I read Leighanna's account of her trip. I do agree that flying from the west coast is a long day. We left Phoenix at 8:45 and arrived in Cancun at approx. 4. We took a cab to the ferry, then a cab from the ferry to Avalon Resort, where we had booked 2 villas on 1/23/06. When we got there, the manager took us into his office only to tell us that they had given our Villa's away 3 days earlier. He offered us 2 substandard Motel-6 wannabe rooms that were smaller than my bedroom at home. To add insult to injury, they weren't even made up yet and our room smelled like urine. We were definitely not happy and proceeded to go into town, drink heavily and get other rooms. We ended up staying at Na Balam for the rest of the week, where the manager went out of his way to accomodate us. He basically saved the trip for us. I would recommend staying there at any time, the rooms are nice, the surroundings are well kept and constantly kept up by the staff and the Iguana family living near the pool is fun to watch. The manager at the Avalon assumed we would be willing to stay in those crappy rooms apparently. The one night we were there we spoke with 2 other couples who were in the same boat we were in. They booked the villas, but were given rooms in the hotel. I'm not sure if this is their normal operating procedure, but, if you are not a member of the Avalon time share club, DO NOT go there. I asked the manager point blank if by booking on line meant they would not guarantee the rooms and he said nothing. Did not offer us anything other than a lobster dinner, which in retrospect, we probably should have taken. In any event, an all inclusive is probably not the way to go on Isla. We kept a running total of everything we spent on food, liquor and activities and it actually came out to $50 less a day per person than Avalon. Plus we still have not gotten our refund from them, which they assured us would be forthcoming. Right.
As far as the food goes, we had breakfast every morning at Jax while watching the World Cup. Their food is good and very reasonable. We ate 3 nights at Rolandi's and totally loved it, obviously. We ate at the Sunset Grill one night, but the food wasn't that great. We had calamari that needed more time in hot oil and had a hard time conveying to the waiter that we wanted salsa. He brought us jalapeno's and some mixture with habanero's that burned my face off, so we drank more. We also went to Jax at night because they have a bucket of 5 Corona's for $6. We had them ice up another bucket every time we ordered the first one and they were cold the whole time. All in all the food experience was good. We ate at a Mexican restaurant on Hidalgo that the folks I was with weren't that crazy about, but I thought it was tasty, just different than the Mexican food we get here in Phoenix.
We also rented a golf cart a couple of days and drove around the island. We were thinking that maybe the squatter village is home to some of the construction workers, since there is so much building going on. And I did feel bad for those people who live so close to the dump.
We totally loved Isla and love vacationing in Mexico in general. Last year we went to Club Maeva in Tulum, the year beofre that on a cruise to Cabo, Puerta Vallerta and Mazatlan. The Mexican people are nice, friendly and from what I've seen on this trip to Isla, very hard workers. I've been to St. Martin and alot of the other Caribbean islands and they are nice too, but we always come back to Mexico. We are already making plans to come back next year and maybe stay at the apartments above Jax.
Mexico isn't for everyone. Maybe it's because we live so close the border and everything in Phoenix is in Spanish anyway, that is just isn't a big deal. I think every place near the ocean suffers from the same problems due to heat, humidity, sand etc. But, when you look at the broader picture, you're sitting on a beach, with a cocktail in hand, the ocean is turquoise, the water warm, there is no cell phone, email, computer, nagging boss or everyday normal irritants of life, yep, Isla is the way to go. I recommend it highly. Viva Mexico, good luck with your new president!