The Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services have detected several mistakes in some of the websites that offer flights and holidays

The truth is t this is a bad news, but on one hand it can be help us concentrate our searches on the Internet while we are looking for flight and holidays and learn a bit more on things to be taken into account when looking for flights.

On September 27th, the Food and Safety Inspection Services, in collaboration with the official consumption services of the other European countries, did a search on the Internet in order to check if the final prices adjust to the ones offered on the websites and if the conditions are met. They also evaluated if the terms of contract comply with the European norms on consumers rights.

What are noteworthy in this report are the cases of deceptive advertisement and the failure to comply with the law when selling these services. One of the tricks of some of these websites is the offer of free air tickets without mentioning that they are subject to airport taxes; this refers to the sites of Vueling and Ryanair.

Some of the legal requirements theses websites fail to comply with, is clarity in the conditions or, for example, in the case of Ryanair, Transavia and Tuy-Fly, the information on the flights is offered in Spanish language but the schedule of general conditions which every traveler must accept is in English, something quite strange, considering that the sites are meant for Spanish consumers. They have also found out that in the advertisement these companies put on other websites or in the media, they offer trips at incredible low costs that are never found on their official websites.

All in all, the Instituto Nacional de Consumo (the Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services) has failed seven websites out of the eleven most visited by Spanish travelers: eDreams, Ryanair, Iberia, Spanair, Transavia, Tuy-Fly and Vueling. The Institute is going to inform the Dirección General de la Aviación Civil ( the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority) which will have to take the necessary measures.

The good news is that four companies: Easyjet, Atrá, Rumbo and Air Berlin, came through the investigation unscathed.

On the other hand, the report also includes travel clubs that offer their services on the Net, where they have also detected deceitful advertisement. For example, the story of fabulous trips made by celebrities who have never been to the places they claim to have been to. It is also common to say that they belong to prestigious associations and institutions or to include the anagram of renowned organisations which did not grant them the right to do so.

For all these reasons, apart from getting thorough information on the trip (especially in the case of long distance and expensive trips), it is also important to visit some sites specialised in consumption to check if the process is legal. For example, the site of the Instituto Nacional de Consumo, the Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services.

Francisco Cenamor

Flights to the Riviera Maya

There is a vast choice of flights to the Riviera Maya, as well as the prices. Needless to say that it also depends on the season, which is why this is the time for good offers and discounts on the ticket prices. And, although there are many packages which include hotels, we will take a look at the airfares. A round trip, of course.

For example, if we leave on the Friday 5th October to come back on the 12th in tourist class, we can choose between three flights of Iberia to Cancun, where the airport to the Riviera Maya is. Depending on the travel agency, there might be a difference of 30 euros more or less, including taxes and this is about 740 euros, almost the same as travelling with Air Europa, but this company only has one flight on this date.

It is a good idea to check if it a direct flight or not, although it doesn’t seem to be a direct flight for that day. And it is also important to check the duration of the flight since there big differences of up to 5 hours within the same company and between 15 to 20 hours. It is also common to change the company during the stopover. Iberia for example, almost always entrusts Aeroméxico the second part of the trip.

If we left on the 8th October to come back on the 15th, we can find a wide range of flights and prices. Curiously, the cheapest company is the Dutch KLM, which offers flights (two on this day) with a stopover in Amsterdam, of course. But there are also other companies: American Airlines, Aeroméxico, Cubana, Air Europa, Delta, Iberia, Continental Airlines, British Airways or Mexicana. Air Europa and Aeroméxico offer direct flights.

If, on the contrary, we want to leave on Tuesday 9th October and come back on the 16th October, we will be saving 50 euros on the airfare travelling with Aeroméxico in tourist class with a stopover.

When surfing the internet in search of air tickets there are tens of sites where we find flights: Rumbo, Easy Viajar, Destinia, eDreams, Muchoviaje, Viajar… it is always good to have references of the airlines we are flying. A good way is to visit the Internet forums where travellers share their experiences. One of the negative experiences most commented on of these forums is the change of the schedule of the planes, which normally happens after we have paid for the ticket and is always for worse: suddenly there is a technical problem that will make our flight last three hours more. But, the most successful are the packages that include the flight and the hotel. Paying for packages is almost the same as paying for the flight alone.

And, although there is a huge difference and we have spent a lot of time and money, reaching the Riviera Maya and discovering its marvels is quite compensation.

Francisco Cenamor

The Fives USA blog about Playa del Carmen & the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Walking around Playa del Carmen and its surroundings

There are many opportunities for walking around Playa del Carmen and for going to other places from that point. Obviously, each opportunity depends on where you would like to go as well as the amount of money you are willing to spend. This is because once you have arrived here you will really want to see everything that you can because of the great many things the city offers. Moreover, the fact that it is practically situated in the middle of the Mexican Riviera makes it an excellent starting point to explore this small Mexican paradise.

Cancún, the administrative center of the Mexican Riviera, and Playa del Carmen are connected with public transport buses. The bus service is available between 6 and 10 pm, in which the journey takes approx. an hour with buses running every ten minutes. The fare is approximately 3 US dollars. It is also 3 USD to travel between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, although the buses only run every thirty minutes. The bus station is located on the main street of the city, Fifth Avenue.

Private transport companies with similar fares and trip frequencies offer more services: regular lines, personalized transport, car rental without a driver, and traditional vans (small van for the transportation of passengers). These companies normally offer their services at airports and bus stations for several local hotels, which makes them easy to find.

In Playa del Carmen, there are many places you can go walking because it is not a very large city. However, it is sometimes necessary to use public or private transport. The best way to go is with a taxi, but you have to ask the driver about the total price for the trip prior to accepting the service in order to avoid any misunderstandings. Moving around within the city and beaches normally costs between 15 and 30 pesos, or approx. 1.5 to 3 US dollars. Taxis work in the usual way: you hail an unoccupied taxi on the street. If you request a taxi at your hotel, you will have to pay your hotel for that service.

For longer trips, Aerosaab offers an air taxi service. You can visit the ruins of Chichén Itzá on an organized trip starting from 247 US dollars. This trip takes only an hour versus six hours on a bus. However, you can also travel to other places such as Cozumel, Islas Mujeres, Islas Holbox, Cancun, Tulum, and even take panoramic flights with this same company at a wide range of prices. The address of the company, which is located at the Cancun airport, is Avenida 20 Sur, Calle 1. It is essential to book these types of services far in advance.

The bus station also offers public and private services for long distance trips, and obviously, they are cheaper than the air taxi. For some destinations that are not well-connected, you can travel by taxi at a price that you should agree upon in advance with the driver. You can always also rent a private car as a last resort.

Another way to travel to locations near Playa del Carmen is per a ferry to the several islands of the Riviera Maya and even to other cities. Generally, it is better to take a ferry only if you are going to the islands, unless you would just like to explore the coast out of sheer pleasure. The companies that offer these services have an extensive timetable. The fare, for example, from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel is approximately 8.7 US dollars.

Francisco Cenamor

The Fives USA blog about Playa del Carmen & the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Note: Feel free to visit our sponsor: The Fives Resort & Private Residences in Playa del Carmen

Arriving to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico – By Playa del Carmen Blog The Fives USA

Cancun is, no doubt, the gateway to the Riviera Maya for this town situated in the north east of the Peninsula of Yucatan; and it is the home to the airport, where thousands of people arrive daily. The airport is less than 15 minutes from the hotel area and boasts three terminals: freight, domestic and international.

The famous Mexican city enjoys an average annual temperature of 27 degrees with 270 sunny days and there are almost no rains. It has a population of 300,000 people and is surrounded by eleven marvellous beaches of turquoise water. This island of about 16 miles by 1,312 feet is connected to Mexico by two modern bridges. The city is organized in two main areas: the downtown, where the natives dwell, offering a great social and shopping activity, with hotels, restaurants and small stores; and the famous tourist area, a peninsula that spans no more than 8 miles, goes down into the Caribbean Sea, and boasts important tourist resorts, shopping malls, luxury hotels, etc.

The sandy beaches offer an interesting feature: they are formed by coral dust, and this makes the stroll more enjoyable because they stay cool during the hottest hours of the day. The quiet and crystalline clear waters are very close to the biggest coral reef of America, which makes this city a paradise for those who enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving as well as other water sports such as skiing, submarine and surface fishing.

If you want to do some shopping, two different possibilities are open to you. The big and modern shopping malls have stores of the most prestigious international firms of outfits and accessories where you can walk, rest and become acclimatized thanks to the air conditioning. But, you can also find the typical markets and street markets where to buy articrafts and local food.

Make time to have lunch at one of the varied fast food restaurants the city offers. The most prestigious haute cuisine cooks have opened their exquisite restaurants here. But, all those who wish for a variety of food can also find a wide range of free buffets as well as small restaurants which provide the most traditional local food.

And, after a good dinner, it is time to get overwhelmed by the noisy night life of this city that never sleeps. You can find any type of ambiances and parties: nightly American barbecues, lively European discos and sexy dances with a traditional taste. One never knows when to stop. About fifty-three miles of this elongated city, you can find the famous Party Center, where most of the night clubs concentrate, although the city center also enjoys an intense night life.

But, be careful, maybe it is not a good idea to become intoxicated every night, for there are tens of activities each day that can be done on the endless beaches of the city: from the typical water activities to the interesting cultural amenities. And, thanks to the good communication network, the organized visits or the car rental companies, one can move in a very short period of time, to any part of the Riviera Maya to enjoy the interesting ecological, artistic and cultural events: routes through the forest, immersions in the world famous cenotes, guided visits to the most impressive archaeological sites among which the most important are the town of Tulum and the renowned archaeological remains of Chichen Itza.

All in all, Cancun is a paradise where you can enjoy life, a place that easily adapts to you.

Francisco Cenamor

The Fives USA blog about Playa del Carmen & the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Note: Feel free to visit our sponsor: The Fives Resort & Private Residences in Playa del Carmen