Thursday, September 14, 2017

Time to explore

For many years now we have enjoyed the people and town of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We even purchased a condo there so we would have a home to go to every year. We certainly did not meet Playa when 5th Avenue was only a dirt road a few blocks long but we do feel like it was still a small town when we started going there about 17 years ago. Over the years we have watched the town develop and evolve into quite the tourist town. 5th Avenue now runs from Jaurez to far beyond Calle 60. With so many new modern buildings going up constantly our little Playa is getting a very modern look. It's great for those who love that but the traditional look and flavor of Playa is being lost. Not unusual as a town grows but sad in a way as it was the traditional that appealed to us.

So we are seeking new adventures - it's not that we are saying Adios to Playa forever but we are going to venture forth and experience more of Mexico. A big part of this decision comes from the fact that my brother and sister in law, long time Playa residents, have pulled up roots and moved to Valle de Gaudalupe on Mexico's west coast.

So our future will include exploring the west coast. We are even contemplating a road trip from our home in BC Canada to my brother's new location. It will take, at a leisurely pace, about 3 days to get there and we are already preparing for the first west coast road trip in January - leave the snow behind and drive to Valle de Gaudalupe, a wine region of Mexico just a few minutes drive outside of Ensenada.

I look forward to sharing our adventures - stay tuned!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

An adventure at Isla Holbox

What a beautiful little town! This is what I like to experience when I visit Mexico! We took a trip there with my brother and sister-in-law who are long time Playa del Carmen residents and they tell us that Holbox is what Playa del Carmen was like about 15 years ago.

I love all the colors in Holbox - it has a very Caribbean feel - the bright orange fence being painted as we walked by, with a bubble gum pink building right next to it! There is no fear of using bright colors around town. The businesses are all unique, small individual operations - no franchises here - you won't find any familiar names like McDonalds, Starbucks etc. in this town.

The roads are all unpaved, dusty, sandy roads that just adds to the character of the town. No cars are permitted and the taxi service is "yellow cabs" which are actually golf carts. You need to take note that they can only hold 3 passengers so if you are a group of 4 you will require 2 taxis. It is possible to rent golf carts as well to tour around the island.

There are a lot of things to do around the island - everything from snorkeling and diving to kiteboarding lessons, take a boat to see the flamingos and various water sport equipment for rent. For us, this trip was about exploring the town and relaxing on the beach. 

We knew we would be in town much earlier than our room would be available, but as expected, the resort was happy to supply us with towels and invite us to enjoy their pool, beach area and dining facilities. 

It was an easy walk between the resort and town so we decided after relaxing by the pool and the beach to head into town for an afternoon coffee. Imagine our surprise when we found that very much in Mexican fashion, the coffee shop was closed between 1 pm to 4 pm - I guess it was siesta time. We showed up at the cafe at about 340 pm so we explored around town and we did notice that the town was very quiet during the afternoon. We returned to the cafe just before 4 pm and decided to wait and see if it would open on time. Imagine how happy the owner was when he showed up, just slightly after 4, and found 4 customers patiently waiting for him. You should have seen the smile on his face when we cheered his arrival.

After enjoying a leisurely coffee and having a bit of a discussion about our future adventures it was time to wander aimlessly towards the Raices Beach Club that we had passed earlier. They were advertising a grilled seafood platter - how could we not have dinner there!! It was timed to coincide with the setting sun which in itself was quite beautiful, even with a bit of cloud cover, but it was made even more symbolic by the restaurant staff as they signaled the day's end by blowing on huge conch shells. The restaurant sign gave us fair warning - it says slow food and that's what it was but that's okay because we had some nice music, a beautiful sunset and good company. When our seafood platter for 4 did arrive we were not disappointed - talk about a seafood feast: lobster, prawns, mussels, conch and 4 fish - each prepared differently! We were very happy feasters!

We ended our evening with a quiet glass of wine by the pool and then retired in our little bungalow to be rested for a morning of beach and pool before making the trip back to the mainland. We went into town for a bite to eat then found a cab to take us to the ferry, arriving within minutes of its departure - that was good timing! On the trip back to the mainland we even spotted dolphins and one gave us a beautiful jump - what a perfect ending to our trip.

I enjoyed Holbox so much and look forward to one day returning. It's the perfect place to just unplug, relax and recharge!