I am very hesitant to write this trip report because unlike the majority of you all, our experience was not the best. I will tell my story , with my opinions, and hopefully it will be allowed with minimal backlash!
We arrived very late at night on the 23rd. I would consider this to be our first mistake. I think everything about our flight, the airport in Cancun, it was all great, but actually coming to Isla in the dark for the first time...not such a good idea.As we got off the ferry, tired, lost, and confused, we waited in line for a taxi. There was a nice man there who asked if we wanted a taxi, and where we were staying. We said yes, at the Posada Del Mar. He laughed at us and said that the hotel is only 3 blocks away. Feeling slightly foolish, we got out of line and started walking. It was not far at all, but lugging our bags wasnt exactly what I was in the mood for,but we made it. The clerk at the front desk spoke little English, as we speak almost no Spanish it was a long 20 minute check in. We went up to our room looked around and I have to say now that you get what you pay for.
I think things in general on the isla look much better on the internet than in person.
The next morning we went to Color De Verano for breakfast. I ordered the fruit & granola and was very dissapointed that it came with no granola. I didnt say anything as I thought I had misread the menu but I am sure I have seen pictures posted here that showed it came with it. The young lady who works there was very nice, and I am sorry I cant remember her name, but she answered some of our questions and let me use the computer to email our kids. I had arranged with Verizon before we left the coverage so the kdis could call us and we could call them. We could not use our phones there, and thus began the daily trip into town to call the kids. We got a telemex calling card, and I cant wait to see the hidden charges that will be on my next months bill ! (Hope Im wrong about that!)
We went to the beach right across the street from the hotel for the day and it was very nice. We met a couple from England and a couple from Oregon.We went to Sunset grill for dinner, it was just okay. I orderd the crab ravioli and almost every bite had crab shells in it.The service was great and everyone was very nice.
Spent the next day at Sergios and had dinner at Pinguinos- just another okay meal.
Monday we did the time share presentation at Avalon for a golf cart for 10$ for two days.It was interesting , although completely unaffordable and we told them that from the beginning. I do think Avalon is the most beautiful and well kept place on the island. They told us that the stone house next to them was Jacques Custeaus house, is that really true? Off to get the golf cart, then checked out of the Posada and on to Casa Carolina. We met Drew the property manager. He is from Canada and a very nice man. Marcella was our greeter and she showed us all through the Casa.The whole place had that "shut up" smell, because I guess it had been, so when they left we opened everything up and aired it out. It was fine after that, but occasionally we would get an unpleasent odor out of the bedroom air conditioner. It was located on the bathroom wall. Enough said.
We went to Playa Lancheros for the Tix n Xic fish. Andy loved it, I thought it was just ok, great strawberry daq's.
We went to the Express market and got plenty of supplies.My favorite product there was a hair product called Gorilla Snot! I thought what a great marketing job that was to kids!
Tuesday was dinner at Rolandis. This was the first meal that I have to say tasted good to me. I had the #7 pepperoni pizza, and Andy had the mixed fish soup. He absolutely loved it. I had to ask him to please submerge the purple squid thingy under the water as it was grossing me out, so he just picked it up and ate it. Gross. He thought it was hilarious.
The service here was very good and the people very friendly.
Wednesday was Picus for dinner. I had the garlic shrimp and Andy tried their mixed fish soup. The soup was awful he said and mine was good but they were both so salty! Very friendly here and good service also.
Not really seeing much island time type of service here, everything was very timely, and we sooned realized we were to ask for the check instead of waiting for them to bring the check.
Thursday was Andys birthday and he wanted more fish soup. I said bring on the pizza, so it was back to Rolandis. Again everything very good and just a nice place to eat.A must here for dessert is the Cocnut ice cream with Kahluha. YUM!!
Friday we ate at Angelos and we both ordered pizza. It was just not very good. The serivce was great though and it is a very nice place to sit looking out toward the street and people watch.The whole street was buzzing with people, and it was our first night on Hidalgo street. Lots of fun.
Saturday we went on a snorkeling trip with Javier. Well actually it was supposed to be with Javier who we met ont he beach, but actualy it was with some other guy we had never met. We showed up on time and Javier said to wait and talk with the other couple going on the trip while he tried to get another couple to come. I didnt like this because we were told it would be leaving and we just had to sit and wait with no shade around. He told us he would be right bakc. Then this guy out of no where says okay lets go. We were all feeling pretty uneasy about this, thinking Javiers trip was being taken by someone else and we kept asking where is Javier. Oh they said this is a co- op and Javier just gets the people to come on the trips, he never takes them out. Sorry, but I dont like being lied to.
We went on the trip, and David did a great job, but besides the sea water we swallowed it left a bad taste in my mouth.
The other couple we snorkled with were very nice. Mike and Lisa it turns out, live about 5 minutes from us in Tukwila Washington! We had a nice trip and then our boat ran out of gas on the way back and we had to get towed in by another boat.All in all it was worth the 20$ per person that we paid and we saw far too many barracuda for my taste. We fed the fish by holding a banana under the water and that was really cool until they started biting your hand! They were beautiful , but I did prefer the snorkeling we did in St Martin over this trip.
We went to Brisas del Caribe for a late lunch and had fish tacos. I ordered a strawberry Daq and it was really good. I hesitated on ordering another as I had watched the bartender make the first. He made a large pitcher and poured the rest into a glass and set it on top of the bar. As he was making the next, he picked up the glass and poured it into the blender for the next one. Gross. Then he didnt even give us a written bill, just said he thought 21$ would cover it. He acted as though he had been drinking and just wasnt the nicest guy around.We paid the money and left knowing we would never go there again.
We went to Faynes for dinner, and this was my best meal on island. I had the rib eye steak and lobster. It was great, but the real find was their strawberry daqs- the best we had hands down!
While we were sitting there Carl & Jill from TTOL came in and sat next to us ! It was great to finally meet up with them and they took us to Miguels Moonlight Bar for drinks afterwards. This is a great place and Miguel- what a charmer! Apparently it is always two for one drinks there with the Mojito being their specialty, and I had never had a Mojito,so there you go...Mojitos around, except for Andy who had beer.We talked and talked...I definitly like Mojitios....and then came Miguel with these shooters of I am not sure exactly what. He comes up to me , slams this thing infront of me and tells me to drink it ..NOW! It was tequila, grenandine and sprite?? Anyway it of course gives you that warm fuzzy feeling and life is good at that point.
We had a great time, thanks Carl & Jill!
Sunday both of us were not feeling well. Was it the fish tacos'or the swallowed sea water? We will never know! We were supposed to meet Carl & Jill at 4 for happy hour, but couldnt make it until 5. They were gone and alas no happy hour because of the elections. We left and headed back to Rolandis for the #7 and fish soup. This time Andy decided to get the fried calamari for an appetizer and he loved it, I just turned my head.......
Monday and its time to get going. We were looking forward to a relaxing morning but because of a communication error we did not realize we were to be checked out by 11:00. The maid came, we asked if she could come back later, then the manager came, and he said it was okay to stay till 1:00, but then Marcella came , and insisted that we basically get out. I understand that it was my error, but three "visitors" on your last morning that you thought you would have to yourselves was not a very pleasant experience. So we said goodbye to our glorious view and packed up and got out.
We returned the golf cart, and went to wait for the ferry. I went to the bank to get change for my 100$ bill. They refused saying they would only give me Pesos. It didnt matter that we were leaving, and they werent very nice. I know they had the money because there were several people in line in front of me that had wads of USD . If I knew they wouldnt help me I woul have asked those people. The people in line behind me while having USD in hand would not help me either. Nice.
We got on the ferry and waited on the other side for our transfer from Best Day. They were great both ways, and right on time...I would highly reccommend them .I had heard horror stories of the Cancun airport of how crowded it is, and so on, but we thought it was very nice. We were surprised when we got called to board the plane and it wasnt even there yet. It was 30 minutes late, so you can visualize 2/3rds of the plane running to make the connecting flight in Dallas.They were kind enough to hold our plane for us and we were off.
Okay thats pretty much just the facts, now onto the observatiosn.......
We found the isla to be very dirty, almost everywhere, and sad amounts of trash. I dont know if the trash is from the locals or the tourists, either way it is just plain wrong and gives a very bad impression.
We would be driving along in the golf cart and be hit with disgustingly foul smells throughout the island. Was it garbage? dead fish? some kind of vegetation? We have no idea, but several places we learned to hold our breath until we passed by.The stench of sewage in the downtown area would hit you like a brick.
The driving on isla was much better than in St Martin, and the taxi drivers tooting their horns saying they are coming around was appreciated as the rear view mirrors on the golf carts arent the best. The golf carts do not go very fast, and thats okay because who is in a hurry? ( besides the taxi drivers !)
It really angered me to see whole families driving around on their scooters . All the adults would usually have helmets on, but the kids, and even babies were completely unprotected!
There was a large encampment of shacks, barely shacks really, and I just could not imagine how those people are surviving in the heat under those terrible conditions. We were told they are from the mainland protesting the election, ad that when it was over it would be bulldozed. I dont know if that is true or not, but even so what an awful way to live.There was quite a bit of work done on a large building next to it, and there were signs up but we couldnt read them, so we are hoping it is some kind of public assistance housing.
We felt like we were ripped off more than a few times by establishments or merchants. Our lesson learned on knowing more about the local dollar/peso/whatever!
The food as a whole was very dissapointing to me.Maybe we chose the wrong places, I dont know. I never send anything back in a restaraunt, not even here in the states, I just dont go back, but I did have to say I was not impressed.
The cleanliness in the restaraunts , not all, was icky. I watched the bartender at Sergios actually taste my banana daq before serving it to me. I just kept telling myself there was lots of alcohol in it..........another server had his finger in my drink. I lost ten pounds. I ate alot of tostios chips and conqueso dip from the grocery store.
In the end while things in town rarely seemed to work out well for us, our casa was really great! It is beautifully decorated, and very comfortable. The beds were hard, but who wants to stay in bed all day? The view was amazing , and several days we saw schools of dolphins feeding . The pool was nice and the grounds well kept. If you rent this you need to know there are geckos that live in the house, and iguanas that live in the yard. I am not creeped out by reptiles, and was almost thankful because I knew they eat bugs and thats a tradeoff I am willing to make. It wasnt until we were at the airport that Andy told me of the monster spider in the bedroom that he found monday morning, but was too fast to kill. He is a very wise man.
The casa is well equipped, and has a great big kitchen , gas stove, all stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, gorgeous! There is a big water dispenser with purified jugs of water, a microwave and toaster oven. Several Tvs with cable or maybe dish? and four or five english channels.
Most of all it is private. Well condusive to sun bathing whatever way you like. I have a great tan :)
I would definitely say it was worth every penny and quite honestly made our vacation to be there.
So to close, I gotta say neither Isla Mujeres or Mexico is for me.I tried, I really did, to like it but I just didnt, and thats okay because you all love it so we will just be one less tourist for you to deal with ! I will stay a caribbean gal, but mainly I am thinking about trying Hawaii
or perhaps the Florida keys.
Thank you for all your kind replies to my many questions, I really do appreciate it.
Happy traveling !