Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Entry #18

Playa del Carmen
December 21 to 
January 14

The condo was comfortable (great bed!) and well equipped. The comments of previous guests helped us discover a few new restaurants—(this is our 4th visit to PDC)-- like El Baretto at the corner of 26th and 5th. The pasta was excellent and the portions were enough for two. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner at Sazon also just down the street on 5th. I think their breakfast was the best of all. Sazon had very tasty and generous fish tacos and their enchiladas mole con pollo were delicious. We also had a good breakfast at El Cuevo del Chango after an early morning at the beach.

We especially enjoyed Café Corazon, where the owner Alison was very hospitable. She has the BEST coffee (from Chiapas) and a free wireless internet connection. She also has daily newspapers, current magazines and a lending book collection.
Other restaurants we liked:
Pizza Renzo—at 10 pesos per slice- tasty and a great deal too.
Sushi Tlan (next to Café Corazon)
Maktub across from Café Corazon—Dinner #1 was a great deal: 2 chicken brochettes, 1 appetizer of your choice and mint tea or coffee for 95 pesos!
Babes2 was almost as good as the original on 10th street, but some portions were half the size (like chicken satay) for the same price. Everything was delicious.

The noise level in these restaurants on 5th between calles 28 & 30 was often unpleasant because each establishment tried to drown out its neighbor’s sound system creating only cacophony. Playa del Carmen is certainly not the place to go for peace and quiet!
The condo balcony and the roof were two places that did offer some rest.

Our strategy to deal with the holiday week crush at the beach was to get up around 6:45 and be at Mamitas by 8am. Although, on Dec. 30th we were running late and by 8:20 all the chairs/palapas were taken except for the back row! The rooftop pool is a great escape from the mob scene at Mamitas.

As for trips—

We went to Tulum for three nights, staying at Posada Magherita in one of its 6 rooms—Heaven with Italian food! For a day trip we enjoy going to El Paraiso Beach Club (heaven again!) about 1 km south of the Tulum ruins. Prices are similar to Mamitas and there is a bar/ restaurant. Beautiful beach with few people. (**Not Anymore! In Dec.06 it was rechristened as Nuddy Beach Club and it was crowded with music playing all day. We left to find an oasis of calm not too far away from the kite-boarding, boozing hordes.)

There is also snorkeling in Akumal or Half-Moon Bays. Go via bus or collectivo, then taxi or walk from 307 to the beach about 2km. Turtle Bay Café, Lol-Ha or Cuervo del Pescador are all good bets for lunch.

We took a day trip with PlayaInfo to the Mayan ruins at Ek Balam. There 

was also a stop at a cenote--Ik-Kil—and lunch in Valladolid. The cenote was really beautiful! The water was much warmer than I expected. It was quite far to go but worth it.

Guadaloupe the housekeeper
has taken excellent care of the condo (and us) and Jose the building manager has been very helpful—always there if we needed anything.

There are many places to go in the neighborhood for internet access–the best for price and comfort was Café Corazon—WiFi was free with the purchase of great coffee, desserts, paninis. Next would be Y Tu Café Tambien on 20th just above 5th: 18 pesos/hour. The Point is most expensive (24 pesos/hour) and most crowded, but it is convenient at off hours.

We had a great holiday here, but we hope that not too much more of paradise gets paved over! We did enjoy the birdsongs coming from
Hotel LunaBlue's garden, and the crying cats. That big ginger one can almost talk!