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Old 08-12-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Rissask Report- Isla Mujeres, August 2011. Whalesharks, sailfish, and more!

First, the Cliff's Notes version, then later, more details.

Who- Me, Maggie, and my husband Don, and our friends Cindy and Jason, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Why- the hell not? Summer in Mexico is fantastico!

When- July 29th to August 5th.

Where- flew from Calgary, Alberta (on a direct non-stop WestJet flight, best airline EVER, great as always) to Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo. Fifth time to the area, first time to Isla (never even did a day trip there before! )


Weather- AMAZING. Two half-hour downpours the first full day we were there, then nothing but clear blue skies and heat the rest of the week. Average temps in the low 30s. Ocean temp- 28 C. Awesome.

What- we did a whalesharks tour which was a great experience...the guys went fishing with Fausto with Mahache Tours one day for 8 hours (bit steep at $5500 pesos, but they had a great day....about 5 dorado, maybe 8 or so blackfin tuna, and a small sailfish).

We also did a golf cart tour of the island, which was SO much fun...next time I think we would rent a cart for more than just one day, maybe even for the whole week. We might even rent mopeds, the traffic is not that crazy on Isla and that might be fun.

We also went snorkeling at Garrafon de Castilla one morning. Saw Spiral Island but no sign of eccentric British dude.

What we notably did NOT do is any scuba diving. Next time. Sand gravity kicked in and we simply ran out of days and the diving is not the best there, anyway. But I DID have my heart set on doing at least a snorkel tour to the Underwater Museum...it just means I have to go back!


A pic from our hotel room in Calgary before leaving for the airport.

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Old 08-12-2011   #2 (permalink)
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WHOO HOO Love me a Riss trip report.
Get to posting woman !
And be sure and include pictures of Don (swoon)
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Old 08-12-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Originally we were going alone but Don had told his fishing buddy and former co-worker of ours, Jason, one day about our trip- and about a month before departure they called and asked where we booked- they were coming too!

We got a great price on Expedia on a 'build your own package'- air and hotel (the Hotel Posada del Mar ) for $730 each total...which is a very good price from here. It is not AI which was fine with us as that is what we prefer.

In fact, there is only one AI on the tiny (1.5 miles wide, 5 miles long) island, called the Privilege Aluxes. Our friends ended up booking there, but they only had the breakfast and not the whole AI option.

I had spent enough time researching on the Isla Trip Advisor forum (which is VERY friendly and not just all about AIs, like the PDC one) and this site as well, to know that non AI is the best choice on Isla. There are loads of great restaurants. We only ate at the same one twice and that is because it was SO great, that was Olivia.


This site, IslaMujeres.info , is a great resource for trip planning to Isla.

You can also order the Isla maps from Mapchick on www.cancunmap.com which we did and they are worth their weight in gold, like their Playa and Mayan Riviera maps are too.

We LOVED Isla. I would have to say we are total Isla converts now. We will definitely be returning! It was the perfect mix of fun and peace, very relaxing and laid back, but with enough bars and live music and acitvities to keep you busy too....with gorgeous beaches, wonderful restaurants, and the PEOPLE....they were the best part. Nary a timeshare shark or snarky vendor or padded check in sight. Just great.
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Old 08-12-2011   #4 (permalink)
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WHOO HOO Love me a Riss trip report.
Get to posting woman !
And be sure and include pictures of Don (swoon)
You have a thing for short, grey haired dudes, too, huh?
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Old 08-12-2011   #5 (permalink)
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okay!

Arrived at the CUN airport right on time at about 4:30 PM (Five hour flight had left around 10:30 from Calgary, with a one hour time difference). Breezed through Customs and Immigration in under half an hour and were out buying beer outside Terminal 3...never flew into Terminal 3 before, apparently it was recently just finished?

There is a new 'trick' the timeshare people have at the airport, which we encountered. They are dressed like airport staff and catch you immediately after you exit out the arrivals door. They get your attention and try to tell you NEED to talk to them and they work for the airport and have some questions you NEED to answer. We were ready for them though and just ignored them and kept walking. Apparently at Puerto Vallarta they have this same scam and they are actually physically grabbing people to waylay them....rude!

We had booked shuttle transfers all together with Best Day. $34 USD each couple, return, to Puerto Juarez where the Ultramar ferry to Isla leaves from. Great deal, especially since it was just the 4 of us each way, and a private transfer is over $60 per couple. We were planning originally to take the bus to the main bus terminal in Cancun, and then cab it for about 50 pesos to the ferry pier- but this was way better. (It is about a half hour drive to the ferry.)

they had handy dandy cup holders in the back.



Ferries!



Waiting in line....more beer...apparently they aren't too sticky about the whole drinking in public thing here?



leaving the ferry port...there was a man and woman singing us across for tips.

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Old 08-12-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah! I'm lovin' this. Leeds and and I stayed at Posada Del Mar quite a few years ago. We love Isla. This year we only made it over for one day. Glad you loved it, Maggie
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Old 08-13-2011   #7 (permalink)
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We love Isla Mujeres and are looking forward to this trip report
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Old 08-13-2011   #8 (permalink)
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..with gorgeous beaches
We recently returned from Cancun but went to Isla 3 times..

I am in love with Playa Norte..
Beautiful..
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Old 08-13-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Finally! I booked my whole weekend to read your TR so keep it coming

We're planning an over night visit to Isla Mujeres on our next Playa vacation, so I'm expecting to get great tips from you.
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Old 08-13-2011   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah! I'm lovin' this. Leeds and and I stayed at Posada Del Mar quite a few years ago. We love Isla. This year we only made it over for one day. Glad you loved it, Maggie
It sure is a nice little island.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roni View Post
We love Isla Mujeres and are looking forward to this trip report
Another one who stayed at the Posada!

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Originally Posted by Savant View Post
We recently returned from Cancun but went to Isla 3 times..

I am in love with Playa Norte..
Beautiful..
Playa Norte is gorgeous. We spent much of our beach time there.

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Originally Posted by isomami View Post

Finally! I booked my whole weekend to read your TR so keep it coming

We're planning an over night visit to Isla Mujeres on our next Playa vacation, so I'm expecting to get great tips from you.
I hope I can help! Do you have your hotel booked yet? The Posada is fairly basic but is in the best location, IMO. Location was the main reason we choose it. It would be perfect for an overnight trip.

More to come shortly.
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Old 08-13-2011   #11 (permalink)
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TRIP REPORT!!! Awesome!!

Jason and I spent a week on Isla around 10 years ago (Na Balam) and have been back for day trips many times since then. But I'm thinking a repeat stay there might be in order and this trip report might just seal the deal. I've had my eye on Villa La Bella...

Keep it coming!
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Old 08-13-2011   #12 (permalink)
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Ahhhhh......the colour of the water!!! I just gazed it at all the way over on the ferry.



The Posada is a very short walk from the ferry pier once you dock in Isla....we retrieved our bags from where they store them at the back of the ferry then walked the 3 or 4 short blocks to the hotel (packing light is a good idea if you are doing this...in the heat with one rolly suitcase and a fairly large beach bag carry-on, I was pooped!). There of course are cabs you can grab for about 35 pesos or a fellow with a tricycle for tips.

Our friends were staying at a hotel that was virtually next door to us, the Privilege Aluxes. It was a lot more $ when we booked our package but when they booked a month ahead it was only around another $100 each...so they pounced on it. The Aluxes is very nice, quite sleek and modern in style, elegant- whereas the Posada is more of a Mexican style hotel.

We were a little concerned about the logistics of meeting up all week, but it turned out great- we still hung out together as a foursome most of the time, but had our separate places to escape to when we wanted some couple time. We would just arrange where and when to meet each previous meet-up. And oddly enough, no one seemed to mind when we would hang out with them at the beach club or pool! At least, they didn't notice...we certainly never asked permission!

Pics of the Posada del Mar....our room was on the ground floor of 'the New Building'....



The room was fine, basic but clean, a fairly comfy king bed. The bathroom and shower was my only complaint- it was too open! There are some things couples don't need to overhear.



The pool area has been recently renovated.




The palapa bar next to the pool was our regular happy hour meet-up place. Here is Don with his book and ever-present lime peanuts! It was VERY quiet at the hotel...usually we had the pool to ourselves. Bonus!



And of course, there is Romy (Romi maybe?)....the BEST little bartender in all of Mexico, IMO....of course, I am biased.



He is a great guy and we really enjoyed hanging out with him....since the four of us were often his only customers, we had a lot of time to chat with him!

There were a lot of doves at the hotel....and a ton of grackles. One of the grackles made a sound like a cordles drill up in the palms...freaked me out the first few times I heard him! Not sure if it was imitating a noise it heard during construction...or that is just a noise they norrmally make? They sure have a large repertoire of sounds.

White doves cooing on the unfinished palapa...oh and did I mention the pigeons?? Everywhere!




The hotel is right across from a lovely beach. This beach faces the mainland and you can easily see Cancun. The hotel apparently has a beach club but we never looked into it, since we would go down to the Privilege beach clubs to join Cindy and Jason to hang there, or to Playa Norte.







view from the restaurant

__________________
until Playa del Carmen!

until our bike trip around Sedona!

until Zihuatanejo!

Last edited by Rissask; 08-13-2011 at 10:21 AM..
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Old 08-13-2011   #13 (permalink)
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We did stay at the Posada on two trips, and it was all the hotel we needed. On our last trip we stayed at Sabrina's Eclipse Apartment. It was wonderful, we had the whole top floor of the building (apartment and outdoor space, and exclusive use of the rooftop from where we could see the Caribbean and bay sides. We like having our own kitchenette (it was not gourmet kitchen, but the hot plate and coffee-maker were fine for cooking breakfast.
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Old 08-13-2011   #14 (permalink)
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TRIP REPORT!!! Awesome!!

Jason and I spent a week on Isla around 10 years ago (Na Balam) and have been back for day trips many times since then. But I'm thinking a repeat stay there might be in order and this trip report might just seal the deal. I've had my eye on Villa La Bella...

Keep it coming!
Where is that, a B&B or villa on the rocky coast/Caribbean coast? It would be cool to stay at one of those. We had breakfast at Casa Louise Ixchel on our golf cart tour and it looked like a nice place to stay.

I think when we go again we will stay at one of the condos on Playa Norte. Either Nautibeach or Ixchel condos. Being right on that beach would be heavenly.
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Old 08-13-2011   #15 (permalink)
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We did stay at the Posada on two trips, and it was all the hotel we needed. On our last trip we stayed at Sabrina's Eclipse Apartment. It was wonderful, we had the whole top floor of the building (apartment and outdoor space, and exclusive use of the rooftop from where we could see the Caribbean and bay sides. We like having our own kitchenette (it was not gourmet kitchen, but the hot plate and coffee-maker were fine for cooking breakfast.
Thanks for that link! That place looks really nice. Was it quiet at night? The Posada was dead quiet, which we loved.

The price on that is sure a lot better than the other two condos I listed. Is there just the one? We are going somewhere in early December and taking my mom and stepdad...I know they would love Isla. (The two other choices are Playa or Zihua.)

But that place is not a 2 bedroom....we would need either two of those or one large 2 or 3 bedroom.
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