Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Get Away

The Cuota road cuts a straight path through the jungle of The Yucatan Peninsula from Merida to Cancun. The divided highway with steep tolls is a quick if not a little boring route, missing all the charm of the pueblos and activity you would find on the Libre road, however it offers a quick and easy path to the enchanting Mayan Riviera! We took this route cutting off at the Cancun Airport exit over to Highway 307, which traverses the Caribbean coast from Cancun to Chetumal. Our destination for the night is charming Hacienda Paradise, a pet friendly hotel near Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue. We have always enjoyed Playa and have fond memories of walking the pedestrian only tourist area and the sugary sand beaches to the west in Playacar. Playa is seductive, luring you with clean white powder beaches, crystal turquoise water and a bohemian international appeal. Across the channel, you can watch ships seeking port at Isla Cozumel. After you have had enough sand and sea, you can find a sidewalk café for a good meal and people watching. Hurricane Wilma furiously changed the once rustic “Playa” to an upscale and fun place to vacation. Strolling the newly cobblestoned Fifth Avenue makes for easy window-shopping, the stores wares spilling out onto the sidewalk enticing you to spend your American dollars and Euros on their many upscale items. You will most likely see more Europeans than Americans. We settle into our room and Gringa Dog inspects the “Doggie Welcome Basket” filled with treats and toys, the hotel has provided a doggie bed plus water and food bowls. After a leisurely walk on Playa’s north beach we have a scrumptious meal at the famous “Blue Lobster”, while the splurge was pricey the meal was delicious.

Note to self: Insert neat pictures of Playa del Carmen here the next time you go and remember to take pictures.

Early the next morning Ty steered the car onto “307” with Tulum just an hour away we figured why not! It really is not an attractive stretch of road, passing scrub jungle, construction sights and elaborate walled all-inclusive resort entrances, as dull as it is you know just a few meters away are what must be the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Traveling down the road, you pass the exits for Xcaret, which would be the Yucatan’s version of Disneyland, signs for various cenotes, Xelha and countless other tourist sights. Even though Gringa Dog was in tow we decided to check out the visitor center at Tulum ruins, arriving well before the tour buses we found we almost had the place to ourselves, for a while anyway. The vendors petted Adie, ask her name and she was welcome everywhere but The Ruins. Did you know there are three Tulum’s; Tulum Pueblo, Tulum Ruins and the hotel zone, you really need a car to get around here, as it is some distance between the three areas. Turning left onto the Boca Paila road, which winds its way through the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, ending in Punta Allen, we drive the narrow road past one EcoChic Hotel after another and believe me an EcoChic room with no A/C and a mosquito net does not come cheap in Tulum, but the view is mesmerizing.

 We are limited to the only Gringa Dog friendly hotel around, just steps from the water’s edge we will be spending the night in a simple beachfront cabana at “Zamas”.

Adie loves the beach

We nestle our butts in hammocks under the palapa-covered porch, drinking cold beer from our styro chest watching Adie play in the sand. In the evening, we sat on the porch and enjoyed the sounds of the waves as a local band cranked out tunes from the stage of “Que Fresco”, Zama’s beachfront restaurant.

The sunrise over the ocean lures me from under the mosquito net and reality sets in, we must head back to Merida, Casa Sur and that blasted JACKHAMMER. This short Caribbean getaway was a much needed shot in the arm to get us through the remaining months of construction.
Yes, that is a ''ceiling fan'' under the mosquito net. Pretty neat
While Playa del Carmen and Tulum are great places to visit, they are of course, very ''Touristy''. There are just as nice beaches, cheaper hotels, and great restaurants in the area if you are willing to go just a little more ''local''.


  1. Hi Sara & Ty!

    Just found your site through Debbie's MI! Congratulations on your purchase and grand new adventure. Just added y’all to my blogroll, so I can follow along!

    Next month, we're going to Playa del Carmen for the first time, so it was fun to get a sneak peak. Those gorgeous white sand beaches are calling my name! How long did the drive take y’all?

  2. Hey Susan, Thanks for the comment. We've been enjoying your blog for a good while.
    I'm not a fast driver and we also stopped at the rest area about half way and messed around there awhile and it took us 3 1/2 hours from the time we left our house to arrive in Playa.
    The pictures we posted were of the beach in Tulum (not sure why we forgot to take pictures in PDC),but of course the beaches in PDC are just as good if not better. 5th Ave. in Playa is great f/ shopping and restaurants. Have fun!

  3. Thanks for the info! We were planning on taking the uno bus, but it lists the ride as 5 hours. Even on the plush bus, that amount of time is really pushing it for me. Saving an 1.5 hours sounds really good, so I think we may investigate renting a car instead.


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