FAQ -- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Do I need to rent a car? If not, what are my transportation options? We would recommend renting a car. It is probably the cheapest option. Also there are so many fun things to see and do in the area, and having a vehicle gives you a lot of flexibility. It's quite easy to drive down from the airport (about 60mi, 1.5hrs). The main coastal highway is a great well-lit, wellsigned, 4-lane divided highway. Driving in this part of Mexico is easy and safe. If you prefer not to drive we can organize taxi/shuttle pickup for you. The cost is roughly $100--$120 each way. Once at the house you can call a taxi for when you want to go somewhere. If you are on a day-trip you can rent a taxi for the day. But you'll want to plan ahead a bit, because there isn't a taxi stand at Soliman bay, with taxis waiting. How do we get the key to the house? Let us know when you will be arriving. The caretakers live on site and will be waiting for you. We’re arriving really late – where can we get dinner? If you let us know in advance, Olivia can have dinner waiting for you. This service is extra – 50 pesos per head (incl kids) plus cots of ingredients. There are also fast food places in Playa del Carmen. After Playa there’s not much along the highway, though there are full-service restaurants in Akumal. We’re arriving really late – what should we do about breakfast? We provide a complimentary welcome basket of fresh fruit, milk, cereal, breads, eggs, coffee etc so you don’t need to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Do I need to speak Spanish?
Most of our guests speak no Spanish. Olivia speaks no English, but they manage to communicate really well anyhow! There is phrasebook and bilingual dictionary at the house which helps a bit. You can also usehttp://www.bing.com/translator/ Where can I buy groceries?
There are two big groceries in Tulum. The Super San Francisco is at the (only) traffic light. The newer (and bigger) Chedraui is ¼ mile down the beach rod. They have all the essentials, but you may not find specific brands or specialty items. Olivia can also show you the local fish, fruit and vegetable shops she uses, which have much better fresh items (esp. the fish!)
One option (though it makes your arrival day longer) for a greater chance of finding specialty items is to stop at Soriana in Playa del Carmen (when coming into Playa stay in the middle so you end up on the elevated thruway. When the thruway ends move right, look for signs for "Centro Maya". Soriana is a big grocery shop in there. Though frankly I'm not sure they have that much more variety than the new Chedraui in Tulum. Do you have pool toys and sand toys? Yes, we do have some pool toys and sand toys. Do you have life jackets? Yes, we have life jackets in a variety of child, junior and adult sizes. Life jackets must be worn at all times when kayaking. Do you have Snorkel gear?
Unfortunately not. We had some but they tended to get lost, broken etc quite quickly. You can get cheap snorkel kits at Chedraui in Tulum, Walmart and Soriana in Playa. Better quality gear is for sale at the dive shop in Akumal. But the best option for serious snorkelers is to get properly fitted gear from home. Do you have a crib and high chair? Yes. We have one each. If you need more please let us know in advance so we can make arrangements. Do you have an extra mattress? Yes, we have an extra inflatable mattress. Let us know in advance if you want it made up for your arrival. Please note that the house occupancy limit is 8 people, adults or kids.
How big is the villa? The property? Is it private or part of a complex? Tres Delfines is a private 2800sf villa on its own ¼ acre property (about 80ft wide by 150ft deep). The property is landscaped with thick tropical gardens. There is a house next door on one side, which is screened by a tall wall/fence and landscaping. On the other side there are empty lots for several hundred feet. There is a caretaker’s cottage by the property entrance, far away from the house and screened by landscaping. How big is the pool? How deep is it? Is it fenced? The pool is roughly 18’ x 15’ (5.5m x 4.5m) divided into two sections. The shallow section is 26” (66cm) deep. The rest is 50” to 57” (127cm to 145cm) deep. There is also a hot-tub-like circular pool about 6.5’ (2m) across, with a bench for sitting, but there are not jets or hot water in this pool.
Please note that the pool is not fenced and the shallow and deep portions are not 100% separated, so kids must always be supervised in or around the pool. How far to the beach? Tres Delfines is located directly on the beach. It is about 20m from the patio to the water’s edge. Do you have a washer & dryer Yes, we have a regular full-sized washer and dryer. How does the chef service work? Our housekeeper Oliva is a great cook. She makes Mexican, Yucatecan and Guatemalan specialties, as well as regular American food. She charges 50 pesos per person (including kids) per meal, plus cost of groceries.
Do you have WiFi? Yes, we have WiFi internet access. But the service provider is not always reliable, so please consider this a “best effort” service. If you have a critical business need for 100% reliable connectivity, please enable global data roaming on your smart phone. Do you have a phone? How is the cell phone signal? We do have good cell voice and data coverage – but be sure to enable global roaming capability with your carrier before you leave. The house phone is a fixed cellular that takes prepaid cell cards. The caretakers will give you a 100 peso card on arrival. If you need more you can pick one up at any grocery store. For international calls this phone is no cheaper than just using your roaming cell phone. But it would be cheaper for local calls if you make any.
Have you been to Xcaret, Xplor or Xelha – any recommendations? Xcaret we find to be very crowded and overpriced. Xplor is an addon to Xcaret, so probably similar, though we have not been. Xelha is somewhat nicer, and quite laid back, esp. the river float & associated stuff (ziplines into the water etc) and of course it is very close by. Sunday or Monday I think is the least crowded. I’ve heard Xelha (or Akumal) is the place for snorkelling By far the best snorkeling is right out your door at Soliman Bay. The snorkeling in Akumal bay and Xelha simply don't compare. The snorkeling is the principal reason we bought the house. Yalku is a good
option for very little kids and anyone not confident enough to go snorkeling in Soliman Bay – lots of fish in a totally calm inlet. But visibility is highly variable. Is there a place nearby that offers a “Dolphin swim”? Xelha (about 5mins drive) and Puerto Aventuras (about 30mins drive) both have dolphin swims. The latter works out a bit cheaper because at Xelha you pay for park entrance plus the dolphin swim, and since the swim + prep time takes a while you don’t really get full value on your park admission. At Puerto Aventuras you pay for just the dolphin swim, but the setting is not too picturesque (basically an outdoor mall). Where can we get some night life?
Tres Delfines is located on Soliman Bay, a private beach community, with mostly private houses and a couple of small B&Bs. No big hotels etc, so you have the beach entirely to yourselves. There are 2 bars/restaurants walking distance on the same beach -- one is a "beach shack", the other is a fancy place with very nice decor and cocktails. They don't really have a busy bar scene though, more a chilled hang-out-on-the-beach scene. About 10 minutes drive gets you to the Tulum town center, where there are more bars, a couple with live music some days. Overall Tulum is quite low-key -there is no Cancun type activity. Another option for good nightlife is Playa del Carmen, about 30mins drive. The main street, Avenida 5, is pedestrianized at night and packed with people and a great variety of nightlife. Much nicer than the Cancun mega-disco scene. Playa is not much to look at by day, though.