A beautiful new day dawns on the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo, and with it one of those breakfasts that set us up for the whole day ...
Yesterday we met part of the complex that shelters us, but, although we are too insistent ... !! this is immense !!
Losses within our own complex
We will take advantage of the first hours to learn a little more about the area furthest from our villas Although, before taking the little train to the lobby of the Riviera, the first thing that surprises us is to see that where yesterday there was a show, a casino and many stands, today is a haven of peace in the Colonial area.COMPLETE ARTICLE of the accommodation HERE.
It is also in the main part of this hall where there is a small lake where celebrities live flamingos. They are not too many, and it is not something that surprises too much after living experiences like Lake Nakuru, but it is always curious to see these animals.
!! The little train arrives! In less than 5 minutes we are at our destination in order to go to a small jetty. If something surprised us yesterday, it was to see that there were boats inside the complex !! that transported people from side to side. Today we are going to take one of them.
It seems that these boats that are in a kind of lake in front of the lobby of the Riviera serve to move people to the other side of this area, as well as to access a private reception that have the best suites ...!The Yucatan Suites !!, where you can get to pay up to 600 or 800 € / night
While we wait for our turn, we see that we will have more partners. The fauna of this place can be infinite ...
The walk at this time of the morning is really pleasant and, although we are delighted with our Mayan Suites, we can not help but enjoy those completely private terraced villas on the lake that will serve as an absolute disconnection for its guests
!! Hey Silvi !! What is it about getting comfortable? That the ride is short ... !! How well we live huh!
We continue with the same feeling yesterday, as if there was no agglomeration anywhere in the hotel despite being full high season and having an estimate of more than 10,000 people, many of them Spanish.
After surprisingly seeing a barracuda in this small accumulation of water, We landed at the height of the villas 60, which are the closest to our next goal.
We are in the salt water pool of the Grand Palladium or also called "Las Rocas", where some night there is also a party (like the White Party).
The most curious thing about this "pool" is that thanks to some small openings that connect directly with the sea, in addition to the salinity of the water ...! Is full of small fish! (the vast majority under the little doors)
The sunbeds part is full of umbrellas in a stepped way except in the upper part that there are much more modern and luxurious, with mattress and curtains, to have a little privacy
In the upper central part is the bar "Las Rocas" ... where you can have some great boom boom tequilas !! hahaha ... or any type of cocktail bar. You can also take or change towels there.
We are in a great place to spend much of the morning ... except for a small problem. !! the biting mosquitoes !! We haven't talked about yet.
Did anyone doubt that being in the middle of nature, in full mangrove with stagnant waters, would not be a mosquito center? The first day we did not notice them, and the rooms as well as the common rooms with air conditioning do not find out, but the walking areas between villas, paths, walkways over the mangrove and in this pool, both early in the morning and before at dusk, they don't bite ... !! they devour !!
That is why, although we have a good time enjoying an intimate and pleasant place of this huge surface, we will not last long…
... and not before noon we are already for those main pools that we like so much, and more pina colada for everyone
Keep doing a great time. The truth is that they say that We are very lucky, because we are in the middle of the beginning of tropical storms and hurricanes, and although September and October are the worst, one could arrive at any time.
While some of us sunbathe, or finish that trilogy of the "Library of the Dead" that has accompanied us to three different paradises ... others go to their daily activities ...
... What do you play today? Sauce? ¿Zumba? Meringue?
The wet bar or wet bar (or whatever it is called) remains the star section. There is no day that we do not spend some time trying new cocktails or making a little "goose"
Definitely, The star cocktail so far is Pina Colada. It may seem silly, we have all tried a pina colada sometime in life but ...! Here they prepare delicious! We have not tested the same anywhere in the world.
The food is done again in the Buffet next to the pool "El Gran Azul", which being almost outdoors, is the one we liked the most. For dessert we don't usually miss our usual ice cream balls in the same bar and we have even become fond of the "espresso" coffee they give. Of course, what is spectacular is the natural tomato gazpacho They put on this site. We have not tried such a thing anywhere. We already sensed that the fruit and vegetables would be delicious, but we never thought of a gazpacho…! PUT ME ANOTHER !!
A little more little pool, sole, koaties ...
Today's afternoon however will be different. Today we have decided that we will go down to Playa del Carmen to see a little atmosphere, to change money and to evaluate possible excursions to do
COCKTAILS:Tequila, boom boom tequila, pina colada, cosmopolitan,…
RESTAURANTS:Tikal, The Great Blue, Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean theme)
CLIMATOLOGY: Sun all day. 34 ° C
Are we going to change? Little train back ... that one! !! lost again !! ainsss… the one in the rooms !!
The little train that communicates the lobbies is usually quite regular, even at night they put two ... maybe somewhat uncoordinated, however the one that distributes people through the villas is scarce and too small. Everything could not be perfect.
Playa del Carmen, planning our excursions
We have been today with three days of sun, pool, beach and relax. We have finally managed to disconnect from that daily "stress" that we brought from Spain. We have decided that eIt's time to see what possibilities we have to do here, and for this, reaching any point on the coast is not difficult since going outside the hotel just in front of the lobby of the Colonial, they pass PUBLIC VANS in both directions that for 35 MXN per person take you to Tulum in the south (about 30km) or in Xelha, Xcell, Akumal or any other point, and Playa del Carmen to the north (another 30km) or Xcaret or Xplora or the many dolphinariums that surround us.
The Van just leaves us a few blocks from the main avenue, after about 20-25 minutes of travel and some makeshift stop to leave a passenger.
We are on the call 5th Avenue or 5th Avenue, a fundamentally commercial street full of souvenir shops (expensive), restaurants, bars, travel agencies and exchange houses (where we exchange money at MXN 16.38 per EUR compared to MXN 14.50 per EUR at the airport)
Going to the north of the avenue we find the most "pijas" streets of it. Luxury brands, large shopping centers and, of course, friend Amancio and his "Inditex" installed here.
From Playa del Carmen there is little to say that we have not counted these days. It has nothing to do with the Playa del Carmen on DAY 4 of the trip to Riviera Maya of 1996That we knew. What were some small businesses has become a compendium of streets and streets used to the limit, of people who call you to attract you to their stores (although we are confused with Italians almost always, will it be for Javi? Hehe).
At the end, next to the intersection with 10th Street, you will find the famous disco-show Cocobongo, the one that they say presents the greatest show seen and that we surely won't get lost in the next few days.
It is at this time that we reflect on what we want to do in the next few days. The options are almost endless in a place like this and the decisions are not too easy to make
COAST BEACHES:Akumal (good snorkell, beach and turtles), Xcacel (they say the best), Playacar and others ...
TULUM AND SURROUNDINGS:Small ruins attached to the coast in whose surroundings is the famous Paradise beach
COBA AND SURROUNDINGS:Great site of Mayan archeological ruins, with the highest pyramid in Mexico, whose surroundings are in Grand Cenote and other attractions
CHICHEN ITZÁ AND SURROUNDINGS:The great visit One of the 7 wonders of the world, completed with the great cenote of It-kil, Valladolid, the ruins of Ek-Balam or many other options.
MORE ARCHAEOLOGICAL RUINS: Uxmal, although 4 hours away, Muyil, ...
WATER OR THEME PARKS:Xel-ha (natural), Xcaret, Xplora and some more have become major attractions of the parallel road to the Caribbean coast.
CENOTES:In addition to those already mentioned (Grand Cenote or It-Kil), around our accommodation are the beautiful Cenote de Dos Ojos and several small ones
NATURE:The biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an, Río Lagarto or Bacalar, for example
BY BOAT:The experience of the Shark-Whale, Isla Mujeres or Cozumel
NIGHT PARRAND:Without a doubt, enjoy the CocoBongo nightclub
That is why we had several local agencies from Spain where you can inform us a little. Exotik Mayan Tours, with whom Travelplan got a lot the other day (it must be that they take away many customers, haha) but he has no office around here, Odissey, whose office is nothing more than a counter and stairs that go up and Blue Cenote, the one that convinced us the most, where the friendly Xochitl serves us.
We spent almost 30 minutes with her. Xotchil, Aztec name, is a young Mexican girl which looks very cheerful, easy-going, that reviews one by one each of the sites we ask. It is seen that he lives his business with Reina. He also admits that his star excursions are those of Chichen Itza or Coba, where they prepare everything, unlike the competition, and that what they all outsource (including them) are those that take you to Isla Mujeres or to look for the Shark- Whale.
This is a good time to meditate ... some beers? (MXN 50 per couple)
POST-DAY UPDATE4:After having enjoyed the services of Cenote Azul, of going free in Public Vans, of the entertainers of the hotel and of a taxi for us, we tell you our FREE opinion of the pros and cons that each travel option has.
- WHOLESALER: Travelplan (in our case) or the Pullmantur, Jolidey, ... organize a "must" talk on the first day (to know your pick-up time on the way back) in which they give you advice for your stay and "plug" the package of excursions that offer you. The PRO to do them with them is unique, MINIMUM COMPLICATION, hire and ready. The CONS, in our opinion they are all ... more expensive, macrobus full of people that makes them less authentic, multiple pick-up and drop-off stops at hotels, peak times, route inflexibility and money stays away from town .
- LOCAL AGENCY: For those who like to have everything organized, there is an option to use one of the local agencies of Playa del Carmen or online. As PRO you find cheaper prices, carefreeness in the organization of the route and professionalism. As VS that, although they are usually small vans and not the previous macrobus, several pick-up and drop-off stops in the accommodations are not taken away by anyone, the schedules and the route are still very rigid and you will continue arriving at a Chichen Itza at 11 the morning with the rest of the tours and, sometimes, that many of the services offered are outsourced. We have serious doubts about where the money is.
- CAB: In our opinion, one of the best ways to travel if you are 3 or more people (even 2, making numbers). As PRO it presents economic prices, absolute flexibility of route and places to visit and of time that you want to stay in the places as well as the schedule you put it (do you want to get up early and see Chichen Itza according to open?) As well as not having any stop in others Hotels. The money stays in the town since you pay the tickets, the meals at the local site of your choice and the taxi driver who takes it to your family. As VS that requires attention from you to decide the route (or let you advise) and that before a possible accident, the solution is not backed by an agency behind (sometimes you have to wait sitting down to solve it) but the ability from your taxi driver to solve it.
- RENTAL CAR: Another of the fears that put people traveling in Riviera Maya. Driving in Riviera Maya is very easy! Do not tell you lies agents in Spain who have not even traveled to the place, since here we have multiple options with really simple procedures to perform. As PRO you have the economy if you are more than 2 people, flexibility and absolute improvisation of route, schedules and without collection and greater mix with the local population. Since AGAINST that not everyone understands that to go to Xelha, Tulum or Xcaret, why are you going to rent a car? To have it all day standing in the parking lot? !! Use it to go to the most complex places! Also the little optimization of the driving time, since it is not the same that they take you, that you get lost until you find the ruins or, even, on the road. Although this is also part of the fun.
- PUBLIC VANS: The frequencies and intervals that have this medium between Playa del Carmen and Tulum make it a great option for all those attractions that this road picks up. As a fundamental PRO, without a doubt, its economy and its operating hours from 8am to 2am. As against having to leave the hotel to catch them, a certain discomfort if they are full and not knowing a very exact schedule of when you will arrive at the site.
- PUBLIC BUSES: PROS and CONS do not vary much from PUBLIC VANS if you know their routes, except here you know their defined schedules. The problem is that they go from station to station and with more or less fixed routes, which makes them a great option to travel the country economically, but not the best for a specific area. For example, going to Coba requires taking a public VAN to Tulum, there approaching the station and taking the following schedule to Coba, making the return in reverse. A lot of wasted time for a simple visit?
We continue our walk on 5th Avenue. We must recognize that the ambience that it has never detracts from other famous known streets of the world, although it is still a commercial street without more charm than that.
How could it be otherwise, and already falling night, could not miss the spectacle of Papantla Flyers, a rite that was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2009 and that, although originally from Veracruz, has incorporated western and modern elements and has moved through many fucking in Mexico.
The truth is that it is really reckless as they start dancing like a "ferris wheel" around a central post after climbing in an orderly manner and performing their corresponding rituals. While "flying", another "earthly" companion passes the "cap" because they live from the tip of the visitors.
It's getting late, so let's go back to dinner at the Grand Palladium. already with the last decisions made:
We firmly believe that the best option to travel places like Chichen Itza-Itkal-Ek Balam, Coba-Grand Cenote or other remote excursions, always from the point of view of our way of traveling, is use a TAXI, with the flexibility, economy and integration with the population involved. For visits to the Playa del Carmen-Tulum area(Xelha, Tulum,…), without a doubt, their own PUBLIC VANS. And finally, we choose to contract with CENOTE BLUE those more complicated to perform as free as the catamaran to Isla Mujeres or the search for Shark-Whale. !!Yes!! Finally we will make getaways combining them with rest!
Around 21'00, after taking a return TAXI (115 MXN per couple), we went to the Mare Nostru themed restaurantm, that like yesterday left us a bittersweet feeling. We also take the opportunity to send a WhatsApp to the taxi driver who will make the excursions in future days (but this we will tell you later)
Today there was a party "White Party" in the pool of "Las Rocas" but the body asked us for a bed ... so we have to leave it for next week. And tomorrow we will go to Xel-ha! on our own to spend the day. !!See you tomorrow!!
Javi, Silvi, Isaac and Paula, from Riviera Maya (Mexico)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY:MXN 140 (approx. EUR 21.94 -included tips of the day-)