Playa del Carmen Journals

The Many Faces of the Mexican Riviera

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A June 2001 trip to Playa del Carmen by Postcard

Dolphin Discovery-Swim Program Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico More Photos
Quote: Just 30 minutes from the frenzied pace of Cancun,you'll find a more low key "taste" of Mexico. No high risers here....the highest building is 4 stories high. We spent our days at the Iberostar Tucan when we weren't off exploring what Mexico has to offer.

The Many Faces of the Mexican Riviera

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Overview

Quote:
Tough to name a highlight....was it when our kids swam with the dolphins at Puerto Aventuras;truly a once in a lifetime experience? Or...was it following a sea turtle when we were snorkeling in the turqouise blue waters of Yal-ku lagoon in Akumal? Or...seeing the Mayan ruins set on a cliff overlooking the Carribean Sea with the hordes of other people? Or....being brave enough to jump in the crystal clear fresh water of the cenote, a freshwater sinkhole, found along a short path thru the jungle (we somehow communicated with the Mayan woman we paid a small fee to)? The sights, sounds and tastes of the seaside town of Playa del Carmen...walking 5th avenue here was certainly different than the ...Read More

Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal

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Hotel

Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but even they don't convey the natural beauty of this all-inclusive resort located in the Playacar resort area of Playa del Carmen. The buildings in this resort are arranged in the shape of the letter U. One half of the U is considered the Iberostar Tucan and booked by Apple Vacations, while the other half is the Iberostar Quetzal and booked by Funjet. In center of the U is a "jungle" replete with a variety of animals(pheasants, iguanas, roosters, chickens, flamingos, and a family of monkeys). There is a concrete/stone path that weaves thru from the pool area to the buffet/entertainment area. We never minded taking a stroll thru to get to other locati...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 21, 2001

Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal
Avenida Xamen-Ha
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
(888) 923-2722

Karen’s Bar and Pizza

Restaurant | "Karen's Pizza & Grill"

Karen’s Bar and Pizza Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
I came upon this restaurant during my time on the Playaboard message board. Particularly attractive was the fact that there was an internet cafe right in the back. This meant the kids were in full view and were thrilled to be able to talk to their friends from a different country. The food was a nice change of pace from the standard all-inclusive fare. Nothing original here, but the food was good. The kids really enjoyed it. We enjoyed the frozen drinks. If you’re looking for a little entertainment, a distraction for your older kids and decent food, make a trip to Karen's.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 20, 2004

Karen’s Bar and Pizza
Quinta Avenida between 2nd and 4th Streets
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
+52 (984) 873-2743

Dolphin Discovery-Swim Program

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Attraction

Dolphin Discovery-Swim Program Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Due to the high cost, only our children(ages 12 and 14) participated. We selected this program over the one at Xel-ha because the reviews for that one were negative- very limited contact. We did not want to pay the admission for Xcaret for all four of us. We heard the treatment of the dolphins in this program was good- not totally convinced after seeing it, but it definitely wasn't horrible. Our children along with a fairly large group viewed a movie and received instructions on how to act and manuever with the dolphins. After viewing the film (they disappeared for about 25 minutes), all were broken into groups of approx. 8 people. Dolphins swam by, people were able to touch. Then individually e...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 27, 2002

Dolphin Discovery-Swim Program
Puerto Aventuras
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Cozumel: Snorkeler's Paradise

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Attraction

Quote:
This was the only 'bad' experience we had. Against my better judgement I booked the tour from the hotel, thinking it would be a better experience for my children, who had never been snorkeling before. The cost of our transportation to the pier where we took a ferry(included)to Cozumel was not included. A tour operator met us at a predetermined location, gave us our bracelets identifying us as paid in full customers. The ferry ride over was fairly quick (about 30 mins) but we did have to wait for it at the dock. We were then transferred to another boat with a large number of people, not quite as intimate as we had hoped, which took us to our snorkeling location. We have snorkeled in many locations...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 28, 2002

Cozumel: Snorkeler's Paradise

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Yal Ku Lagoon

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Attraction

Yal Ku Lagoon Photo, Akumal, Mexico
Quote:
This was our second stop of the day and a welcome relief from the stifling Mexican summer heat we experienced at the Mayan ruins at Tulum. It is a fairly short ride from Tulum and approximately 20 miles from Playa del Carmen. Just turn in at the entrance to Akumal, continue straight thru the small "town" area and just before the road dead ends make a left turn and follow the dirt road watching for small signs pointing the way to the lagoon. The area has resorts, condos and homes. Somehow though it felt "real" and not just the typical tourist trap. Unfortunately there has been talk about further developing the area. My research definitely paid off with this find! We brought a "folding" cooler ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 8, 2002

Yal Ku Lagoon
Akumal
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Cristalino Cenote

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Attraction | "Christalina Cenote"

Cristalino Cenote Photo, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Quote:
Visiting a cenote was on our list for a day of adventure using our rented car. It seemed like a great idea; however, the cenotes on our 'map' were a bit more obscure in person. We figured we'd make a stop on the return after Tulum and Yal-Ku lagoon. Somehow we missed the two 'big ones' on our list when we spotted this one. It certainly didn't seem like much from the road. The parking lot was empty, but we decided to be adventurous. We somehow were able to communicate enough to pay our 'entrance fee'. We had a little hike through a wooded trail. On the way we passed some locals homes (a good lesson for our children), better known here as shacks. It was a bit uncomfortable, but we felt s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 20, 2004

Cristalino Cenote
South of Barceló Maya Resort
Quintana Roo, Mexico

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