Earlier this month I had a nice little vacation in Playa Del Carmen. We stayed at the Sandos Playacar resort, which fulfilled our two requirements: all-inclusive and a nice beach.
We spent lots of time in the beach, in the pools, at the gym, and the spa, and ZERO time on the internet. Instead we made friends with the tropical birds, iguanas, and burros. We named the resort cats (Carrot, Pumpkin, Swirly, Shy Baby, Maître D’) and they followed us everywhere. We shared our breakfast fruit with the personable coatis.
Downtown Playa is very touristy, so we didn’t leave the resort much. However, we did take a ferry to Cozumel and spend the day there. The ferry band entertained us the entire 45-minute ride and we saw a family sneak a cute little goat onto the boat. Goat Boat.
My heart belongs to Cozumel. I love being on an island and the local people are the best. We took a cab to Money Bar, snorkeled and relaxed all day at the simple beach club. We experienced a rip current that was so strong, lesser swimmers would have perished. We drifted to a boat dock and trekked back to the club with our gear on land. Adventure! Danger!
We ended the day at our favorite little restaurant and had pork chop and pastor tacos.
Back in Playa, we faced some tough weather. The once placid ocean turned into rough waves. While most opted for the safety of the pools, we took to the waves. Jersey Shore kids learn how to be knocked around in the surf. We get pummeled by waves as babies. (That’s why we’re so tough, yo.) It made us both homesick, getting repeatedly slapped in the face with salt water.
When a dark storm rolled in and everyone ran for cover, we stuck it out. (Fun fact: My parents did this shit to us all the time. What’s more embarrassing than having to seek refuge with your parents at a lifeguard station in the middle of a lightning storm long after the sane people left the beach? Nothing.) When you risk those black clouds, they’ll either blow over or you’ll get stuck in the rain. On this day it was the latter.
So are you interested in going to the Mexican Riviera? Here are a few tips:
- Many of the resorts and hotels reduce their rates in October, since it’s the off-season. It’s the perfect time to go.
- Flying direct from Austin to Cancun is much cheaper than flying to Cozumel. Take the ferry to Cozumel for $13.
- Cozumel is where you want to be for snorkeling and scuba diving. Stay away from the cruise ship port and you can have a true experience of the island. No one should eat at Señor Frog’s…ever.
- Don’t let a lack of language fluency deter you. It doesn’t take much Spanish to get by. The point is to make an effort and not expect everyone to speak English (even though they often do.) Mingle with the locals. Compliment their home. Be friendly.
- A DiCAPac camera case is about $20 on Amazon and allows you to take underwater photos with your phone or mirrorless camera. I chose to bring an old camera, just in case. But there was no leakage.
- Bring cash to tip, even if it’s an all-inclusive and tips aren’t required. These people work hard!
I hope it’s not too long until we meet again, Mexico. ¡Te amo!