Winter Escape to Mexico! Part 1 – Introduction & Planning
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. Emily: When I was a teenager, I traveled to Mexico as part of a mission trip to build homes for families in need.
The experience changed my life in such a positive way! I saw how kind and generous the Mexicans were towards me, even when they had very little. I realized how much we take for granted in the US, and how blessed we are in so many ways.
Since that time, I’ve wanted to return to Mexico for another mission trip. But this time, my friends and I were on vacation, so we visited Playa del Carmen before our recent trip to Cuba!
No trip could ever replace that first time in Mexico though. I feel thankful that I was able to help others.
Winter Escape to Mexico Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction & Planning
- Part 2 – Transport to & From Playa del Carmen
- Part 3 – Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen
- Part 4 – What to Do in Playa del Carmen
- Part 5 – Where to Eat in Playa del Carmen
- Part 6 – Blog Giveaway
I Used Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Reach Mexico
I’m a big fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, because of its helpful transfer partners like Southwest. It seems like I’m constantly transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest. It’s so easy!
My friends and I flew from Austin to Cancun, Mexico, on Southwest.
I booked 1 month before my travel dates, and paid ~25,000 points and ~$75 in taxes and fees for a round-trip in coach. I could have flown for ~18,000 Southwest points if I had chosen later travel dates when the airfare was cheaper, but we couldn’t wait to go! And, getting time off during the holidays is a lot easier than other times of the year.
Cheap, Clean, and Comfortable Airbnb in Playa del Carmen!
We stayed at a cute Airbnb in Playa del Carmen. The total cost was $339 for a total of 3 nights, which was split between the 5 of us. So we each paid ~$68 per person for 3 nights total. Use this Airbnb link to get $20 off your first rental!
Visit the Cenotes in Playa del Carmen
My favorite activity in Playa del Carmen was scuba diving in the cenotes, or underwater caves. The cost for equipment was $145 per person (or you can bring your own!) and the cost for diving was $50 per person (or $75 with a guide).
It was my first time scuba diving since my certification (more on that in another post)! I was nervous, but the hardest part is always first submerging. Once you’ve taken a breath underwater, it’s all good.
My friends and I also spent plenty of time enjoying the beautiful beaches. Playa del Carmen can get really crowded though.
There are Great Food Options in Playa
There are lots of food options in Playa del Carmen, too!
For something light and healthy, try 100% Natural.
If you want authentic Mexican food, 18-inch margaritas, and a local band to serenade you, then go to La Parrilla.
How You Can Do It Too!
I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest to fly to Mexico for cheap. And so can you! Plus, if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring a friend for only the cost of taxes and fees![table id=267 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
To transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you must have either the:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred, with a current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after completing minimum spending
- Chase Sapphire Reserve, with a current sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after completing minimum spending
- Chase Ink Plus, with a current sign-up bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after completing minimum spending
- Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)
You can also earn Southwest points by signing-up for the:
- Southwest Plus Credit Card, with a current sign-up bonus of 40,000 Southwest points after completing minimum spending
- Southwest Premier Credit Card, with a current sign-up bonus of 40,000 Southwest points after completing minimum spending
- Southwest Premier Business Credit Card, with a current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Southwest points after completing minimum spending
Playa del Carmen makes a great beach destination! It’s a little touristy, but still fun. And flights and accommodations are fairly cheap. Especially if you plan ahead and make the most of your points!
Because the beaches can be crowded, you can also try nearby towns such as Isla Mujeres and Tulum. And for a truly unique destination, venture over to Cuba!
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