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Old 05-26-2014   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 339
50 is the new 20 - 5 Maniacs in Playa

Hubby and I took a 10 day trip to Playa in late April/early May and we had some friends along for a good chunk of the trip, which made things more lively than usual. Instead of posting a ton of photos, I am going to share with you a video compilation created by my friend Matt who was video taping random stuff during our trip. This video is a little long, but it gets more lively at the end. Yes, we are all 50-ish, but we decided that 50 is the new 20!

In order, the video shows...

The rooftop at Natz ti Ha (our condo complex)
Walking along the street
Dinner (and mariachi players) at El Fogon
Tulum ruins followed by Tulum beach
Playa beach (in front of Mahekal)
5th Avenue at night
Fusion bar at night - dancing, band and fire dancers
Crazy dancing in the street near the noisy nightclubs (my friend Andre has the BEST moves!)
Boys & Boys (note the bar owners don't look too thrilled about our dancing)


What we did:

We all stayed at Natz ti Ha condominums which are on the north end of town behind Mahekal Beach Resort. This was our second time at these condos and we just LOVE them. Our friends rented one condo and hubby and I rented another. It worked out great. The pool area is especially nice and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the pool and socializing with other guests - many of whom were condo owners. Very nice people. The entire time we are there I fantasize about living there. Better start playing the lottery.

Other than eating out, we had 2 planned excursions. We took a day trip to the Tulum ruins. After we visited the ruins, we walked to the Tulum beach and plopped ourselves down at one of the first beach clubs we came upon (I forget the name of it, but it was north of El Paraiso). Our other day trip was to Akumal. We swam and saw the sea turtles - boy they were big!!! The ones we saw were probably 4-5 feet long. One of them swam right under me and then came up to the surface to breathe. Sooo cool. A couple of us then walked to Ya-Kul lagoon, which was great. The walk was hot, but not that long (maybe 20-25 minutes) and it was neat to walk past all the pretty houses. Be careful if you snorkel at Ya-Kul. If you go out to a certain area, a current will get you and pull you toward the ocean. We got stuck in a current for a little while and it was a bit scary. It felt like a rip current.

The video is a lot of fun, especially "disco alley" where all the loud nightclubs are. We just found them so obnoxious that we couldn't resist "acting up" in the streets. Every nightclub was open air and each one was blasting different music at volume levels that could make you deaf. Amazingly, the video doesn't really convey how loud it was. But we had so much fun and apparently the onlookers did too.

I know everyone here loves to hear about restaurants. Where we ate:

La Cueva del Chango: We ate breakfast here almost every day and as always, it was outstanding. Fresh-squeezed juice every morning and everything was so rustic and delicious. Everyone loved it. Also, it was steps from our condo, so what more could we ask for? Such a great way to start our days.

Carboncito's: We ate here on our first night. We enjoyed our meal, but it didn't blow our socks off. I think for future visits I will probably scratch this restaurant off my list.

El Muelle: This is a cute seafood restaurant on 5th Avenue. Everyone loved the food and the service was excellent. The seafood is very fresh - most (if not all) of it caught the same day.

Piola: As always, excellent thin-crust, wood-fired pizza. We were very happy! Pizza is a nice change after eating a lot of Mexican food.

Kaxapa Factory: This was our second time here and it was just as good as the first time. Not big on atmosphere, but the food more than makes up for it and the owner is about the cutest and sweetest person you will ever meet. He remembered us from our last visit. Such a nice man.

Fusion: We went here at night and had cocktails and random food/appetizers. Everyone was really happy with the food and the whole experience at night was really cool with the live band and then the fire dancers. The band was really good this time and even played some stuff we could dance to.

Mestizaje sin Fronteras: A new restaurant on 5th Avenue around 40th. Everyone in our group LOVED the food here and the service was outstanding. Presentation was beautiful and dishes were creative. One of my friend's entrees had a sauce that contained grasshoppers. They all tried it, I did not. Apparently they taste like pistachios. Sorry, but no amount of tequila is going to get me to try that nonsense!

Oh La La: One of the dining highlights of the trip. Everyone was thrilled with their food and the service was awesome. I splurged and got the lobster dish and was not sorry! Very nice people run this restaurant and I am so happy they are thriving. This place requires a reservation.

La Famiglia: This was our first time here and we loved it! The food just melted in our mouths. We got pasta dishes. Next time we will try the pizza, which looked amazing.

Camino Ka'kaw: Another dining highlight. The food was so delicious and indescribable - flavor combinations we had never tasted before. Everything contains cacao - whether a savory or sweet dish. Very complex and delicious food. I will never forget this meal. Friendly service.

El Fogon: We had a lot of fun here as the atmosphere is so authentic Mexican. And as soon as we sat down, a Mariachi group began to play and they were really good. The food was awesome and so cheap. Great meal!

Don Chendo: Hubby and I ate here on our last night. The pizza was very good. It didn't rock our world, but we enjoyed it.

Wah-Wah Beach Bar: We had a really good lunch here one day. We would have stayed longer, but a loud-mouthed fellow American who apparently loved the sound of his own voice sat next to us and didn't stop flapping his gums from the time he sat down. And there was a chain smoker on the other side of us.

Mayan Bistro: This is a pretty little restaurant inside the Hotel Aventura Mexicana. We really enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Hubby is still talking about the chicken with mole sauce. We would definitely return here again.

100% Natural: We had breakfast here on our last morning and it was really good! Very nice staff as well.



We were (once again) glad we stayed on the north end. A lot of the beach south of Constituentes smelled really badly (like sewage), with lots of rotting seaweed (which I think is the cause of the sewage smell) and too many boats tied up along the shoreline. I would not be happy having that beach in front of me. The beach where we stayed was just beautiful. Sometimes there wasn't much beach (depending on the tide) but it smelled good and was clear of seaweed and boats. Swimming was great!

BTW, we were so lucky with weather. It was upper 80s and sunny 90% of the time we were there. The other 10% it was overcast. I think it drizzled for 5 minutes once. The ocean was just a tad cooler than body temperature so we could glide in so easily. The sea was calm most days. The pool at our condo was even warmer than the ocean. I was in heaven.

For fun, hubby and I walked all the way down to the beaches in Playacar just to see what the south beaches are like (to see if maybe at some point we might want to try staying down that end) but we decided we like the north beaches better. The beach is wide and pretty on the south end and no smells or anything, but there is something lacking (in our opinion) atmosphere-wise. I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe not enough palm trees, not as intimate feeling or something.

The hawkers really grated on our nerves. By the 10th day, we had about all we could take of them. ESPECIALLY the massage hawkers. Holy cow! We couldn't walk 5 feet in any direction without being solicited for massages! I must have said, "no, gracias" 2 million times in the 10 days we were there. But hey, if this is my biggest problem, life is good, right?


I took the advice of some posters on this site and visited Siete Detalles. What an awesome store for pottery and pewter! My friend and I both found several beautiful things and believe me, if I had more room in my luggage I would have bought more!

Not a big fan of the gigantic shopping mall they plopped on 5th Avenue (at Constituentes). I wrote about this on another post but it just looks so out of scale and out of place. We did stop in there (out of curiosity) just to see what it was like. We visited Sanborn's and the place was dead. There were lots of sales people standing around bored.

I hope 5th Avenue doesn't turn into one big American shopping mall.

I miss Calle Corazon


The pre-trip research into restaurants was so worth it. My friends were amazed by the quality of the food and I really think doing a little research ahead of time makes such a difference. I came armed with a list of about 20 restaurants (the pre-approved list) and then I asked everyone to pick where they wanted to go. They told me to decide.

TripAdvisor is my best friend, as is this site

Well, that's all for now. Hope you enjoy the video and THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to this site. I feel like Playa is my second home and much of that is thanks to you!

Last edited by Sassygirl18; 05-26-2014 at 08:09 PM..
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Old 05-27-2014   #2 (permalink)
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Thank you!!

Thank you so much for your video and reviews!! love it!!!
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Old 05-27-2014   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2006
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Fun video! thanks for posting!
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Old 05-27-2014   #4 (permalink)
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cool, GF and I headed down this weekend...looking at your food list! I want to do the taco carts as well.
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Old 05-27-2014   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for sharing! We seem to have similar tastes in restaurants, so now I really need to hit the few places on your list I haven't made it to yet.
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Old 05-27-2014   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I think the MUST VISIT restaurants from our list are Kaxapa Factory, La Cueva del Chango (breakfast), Mestizaje sin Fronteras, Oh La La and Camino Ka'Kaw.

I would also add La Fragata to this list. They were closed for renovations this trip and I was really disappointed. They have thee best fish tacos!!!
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Old 05-27-2014   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Were there some of my fellow Bemidjians there while you were? (At Natz ti Ha?)
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Old 05-28-2014   #8 (permalink)
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I am not sure. What is a "Bemidjian"?
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Old 05-28-2014   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I was so excited to see you posted a TR! I love your reports! This one was so funny and cute. Looks like a great time was had by all! A Bemidjian is someone who lives in Bemidji, MN.
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Old 06-28-2014   #10 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: santa ynez
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Great info and video!! Are you the girl in blue and white dress? You look sooo familiar. Is it from the forum ? Where do you live ?
I live in the Santa ynez valley ca.
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Old 06-28-2014   #11 (permalink)
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I have to watch this again, and again, and again!!! Love it!
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Old 06-30-2014   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Yes, that's me in the blue and white dress, but I live on the other coast so you probably don't know me. You may think I look familiar because I look like Helen Hunt (I get told that all the time)
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Old 06-30-2014   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sassygirl18 View Post
Yes, that's me in the blue and white dress, but I live on the other coast so you probably don't know me. You may think I look familiar because I look like Helen Hunt (I get told that all the time)
you DO look like Helen Hunt!!! Wow!!
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Old 12-21-2016   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your trip report with us. Love your video and of course, the food and beach pictures.....BTW, you do look like Helen Hunt!
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Old 02-28-2017   #15 (permalink)
way into it
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I enjoyed your report!! And the video Can't wait to get back...
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