Join Date: Aug 2002
Trip Report and Pics - Streckman in Playa, IB Lindo & Co
Streckman Trip Report - March 2nd - 9th
Ok, here we go, a synopsis of our recent trip to Playa from March 2nd - 9th. We stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo with a few stops along the way.
We left Denver at 8:30 a.m on Allegiant air, a charter used by Apple Vacations, and got into Cancun around 12:45 p.m. No problems. We got through customs, baggage, stop and go light, and outside in record time or around 20 minutes!! Met up with our Apple rep, who said our transportation would be along any minute, so we did the whole ‘buy the Corona’ now $3.50 thing and waited patiently. We were one of the first in line of the people from our flight waiting to get there transportation, but the very last to go. Apparently we were the only ones staying at the Lindo, which should not have been a big deal, as most companies drop people off along the way down 307 from North to South, but our transportation never came. We chilled with a few more beers and finally a van was called from the other terminal to pick us up, some money exchanged between our Apple Rep and the van driver , and went to get in the van. The van was packed, and I ended up with one butt cheek on a seat and the other hanging off . Everyone was cool and we went on our way, and it was not really a long drive anyhow to our resort, North of Playa about 20 minutes. Finally arrived at the hotel around 2:00. We have been to the neighboring Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar 3x and knew what to expect upon arrival, but when we got to the reception area we we’re blown away. IB has outdone themselves this time, as the reception area is modeled after a church interior, which you might find kinda weird, but man was it beautiful.
On each sides of the reception area there were seating areas designed as confessionals!! I guess they figured that many people might need this service after a week in Playa!! Anyhow, we got checked in very quickly, got to our rooms, unpacked and threw our suits on and headed down to the beach to do what we came here to do - NOTHING BUT CHILL AND DRINK AND RELAX - We found a few chairs and headed into the wonderful Caribbean for a quick swim and splash session. My wife got back to the chairs before I did and I had laid my sunglasses down on her lounger and she proceeded to somehow lose my sunglasses when she picked up her towel to spread out on the lounger. I couldn’t believe it, we looked around for the next 5 minutes in the sand, under the chair, in the backpack, etc, and the sunglasses just disappeared somehow!! Mayan wizardry at work we figured,and who were we to mess with the Gods, though that word came out of my mouth a few times as we were looking for the sunglasses. Mu wife felt terrible, but I was not going to start the vacation off with an argument about who was to blame!! Luckily I had brought a second pair, but I was taking full responsibility for these. The water the firs day was really choppy with the waves approaching about 5’ or 6’ and breaking every few feet close to shore. It was a red flag day, so we just laid around for about and hour and then headed up to the pool to check it out and then went back to the room to get ready for dinner. Here’s a picture taken on the first day of the waves:
We had to make dinner reservations with our concierge ( the Lindo has a concierge for each building, a big improvement over having to stand in a long line in the lobby at the other resorts) and because we made them so late in the day and arrived on a Tuesday we were limited on seating times. We eventually made dinner reservations for all their restaurants, and ended up eating at the Italian the first night. It was exceptional and we even starred in a promotional video that was being shot for the resort. We were told to toast each other with our wine glasses and look lovingly into each others eyes and then share a laugh. We had to redo the scene because someone walked past us just as were about to toast. Very cool though and dinner as I said was yummy. We headed to the lobby bar, which has it’s own aquarium built in it, and had a few more drinks before heading over to the theater for the show.
Ended up the first night by watching the show and then taking a stroll along the boardwalk that connects the 2 IB Resorts on the beach. This was a nice addition to the hotels and we used it often in the evening.
Woke up and had breakfast at the Palapa between the pool and the beach, and then spent the rest of the day just tanning, swimming, eating and drinking. We did take a walk down the beach to the Maroma hotel, which is about a 25 minute walk to the South and around an uninhabited bay to the Hotel Maroma and Venta Club Maroma as well. The IB is putting in a new resort on the South side of the pool, across from our side, and it will be an all suite resort with a golf course. I mention this because when you walk down the beach you can’t even tell that any construction is going on. We barely heard a word of construction the whole time we were there also!! That night we had dinner at the Steakhouse and I had the best steak I have had in a long time. My wife had the filet and loved it, and we topped the dinner off with Mexican coffee - Tequila and coffee - small cups, but after a few of these your either ready for bed or for the rest of the night to begin. We decided to go back to our room and take a nap - that nap turned into a 12 hour siesta for us!
The IB has 5 or 6 buildings, each with it’s own courtyard, and they are stunning to walk through and look at. We were in building 5, room 5405 and here is the courtyard right outside our room.
I obviously woke up a little early, around 6:15 a.m. and immediately headed out to the beach to catch a glimpse of the sunrise and the beach in all it’s morning glory.
Wow, what a gorgeous sight. I went back to check on my wife, who was still passed out like a log, so I went out to the pool and walked down to the Palapa for morning breakfast. One thing I have to say about living in Denver is that our tolerance for alcohol is much greater at sea level. Not once did we feel the normal effects of a hangover - you all know what I’m talking about, the dry tongue, nauseous, headache, still drunk in the am kind of thing. Every morning we woke up failry early after a hard night out and never missed a beat. That’s another great thing about coming to Playa!! After my breakfast, I took a few shots of the pool and went back and got my honey out of bed so we wouldn’t waste the whole morning.
We headed straight to the beach after Tanya had a little bit to eat . We found some chairs, went in the water for a quick dip and then decided for a walk on the beach. This time we walked to the North. Right next door to the IB Del Mar there is a rundown complex that houses about 6 or so units facing the beach with the remains of a swimming pool and bar on the grounds. It’s called the Carousel Hotel on MapChicks maps, but it has been vacant now for a few years that I know of. Does anyone know anything about this place?? There are no for sale signs or anything on it. It sits in front of a very nice section of beach, though a little rocky, but there is access to great spots all around. Past this hotel there are a few houses and then around the bay you come to the Mayan Palace. I’ve never stayed there, but they have the absolute worst beach I have seen at a resort. There is nothing but rocks lining the beach on the whole south side up until about the middle of the beach facing the resort. We saw one person on the beach in the morning, and it looked to be a decent walk from the pool at the complex to the beach. I’m sure the resort is stunning, but I come for the beach atmosphere as well. After a few hours in the sun and reading it started to get cloudy so we decided that we would head in and get ready to head into Playa. We took the 2:30 Iberobus into Playa, they drop you off at the Aviary and from there it is a short walk into town, as I’m sure most of you know. We headed straight to the shops after our traditional stop at the Hotel Molcas to use the restroom, for which they want 20 pesos - no problem when you have to go, right!! We each bought a few things, myself another ring and my wife more anklets (2).
From here we decided it was time for the Blue Parrot and a few drinks - camped out in front of the BP for an hour or so and just relaxed and talked about our dreams of someday living in Playa. We had tried to contact someone at the Pueblo SacBe, but the answering maching was in Spanish, so I left a message the day before and no one called us back. I was a little disappointed in that, as I would figure that Ted or someone from there must get calls from people in town to come check out the place. This is our second failed attempt while in Playa at trying to get a tour of the place. I know that I can arrange one on the board and probably should have, but I still thought we might get lucky. No one ever did call us back the next 5 days??? Ted??? Anyhow, like I was saying, we had some beers and relaxed and I took a few pics
From here we moved over to the Playa Maya and had a few (3) buckets of beers and nachos . That’s fifteen beers for those in the know! We asked to check out one of the hotel rooms as next time we are going to go the Non AI route when it’s just my wife and I again (we left our 11 year old daughter at home this time, adults trip only - boy was she mad!! Here’s a pic of her last year at IB Del Mar - in much happier times.)
We were able to see one of the top floor rooms overlooking the pool and beach. My wife was impressed so we are probably going to book it here soon for our trip in August. We also are coming back in October with our daughter, but will probably stay at the IB Lindo again, as guest there get the run of the other IB hotels and all the amenities as well. It will be a great playground for our daughter!! After checking out the room we headed back to our table where my wife then got serenaded by this guy and his plastic string guitar. He was very charming to say the least, and played a few songs for which I handed over 100 pesos.
We also took a pic of the web cam, but I won’t bore you with that pic unless someone asks. We had a great time here, our waiter taught us many bad words and phrases in Spanish, we asked, and took this picture as well of the two of us.
After finishing most of the drinks, I looked up and saw this ad for Dos Equis sitting right in front of me. Check this out
Dos Equis beers, chairs, and umbrella. Now if only I could have had that girl from the billboard on 307 in the picture I’d have a heck of an ad on my hands!!
After we drank all the beers and the nachos and listened to the half drunk table of folks next to us. They were hilarious, one had cowboy boots, jeans, and a stetson on, and the others were just plain have a grand old time. I finally asked one of the guys as they were leaving if they were Playa Info board members and he had no clue what I was talking about, as he was a local ‘tour guide’ he said hired to show these folks a good time. This was on Thursday the 4th, so if you were part of that group admit it now!! As this was our “Wild Night, Big Birthday” day/evening out we headed around town looking for Yaxche. Found it and had an a wonderfully romantic time, sat next to the street, got serenaded again, this time by a group of 3 mariachis. We had some funky little drink, can’t remember the name of it, Mayan, or something like that, and waited for our food. Those of you who steered me to Yaxche for dinner in my previous post - THANK YOU, EXCELLENT RECOMMENDATION!!
Again, here’s a picture from the restaurant prett blurry due to the candles/lighting conditions and the fact that I was to drunk to set the camera properly for our waiter.
We eventually headed back to the Aviary for our bus back home. We caught the 8:30 bus, which puts us in Playa for around 5 hours for the day. Great day, had a blast, checked out the Playa Maya - we did ask if Steve was there, but he wasn’t - awesome dinner, wonderful conversation and company. Back at the hotel we decided to head to the lobby bar for a few more drinks and then to the disco for the evening . Left the disco around 1:30 am and had a snack at the restaurant which IB leaves open 24/7 for people just like us.
Believe it or not we had to get up fairly early as I had also reserved a car the previous night through my concierge for today. We woke up about 8, had some breakfast and then got our rental, a lovely Nissan Tsuru, which must be a model outside the US as I have never heard of it. We had decided that we wanted to check out Coba and stop along the cabana hotels on the coast of Tulum today. We headed down 307, stopped at the new grocery store at the turnoff to Coba and bought bug spray - yes we forgot it after buying it last year and never using it- and made our way to the ruins of Coba. When we got to the roundabout we took the road before the turnoff for Coba and went about 10 miles before I finally decided that we had screwed up, so we turned around and headed back. Now Coba was only about a 5 minute drive from this second turnoff, so we were kickin ourselves for having missed it. We got there and there was no one there which was nice, because I figured our little detour might have costs us. We decided not to get a guide and walked the runis, checking out everything and climbing whatever we were allowed. We both found Coba to be a really cool place, with the tree-lined sacbes, and well preserved ruins. When we saw Nohoch Mul
We were in awe. What a magnificent structure!! It came upon us so fast too, as the jungle there is so thick that you literally don’t know that something is directly in front of you unless there is a clearing to see it.
We climbed to the top of Nohoch Mul and I felt as if I had accomplished one of my lifelong dreams. I have always wanted to climb this sucker after doing Chichen Itza years earlier, but we just never got around to going to Coba because we have taken my daughter the last few years and she has had trouble breathing in the humidity of Mexcio for no apparent reason. We have mainly stayed on the coast when she is with us, last year going to Tulum, so this year was the perfect time to hit Coba. The view from the top is unreal, and I would love to know exactly what it is the Mayans did up there. We went into the little room on the top and had a romantic kiss with my wife. It was very windy up there. We stayed for about 15 minutes just checking out the view before heading down and touring the rest of the ruins.
After Coba, we bought a hammock for our deck from a sweet little boy in one of the shops. After bartering him down from 60$ to $38 for it we took possesion of our prized two person hammock and left Coba and headed to the Boca Paila road and the cabanas. We had a late lunch at Cabanas Copal. I had the fajita platter which was very tasty and I have no idea what my wife had. We did each have a few cervezas as we were going through withdrawal at this point in the day without a beer yet!!
After Copal, we drove north along the road to check it out and some of the hotels to see if we would possibly want to stay down in this neck of the woods. We drove south last year and checked it out, and I’d love to do the whole rustic cabana on the beach thing., it’s just I’m trying to convince my wife that this would be a great way to go. She’s open to the idea, but we do admit we love being pampered when we are on vacation. I know a good majority of you are in favor of doing the non AI thing, so we are very seriously considering either Playa Maya or on of the Tulum cabanas next time down like I said earlier.
We had wanted to go to Yal Ku, but it was getting late now, and we had dinner reservations and still had the drive up the coast so we headed back around 4:00 p.m. Dinner that night was the Mexican Buffet theme night and once again the food was outstanding. A few Mexican coffee’s on top of my Tequila and Sprites and we were feeling great. Here’s a pic of our coffee being prepared
Another fun evening, and once again we saw the show and then headed off to the disco. My wife brought along a dress for every evening, I know I know, but she got so many compliments on this one that I just had to post another picture.
After dinner we did some shopping as some merchants brought their goods to sell and they set up shop along the marble walkways. We bought some really cool spray painted scenes that the guy did in right in front of us. If you have never seen them, they are remarkable and hold up well from what the guy at the local Aaron Brothers framing store told me when I took them in to get matted and framed. The walkways around the IB Lindo are beautifully lit at night. They have pools of water surrounding them, so it seems that everywhere you walk your walking on an island. Again, another picture:
We ended the evening watching the nightly show and then doing the club dance Dale Pa’alla and “Hey Baby” This was done every night after the show, and for the most part the people staying here lacked in the audience participation part in doing the dances. The IB Del Mar side is a lot more fun when it comes to people getting involved, but then the theatre was only half full as only half the resort is open. We attempted to try hanging out at the disco that night, but we were beat, afterall I’ll be the BIG 40 ON March 20th!! AAGH!! End of night and off to bed we went. A Great Day All Around!!
Days 5, 6, and 7
After the day at Coba and Tulum we just wanted to hang out at the beach and chill at the pool for the next few days, so that’s why I combined these 3 days. We would wake up fairly early, around 7:30 or 8:00 am for me, and Tanya would wake up later. Sometimes I’d go get breakfast and come back and she’d still be sleeping. Me, I’m getting close to the big 40 here on Saturday (March 20th), so I’m starting that old man trait of getting up early!! Our days were spent between the beach and the pool for most of the day, with lunch being at the palapa next to the pool by the boardwalk leading to the beach
We’d just lay out, read our books, nap, people watch and swim in the sea, as the water the last few days was the calmest I have seen it
I don’t know about other woman, but my wife can just totally get immersed in doing Absolutely Nothing At Times and is content to just lay in her chair and pass the time away reading or people watching<img src=http://img34.photobucket.com/albums/v104/streckman/286ad542.jpg>
The beach bar at the hotel was not open as of our trip, so I did plenty of trips down to the Del Mar beach bar or back to the lunch palapa for drinks. It was probably a blessing that is wasn’t open, because in years past the both of us would have had enough to drink by the time the mid afternoon rolled around which is when we would go head back to the pool. We did however make good use of the pool swim up bar - which is huge - and the waitresses who made the rounds around the pool. I had to run into the grocery store tonight after work to get one of my wife prescriptions and the pharmacy tech asked where I had been, I told her, and she had just returned from the IB Lindo. She said the beach bar is still not open, but I would think it won’t be long, as I couldn’t see what was preventing them from opening it when we were there.
Dinner was great each night, again we tried things that I don’t think we would normally get, but all were delicious and prepared very eye appealing!! The Lindo has a Gourmet Restaurant that has the décor of a a museum with paintings and sculptures all around. Our waiter that night was the same young man that waited on us one day at breakfast. He was young but very, very, good.
I can’t say enough about the people the Iberostar has working for them. We found everyone to be exceptionally attentive and friendly and the service was great where ever you were. Roger at the pool swim up bar is a hoot, and the Star Friends Team works their butts off. Some people like to get on them for the quality of their shows, but we find them entertaining, and isn’t that what it’s all about!! We had lunch a few times with some of the Star Friends, as they are required to sit down and mingle with the guest when they eat lunch or breakfast, and they try exceptionally hard to be courteous, talk your language and find out how you are enjoying your stay. We had lunch one day with Cara, who has been with them since they opened the Lindo, and found out she is from Denver, 18 years old, and got her job there after vacationing at the Del Mar last years and then getting on line and inquiring about a job with the Star Friends. They hired her because of her ability to speak English, which she said is in huge demand obviously, and her background in dance and theatre in high school. The average Star Friend dancer, both male and female, work 6 days a week, 12-16 hours a day, and have to learn approx. 45-50 dance routines for the evening shows, plus they are also the animation team (activities) during the day as well. I just want to say here on this board that we appreciate their efforts, as they often go under appreciated by people who expect Las Vegas entertainment.
The last few nights there was a full moon out, and we would enjoy a walk either along the boardwalk and out to the pier in front of the Del Mar side, or a walk around the pools at the Lindo and Del Mar. The evening air was cool and refreshing and the night sky was magically lit up by the full moon and stars.
Day 8 - Last Day
Had to leave today but still had time to sleep in and take one final stroll along the beach before heading back to the lobby for our ride to the airport. Again, it was a beautiful day with calm surf and we wished for another day, but we have had a blast up until now.
Took the last 2 pictures as a reminder until our next trip which we are planning and saving for now.
Pickup time at hotel was 10:30 and departure at 1:45. No problems getting out of airport and flight home was nice. When we left Denver to come to Playa it had snowed that night, and when we got back the temp. was in the 50’s, which to us is shorts and tee shirt weather. We quickly got through immigration and got our baggage and headed home. We have a tradition of going to Applebee’s for dinner each year we get back, and this year was no different. One last big brew and fajita salad and then it’s back to reality for us.
Summary and thoughts
1. Playa is such a wonderful place, we would love to retire in the Riviera Maya one day
2. We will continue to come back because of the value for our dollar and the beauty of the coast.
3. We can’t wait to give the small hotel thing a try - we’re just worried that we’ll spend more on drinks than if we had stayed AI.
4. Iberostar in the #1 Apple Vacations Resort for a reason - they have warm and charming people working for them who enjoy what they do!!
5. God created a paradise here on earth!!
Thanks for reading, and hopefully we’ll see each other somewhere along the Riviera Maya.
Jim and Tanya
Playa, Maya, either one will do, as long as I'm chillin' on the beach soakin' up rays with a brew!!l
All twenty one inches
Cute trip report. I always like lots of pictures.
….but I really needed all 21 inches of my monitor for many of these.
I am glad to read that the Dos Equis Girl is as popular as ever.
Join Date: Aug 2002
Thanks, I know some of the pics are huge, sorry about that everyone!! I thought I had sized them down, even checked them on photobucket, but when I posted they were still big. Was too tired to go back and fix, plus I was having a few beers as well, and you know how that goes, laziness sets in.
Join Date: Aug 2002
I'd go with the Lindo only because you'll have access to both the Lindo and Del Mar as well as a day pass to the Tucan/Quetzal - Best of all Iberostars!! There is alot less walking at the Lindo, air conditioned restaurants, and all meals are sit down/menu type. The kids can eat the buffet at Del Mar if your comfortable letting go over there, as the menus at the Lindo rest. are not really kid appealing - though the food is awesome.
Nice trip report! Think you will enjoy the non-ai thing. We're planning for Riviera del Sol or Playa Maya next year,food & drink not a problem but your dau. would miss social aspect of ai.I so agree that entertainers/social/activity people are so underpaid & even worse,underappreciated.Thanx for the pics also,having pdc withdrawel!
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Niceville, Florida
I researched the AI's and was a bit put off by the fact that you have to make reservations for dinner and at some of them there was even a dress code, not to mention the crowds on the beach and fighting to get a lounge chair plus I hate crowds so when I found shangri-la on the internet I just fell in love with the place. A pretty lobby with lots of fancy marble and fountains just doesn't impress me. I wanted a vacation were shoes were optional. As far as paying for your drinks, we are just going to get a cooler when we get there and fill it with beer. I'll be there April 2nd. Taking my laptop so I may just do my trip report each day. This hotel is an AI only it's half board meaning breakfast and dinner only and with no fancy lobby or fountains just a beautiful uncrowed beach (or so I'm told) with cabana's right on the beach. can you say "Paradise". BTW Streckman, me and my co-worker got a kick out of your bathing suit, doesn't leave much to the imagination - me likie :O)