I have been to both Jamaica and Cancun several times each. I like Cancun a lot better. Jamaica is beautiful and has a mountainous terrain and more interesting trees and flowers, while Cancun is pretty flat with mainly palms and jungle, but Cancun is cleaner and more "civilized". By that I mean that people aren't following you around harrasing you every time you leave your hotel, and there aren't goats and chickens running around wild.
Actually, I think most of the food in Jamaica tastes like goat, the butter, cheese, burgers, milk and sauces often have that gamey flavor which I don't personally care for. I think Cancun has better and safer food and water. In Jamaica I only eat seafood, fruits and jerked chicken. The only thing really safe to drink is Red Stripe beer.
Cancun has a lot more history and things to see and do.
Have you thought about booking through a Palace member? You can save quite a bit of money and get lots of extras worth hundreds more. This time of year there would be no problem with last minute bookings, and you are guaranteed an ocean front room and VIP privlileges if you book through a VIP member. Send me a PM if you are interested and I can give you the prices for the week you want to go. I also have a Le Blanc VIP membership.
We went to Cancun as a family in April and just got back from Jamaica in August. To be fair, there are several different areas in Jamaica - we were in Negril. We preferred Cancun because there was so much more to do. While Jamaica was beautiful and we generally felt safe - we never left the resort unless escorted as part of a tour. In Cancun, by contrast, we hopped on the bus and ventured out with no problems.
Cancun is much more built up - and has bigger, more lavish resorts. Negril seemed to have more small cottages. Sure, there were some resorts, but it is nothing like Cancun. That can ba a positive or a negative depending on your preferences.
Also, Negril is a 90 minute drive from the airport. Cancun is much closer.
We enjoyed both trips, but we like to venture out and explore. We are going back to Cancun next year. No plans to return to Jamaica.
I'm glad that TA members who have actually been to both Cancun and Jamaica answered this post. I was going to post a hear say as I have never been to Jamaica however my sister has as have many friends.
Like the above members have mentioned Jamaica is lovely, but you must go with the understanding that you will be spending most of your time at the resort and advised by the resorts to take organized "group" tours through them for safty reasons. They seem to also stress how venturing out on your own is not recommended.
Cancun on the other hand seems to be without these concerns.
Serious, tho, I really liked Jamaica and will not have a problem going back again. It is a little less easy to get around. We like to leave the resort at least once a day, usually more, so that was a little more difficult in Jamaica. Plus, I wouldn't be walking around at night in town like we do in Cancun. Hubby didn't feel as safe as I in Jamaica, so it comes down to personal taste and preferences.
However, if you haven't been to Cancun, you MUST so you can experience it for yourself. Maybe you will like it better, maybe you won't. But let us know, we'd like to know what you thought!
I am debating the same thing right now. We go to Cancun every year but ran across a really good deal for Jamaica. Our travel agent said that we won't be able to leave the resort without a tour or something organized by the hotel so that is what is holding us back. I love Mexico but kinda wanna try something new. But at the same time, we like to go off the property and just wander around so I'm afraid we will be bored in Jamaica...lol.
Having been to Cancun lots of times, I can tell you that I always felt safe. The hospitality of the Mexican people is just unbeatable. That is truly the reason we have continued to return so often without trying new places. A few years back, I had a problem with my travelers cheques and had to go downtown to the American Express office to exchange them. Well, we got lost and literally walked around for hours. We never saw another white person the whole time. And we never once felt even the slightest bit unsafe. Then a few years ago in Playa, we went out and were coming back to the resort at about 4am. We took a wrong turn and ended up off the beaten path and once again never felt unsafe.
Last time I was in Cancun, the beaches were in rough shape. I'm not sure if they are better or not now, but if you are a huge beach person, that is something to consider. But don't let any safety issues deter you. Cancun is beautiful and there is lots to do. The Mexican people are some of the most kind we have ever come across. You will surely not be disappointed. Good Luck, Have a great trip!!
I went to Jamaica after going to Cancun and hated it. We stayed at the Sandals in Ochos Rios and I am a water person. While the proprty was nice, the beach and water were not special at all. I went diving there and saw one 3" blue fish the entire dive. I have seen better stuff snorkeling in Florida, Bahamas, or Cancun right off the shore. We did not even bother trying to snorkel there.
We went to Dunns River Falls and the guide disappeared when we got to the top. We had to find our way through the gauntlet of shops at the top to get back to the bus. It was very intimidating and I'm no wuss. Everyone gets in your face the whole way trying to sell you anything and everything. The bus drivers were obviously stoned out of their gourd to boot.
I would not go back there if it were free. My vacation time is too precious.
The reason there are great deals to Jamaica is because it _________. Of course, this is just my humble opinion:)
We have been to both and like both for different reasons. Cancun is very large and built up and yes, you can hop on a bus and go anywhere but watch out for pickpockets as we got our digital camera lifted. Cancun has beautiful water but the beach needs to be fixed badly as there is little sand left. There are lots of things to do in Cancun but they all cost a lot of money. In fact, everything there is quite expensive IMO. The people are great there.
In Jamaica, we have discovered our favorite resort which is Breezes in Runaway Bay. True it does take an hour to get there but the ride is well worth it. They are situated on a beautiful large beach with palm trees. All water sports are included except becoming certified for diving. They have catamaran cruises, hobie cats, glass bottom boat rides, snorkel trips, diving trips, etc. plus they have a circus school where you can learn trapeze. There is a reef right off the beach so you can also snorkel right there and see lots of fish. They have activities all day long and the entertainment staff is quite large and lots of fun. We don't feel a need to leave Breezes because there is so much to do there. And best of all are the people, they are the friendliest, kindest, and most concerned about your safety that we have ever met. They took great care of us during Hurricane Gustav and kept us constantly informed of what was going on as they had to close all outside bars, restaurants, etc. and relocated everything to the lobby area.
We go to Cancun more to chill out and to Jamaica to have fun. We are going back to Cancun 9/15. We are also going back to Jamaica 10/13. While there last week, we had two days of rain. Because of that the SuperClubs chain has a Sunshine Guarantee and we received a voucher for two free days on our next visit which is why we are returning so soon. I guess it just depends on what you are looking for in a vacation.
Thank you everyone for your opinions. I am getting quite excited about this Cancun idea. My friends and I wondered off the resort in JA and made it back fine but to me I feel that was an accomplishment at some times. Our last night we stayed out after the shuttle went backa nd had to catch a taxi that was just a really scary experience. A lot of people seemed like they wanted to help take us back but bad people never start off being that way so to say the least I am very weary and was very weary of everyone because you never know their actual motives. I just want to go somewhere with my husband(went to JA with girlfriends) that I dont have to worry about men trying to pick me up at every second in the day. I also dont want to have to be on a tour to go off the resort. Sometimes you just want to get a look at things yourself without thinking about being pestered by people selling things. Does anyone recommend a hotel(all-inclusive) where my husband and I can relax in the room if we choose to that will be comfortable. Also has a good selection of buffet food and a couple regular restaurants if we choose to have a sitdown meal(not one I have to get up at 7am to make reservations for lol...)and basically that has an area or is big enough that we can find somewhere to be alone on the beach and have some quiet if we choose. Also one that has some watersports. I think I want to jet ski
Non-motorized water sports and free tours are included at all Palace resorts, and there are packages available through the activities desk for extra things like jet skis, pub crawls and other stuff.
You can also at your own risk rent jet skis and parasailing right there on the beach. I have done that, although it did cross my mind to wonder who would pick my carcass up in Cuba if the string broke.
The main thing you have to watch out for in Cancun is the crazy bus drivers. Don't even think about jaywalking, and have the exact fare (65 cents) in your hand and sit down real quick, because the driver is not going to wait for you to pick your seat and he is not going to give you change.