Sunday, July 12, 2015

Playa del Carmen, Mexico - June, 2015

After our 3 days in Cancun, we got back to our life reality by taking a local bus from the Cancun strip into Cancun Centro and the bus station. Our tickets using our Mexican Senior INAPAM discount card only cost us a whole $6US for the 1.5 hour bus ride. Now that's the kind of budget saver I like a lot!

Our hotel, which we also got a great deal on, was in a terrific location to walk everywhere. La Tortuga is a quaint, thatched roof hotel with a beautiful courtyard and wandering swimming pool in a jungle.  Our room was very spacious and had it's own quiet terrace on the 3rd floor. Breakfast was included, which ran from 7am to 1pm. Perfect for us since we never eat breakfast until late.

Our first day there, Mike joined a friend of ours, Marty Kramer, who relocated from Cuenca, Ecuador to Playa del Carmen to go swim with the whale sharks off the coast of Cancun. So, yes, he had the pleasure of going back to whence we came from and a bit further north to do this. But so worth it! He really got to swim with them!!  10 meters in length is quite impressive! They followed that with a nice snorkel on a reef. While enroute they got to observe mating green sea turtles. A very fun trip.

I spent the day with Michele, his wife, on the beach people watching and taking a quick dip in the ocean. What was quite disappointing was that the water was not crystal clear and aqua, it was brown and murky. I couldn't see 2 inches down. The area is having a terrible time with brown sea weed. Because of the amount of it, I never went into the ocean again during our whole week there. This could become a very big problem for them if people can't get into the water because of all the seaweed.

A trip to Chizen Itza is a must when in this area so off we went on a wonderful day trip/tour! It included a stop at the Cenote Palomitas where we were the only ones there swimming in the beautiful blue pool, lunch at a nice "tourist" restaurant, and on to the ruins. The day was hot, hot, hot...just like home in PV.

Chizen Itza:

On our way back to Playa, we made a short stop in the town of Valladolid .  It was definitely not enough time to explore what appears to be quite a nice place to venture into.

Another "must do" attraction while in the area was to swim with the sea turtles in Akumal. Our friends, Don & Diane, drove down from Cancun and we went together. If you ever have the chance, DO IT!!!  These beautiful creatures are outstanding! What fun to be so close to them and watch their grace.

The other days we enjoyed walking along 5th Avenue with all the other tourists. Eating out with our friends or having a nice meal at their home.

A few observations from our point of view about Playa del Carmen.

We found it WAY more expensive than PV in the tourist areas. In PV there is quite a mix of different price points for bars and restaurants ON and off the beach. We didn't find anything remotely reasonably priced on or off the beach. And, the beach was quite expensive - US prices! $10US for a glass of ok wine.

There is no Malecon. The beach edge is lined with bars and restaurants and you must walk on the beach to get to them. Their "tourist" street, 5th Avenue, is lined on both sides with shops and bars/restaurants for a couple of miles. A lot of high end shops that charge even more because it's all tourists. We passed them all up since we could buy the same things in PV for much less. Playa is now advertising that it's a "high end" destination.

And, for us, it's way too flat, great for bicycles, but not beauty.. Our "must have" was lush green hills or mountains, which we have in PV.

Our friends who settled there did so because he is a  diver. Both, our friends who settled in Cancun and Playa wanted to be very close to Florida for medical reasons as they are both veterns. I totally understand, no judgement here. It's just not for us.

After a nice relaxing week with more exploring of Mexico under our wings, we were ready to fly to the US for our annual trip.

Stay tuned for our adventures stateside! Hope your summer is going as well as ours!!!

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