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The Jones Gang, (aka hogfamily), 2010 Isla de la Mujeres Adventures # 5 and # 6.
Most of the time we were at Casa Porlamar we would have breakfast at the Casa and then go swimming at either the beach that is a few hundred yards south of the Casa or the beach that is in front of Colonia Guadalupana. We would eat lunch at the Casa, sometimes have dinner at the Casa, sometimes go downtown, or have dinner at one of the restaurants in Colonia la Gloria.
We really enjoyed staying in Colonia la Gloria. It is a lot more laid back than downtown. The only inconvenience staying on the south end of the island and being away from downtown is not having all the restaurants, bars, etc close by.
Sr. Plu and his taxi was only a phone call away or it was easy to flag down a taxi to go downtown. It only cost us about forty pesos each way. The drivers were almost always willing to let all eight of us go in one taxi; sometimes we had to take two. The money we saved by staying on the south end at Casa Porlamar more than made up for the cost of the taxi rides downtown.
There is a Super Express, several other small stores, a juice store, a tortilla shop, a bakery, and several Mom and Pop restaurants.
We really liked La Bruja, we ate there twice, once with Sr. Pluĺs family and Marcia, (it was great to finally meet Marcia she is a gem). The second time was with MommaDe and family. We also met Jimbo and Karen who were having dinner there the first night we ate there. They are wonderful people.
The welcoming gecko at La Bruja.
Great food, inexpensive, and a great time!
Roberto, Maria, and Rocio.
Some of the local kids that the hoglets hung out with.
It is amazing what a HOLA! can do; from street soccer games to wonderful conversations. Even though our Spanish is limited it did not seem to matter, a smile and hand gestures go a long way.
Sunrise over the Caribbean across the street from Casa Porlamar.
Daysi and Raoulĺs also known as El Charco. Just across the street from La Gloria English School.
We had dinner here a couple of times. It was also great and inexpensive.
Daysi, Raoul, and Pedro.
Another Casa Porlamar sunrise.
Of course we had to go to the Turtle Farm.
Later that day it was to the beach in front of Colonia Guadalupana with a stop at the souvenir stand.
Learning conch blowing.
Then to the beach for some snorkeling and beach combing.
Several people have asked us was it safe to swim at the beaches on the Caribbean side. I can only comment on the beaches that we swam at; the beach a couple hundred yards south of Casa Porlamar and the beach in front of Colonia Guadalupana.
We had learned from the locals that we saw swimming off shore at those beaches that it is safe to swim here in the summer. It is in the winter that they said it can be dangerous and you have to watch the currents. The current runs north along the beach. If you get out too far it can take you away from the island, (we never ventured out that far). The locals that we had talked to say you can feel when you first enter the offshore current so you can avoid it.
Before we let the kids swim at the beaches I would try it out myself to see if I thought it would be safe for them.
If they went out more then above their waist they had to wear their life jackets and even with their life jackets they had to stay close enough to shore that when standing up the water was not above their shoulders. That seemed to be out about 30 feet depending how big the waves were.
We never had any problems other than an occasional reminder not to go out too far.
The beach is sandy with great shell and sea glass hunting. Once you go out into the water it is rocky. You can see the line of sand a few feet out. When the sea is calm the snorkeling is great and there is not too much current. When there is waves the boogie boarding and body surfing is great.
You need to wear wading shoes or flippers if you go out very far because of the rocks.
Later that nightů..Dinner at Miguelĺs Moonlight.
WE LOVE MIGUEL!
Hey! What are you boys doing?
(Iĺm sure they are the first ones to have ever done that).
The pomegranate margaritas were as good as ever, Miguel was wonderful, and the food was great.
WE LOVE MIGUELĺS!!!
Isla Adventures #6
The Jones Gang, (aka hogfamily), 2010 Isla de la Mujeres Adventures # 6
We spent most of the day at Garrafon de Castilla. We all had a great day. There was not too many people, the snorkeling is great, lots of fish that are fun to feed and swim with, the bathrooms are near spotless, great freshwater showers, the restaurant is not too expensive and the food is good, cold beer, and the staff is very friendly and helpful, especially Ruby.
We met several people that read and post on this forum while we were there.
It was $50 MP per person for the day. Snorkel and fins 60 pesos, fish food which is truly worth watching the fish swarm is 10 pesos, lifejacket 20 pesos, just flippers 30 pesos, and there are lockers for rent, (thanks MommDe). (Sorry donĺt know the prices of the lockers).
Water shoes are a good idea if you are just wading. There are some rocky areas and if you walk on the rocky area beyond the piers you could encounter a sea creature that does not like to get stepped on.
They are open 9:00am-5:00pm; the restaurant closes at 4:30pm.
We really like Garrafon de Castilla.
When we were at the souvenir stand at Colonia Guadalupana learning to blow the Conch shells Joseph thought that he would like to have a Conch shell horn. I thought greatůůsomething that makes a loud noiseůůthen I remembered that we could not seem to blow them as well as the people that were trying to teach us. So I told Joseph that if he could learn to blow the Conch shell as well as the people that were selling them he could get one. BIG MISTAKE!
Joseph gets a personal lesson.
Wellůů..Iĺll be darned if he didnĺt learn to blow the Conch horn as well as the people selling them and in just a few minutes. They were impressed; they said that most people donĺt seem to learn to blow the shells very well and never as fast as he mastered it.
Sooooů.Joseph now has a Conch shell hornů..oh goody!......
Several people have asked about the underwater camera that we used.
It is a Vivitar ViviCam 6200W.
When I was looking for an underwater camera most were several hundred dollars. Then I found the Vivitar Vivicams from Hotcamerastore on EBay. The reviews were mixed on them. The biggest complaint was that they leaked. I guessed that the leaking was more then likely human error.
The reason that I picked the Vivitar was that it took the same SD cards that the Canon cameras that we already have use, it uses AA batteries, and it takes video. The price was about $90 USD, which included shipping to Alaska.
I think that it takes decent underwater and above water photos. The water has to be fairly clear. The controls are simple and easy to use. It is 6 megapixels, has a 4X digital zoom that works well, and is supposed to be waterproof to 30 feet, (the deepest I took it was about 10 feet. It came with a good strap that you can attach to your wrist and itĺs long enough to strap to a life vest. The camera does NOT float.
These are above water photos.
It NEVER leaked, (I followed the directions).
The biggest complaint that I have is that it does not have a viewfinder. The display screen (LCD monitor), is hard to see underwater so you have to kind of point it in the direction of what you want to take a photo of, (I have a lot of photos of the front half or back half of fish). Out of the water the screen is hard to see in bright sunlight. You have to hold the shutter down for about a second for it to take a photo. Other then that it works almost as well as our Canons.
For a relative inexpensive water proof camera this one worked well for us.
Speaking of view finders; I would not get another camera without a view finder. We bought a nice Canon that has 12 megapixels with a 6X optical zoom, (24 digital), it takes great photos and has a lot of great features. No view finder though so we could not use it during bright daylight as we could not see the screen. Also the flash recovery is painfully slow. It does take great photos.
We ended up mostly using our Canon that is about four years old. It has a viewfinder and the flash recovery is not too bad, and it takes decent photos.
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