#1 Tip: Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re in Paradise after all!!
Reservation/Room Request Information: Here are email contacts for resort reservation information. Per management, please email only one address one week or less prior to leaving for the resort. I suggest requesting a building and then put the remainder of your requests in order of priority, i.e. king bed, floor, etc
Colonial & Kantenah
White Sand & Riviera
Royal Suites Yucatan
Toll Free USA : 888-237-1226
Toll Free Canada : 866-865-8524
From Dominican Republic: 809-784-8407
Free limited wireless all over the resort. (E mail , Skype etc) If you want to upgrade you can for
Prices for Premium WiFi – 1 Mbps(1024kbps)
- 1 day – 14.99 USD
- 2 days – 24.99 USD
- 3 days – 29.99 USD
- 4 days – 59.99 USD
Royal Yucatan guests receive free premium WiFi
Air conditioning setting FYI: Depending on what temp you want suggest as an example: set to enfriamiento and auto and 22c = 74F (use up and down arrows) and hit set.
- Enfriamiento = cooling
- ventilacion = just fan
- apagado = off
- alta = high
- media = medium
- Baja = low
Getting to and from the resort. Many of us use private transfers. Highly suggest AGI Tours/ http//:agitours.com There are others. Just be sure they are reputable and have a good track record.
Taxi tip as seen on Facebook: When we were there in December 2015 we walked across the highway (via the tunnel) and negotiated with a taxi.
How to save a few pesos on a taxi in Playa del Carmen. If you are on 5th Ave, or near the ferry dock, if you walk up towards 10th ave. and flag a taxi its about $25 pesos to go to most places in Playa. But if you go to a taxi stand say near the ferry, the bus station, at 5th Ave and Constituyentes, “tourist zones” the taxi’s will charge you a base price of $70 pesos.
Colectivos: I would try the colectivo transportation system. Very efficient and economical. The vans travel up and down Highway 307 frequently. Just stand at the bus stop outside the resort to go to PDC north. The colectivo into PDC stops as the corner of 2 & 15th (streets are numbered), where it also departs from. If you must cross the highway in front of the resort suggest using employee tunnel.
Currency: In Decmber 2014 it was much more preferable and economical to use pesos. US dollar was only worth about 69cents. In 2015 the US dollar is worth 15 MXN pesos. To see current rates check out Travelex. Note you can use US dollars but are subject to the vendor’s exchange rate so it is usually preferable to use pesos.
Two ATMs on resort dispense pesos & one US dollars. Changing large denominations for smaller can be done at the front desk but they will usually give you pesos. They may ask for your passport, especially if changing non-pesos currency. Some people bring a copy of their passport and leave the original in the safe. You may also ask bell boys & bartenders to make change.
Note I found the ATM fees higher in December 2015 – about $6 per transaction plus any fees from your bank.
John UK wrote: “At the front lobby, exchange rates aren’t that competative as in all hotels. The atm machine does have a better rate BUT UK banks will charge heavily for overseas use.(some UK banks, not all) the best solution we have come up with is… *A small amount of dollars in low denominations for tipping.( £200 for example) * We then bring a larger amount of Peso’s in cash changed in the UK ( the room safes are very secure) *travellers chq’s – bring sterling not dollar = or you will pay once in the UK, and then again in mexico to exchange. you are better exchanging outside of resort, but not a massive difference. the lobby will only give you peso’s for travellers chq’s, hence why you are better bringing sterling chq’s hope this helps.”
The bellboys and bartenders can sometimes change US or pesos $ for smaller denominations
Tipping: Staff make very little money. While tipping is not expected it is greatly appreciated. You will certainly find staff you want to tip. Tip in pesos or US. Housekeeper, some bartenders, waitstaff. Loke talks about tipping in Canadian:
Loke: “In case this has not been mentioned, please do not tip with coins especially Canadians. Loonies & Toonies cannot be used by these folks & banks in Mexico will not take these coins either. We have had staff ask us to buy their coins which we were more than happy to do. For example the pontoon driver had a whole basket of coins. It is so easy to go to the banks in Canada & get $1 USA bills or if you plan ahead you can order peso bills in $20 denominations. The front desk will also change a large peso bill to smaller bills for no charge. The $20 peso bill is the smallest paper bill in Mexican currency but approx $2 value so good tip money too. We also use $5 Canadian bill for some tips as they can use Canadian bills just no coins.
Maps: The resort is very large and it may be a bit overwhelming at first.. Carry the map with you the first couple of days. You’ll find shortcuts and avoid getting “Lost in Paradise!”
Orange = Kantenah, Blue = Colonial, Avacado = White Sand, Brown = Riviera
In addition to all of the great tips here on unofficialpalladium.com, Mapchick offers a very good trip planning guide,
Packing list: Be sure and bring comfortable walking shoes, lots of sun tan lotion, extra electrical outlets (power strip), flashlight or small night light for the bathroom/ Kantenah library. Turtle friendly flashlight if you’re going during turtle season.
Boatchick: Don’t over pack! This is from experience. Create a lot of mix and match outfits.Laughing about “Lost in Paradise” That was me in 2004, our first trip. (Me too – Anne) Bubba Mugs: On EBay, at Walmart, on Amazon, at Canadian Tire.
From Holger Germany
Ala cartes are unlimited for all guests. There are no reservations so just arrive and if there is a table available you will be seated or you will be given a beeper and will be beeped when a table is available. Royal Guests and Imperial guests may reserve. The beach BBQ, Punta Emilia seafood restaurant and Sumptuori show table require a reservation the day before. We used to suggest going before 7 pm or after 9. When we were there in February 2013 the resort was full and people were lining up early so I guess you’ll have to play it based on resort capacity.
Dress code has been relaxed
Note parties more than ten must book ala cartes with Guest Services and have a set menu.
If you like seafood, suggest booking the Punta Emilia seafood restaurant.
Also ask if they have the seafood special in Mare Nostrum. The two most popular restaurants are the Japanese (show table) and El Dorado (steakhouse).
Paella is served on the Colonial beach Sundays at noon (weather permitting) and they have live music
There is a beach BBQ now on Wednesdays and Fridays. (changes)Booking the day before. Check bulletin boards for changes
Each buffet has a grilling station where you can get something grilled to order. Look for the little signs describing the selections. Tell the chef what you would like and he will get a fresh piece out of the fridge and grill it for you. Usually there are three or four kinds of fish, chicken, steak, pork and more.
You can also have custom made omelets in the morning and there is now a Panini station for breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss the evening crepes.
The fridge is inside a cabinet below the TV. It is stocked daily by a fridge person (not housekeeping). Some suggest leaving the cabinet door open to keep the fridge cool. If you need supplies leave a note inside the fridge with a small tip.
If you need coffee supplies, leave a note with a sample (in Spanish)with the tip for the housekeeper
Guest Services sit at tables in the lobbies. They open at 8am In Colonial I saw people lining up at 7:30 am. I did not have a wait when I went by one evening to make reservations.
On site activities: Schedules are posted on bulletin boards outside of the buffets and in the theaters. Also: you will be given a kids club schedule at check in.
Segway tours for a fee – sign up at Colonial pool. http://www.segway-funtours.com/
Aqua Excursions is on site to manage the water sports, snorkeling and dive tours and more. http://aquaexcursions.com.mx
Off site activities
There are a number of off site activities for you to review. Some of these do offer transportation for an extra charge. The resort is in a great location so many of these things can be reached easily via colectivo or taxi if you feel comfortable getting there on your own. Colectivos (public van) for 20 – 30 pesos per person. There is also a taxi chart on this page. I would review some of these and see what interests your family.
I agree about having your own snorkel gear if you like to snorkel. I would either bring it or buy some at WalMart when there.
Another suggestion is to order one of Laura’s Riviera Maya maps. they are fabulous guides. www.cancunmap.com
XPLOR is close at KM 282 off highway 307. Palladium is at KM 256 on the same highway. Walk outside the gate and take a colectivo from the bus stop on the same side as the Palladium to go north. Tell the driver where you are going and keep an eye out. He will stop at Xplor for you.
Tips from our members:
Doug UK: A useful tip for European travellers. The sockets in the rooms also support 2 round pin plugs but NOT UK plugs. Infact the clock radio in the room has a 2 pin round plug.
Lokes: Bring a flashight for the room and the jungle at night.
Tummy Issues: These can occur for many reasons. The resort takes the utmost care in food handling and safety and consistently wins the Distintivo H award from the government.
For those who are unused to consuming coconut, use it sparingly (some drinks contain coconut, i.e. pena coladas) as it can cause tummy problems, ie it is a laxative. Drink lots of bottled water. Wash hands frequently, i.e. use hand sanitizer before eating in buffets Use plentiful limes. Fernet liquor, aka jagermeister helps with tummy issues. I always use a probiotic before going, good bacteria also found in yogurt Avoid too much sun – hydrate (wear a hat) Others use Pepto Bismal.
Bring snorkel equipment and snorkel off the beach Take out a hobi-cat Spend a couple of hours at the Spa Take a ride on the pontoon boat and the train Walk the beach from end to end (and then some) Visit the Disco Play a round of mini golf Find the bands Quarzo, Con Classe, The Latin Band Find both orchid gardens (Colonial and Kantenah) Take an afternoon nap in a bali-bed at the salt water pool Take the Segway tour Take the cooking class Monday at 4:30 Take a salsa lesson and then dance at the White Party by the salt water pool on Tues night Eat Paella on the beach Sunday at 1PM
Snorkeling: We enjoy snorkeling at the Kantenah side of the beach the most & if you wish to snorkel at the White Sands end you will need water shoes. We wear snorkel vests which are not a regulated life jacket but are of good quality & I feel quite safe but would not wear them out in the middle of the ocean. We see a good variety of fish including the odd turtle.
Note from Anne: The resort has life jackets but limits their use so best to bring a vest.
We have booked side trips to snorkel through Scuba Caribe to go to Akumal & really enjoyed that experience. We have also taken other snorkel tours that we booked at a desk in the front lobby. I can’t remember the names of the tours but they were good too. There is also a day tour to Cozumel from Scuba Caribe that we want to take so that is on our to do list. We feel Scuba Caribe gives good service. You will love the Palladium & there is something for everyone.
Threesons: I think having your own snorkel equipment is best…you can then have mask that fits your face…a good fit is important.
Tips from first timer: Starbright3
Here are some things that we discovered from going down there. We had children.
-take more sunscreen that you think you will need. Don’t get the spray on stuff. It doesn’t protect as well even if it says 100 on it. Rub it on.
-mosquito spray. They can’t keep every little pest out.
-Bathing suits for 10 days-only needed 2 (my kids didn’t switch theirs and they were ok). And people of all sizes, both male and female wear bikinis so this is the time to strut you stuff and buy that bikini you always wanted to wear. Trust me, people who were 300 lbs were wearing bikini.
-warn kid about the police patrolling the roads and at the airport that they carry big guns. We aren’t used to them here. One woman at our bag check in was amazed about that, and told us that now it makes sense why Canadians take photos of them.
-Read the fine print of all activities off the resort. Often it is the base price you are paying-it will cost more.
-Snorkeling at Akumal is the best. We had a 6 yr old and the waves were pretty high. The one guy made sure she had a good life jacket and took a body board with her and pulled her along on the tour. Very nice of him. Not expensive either. A MUST thing to do.
-take some pepto bismo and Kaopectate. Often your tummy isn’t used to the rich food you give it, and it may make it a bit sore. Nothing to do with the resort, it is what we are used to.
-jr suites have two double beds or one king. If you aren’t used to being that close to your hubby, make sure you upgrade to a king.
-don’t forget your tooth paste.
Hope this helps._
Sunrise: Try to make at least one sunrise. (Check wunderground for time of sunrise) I love wandering to the Colonial beach bar for a cappuccino and sitting to watch the sunrise. It’s such a peaceful time of day. The workers are already out tidying the resort before everyone wakes up! Then wander down to Punta Emilia for a champagne. They also have wireless.
Boatchick – Turtles
Visit the Turtle reserve on the North end of the Kantenah Beach, if you’re visiting between April- Oct.. But also watch out for roped off nests on the Palladium Beaches and please don’t disturb them
Bring a turtle safe flashlight during turtle season.
cape cod anne – Teen club
The Black & White Teen club is a great place to meet other teens. Teen dinner is sponsored by the teen club on Wednesdays. The grown kids may enjoy the beach bar on the Colonial at night, the sports bar. My daughter and her friend made many friends riding on the train at night.There are also shows and live music (check bulletin boards)
Threesons – Entertainment Schedules
They post the daily schedules in the lobbies near where the lobby washrooms are…this is a good place to check out anything that is on or new each day. Enjoy the lobbies at night…this was one our favorite things about the resort, the lobbies really do have their own vibes and each has entertainment going on that is different…we would go from lobby to lobby, stay awhile and then move to another…we always seemed to spend the most time at the Colonial, our favorite and everyone seems to have their favorite depending on what they like, some are quieter and some are more lively. (Also check bulletin boards outside of buffets and theaters.)
Kern – salt water pool, church
As far as things not to miss, we love going to the salt water pool area at the end of the day before heading back up to the room. It’s so relaxing to have a drink and sit on the Bali beds. Perfection! Be sure and visit the new church behind the Colonial theater. There are also some orchid gardens behind there and on the Kantenah side you may want to visit.
Janie M: Tips
Janie M posted these helpful hints from a newbie: Some “helpful hints”—or helpful hints that were REALLY helpful from other trip reports:
Take an extension cord or multiple outlet if you have lots of devices to plug in or recharge. We didn’t tale either, so we unplugged an unused lamp and non-functioning I-home for our gadgets with little hassle.
The shower/tub has a retractable clothesline and on the deck there is an awesome “telescoping” drying rack on the wall. Our sopping wet swimsuits and clothes were nearly dry by morning.
Some in our group were really bothered by mosquitos and others not at all. The resort is more jungle-setting than manicured grounds—so someone in the group should bring bug repellent and calamine lotion for all! You’ll thank me later.
The tip about leaving the cabinet door open where the “refrigerator” lives was 100% accurate if you want cooled beverages.
If you take snacks/food to the rooms—double-Ziploc them or put them in the mini-fridge. One room did have a problem with ants, but this was a ground floor room with small children leaving snacks sitting out, so I don’t think this was a resort problem.
If you want to change dollars for pesos in the lobby, you’ll need to bring your passport with you. Or walk all the way back to your room for it.
You cannot eat in the buffets in dripping wet clothes and swimsuits. One person in our group found out the hard way—be sure you are mostly dry with a cover-up/shorts & shirt on if you have been swimming. This is just in consideration for other diners who don’t necessarily want to sit on wet cushions. In fact, flip the cushion up and sit on your towel! El Azul is a bit more lenient about this, but you do need flip flops and preferably part of a cover-up/shirt. I believe you can eat at the 24-hour beach snack bar in your swimsuit, but I only went there once.
Heed the signs on the beach about “rocky” areas and stingrays. It’s true. The best snorkeling is in these areas, however! Take swim shoes.
Take the map with you everywhere—especially at first—and discover shortcuts to the pool, beach, lobby, etc. The signs can be a bit confusing. On our first day I just asked “Playa?” to a young man working outside our villa and he pointed me to the shortest possible way to the beach—under 5 minutes.
Ladies: Do not wear heels on the boardwalks! Unless you are used to walking tightropes or something. If you must wear them, carry them and wear flip flops on the boardwalks.
Read the giant welcome brochure in the room—it is packed with everything you need to know. We asked for a couple extra maps at check-in since we often split up into separate groups.
Put this and the restaurant list they give you into a Ziploc bag and take it everywhere—the restaurants have different hours, so that way you will know which buffet is open.
Book the room you want in the section you want rather than hope for an upgrade when you get there.
Kern – Akumal
Taking the colectivo to Akumal for a couple of hours after breakfast is a fun activity. You’ll enjoy snorkeling and seeing the sea turtles, and lots of colorful fish. Those who don’t wish to snorkel can walk on the beach, shop, or just relax on a towel or rented beach chair. We always bring old beach towels from home for our off-site trips, and then just leave them there at the end of the vacation.
Threesons: Bring your own snorkel gear. You also have the freedom to snorkel when you want and even go off site to Akumal where you can see the sea turtles.
Take a sponge and add dish soap and let dry. Cut into small cubes and pack in a ziplock bag. You can use these for washing up your bubba mugs or even kids cups etc as needed. Dishsoap is also fantastic in getting grease off clothes.
The new repellent clip on fans that people say work well ( they really do work ) take them when dinning outdoors at night or sitting outdoors at night, just place either on your table or by your feet and turn on…helps keep the bugs away or getting you in the ankles.
You mentioned a day trip to Xcaret….we didn’t do this but family members have with a 12 year old and she loved it. They enjoyed it also…there is a tour for this and it would be probably the best way to go, it is like a water park and they have dolphins there also. There is a web site so you can look into it before but I have heard great reviews for this.
The other place that people rave about…if you have animal loves is the (Monkey) Jungle Place. It is harder to find but they also have a web site and you get a wonderful hands on experience with the spider monkeys and it is very educational as well. You must book in advance as there are limited numbers for each day.
We have heard good things about the new Xplor park also…another water park type place with zip lines, would be great for the family.
You may encounter some topless on the beach – more prevalent at certain times of year. Decide how you will approach this subject if you have kids. I simply told my daughter ahead of time that “ladies in some cultures like to sunbathe without their tops on”.
Going Topless is not allowed at the main pools.
Smoking: the lobbies, all restaurants (indoor) and most bars are now smoke free. Smoking is permitted in the open air areas such as the terraces.
No smoking allowed in rooms.
Power: Many people like to bring a small power bar so they can charge multiple devices at once. Free wall outlets can be few. When traveling to any new destination make sure you check and see if you need a converter/adapter. In the Riviera Maya (no), Punta Cana (no), Puerto Vallarta (yes), Jamiaca (no) Europe(yes)
A la Cartes Unlimited for all. Punta Emilia and Japanese show table must be reserved.There is one adult only a la carte designated nightly. Check with Guest Services.
Beach BBQ night(s) subject to change so check with GS.
The Royal area is listed on some sites as Royal Suites Yucatan.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask on our forum