any Iberostar hotel.

The time schedule for the buses as of December 2004

From Playa Del Carmen (Aviario Xaman-Ha) 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 am, 2.30 am, 4.30 pm, 6.30 pm, 8.30 pm, 9.30 pm

From Lobby of Iberostar Paraiso Lindo/Paraiso Del Mar 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm, 9pm

The buses may be a liitle late (or early). First come, first served.

You are permitted to stay at another hotel and use its facilities from 9am till 6pm. We spent a great day at Iberostar hotels at Playa Paraiso and got a chance to compare those to Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal.
We thought that facilities at Paraiso were newer (especially Lucy's Club) and more extravagant (at Lindo/Maya we liked the idea of hammocks in every room). Also, we found food choices slightly better at Paraiso. But Paraiso complex is significantly bigger (more walking/more people), the pool is separated from the ocean by the mangroves (so you do not really see the ocean from the pool and it is a fairly long walk), the new areas of Lindo/Maya are devoid of animals/birds/trees that our kinds enjoy so much at the Tucan/Quetzal (plastic flamingoes at the water path/slide at Lindo look cheesy). Generally Tucan/Quetzal seem to have more comfy atmosphere to it.

2. Tulum trip While you can take a bus tour to Tulum we thought that the price was somewhat high ($50 per person). So we chose to take a taxi (40 pesos) to the bus station at Playa Del Carmen and a bus from there to Tulum (premier service ADO bus - very comfortable air conditioned bus with assigned seats, movie, and a bathroom) (31 peso per adult, half price for kids). The bus stops right at the road that leads from the main highway to Tulum's Zona Archiologica (it is about a third of a mile walk). The ticket price to enter Tulum is 38 pesos per adult, kids are free (the entrance fee and a private tour guide seems to be around $7 and the price keeps falling the closer you get to the entrance).

You can spend a couple hours looking around Tulum ruins. There is a beautiful beach right under the ruins so bring your swimsuit/towel.

The whole trip for all 4 of us ended up costing around $30 US


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Kerry & Leslie --- Hereford, England

November 2004

Dear Debbie

My husband and myself stayed at the Iberostar Tucan between the 3rd and 17th November.

Previously we have stayed at the Wyndham Rose Hall, Jamaica and the Iberostar Costa Dorada, Dominican Republic. We chose another Iberostar based on our prevous experience. I am also a hotel manager so have a keen eye regarding basic standards of service and hygiene.

The hotel
Overall this is a lovely hotel, like the other Iberostar the standards of service, cleanliness and the quality of the food was very high.

We had a lot of problems with our flight and travel arrangements which I will not go into here, beyond saying we will be unlikely to travel with Airtours in the future. I emailed the hotel before we arrived explaining our problems and requesting a quiet room, as close to the beach as possible with a king size bed.
On arrival we were allocated a well placed room, one block away from the beach (the closer block was the junior suites) overlooking the pool. There was a letter in the room thanking us for returning to the Iberostar with a basket of tropical fruit with the complements of the management.

The room was clean, though the furnishings were a little basic, as in earlier websites the beds are on a concrete base and quite hard, we found them OK as our bed at home is firm and had no trouble sleeping. One comment we have is that the room was a little short of storage space, especially if you are there for two weeks, a few drawers in the room would have been useful. The bathroom was clean and well maintained with a good large walk in shower and plenty of hot water.

Other people have commented that if you tip your room-maid she will stock your fridge daily and leave towel sculptures. We received this service every day and did not tip until we left as a thank you for the excellent service.

The gardens and jungle were lovely and the range of wildlife was fascinating to watch, one word of caution if you have a room over the jungle area, the monkeys start howling at sun up so they can be noisy. Also the jungle paths could be a problem for anybody with walking difficulties (or after a Margarita too many). There are alternative level paths around the outside of the hotel if it is a concern

Food and Drink
We enjoyed the food at the hotel, it was always well prepared and beautifully presented. We did note that many of the guests at the hotel were from the States on shorter stays than ourselves and the food seemed to be prepared with this in mind, so if there is one small criticism it is that the buffets do get repetative if you are staying longer than a week and may not be to English tastes.

We ate in all of the A la Cartes and enjoyed them all, the only dissapointment was our steaks in the Steakhouse, the meat was not as tender as we are perhaps used to in the UK.

I had read comments about the drinks being weak, which makes me wonder if some people have an alcohol problem, we found them perfectly adequate, after all you don,t want to get drunk on the first one and you can have as many as you like. Again, I suppose it is a case of what you are used to.

Staff
Two words sum this up, proffessional and friendly. We left tips for the individuals we felt had offered extra service during our stay.The girls who wait on tables in the bar and theatre, the roommaid (Margarita) the star friends team all deserve a special mention.

The Spa
We had two full body massages in the spa, one word - heaven. The girl who looked after me must have had magic hands as it is the best massage I have ever had. My husband felt his was a little rough at times, but he has back pain sometimes which may have caused him to be a bit more tense. We opted to have these in the spa rather than by the pool where it can be noisy. I think this was wise and the spa was very relaxed with soft lighting and gentle music.

The Dive Centre
We booked to do the Padi Open Water Certificate direct through Dressel Divers before arrival, this saves at least 15% plus gains from the favourable exchange rate.
Overall the dive centre was excellent. The boats leave from the hotel beach so there is no need to travel. The instruction was very proffessional.
Unfortunately my husband developed a head cold and was unable to equalise so we were unable to complete the full course, however we had done enough to receive the Scuba Diver certification. However they were very flexible with our arrangements, and even sent us to another resort to complete our dives when the rough seas caused dives from the hotel beach to be cancelled. We really enjoyed the diving and are planning our next trip so we can complete the Open water Certification.

Other Tours
We went out on the Alltournative Coba/Pac Chen excursion. A lot has been written about it this site so I won't go into too much detail other than to say Brilliant. Not perhaps for anyone with a fear of heights and wear good walking shoes. Also if you want to climb Nohoch Mul pyramid, take a "Mexican taxi" as you will appreciate not having to walk back after the climb.

The other excursion we tried was the Captain Hook cruise from Cancun. A lot of fun with a lobster dinner and pirate battle at sea, if you loved Pirates of the Carribean you will enjoy this. One warning, if the sea is rough, go easy on the pina coladas and try to stay on deck.

The Beach and Pool
The beach was lovely and as with all Iberostars kept very clean. The sea could be a little rough, we didn't mind but it may not suit young children, also it was not very good for snorkeling. The pool was great, large and clean and a good temperature. Some of the Scuba Diving takes place in the pool so apologies to any swimmers we may have startled.

To sum up we would be delighted to recommend the Iberostar to anybody. We did prefer the hotel in the Dominican Republc because we felt it had a slightly more intimate atmosphere and we felt that the food and drink was more suited to European guests on longer stays. However if you could take the beach, dive centre, jungle and pool from the Tucan with the hotel and gardens from the Costa Dorada you would have perfection. We will definatly be back at an Iberostar again.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Christa --- Canada

October 2004

My husband and I are both in our late 20's and decided to try a family vacation this year with our two small children. Based on other reviews and recommendations from family we chose the Mayan area and made the easy decision to stay at the Iberostar Tucan. This was not our first all-inclusive or Caribbean experience but it was the first time we flew with our children who were not yet 2 and 4. Despite a few problems with our airline carrier, the trip was fine. It was fantastic to have a flight less than 6 hours with two kids. (we flew from Canada) The bus ride from the resort was refreshing after the stuffy plane ride and we found it quite enjoyable stopping along the way and seeing some of the other resorts.

THE RESORT:
The Iberostar Tucan was fantastic!!!!!!! Upon arrival we were greeted with a cool drink and placed in a ground level room facing the main pathways, close the the theater. This proved to be way to noisy of a room with two small children but we immediately moved the following morning, with no problems. The rooms were cleaned everyday promptly, before we returned from breakfast. The mini bar was always kept full. We had no problems getting a crib for our 22 month old and the side sofa bed was made into a bed for our almost 4 year old. This worked great as it allowed us more floor space for the kids and a king size bed for us.

The food...........this was a big concern for me. One of our daughters has a severe allergy to dairy products so I packed a ton of food and worried about what was going to be available for her to eat. NO PROBLEMS!!!!! There was always plenty of choices for her as well as for everyone else in the family. I did hear people complain that the food was sometimes repetitive and yes, often the same choices were there, however there was always plenty of new things to try if you were adventuresome. The homemade churros in the morning were a great touch. The was never any problem getting food whenever the kids got hungry and we could stop even for a bedtime snack on the way back to the room. We especially enjoyed the entertainment that would walk around the buffet.........the clown and the magicians were a hit with the girls.

The Pool was amazing. Yes it was deep and being only 5 foot 2 it was over my head a lot however it kept it from getting over crowded. We spent most of our time next to the Children's pool. This was a great pool as it was the perfect depth for the kids, never too busy and centrally located. Although my daughter was not yet 4 years she went into the kids club for about an hour or two during the time we were there. Once was just to watch a movie to get out of the rain. The best part for her was the kids mini disco in the evening. After dinner every night they would show a movie in the theatre for the kids and even had popcorn for them. Once it was over they had the mini disco with dances and games. This was our favorite part. My husband and I never took in the evening entertainment as it never started until 10pm and the kids were always played out by then.

The Beach was unfortunately often windy and the only complaint I would have would be that the beach was very crowded with foot traffic. Because the resort is so close to Playa Del Carmen, people walked the strip constantly. This left very little to no space for the kids to play in the sand by the shore. It was great however for all the couples and people that love to walk on the beach.

The grounds, service and facilities at the Iberostar was fantastic. NO comparison at all to the Sandals resort we stayed at in Jamaica for our honeymoon! We have already booked our next trip and will be staying just up the road at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Phil, 47, and Nikki, 39 from Ottawa, Canada

May 2004

Here is our trip report for our stay at the IB* Tucan/Quetzal for the two weeks of April 3rd to the 17th. We are Phil, 47, and Nikki, 39 from Ottawa, Canada.

Let me preface my report by saying that we have been travelling to AIs in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic for many years so we have experienced many others resorts and can therefore make educated comparisons.

If you don’t want to read the whole trip report let me say right now that this was our best vacation yet! Don’t hesitate to book the IB* T/Q.

But if you want more details, here goes.

Weather: The weather for our first week was sunny, quite windy and very, very hot. Too hot even. The mercury hovered around the 35C (95F) degree mark with the humidity making it feel like 41C (105F). Even the locals told us it was too hot and some even felt dizzy from the heat. Thankfully we finally got a huge thunderstorm one evening (and other than a sprinkle another evening it was the only rain we got in two weeks) that cooled things down and got rid of the humidity. After that the weather was perfect with sun, slight breeze and temps around 30C (mid-80s F).

Resort: It was very, very nice. I had e-mailed Vera Espíndola Rafael (Public Relations) and Martha Alvarado (Reservations Manager) prior to our arrival to request a room and they delivered, both for us and our friends who joined us for our second week. We stayed on the Tucan side in room 1142 (our friends got 1145), 3rd (top) floor of building 11 (the second one from the beach). This room, with two double beds, faced the Gala resort next door and offered us a very nice ocean view from the balcony. We liked the location since it was a two-minute walk to the beach where we spent most of our time. The walk to the lobby or buffet was about 5 minutes or less. We were very happy with the room and made a point to meet both Vera and Martha to thank them in person. My wife, Nikki, even gave Martha a great big hug. The lobbies are beautiful and have nice sitting areas where you can enjoy a drink if the lobby bar is full. The buffet restaurants are open air, with the Tucan side buffet surrounded by koy ponds while the Quetzal buffet overlooks a small cenote. The theatre is centrally located between the two sides of the resort and features a bar and some pool tables. The one warning I have about the resort is that the paths meandering through the jungle in the centre of the resort may cause problems for those with mobility difficulties (and that includes alcohol induced difficulties). We truly enjoyed the jungle paths, but they may not be for everyone as they are somewhat uneven and have trees you have to walk around. There are alternative flat, clear paths behind the buildings. The resort was fully booked and it sometimes showed with line-ups at the buffet entrance and crowded nightly shows. There were many kids and teenagers while we were there.

Flora/Fauna: The centre of the resort is covered by jungle and is home to a wide assortment of beautiful plants and animals. Peacocks, roosters, koys in the ponds, agoutis, guinea hens, flamingos, ducks, etc. There are some monkeys but they are quite elusive and we only saw one the whole two weeks we were there (we didn’t really go looking for them though). We were told by the staff and some guests that some of the monkeys live in a large banyan tree behind building 26 on the Quetzal side so that is probably where you’ll have the best chance of seeing them although there were none to be seen the two times I went to look. The Tucan lobby has three beautiful Macaw parrots. One thing to be aware of is that there are many, many brown/black birds that come into the open air buffet restaurants and pick food out of the plates. If you leave your plate on your table be aware that there’s a very good chance birds will come and eat out of it. So for sanitary reasons it’s probably best to not leave your plates unattended while you go get a drink or whatever.

Nightly Entertainment: To tell you the truth, we did not see a single show the first week we were there. The heat was so oppressive that we were dead and in bed by 9:00pm. We did check out a few shows the second week and they were the same as what we have become accustomed to on other trips. The audience participation shows can be fun when the right guests participate. The live music (both in the lobby bar and the theatre) was very good and Nikki and I danced to many of our favourite songs.

Staff: The staff was great. I speak some Spanish so it was easy for us to befriend many of the bartenders, waiters, entertainers, maids, etc. Everyone is always looking for ways to make your stay better. And they always make a point to try and remember your name. We tipped our favourite new friends and you could see the appreciation in their faces. Our room was made up daily and we got towel sculptures, a turn down and chocolates almost every day. The Tucan lobby bar staff was excellent and always made the time we spent there a lot of fun.

Food/Drinks: We really enjoyed the food at the IB* T/Q and would rate it as some of the best we have had at an AI. Maybe it was because we were careful to always wash our hands and to watch what we ate but neither of us got sick (and Nikki has had intestinal problems in the past). We had also loaded up on yoghurt for the two weeks prior to the trip and we brushed our teeth with bottled water. So as far as we were concerned the food and water (which we drank lots and lots of) are safe. Just don’t drink the tap water in your room, which is labelled as not potable. The a la carte restaurants were excellent (we went to the Mexican, Italian and Steakhouse) with good food and service. Breakfast and lunch at the pool/beach restaurants was always good. Drinks were good and cold and the wine was not at all bad for an AI (we preferred the red to the white). I drank beer (Dos Equis light and dark on tap and bottles of Superior in the room fridge) and it was good. We used the swim up bar a few times and it was lots of fun. And guess what? Both Nikki and I came home 5 lbs lighter! Unbelievable! Must have been all the heat and all the walking on the beach and at the ruins. LOL!

Beach/Ocean/Pools: We didn’t use the pools much since we are beach people but Nikki enjoyed the daily pool aerobics a few times and we did use our Swimways pool floats in the sports pool when it was unoccupied (as an aside the Swimways floats are awesome! Check them out at www.swimways.com). The main pool was large and never seemed too crowded. The beach was very nice with soft sand. The ocean was quite rough for Playacar the first week we were there but calmed down considerably after the thunderstorm I mentioned above. For us the water in Playacar had always been the nicest, most postcard-perfect colour and during the second week we couldn’t stop marvelling at how beautiful it continues to be. For me, it’s the best. The rough conditions the first week caused some erosion and for a couple of days there was a wall about three feet high you had to go down to reach the ocean. But this slowly disappeared and the beach returned to its original condition. We went for long, beautiful beach walks everyday and used our Swimways floats in the ocean when it was calm enough.

Beach/Pool Loungers: As I said we are beach people and we like to get out there very early (6:30ish) so we never had a problem finding chairs on the beach under a palapa where we would park for the day. But the reservation game was in full swing while we were there and, unfortunately, we witnessed a few heated arguments about it. The hotel does its best to try and eliminate the problem by posting signs everywhere and distributing letters informing guests that reserving is not permitted and that security will remove objects used to reserve the chairs and bring them to the lost and found. We personally did not see security do this but we did hear of people losing their towels from their “reserved” chair. Lounger reservations appeared to be more prevalent around the pool.

Chichen Itza: For $600US we chartered a Cesna 182 through Aero Saab to fly four of us from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza. For those who can afford it I highly, highly recommend this. We left at 8:00am. The 45-minute flight there was quite smooth and we landed at the new Chichen Itza airport. To our surprise we found the airport locked up tight with chains and padlocks locking all the doors. Our pilot went in search of someone and finally someone showed up with a key to the padlock. As we entered the brand spanking new (2 years old I think) airport we realized we had the place entirely to ourselves. Not a soul in sight. And it turned out the guy with the keys was also the taxi driver that Aero Saab had pre-arranged for us (400 pesos round trip). This was way too funny. So this taxi driver takes us to the ruins and then proceeds to arrange for a guide (480 pesos) for us. What service! This was our second trip to Chichen Itza and it was just as awesome as the first time. After our visit our taxi driver was waiting to take us back. Once again he unlocked the padlock on the airport doors for us and we still had our own private airport. The taxi guy even came out to the plane with us and closed our doors, gave the thumbs up to the pilot and did the air traffic thing with his arms as the plane taxied away. LOL! The flight home was a bit bumpier as we were flying into the wind but still relatively smooth and we landed in Playa del Carmen shortly before 2:00pm. Comparing that to the bus tours that return around 8:00pm it was great and well worth the money we spent.

Tulum: We went for a tour of the Tulum ruins. We took a collectivo from Playa del Carmen to the ruins (30 pesos/person) and walked to the site from the highway. We hired a private guide (280 pesos), had a wonderful tour and then went for a refreshing swim below the ruins. Rode the collectivo back to town and were only charged 20 pesos/person for the ride back. It was an excellent way to spend half a day.

Scuba: I did one dive with Dressel Divers, the Iberostar on site dive shop located on the beach at the resort. This was part of my all-inclusive package with Signature Vacations. All I paid was $30US for the refresher (I had not been diving in a year) and equipment rental. We went to a site named Tortugas where you swim with sea turtles. It was great! Visibility was at least 80 feet. We saw many turtles, some of them swimming a foot or two away from us! The dive master was great and made it a lot of fun for the four of us on the dive. The water was a bit rough so you really needed your sea legs but other than that it was a good dive.

Shopping: We went to the Playacar Mall (nice place a 5-minute walk from the resort but we didn’t buy anything there) and Playa del Carmen. Basically it’s the same old stuff we’ve seen on our previous trips. We haggled for everything and always ended up getting a good price on a nice mask (we buy handcrafted masks as souvenirs everywhere we go).

Laura’s Maps: I had copies of the Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya maps from Laura the Mapchick (www.cancunmap.com) and they were totally awesome! Highly recommended. I used both and they were very, very handy. I also have the Cozumel map but we didn’t make it to the island so I can’t comment on that one.

Cancun Airport: Everything went very smoothly both arriving and departing. The only negative was that we almost missed our flight home because the public address system does not work very well in the new departure lounge. They have to use megaphones or small guitar amplifiers to make announcements. We sat somewhat far from our gate and did not hear our flight announced until the final call. And we were not alone as many people had to run to make the flight. So you might want to sit near your gate to make sure you hear the announcements.

One last thing: We had a slight issue at the resort. I won’t bother you with the details but I’ll just say that we calmly approached the IB* management and the issue was resolved very professionally and to our complete satisfaction.

So, in conclusion, I’d have to say that this was our best vacation to date.

Please feel free to visit my photo gallery at www.pbase.com/pgammon.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Richard and Saskia --- USA

May 2004

Firstly we apologies for the lateness of this report,but work commitments and a pile of laundry have kept us busy. After a long flight(11Hrs)we arrived in a Hot+Sunny Mexico. Cancun Airport was a bit of a disaster area. Long queues and baggage searches,but patience and calm thoughts get you through.Transfer to the Iberostar Tucan went smoothly as did checkin.You are supplied with 2 key cards/towel cards and Hotel infomation.

Room:
Our room was 1312 on the ground floor opposite the childrens play area. There was no hint of mustiness as previously mentioned on this board by other posters.The room was spacious and clean. The maid restocked the fridge everyday and also left us chocolates,flowers and towel art.The bathroom was big with a huge shower(U could fit 2 in no problem).We had hot water constantly.There is shampoo+shower gel,face cloths and facial soap provided also.There are hairdryers also provided. There is plenty of hanging space in the wardrobe and some shelving here too. There are no drawers in the room but there is a small cupboard. A television and remote is also in room,most channels are spanish but there are a few English speaking ones.

Food+Drink:
We don't quite know what to say apart from WOW!!!The selection of food in the Buffet Restaurants is huge.Breakfast have continental,cold spreads,fresh fruits,fry ups,smoothies,cereals,yogurts,traditional mexicon dishes and Saskias Favourite Fresh made Donuts.We never had lunch in the buffet,but were told it was also good. We went to the beach/pool side grill which had a good selection of salads/pasta/pizzas/burgers and other hot food.Evening meals are in the Buffet or at 1 of the a la cartes if you have booked them.The buffet again had a huge selection of hot+cold food.Some people on this board have mentioned about the food at AI being bland this was not the case here.The only comment we can make is that sometimes some food was a little cool,but this is always a problem with buffets.The a la carte meals were fantastic.We ate at the Mexican/Italian and the Steakhouse,which was my favourite.All the a la cartes operate with self service for starters,your main course is delivered with flourish and back to self service for desserts. Now for the drinks,the measures are big so be warned. The staff will make any cocktail you want.There are international brands available(Jack Daniels/Jim Bean/absolute Vodka/Martini/Bacardi Rum)as well as a huge range of domestic spirits.The local beer is Dos Equis,its not bad.

Pool/Beach area:
The pool area is huge,with an adults only swim up bar tucked away to one side,also an activity pool for games.There is also a kids pool.Right then onto the subject of sun loungers.The towel game is almost at proffesional level here.If you want a bed by the pool be up early to reserve them. There are signs asking you not to reserve beds but no one takes a bit of notice.While we were there we noticed that people reserved two beds in the shade,two beds in the sun on one side of the pool and two on another,So two people had six beds.Perhaps if people did'nt do this there would not be a problem.Also many beds were reserved but were not used until late afternoon.It is very annoying and we did think of a round of sunbed tipping was in order!!!. The beach is amazing,the sea is so blue+ clear as you will see if you go and have a look at our pictures.There are plenty of sunbeds on the beach and a nice coolingbreeze all day long.

Entertainment:
The entertainment is typical of all inclusives.During the day there are games such as volleyball/water polo/football/horseshoes and tennis to get involved in.Also there are stretching classes/dance classes/air rifle shooting and bicycle tours to name a few. Plenty to keep you busy. The evening events consisted of kids games or a little show first then the house band would play,then audience participation games followed by the main show. The main shows are ok,they rehearse alot to get them right but sometimes they do get a little repetitive especially if you are staying for 2 weeks. Credit to them for there effort and enthusiasm.They work very long days so sit back and order another cocktail and enjoy. To finnish the night off you can goto the Hotel disco"La Mascara" It closes at 3am and is ok. The entertainment staff have to go there after the show for 1hr.They are not allowed to stay longer and have to get a drink using tokens,they are not allocated many tokens so getting the drinks for them is really appreciated after all you are all inclusive and don't have to pay.

Playa Del Carmen:
We went into Playa a few times,we walked into town one day and got taxis the other(40 peso).It only takes 25-30mins to walk it but it is very hot.Plenty of shops,bars+restaurants to browse through.We never had any problems with shop owners,Yes they do call out at you to come into there shop but a smile and a"no gracias" seems to be the trick.If you do want to shop the further down 5th you go the cheaper the goods get.Rememberto haggle over the price and you get a really good price and you can get really good bargains.If you want silver make sure it is marked 925 and have it weighed.There are still roadworks on 5th,apparantly they are moving overhead cables to underground,This work has been going on for some time and looks like it will be carrying on for a longtime. Its not a problem but watch out for reversing diggers!!!!.We had a great time in Playa,Had drinks in various bars and were always treated well.One evening we headed back to town after the disco had finished and went to "Cafe Mambo".It was packed out with both tourists and locals.A live band played and everyone danced.It was all Latin American music and we had a fantastic time.

Trips:
We did quite a few trips out from the hotel and enjoyed them all. All the trips we did we prebooked on the internet before getting to Mexico.
(1)Xcaret-We sham with Dolphins here and the park was great
(2)Alltournative Tours-We had a fun packed day with this tour. We went to Coba and walked around the ruins and climbed "Nohoch Mul" the highest pyramid in the yucatan,this year will be the last time you can do this.We were also blessed by a Shamen before swimming in a covered Cenote,we kayaked,rappeled and zip linned had a typical mayan lunch in a village,great food.Also stopped at a mayan shop+cafe.Really good prices for handicrafts and souveners.This tour company offer many different tours and we would strongly recommend them.Very informative about the history and culture of the area.
(3)Tulum-This is another archelogical site.It is located by the sea but it is very hot so bring plenty of water.We walked around with a guide who told us so much infomation+pointed out stuff that blows your mind.This was a half day tour and well worth it.Great photo opportunites.
(4)ATV Quad bikes-Great fun,two and a bit hours tearing round the jungle trails on a quad bike.Top tip wear old clothes,it is very dusty and after stopping for a swim the dust really sticks.Saskia still can't get her t-shirt clean!!It was so much fun..

There are many more tours to do so you will find something to suit everyone.Our favourite one was the one organised by ALLTOURNATIVE.

Summary:
Mexico is a fantastic place to visit.We will not hesitate to recommend Mexico and the Iberostar Tucan to everyone.Would we go back?????? Well of course we would in a heartbeat.... Hope you all enjoyed our report and enjoy looking at our photos on:

http://community.webshots.com/user/saskiarichard


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera  

May 2004

I just returned from my second stay at the Iberostar Quetzal/Tucan. (That's my review below - November 2002.)

I have traveled a good deal; This is a resort I will return to again and again. It remains a great value for the cost. This time, I went with my very fussy husband and a very close friend and her family (husband and a four-year old boy.) Everybody loved it. Everyone enjoyed the food and entertainment. My friend's son had a great time at the kid's club and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive kid's shows at night.

The beach remains as beautiful as I had remembered it. We had a lot of clouds and occasional rain on this trip, but when the sun did come out, the water was the brightest color of blue you can imagine. South from the resort is a beautiful virgin (no hotels) beach. Traveling without my husband last time, I didn't dare to venture there. This time, we did. It was absolutely stunning and seemed quite safe with enough people around.

This time we stayed on the Quetzal side (Tucan last time.) I had heard that the rooms on the Quetzal side were nicer; It's true. They were brighter and seemed newer.

Drinks - Well, it turns out they do water down the alcohol. I have to mention this since my review below says they do not do this. It really is not a big deal; I have yet to find an all-inclusive that doesn't do this. It's just that most people don't know about it. As long as you stay away from frozen drinks, the mixed drinks are strong enough anyway. I didn't even notice last time. I drank margaritas on the rocks with cuervo. They were strong enough that I didn't notice. This time, being carb conscious, I tried a martini and straight cuervo. They were watered down. The draft beer at the bars was Dos Xis (spell?) and was always cold. The wines were good. The bartenders are always willing to poor a strong one if you ask for "con mucho tequila, por favor."

The resort remains great for couples and families. It's great for singles who are not looking to meet other singles or to really party. If you really want to party, you are better off elsewhere. It's just not that kind of atmosphere.

Pool improvements - They added an adults-only pool with swim-up bar. It looked nice. I never visited it. It did seem to relieve some of the congestion at the main pool which did not seem crowded like it was last time I visited.

Service- The mexican people are warm and friendly. The service at the resort is consistantly outstanding, and always with a smile. Eveyone in my party commented on the outstanding service. Service simply could not be better. We noticed that most vacationers did not tip. The staff here go out of their way to take care of you. The dollars you leave them will go a long way toward improving their weekly income and it will not increase the cost of your trip significantly.

I know we will return.


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera Mary and Pete --- St. Louis, Mo. USA

February 2004

My wife and I (along with good friends Cindy and Bryan) spent the last week of January '04 at the Iberostar Quetzal. The Iberostar Tucan shares the grounds and is a mirror image of the Quetzal. When we were researching for this trip, we found that Funjet offered rooms on the Quetzal side and Apple Vacations offered rooms on the Tucan side. (I wonder why???) We went with the Funjet package because of better flight times.

Our travel history (just as a point of reference): CANCUN: Camino Real, Cancun Palace and the Continental Plaza. JAMAICA: Couples - Ocho Rios and Sandal’s Royal Caribbean. THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Gran Ventana - Puerto Plata, the Iberostar Bavaro - Punta Cana (2 times).

Flight and Airport Transfer
We flew direct from St. Louis on a charter through Funjet Vacations. It's about 2 hours and 40 minutes in the air. We were warned about the "time-share" people in the airport. They will try and talk to you, offer you free dinners, etc. If you not interested in time-shares, ignore them. Also, the airport porters would see our Funjet bag-tags and would try to take our bags by saying "Funjet! Funjet!" like they were SUPPOSED to take them. This is optional. If you want to give them a couple dollars to transport your bags, fine. After clearing customs and collecting our luggage, we found the Funjet rep outside the airport terminal (as we were told) and he directed us to our air-conditioned bus for the 45-minute trip to the resort. There was Dos Equis beer on the bus for a dollar.

Check In/Rooms
Check in was smooth. We asked for "close to the beach" and we were put in the 4th building back from the beach, building 2300. Not too bad. To see a good aerial photo, go to http://playacarallinclusive.com/iberostar_quetzal.html The "Quetzal" is on the right, the "Tucan" on the left. The buildings right on the beach contain suites. The bungalows with the regular rooms had 12 to a floor and were 3 stories high. Half of the rooms face the inside of the resort and half face the outside (the neighboring resort). Without knowing to ask for it, we got rooms facing the inside and the "jungle". The rooms had king size beds, a small seating area and a balcony. The bathroom could have been a little bigger. The beds were VERY firm, but didn't bother our sleeping. When they first assigned our rooms, they offered us (2 couples) one room with a king bed and one room with 2 fulls. When we said "No way." they found a second room with a king (how about that!) and we both got our rooms with the requested king beds.

Grounds/Beach
The grounds were beautiful and well maintained. The middle of the resort (the jungle) appears to have been left in a near-natural state. There were monkeys, flamingos, peacocks (even a white one!) and some animals that appeared to be small versions of a capybara. The beach was fairly large with white powder sand. Although there were many beach chairs, most days it seemed they were all being used. There are thatch-roofed palapas on the beach (not enough) to get a break from the sun. The beach could have been cleaned more. It seems the guests thought it OK to use the beach as an ashtray for their cigarette butts. As you walk out to the beach, there is one resort to the right and then it is open as far as you can see. Looking that way, you'll see some rocks jutting out into the ocean, about 3/4 of a mile down the beach. We took a couple walks to the rocks and one time the wives brought their masks and snorkels and did snorkeled a bit. They brought some bananas from the restaurant and enticed some fish in for a closer look. If you decide to do this, pick a day when the sea is fairly calm. One day, the waves were about 4-5 feet. On the calm days, they were only 1-2 feet.

Pool
Large, beautiful, free-formed and COLD! The ocean was warmer. Except for the water aerobics, we saw only a few people a day in the pool. There is a small "adult" pool with a swim up bar and the water was cold in there too, but was mostly 3 feet deep. The main pool was 5 1/2 feet deep along the wall - not conducive to "hanging out" along the wall and chatting with friends in the lounge chairs.

Food
Good to very good, not great, and repetitive. Even though this is an all-inclusive and the meals are paid for, we went into Playa del Carmen 3 times for dinner. It's only a few minutes and a $4 US cab ride away. First meal was at La Parrilla (The Grill). We all had grilled lobster. $25 US. Very good, not great. The next 2 nights we went to La Casa del Agua. Very nice! Their lobster tail was $35-$55 US, but, according to Bryan, better than the lobster at La Parrilla. They rest of us passed on the lobster and we all thought the food was outstanding.

Shopping/Night Life
There are a couple small shops in the lobby. Not much to them. A couple days, the resort brought vendors on the grounds and let them set up shop. Mostly souvenirs and jewelry. If you walk out of the front of the resort and walk north (to the right) there is a small shopping area. Since the evening entertainment at the resort is family oriented, you can go into Playa del Carmen and get some shopping AND some lively entertainment. We never made it to the "disco" on the grounds, so we can't comment on it.

What to bring
Sunscreen. Lots of it. We didn’t run out, but priced a bottle in one of the shops and it was $15 US. Imodium and your favorite antacid. We found that the food is different, not ill prepared. An insulated travel mug with a lid. It’s hot and breezy, so your drinks don’t stay cold long. The lid will keep out the sand when you are on the beach. The bartenders will gladly fill them for you. We found some at Walmart in the automotive dept. for 99 cents and left them behind with the bartenders.

If you plan to snorkel, bring a few zip-lock bags to keep the bread or bananas in. Bring money for tips. Even though it is not required/expected, the people work long hours and are very appreciative of tips. A couple extra dollars in their pocket at the end of a day would mean a lot to them.

In Conclusion
All things considered, a very nice resort, about a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, BUT we would sooner go back to the Iberostar Bavaro in the Dominican Republic. The flight's an hour longer (from St. Louis, anyway!) and a little more expensive, but worth it.

Thanks for the great site, Debbie!


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Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal - Mayan Riviera  

January 2004

Since I used the reviews on this site to make my hotel decision, I wanted to share my experience. My husband son (14) and I stayed at the Iberostar Tucan from December 21 through the 28. We have stayed in a number of hotels in Cancun and Playa but this was by far the nicest we have found. We enjoy Playa because it is more peaceful but the location and security of this hotel made it very enjoyable. Even though it was the holiday and the hotel was sold out, we did not feel crowded at all. They had plenty of staff to service everyone. The layout of the hotel and restaruant areas lets folks really spread out.

Positives:
1.Great food for an all inclusive. The buffet varied the menu every night and they had a special dinner for Christmas Eve. We ate at the Italian and the steakhouse speciality resturants which were good also. the drinks were fine for us. We did find that some bartenders made drinks better than others. You can ask for a special brand of liquor, however they were somewhat limited in choices. They will try and make any drink you request. We did bring down insulated mugs/with lids. I would recommend this. Kept frozen drinks a long time and the lids kept the sand out on the beach. They were happy to rinse and refill anytime. One thing I noticed about the bartenders. They always used tongs to pick up fruit garnishes and straws for drinks. Nice touch.
2. Hotel grounds and rooms were kept immaculate. We did leave the maid a few dollars every day. It was well worth it for the service we received.
3.Lots of activities. The "star friends" really worked hard all day and evening. There was some type of activity we could participate in just about anytime during the day. They included my some in the adult games (beach vollyball etc.) We did not use the childrens club, but there were a lot of kids in it and they seemed to be having fun. the evening shows were pretty good, some better than others. They did a special Christmas show , Aladdin, that worked well for the children and the adults. The staff there said that they do 14 different shows so if you stay two weeks you never see the same show twice.
4. We used the onsite dive shop Dressel Divers. They were very good. Even though it was very crowded they offered many dives so they could accomodate everyone. We rented equipment from them and it was very good. They had good instuctors that were very safety minded. Depending on the package you bought it was about $45.00 - $50.00 per tank. They stored our wet suits for us the whole week and they had rinsing station right when you come off the boat.
5. The service and staff were excellent. Always very friendly and we never had to ask twice for anything.
6. Beach was great! Good swimming, walking whatever. There was not any good snokeling from hotel beach. Take a tour!
7. Grounds were amazing. The jungle area had a lot of wildlife and it really was pleasant to stroll through. They had many christmas lights throughout the grounds which was really nice. I would recommend the first three buildings (1100-1300) from the beach as the roosters and monkeys in the jungle get up early and are noisy.

Negatives:
1. The pool was extreamly cold. Not many people in it all week. The dive staff said it is always that way. For those of you that like to float around a pool this could be an issue. It looked nice though.
2. The Disco did not open till about 11:30. It would have been nice for the "teens" to have somewhere to go earlier in the evening. There were no organized teen activities. They had to participate with the adults when they could.

Overall great place. I would give it four and 1/2 stars (due to unusable pool). We all agreed we would like to go back again.


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