Hola, This is my first go on this website as when I got back from Isla to post my trip report on isla-mujeres.net I found they closed down the message board. I headed down on Feb 16 early from San Antonio and got a free first class upgrade on Continental which was nice. I used Cancun Valet (third time) and the driver was waiting for me after a short 15 minutes going through customs.
I stayed at Meson del Bucaneros on Calle Hidalgo for the first 3 nights as my favorite hotel, Suites Los Arcos, was booked for the first 3 days of my stay. The staff was great and I have had many great meals their on previous visits. The room - #100 - was unusual in that it was a split level. Bottom floor had a small double bed, kitchen table, nice tv, ceiling fan, air and fridge and the upstairs area had a second double bed which I did not used as it was just myself. Cost was $60/night tax included. The room overlooked Hidalgo, but was quiet with no street noise.
I spent most of my time on Playa Norte during the day where I found that to rent a lounger and umbrella for the day it was MP80/$US8 which was an increase over the $6 I paid last July. The beach was in good shape and has not really suffered from the hurricane with the exception of a small lake formed by Buho's bar and a jetty that juts out now from the beach in one area. I took advantage of the Buho's beach bar happy hour special and especially enjoyed the pina coladas. I also met friends of a friend of mine at NaBalam each day for their happy hour at 3-5 which was good as well.
After 3 days, I moved over to Suites Los Arcos, room #3, which had a queen size bed, air, ceiling fan, safe, fridge and was quite nice. $70/night tax included and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in on my trips to Mexico.
Weather: Excellent - 85 and sunny during the day and mid 60s at night. The only rain I had was my last day when I was going to the airport. I have previously been down in June/July and will never go back then after enjoying the perfect weather in Feb. It was a bit more crowded which was a benefit in many ways when perusing the topless Euro gals on Play Norte!
Food: Went to Alexia and Giovanni loncheria based on advice from the other website and I will have to say it was fantastic. I ate there 3 times and the loncheria San Miguel right next to it once. The chuleta de Yucateca was really good - Yucatan style pork chops with rice, salad and frijoles; about $4 with a Coke. I also hit Rolandi's and had their lasagna once which I really like and also Pepe's Pizza to go which I got on my return to the hotel from the beach several nights. 2 large pieces for about $2.50. I had the motulenos at Alexia once as well which was really good. Also stopped at the chicken rotisserie and had a half chicken, frijoles, spaghetti, peppers, onions and a beer for $4.50. Did not make it to M&J's for a cazuela which I have had on previous occasions.
Road Trip: My friends from Minnesota were in Cancun and came over on Sunday and we got a golf cart to tour the island and stopped at Playa Lancheros for the obligatory tix-n-xic which was great as usual. We stopped in at Big Jim's happy hour and really enjoyed his and Carmita's hospitality. They have a beautiful house and I am quite envious. For dinner my friends and I went to Cocteleria Picus which is my favorite for seafood. I had a medium shrimp cocktail for about $4 which was huge and the lobster for $20 which was great as always. One of my friends also had the lobster and the other the fish Veracruz that I sampled which was also very good. I think the word is out on this place as we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table on a Sunday night at 6 and they closed the place around 8 with people still waiting in line. When we were travelling the island our golf cart broke down by the turtle farm and luckily we got a cab pack to Pepe's to return it and of course it was there last cart. He tried to only return $35, but we had paid $45 for a large cart for the day, but had the receipt and got it all back. I tried to get him to pay for our $5 cab ride and he said we own $12 for the first hour of the rental so we left it at just getting our money back. Most of the carts were sold out by mid morning, but we got a cart at I believe Isla rentals or Caribbean Cart rental? Not sure, but it was a couple blocks off the street where the ferry docks for $40 for the day.
Road Trip #2 - Went to Cancun to visit my friends who had come over to Isla. I am not into the Cancun scene that much at all as it reminds me of Las Vegas without the gambling, but bought a day pass at the Riu Cancun where my friends stayed and will have to say it is the nicest hotel I have ever seen in Cancun. They had a great suite, all inclusive for $288/night, mini bar, fridge full of beer, etc. Had a great lunch there and enjoyed the pools. That being said, I will take Isla any day over Cancun and it would be difficult to convince me to stay there for free.
Night Life - Took it somewhat easy this trip, but got a little borracho a few nights at Fayne's and La Pena. Lots of younger Euro travelers were on the island having a good time. Met people from Austria, Germany, Spain, Israel, Brazil, England, Australia, Italy, France and a lot of Minnesotan's!
Adios: Headed back on Friday the 25th, muy triste (sad). Always bummed out when I leave, but got to the airport and through customs with no problem and another first class upgrade which helped the transition back to reality. Got into Houston around 7:15 and customs was empty; maybe took 15 minutes. Definitely my favorite vacation place. Am meeting family in Hawaii in November and am going to Costa Rica later this year to play poker and surf, but am already thinking about my next Isla trip next February!