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Old 07-05-2016   #1 (permalink)
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Natz Ti Ha - June 2016

This will be an "after the fact" report, summing up our week in PDC in June, 2016. Sorry, no pictures bc I am not a big picture taker in general, and I don't know how to upload the few I took from my iPhone anyway. Warning and apologies, but there are no crazy antics to report, so this might be a bit boring for some . . .

We got a great deal on a non-stop RT flight out of Nashville, arriving in PDC at 10:00AM. On the front end, this seemed great. In reality, we made a couple of mistakes that resulted in our first day being pretty rough. Getting up at 3:00AM is going to make for a long day no matter what. When we arrived in PDC, we had no issues getting through customs and getting out the door. We waited around about 30 minutes for the ADO, and got into PDC around noon. Our first bad experience with a taxi driver occurred when he quoted us 90 pesos from the ADO station to Nazt Ti Ha. I had a feeling we were getting ripped off, but by that time, we were tired and just wanted to get to the condo. We got checked in, and shortly set off on foot to Mega. Big mistake. We were exhausted, hot, dehydrated, and hungry and it was the middle of the day and pretty blazing hot outside. We stopped by Milos for a quick bite because it was right around the corner from the condo and normally we like Greek. Wasn't real impressed with the food and didn't eat much of it. I am not sure why we felt the need to get the grocery shopping knocked out right away. It's just what we usually do, but normally we are not nearly as tired when we arrive, plus were staying much further north than in the past, which meant a longer walk to Mega and Wal Mart. I think our shopping experience was colored by the exhaustion and borderline heat stroke we were experiencing by the time we arrived at the store. Normally I am pretty resilient when knocking out this part of the trip, but I felt very frazzled this time around. It was hard making even simple decisions like what kind of beer do we want, how many limes should I grab, do I want to grab a bottle of wine, what about snacks for later . . . It seems silly in retrospect, but at the time it was pretty challenging. We ended up hitting Mega and Wal-Mart and paid 150 pesos to get a ride back to the condo. We were so worn down by this time that we ordered a pizza from Don Chendo and decided to stay in and catch up on some DVD's we have been wanting to watch. Found out then that the DVD player didn't work so just called it a night. Pretty disappointing bc I had been looking forward to just vegging out and watching "The Jinx" after a very long and grueling day.
Day 2, we woke to glorious weather. The humidity from the day before seemed to have dissipated some. We are usually pretty leisurely in the mornings, not rushing to get anywhere. We waited around while dealing with getting the broken DVD player worked out, which took a couple of hours bc we were back and forth online with the complex manager who was on vacation. Finally, we headed south and made it down as far as Calle 8 before turning around and hitting up La Fragata for fish tacos. They were pretty good and a couple of cold beers really hit the spot. We decided to spend the afternoon by the pool bc the beach was really crowded. This is when we noticed that the mosquitos at NTH were out in droves. The pump that works the fountain on our end of the condo complex was broken, which meant that standing, stagnant water was present everywhere. It was a breeding ground for the little blood suckers, not to mention it stunk to high heaven. Bring out the DEET!
Heading out for dinner, we were able to experience one of the most lovely parts of staying on the north end. Calle 38 is the prettiest street in Playa, IMHO. It is really magical at night, with all the twinkling lights in the trees, and incense coming from different shops, and live musicians on corners, not to mention the best restaurant options in town. We stopped for a drink at Piola, and I tried the basil martini. LOVED it. My partner had some kind of mixed drink with gin, ginger and rosemary which sounds awful but was actually really refreshing. Walked down 5th and ended up watching the salsa dancers at La Bodeguita Del Medio, sipping on Mojitos and eating a delicious dinner of Pollo De Cubano, with rice, black beans and plantains.
I'll pick up with day 3 a little later. I know that some trip reports are far more colorful and full of wild and crazy debauchery. That's not me, and my main goal is sharing the good and not so good, in hopes that it might be helpful and/or informative when others are planning a trip.
Until later, peace.
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Sonya Thomas lcsw
www.sonyathomaslcsw.com


July 2009 - Playa Maya
June 2011 - El Faro
June 2015 - Xaman Ha
June 2016 - Natz Ti Ha


Last edited by sonya_thomas; 07-05-2016 at 10:47 PM..
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Old 07-05-2016   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your trip, I'm looking forward to the next installment!
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Old 07-05-2016   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya_thomas View Post
We got a great deal on a non-stop RT flight out of Nashville
Do you mind if I ask from which airline you found your tickets to CUN? We usually fly out of ATL, because that's where we get the best deals, but it would be great if we could find flights from Nashville.

Great TR report so far, looking forward to more.
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Old 07-05-2016   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dan-0 View Post
Do you mind if I ask from which airline you found your tickets to CUN? We usually fly out of ATL, because that's where we get the best deals, but it would be great if we could find flights from Nashville.

Great TR report so far, looking forward to more.
I got the deal on American. $330 dollars, if memory serves me. I saw an ad on Tripadvisor for the rate sale. The kicker was you had to fly on certain days, and the dates were in the near vs. far future. It worked out for us because we already had a trip planned to FLA with friends, but one of them ended up in a terrible scooter accident one week prior to our departure date . . . so I got online and looked at options that I could pull together in a week, and the AA fare sealed it for me. Luckily, there were lots of lodging options in PDC on such short notice, I guess because it is low season. FWIW, the airport in Nashville just opened up a long term parking lot with an $8/day rate, which competes with Park N Fly, et al.

Last edited by sonya_thomas; 07-06-2016 at 08:06 AM..
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Old 07-05-2016   #5 (permalink)
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Some reflections on Natz Ti Ha. I have stalked this complex for years, kind of building it up and idealizing it in my mind. There are definitely some wonderful things about the complex, but also some not-so-wonderful things. Each unit is individually owned, and some seem more updated than others. We stayed in F101, which is the closest unit to the exterior gate that we used to head to the the beach. I thought this location closest to the beach would be a big deal, but in the end, it was not. It's a small complex and even the furthest units from the beach are not markedly further than the closest.

I'll start with the pros:
1. Affordable!!!!!!
2. Roomy
3. Clean
4. Well stocked, including beach gear
5. A certain kind of architectural charm that makes me think of a hacienda rather than a slick condo
6. Great water pressure
7. Very comfortable beds
8. Lush grounds . . . and the end of the complex that had functioning fountains was really wonderful. The sound of running water makes for a nice background ambiance.
9. Great AC
10. Mike at Playa Breeze was great to work with and very accommodating. He took care of the couple of concerns we had right away (no cooler in the unit and the broken DVD player). . . at least the ones that were in his power to solve.

Now for the cons, and I want to say that these are temporary (see # 2 below), and/or quite possibly non-issues for some:

1. There was a wall of windows in the living/dining room that opened to our patio, which was "walled in" by the exterior complex wall. This made for a very enclosed. almost trapped feeling. In looking around at some of the other units, their patios, while private, also had more of an "open" feel to them.
2. I mentioned the broken fountain pump in the first post. This was a big deal while we were there, and really took away from what is one of NTH's big draws, which is the lush, tropical outdoor experience. Once the pump is repaired, this should be a non-issue.
3. Although the AC worked great, it is a 5 ton central unit, and there was no way to seal off any of the unused rooms in the condo to conserve electricity. We were encouraged to be frugal with the AC, which I totally get, so I frequently ended up feeling guilty for using so much electricity to cool a 3 BR condo when we only used 1 BR. If we were a bigger group, I probably would have felt less wasteful. That's just a psychological/perspective thing, but I was still bothered by it.
4. Normally I would not give a damn about English language channels on the TV, but it ended up mattering a great deal to me on this trip. Our second day there was the day of the Orlando massacre. I awoke to reading about the tragedy on my phone, and really wanted to hear something other than the propaganda on FOX news, which was the only English language news channel we had. This was somewhat maddening, but again, normally would not be an issue for us, and likely would not be an issue at all for most, probably. Unless you are a news junkie and hooked on watching Anderson Cooper 360 at night . . .
5. This is the biggest "con" for me . . . it is not ocean front. I knew this fact going in, and I assumed that it would be no big deal because it is so close to the beach. However, this ended up being a pretty big bummer. We missed being able to sit on a patio and watch the waves as the sun went down. And we did not like having to pack up so much stuff and haul it to the beach . . . chairs, umbrella, cooler packed with ice and beer, beach bag, towels, etc. It was more of a hassle than we are used to. We also didn't care for packing up beach bags and towels and hailing a cab to take us to a beach club. In all of our other trips, we have had chairs/umbrellas set up as part of the lodging, and a place to order food and drinks if we chose to. So, while NTH is close to the beach relatively speaking, we now know that we prefer to be directly ocean front going forward. Again, for some, it would be no big deal. For us, we felt like it was way more work and effort that we wanted to expend on vacation.

If for some reason we ended up back at NTH, I would choose K101. I was looking at that unit initially, but ended up choosing F101 because the rate was better. If I had it to do over, I would spend the couple of hundred dollars more and get a condo that is BEAUTIFULLY decorated, convenient to the pool and has a fantastic patio. I knew it was vacant so I took the liberty of peaking through the glass doors and it really is stunning inside. Bravo to whoever owns that place.

So, as you can see, the cons are really subjective, and there is lots going for Natz Ti Ha. I did want to share my thoughts/perspecitve, and for those who don't mind a little trek to the beach, then I would imagine it would be a great choice, particularly if you prefer "quaint" over "slick". One other thought I want to share is the difference between staying on the north end vs. central or south PDC. We have stayed in all three locations now, and if I could mash up Xaman Ha condos/beach with Calle 38's charm and variety of eating and drinking establishments, then that would be just about perfection in my book. As it is, the beach is most important for us, so I would choose Xaman Ha for lodging and walk or cab it to the north end for a couple of meals. Central playa beaches were in much better shape than they were in last year, but they are way more narrow, crowded, loud and the water wasn't as pretty as the beaches on the south end. Just wanted to share my personal opinion on that, for those that might find it helpful when making a choice. I am all about gathering information, and again, my goal is to share my experience in a way that I would find helpful or informative . . . in hopes that it might be of use to others.

I'll post soon about some of our other favorite eateries, experiences, etc., along with frustrations and "take aways" from this trip. Until then, adios.

Last edited by sonya_thomas; 07-06-2016 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 07-07-2016   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the detailed review Sonya. We haven't pulled the trigger on NTH yet either, but have walked thru many times. K101 sounds good. I'll keep an eye on that one for sure. Going for our 20th visit to the area in Nov/Dec.

Looking forward to your thoughts on the restaurants.
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Old 07-09-2016   #7 (permalink)
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I stay at Palmar Del Sol at least twice a year. Never do the shopping at Mega or Walmart on our first day. We arrive and have the Condo stocked already with beer, wine, liquor, snacks, etc.. Worth the the money and saving the time. Few provisioning services available online but we always use A bit of Home in Mexico.
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Old 12-07-2016   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya_thomas View Post
Some reflections on Natz Ti Ha. I have stalked this complex for years, kind of building it up and idealizing it in my mind. There are definitely some wonderful things about the complex, but also some not-so-wonderful things. Each unit is individually owned, and some seem more updated than others. We stayed in F101, which is the closest unit to the exterior gate that we used to head to the the beach. I thought this location closest to the beach would be a big deal, but in the end, it was not. It's a small complex and even the furthest units from the beach are not markedly further than the closest.

I'll start with the pros:
1. Affordable!!!!!!
2. Roomy
3. Clean
4. Well stocked, including beach gear
5. A certain kind of architectural charm that makes me think of a hacienda rather than a slick condo
6. Great water pressure
7. Very comfortable beds
8. Lush grounds . . . and the end of the complex that had functioning fountains was really wonderful. The sound of running water makes for a nice background ambiance.
9. Great AC
10. Mike at Playa Breeze was great to work with and very accommodating. He took care of the couple of concerns we had right away (no cooler in the unit and the broken DVD player). . . at least the ones that were in his power to solve.

Now for the cons, and I want to say that these are temporary (see # 2 below), and/or quite possibly non-issues for some:

1. There was a wall of windows in the living/dining room that opened to our patio, which was "walled in" by the exterior complex wall. This made for a very enclosed. almost trapped feeling. In looking around at some of the other units, their patios, while private, also had more of an "open" feel to them.
2. I mentioned the broken fountain pump in the first post. This was a big deal while we were there, and really took away from what is one of NTH's big draws, which is the lush, tropical outdoor experience. Once the pump is repaired, this should be a non-issue.
3. Although the AC worked great, it is a 5 ton central unit, and there was no way to seal off any of the unused rooms in the condo to conserve electricity. We were encouraged to be frugal with the AC, which I totally get, so I frequently ended up feeling guilty for using so much electricity to cool a 3 BR condo when we only used 1 BR. If we were a bigger group, I probably would have felt less wasteful. That's just a psychological/perspective thing, but I was still bothered by it.
4. Normally I would not give a damn about English language channels on the TV, but it ended up mattering a great deal to me on this trip. Our second day there was the day of the Orlando massacre. I awoke to reading about the tragedy on my phone, and really wanted to hear something other than the propaganda on FOX news, which was the only English language news channel we had. This was somewhat maddening, but again, normally would not be an issue for us, and likely would not be an issue at all for most, probably. Unless you are a news junkie and hooked on watching Anderson Cooper 360 at night . . .
5. This is the biggest "con" for me . . . it is not ocean front. I knew this fact going in, and I assumed that it would be no big deal because it is so close to the beach. However, this ended up being a pretty big bummer. We missed being able to sit on a patio and watch the waves as the sun went down. And we did not like having to pack up so much stuff and haul it to the beach . . . chairs, umbrella, cooler packed with ice and beer, beach bag, towels, etc. It was more of a hassle than we are used to. We also didn't care for packing up beach bags and towels and hailing a cab to take us to a beach club. In all of our other trips, we have had chairs/umbrellas set up as part of the lodging, and a place to order food and drinks if we chose to. So, while NTH is close to the beach relatively speaking, we now know that we prefer to be directly ocean front going forward. Again, for some, it would be no big deal. For us, we felt like it was way more work and effort that we wanted to expend on vacation.

If for some reason we ended up back at NTH, I would choose K101. I was looking at that unit initially, but ended up choosing F101 because the rate was better. If I had it to do over, I would spend the couple of hundred dollars more and get a condo that is BEAUTIFULLY decorated, convenient to the pool and has a fantastic patio. I knew it was vacant so I took the liberty of peaking through the glass doors and it really is stunning inside. Bravo to whoever owns that place.

So, as you can see, the cons are really subjective, and there is lots going for Natz Ti Ha. I did want to share my thoughts/perspecitve, and for those who don't mind a little trek to the beach, then I would imagine it would be a great choice, particularly if you prefer "quaint" over "slick". One other thought I want to share is the difference between staying on the north end vs. central or south PDC. We have stayed in all three locations now, and if I could mash up Xaman Ha condos/beach with Calle 38's charm and variety of eating and drinking establishments, then that would be just about perfection in my book. As it is, the beach is most important for us, so I would choose Xaman Ha for lodging and walk or cab it to the north end for a couple of meals. Central playa beaches were in much better shape than they were in last year, but they are way more narrow, crowded, loud and the water wasn't as pretty as the beaches on the south end. Just wanted to share my personal opinion on that, for those that might find it helpful when making a choice. I am all about gathering information, and again, my goal is to share my experience in a way that I would find helpful or informative . . . in hopes that it might be of use to others.

I'll post soon about some of our other favorite eateries, experiences, etc., along with frustrations and "take aways" from this trip. Until then, adios.
I am getting back into research mode for our next trip (June 2017) and we are bringing another couple (newbies), so we are considering a condo this time around. Thank you for such a detailed report on this unit! We really love Playa Palms though, so who knows if we will be able to pull the trigger on somewhere else this time around...
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Old 12-11-2016   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricaBrooke View Post
I am getting back into research mode for our next trip (June 2017) and we are bringing another couple (newbies), so we are considering a condo this time around. Thank you for such a detailed report on this unit! We really love Playa Palms though, so who knows if we will be able to pull the trigger on somewhere else this time around...
Hey Erica,
We, too, are headed back soon - March 22, to be exact. Again, found a great rate on a SW flight, and after looking around other spots in the Caribbean, we keep coming back to Playa. It's an easy flight, pretty affordable, and as long as the seaweed stays away, it is heaven on earth. We are staying at El Faro again. The condos are super nice, the pool is wonderful, and I'm hoping the beach will be in good shape. I'm told by the condo owner that there is a restaurant going into the old Wicky's space. One of the reasons we like that location is the close proximity to so many great restaurants, not to mention the Dirty Martini. An evening stroll up to Calle 38 is doable, so I am sure we will be back in the neighborhood for dinner and drinks on more than one occasion.
Each time we are in PDC, I say I am doing a cenote. I hope I can get my a** to one this time around. Would like to do some snorkeling, too, but don't want to harass the turtles in Akumal. Need to get in research mode on that.

I love the looks of Playa Palms, but don't love that particular stretch of beach. I know, though, that when the heart falls for a place, it is personally meaningful. All that matters is that you enjoy it.
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