We had a great time on our first trip to Playa Del Carmen on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. We stayed at a mediocre all-inclusive hotel – Viva Wyndham Azteca. It’s south of downtown Playa del Carmen – 10 minute cab ride from downtown or a 30 minute walk along the beach. The beach is beautiful with white sand and clear water. The hotel itself was unremarkable, but the food was decent, the room was clean and the price was right.
I learned to snorkel on this trip and it was quite a frightening and funny experience all at the same time. Truth is the water was probably a bit too choppy for snorkeling that day and that coupled with the fact that no-one seemed concerned I had never done it before lead to an interesting time. I donned my snorkel gear and waited until everyone else was off before I jumped in, I was wearing a bathing suit that fit me better than any suit I had ever had (purchased in Puerto Vallarta on a previous vacation). As I jumped in, my suit got caught on something and the dang thing tore right up my ‘rear’…..hmmm….first freak out 🙂 I was bobbing all over the place and every time I tried to snorkel my mask filled up and it just wasn’t going right. More or less by myself, I was a bit on the nervous side. Suddenly, I heard one of the tour guides who was in the water yelling over at me “hey lady, you ok, lady, you ok?” I was grateful to hear his voice and I swam toward him and the life preserver he was holding onto. Johnny didn’t go snorkeling but was on the boat watching with some trepidation, he says the waves were so high that most of the time he couldn’t even see me (or the rest of the group) from the catamaran. Anyway, I finally got to the tour guy, held on to the preserver and explained my problem to him that the mask wasn’t fitting and it was filling up with water. As I was explaining, there was a big strapping fellow about 20 years younger than me swimming towards us almost crying. This guy looked like a line backer who wouldn’t be afraid of anything, but he too was not a snorkeler and he was totally not in control. Of course, I like a challenge, and when I saw that he he was so frightened, I decided NOT to be frightened. The tour guide gave me his snorkel & mask, I put it on and headed out and in spite of the waves I did get to see some interesting fish. Again, the waves were incredibly high and my journey was not over. At one point, the catamaran must have lost sight of all of us and all of a sudden it was bearing down on a group of us and we all had to swim for (what felt like) our lives to get out of it’s way. OK, so now……the biggest challenge of all, the waves are 5 or 6 feet at times, the catamaran is bobbing up and down like crazy…and big gal with weak weak arms has to somehow reach out, grab the ladder and get back onto this boat. Every time I almost had it another wave came and I was tossed aside, absolutely brutal. Eventually, with the help of someone behind and someone throwing a rope down for me to at least not get tossed away, I managed to pull my plus size self back onto the catamaran (with my um…rear end hanging out I might add). The good news is, in spite of my harrowing experience, I’ve continued to snorkel! After the snorkel trip the cat headed to Isla Mujeres where we had a beautiful lunch and wandered about a bit.
We went on a trip to the Mayan ruin of Coba. It was crazy hot that day and Johnny walked to the top, but I decided to relax under a shade tree and watch him 🙂 On that tour we also stopped at a Cenote and swam in the clear cool water in an underground cave.
Although, we stay in all-inclusives we really don’t spend much time on resort. We prefer to wander around or go on tours. We loved Playa del Carmen and had either lunch or dinner downtown almost every day. Playa Car has some really great restaurants along 5th Avenue downtown. There are a lot of really cute little hotels along the beach.
The last highlight and one we enjoyed a lot was a ferry ride over to the island of Cozumel. We decided we wanted to see the whole island so we rented a beat up old volkswagen convertable that was falling apart, the odometer was unhooked so we had no idea how fast we were going, it was also standard which Johnny hadn’t been driving much recently. Very luckily, we didn’t have to drive far in the town before we got onto the road that takes you around the Island. We had lunch at a Bob Marley Bar (no we aren’t in Jamaica) on the other side of the Island, then kept on going where we came across roadside Palapa’s at a beach. We were all by ourselves on this beach that stretched for miles, so peaceful. After that we stopped for a drink at another little restaurant which was apparentaly right beside the ‘naked’ beach…after that we made our way back to town, dropped off the ‘wreck’ and headed back on the Ferry to Playa del Carmen.
It was a great trip!