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Irene's Adventures

Mexico - Playa del Carmen

MEXICO | Saturday, 2 March 2019 | Views [53]

It had been a long, cold winter. The first snow was in September. February was the coldest in 40 years. We needed a reprieve so we went to Playa del Carmen for week. We had been to most of the tourist spots on previous trips, so decided to just chill (or get warm) on this trip.

 Reef Coco Beach

We stayed at the same resort as a few years ago, the Reef Coco Beach. Last time we were there a hurricane had wiped out the beach and as a result the resort was nearly empty. The beach has been restored since then to a nice sandy paradise. Ed purchased the VIP package which gave us access to a private part of the beach complete with nicely padded lounge chairs. It also had its own private bar, which served much better mojitos that the pool side bar. They also had better scotch for Ed. He had taken a large thermos to keep drinks cold. He had had a few beers and then decided to switch to scotch later in the afternoon. He went into the bar, handed over his thermos and asked for a scotch. The bartender filled his thermos!! OMG! Needless to say, he was a bit more careful about asking for scotch after that.

We met a couple on the beach that were from Norway. Their names were (get this) Hans and Greta. Real life Hansel and Gretel! They were very interesting and we spent a lot of time chatting with them.

As we had no interest in sightseeing, we did wander down 5th Avenida to check out the touristy shops. That said, the last time we wandered down 5th Avenida it was nearly all touristy shops. However, since then, most of the junky shops have been replaced with up scale designer shops. We did buy and interesting silent wind chime that looks psychedelic as it twists in the breeze and a couple beaded hummingbirds for me to give as gifts to some of my friends – as well as one for myself.

I also went diving for 3 days with the Reef Marina.  It is attached to the resort, so is VERY convenient.  I dove with them before.  They are very professional.  I actually took a refresher course in the resort swimming pool, as it had been over two years since my last dive.  The refresher was good and it made me very confident that I had not lost my skills.  The first dive was near the beach and quite shallow.  I don't know if it was because I had not dived in a couple of years, but I think that first day was the best.


There were some guys dressed up in Mayan costume and they pretended to “capture” me while Ed took a few pictures.

Mayan actors

Further down, at the Parque Fundadores we saw the Portal Maya arch. It is a beautiful bronze sculpture of a man and woman clasping hands as their bodies form a 16 metre (52.5 foot) high arch.

 Portal Maya Arch

Just as we were leaving there were 5 men getting ready to do the Danze de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers). They were dressed in white shirts and red trousers with wildly coloured headdresses, sashes and socks. They shimmied up the 30 metre high pole then tied a rope around their ankles. Then as the fifth man played flute the other four kind of fell backwards. Their combined weight causes the spooled rope to unwind as it slowly had them descend – head first and circling the pole. Apparently, there are 13 rotations per man, totalling 52, which all cleverly ties in with the Aztec calendar. The ritual dates back to ancient times and associated with rain and sun gods, as well as Spring Equinox. It is a Mesoamerican ceremony, not specifically Mayan or Aztec, but to the region of Central America. A hat was passed after the men safely landed on their feet.

Danza de los Voladores

We ate at the Italian, Mexican, and sushi a la cartes most nights. The Sushi restaurant put on a fabulous show of fancy knife work and flames. The food was good, but the entertainment was better. The Mexican restaurant had a wall of beautiful stained glass vases. The food was also tasty. The Italian restaurant seemed to have only pasta in various sauces. Their salad bar was excellent, though.

stained glass vase

We came out of the restaurant one evening and saw a couple dining on the beach. I don't know how they managed that, but it looked very romantic.

 dinner on the beach

The day we were to check out, we went back to our room in order to start packing up and by chance, the phone rang. It was the Sunwing rep telling us that our flight had been cancelled! According to him, the weather was bad in Edmonton and the airport was closed. (Later we found out that the turn around flight was delayed which prevented the airline staff from having their proper rest period between flights.) Since the Reef Coco Beach was full, we were being transferred to their sister hotel, The Reef 28. They taxied us over and set us up in a junior suite. It was gorgeous!

The Reef 28

Although it had a rooftop pool, lounge and hot tubs, it was a block away from the beach. We walked down to the beach and found it so crowded that I am glad we did not stay there. As much as I am not a fan of all-inclusive resorts, if I am going to one I want it on the beach.

 The Reef 28

The dining room was amazing and only the salad and dessert bar was buffet. The other meals were off a menu. They were good, but I think I prefer variety.

The Reef 28 

Ed was thinking of booking us into that resort initially, as it was an adults only hotel. I talked him out of it saying that it was not old people staying there, but probably younger party people. It turned out I was right. The suite we were in was on the third floor, directly below the nightclub on the roof. Also, we were right beside the elevators and stairs. We hardly slept. All we could hear was the partying.

where the party began

This did pose a bit of a problem because our shuttle was to pick us up at 1:40 AM. This was all confirmed that afternoon – the time and the change of hotels. I set my alarm AND asked for a wake-up call for 12:30 AM. I just happened to wake up at 12:25 so I shut my alarm off. The wake-up call never came. Good thing I set my alarm. We were downstairs early, as is our custom for things like this, and we waited and waited and waited. Finally, at 2:10 AM we decided we had best take the 50 minute taxi ride to the airport for our 5:00 AM flight.  

The taxi driver gave us a receipt. Immediately after checking in we found a Sunwing rep and presented him with our taxi receipt.  After much checking and a few phone calls he determined that we were not even on the list to be picked up. Much apologizing later, he assured us we would be reimbursed. (We did eventually get reimbursed.)

We headed to the boarding area only to find out our flight is now delayed until 6:30 AM. That's fine, it gives us time to eat something, except there is only a coffee and muffin place open at that time of the morning. The line up was over a half hour long. By the time I got to the front of the line, I noticed that a Starbucks was now open. Well maybe they have more than sticky muffins, so I only bought some mixed nuts for the plane. I headed over to the Starbucks, where I found Ed already finishing his espresso. I bought a bagel and a coffee and more mixed nuts.

It was a rather boring trip, but well-needed rest and reprieve. And I even got a bit of a tan!!

Reef Coco Beach



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