We just got back from our 3rd trip to Isla and I thought I'd write a trip report while I'm still feeling mellow! It was great to leave the bitter cold of Minneapolis and step off the plane to that wonderful heat and humidity that is Mexico. Nothing beats that toes in the sand feeling.
The first night we ate at the new restaurant on Medina, Social Justica because many posters had raved about it. I was not impressed! The owner announced they were closing at 7 pm as soon as we arrived (on a Sat. night?!!) The service was grudging and the food was just O.K. - both hubby and I had garlic grouper and guac'.
Sadly our trip took a bad turn that first night. Hubby caught the "yucatan virus", a nasty form of flu that cleaned out both ends of his poor beleagered body. It lasted for the next 3 days!! Apparently lots of people on the island were getting it. No guac', beer or much of anything for him! As soon as he ate something he became queasy - he was chugging pepto bismol most of the week. Needless to say, this put a damper on things! I made him leave the room for beach chairs at Sergios, but as he curled up into a fetal ball and slept it made it difficult for me to get into the beer, book, beach, swim mode. I ate well on my own, however, by going to the square and buying homemade food from families selling at tables outside the Super. Absolutely outstanding tacos with all the fixings for 10 pesos each! And desserts to die for!
Anyway, the weather was gorgeous, much less rain than last year. It was our first year where carnival wasn't happening and we were surprised at how much quieter the island seemed. We had no trouble getting tables at restaurants or chairs on the beach. Speaking of the beach we had a running arguement over where to park our butts for the afternoon. I much prefer Sergios, for the view and the service. Hubby likes the Carribbean Queen area because the mesh chairs are easier on his skinny behind. I hate the loud thumpa-thumpa music there, so was always pushing for Sergios even though their chairs aren't comfy. One day we found cushions on several of Sergios chairs - whoopee!! Hope this is a new thing they're trying out!
Anyway, our new favorite restaurant is Bally Hoos by the fishing dock. Wonderful food, good atmosphere, great margaritas and comfy, cushioned chairs!! We are darn tired of the little plastic patio chairs everyone has - Bally Hoos is on to something with those cushions! We also loved Elements of the Island for breakfast - excellent homemade bread and jam and crispy bacon with our eggs. We also ate at Faynes (good as usual), Mirimar (good too)and M & J's (wonderful, of course) to name a few.
Instead of renting a golf cart we took the bus (great fun!) to Mundaca's zoo. This was the first year since the hurricane that the gardens were open and they were delightful! Most of the people there never walked back into the garden area and they missed the best part. Best 20 pesos we spent! And riding the bus through the neighborhoods was fun and educational. We walked to Playa Lancheros from Mundaca zoo - it's right around the corner. Looking at the new Palace resort next to Lancheros - I can't believe people are willing to spend big bucks to stay there! The beach isn't great; they have a private beach club with water slides and loud music on one side and Lancheros on the other, plus sea grass throughout the water. Some of their rooms look out over Lancheros bathrooms - how'd you like to get one of those?!
We took a taxi down to Punta Sur one morning and got great pictures of the crashing waves. The mapchick map says the paths down to the water are closed, but that is incorrect. After the little ruin there are steps taking you all the way down to the waves crashing over the rocks - it's very dramatic and beautiful. To the right of the statues is another path going down towards Garrafon - again really beautiful scenery. This is where the water is really turquoise blue. We passed signs saying "private property of Garrafon - turn back" and just ignored them because no one was around. There are caves and big iguanas. So pay the 30 pesos and walk those paths!
We finally took the El Farito snorkelling trip this year and it was awesome! Excellent water clarity and colorful fish we've only seen in Hawaii before. Jose and Joseph from the Coop have a boat called the Sea Angel and they took just us out for the same $200 pesos everyone charges. Jose swam with us and brought up sea urchins and starfish and had us dive down to see losters and eels hiding in the rocks. An excellent value - ask for them at the ferry dock.
So the upside of this trip was we brought lots of money back with us! Why? Because getting sick limits one's alcohol and cigar consumption which means $$$ saved! When we reluctantly boarded the plane home we were tan, relaxed and happy. And to us, that's what Isla is all about!