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Vacation Journal
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Kansas City to Isla... the 7-11 report

By: KCBrowns (View Profile)
Date: 3/9/2010

2/20 - 2/27 and 2/27 - 3/3/10

Ill explain the title later. We are blessed to have the best neighbors. Our back yards back up to each other so we cut a hole in the fence and put in a gate to keep from walking around the block just to go visit each other. Ralph and Ellen are great to hang out with.

We were hanging at their pool one day last year and they were planning their yearly trip to some place tropical. Last year was Jamaca, the year before Isla, the year before that Playa De Carmen. This trip would have them planning on returning to Isla due to their overall impression of the island and great time they had there. They usually travel with one or more couples of life long friends they have, but this year due to the economy and job changes they were unable to go so it was just the four of us planning this trip. A first for Lisa and I.

We started planning about 160 days out and the time sure flew by. Before we knew it we were down to double digits then 20DTG (days to go) then 10... then it was... "WERE LEAVING TOMORROW"...

We booked a 7am flight out of KC on a non-stop flight with Frontier Airlines. That got us to CUN at 10:30 and on the island by 1pm. Basically by getting up at 4am and heading to the airport we were able to enjoy a nice, almost full day in Isla our first day there.

We get off the ferry and on suggestions from this site we hire bike guys to get the luggage to Sea Hawk for our stay. Sea Hawk is a "okay" place to stay. $75/night (more than you could be elsewhere in this economy) got you a basic room with refrigerator and AC. Nice enough and clean. The only down side: NOISE. They operate a dive shop out of there so from 10am to 3-4pm there is that noise to deal with... no siesta. Then the girl that watches the place while the guys are out diving has her kids show up from school until she leaves about 5pm... NOISE... no siesta. Like I said, nice enough, but Id not stay there again, not now that I know what else is available and what prices to expect.

We unload, unpack as best we can without having any closet or dresser space to use. Get the trunks on and head down the road to North Beach. What a way to end the day. Warm sun, beer, friends, and sunset. Then we return to the room, dress and head out on the town starting at Jax, then welking down the water front street stopping at the occasional bar and one of us would name a drink and we all drank one and left. We had some terrible margaritas, really good mohitos, and other libations we forgot.

After this to be serious and not butcher the whole report... I cant remember what night we ate where, partied where, or what not so Ill give some highlights and hope you enjoy.

One night we wanted fish so we tried Velasquez. It was late ~8:30ish so that may have been the factor, but if you cant handle the business let the customer know so they can make other choices. The food was marginally worth the price, throw in the two hour wait, lack of beer selections, shortage of other beverage choices, etc... we were very let down. The worst experience of the week. Others have voiced the fact that they are a fan of the place so maybe Ill try again some day, but one thing is for sure... I wont wait 2 hours for a fish dinner again drinking skunk beer.

More often than not we ended up at Miguels to let things go and have a great time. We were never disapointed there. Great atmosphere and prices. If not for the live music I doubt theyd be nearly as fun or gather near as large of a loyal crowd. One evening we stopped by Faynes for drinks and to listen to the music there. Great time, but Ellen got pissed at the waiter behind the bar because he wouldnt make her coffee. It wasnt that he said he couldnt... hed say he was going to and not do it. She went next door and bought her own coffee and ordered a Baileys shot, the next round... still NO coffee. We left and didnt tip the jerk after asking for coffee three times over an hour time span.

We ate a couple of meals Miguels and the quality was very good as well as the prices. They run a good business there and deserve the loyalty that they have from customers. Great service and we always showed our appreciation with a huge tip due to the slow season this year.

Down from Sea Hawk there is an open air market with eateries on the west side. We ate breakfast there three mornings with great results. Great food, good prices, and good service. We loved the fresh juice and usually went inside the market to buy it from the same juice lady and kept it in the fridge in the room. I guess we probably drank .5 gallon of juice daily.

One day there was what we called "road kill" in one of the stalls inside the market. You could see the skull, but I couldnt determine what it was. Cusomers would come up and you could tell theyd ask for specific parts cause hed sort through the carcas to find a liver, stomach or what ever piece they wanted and put it in a little bag or make them a taco out of it. One day Ralph and I got brave and ordered some too, but you could tell the guy gave us choice peices of meat since we were gringos and probably didnt want to gross us out. It was a nice adventure. Gret people in that market. The banos cost 5 pesos btw.

I got up earlier than the others usually so Id walk the water front on the Cancun side. I loved it. Took a few pictures of the fishermen cleaning the catch and such. One late morning I stopped at Bally Hoo for some great ceviche and beer... YUMM. Great service and the food was okay. We did eat dinner there one night all ordering the fish and chips... not impressed, but they were getting slammed with only one guy on the floor, but things were taken care of in a timely manner, drinks refilled, food came quickly, etc. I felt sorry for the guy bacause he was literally RUNNING at times to get everyone taken care of. Again... huge tip.

One evening Lisa was feeling down so the three of us took our cart and headed to find Raul and Dysies (Charcols), but they were closed... so this must have been Monday. We instead went over to Mango Cafe and it was late. She only had chicken left, but it was good and the servings were huge and the quality was above par. We drank the dark-n-storming brew she makes and it was good too. The one thing that bugged me was one customer, an older lady, had her dog in the place. Thats gross. Then the inconsiderate lady had the dog tethered to her chair back and the dog wanted outside so the leash was constantly in the way of the folks trying to take care of customers. Totally inconsiderate moron. It was a rainy night so we had a soggy ride back to the room. We turned in sort of early after that. Long days. Early this day we had headed down to Garrifon de Castilla for some swimming and snorkeling... GREAT VALUE. Pepe is a great waiter, constantly checking on us and taking care of our needs... another huge tip. Great guy and very personable.

We returned to Garrifon DC one other day via taxi and our experience was the same... great time and a good value. I think for the four of us to eat, drink, swim, and get some sun maybe we spent $700 pesos.. not bad. On this day we also walked down to view Hotel La Joya... impressive place on the side of a hill, great rates, view, and room quality. Well be staying there someday, but I dont know when.

The weather: It was ever changing, but better than we could have been dealing with in KC. We only had one day that was a wash... maybe Tuesday. See... you forget. If you plan on a report... write it down. Tueday I believe it rained... or was it Monday. Anyway we all went our own ways shopping and eating and of course drinking. We hooked up later than night and headed into town to party some more... where?... I dunno... There were a couple of days that the wind was so terrible that staying on the beach was not an option. Horrible sandblasting experience if you did. We did learn that if it is coming from the north head to one of the southern beaches and of course if it is from the south head to North Beach... of course it only came from the south one day.

Overall... we had a great time. That island makes you relax and enjoy life more. We, Lisa and I, are already planning our return trip in October 2010 for another 11 days. Oh yea... the 7-11 title.

Heres what happened. All week Lisa and I would chat about the possibility of staying longer, but couldnt get the airline on the phone to check the change fees. As the week wore on we decided we needed to go home and get back to business. Saturday at the airport we get to the ticketing counter to find out the flight was overbooked. We discussed it quickly, told them of our requirements of trasport back to Isla and went on voluntary standby. When you do this you have to act like youre still going... all the same procedures everyone else it going to and even go to the gate as if youre leaving. About halfway through boarding I go up to the girl at the gate desk and tell her, "Im on voluntary standby... when will I know if Im going?".... "Oh.. youre Mr. Brown... youre not going and Ill take you down stairs after we get everyone on the plane. YIPPEEE!!! They were great getting us back through customs and everything... think about it... at the gate youve basically already "left" Mexico so now we have to re-enter. They made quick work of it, gave us $800 in travel vouchers (October baby) and a real nice private care back to the port.

When we got back to Isla I left Lisa at some bar close to the peir, and headed to Maria Del Mar... I had talked to them earlier in the week and found that they have tower rooms for $50/night. Deal!! So we got an extra four days... get it... we went for 7... stayed for 11... 7-11.

Great trip and thanks to all the regular posters on the board... the knowledge gained here really made the trip even more of a blast.

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