Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mayans & Margaritas - Playa Del Carmen


Sorry it's taken me so long to get the recaps of our trip to tropical paradise posted. Moving takes a lot out of a girl, and May was a very busy month for us! Our trip to Mexico got off to a rough start (as you'll see), but ended up being really wonderful. I just want to send a shout out to Suzanne, Allison, and Alana for their great suggestions for things to do and ways to get around, and to Emily, Shi, and Lynn for having such detailed blogs with helpful hints!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Oh, Mexico. This was quite the trip. Our flight left late on Saturday evening, so we had the morning to, I'd hoped, go on a long run and then sign our new lease before heading to the airport. However, when I leaned down to pick up my Garmin before heading out on the run, I felt that familiar strain, and knew instantly that I'd thrown out my back. Eeep.

Because this isn't the first time it's happened, I knew exactly what to do. I took 10mg of Flexeril and a Celebrex, and started doing some PT exercises to keep it loose. Miraculously, it worked and I was still able to walk, and even carry my tote bag to Brooklyn to sign the lease. (Roger very kindly carried my backpack, despite being pretty cranky that we were going to Mexico at all. He's not the biggest beach fan out there, and was worried about it being a problematic trip.)

The flight was fine, but arriving at the airport in Cancun was overwhelming. We booked a shuttle to our hotel through Cancun Discounts, but when we arrived at the airport, they didn't have a stand or any representatives. It turns out the website is just a middleman for the actual shuttle service, so it took us almost 45 minutes to figure out who was taking us to the hotel. Suzanne, my former coworker and Mexico-expert extraordinaire, had suggested USA-Transfer, and though it's more expensive (because it's private), if you're getting in late like we were, it's probably worth the extra money for the quick ride and the ease of finding them at the airport.

Hacienda Mariposa!

We dropped off several other couples at giant resorts along the beach, and then made our way to Playa del Carmen, the beach town we'd be using as our homebase for the next few days. Our hotel, the Hacienda Mariposa (not to be confused with the Hacienda Mariposa Posada down the road), welcome us and we headed to our room, exhausted and in pain. Not exactly the relaxing start to the trip I'd hoped for.

Sunday, May 4, 2013

On Sunday morning, I woke up still in pain. We'd planned on spending our first day at the beach anyway, and I hoped that just lying still and relaxing would help a bit. We headed to Mamita's, one of the beach clubs along the public beach. You can access the beach for free all along Playa del Carmen, but the beach clubs rent umbrellas, chairs, and towels, and also have food and drink for sale.

We took in our first Mexican meal, and one that we'd quickly decide was our favorite: chilaquiles! They're fried corn tortillas covered in sauce and cheese, and for breakfast, eggs. I'm not sure if it's because we were hungry and cranky, but the Mamita's ones were delicious. We each ordered a juice, and it was the first time the trip started to look up. Before it arrived, we'd been trying to decide which was worse: this trip or the time we went to Niagara Falls for the weekend and stayed in a hostel that didn't have a door to our private room and served moldy bread for breakfast. (NB: The highlight meal of that trip was the Rainforest Cafe.)

We relaxed on the beach and took dips in the water. It was crowded, but still nice, and being in the water was great because it let me stretch and move around without putting too much strain on my back.

Sadly, because I was exhausted and on muscle relaxants, I fell asleep trying to get a tan. Roger also fell asleep, and so couldn't tell me I was roasting, though he was under the umbrella and a little safer. It was probably the worst sunburn I've had since childhood.

Mmmm. Nothing says relaxing beach vacation like back spasms and bubbling skin.

After a few hours on the beach, we headed back to the hotel for some rest and sunscreen. After our naps, we decided to try our luck at El Fogon, one of the highest-rated taco places in Playa. We started with some giant margaritas and salsas. Thank god.

We each ordered what we thought were going to be multiple tacos, but unfortunately they turned out to be one giant burrito-type taco. It wasn't quite what we were in the mood for, but they were very tasty nonetheless. We never made it back to sample the different tacos, but the fillings were delicious. We took a quick walk around Quinta Avenida, the main street in Playa, and then collapsed into bed.

It was a rough start to the week, but don't worry, guys, it really started to improve the next day. Next up: day trip to Tulum and Akumal.

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