We stayed at the Avalon Reef Club in Isla Mujeres, MX for a week. We liked it, but it wasn't 100% completed from Wilma yet...I'd say about 60% completed...they are working very hard every day.
We stayed in a 2nd floor studio on the very north end, this was our view out our door.
Getting from the Cancun airport to our resort was a BREEZE, I couldn't believe how smooth it all went since I had no idea how it was going to come together...I saw the Avalon guy outside the airport holding an Avalon sign, the van then took us to the ferry, dropped us off right by the little Avalon desk at the ferry and we got our ferry tickets (round trip). Once on Isla, a guy will wheel your bags to a taxi and the driver will get paid by the hotel. Bring plenty of $1's for tipping (next year I'll bring more).
Note: My husband overheard a lady who wanted to go to Cancun from Isla tell someone to make sure to stand in the Ultramar line for ferry tickets otherwise you'll get the slower boat, (there are two booths just steps away from each other) no refunds.
I must say now, that...YES, the water truly IS that color!!
This is our patio view (the King's bath to the right).
We check in and we were told to have a seat and someone would explain the details of the resort to us...it was informative and she was very nice. At the end of her talk, she invites us to "the breakfast" the next morning (this is when the time share talk is). Thankfully, I had a 'heads up' on this (from reading other reviews)...we politely declined and we were NEVER approached again about time shares.
The staff were very nice and they worked hard...we quickly made friends with the bartenders and servers and tipped them a buck or two every once in a while...mostly all the time because they were so friendly.
This is Enrico "Swavey" as we called him, one of the friendly Avalon bartenders.
The buffet was the only place to get food (outside of the 24 hr room service which we didn't use)...normally we took our food to the beach bar which was right next door. The buffet wasn't big and there wasn't the big selection that we're use to. The food was OK, I especially liked the guacamole (which I ate every day) with pico de' galo (sp) and the green hot sauce mixed in and the fruit was very good. I always found things I liked and I gained weight that week. Oh, the desserts are very delicious too. The Avalon cooked some of the fish the guys caught that day and they were very good.
This is the fish the guys caught on a platter.
This is there catch!
My hubby, proud of his catch.
The beach was awesome, I loved the white sand (which was raked every day) and the clear, shallow water. The thing about the sand, it doesn't get hot, it was always cool on my feet and so soft. I spent a lot of time on that beach and found my favorite thing to do...kayaking! I'm usually pretty squeamish about going into the water by myself...but, I could see every step I took and the bottom was so sandy, I went out by myself all the time (it was so shallow for yards and yards). I even went kayaking by myself...so unlike me but, it was beautiful.
I wish I had a picture of me on the kayak, but here I am far into the water and still only up to my knees.
The King's bath was cool and full of little fish (which we fed bread to) and we snorkeled with them. On that side of the island, the water is rougher, a couple of windy days they put the red flag up so no one was allowed in the Kings bath.
The King's bath.
I swear, you really don't need to pack that much on this island...I wore swim suits all day (one day, I kept it on until bed time) with a cover up and at night I wore a sundress. This is a very laid back place, I even wore my swim suit down town for the day (with a little skirt attached) and saw others doing the same.
Never did get to the disco...so, I can't comment on that. We did go to the lobby bar twice and my husband and friend drank them out of Canadian Mist whiskey. I should mention that I LOVE margaritas, it's my favorite drink. I tried one here at the Avalon and....yuck, I was sad since I planned on having many of those. At the lobby bar, they make them differently, the were much better and a different color, reddish. But, I prefer them in town at Picos and the place where Miguel works...YUMMY! If staying at the Avalon, order a "mudslide"...wow, better than here! Just be careful, it will sneak up on you...I know from experience.
Those were the only two places I've tried the margaritas...they just go down way too quick! Oh, and about down town...I LOVED it! When I was there the first time having margaritas at Miguel's place, I wished then and there that I wasn't staying "all-inclusive". Even after reading posts saying this exact same thing...I needed to see it for myself first, because AI is how we always go. We went downtown almost every night. It has such a festive/laid back atmosphere, something I fell in love with. AND...I wish I brought more money. You DO need to ask if what you're ordering IS 'two for one'...I found that out after the bill came.
I just can't say enough about Miguel, he comes out of his restaurant with open arms welcoming you and escorts us inside on his arm (well, the ladies). I can't remember the name of the place...it sounds like, 'margaritas' I think. We came back the second night and he remembered us as he saw us walking down the street and welcomed us again, the same friendly way. Later on that night, he brought us a round of agave tequila on him...my husband NEVER does shots, but we all did and it was the smoothest tequila I've ever had. Miguel also brought us (the ladies) roses from the flower guy that walks up and down the street. He said he had a special surprise the next night, but we didn't make it into town :(...
Here's Miguel making a special coffee with fire (the fire he's pouring doesn't come out well in the photo)
Also, while down town in the evenings, there were the 3 strolling minstrel guys. Of course they played songs for us and we tipped them for more. They were great, we made friends with them later on in the week...I'll talk about that later.
On Sunday we went to Sergio's for happy hour (I posted this on the board) to meet our friends who were vacationing in Cancun the same week. This is a "must see" place, feet in the sand, water just steps away, people watching, beautiful scenery (including the sunsets), cold beer and good service. I met a couple board members there too...Nancy from MI, her husband, the guy with the Red Wings hat (I'm sorry, I'm terrible with names) and another couple who we later found out liked to sun bathe in the nude.
Note: After hearing someone say that they're a nudest, do NOT ask them to prove it! That photo is not allowed to be posted here.
We had a great time, they lit tiki torches around us as we were there until dark. Our waiter's name was Ever, he was cool...even posed for some pictures with us.
Ever and us at Sergio's
Many buckets of beer, chips, salsa, delicious guacamole later we went into town. Guess where we want to take our Cancun friends? Miguel's place of course!
This guy is the best, we had more drinks and dinner as well. I wish I would have taken a picture of everyone' s food, it all looked good and every one was happy with it. I had a huge bowl of guacamole, well that's what I wanted and I was on vacation. At the end of the evening, Miguel brought out sombreros for the guys and after many cocktails they posed for pictures in them...I don't think I can post them here either.
On Monday, we went to Cancun for the day. We could also go to the Avalon Baccara all-inclusive. A taxi that we took from the ferry was $18US and on the way back it was $12...go figure. It was a small but nice place and it seemed we were the only ones there. We had lunch (Delicious! I can't remember what my dish was called but...YUMM!) and spend most of our time out at the pool (and ...a'hem, pool bar) which overlooked the ocean. I must say, Cancun really suffered a lot of damage from Wilma...more damage than I read about. There was NO beach to be seen where we were, even when we looked over our ledge to the left and right...it was truly unbelievable that there could have been a beach there at one time. Cancun was also bigger than I thought it was so, when I say- I couldn't see beach looking both ways, I couldn't see all the way to each end either, I'm sure there's got to be sand somewhere. The huge hotels...wow, some of them were in very, very bad shape...one had a crack down the middle of it! The staff at the Baccara were great and brought plates of chili nachos for us even though we didn't order it. One of our friends helped the pool bartender with her English homework and she helped us with Spanish. It was a fun day, I've never seen my husband spend so much time in the pool...I think we took it easy that night and didn't go to town either.
Us at the Avalon Baccara's pool looking at the beautiful ocean.
A friend of ours owns condo on Isla and has been there many times. He told us that he would like us to meet a friend of his (who lives on the island) while we were there and he'd show us his condo. We're suppose to meet him at Sergio's at 5:30pm Tuesday. So, my husband and I went and our friends stayed back at the Avalon...BIG mistake on their part! We arrive at Sergio's and order happy hour beers, looking for someone who would seem to be looking for us...felt kinda weird but hey, we've met a lot of very nice people so far. Then I see a guy walking to Sergio's bar and I mention that he looks a lot like our friend...my husband yells out and it's HIM! He surprised us! We completely thought we were suppose to meet his friend...we are still in shock. We have a couple more beers with chips, salsa and delicious guac...yumm. Our friend takes us out for a real sea food dinner at Picos...I had the lobster while eating it with my feet in the sand and the ocean a few feet away...not to mention the very tasty margarita and cervesas. I think the lobster was $20US, but dinner was on our friend and I didn't get prices on anything...it was delicious, LOVED it.
We then venture to Don Cheapo's and more drinks. Our friend is loving life and so are we. A girl approaches me with bracelets to sell...I give her what ever she wants because she's so cute ($2 for one bracelet). ...I did that the first night too ($5 for 3 bracelets). Then the 3 minstrel guys come along and play some songs for us (Pedro, Fransico and Carlos), our friend wants to buy them a round of beers but they say that the beer is bad for the singing voice, but tequila they can have! After the 2nd or 3rd round of tequila, they finally join us at our table. Fransico is trying to teach me a toast....I can't remember how many times we toasted but, I SHOULD know it by now. After a few more rounds we finally part ways and stumble to our homes. But, before that we ended up being in a group photo of ...someones. I would LOVE to see that! We can't wait to tell our friends back at the Avalon what they missed. It was a great night.
We rented golf carts twice during our stay. That's a must do, there's a lot to see. In the research I've done, I've heard a lot of good things about Ciro's golf carts...so, that's where I insisted we go the 2nd time to rent them. We get a big one, "grande" as they called it. All seats face the front and there's a big basket thing on the back for hauling what ever you want (we did haul a case of Sol back to the Avalon for some guys we met staying there...they really like Sol and the Avalon only has Corona on tap). $55 for 24 hours. There was a place to park it at our resort until the next day.
We took MapChick's advice with the golf cart and took the Caribbean route first so we could stop at Playa Launcheros for the famous Tic-n-Xic for lunch on the way back. We parked our golf cart and were warmly greeted by our water and told him that's what we wanted for lunch. He asked us (there were only 3 of us) how many servings we wanted (he showed us with his hands how big each serving would be) and we told him only 2 because it was a "snack"...Oh, and I also ordered the guac...have to have the guac. He comes back with our cervesas and chips, guac, pico (salsa) and some green stuff that smelled spicy. We like spicy so we dumped the whole thing in our guac and YUMM...yep, it had a kick. More cervesas were ordered quickly. When the fish was brought out, we couldn't believe it...there was SO much, we were glad we didn't order 3 servings (it also came with rice, lettuce and tortillas). The guys gobbled up the fish, I guess my expatiation's were set too high...it was just OK for me. I went to use the bathroom and there was that lady I read about. She was selling the toilet paper, so I gave her a buck and used the bathroom. The bill came to just under $40 for the 3 of us...I think we each had 3 cervesas?
Note: When on vacation, we don't keep track of the time OR how many drinks we've had...lol.
...The 2nd time I used the bathroom at Play Launcheros, it was on another day and I really had to go so, we had a golf cart again and wheeled in there. I had some of the left over toilet paper I bought from that same lady and just ran into the bathroom as she was saying, "Tips!" to me and something else in Spanish. I felt odd going there when I didn't buy anything but...oh well, we spent a good amount of money in there already.
Just a tip...while I was there (and since I was staying AI) I forgot where to buy the cheapest beer at the store and we ended up going to the 7 eleven...a 6 pack was $6US, I've later re-read that the Navy store is the way to go. We did pack a small cooler for the golf cart beer and the Avalon filled the rest up with ice for us.
We had to leave very early Friday morning, our flight was at 11:00am and we were told to be at the ferry by 7am. I can't remember what time the first ferry leaves from Isla to Cancun but...I would be worried if my flight was much earlier than that (I've read about someone who had to spend their last night in Cancun because their flight left too early).
My last day...even though it was cloudy, I wanted to soak it all in.
Thank you for reading all of this, I hope it helps someone. We met so many nice people; I just also want to mention the 4 fun Canadian's that we always ran into when we went to town, the two girls from LA staying at our resort that "make their own fun" (I could get in trouble with them...lol), Jeff, the guy who invited our guys to go fishing and his wife Tammy and there were many others. I LOVED Isla and I'll be back next year or the year after that for sure...but, we'll be staying at a place in town.
As WE always say, "Hasta La Bye Bye"