Playa del Carmen, Mexico's virtual guidebook written by locals
 

Go Back   www.Playa.info > Trip Reports > Trip Reports: Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-21-2016   #1 (permalink)
beachaholic
 
Goodtobehere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 376
Playa and Around Feb 2014

A little bit of back ground: We are a 50ish couple…..my husband grew up on the West Coast of Canada and I grew up on the East Coast. He had been to Mexico a few times and to Playa once in the early 90’s. My first glimpse of Mexico was in 2004 and I absolutely fell in love. We are budget travelers and found that the better we were at budgeting, the longer we get to stay which has always worked well for us although I still only get three week’s vacation which is just never enough. We would always do lots of research before our trip but we rarely booked a hotel in advance. We would arrive at the Cancun airport, take the bus to Playa and head right to the beach to have a cold beer with our feet in the sand. Our next step was always to find a hotel. Over the years, we have stayed at more than a few hotels in Playa if only for a night or two. We have travelled all around the Yucatan and have enjoyed time in Puerto Adventuras, Paamul, Akumal, Chemuyil, Isla Mujures, Cozumel, Tulum, Chetumal, Vallodolid, Merida Progreso, Chelem, Tiziman and Rio Largartos to name a few. We have stayed overnight in a lot of these places. One year out of the fourteen nights we were in Mexico, we spent eleven nights at a different place. It was an especially rainy year and we kept trying to find a place where it wasn’t raining. We went from Playa to Tulum to Chetemal to Belize to Merida and finally to Progreso where we found sunshine…..but that’s a whole other story.

About a week into our first first trip to Playa back in 2004, we stumbled upon Mom’s Hotel. We loved the location. The fruit markets with the freshly squeezed juices, the tortilla place, the fish market, the ice cream place, Mega, Walmart, Mannes……all within a short walking distance. The owner and people who run the Hotel are very obliging and helpful. We also found it to be a very safe place. We have met many wonderful people at Mom’s……the infamous Rob we met years ago as well as Murray, and also Brenda (Mexiv) to name a few. Mom’s Hotel now seems to be filled with repeat visitors and visitors who stay long term and so rooms have to be booked ahead if you want to stay there.

We left Halifax early on the morning of Feb. 5th…..we had a storm expected to hit around noon so we were very fearful and stressed. It was the first time we had a stop over in Philadelphia which added to our worries however, it all went off without a hitch. We found out that New York which is our usual stop, was shut down due to bad weather. Luck was on our side for a change! We arrived in Cancun early afternoon and after a short wait, boarded the bus to Playa. After a very pleasant bus ride, we grabbed our packs and headed to the beach to have our first cold beer with our feet in the sand. Then we made our way up Calle 4th to 30th to Mom’s Hotel. Friends were waiting on the roof top for us with a six pack of Sol in our fridge. It feels so wonderful to be back. The rest of the evening is more of a blur although I do remember our first meal at El Fogon’s.
Goodtobehere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016   #2 (permalink)
beachaholic
 
Goodtobehere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 376
As I am an early riser, I found myself sitting on the rooftop around 6 am having a coffee and watching Playa come alive. I never tire of that sight! Watching people making their way to work……watching the traffic speed by and always wondering why there aren’t more accidents at that very busy intersection. Slowly people emerge from their rooms with coffee in hand. What a perfect way to start each day!

My husband had spotted a place on Google Earth that we wanted to check out. So around 9 am we made our way over to Calle 2 and caught a collective to Puerto Adventuras. I like how the collectivos now have a list of places and prices posted. We got off across from Puerto Adventuras and crossed the highway and started walking towards the beach at first. Just before the buildings, we veered to the right and walked through the parking lot and continued down that road. There were trucks and heavy equipment working on extending the road as we passed. We walked for what seemed like a very long time but we were finally rewarded with a beautiful open cenote with lots of fish and a small Mayan ruin….very picturesque. We had brought drinks and a lunch so enjoyed a wonderful morning and early afternoon here. At one point, a catamaran came into the cove and let a handful of people off to shorkel. They didn’t stay long. I’m sure each year more and more people will find this beautiful and remote spot.

We spent the next week exploring and revisiting places we enjoyed other years. We love walking around and seeing what is new. I am a swimmer so I need to have at least one swim every day if possible. We love stopping at the Palapa Bar (our name for this place) close to the Cozumel Ferry, for a cold beer and some great people watching. One morning we went to Akumal and I was very surprised at how busy it was compared to the last time we had been there. There were aways many people on the beach but I found the water was full of many groups of snorkers going out to the reef - too busy for me. We left and headed to Soliman Bay, a place that had been on our bucket list for some time. The beach was beautiful although the water had a lot of sea grass. We walked to the end of the beach area to Chamico where we ate a delicious meal of whole fried fish and drank ice cold Sol and Dos Equis……perfect! There were only a handful of people there and we spent a lazy afternoon just peering out between the palm trees out over the beautiful water. Eventually, we made our way back out to the highway. We had always wanted to eat at Oscar and Lalo’s when it was just a small place on the water. We were surprised to find a big, beautiful restaurant right on the highway. We weren’t hungry but we did go in for a cold beer and to check it out. It was lovely inside!
Goodtobehere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016   #3 (permalink)
beachaholic
 
Goodtobehere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 376
Another place on our bucket list was Puerto Morelos – especially after reading Beth and Scott’s trip report. We had the very good fortune of meeting them in 2009 on Isla. They are an awesome couple! One morning we headed out and caught a collective once again over on Calle 2 which dropped us off at Puerto Morelos. I think most people take a cab into the town however, we opted to take a bus and only waited a short time before the bus came along. We walked down to the pier and watched boats come in with their catches. We explored the beach. It was a cloudy day and just as we sat down for our first cold beer, it started to spit. As the rain became heavier, we left and walked to the Mayan Market. I thought it was a lovely market and had a good look around. I love all of their handcrafts and handiwork! We would leave and when the rain became more than a mist, we would stop for a beer. We stopped at a funky little place that I didn’t catch the name of however the beer was served in clay mugs and it was fairly expensive if I remember correctly. We wondered around and explored all morning and then caught a cab to El Cielo Marina. We walked around and looked at the boats…there were even two sailboats from Canada!

I have always heard so much about the blown glass store so one morning we caught a bus right in front of Mom’s and got off after a short time close to the highway. We made our way across to the store..…we weren’t disappointed as it was awesome! We were able to bring home four beautiful glasses and hopefully each year will be able to bring four more. We’re limited with our backpacks as to how much we can take home but that just means we have to return to get a few more!

My favourite beach day has to be Sunday as Mexician families congregate at the beach. I love watching the young and the old enjoying the sunshine and water! We tend to leave the busy beach of Playa and jump on a bus on 30th and go way down through the colosio to around 130 before getting off and start walking towards the water. We call it the “local beach” but we find each year it moves further and further away with the opening of new hotels and resorts.

We always try to go somewhere where we have never been and this year decided to go to Rio Largartos to see the flamingos. We took an ADO bus to Valladolid which took approximately 2 ½ hours. When we arrived in Valladolid, it was almost mid-day and really hot! Upon our arrival, we purchased a ticket to Tizimin and ended up on a Mayan Riviera bus … the air conditioning wasn’t working the greatest so it was a warm ride. We had a bit of a wait but once we left Valladolid, it took about an hour. Loved looking out the window at all the scenery! We arrived in Tizimin and found it’s a busseling little town with narrow streets. We walked a couple of blocks and found a collective bound for Rio Largartos – perfect! We waited for the van to fill and then set out. Pretty much another hour of travelling. There was no air conditioning at all and it was smeltering inside the full van. At one point, the driver called out to us to come up to the front and he pointed out a cenote. He had driven out of his way to show this to us…..how thoughtful!

Our first glimpse of Rio Largartos reminded us of Belize. Lots of little wooden houses painted brightly. We slowly drove through the town winding our way in and about until it came to a stop across from the malecon. A nice breeze was blowing and it felt great! We spotted a little hotel beside the lighthouse with a room on the second floor with a beautiful wooden balcony overlooking the water. No English was spoken but she showed us a room and for 500 pesos, we booked two nights. We do not spend a lot of time in our room and our only requirements are to be clean with air conditioning. We actually didn’t need the a/c here as it got quite breezy being right across from the water. We immediately set off in search of a cold beer after dumping our packs. We found the people really friendly and the sea food amazing! We find travel day is tiring so had an early night. The sun set right beside us and it was absolutely spectacular!

The next morning we were up early and after breakfast, we took a boat tour of the Biosphere and spent two hours looking at cranes, herons and crocodiles to name a few….it was awesome! It was the highlight of our trip. We ended up at the salt factory and there were flamingos but not hoards of them as I had hoped. Still, all in all, very beautiful and well worthwhile in our opinion. We didn’t do the full tour where you enjoy the mud slides, etc. but we did get to feel the clay and walk around where the salt factory was. We had a perfect morning! Our lunch was delicious and we enjoyed walking all around this quaint little town. We didn’t see a lot of tourists so perhaps it’s not yet a tourist destination but there were a few. Love the cold beer stores now which seem to be everywhere. We bought a cold beer and took it down to one of the piers to sit and enjoy. We saw a lady sitting on the curb selling her fruit. As we are leaving tomorrow, there was no need to buy a bunch of fruit but I couldn’t turn down a grapefruit for two pesos and it was sweet and delicious! Spent much of the afternoon exploring and eating the fresh sea food making sure we were back on our balcony in time for sunset.

The next morning, we got up early and were told that the collective would come back to the spot where it left us off at 8 am so were sitting at a table waiting when it arrived. We arrived back in Tizimin still early in the morning. We noticed a market very close to the bus depot. We cannot resist a market……we walked through. There were people selling everything you could imagine and was a lot bigger than it looked from the street. There was a man sitting on a chair with dead turkeys at his feet…..had not seen this sight before! We decided that we would buy a ticket to Cancun and had to wait a few hours. We walked around Tizimin and found a central square. It was still early and we enjoyed sitting and people watching. Our bus, once again, was a Mayan Riviera bus with no air conditioning. We really enjoy seeing the countryside and places that we wouldn’t normally see on an ADO however, it took a very long time to get to Cancum. Sometimes our bus turned into a school bus picking up the kids after school and dropping them off a few miles down the road further. It was late afternoon when we finally arrived in Cancun.

Our last two nights were booked at a hotel close to the airport only due to the fact that we had points and both nights were free so thought we would take advantage of it. We did like the idea of being close to the airport as our departure was early in the morning and they provided a free shuttle. We dumped our packs off in our room and headed back out to the highway to catch a collectivo getting off at Puerto Morelos. We made our way into town and after walking around a bit, we settled at Dona Trinity’s for a bite to eat. I remembered Beth and Scott mentioned this place in their report. It was still a bit early so the place was empty but since had travelled all day, we were starving. It was great chatting with the owner and we enjoyed our meal. Trying to catch a collective back to our hotel though was a bit frustrating. It seemed to take forever. They were filled with workers getting off work and going home. Finally, a bus stopped and we got on. We had noticed a bus stop across from our hotel but crossing the busy highway in the dark proved to be a real challenge not to mention trying! All I can say is that I’m glad our hotel was free as it is so not our style! We had another early night due to all of our travelling.

On our last day, we headed out early bound for Playa one last time. We went to the beach down by the Cozumel ferry and stopped at our little Palapa Bar one last time. We needed to do a wee bit of shopping so stopped at the Playa Mart to grab a few things and then made our way up 4th to Mom’s Hotel to have one last visit and drink with Brenda and Joe. Sitting on the roof top reminiscing I realized things that we just didn’t get a chance to do. Seems like we always run out of time. We hadn’t made it to Isla for a day this time. We love Isla and over the years have met people who winter on Isla and always enjoy catching up with them. Two weeks goes by much too quickly. I’m already starting to plan next February.
Goodtobehere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016   #4 (permalink)
beachaholic
 
PuertoDISE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
Posts: 270
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip...thanks so much for sharing!
PuertoDISE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2016   #5 (permalink)
life=playa
 
beachmidwife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Posts: 829
This is wonderful! I like how you travel! Thank you for sharing!

Can you tell me how you got to Soliman Bay from Akumal?
beachmidwife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2016   #6 (permalink)
añejo
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,500
Enjoyed your report! And I relived some of it reading it! Loved the long walk looking for and finding that centos in PA. And you left out the evening Gary made us that great sushi! Yum! Can't wait to see you guys!
mexisv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2016   #7 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 6
Soliman Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmidwife View Post
This is wonderful! I like how you travel! Thank you for sharing!

Can you tell me how you got to Soliman Bay from Akumal?
We took a collectivo from Akumal and got off on the highway at a restaurant called Oscar and Lalo’s. A big sign, can't miss it. We crossed the highway from the Restaurant and just started walking down a sand road towards the water. At the end we turned right on a road that runs behind the beach front houses and walked till we found a place to access the beach, then followed the beach around the bay.

[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by Goodtobehere2; 01-25-2016 at 10:20 AM.. Reason: update
Goodtobehere2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2016   #8 (permalink)
way into it
 
Matt_Toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 100
If you click on "share to other services" in Photobucket, then click on the IMG link box, the proper link to your image will be inserted into your Windows clipboard (I'm assuming Windows). Then if you paste the contents of the clipboard into your Playa.Info post your (nice) photos will appear (or at least that's my way of doing it):





Matt_Toronto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #9 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 6
Thanks Matt, been forever since I used photobucket
Goodtobehere2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #10 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 6
[IMG][/IMG]

Breakfast from the street vendors
Goodtobehere2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #11 (permalink)
life=playa
 
annrawa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 744
tr

Very nice report, thanks for sharing. You sure hit all the good sports!
annrawa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #12 (permalink)
I Wander
 
GaryD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 1,076
Sounds like a great Trip. I was at Tizimin for two days this trip and it truly is a hidden gem. Thanks for posting.
GaryD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #13 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 6
Cenote near Puerto Adventuras



[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
Goodtobehere2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #14 (permalink)
way into it
 
EricaBrooke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 242
Okay this cenote is beautiful, BUT what is that in the third picture?!
EricaBrooke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2016   #15 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 6
That is a shot across the pool where the cenote waters enter the bay before meeting with the Caribbean sea, The ominous looking object in the middle is just a rock. Its a spot where i found large fish while snorkeling
Goodtobehere2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:04 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.