The later you can get into October, the lower your risk of hurricanes....
Having said all of that, October is a transition month. I have been in the Zihuatanejo area in October pretty much ever year for the past decade. I have had Octobers with only drops of rain. I have had Octobers with rain for days in a row...
When it does rain in the Mayan, it's usually not for very long (30 min to an hour at the most), and then the sun comes out and dries everything up.
I would like to see the ruins so the mayan trip would be awesome for me.
Last year around late october early november the prices for the Mayan was around $700->$1000 per adult (depending on the resort), and that included all the stuff like taxes/all inc/ transfers to/from the resort...ect. I even saw that some of the deals had the kids stay free, all you had to do was pay for their airfare (around half the price of the adult). Some of the resorts in that price range were the Riu's, Barcelo, and the Moon Palace resorts (the Moon is the nicesest of the bunch imo, but it's geared more towards couples). All these resorts are not cheap rundown places either. It's just at that time of year they have a lull in tourists/visitors. Imo, for overall comfort and kid friendly resorts, I would recomend for you look into the Riu resort chain. They have quite a few resorts in that area. They are also located within a 5min $5 taxi ride of Playa del Carmen (PDC), where you can go shopping and also have a nice night on the town. Cozumel is only a short 25 minute boat ride from PDC as well. All of the Riu resorts have their own beach front, except for the Riu Lupita, which you'll have to take a short bus/golf car ride to (hence a lower vactaion package price).
Btw, the area was devistated by the last hurrican, but most of it has been rebuilt since then. (ie... beaches have been revamped with new sand that has been pumped in from the ocean, new cabannas have been built to sit under, ect.)
The Mayan ruins (depending on where you stay) are not that long of a bus ride (30 min or around 2 hours away). The place my wifes calls the "chicken" ruins (Chichen Itza) is a much farther/longer bus ride than the closer Tulum. (Tulum is also much smaller in area and height that Itza)
There is a Tulum/Xel-Ha combo day trip that you and the kids would probably love. You visit the ruins of Tulum in the morning (when the sun is less intense), and then Xel-Ha water park/natural wildlife reserve for the kids to have fun in the afternoon.
Most of the following things are a no brainer for most people, but just in case.... things I would suggest to you and others visiting the area....
1. Don't buy any of the trips/excursions/souvenirs from your resort. You can and will find much better deals for the same trips in PDC. (but watch out for the timeshare guys offering those deals, they are everywhere)
2. Don't bother exchanging your money in the resort. PDC has a much better exchange rate overall. (don't change more that $50-$100 at a time). They can
exchange Canadian money in the resort as well as in PDC. So there is no need to get US $'s before you go down. With our high flying Loonie you should be able to get around the same as you would with the US greenback. (I would still suggest for you to have $20-$30 US for each person just in case)
3. Haggle. If they quote you a price, offer 1/3 or even 1/2. Then haggle from there.
4. Stay away from PDC during the day until 3-4pm.... that's when the cruise ships visit port, and the prices for things magically jump.
You will see what I mean if you visit the area. They have little "post it note" price signs that cover the real
(or should I say lower prices) when the cruise ship passengers are in the town. The prices usually go lower when they leave. (this is also when you are more likely to get better deals when haggling)
5. Hide your resort wrist bands from veiw. The store owers know which ones are the nice/expensive resorts, and if they see those wrist bands they probably won't haggle with you. Their thinking... if you can afford a nice resort, you can afford to pay the price I'm asking for that souvenir you want to buy. If thee won't budge on the price, try moving on to the next guy. They all sell the same stuff, and evetually you will find someone willing to let it go for cheaper. When I'm down there I always cut off my wrist band and then put in in my pocket. When I head back to the resort I ask the front desk for a new one after handing in the old one. But they might get wise after the first two times though. lol
6. Leave all expensive jewellery at home (that incudes expensive camera equipment too). Don't take them down with you. Bring a small point and shoot digital instead.
7. Use the hotel safe for everything else. Don't leave stuff in you luggage (like passports).
8. Get a set of two-way radios to keep in touch with the wife and kids. (it makes it easier to find them later on when they go off on their own to find deals). I wish I had broght mine down the first time. (look at the nice stuff I bought hun
9. Make sure you bring suntan lotion and creams, as well as Imoduim, Gravol, Tylenol, OFF bug spray, ect... from home. All of that stuff is pretty expensive down in the Myan.
10. Leave all that stuff behind when you return home. (less room taken up in you luggage... more room for the wife's and kid's souvenirs.... hence the two way radios) lol.
11. Don't stop at the "information" booths in the ariport terminal after you clears customs. They are not info booths, they are timeshare guys pretending to be them.
12. When heading for customs.... you better hope you get a green light instead of a red one. I have seen on more than a few occasions pretty girls getting a red light. (hence a baggage search) Gee, I wonder if the airport security staff have any control over those lights? ; ) (you'll see what I mean when you get down there) lol
It truly is a beautiful area. We have been down there many times, and the wife and I have never felt afriad for our lives. (it's too bad the last year in the news has suggested otherwise).
As for deals during jan/feb, I would also highly suggest the Puerto Plata area of the Dominican Rupublic (there is way more to do than the Punta Cana area). You can easily find last minute deals to that area (for 3+ star resorts oe better) for around $600 per person (and yes, that includes all the taxes too). You just have to remember to save $20 US (or is it $25US?) for the departure tax, or elase they won't let you leave at the end of your vacation. lol
(wow, I thinks that's the most I have typed here)