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Old 03-11-2012   #1 (permalink)
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El Ocho 2010



Hmm..well since trip reports are starting to get sparse lately, and I need to get the hang of this photo-sharing thing prior to our May 2012 trip...here's a start. I'll spare everyone the details about the airports and transfer. The "Jellyfish" shop is a favorite photo-op. For those not familiar, they're gourds dried and hollowed out, carved and decorated with a light socket installed. We brought one back on our first trip in 2007 which enhances our "gazebo" each summer.

It was early May (as always) 2010, and the weather was perfect for the whole trip. Our group had doubled since our first trip in '07 to eight so we dubbed ourselves "el Ocho". The group consisted of 4 of us on our second trip and four first timers. The 3rd May trip (as you'll notice on the trip counter) is coming up fairly soon. Once again we're a group of 8, with two newbies.

Most importantly, I just received a disc of 300 plus photos from our friends and I want to share the best of them along with some stories and info. Stay tuned while I enhance and embellish throughout the week.

Last edited by Gargi; 03-12-2012 at 12:31 AM.. Reason: update
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Old 03-11-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Starting from the beginning, with our arrival at Hotel La Tortuga we were greeted with a welcome drink while we checked in.

Next - I'll attempt a string of photos with captions, descriptions and stories...

Last edited by Gargi; 03-12-2012 at 12:09 AM.. Reason: photo..
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Old 03-11-2012   #3 (permalink)
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But, before I do that - tomorrow and through the week here's a photo of a "Carguiero" bike. Discovering these provided the inspiration for my summer seasonal business here in Racine, Wisconsin (see my avatar). From watching these in operation in Playa, Tulum and at archaelogical sites like Coba, being used as pedicabs and cargo bikes I discovered a worldwide industry.

Last edited by Gargi; 03-12-2012 at 12:22 AM..
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Old 03-12-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Keep it coming!

We too buy the beautiful gourds and I have 10 hanging under my gazebo (12 x 12)!
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Old 03-13-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Our group...

Here's the cast of characters for this report..starting with myself and my wife Sherry..

Then world explorers Terry and Mary..

Followed by Gary and Carol...(first-timers)

And the ridiculously fun Scotty and Laura...(first-timers)

I believe we fairly well confounded the staff at the hotel and other places with our names...Two Garys, Sherry, Mary, Terry along with Carol and Laura. Carol and Laura didn't rhyme but we let them come along anyway.
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Old 03-13-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Following our not-too-long flight and transfer to the hotel (it's only 3:20 from Chicago - Cancun, and the 45 minute van trip to Playa) everyone cooled off in the pool just prior to happy hour. We had a couple drinks.
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Old 03-13-2012   #7 (permalink)
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We stayed at Hotel La Tortuga for 6 nights (Scotty and Laura for 5). I doubt I can get all these photos in order by date. Does it matter? Nah...next, some photos of the hotel.
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Old 03-13-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Kind of a lame bar for the pre-happy hour, 'ya think?

I have a suspition this is going to be a very funny report!
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Old 03-13-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainee View Post
Kind of a lame bar for the pre-happy hour, 'ya think?

I have a suspition this is going to be a very funny report!
Haha..ya, it was bordering on hilarious by the time we hit the streets (coming up)
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Old 03-13-2012   #10 (permalink)
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Thrilled with our accomodations, everyone took a bunch of photos (naturally). Here's a few from Scotty and Laura's rooftop terrace - looking down towards our swim-up rooms and across the horizon.





Last edited by Gargi; 03-13-2012 at 01:30 PM.. Reason: photo size
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Old 03-13-2012   #11 (permalink)
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It's tough to encompass the pool area in a photo as it meanders all over the place. The water temperature was perfect, and probably being early May, never crowded:
The view from our room's patio looking towards the bar..

And in the early morning looking towards el Bistro restaurant while waiting for everyone to get ready for breakfast..

Next: Quinta Avenida daytime

Note: I've got more pool photos. Having difficulties. I'm glad no one can HEAR me doing this trip report. I'd surely get booted out of here.

Last edited by Gargi; 03-13-2012 at 02:18 PM.. Reason: photo size
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Old 03-13-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gargi View Post
It's tough to encompass the pool area in a photo as it meanders all over the place. The water temperature was perfect, and probably being early May, never crowded:
The view from our room's patio looking towards the bar..

And in the early morning looking towards el Bistro restaurant while waiting for everyone to get ready for breakfast..

Next: Quinta Avenida daytime

Note: I've got more pool photos. Having difficulties. I'm glad no one can HEAR me doing this trip report. I'd surely get booted out of here.

LOVE IT!! I WAS WAITING FOR SOME NEW PICS OR TRIP REPORT!!! CANīT WAIT FOR MORE!!!!
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Old 03-14-2012   #13 (permalink)
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Q5 - "Quinta Avenida

Strolling the "Avenue" is great if you get yourself moving early in the day. By mid-day it's usually getting pretty hot (though some establishments while open air have swamp-coolers/air conditioners blowing on you when you enter). The morning is the least crowded time of day, not surprisingly. Before we ventured out each day we enjoyed complimentary fantastic breakfasts at the "el Bistro" restaurant located at La Tortuga. We like to tell people here who are stuck on the AI program when they travel that "breakfast included" is a better alternative in our opinion. After a leisurely full breakfast, we rarely need to eat much more until our evening meal. Plus, it's a lot of fun deciding what place to check out next. There's a seemingly endless variety of great restaurants to choose from! Here's our EL BISTRO:

Just around the corner from the hotel entrance is a cool little street called "Calle Corazon". It's barely two blocks long approximately, but in my opinion one of the most pleasant areas to wander through. Here you'll find a great assortment of shops, art galleries, a nice bakery, an Irish Pub and more:

Calle Corazon is pretty easy to find off of Quinta Avenida. When you see the Argentinian Steak House - a two level white restaurant with "Parilla Argentina" emblazoned across the canopy, then you've found it:

I should add, they've got a solid wi-fi signal at the Haagen Daz store just adjacent, and they'll be glad to give you the password when you make a purchase. There are lots of places in the immediate vicinity to sit and relax, people watch and catch up on your emails or plan your day.

Last edited by Gargi; 03-14-2012 at 09:07 AM.. Reason: descriptive text
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Old 03-14-2012   #14 (permalink)
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Morning on Quinta Avenida

I'm an early riser. With the exception of the other Gary in our group, the rest don't get going quite as early. I almost always take the opportunity to wander down the avenue this time of day. It's remarkable the amount of work that goes into cleaning the streets each morning. It's also a great time of day to greet the shop owners, ask questions and while they open their shops decide where you might want to return in the evening.

It's very pleasant walking when the sun has yet to be straight overhead.

The architecture, landscaping and overall creativity of the establishments along the way is great entertainment in itself...
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Old 03-14-2012   #15 (permalink)
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The road (or crooked route) to Xa Mam Ha

There will be a bunch of photos forthcoming from our evening escapades on Quinta Avenida and beyond. Stay tuned. In the meantime I want to point out an interesting little spot discovered by Terry and Mary during one of their walkabouts. There's a seemingly little-known archaeological site just south of the ferry dock and a couple blocks inland which borders Playacar. I can't give exact directions, but it's a nice little hike once you get to the south end of Quinta Avenida. We hit the beach just south of the ferry dock and walked about a quarter mile I'd estimate past a few hotels before heading to the street. You have to keep your eyes open for public access without crossing hotel property. There's a park like area not much farther along which features the ruins of Xa Mam Ha.

These are Terry and Mary's photos. Mine look about the same.

So, you can visit ruins without leaving playa (almost).

When we were there, some kids were up in the top - partying Haha..at least it smelled like it. Or, maybe they were practicing an ancient ritual. Who knows.

If you walk the walk - I'd suggest bringing along something to drink. It's possible to wander out of here to a roundabout at the entrance to Playacar. Just follow the jungle path. It's nicely maintained. You might even see ROUS's (rodents of unusual size), and Iguanas! I don't know what the rodents were. Maybe someone in here does? They look like a huge guinea pig.

Last edited by Gargi; 03-14-2012 at 09:55 AM.. Reason: descriptive text
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