Join Date: Oct 2003
Piece of Heaven on Earth - Playa del Carmen...Viva Azteca Trip Report
First of all Thanks to those that helped me out with my trip report and taught me how to insert photos!
This was my second trip to Playa in less than a month. With the swine flu scare, we found some great packages from Loco Gringo. This was all about the family. There were 7 of us in our party, my husband and myself, our 13 year old daughter, 29 year old niece, 15 year old nephew and two nine year olds. We live in Belize so we relied on Mexico bus transportation, ADO. What a great ride. The bus seats were very spacious, A/C, super clean bathrooms, and TV. Seats were like first class on a plane. It was a 4 hour trip from our border town of Chetumal, Mexico.
We arrived at the hotel around 1:30 and only one room was ready. The check in was quite easy and the head receptionist who wore a “Jefe” badge didn’t have the charm or personality button on, but heck she was quite pregnant and in that heat who wouldn’t be miserable. We were greeted with our fruit punch in champagne glasses and showed to our one room. We were told to return around 3 pm for our room key. Upon our checkout, there was a different front desk crew and she was so not intune with us that 2 adults came home with their bracelets still on the wrist!! Anyway...
The room was mediocre at best but after we stepped on the balcony who cared about the room. We had the best view in the house, room # 3202 and #3203, it was all about the beach and the sea. We had an amazing view of the sea, and to the left was the massage palapa area. It was breathtaking.
Sleeping arrangements broke down to…In my room was my husband and daughter and one nine year old niece and the other room had the other three kids. We asked for extra cots and got them and there was plenty of space. The rooms we had at Viva Maya were much nicer and larger and looked as if they were just renovated. There were plenty of towels and washcloths. They had a body soap and shampoo dispenser. There was a also a mini fridge that held a few soft drinks and bottled water. After changing into our swimgear we headed to the beach, no time to waste.
We headed to the beach with our beach towels. Remember if you lose them it cost $25 for the card. Now about the beach, I thought Viva Maya had a better beach because the sandbags are placed longway opposed to Viva Azteca where they are just right in front of you. I complained a bit but after walking the beach in Playacar, Viva Hotels have the very best beach. Some of the resorts have nothing and a few rocks. It’s sad. We spent the day at Viva Maya to enjoy their beach but my kids missed climbing the sandbags and jumping off on the deep end. The better boogie boards are at Viva Azteca and the kids only needed an adult’s signature to sign them out. Remember you can head to Viva Maya and enjoy their facilities. Check out Viva Circus and swing like a monkey on the trapeze.
Now, a must to note…we are people of color and we got burned up, so please take the strongest stuff you can get your hands on. We used SPF 50 Waterbabies for the kids. The sun is so strong and while you are in the water, you forget how the sun is beating down and burning you up. Make sure you get the kids lathered up every two hours. My nephew was making sure he wasn't getting burned. LOL
Now on to activities…we have done all the ruins, water eco parks, etc. so for us it was all about the beach and hanging out. We jet skied for ½ hour for $60 US and they also parasailed. They said the jet ski was a great adrenaline rush while the parasail was one of those one in a million deals.
My family also embraced the entire sunrise thing, even the nine year olds wanted to do the sunrise. One morning the older three got up and headed to the beach and watched the sunrise and took about 50 photos of it. It's simply breathtaking and you have to do it. Just get up early. I won't put the best photo up because you have to do this but this is one of my favorites with my neice so happy to watch the sunrise in Playa.
The food is so much better at Azteca than Maya. I had placed in my budget a few nights to eat out because we got bored easy at the Maya, but we saved $$ because the food really was that much better. We had one very picky eater (nine year old) and he still found something to eat. Breakfast was our favorite meal. With all the meals, they cater to a variety of guest. You have the Europeans with a lot of meat, cheese and breads. Americans with good ole pancakes, French toast, etc, Mexicans with Chilaquelles and tacos and then food lovers with a bit of everything tons of fruit, great Gelado (Italian icecream), sausages, bacon etc.
We loved the omelet station. Grab a tiny bowl and fill it up with everything you want in your omelet. Pass it over to the omelet person and they will sauté it and then ask you if you want cheese in it and off you go. Oh so good. The bacon is kept behind there. Just ask for some bacon and they will give you an entire fried pig.
Yogurts and fresh fruit were oh so good and the hot fresh corn tortillas. Try something different you are on vacation.
We ate most of our lunch meals at the bar grill. Oh the pizza was so good. They always had fruit and vegetables and nachos. You can get a burger or hotdog also. Not much variety but I was happy with fruit and pizza. The drinks were AI drinks. Just ask them to tone down the coco cream or if you want a “happy” day at the beach, another shot. My husband enjoyed the submarines, tequila and beer. The kids tried everything "Virgin" they could get their hands on, mango colodas, daquiris, Miami Vice. They are so willing to please your needs. Make sure you carry some 1’s. We tipped every so often not so much because we had to but because we wanted to…let me tell you a few dollars go a long way. My kids just wanted some ice for their juice and the bartenders recognized them and pulled them to the front of the line.
As for dinner, we did three meals. They had theme nights and we got International, Seafood and Mexican. On Mexican night, they even had a Tequila sample bar. WOW! Do that after dinner.
Oh Seafood night was so good. Grilled Salmon, mussels, crabs, ooh I am hungry.
Now for the dinner reservations, they SUCK!! We checked in on Tuesday and couldn’t get a reservation for the restaurant we wanted until Saturday night (guess what we were leaving on Saturday morning). Don’t have any idea how that works but just gave up and headed into town for a meal. We heard that the Bamboo was very good. Two of our family members ate at the Italian and enjoyed it but they did say the salad reminded them of grass. HAHA. You gotta know my niece and nephew.
Now we filled our days on the beach but we did get involved in several activities. The entertainment staff really does an amazing job. Our biggest compliment was that they were very genuine. They found time to chat and asked about us. They remembered names and they ASKED you to get involve not Nag you like so many other staffs we have encountered. We didn’t do the nightly shows but we did head to Maya for Casino night and that was a blast. They did so well at the games that I am considering a trip to Las Vegas when they turn 18. They can make me some serious dinero. My nephew was in heaven with the sexiest dance partner for Salsa classes. We played Beach Futbol (soccer), Bocce ball (never won) and took Spanish lessons (even though my Spanish Teacher Niece had to correct them a few times...LOL). All in all it was a lot of fun.
We got a super great deal for this hotel and it was worth every penny and more. I think those that complain don’t realize that they are not staying at a 5 star, this is a Mexican 3 star and they do a great job in providing service, food and comfort. I would highly recommend this resort for a family vacation on a budget. Would I return...oh yeah!!
Fun note...I was hanging out on the beach, stuffing my face with great nachos and this person approached me and said, "Hi are you Turosbaby?" I was like...what?? Then it hit me, that's my users name. It was so cool to meet this person that shared great advice on Playa on this same forum. So here is my photo just in case we meet up one day on the beaches of Playa. These are three shells that my little ones found for me.
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
I was also thinking how blue that water looks in that photo- it almost looks touched up! Very nice.
I love the photo of you watching the sunrise....very nice.
Last edited by Rissask; 08-13-2009 at 08:40 PM.. Reason: got my answer!