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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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Laurie G. - Dominican Republic - Punta Cana



One of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean and some of the kindest people are found in the Domican Republic. The beach is huge so you can walk for close to an hour in either direction. Great exercise, people watching, and opportunity to survey the other resorts. One really nice feature is that resorts do not exceed the height of the beach palms so your view is water on one side and palms on the other. You feel like you are on an undeveloped beach despite the fact that there are so many great hotels all along the beach.



There is an old barge wreck just off shore which makes for a nice backdrop for taking pictures or providing a destination for taking a sailboat ride. And is the wind picks up, the waves crashing the barge can be amazing to watch from the comfort of your beach chair.



My favorite resorts are the Riu chain, with the Riu Palace Punta Cana at the top of my list. The food, the grounds, the lobby, the staff, the rooms are all first rate yet still well priced.

The swimming pools are beautiful and have great views of the main grounds of the resort. There is even an infinity pool to finish off the day watching the sunset. The beach faces east so sundown on the beach isn't fully sundown at the pool. Of course the pool swim up bar! Friendly people and beautiful locale make Puta Cana the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation. Toss a bunch of Malibu Strings bikinis in your bag and get going! See you there.

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