Archive for May, 2010

A Day in Cozumel

So I had 48 hours to spend in Playa Del Carmen with a friend I met from Texas so we decided to spend one of the days in Cozumel. We took a 10am ferry from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel, its about $20 USD for a round trip.

We rented a scooter from one of 100’s of booths when you get off the ferry. It was about $30 USD for the whole day. They gave us a map and highlighted some of the cool things to check out. We headed out to Chankanaab which is one of the best snorkeling spots apparently. When we got there we found out it was set up like an amusement park type place with $20 USD admission and various costs for snorkel equipement. When you rent equipement you get a free locker so that was good. We headed out and found a few fish but had to look for quite awhile before we found spots filled with TONS of fish. There are also statues at the bottom on the ocean that you can look for those and take some cool pics with them. Jon from Texas was a little more adventurous than me so he checked out the statues and I took his word for it. The photos below will really show what the snorkeling was like.

Next, we headed, or should I say ‘scooted’ back to the main town for some lunch. I got a recommendation from a friend to check out a locals spot called La Choza. Since it was a little off the beaten path (and very damn street is a one way) this took us quite awhile. Finally we found it and had a great lunch of soup, fajitas, and beers. They bring out fresh natchos and spicy cheese sauce when you sit down and it is sooo good. We were too full so couldn’t try the avocado pie for dessert. I will always wonder what avocado pie tastes like.

We asked the waitress where the best spot to hang out before the ferry and she suggested No Name Bar so we headed over there. This place is hidden from street is a little alley. You go in and find a huge back hotel with bar, beach, hammocks, pool and tons of people swimming and partying. It is owned and operated by an ex cruise ship crew member.  He started it for crew members who were in town for the day and looking for a place to relax. We hung out, swam and rested in hammocks for an hour and then went back to ferry.

Scooter guy said that the people who came in after us to rent a scooter had it break down on them. They were stranded on the street and I think had to walk back. We were very lucky our scooter worked well all day. Scootering is definately fun.

Oh and it was damn hot. 41C with humidity. wow. The sunset on the way home was incredible, a HUGE red glowing sun over the ocean. Too bad my camera didn’t capure it nicely.

Me and the Scooter

Jon and all the fish

One of the Statues

More Fish

Natchos and Spicy Cheese Sauce at La Choza

No Name Bar

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa

I had the opportunity to travel to Riviera Maya, Mexico in April and stay at the Grand Velas Resort. This place is a super exclusive resort that offers top notch service, amazing spa and private butlers. I would only recommend going to this resort if you have someone else paying or win the lottery. One night at this place can cost as much as a week at the resort next door. I had someone else paying.

There are 8 restaurants at the resort that are included in the all inclusive/pocket emptying price. They are all incredible and all offer different options: buffet, asian, italian, international, spanish, french, mexican, etc. The buffet is very nice and offers a la carte from the table to accompany your buffet choices. There are so many staff in the buffet that they even carry your plate for you from the buffet area to your table. They do not like if you resist and carry your own plate. You need to sit back and enjoy the service. The best part of the food is the 24 hour room service. This isn’t the usual hotel room service, its high end and each dish is served with amazing presentation. I will include photos below to really highlight this point. I was shocked everytime. The 24 hr room service is also included with all inclusive package as well.  Another bonus is that every restaurant menu and room service menu has a special star to indicate whether it is ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’. This is very helpful when trying to eat well on vacation. I wish all restaurants would adopt this practice.

The pool area is beautiful and includes an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. They serve food and drink right to your beach chair which is nice as you dont have to leave your spot to go have lunch. There is also a swim up bar and 2 lunch restaurants next to pool. If you prefer an adult only pool, there is one at the other end of resort that is smaller but no kids are allowed. There is also a bar and lunch restaurant called Bistro there.

The beach is great for taking long walks and playing volleyball or taking out a kayak. The ocean isn’t very clean out in front of hotel and there are some rocks in the water. If you are looking for crystal clear water, you could spend a day in Playa Del Carmen where it is really nice. There are nice day beds on the beach and they serve drinks down there as well.

The night scene is very slow. There is a sky bar and lobby bar but aren’t very busy at night. The Kareoke bar in main lobby gets busy when big groups are in the resort but still very convention centre-y and not very outdoor mexican feel. For fun at night, take a $14 USD cab to Playa Del Carmen and enjoy the amazing mexican bars, patios, restaurants and shops that stay open till very late, like 5am late for the discos.

The Spa. A few people on our trip who had been to TONS of spas around the world said that this one was the very best. You are told to come 80 minutes (yes, 80) before your massage to enjoy the spa. There is a 7 step water journey that you can choose to go through. This includes hot tubs, water beds, water falls, cold streams, mud baths, hot/cold shower thingie, etc. It is quite the experience.  The aromatherapy massage was truly amazing and I might have fallen asleep, in a good way.

The service they give you is really the best part. We went for a job one morning at 7am. We couldn’t understand why the staff member in the riding lawn mover wasn’t going past us on the road. Then we realized that he was on a 4×4 atv and was actually there to escort us on our jog. The sound of the motor took a little away from the sound of birds but still very cool idea. When we got to the building at the halfway point, a staff member came out of the door with 2 ice cold water bottles for us. This was a amazing touch, the guy must have radioed ahead to let them know we were on our way. This must be what celebrities feel like.

Good day trips: Catamaran snorkeling, Xcaret park, zip line, golf, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen

Room Service breaky on patio

Spinach Salad room service came like this, very cool

Pina Colada served to the beach

Azul breaky and lunch buffet spot, great view

One of the pools at the spa 'water journey'

Breakfast smoothie bar at buffet

Healthy breaky room service - egg white veggie omelette, potato, beans and tofu

The resort