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Old 03-02-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Trip Report - Playa & Luna Blue, Feb. 2009

Hi everybody! This is my first attempt at a trip report, so please bear with me...

Trip Report – Luna Blue and Playa del Carmen,
February 7th to 21st, 2009
Staring… B&E, D&K, Wifey C and last and definitely least – yours truly, Boobtubeguy.

I was hoping to do a day to day type trip report, but then I remembered that I can’t remember anything past this morning, so I figured I would post “things” about the trip, including the hotel we stayed at, restaurants we went to and some of the neat things we saw. Here goes!

Luna Blue Hotel
What a great little hotel! We stayed here the entire two weeks we were in Playa del Carmen. Situated on Calle 26 Norte between 5th and 10th Avenues, this hotel was close to all the action… a short couple blocks walk to Mamitas Beach Club (you got free chairs and a Palapa with staying here) and less than half a block to 5th Avenue. I had only done AI’s to this point, so all the walking was definitely different – but a nice way to get to all the great restaurants and such. Our superior room (#23 if you like the looks of it) was on the third floor of this 18 room hotel. No phone, no TV – but great for kicking back and enjoying life. The water pressure was great, the room was really clean and they even had a water cooler for all the water you could need. By the end of the trip, Wifey C and I had had enough of going up and down the stairs… especially after a few beverages! B&E had a terrace room, with a nice big deck (just across from us on the 3rd floor), and D&K had a first floor room – but of the superior room type. The hotel features a fantastic garden setting with different levels and one of the best swing bars you’ll find – including a fabulous bartender, Jorge, who makes a mean margarita… including the infamous ‘Sarita Be Careful’ – which is a pomegranate margarita (we made sure to bring home La Pinta Margarita just so we could make our own… not sure if I’ll have the patience to squeeze all those limes for the juice!). All in all, this was a nice hotel – hats off to Tony & Cheri (the owners), Genaro (front desk mgr.), Jorge and the rest of the staff!

Front Entrance of Luna Blue...


Wifey C kicking back in the courtyard...


Just in case you need to know how far the Luna Blue is from various places...


Lower level area near water fountain at Luna Blue...


Jorge giving out some of that dangerous tequila (one of the nicest guys you'll meet!)...


Wifey C enjoying the towel art in our room...


Lots of room for clothes, plus a fridge and all the water you can drink...


Words to live by (on the wall of our hotel room)...


Entrance to bathroom area...


Wide shot of room... thanks for modelling Wifey C!


Next up... Food! (here's hoping I'm posting these pics properly - fingers crossed!)

Last edited by boobtubeguy; 03-03-2009 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 03-02-2009   #2 (permalink)
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As promissed... here is the next installment of my trip report:

Food
What would a trip be without food, and because we didn’t go AI we were able to try lots of different places. We went to PG’s Sandbox for shrimp tacos (they were awesome!), Carboncitos (sorry, no pics from there either), La Cueva del Chango (no pics – sorry!), a great breakfast place on 5th (can’t remember the name of it… E and Wifey C had chiliquiles and a fruit plate that looked really good), Babe’s Noodle Bar (the one farther south) – to which I had a fabulous teriyaki noodle dish and large blended margarita, El Fogon – the extremely affordable and fun food experience, La Tarraya – situated south near the pier on the beach, for really inexpensive great food (D in our group had a fish burger for $2 CDN!), La Pesca – situated across from Mega, featuring fabulous seafood dishes including the fantastic Imperial Shrimp dish me and B both had (bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese… pull out the paddles and call the medics!)… and even Pizza Pazza for a late night pizza fix on 5th (only 20 pesos a slice… found a place farther north on 5th for 15 pesos a slice… even better – just can’t remember the name… hmmm…???). And one can’t forget Au Cocau for a quick chocolate milkshake (sorry B for beating you chugging those puppies down!) All in all, the food was really good at a variety of places.

Fruit place (somewhere on 5th... E help me out on this one!)...


Chilequiles (sp?) - same place as above...


E enjoying her chilequiles...


Wifey C enjoying that fruit plate... yum!


Babe's Noodle Bar... gotta start with drinks!


Me at Babe's (yup, there actually is a picture of me!)


Side dish at Babe's... a roll of some sort...


A Dish at Babe's... for the life of me I can't remember what this was...???


My terriyaki dish at Babe's... awesome!


The gang at El Fogon:


Can't believe they let me behind the grill at El Fogon (oh wait - they let everyone back there! LOL)


Okay... here's the real food artist at El Fogon...


Chicken quesadillas (El Fogon)


Aranchera... not sure if I did that justice on what this was (El Fogon)


Here's the sign you want to look for, for El Fogon:


Wide shot of El Fogon:


Menu at La Tarraya (sorry, it's upside down - if you can read it that way... and you'll need a magnifying glass to boot!)


Some signage at La Tarraya...


Some of the exterior/interior at La Tarraya...


Wifey C found a friend at La Tarraya...


Garlic shrimp at La Pesca:


Another dish from La Pesca (sorry - can't remember what it was):


Imperial Shrimp from La Pesca... you've gotta try it!


Entrance to Pizza Pazza on 5th...


Milkshakes from Au Cocau...


Next up... our trip to Mega!
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Old 03-02-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Again, as promissed... the next installment - our trip to Mega!

Mega
What can one say about Mega! (thanks B&E for introducing us to this place!) This place has it all… and it’s nice to see it all at fairly reasonable prices. We had a small fridge in our room at Luna Blue – so we had to fill it with stuff… beer (Dos Equis rocks!), cheese, fresh pastries and Bubulubu’s (kinda like a chocolate bar with jelly and marshmallow in the middle). Everyone should go shopping here at least once just to experience this place… you can even take your carts up and down the escalator!

Night shot outside Mega...


Wifey C anticipating the arrival to Mega!


B & E leading the way... go Mega!


She's all geared up and ready to go!


Wide shot of some aisles at Mega...


B enjoying the fine selection of beverages... did I mention that there's beer too?!


Wideshot of the produce section at Mega...


Sorry - for some reason I forgot to take pictures of all the fresh cheese, meat, seafood - and especially the pastry area (I must have been in LaLa land during those stretches!)

Up next for your viewing pleasure... Mamita's Beach Club!
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Old 03-02-2009   #4 (permalink)
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As promissed...

Mamita’s Beach Club
For our stay at Luna Blue, we received free beach chairs and a palapa – but in order to enjoy the palapa, you had to get down to the beach by around 9am. Most days we were just happy to have a chair out by the water, so a 10am appearance was generally good enough for us. The beach was amazing and in good shape (considering how many hotel fronts farther south were missing sand and had the sand whales parked in front). The beach was raked early each morning… and would fill up throughout the day. It was a pretty busy place, so if you’re looking for a quieter location – you could just head north down the beach and find it. As usual, for beach clubs you have to pay a little more for your drinks… 35 pesos for a beer, 25 pesos for a water, 20 pesos for a Coke – and 70 pesos for a small (emphasis on small) blended drink. The food here is pretty good too – again for a price. All in all… pretty nice beach club and definitely did the job for two weeks.

The infamous 'feet' shot at Mamitas...


Four out of six of the CDN Amigos at Mamitas... Wifey C, me, B & E:


Crowded beach at Mamitas...


More crowded beach at Mamitas...


Just look at that water! (in front of Mamitas)


Mamita's from the water...


Another shot of Mamita's from the water...


Mamita's early morning looking south...


Another of Mamita's, early morning...


Next up... Bad Boys beach bar!
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Old 03-02-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Great TR, and awesome pics!!! Thanks for taking the time to do this to share it with us!!
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Old 03-02-2009   #6 (permalink)
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As promissed...

Bad Boys Beach Bar
Here’s another place that everyone visiting Playa should get to at least once – whether it is on a Thursday or a Saturday. The band gets up there and plays their hearts out and everyone eats it up… the fun starts around 3:30pm, when you need to get there to get a table. This place fills up fast on these days and the popularity shows. We kicked back and enjoyed several buckets of beer, along with some good food. If you haven’t been, make sure you go!

Here's what to look for to find Bad Boys on the beach:


Bad Boys... when it's a little quieter...


The fun is just about to start... this is the 'before' picture


Wifey C showing us how to get this party started!


Things are starting to fill up at Bad Boys...


The whole gang at Bad Boys!


Next up... ADO bus and Tulum!
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Old 03-02-2009   #7 (permalink)
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This I believe, is the Cracked Black Pepper Shrimp - my personal fav!

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Old 03-02-2009   #8 (permalink)
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If you're not too bored yet (hoping you like the pics... just noticed a finger print on some of them - LOL!).

Here's our ADO bus trip to Tulum...

ADO
We had planned on grabbing the bus (ADO) to go from Cancun to Playa, but we were just too pumped to start our holiday so we worked out a deal on a shuttle and went that route. We did, however, get the opportunity to grab the bus to head down to Tulum. Here’s some pictures of the ADO bus station on 5th…

Wide shot of the interior of the ADO bus station on 5th...


I sure hope Wifey C knows where we're going...


Bus schedules...


We're all set to go... and the smile says it all!


Tulum
I had been to the ruins before, but never realized how much the little town of Tulum (farther south) had to offer. There’s great shops, bars and restaurants – including the famous El Pollo Bronco… where 4 people can eat, drink and be full for under $13 CDN total!

Our trip to Tulum also included a short side trip by cab to Paraisio Beach… the sand is powdery white and nicer than what you’ll find right in Playa (just my opinion, sorry if I offended anyone). It’s a great place to escape to for the better part of a day… it’s not as crowded as some of the beaches in Playa.

Shop in Tulum... picked up a couple of really nice hand-blown shot glasses here


Wifey C taking it all in (in front of the shop above)


B & E found this great little ice cream shop on the east side of the street...you've gotta try it!


The fabulous El Pollo Bronco!


Some of the meal from El Pollo Bronco...


KFC's got nothin' on El Pollo Bronco... if anyone has their secret ingredient - please pass it on!


For a good time, call El Pollo Bronco at:


Paraisio (sp?) beach... just east of Tulum:


Another beach shot...


If this isn't heaven, then point me in the right direction!


Another beach shot...


Showing off our tats on the beach...


Next up... a tour - Sian Ka'an (Nature Reserve)
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Old 03-02-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Sian Ka’an (Nature Reserve)
We booked this tour through Infocentre and as luck would have it, they picked us up in front of our hotel. Of course, this was after Genaro (our front desk mgr) had to make some phone calls to make this happen. Even though they write ‘Luna Blue recepcion’ on your receipt for the place to pick you up – this doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. Genaro told us after to book all of the tours through him, as you’ll not only get a good deal – but he’ll make sure you’ll get on your tour… thanks Genaro – next time we’ll book through you! Anyway… the trip to get to Sian Ka’an takes about 2.5 hours. You basically go inland from Tulum, head south to Punta Allen down the bumpiest of roads (beware those with stomach problems or hemorrhoids – it’s rough!) and then you come across some of the most virgin beach you’ll ever see. We first crossed over a bridge that crosses between fresh water and salt water – which is a very rare occurrence. Once at our stop, we all got into a boat (there were 5 in our group) and we headed out to some of the nicest water I’ve ever seen… the area wasn’t even waste deep, crystal clear and nice for just wading in. We then proceeded on to check out some turtles… some dolphins (even came across mother-baby tandems)… a bird retreat – basically mangroves covered with these cool birds with these balloon-type necks that are used to attract the females… and then we finished with some snorkeling on a reef (that reminds me – gotta get the water camera pics developed!). The last bit was a meal just off the beach, which included choices from chicken quesadilla, paella, dorado fish and one other dish I can remember. Then it was a 2.5 hour drive back to our hotel. This was the only time in our two week trip that we even saw rain – and we were inside of a van the whole time, so it doesn’t count – LOL!

Old bridge between the fresh water and salt water crossing...


Shot of the beach from out boat (heading out to see the turtles)...


Turtles... Wifey C's favorite!


Where did all these birds come from?!


Birds mating in the mangroves...


If you look really, really hard... I'm the little dot snorkelling between the buoy - LOL!


Next up... Cozumel!
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Old 03-02-2009   #10 (permalink)
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As promissed... a brief report on Cozumel.

Cozumel
What trip to Playa del Carmen wouldn’t be complete without a ferry trip over to Cozumel. Wifey C and I were out partying the night before, so we weren’t feeling the best on the way over… but the whole gang was going so we couldn’t back out. We had been to Cozumel before, so we kind of took our time through it… short stop at the world’s smallest Hard Rock Café, a nice stroll up the street from the pier to enjoy the park, a leisurely walk around some of the side streets (to which my wife found and awesome deal on a silver ring)… and eventually finish with Wifey C getting her hair braided. We all grabbed a quick drink before heading back onto the ferry (which for those who don’t know is about a 45 minute ride in either direction).

Ferry area (Playa del Carmen side):


Inside the Hard Rock Cafe Cozumel...


Hard Rock Cafe signage...


Part of the park in Cozumel (not far from the ferry dock, heading east)


More of the park in Cozumel...


Wifey C getting her hair braided in Cozumel...


Next up... summary!
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Old 03-02-2009   #11 (permalink)
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Well... all good things must come to an end. Here's a quick summary to wrap things up.

Summary
Well… what can one say about Playa del Carmen. The people, the food, the hospitality is all great! As I mentioned earlier, I would have loved to have provided a day by day trip report… but I think I was enjoying my holiday so much that everything blended all together to make one great trip. If there’s specifics you want to know about – just fire out the questions and I’ll see if I can answer them. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – so hopefully my pics will do some of the talking for things I left out.

My apologies for any spelling mistakes that I made in the names of people/places/things. I welcome any corrections… after all, I’m only human (although on some occasions, like the night before we went to Cozumel, I’m sure I thought I was Superman – but that’s another story… LOL!).

Many thanks to our traveling crew… B&E, D&K and most of all – Wifey C! You all made this a trip to remember!

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Old 03-02-2009   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerak936 View Post
Great TR, and awesome pics!!! Thanks for taking the time to do this to share it with us!!
Thanks for the reply Nerak936... this was my first attempt at putting up a trip report - so I hope it worked out okay!
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Old 03-02-2009   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shammy View Post
This I believe, is the Cracked Black Pepper Shrimp - my personal fav!

Shammy... thanks for letting me know - it was killing me to try to remember what this was!
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Old 03-03-2009   #14 (permalink)
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thanks for taking the time to share!!!!!!
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Old 03-03-2009   #15 (permalink)
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Great report boobtubeguy! I loved all of your pics! You guys had quite an adventure for your first non-AI trip. Glad you enjoyed yourselves!
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