Save Money in Mexico through Time Share Presentation
If you’re getting ready to go to Mexico, especially Cancun or Cabo San Lucas, you’ve heard it from everyone–run as fast as you can from the Time Share Hawkers. But I’m here to tell you, they’re your friends, and you can benefit from them. Here’s how to benefit from the Cancun or Cabo San Lucas Time Share system and save money on your activities.
The Cancun and Cabo Time Share Systems
First, you’ve got to understand what the system is. It goes like this:
- You get off the plane, clear immigration and customs.
- You enter into this strange white room with lots of Mexicans looking at you.
- You notice white desks all around you.
- And then, a Mexican asks, “Who is picking you up?”
- If you ignore him, you’ll go outside to a giant horde of locals trying to get you into their taxis or sell you things.
- Or, if you pay attention to the questioner, you get swooped into the Time Share Zone.
The Time Share Zone
By answering the hawker’s question, you get swooped into the Time Share Zone. By the way, if they miss you at the airport, they’ll find you on the beaches, in tourist restaurants, and even on the malecons! At first, you will think you’re getting some great information. You’ll be asked what you want to do, where you want to go, how you’ll get around, etc. These wonderful beings of information will answer your questions, provide you maps, and give you a ton of good answers to help plan your vacation.
And just when you’ve got your map all marked up, they will sneak into a Time Share pitch.
The Time Share Pitch
The Time Share pitch, at this point, is nothing more than an invite to come to their location to hear a 90-minute pitch on how to make your annual vacations more affordable. In order to get you to come to the presentation, they will use all the activity info you just gave them to your (or their) advantage by offering free taxi rides (value $70!), dinners, drinks, tours, stays, and reduced pricing on whale watching, snorkeling, parasailing, massages, etc.
Just say you’ll be there, and the treasure chest opens up.
They promise that if you say yes, on the day of your presentation, they will pick you up at your hotel, whisk you away to the facility, and start you with a delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner. You’ll tour the property with a nice, affable Mexican, be offered drinks, be passed off to the qualifier, be offered more drinks, be passed to the closer, and be given the final deal. At this point, you can say yes, no, or not sure. If yes, you fill out more paper work, if no, you leave with your gifts, if not sure, they sweeten the deal.
Here’s What Happened to Us in Cancun and Cabo
In Cabo: My husband, daughter and I got into Cabo an hour before my mom and sister, so we had to sit and wait for their arrival. During our wait, we got to watch the Time Share dance happen to many people. The hawkers target middle-aged couples with or without children. No singles. We were perfect bait. Pancho approached, and being curious, I answered his question.
In Cancun: We were targeted at El Cejas. A nice young Mexican approached us at dinner, asking if we were interested in going to Holbox, Ek Balam, or Chitzen Itza. We said yes to all! He lured us in with cheap offers on the tours to these places, but then he flipped the conversation so that the items would be free if we just came out to his property (Garza Blanca) for a tour.)
The Magic at the White Desk
He invited me over to his special desk and proceeded to show a list of all the things we could do in Cabo. Like a kid in a candy store, I checked off snorkeling, glass bottom boat, shopping, whale watching, and massage.
He told me the typical costs for these items:
Glass bottom boat $10,
Whale watching $90,
In Cancun, the two items we were interested in were:
Holbox tour $250 for two
Ek Balam and Cenote Maya $250 for two
Next, he asked me where we were staying (Hampton Inn), which would be a $70 cab ride from the airport. Having researched all of these items prior to arriving to Cabo, I knew his prices were a bit high but were definitely in the ball park. By the way, also on the list were horseback riding, car rental, parasailing, sunset cruise, deep sea fishing, and party boat.
Researched rack rates:
Snorkeling (Cabo Escape) $79
Glass bottom boat $10
Whale watching (with r/t transportation, Cabo Expeditions) $79
Massage (5-star, Westin) $150
I told him we were interested in seeing his property. Why not, perhaps I would want a time share in Mexico. It was worth it to me to spend a few hours visiting the property and getting an education in Mexican time shares. The rest of my family was game too. We figured the time-share commitment was in the morning and would only be taking time out from laying by the pool or beach. What did we have to lose?
When we got to Cancun for our second time share presentation, our life style had drastically changed. We had become full-time traveling nomads. I was very interested to see if they might have a business model that would work for our new life style.
Our Pitch Deal
We made a deal. If we would come to the property, he would cut the prices substantially off the things we wanted to do. The thought of pre-paying for our week’s activities for five people appealed to us.
He offered up his first round of pricing (the original prices), of which we said no.
Finally, we settled on this pricing:
Glass bottom boat $free,
Shopping $100 gift certificates to Diamonds International,
Whale watching $30,
Taxi to hotel $free,
Taxi to/fro property $free.
On top of this deal, he added in $100 coupon for food/drinks at Guacamoles, a wonderful dining adventure frequented by locals. The total value of his offer: $1360. In addition, he told us we would use the same, high-quality vendors we had researched.
In Cancun, we agreed on $35 for two tours for two people, a $500 value.
Off to the Time Share Deal
On the next day, Pancho picked us up at the hotel and put us in a nice van. We arrived at the property in 20 minutes. There, a hostess checked us in, verifying we were between 25-69, had a credit card and US ID, and were fully employed. She passed us off to Martin who took us on a tour of the beautiful property–pools, rooms, facilities, etc. We had a full breakfast with Martin. Taking us up to the penthouse, we had drinks and were introduced to Carla. She pitched the whole time-share idea, throwing out $61,000 as our 4-week offer. She quickly cut that to $31,000.
In Cancun, it was the same model and approach. The numbers were just as crazy, and every time we said no, the price would change.
Just Say No, Get Pool Time
We said no and were passed to a real jerk whose name I didn’t catch. He basically pushed the button on the elevator and sent us back to the lobby. There, Marco grabbed us and offered us yet another deal–$3600 for 10 years plus $349 a week.
We told him we weren’t sure. In the meantime, my sister had been eyeing the beautiful pool and beach access. So we told him that we needed some time to think about it, and we’d like to hang at the pool with a drink to think. Off to the pool we went for a few hours to drink on their dime and enjoy their pool and beach. While there, we did crunch numbers and realized that the deal being offered by Marco was really the same deal Carla had offered, just presented differently. (Basically.)
In Cancun, the same exact thing happened. We were peddled over to the final deal where we received an offer to buy nights on a future stay. When we finally said no, we were literally shown the door. We walked over to the counter where we received our coupons and booking details for our two tours.
The Final, Final Bottom Line
When we were tanned and relaxed, we went back to Marco. He gave us a final deal of $10,000 for four weeks for ten years, with no other fees. Again, we told him no. After honestly thinking about the offers, we realized we just aren’t time-share folks.
Marco then passed us to Lupita who, actually, was quite helpful. She set up our reservations for all of our activities, gave us directions, offered up another two free cab rides, and handed us passes to another pool we could use for the rest of the week, if so inclined.
What It Really Cost Us
Thus, our 90-minute presentation in Cabo actually took almost six hours, including cab time and personal beach/pool time. In Cancun, total time was about four hours. Was it worth it?
Well, here’s how I look at it. We had each budgeted $200 for all the activities we had researched, and together we had budgeted $100/day in transportation fees, or a total of $1600 in activities and transportation for the week, not including food.
We actually only spent $540 equivalently. We were able to combine the free transportation with other activities, eliminating extra cab rides. Plus, we got $100 in great food and drink. We didn’t use the Diamond International gift certificates.
Thus, going to the Cabo time-share presentation saved us about $1000, taught us something we didn’t know, introduced us to two beautiful properties, got us access to pools and beaches, and gave us quite a few laughs and giggles. Going to the Cancun time-share presentation save us over $450, taught us about newer time-share models, made us think additionally about how we are doing our nomad life, and got us to two far-flung locations we definitely would not have booked if we would have paid full price.
Yup, it was worth it.
So, when the Time Share Hawkers ask you a question at the Cancun or Cabo airport, answer, listen, negotiate, show up, have fun, laugh, and save. Plus, you might end up with a 10-year vacation! And that’s how to benefit from the Mexico Time Share system.