Frequently Asked Questions

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You will find answers to your many questions coming to Mexico, staying at our villas, where to shop, what to expect about the staff & tips and most anything else that comes up.Click Question to see Answers.

  • WHAT IS THE CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT TIMES?WHAT IF I HAVE A LATE FLIGHT OUT?WHAT IF I HAVE A EARLY FLIGHT IN?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: Check-in time is after 2:00PM. Check-out time is 10:00AM. If we do not have someone arriving on the day you are checking out you may arrange to stay later. Also, if you have an early flight you may check-in early, you will need to go to the pool & patio areas and let the girls finish cleaning the villa. Cancun is in the Central Time Zone. The Owner Chef Miguel will be waiting for you to greet you on arrival and to give you the keys and a tour of the villa.

  • WHAT TIME ZONE IS CANCUN?WHEN IS DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME IN CANCUN?

    Cancun is Central Standard Time (CST) Except for about a month before Daylight Savings Time (DST) Starts in the US and Canada and a week before DST Finishes, it's then that Cancun is in Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Cancun starts and finishes DST a month after the US and Canada and ends one week earlier.)

    DST BEGINS
    United States
    Canada
    DST BEGINS
    Mexico
    DST ENDS
    Mexico
    DST ENDS
    United States
    Canada
    2012 Sunday, March 11 Sunday, April 01 Sunday, October 28 Sunday, November 04
    2013 Sunday, March 10 Sunday, April 07 Sunday, October 27 Sunday, November 03
    2014 Sunday, March 09 Sunday, April 06 Sunday, October 26 Sunday, November 02
    2015 Sunday, March 08 Sunday, April 05 Sunday, October 25 Sunday, November 01
    2016 Sunday, March 13 Sunday, April 03 Sunday, October 30 Sunday, November 06
    2017 Sunday, March 12 Sunday, April 02 Sunday, October 29 Sunday, November 05
  • HOW DO I GET TO THE VILLAS?CAN YOU ARRANGE FOR AN AIRPORT TRANSFER FOR US?

    We suggest an Airport Transfer Company that has been proven reliable and honest.
    The Private Passenger Vans are new and air-conditioned.
    The rate is $115 R/T or $60 O/W per group of up to 10 people.
    The van driver will be waiting for you as you departure the airport OUTSIDE, with a sign he will help you with your luggage and take you directly to the villa which is a 18 to 20 minute ride. If you use another airport transfer service they might get lost trying to find the villa. This charge will be added to your Departure Bill. Reserve Private Cancun Airport Transfer...

  • HOW DO I GET THE KEY?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS:Chef Miguel the owner will meet you on arrival to walk you through the villas and explain the facilities. If you booked your Airport Transfer with us then they will call Miguel once you leave the airport and again when you arrive at our guardhouse. Miguel speaks English, French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.

  • WHERE DO I FLY INTO?

    Cancun The Airport Code is CUN. We are a 18 to 20 minute drive south of the Cancun Airport.

  • WHAT DO I NEED TO COME INTO MEXICO?HOW DO I RENEW A PASSPORT BY MAIL?HOW DO I APPLY FOR MY FIRST PASSPORT?WHAT PAPERWORK DO I NEED IF I'M BRINGING MY CHILD WITHOUT MY THE CHILD'S OTHER PARENT?I'M BRINGING MY CHILD'S FRIEND ON VACATION WITH US, DO I NEED AN AFFIDAVIT OF CONSENT?

    A passport. The Information to apply or renew...

    If traveling with children you should read this…..

    PARENTAL CONSENT FORMS FOR MINOR CHILDREN TRAVELING WITHOUT BOTH BIRTH PARENTS: Children under 18 years arriving from the USA and traveling with only ONE parent (single parent, grandparents, guardian or accompanying a friend with his/her parents) will need notarized letter from the child's parent (or other parent) allowing permission to enter Mexico with the child, including the dates of travel, the accompanying adult's name, contact information, and a notarized signature. Your airline can give you more specific information. Download: Parental Consent Forms (PDF) must be notarized...

  • HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET THROUGH THE CANCUN AIRPORT?HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET THE RENTAL CAR?

    DEPENDS ON:
    • What Time of Year your coming?
    • Are you coming During High Season or Low Season?
    • Arriving on Weekend verses Mid-Week (Saturday is the worst day)?
    • Coming During the Holidays or Spring Break?

    These all make a Big Difference in how long the lines will be for immigration and customs look for as little as 45 minutes to as long as 1 ½ hours. I've had Guest come during holidays or Spring Break that have had longer waits. Add another 45 minutes if you're renting a vehicle. (FYI: We recommend a car rental agency that will pick you up at the villa (Free) and take you to their office to pick-up the vehicle.) The good thing is the bathrooms at the airport are rather nice and always clean! Slip a snack bar in your purse for the kids.

  • DO I NEED TO RENT A CAR?WHOM DO YOU RECOMMEND WE USE?CAN'T I JUST USE A TAXI?WHAT WILL A TAXI COST ME?IS THERE BUS SERVICE IN FRONT OF THE VILLAS?

    It's not necessary to rent a vehicle however MOST of our renters do.

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: We have an extension on the villa phone to call for a taxi.
    Puerto Morelos Taxi Rate Charts...

    The closest bus service to these villas is located at the highway, at least a mile walk on an unlighted road. This is not a Standard Bus, it's a Small Bus (large van) that sets 18 to 26 people it is called a "Colective" it is what the workers use, they are simple cheap means of transportation however don't count on the driver speaking any English. The "Colective" buses don't have a set route, so if they have room they will stop if there's no room they will drive by, they will take you anywhere and drop you off on the highway or main road you will need to walk to the store entrance. On busy days the wait for a "Colective" bus at Playa Del Secreto can be quite a while since most of the buses are already full with people from Playa Del Carmen going to Cancun.
    The main Bus Stop (large standard bus) is in Puerto Morelos at the highway.

    Renting a vehicle will enable you to do some sightseeing, shopping and allow you to try some of the local restaurants. A Mexican Driving license is not required to drive in Mexico.
    Our guest have driven with-out accident year in and year out, driving is just like in the US or Canada*, however ever you need to be more aware, look around you often, use your mirrors more and drive DEFENSIVELY, don't speed (speed signs on the highway change a lot), remember that when pulling in or out of a parking spot you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY (I don't pull back-up out of a parking spot if I see any cars anywhere close) and of course don't drink and drive.

    * The one difference in driving is what the left turn signal means:

    • Could be the car in front of you is signaling that he is about to pull out to pass.
    • Could be the car in front of you is signaling you that it is clear for you to pass them.
    • Could be the car in front of you is turning left.

    So it's best to check your mirrors when you see someone has a left turn signal and before you make a left turn yourself.

    Airport Transfer: We suggest an Airport Transfer - $115 R/T or $60 O/W in Private air conditioned Van per group of up to 10 people - they know just where the villas are and will meet you at the airport with a sign.

    Vehicle Rental: I suggest to the renters to rent a vehicle many of the guest have recently used a company Blueway Car Rental and have found really amazed rates compared to other companies. They are located on right on the main road/highway both in Playa Del Carmen and by the airport exit in Cancun - either is about 15 minutes away. They offer a Free pick-up service where they will come to the villas and pick you up and take you to the rental location to do the paperwork and then will pick the rental up at the villa when you're done, or you can get a vehicle right at the airport.

    Many of our guest have arrange for the Private Van Airport Transfer Service and arrange to get the vehicle rental a day or two after the arrival and return the day before departure that way they don't have to worry about getting a vehicle large enough for all the luggage and finding the villa the lst time.

    Blueway Car Rental - Quick Rates

    Pickup Date / Time
    From
    Drop off Date / Time
    To     
    Request a Pick-up at villa to get the vehicle?  
    Villa  

    Time   (Time is +/- 2 hours)

    Already have a reservation? Click here
  • ARE THERE ATM'S?WHAT ARE THE FEES?DO I NEED TO ADVISE MY BANK I'M TRAVELING?

    Yes they are all over; the closest to the villas is located in Puerto Morelos next to the Pharmacy on the Highway and one in town by the grocery store near the pier. There are many ATM's in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun and in all of the major grocery stores.

    The best exchange rate is always using an ATM to withdraw money from your debit card. Most USA banks charge a Foreign ATM Withdrawal Fee of around $5 per use. Also some also charge a Foreign Exchange Fee of around 3% of the amount you withdraw. Bank of America is a major exception - they charge $0 + 0% for withdrawals at Banco Santander (or Santander Serfin) ATM's only. Some Mexican Banks ATM's charge an ATM Usage Fee of around $30 pesos ($2.30 USD) per transaction, the ATM will advise you on the screen of this charge and you will need to approve it before the ATM will proceed with your transaction, this fee is called a ISF charge.

    If you use a Credit card for Cash Advance you will also have a Cash Advance Fee from your Bank around 4% and a Forex Fee around 3%.

    Warning: Call your Bank before you arrive and tell them you're traveling to Mexico or when you lst use your card it will flag for a "RISK' and after that it will be denied, since you gave the bank your home or office phone you would have missed the call warning you of this.
    Bring your bank "Risk" Department phone number just in case , (you will need a non 800# (toll-free) which don't work from Mexico). If you forgot your PIN you're in trouble most will only mail out PIN numbers or call the phone number on the Bank account.
    Make a copy of your cards front and back just in case.

  • DO I NEED PESOS?WHAT IS THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE?SHOULD I BRING TRAVELERS CHECKS OR CERTIFIED CHECKS?WHAT ARE THE NEW CASH (USD) SPENDING LIMITS IN STORES?WILL STORES EXCEPT $100 USD BILLS?

    Cancun runs on US dollars, you will be hard pressed to find someone whom does not accept US dollars. Also, most of the stores and restaurants accept credit cards. However, you might need a few Pesos. We suggest using your Debit card or Credit Card as much as possible because you will get the best exchange rate. Also use the ATM to get Pesos verses a Money Exchange.

    Mexican banks will not accept bills that are damaged, torn or marked in any way, therefor nobody else will either. If you do bring USD dollars make sure they are nice and new.

    As of September 2010 Money exchanges cannot exchange more than $1500 USD per foreign person per month and they will take a photocopy of your passport. There is no monthly limit on ATM withdraws, so it's just easier to use a Debit card to get pesos. Stores have a USD cash limit per transaction of $250 USD, however you can spend as much as you want on your debit or credit card or when paying with Pesos. No Stores except $100 dollar bills (USD). Banks will not exchange USD for Pesos unless you have an account at the Bank, and then they will only deposit into your account.

    American Express Travelers Checks slogan "Don't Leave Home Without Them" does NOT include Mexico. No one will take them except the American Express Office in Cancun, where you will wait in line to get them cashed, so what's the point your will be carrying around cash anyway and you get a "worst" exchange rate . Forget about any other type of travelers checks or Cashier's Checks money exchanges won't touch them either will Mexican Banks. If you are staying at some of the higher end hotels they might cash them as a service to their customers.

    Today's Exchange RateUSD, CAD, EUR, RUB, BRL & GBP
    to the Mexican Peso (MXN)

  • DO YOU HAVE A STAFF?WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: Yes, we have a full-time staff for the villas. Along with the staff my husband and I live in Playa Del Secreto about 300 feet from the Secret Beach Villas. The Staff will completely clean the villas, pool and beach Monday through Saturday, they do not work Sundays. They will change the bed linens at midweek of your stay and keep you supplied with clean towels. The maids arrive around 9:30 AM and will stay on site till all the villas are cleaned. Our Maintenance Staff arrive around 8:00 AM the first thing they do is clean the beach and pools so they will be out of your way by the time you're ready for some sun. Chef Miguel the owner is available to cook for you at your request - please remember he needs to be notified the night before. The staffs at the villas speak mostly Spanish; however they can communicate pretty well with the renters.
    If you have a problem with the staff or have a specific time you would like them clean please let us know.

  • HOW MUCH SHOULD WE TIP?WHEN DO WE TIP?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: A tip is NOT required but is much appreciated. A rule of thumb is $10 for a couple to $15 for a group rental for each day for the maids (This is per your group staying in the villa - Not per person) and a little extra if they do your laundry, iron for you or have a lot of childern in your group plus $12 per week for beach and pool cleaning. Tip upon your departure, Not daily, you will receive a tip envelope the night before you leave with tipping suggestions.

  • HOW DO I PAY FOR MY DEPARTURE EXPENSES SUCH AS OPTIONAL FOOD SERVICE WHILE I'M AT THE VILLA?CAN I PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: We will give you a detailed bill of any additional expenses you have requested including Grocery Shopping Service, Airport Transfers, Meals or Beer ordered, Excursions ordered threw us and any other optional add-on expense, bring a check (US funds) with you to pay expenses on your departure. I will add 5% if you request me to put the departure expenses on a credit card. Mexican banks or Money Exchanges will NOT accept Checks that have 2 color of ink used, red ink, or have any corrections, if you make a mistake the check is not cashable in Mexico so it's a good idea to bring an extra just in case.

  • CAN I DRINK THE WATER?DO YOU PROVIDE WATER?DO YOU PROVIDE ice?

    At all of the villas we provide an endless supply of bottled water for you to drink make ice cubes and cook with. The Well Water or Purchased Water (water truck) that we provide for showers, laundry, dishes and toilets is treated with a special filtering and purifying system that makes it safe for your use but not drink.
    We provide plenty of ice cube trays in the freezer, the staff will refill them for you.

  • WILL I GET MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE?HOW DO I CLEAN MY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?WILL I GET SICK FROM THE WATER PROVIDE WATER?

    Usually when individuals get sick in Mexico it is not from the water or ice but from something they ate - frequently a salad. The most likely items are cilantro (the curly herb like parsley) or lettuce. We suggest requesting at restaurants (mostly you only need to be concerned with street carts) "Sin Cilantro" (no cilantro) and that you only eat salads at the villa. Remember to wash your fruits and vegetables with a purifier so you don't get sick. You will find containers of this is in the produce department of all grocery stores - the most popular is called is called MICRODYN and is in a dark blue bottle - use a few drops in a bowl of purified water and soak vegetables or fruits for 5 minutes… This is the same as the product sold in the USA called "Fit"

    You don't have to worry about water or ice all establishments only serve purified water and ice.

  • DO YOU PROVIDE BEER?HOW MUCH DOSE IT COST?

    We provide cases of beer at the Secret Beach Villas: $25 a case. PLEASE REQUEST IF YOU WOULD LIKE US TO STOCK BEER We do not keep a large quantity on-site.
    Bottles are returnable so keep the empties; rinse out with water to prevent bugs. The beer is supplied as a convenience. Feel free to buy your own if you wish. You will receive a bill on your departure. If you need more, please ask the staff.

  • HOW DOES THE STOCKED HONOR BAR WORK?WILL I GET CHARGED FOR USING IT?

    SECRET BEACH VILLAS: We always have a number of bottles of liquor stocked at the bar. We do this as a convenience, so you do not have to stop by a store on the way from the airport to pick up supplies. This is not intended to be your sole source of alcohol. What you use up, please replace. If you buy a new bottle and don't finish it, leave it for the next guest, you can't take open bottles back to on the airplanes anyway. We do not "check" the honor bar to see what is used, however if it's obvious that you drank the "Honor" bar dry, you will get billed for it.

  • WHERE CAN I BUY GROCERIES AT?IF I DON'T WANT TO SHOP WILL YOU SHOP FOR ME?CAN YOU HELP ME FIND THE CLOSEST GROCERY STORE?WHERE IS THE WAL-MART, SAM'S CLUB AND COSTCO?WHERE CAN I BUY GOOD WINE AT?

    These days there are lots of good places to buy groceries both in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun.

    Tip: The closet store is the Wal-Mart North of Playa Del Carmen on the West Side of the Highway (not the one in town center). Coming from the Villas, depending on traffic sometimes Cancun is faster even if it's a bit farther away.

    Google Map and Driving Directions from Playa Del Secreto
    to Grocery Shopping in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen
    Wal-Mart | DAC | Mega | Covi | Sam's Club | Soriana | Superama | La Europea | Costco
    See our Google Maps and Driving Directions to each store - Download PDF...

    Don't feel like Grocery Shopping? Chef Miguel will be happy to shop for our guest for a small additional fee and have the villa all stocked for your arrival.

  • DO YOU SUPPLY BEACH TOWELS?DO YOU SUPPLY SHEETS?

    We have available at least one beach towel per person. We also have a large supply of bath towels. However, we request that you only use the bath towels for inside and the beach towels for outside. The staff will keep you supplied with clean towels.

    We supply all the bed linens including sofa bed, rollaway and pack-n-play sheets, pillows, duvets and comforters. The maids change out the sheets mid week of your stay.

  • ARE THERE HOSPITALS IN THE AREA?IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY WILL THEY SPEAK ENGLISH?

    There are three "American Type Hospitals" AmeriMd Hospital and Hospoten Hospital both in Cancun and another Hospoten Hospital that is in Playa Del Carmen, they are all approximately 30 minutes away from the villas. The Cancun Hospitals both are located around the corner from each other at the Plaza America's Mall (Liverpool and Sears) which is about 15 minutes north of the airport exit. The AmeriMed Hospital is attached to the Rear of the Mall and Hospoten Hospital is on the Road that runs behind the mall a little south of the mall, it's on the east side of road (mall is on the other side of the road) it has a large green sign. The Hospoten Hospital in Cancun has MRI and CAT scan equipment; the location in Playa Del Carmen is smaller it is located right next to the Playacar entrance sign on the main highway 307 just south of the Sam's Club. Doctors will speak English many have gone threw Med School in the US.

  • WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN PUERTO MORELOS WHEN I'M COMING FOR VACATION?AVERAGE TEMPERATURE?AVERAGE HUMIDITY?AVERAGE CHANCE OF RAIN?AVERAGE AMOUNT OF RAIN?AVERAGE AMOUNT OF DAYLIGHT HOURS?

    Mayan Riviera Averages for: Temperature, Humidity, Rainfall, Chance of Rain, and Daylight

    Hurricane
    Season
    Likely in Cancun
    Hurricane
    History
    Average
    High
    Average
    Low
    Warmest
    Recorded
    Coldest
    Recorded
    Average
    Humidity
    Rain
    Days
    Chance
    of Rain
    Average
    Amount
    of Rain
    Amount
    of Daylight
    Jan. 81 67 95 45 79% 11 34% 5 in. 11 hr.
    Feb. 82 68 90 52 78% 5 19% 2 in. 11.25 hr.
    Mar. 84 71 91 52 77% 5 17% 2 in. 11.75 hr.
    Apr. 85 73 97 52 76% 4 14% 2 in. 12.5 hr.
    May 88 77 99 63 82% 7 21% 4 in. 13 hr.
    Jun. 89 78 102 63 85% 11 37% 5 in. 13.25 hr.
    Jul. Emily '05'
    Cat 4
    90 78 102 64 85% 9 28% 2 in. 13.5 hr.
    Aug. Dean '07'
    (Cuba)
    Cat 5
    90 77 100 64 87% 10 32% 4 in. 13 hr.
    Sep. Gilbert '88'
    Cat 5
    Roxanne '95'
    Cat 3
    Ivan '04'
    (Costa Maya)
    Cat 5
    89 76 102 63 89% 14 47% 9 in. 12.5 hr.
    Oct. Wilma '05'
    Cat 5
    87 74 102 59 83% 16 53% 9 in. 12 hr.
    Nov. Mitch '11/3/08'
    (Honduras)
    Cat 5
    84 72 99 55 82% 12 41% 5 in. 11.5 hr.
    Dec. 82 69 88 52 81% 11 34% 4 in. 11 hr.
  • WHAT ABOUT THE RAINY AND HURRICANE SEASON?WHAT IF I'M THERE WHEN THERE IS A HURRICANE?

    If a hurricane is coming and you have arrived at the villa we will at the best of our abilities try to get you a flight out or move you to a safer location away from the ocean. I cannot stress enough the value to acquiring trip insurance. If you show proof of trip insurance (bought form our website) we will provide to you a FREE happy hour snack.

    Protect your vacation investment purchase your Villa Rental and Flight Insurance here....
  • DO I NEED ELECTRICAL ADAPTERS FOR MEXICO?

    No, the electric is the same as the US.

  • WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?SHOULD I BRING MY IPOD OR CD'S?SHOULD I BRING DVD'S FOR MY CHILDREN?

    Sunblock & Bug Spray! We suggest buying, Deep Woods Off individual Towelettes for your pocket - great for when you are out to an outside cafe and don't want to spray the food. Also Safe Sea Sunblock w/ jellyfish sting protection, we usually do not have jellyfish but you never can be too careful and you should wear sunblock anyway! You can find both at Drugstore.com

    Bring your IPod. We have IPod players in the villas, the main IPod player in the living room will work with all IPods models or an Iphone, however not all the bedroom IPod alarm clocks work with Nano or Iphone. We also provide a small boom box to use outside it has a AUX port and cable to connect all digital music players.

    Remember your MEDS - because you cannot have then shipped to Mexico. FYI: You no longer can purchase antibiotics without a Mexican doctor's prescription.

    If you have children; we have many Children's TV Channels in English available on our Dish Network Receiver so no need to bring any DVDs, but if you do we have a DVD player in each villa if you do.

    If you prefer a special brand of liquor especially if you are a Scotch or Canadian Whiskey drinker, it most likely be very pricey so pack it and bring it you're allowed One bottle.

    May we suggest buying a Can-Do Riviera Maya Map beforehand. This map has lots of detailed information and photos of everything available to do; it's better than any guidebook. Hopefully this will get you excited about your vacation! The best $15 you will spend...

    DO NOT bring any unpackaged food products into Mexico even any Packaged Items of meats, fruits or vegetables; it's illegal and they can give you a fine as well and will keep it.

    Please don't expect to ship things to the villa for your stay. I have groups wanting to ship food or booze or even car seats or golf clubs, thinking it's chaeper to ship them than to pay the iarlines for oversize or extra bagage....It's Not.

    • You will have to pay DUTY (it's a different country)... think $$$$.
    • You have to ship via an express service (UPS, DHL or FED EX) the Regular Postal Service takes months and is very unreliable.... think more $$$$.
    • You can't ship food or booze to Mexico without going threw a Import Broker whom will need to make special Import Permits.... think even more $$$$.

    However if you are working while on vacation and need to FED EX any documents or receive a FED EX, I will be happy to assist you.