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!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jody - Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancun. It's about a 45 minute ride from the Cancun airport. A very nice, clean small city with lots to do. After traveling all day it was nice to be greeted with a glass of champagne and a cool hand towel upon our arrival and a very speedy check-in. The Royal Hideaway Resort and Spa is a beautiful gated resort. This resort was a perfect setting for the family wedding we were attending.

There are about 200 rooms in this beach side resort, so you really do not feel like just another tourist on vacation. There are about ten or so "villas" each only 2 to 3 stories high. Each "villa" had it's own concierge to assist you with your dinner reservations and all accommodations with your stay. Being an all-inclusive resort, we took advantage of the 24 hr room service. Great food and perfect portions. We didn't get to try out all the restaurants during our short time there. But what we did have was most scrumptious.

The staff couldn't of been more attentive. Before anyone in our group finished a drink, another was arriving as if they could read our minds. Since I am the only one in the group that smokes cigars, I was fortunate enough to have it literally walk by us on the beach. Not many beach vendors, but the ones that are allowed offered very nice goods. I ended up buying a box of 5 Cohiba Cuban cigars. Mmmmm what a treat. Sipping the best Mojito I've had in a long time, smoking a nicely aged Cuban cigar on a beach with white powdery sand and soaking up lots of sunshine wearing one of my favorite suits. Really who could ask for anything more.

I was told that there was a significant amount of damage to the beach due to the hurricanes of last year. They were actually adding sand to the beach while we were there. It really didn't distract from any part of the trip and was actually nice to have the 'sand bags' create little tide pools to dip in. They had water crafts available for any type of water sport and their own lifeguard.

Because we were only there for 3 days, the beach, sun and saltwater was our priority. So having my Malibu Strings suits were definitely being put to good use, I just wish that we had more time there to wear them all. By far, these suits could not be any more comfortable. I truly feel so confident wearing them in and out of the surf. We had fun running around the resort find neat areas to do a 'photo shoot'. The attention these suits get was overwhelming.

I can't thank Malibu Strings enough for being there for me, these suits will always be my travel companion where ever life takes me.


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