Trip Report Part 1 ľ
Day 1 - Wednesday
This is the first part of a 14 day trip to Isla, August 3rd ľ 17th. As part of our 30th wedding anniversary, my husband John and I have been planning on bringing our children and spouse/friend to Isla for the first week and then have the second week to ourselves. All of our children had been to Isla once before, but not all at the same time or with the same people.
Our oldest daughter, Kirstyn and her husband (then fiancÚ) Raffy were with us back in 2008 as were our youngest daughter, Tera and our oldest son, Kevin.
This year Tera brought her boyfriend, Andrew.
Our middle daughter, Kate came with a friend, for college graduation, in 2009.
Kevin brought Taylor (my almost son) that he has been friends with since middle school. Our youngest son, John E was with us last year but did not come on this round.
So as you can see, there were a bunch of us, nine total. We were pretty hard to miss going around the island this year. The restaurants were very happy to move tables, rearrange other guests when they saw us coming!
John and I got up at 4:15 to head for Detroit Metro Airport on that Wednesday morning. We flew American Airlines to Miami where we met up with Kirstyn, Raffy and Kevin. We all flew on the same AA flight to Cancun. Of course, they were already drinking when we found them in Miami. This thread is pretty consistent all the way through the upcoming week. We had lunch at The Islander (airport), which as quite good. I had dolphin fingers. This concerned me as dolphins donĺt have arms, but I found they were quite good!
Tera, Andrew and Taylor came on a later flight but it was a non-stop (John found these AFTER our flights had been scheduled). They arrived about an hour after us into Cancun. Kate, flying from Denver, arrived an hour after them. We met the other flyers from Detroit at baggage. Once we left immigrations, we left Kevin and Taylor, at the bar outside the exit, beer in hand, to wait for Kateĺs flight.
We used USA Transfers for the big group and Best Day for the trailing three. With 2 Baileyĺs caramel in one hand for an island resident and what looked like A LOT of luggage to the average backpacker, we arrived at Puerto Juarez and got on the ferry with cervesas in hand. (Comment ľ AA allows one free 50 lb bag and one carry on per person flying internationally.)
I thought this was a cool picture! (creative rules apply when itĺs your trip report)
The children, know the drill for traveling to Isla with me, had been laden down proportionately with things for LGES, LYSH, Isla Animals, the bead coop, island friends, etc.
We looked like we were traveling for a month! We truly took full advantage of the luggage rules on this one.)
I always love this picture, except when we are leaving!
We were meeting phase two at Bally Hooĺs for snacks. They were really busy when we arrived. We ordered guacamole, chips and pico and fish fingers/fries (and drinks, of course) while we waited.
In the meantime, the crowd diminished a bit so when the stragglers appeared we were able to add another table to our seating for Kate, Kevin and Taylor.
Another round of food and drinks and catch up on travel stories we decided to grab taxies for our ride to Punta Piedra I.
Before we left the table, the first drama of the week (the only other ôdramaö being the golf cart saga) began when Taylor got up to reach for the ôDiablo sauceö or devil sauce. The green sauce in this picture!
If you have never tasted the Diablo sauce at Bally Hooĺs, it is worth the experience. You may never do it again, but you will now know what truly hot means. Back to Taylor, he stood up and had the sauce in his hand when his chair fell over from the weight of his backpack. When he went back to sit downů..yep, you guessed it! Diablo sauce on his face, all around his eye (thank goodness none in the eye, or we would have been on the next ferry back for the hospital) his arm and leg! Needless to say, Taylor could still feel the burn on his skin three days later!
THREE taxies later, we managed to get people and luggage to the house (hanging out of open trunks) and in laps.
John and I had stayed at this house the previous August for a few days and just loved it. Planning for this summer (which always starts before we leave from the present trip) we had decided we would rent the whole house.
Four separate bedrooms with small kitchenettes on the main floor with a pool right outside the sliding doors.
Upstairs the apartment has two bedrooms with a full kitchen/living area upstairs. We could have fit another two people in the extra bedroom upstairs but we had all the kids downstairs and us up.
The neighbors might not have appreciated all the kid noise so much but we asked the children to keep the noise down after 10PM. Most nights they were in town enjoying the nightlife there. We just had to scrape them out of their rooms in the morning, keep the coffee coming and smile!
A swim in the pool for everyone, more drinks later, we decided we would take taxis in to Brisas Mexicana on Hildago.
Sorry, not a great picture, but itĺs on the corner across from Momma Rosaĺs.
Honestly, I think they have the best arrancherra on Isla whether it is fajitas or an entrÚe! Pictures include arrancherra fajitas, alfredo, mayan fish, and arrancherra.
We actually felt bad for one couple who were re-tabled so they could fit us all together. They were very nice about it though.
We also saw Tim and Patti (Mickeyĺs Dog) that night and again the next day! We were a bit hard to miss. We had met them on our trip with the first round of children in 2008. On that visit, we were staying at Playa Almendros with the Hogfamily across the pool and Tim and Patti were at PP1. That was the first time we had thought about renting a house. This visit they were staying at Almendros and we were at PP1.
Very tired from all the traveling we stopped and got pastries from the couple on the end of Hildago, yum(!) for the morning. P.S. Their pastries come out of the back of a small truck, which some would worry about, but are WAY better than the SuperExpress.
We settled in upstairs while the kids caught up on each otherĺs lives by the pool!
Day 2 ľ Thursday - Our first full day on Isla!
We had pastries and coffee/tea by the pool while everyone got up and moving. We did a lot of pool time over this week and it was a wonderful communal time for everyone to relax and enjoy family!
Some of us had more difficulty waking than others! Not everyone is a ômorning personö!
Taxis to A&Gĺs for breakfast, (note to self, the taxi drivers do NOT know what ôA&Gĺs is. You have to say loncherios en el centro, I thinků.) but we all got there.
The ôownerö I donĺt know her name and the young woman (Alexia?) recognized John and I immediately! I tried, in my horrible Spanish, to tell her that this was my ôfamiliaö and we were here to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Fortunately, my daughter and her husband are Spanish fluent, so they filled in the blanks when they saw looks of confusion. The older woman was so funny, calling for tequila for everyone! It was 9AM! She is here in white (last yearĺs picture).
Kirstyn and Raffyĺs friends on their honeymoon, came to Isla on their recommendation! They WILL be back!
When we went to order, the younger waitress said some of the kids looked familiar, staring at Kevin! My Spanish is bad, but his is worse, a lot worse than mine. When he had been on Isla before, he was 17, eating like a horse and quickly learned the phrase ômore rice and beans, pleaseö!
Some things just donĺt change!
ôAlexiaö at that time, 2008, found his Spanish to be very funny, his smile pleasant, and his ability to eat huge quantities of food amazing! I was not surprised that she recognized him.
Chilliquilles verdes, scrambled eggs with ham, pancakes and bacon and ham and cheese omlettes were fabulous, as always.
We wandered the market with the kids,
went and saw Hortensia for cover-ups for the girls while the men went for drinks to put in the coolers for our day at Avalon. Hortensia was, wonderful as always.
Two of us got pre-made cover-ups, we ordered a couple and wandered through the other market stalls, visiting with Marieĺs mother and sister-in-law Marcie.
Here is Hortensiaĺs grandson. Last summer he was swinging in a hammock. This year he is all boy!
I saw Rosie later in the week but this day the granddaughters were at home.
Off to Avalon for the day, coolers in hand, we had a great time. The kids snorkeled here and there, we played ball and drank and talked. There were many locals and their families that day relaxing in the sun. Kevin and Taylor wandered off to find someone to take them diving for a day. It was a great day.
Back to Hortensiaĺs to pick up the other cover-ups, and
then we stopped for a late lunch at Qubano! Vivian was wonderful as always. We met one of her grandchildren
And the food was fabulous.
A wonderful sauce for the sandwich with plantain instead of bread! It is to die for!!!! You have to try it.
Taxis vs. carts for nine people was a back and forth discussion. After taxis to the house, back to dinner, back to the house, back in for breakfast, and so onů.we decided after the first day that three taxis per trip (and hassle) were not advantageous to our situation. We rented two carts for four days at Ciroĺs.
We stopped at the store for supplies andů.. back to the pool.
The black dog tagged us upon arrival as a ôsuckerö for a cute face and four legs. The kids named him Pedro. We later found out that he belongs to the owners of PP1 and his name is Bowser!
He responded to Pedro! Maybe it was the dog treatsů..
Later we wandered over to see Jimboĺs place and make a delivery of Baileys. We had seen his rental last year when they were still in the process of installing AC, etc. Since then they have updated the interior with a fresh coat of paint. It is truly beautiful! And the view from the deck is fabulous! Someday we will actually get to rent his place and sit and enjoy that view!
For dinner we went to Pizza Rock. Hildago was much more crowded than we expected! Pizza Rock was full and we had to wait for 20 minutes to get a table to seat all of us.
Yes, Kevin is using the oil and vinegar bottle inappropriately. Sometimes, you just have to shake your head and laugh with everyone else!
I think at least one person got enchilada suizas in every place we ate. All were good. Some got better reviews than others.
While we wandered around I asked one of the familiar faces at Brisas Mexicana (this guy used to be the front man on the street at Faynes, Angeloĺs and the Cuban restaurant) about Sergio, the man that makes the batiks. Sergio does beautiful batiks to order and sits on an old white electrical spool at the end of Hildago by the cemetery. He told me he was out of town and didnĺt know when he would return.
Last year we had Sergio make Ixchel, the fertility god, turtles, a frog and a barracuda for us. My daughter, Kirstyn, wanted another Ixchel for Raffyĺs sister and my niece wanted an elephant.
Long story short, we found him the next day and placed our order. Seems that he was not out of town but had had a surgical procedure and had been in the hospital and recovering.
The Ixchel god was beautiful! He made me two batiks of elephants, one with a single elephant and one with two.
He will make just about anything you ask for. If he canĺt make it, heĺll tell you. The last two years, when we have requested something specific, we have paid him in advance. This gives him the money to get the materials he needs. And maybe a cervesa as well!
After a busy first day, we headed of to the house ready for another beautiful day on Friday!
Day 3 ľ Friday
Pastries from the Super Express and fruit and OJ from the market. Pre-breakfast by the pool. We fed our resident iguanas and searched for sea glass.
The sea glass hunting is awesome in this areaůů
Love this rock!
Add a dip in the pool,
A little humor, via Kevin (who is 6ĺ3ö and wearing a shirt for a 7 year old)ů
Itĺs all good!
Today was a cart day around the island.
First stop, Punta Sur. $30 pesos each and always worth the money.
Another ôlaugh with the crowdö moment by mom!
Kevin imitating the iguana.
HOT, HOT, HOT! The lighthouse is now closed, which was disappointing but they have added what looks like satellite or maybe weather forecasting equipment to the top?
Some new statues, wood fencing is now painted blue,
and we actually were able to jump in the water down the side close to Garraffon. Weĺve never been able to do that before! No turtles this time bud did see some big barracuda.
and my girls!
From there we were going to stop for the ôfamilyö picture on the coast before Garrafon where you can see Cancun in the backdrop but there must have been 15 carts with people doing the same thing so
we traveled on to El Publito. Had cervesa and quacamole, a pina colada, fish cerviche (which was fabulous)!
We met a couple from New York, Jim and Donna, on a day trip from Cancun. They took a really nice picture of all of us.
Next stop was the Bottle Island with Rikki and Inga. They were coming back from a shopping trip and offered us a tour for $50 pesos each. What a really cool experience! Kevin, Taylor, Andrew, Kirstyn and I jumped on the boat.
We took lots of pictures!
The oven. We had a piece of his cake that was quite good. I think he said it took two days to bake.
Next stop was the Turtle Farm. We had been under the impression that only the inside was open but they did have some larger and special needs turtles in the outside pens. There were A LOT of eggs in the waiting pens and lots of babies inside! $30 pesos each.
One of the staff actually let us hold some of the painted turtles outside by the ticket counter.
From the Turtle Farm we wandered over to Playa Loncherios for lunch. Two orders of fish, chicken nachos, enchilada suizas (one of the best we had)
and 10 Coco Locos for the kids! $138 USD which included, again, a lot of drinks. Really not bad for 9 people and an afternoon of fun.
The nurse shark this year was larger, maybe 5-6 feet long. We missed holding it though as, as soon as the daytrippers left on their boats, the staff fed him and closed the exhibit!
We headed home through the Colinias. They have built a beautiful new Catholic Church next to the bead coop. Pictures of the bead coop and the church to come in the next report.
The bead coop has a ton of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, purses many in new styles. We brought our donations, some pictures from last year, shades for one of the children and of course made our share of purchases.
We stopped at the Super Express in La Gloria, got a menu from Bastos and stopped for pastries at the blue house panneria in the colinia for tomorrowĺs pre-breakfast.
Back at the house, Bowser now has a couple of friends with him, looking for treats.
Named Peach and Toad by the kids, they would wander in and out. Bowser, on the other hand, I swear could hear our carts coming! It was comical to see him running down the street, back end wagging out of control before we even hit the driveway! He really played Tera to his fullest extent for the week.
Kevin bought some Cuban cigars, he was kind enough to share at the ôotherö end of the pool.
For dinner we went to Monchiĺs.
We had heard mixed reviews but found everything to be very good. We had arrancherra burritos, tacos and Kirstyn had a burrito that included pork rinds. Canĺt remember the name of that one.
We asked for some beans
First time we have not gotten black beans on the island. They were good.
This dip for the bread was really good!
The staff was very nice and one young lady had very good English. Dinner total was $130 USD.
The kids headed into town and Hildago for awhile. Another wonderful, and hot, day under our belts.
Part 2 ľ TBA
M&Jĺs, Sergios, we meet Felipe and his family, the bead coop and the random horse along the side of the road.
Thanks for reading!