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Old 06-11-2016   #16 (permalink)
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Day 4 started with breakfast at Chabela, next to Phantom Divers. Good chilequiles and coffee. After breakfast, I hit Phantom Divers up, but the harbor was closed for wind, so it was a dead day. I pretty much bike wandered and did nothing.

Sunday morning, I checked with Phantom, harbor still closed, so I took the ferry to Cozumel. I rented a convertible bug from Isis, about a 5 minute walk from the ferry. Nice old lady, slow, but she didn't try to cheat me at any point.

I got a mostly functioning convertible bug, drove south and eventually ran into a roadblock on the highway that was set up for a big bike race. I mostly ignored it and drove on the bike path to the right til I could get back on the highway, which was completely empty. Most of the north end was empty as well, due to the bike race. I had most of of the extremely windy tip of the island to myself.






Last edited by horn34; 06-15-2016 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 06-12-2016   #17 (permalink)
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Loving your report, but it's making me hungry! So laid back and chill Have fun!
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Old 06-12-2016   #18 (permalink)
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Loving it.

Think i will buy a bike as well on my next trip. Even if i give it away it will be worth the expense for 5 weeks of use.
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Old 06-15-2016   #19 (permalink)
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I stopped at an empty stretch of the south side beach and attempted to snorkel, which was completely futile due to the high wind/waves. I swam around for a little while, but after getting pulled out pretty far and nearly drowning, I gave up.

Pro tip: don't ever go swimming by yourself on an empty beach with high wind and waves.





I drove the bug back to town, getting some gas first, and returned it to Isis. The guy that came to check it out claimed the gas level was too low and maybe I hadn't put any gas in it, which was BS. I had to do a little yelling and demanded that the guy put the bug on an absolute flat part of the street so the gas gauge would read true, then they gave up trying to get me to pay extra for gas. Not a huge deal, kind of annoying though.

I walked back to the ferry dock and headed back to PDC.

Note: I've seen a few threads/comments about ferries, but I didn't see price difference mentioned and some said they were all the same. Barcos Caribe was usually about $2 less per one way trip than the other two. They also have the earliest ferry to Cozumel (6:45) which allowed me to dive with Aldora (their dive tours leave every morning at 7:30).




Back in Playa, I tried to get a nap at the condo, but a large group of Italian/Spanish 20 somethings had moved in across the courtyard and were drunk as hell on their patio. This continued to be an issue for my entire stay.

So a little tired, I hit up El Oasis on Calle 12. Their old location was one of my favorite stops the last trip. Not so much this time. The place was maybe 1/4 full at 4:30, but it still took a long time for someone to come by and get a drink order after I was seated on the patio. The staff wasn't busy, just lounging around watching football or flirting. As someone who waited tables/bartended all through college, this crap really ticks me off. Anyway, I finally order a margarita and some guacamole. The drink delivery was another 10 minutes and it turned out to be the worst margarita I had on the entire trip. The waiter had disappeared and I was pretty parched, so I drank it rather than waiting for someone to come back. The guac showed up 10 minutes later and was decent. They also dropped off a glass of hot fish soup, which tasted like someone had squeezed dead fish into a glass, added water, cumin and then microwaved it. Not good.

I ordered a few shrimp tacos as apps, which were pretty good and a fish filet a la diabla for an entree. The entree took way too long and I had to grab different waiters to make sure they had actually turned in my order. When it finally came out, it was the shrimp a la diabla, not what I ordered and my waiter wanted to argue about it. I was getting ticked at that point and told him to get a manager, which he decided was unnecessary. I then asked for the check, which actually came out pretty fast, but the waiter monitored me as I used the CC machine and glared when he saw the 10% tip. He basically dropped the receipt on the table and walked off after that.

So I'll pass on EL Oasis in the future, unless I hear a lot of stories about improved service.





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Old 06-15-2016   #20 (permalink)
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The next day I started off with breakfast at Indigo Beach Club, right around the corner from Blue Palms. They have a great little beach patio and a nice buffet to supplement your order of eggs (any style). No food pics, but good chilequiles, fresh breads, fruit, habanero sauce, etc. It was still a bit windy, but the harbor was open and I was supposed to go out with Phantom Divers at 1pm.



So with 4 hours to blow, I went to American Rental Car on Calle 26 to get my car a few days early (this was Monday and I had reserved one for Thursday). American was able to accommodate me and gave me a free upgrade from a hatchback to a sedan, since all the hatchbacks were out.



My main purpose for getting the car early was to locate a replacement set of BT headphones (the brand new ones I had bought on amazon just for this trip had died on Day 2 and would only work with a cord, which I hate). I had already checked most of the stores that I could ride to and wasn't finding anything I liked. So I figured I might have better luck in Cancun. The drive was pretty easy, maybe 45 minutes, but finding Costco was a challenge. Google voice directions in foreign languages are not the greatest.

This is the first Costco I've been to that had a pay lot, but that's pretty standard everywhere in the tourist areas. Also, the store entrance/exit was on opposite sides (from all the ones I've been to in the states). I spent a little too much time there and bought lots of unnecessary crap, but I love Costco. The Tommy Bahama chair and body surfboard I grabbed I thought would get some use, but plans change.

I lucked out and found a nice pair of Pioneer BT headphones that Costco had on sale that month (about $50). These turned out to have great sound, battery life and didn't hurt my ears, even after wearing for a few hours.



I think my best purchases were the BT headset, pre-made Chicken Caesar salads, Costco Tequila (rebranded Mexican silver 100% agave) and a case of zero cal Gatorade flavored water. Here's the liquor aisle (forgive the out of focusness, the Nexus 6 has a perpetual bug where the video app will try to retain focus of the first thing in the shot and never change focus).




Tip: Make sure to bring your parking lot ticket with you when you checkout, as it's the only place to get it validated. I had to go through the line twice, since I didn't realize I needed it with me.





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Old 06-15-2016   #21 (permalink)
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I headed back to PDC and made it to Blue Palms by about 12:30, which gave me time to haul my loot upstairs and find a parking spot. The nearest parking garage is a hike, but the people at Phantom told me the lot across from them was pretty safe to park in and mostly tow-free. They were right, since the rental sat there in the same spot for 3-4 days.

I checked in with Phantom, met/chatted up the rest of the people on the dive and headed out to the boats. These were my two checkout dives, which were supposed to be pretty shallow and calm, full of skills training. Mostly true. We dove at Shangri La and Jardinas.

The first dive was 10 minutes of skills training, then follow the leader (Ramon). The 2nd dive was about the same, but we stopped with the skills after 5 minutes because one of the girls freaked out when she had to pull her mask off and she shot to the surface. That took Ramon about 10 minutes to deal with. When he came back down, it was more follow the leader.

When we surfaced, I talked to the girl who had freaked and she said she just panicked when water shot up her nose and she couldn't see. I know the feeling, since I felt like doing that during pool training. Anyway, it was a letdown, since she was really pretty and fun to talk to, but since she had panicked, she had to sit out the rest of the dives and come back later in the week for more training. She was staying at Xcaret, so I didn't see her again.

No video or pics from these dives, since I think Ramon would frown on people messing with a camera while they're supposed to be in "training". In any case, we didn't see much on either dive, which were both pretty shallow and close to central PDC.

You can see the Phantom Diver boats directly in front of Indigo Beach Club, (most of them you see are theirs).

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Old 06-15-2016   #22 (permalink)
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After the dives and a shower, I headed over to Don Chendo's around 5 for dinner. Absolutely fantastic, can't rave enough. The restaurant was pretty empty and hot at 5, but the food/wine/service can't be beat.

I ordered a bottle of the Barefoot Pinot Grigio, which is now a new favorite. Also ordered the bruschetta and spinach w/carmelized garlic as an app. Both were great. Pizza was half Chendo, half Emilio. Also great, especially after I was introduced to Chimay sauce. I picked up a bottle of Chimay there and doggy bagged most of the pizza (it's very filling).



The bottle of wine helped me fall asleep, but even with earplugs, you could hear the drunks across the way partying all night...and into the morning. They managed to find a couple of girls who have that really loud screeching drunk laugh, and something over there was really funny....all night and all morning. I asked them to keep it down once and was met with "F*** You" in several different languages.

Latido de Mexico really needs to do something about this crap, because I wasn't the only guest there ticked off about the late night/early morning noise and there were multiple groups that pulled this BS for my entire stay.

Thankfully, I spent 7 of my 14 nights on a bus/Merida/Xclalak or I would have had to make a big deal out of the whole thing.

Last edited by horn34; 06-15-2016 at 08:34 PM..
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Old 06-15-2016   #23 (permalink)
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So now it's Tuesday morning (Day 6?...7?) and I had dives scheduled at 9am with Phantom. No breakfast, since diving right after eating makes me burp like crazy and is a pain when trying to breath through a regulator.

There were only 3 other people going out that day and one of them was a divemaster from Phoenix who had a ton of photo gear. Decent guy, but he liked to dish out unsolicited advice he thought I needed, especially about the shortcomings in my training...lol.

This time, we took a long boat ride south to dive in front of Xcaret at Barracudas and Tortugas. The dives were great and it was basically a lot of follow the leader and exploration. Saw many turtles, lobster and barracuda.








After the dives, I had lunch at Brochetas, which was great. Pretty inexpensive and good drinks/beer selection. The margarita was pretty good, as was the local IPA (Pescadores). I had the guac, then mixed BBQ brochetas, which were great. The salsas they serve in plastic squeeze bottles are great too. I'd definitely eat here again, though I do wish their chips were homemade and not out of a bag.



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Old 08-09-2016   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by horn34 View Post
Whichever one is the farthest from the ADO stand. I had to ask 3-4 different airport employees for directions. A couple of them just waved vaguely to the north and a couple didn't know where it was period. I read up before I left, thinking the ADO stop was right outside the terminal to the right, but that wasn't the case for me.

You have to turn right when you get outside and walk all the way up past the terminal entrance to get to the ADO at Terminal 2. It is a bit of a hike.

Thanks for sharing the food pics, we stayed at the Blue Palms a couple trips ago, great location but it needs some updating.

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Old 08-09-2016   #25 (permalink)
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Great report, thanks for taking the time to do this! More please
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