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Vacation Journal
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Our First Trip to Isla - Day 1 & 2

By: Karen in MO
Date: 7/4/2005

Our family of four traveled to Isla Mujeres June 25 – June 30th. This was our first visit. Our family consists of me and husband (both 40ish) and two teenagers (son age 18 and daughter age 14). My husband and I have both lurked on this board and the other board for quite some time so we were filled with wonderful information about the island and I want to thank all the people who post great information here. We also had a wonderful travel agent whom most of you would know and she was a great (and patient) source of information for us as well.

We traveled to St. Louis the evening of June 24th and did a park-n-fly at the Renaissance Marriott. Overnight accommodations plus five days of parking cost $99, along with a shuttle to and from the hotel. I had originally booked a double room but when we checked in we were told that they did not have our room and we were instead being given a king room on the 10th floor and this floor could only be accessed by our room cards. We thought this would be great! However, once we got in the room we realized this was not going to work too well. We put both kids plus myself in the king bed and my husband slept on the rollaway that was crammed into the room. Putting two teenagers and one adult in a king bed does not work well (at least not for us), so I ended up making a bed with the bedspread on the floor by the bathroom for my daughter (she is one that flops around a lot when she sleeps). The room itself was very small and trying to get ready in the morning was a trick.

June 25th – Up at 4:00 am to be at the airport at 6:00. Our flight was with Champion at 8:30. We were the second ones to get to the airport for this flight. The lady that checked us in was very nice and gave us exit row seats. Check-in and security search went fine and we were off to find some breakfast. Flight boarded on time and we landed in Cancun a few minutes early. Since we all had passports we breezed through immigration very quickly, off to get our luggage and through customs where we got the green light. Head out to look for our ride. Okay – no one there with a sign with our name on it. Of course we get hounded by taxi drivers and we keep waving them off. We wait about 15 minutes and then we find a woman behind an information booth and ask if there’s any way she can contact our transfer company. They call and find out that he went to the other terminal and he will be there momentarily. Finally, we are picked up and off to Puerto Cancun to catch the ferry. At the dock we are approached by our first time-share rep who wants us to go check out Avalon. Of course after reading so much about these guys our guard immediately went up and we told him no thank you. He was not pushy or rude, he offered us a free breakfast and free golf cart for just an hour or two of our time. No thank you. Off he goes. Load up on the ferry and we’re off.

After we step off the ferry and walk through the dock we get our first look at Isla. OH MY!! People, mopeds, golf carts, taxis EVERYWHERE!!!! No – this can’t be Isla. Isla is a small, quiet, intimate place – this can’t be Isla right?! (Realized later that daytrippers from Cancun were here – the rest of the week was not like this thank goodness.) We were looking for Fidel thinking he would be holding a sign with our name. I look right, look left – no one. I stop and ask an elderly man if he knows Fidel. What do you know – it’s Fidel himself!! He pulls out a piece of paper with my name on it. He loads our luggage on his bike and we set out for the five block walk to Nautibeach. People are shoulder-to-shoulder everywhere! What have we gotten into?? We get to Nautibeach to check in and are told there’s no water but it should be back on around 5:00. Hubby and I decide to get to the bank before it closes so we leave the kids to unpack and relax for a bit.

Later we all decide we’re hungry so we pull out our trusty map (thanks Laura!) and see that we’re just a block or two away from Hidalgo. We head up Hidalgo and look at all the menus out on the street. We are all tired and didn’t feel like wandering too far up the street. We settle on Angelo’s for pizza. I don’t remember the name of the pizza but it had pepperoni, ham and sausage and tasted wonderful. We order two pizzas and four waters – bill came to 160 pesos. A very cheap and wonderful meal. All of us are beat and decide to head back to the room. On the way back we pass Color de Verano. I remember reading about their excellent ice cream – we’ll come back later and try it. We head down to the Sunset Grill to sit and have a cerveza. They light some tiki torches and we sit there with our feet in the sand and watch the sunset. Perfect! After a while we decide to head to Color de Verano for ice cream. I get the Amaretto Special, hubby has two scoops of amaretto and son gets the Tiramasu special. OH MY GOSH!!!! This is the most wonderful ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. We will definitely be coming here again. Went back to the room to head to bed. Take a cold shower (no hot water, will have to check about that tomorrow) and on to bed. Out like lights.

New things I discovered today: Exit row seats are wonderful, first impressions are not always correct, and amaretto ice cream is the best thing ever created.

June 26th – Old habits die hard and my body doesn’t realize it’s on vacation and can sleep in. I’m up at 6:20 and decide to enjoy quiet time on the balcony with a cup of coffee. So very peaceful and beautiful. These moments alone are the most wonderful time of day - a time to collect your thoughts, meditate, pray and give thanks to God that I'm able to share this paradise with my family.

Everyone else gets up and we head off to look for some breakfast and then a grocery store. We decide on Chile Locos for breakfast. I order the bacon and cheese omelet, daughter has scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast, son has pancakes and hubby has the special. Everything was very good and we enjoy talking to Donna and hearing her story of how she came to live there. I can't believe this petite, thin woman has five children. Turns out her brother lives in Missouri. Small world.

Set off towards the square to find a grocery store. I find some breakfast and lunch stuff to hold us for a day or two. We had decided before we came down that we would eat breakfast and lunch in our room and then eat supper out at night. All of us have such different waking times in the morning that its hard to get us all together for a breakfast without at least one or two people getting grumpy. Shopping in a Mexican supermarket is definitely different than here in the states. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have milk in the refrigerator section. Going back through the store I finally find it in a box container (like a juice box only bigger). Okay – is this gonna be safe to drink? Decide to give it a try and we are pleasantly surprised to find that it tastes like whole milk. Hubby is use to drinking skim so he thought it was pretty rich, but he’ll survive – it’s only for cereal anyway. On the way back my daughter wants to stop to take a look at a dress she seen yesterday. She ends up buying it for 280 pesos.

That afternoon we just laid around the beach and pool and soaked up what little rays there were, it was getting pretty cloudy by the afternoon but the water was warm and great to swim in. We decide to have supper this night at Sunset Grill. Son and I had shrimp, daughter had pasta, hubby had fajitas. With the food, two mixed drinks, a virgin daiquiri and a beer the bill came to about 1000 pesos. This was definitely our most expensive meal on the island and we decided that while it was very good, we definitely couldn’t eat this way every night. We enjoy the evening for a while and then back to the room and to shower and go to bed. We still did not have any hot water this day so management said they would send someone tomorrow. It’s amazing how even in hot weather your body still needs some warm water when showering.

New things I discovered today: Milk from a box on a shelf is okay to drink and my body needs hot water for a shower no matter what the temperature outside.

Days 3, 4 and 5 to follow soon.

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