Wow...I know it's been a while since I got back from Mexico, but I just haven't had the time to put together a long post. Well, here it is finally!!
Hubby and I spent two weeks in Mexico - 1 week each in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. Both are near each other on the Yucatan Peninsula. We stayed at The Royal in both places.
Playa del Carmen -
My parents had joined us during this week. This is their first trip to a beach town in Mexico. Long-time readers may remember when I visited my parents while they were living near the border in Texas. Their previous experience with Mexico was with border towns.
While in Playa, the weather wasn't most cooperative. It was fairly warm during the days, but when the sun went down it cooled off. Only a light jacket was needed, however. The sun would visit, but wouldn't stick around for long. The nicest sunny day was the day we were leaving Playa, of course.
We went to Xcaret Park. This was our second visit there, as we went there on our last trip to Playa. But there's so much to see that we didn't catch everything on the first visit. Also, this time we had a better time navigating the park. It's really hard to describe this place, but for those visiting the area it's a definite must see. One of my favorite things there was the Butterfly Pavilion.
The fire show at the Blue Parrot was something that is worth seeing. It's free and right on the beach. I would recommend to visitors that if you don't plan on partying too much, don't get there too early. The drinks are kinda expensive and not very strong. Maybe stick to the beer... Staying at an All-Inclusive resort can spoil you like that.
A visit to Cozumel was on the agenda, since it was something we couldn't fit in on our last trip. However, it involved one of the worst rides on a ferry that I have ever experienced. It wasn't the boat's fault that the seas were really rough. While I didn't get sick, I didn't feel very well. Mom didn't do very well either. Dad, on the other hand, does get motion sick and was not affected at all. After getting off the boat, we just walked and tried to get back to normal. It helped, and we went to a grocery store to get some Dramamine (we had to ride the same boat back to Playa!). We had nothing planned on the island and by the time we got a rental car, pickings were quite slim. It's kinda amusing though. We ended up getting a Jeep Wrangler that would not be allowed on US streets:
"It looks fine," you say. Yes, on the outside it looks pretty normal.
But on the inside, it was really shabby. Notice the lack of knobs. Anything that wasn't bolted down was pretty much gone. The floor mats were gone in the back. The radio was broken. The rearview mirror was broken off (but in the glove box!). The horn did not work. And to top it all off, the speedometer was broken!!! But, it didn't break down and that was pretty much all that mattered. We drove around the island and walked on the beaches. We grabbed a quick bite at a beach club called Coconuts. It was pretty much the most happening place we found compared to some of the other beach clubs. And the food was really great to boot. We were there during the day, but I can imagine it having a more party atmosphere at night.
Cozumel has amazing beaches and reefs for snorkeling and diving. Unfortunately, it was too cold to go swimming and a lot of the boats weren't going out for snorkel tours due to the rough waters. So, that is something that we'd like to do on a later trip. One helpful tip: We noticed that once you leave the main plaza in Cozumel, it's harder to find places that take credit card. I'm not really sure why. We had some pesos and American money, but they gave really bad exchange rates for the dollars. So, if you're going there, we suggest exchanging into pesos while you're in town.
Most of the time, we just plain relaxed. We hung out by the pool or the beach. We walked on the beach a lot. There were a lot of pelicans roaming around. They're really big, too! Didn't do too much shopping, but did visit the spa at the resort and got a treatment called the Chocolate Decadence. It involved a chocolate mud wrap, fruit facial, and sugar body scrub. It was strange, but felt great. And the spa area is really nice with their soaking tubs.
Our second week in Cancun turned out to be better in the weather department. When we arrived at the hotel, we received an upgraded room. But in all honesty, every room at the Cancun location had a view of the ocean. They ALL had balconies facing the ocean. And because there was a maintenance issue with our room, we got upgraded again! (One of the tiles on the floor had popped up, due to temperature fluctuations and humidity. We were told it wasn't a rare thing.) This is a view from our upgraded room.
While in Cancun, we walked around a little bit. It's quite different from Playa where the town plaza is 'right there'. Cancun's Hotel Zone is pretty much resort next to resort next to resort. Then you come upon the occasional restaurant, mall, night club and shopping village. Since it was just us and we weren't feeling up to clubbing, we didn't do any of that. Also, Hubby got a touch of food poisoning (we think, though not sure. Could have been the peanut butter), so he really didn't feel like drinking and dancing at all.
We did go on one of the Jungle Tours. This was the highlight of the trip. There's a few companies that do this and we went through Sunrise Marina. You start in the lagoon, where you board onto a cigarette boat that you get to drive. I let Hubby do the honors, even though they said it's really easy to drive the boats. Then you drive through the lagoon, then through the jungle, and out into the Caribbean. Then you drive a bit more until you reach a reef area. You're with a group and you tie your boats together. A bit of time is spent snorkeling. I love to swim and this was the best. There was an amazing variety of fish and reef structures. I even saw some sea anenomes. After this, you drive your boats back to the marina. They let you drive the boats pretty fast, too, which Hubby really enjoyed.
Like I said earlier, the weather was much better during the Cancun week. The sun was out almost every day. I spent entire days sitting in the sun with a book. Pure bliss! The pool area was great. They played good music and had cocktail waitresses coming around to bring drinks. They even had a 'pool butler' that brought cool towels, frozen grapes, sunscreen and reading materials. While Hubby was resting with his illness, I worked on my tan. I also watched the pelicans, which was quite amusing.
The beaches in Cancun are not like the beaches in Playa. They actually worked to build up the beach, all day every day we were down there. From what I heard, they had been doing this every day since Hurricane Wilma wreacked havoc on 2005. Yikes! The beach is so small, I wonder what it would look like without their efforts. It seemed like everyday they created this mound of sand that washed away by the surf every night.
There were a lot of people at the resort. Most were from Canada. But there were a few fellow Americans there with us and we all congregated to watch 1. Playoff Football and 2. The Inauguration of Barack Obama. It was strange to be watching it in a foreign country, but also really exciting to be seeing it AT ALL. Definitely a great answer to "Where were you when the first African-American President was sworn into office?"
In all, we had a wonderful time. We're looking forward to visiting again, which we might just do in late 2010.
4 hours ago