Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Laurie G. - Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

This is my fourth visit to Playa Del Carmen since 2000. We love Mexico and the Mexican people. They are very welcoming and friendly and always make you feel special. These RIU Palace resorts are some of the best in the Caribbean and are usually a first choice for us no matter the country or island. The food, service, rooms, grounds, and staff are all amazing and at a very appropriate price.

Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with the beach this time. Apparently the 2006 hurricane and erosion have greatly diminished this beach. While the beach and overall area are still quite nice, you no longer can stroll down the flat sand beach like you can at other Caribbean locations. A beach walk today is more of an adventure, more like an obstacle course. There are huge sandbags (see those whale like humps in these photos) that are placed all along the beach in front of the hotels to affect the erosion. Not sure the sand bags are working and they are not my favorite part of the beach. Some hotels are being affected by the erosion more than others.

I did find some sandbags useful to lean against however.

There is still a great area of undeveloped beach beyond the hotels. It was quite a walk from our resort in terms of distance and challenge. It was an adventure; we walked up and down the sandbags, through shallow water in front of some hotels, and encountered some sandbag staircases. The journey was only half the fun because when we got past the hotels the beach was pristine. It was a perfect setting for taking some pictures.

The best part was the wedding party that had the same good idea. We didn’t even notice them until the groomsmen started whistling at me (at least the groom didn’t whistle, I think). Who would have thought I could wear Malibu Strings to a wedding!?
Once we finished our photo shooting the walk back to our hotel took us right past the rest of the wedding reception. We had quite a few laughs imagining the groomsmen’s stories. I hope the bride has a good sense of humor!

Later during the vacation we decided to do a photo shoot out in front of our hotel. The beach wasn’t too crowded for some reason; maybe it was the extra strong breeze that day or the time of day. We took our pictures relatively early and enjoyed the beach for the rest of the day. Well I guess the pool bartenders weren’t too busy and had a good view of the beach. I got some nice compliments and more smiles as we came off the beach for happy hour. This one bartender was my biggest fan, even out of my bikini. I never waited long for a drink for the rest of the week.

The resort is fun even off the beach. It is beautifully landscaped and has lots of birds and small lizards that are fun to watch while lounging at the pool or sitting on a bench taking in the surroundings. The birds make great sounds, quite different than any bird sounds I’m accustomed to which adds the tropical paradise ambiance.

One of my favorite things in Mexico is Mariachi. The music and the outfits are awesome. Everyone is having a better time when there is a Mariachi band around.

The resort also brings the shopping to you. A few nights a week they invite local craftsmen to set up within the resort and sell everything from jewelry, to art work, handicrafts, clothing, cigars, etc. It adds a nice energy to the evening after a tough day playing on the beach. The resort also hosts specialty drinks on different nights, like Tequila shots. I’ll stick to something a little lighter and send in my husband for this one.

Outdoor dining is a treat coming from New England and the dining area is beautiful. Having breakfast and dinner outside really enhances the vacation.

Hope you enjoy my perspective on Mexico Playa Del Carmen. Now go get you Malibu Strings and get out on vacation!

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Laurie G. - More St Martin...

Here is French Marigot in St Martin viewed from the water. It is a beautiful place to walk, dine, or shop. The people a quite friendly and the café scene is alive and well. You can see and tour the old fort that guards the city. As much as I love the beaches and beach bar/restaurants this small Caribbean city deserves a visit. Stroll along the waterfront and café-hop down the main street. The city is quite lively most nights with locals and tourists alike. The shopping bazaar can be a lot of fun too. There are multiple marinas at Marigot and some quite impressive yachts to say the least. One of the marinas is hidden from view by buildings and set quite deep into the tiny capital. This amazing protected marina is surrounded by restaurants and a few shops. It is an amazing place to dine and stroll among the yachts which are backed right up to the dock; you are one step form going onto any of them. There are luxury yachts, fishing charters, and tour boats all beautifully lined up in this small marina. The outdoor bar/restaurant patios are usually full and lively. La Belle Époque seems to attract the most locals and once you try their pizza you too will know why.

Not every yachts stays within the confines of the marina. We had this lovely boat anchored offshore from our hotel and would see it at Orient beach during the days. My husband figured they liked my Malibu Strings bikinis so much that they had figured out how to follow us. At night this boat became a floating disco and from the sounds of things much fun was being had for the better part of the night. Funny how quite the yacht would be in the morning though ;^>

One morning we went to our deck for breakfast and saw this catamaran. My husband joked it was the dinghy from the yacht coming to fetch me for the day. That or some late night reveler was going to have serious explaining to do! Lucky for him this sign post cluster just up the beach might point him in the right direction. Who knew the Taj Mahal was so nearby?

As you can see everyone loves the beach at sunset to relax, enjoy the cooling of the day, and enjoy such memorable views.

This beach has a beautiful view of Anguilla and has calm waters all day long. It is just a short walk from Grand Case and the location of Sunset Café. Not to be confused with the Sunset Bar, the café is a quiet location and a wonderful spot to wind down and sip a quiet romantic drink without the crowds.

Another great place to visit is Pine Island. It is a short 500 yard boat ride leaving and is a paradise within St Martin’s paradise. Amazingly calm water with a great view back to St Martin. Two beaches and two amazing restaurants make for a great day trip (bring cash, they have no credit card machines). You can stand at the tip of this little island and look down both rows of umbrellas at the same time, this little island actually comes to a point is shallow water. Avoid the weekend unless you really want to meet the locals (and their children).

A good reason to rent a car is to drive up above Orient Beach for this view! This isn’t the only great vantage point either; you’ll be blown away at the heights on this island and the views that come with such amazing peaks. You can see Pinel Island in the right side picture with some boats anchored in front.

Another really nice aspect of St Martin is how many beaches have bars, restaurants, and beach chair/umbrella service. Too bad it the sea was too rough to spend the beach day here at Baie Rouge, this place looked fun and is highly recommended some of the other Malibu Strings girls!

No matter which way you look at St Martin, it’s all about the Beach!

…from Sunset Beach Bars, to big screen football outdoors, to heartwarming sunsets!

Labels: , , Banner