RE: Catalonia maya hotel
So you stayed at the resort that is referred to as the CAT on here, I think. It is 2 resorts, the Yucatan and the Maya.
We stayed there 5 - 6 years ago and really enjoyed it. We were in the Yucatan side. The room didn't have a fridge and over looked the pool but was clean and up to date. There is no beach to speak of, it's in a little cove that it shares with another Resort, it was the Sunscape, but I think it's changed its name.
There is a little lagoon there that is great for kids learning to snorkel.
Food and drink were good when we were there. I don't remember them using cheap booze and we loved the Italian Ala Carte and the Crepe place.
As far as tipping goes, Yes tip. They work very hard and deserve it but . . . don't compare them making $6 a day to you making $6 a day.
Last year we spoke with a guy who was selling jet ski rides at the Palladium. He said that the cost of living for the average working Mexican in the Mayan is very very low. He said it always surprises him how tourists compare their lifestyles, costs and needs to his and his friends. He said he and his family have always had a nice clean dry house, lots of food and clothing. His children are receiving a good education and they don't need big screen TVs, or IPads, or Game boys, ect. He said his biggest luxury is a cell phone and the only calls he gets are from his boss about what time he's going to be picked up.
He said that he bought his wife a washer and dryer and she doesn't use them. She prefers to get together with her sisters and friends on wash day and do it all by hand. It's a social thing!