I'm going to start this part with my thoughts on what to pack (or what not to pack, as the case might be!!).
I mentioned before that I am a very organized person, so I already had a "Mexico Packing List" saved on the computer, that I had created from the year before - because you know there's just certain things you don't want to forget!! Well, after having my suitcase and a pile of some stuff to take ready to go about 3 weeks earlier than our departure, (in a spare bedroom), I kept adding to the list thinking I would need this or that, or more of this (because we were going for 3 weeks!!). So, after all was said and done, I had one very large suitcase (that weighed in at 49 pounds - the limit being 50!!), a second suitcase (the medium size), that weighed about 28 pounds, a carry- on suitcase (the small one), and a backpack. This was just for me!! I also had to steal some room from my husband's suitcase for more shoes - because I thought 5 pairs wouldn't be enough. I also had several suntan lotions, (my husband calls me the lotion queen), shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, the list goes on.
Let me just say that I have again revised my list.... here's my plan for next year:
4 pairs shorts (down from 9)
5 tank tops (down from 15)
3 bathing suits (down from 8)
4 Sarongs (down from 9)
2 shoes (down from 7) (Nothing fancy, just flip-flops)
2 casual sundresses (down from 5)
Spray bottle for water (must have)
pool float (they are pretty pricey to buy there)
Washcloths (hard to come by at Sandos - seems to be a common complaint in Mexico).
Camera, batteries, charger.
Hair clips (I cannot keep a hairstyle to save my life in Playa, if I'm not sweating like crazy, the humidity turns it into Bozo the clown!!)
Lots of small bills (1's & 5's)
Mapchick maps (that I'm going to buy soon!!)
One other thing that is a good idea to bring...don't laugh - this is a very true and VERY heplful thing to know: bring a spray bottle with Listerine (ORIGINAL ONLY- NOT MINT) mouthwash. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST "HOME REMEDIES" FOR SUNBURN THAT YOU WILL EVER FIND. (It does seem kind of hard to find the original one in Playa). When you get a sunburn, spray the listerine on, and don't dry it. Keep repeating this as often as you wish. It will take away the sting of the burn, and in MOST cases, will help you to not peel. This remedy was told to my dad from a friend of his who was Irish (and very white), and also had diabetes...he went to Hawaii and proceeded to get extremely burnt. Someone told him about this, and he thought "what the heck" - he was AMAZED by the results....since I heard of this, I SWEAR by it!!
Of course there's a few other essentials..underwear, toothbrush, deodorant etc....
BUT, this next trip, I'm going to Wal-Mart and buying shampoo, conditioner (don't usually care for the stuff in hotels!) - then whatever of it I don't use, I wil leave there for the maid to take, suntan lotion, bug stuff, cigarettes. No more stuff exploding in my suitcase - as always seems to happen. Luckily, I do pack them in ziploc bags!!
This is the year that I am packing sensibly, not for "what if". Here's my what-if motto now....If I need something bad enough, I'll just buy it there.
This last trip, I brought my laptop - I'm still debating on that for next year. At Sandos, they had Wi-Fi in two locations...As Royal Elite, we have access to computers, but this was a pain because the keyboard was a Spanish layout - totally different - and because I was gone for so long, I did have to check in to work occasionally....so, I would have to bring my laptop down to one of the two areas...not fun. Next year, the condo we are staying at has Wi-Fi too....and while it would be much easier to do it there, I'm seriously considering not taking it....I'm still debating on this. I really, really, really want to travel light this time.
Oh.... here's another reason that packing way too much is not a good idea - aside from just lugging it around at airports, etc..... for whatever reason, Troy and I got "picked" at San Francisco for a complete inspection, upon our return flight, which by the way, did not land until almost 11p.m. - so, because we got "picked" - they went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM in all of our bags - That means 4 suitcases, and 3 carry ons. Every item, every bag....this took at least a half hour-maybe more. Which did not make us happy, as you can imagine. We were tired, and wanting to go home, my son was waiting to pick us up....
Anyway, now that I've got the packing tutorial out of the way.... on with the trip....
Speaking of hair not cooperating....here's a picture of us going to the Asiana restaurant at Sandos. This is probably the best my hair, and me for that matter looked (for about 15 minutes) in Playa:
Aly being "herself"...she always does this when I take out the camera too much!
The spa pool at Sandos:
Which brings up another thing we did....we decided to go to Sandos Caracol one day, just to check it out, and see if we would like to go there. My advice, DON'T book a trip here. We planned on spending the entire day here, but made it less than 2 hours. While the place had some nice things about it, for the most part, it sucks. (Can I say that on here?) Some nice things...there was alot of shady areas, palapa roofs in walkways, more wildlife - lots of iguanas, cute design in their "main area". The bad.....the beach - gross, really - lots of black algae stuff that you had to walk on in the ocean, people that worked there not as friendly, it's also quite aways away from anything....like out in the middle of nowhere (you turn into it by Grand Coral, I think) rooms had no balconies to speak of (except maybe the Royal Elite ones), adult pool needed work...lots of tiles missing, lots of standing water on property....And the worst...
The spa pool...notice the light floating in the water WITH a wire attached:
Their spa pool is half the size of Sandos Playacar (same design)
Also, notice no balconies:
Main area (nice):
Front of building...I think the room in the background are the Royal Elite
Back to Sandos Playacar:
The last week of our trip, we FINALLY got moved to our 3rd room.... what we should have had when we checked in....a Master suite (living room, half bath, separate bedroom, full bath) - ocean front, Room 1326....
Our room and views:
What I came here for:
All these were taken from our balcony:
That's about it for now....I'll have one final installment soon....time flies when you do this...so for now, I have to get something done around the house!! Adios for now!