Category Archives: Mexico

Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 18 of 18

March 8th, 2016

Depart Playa Arena Villas on foot for Ferry Dock

Ferry to Cancun

Taxi or Bus to Airport

Airport Home to Ottawa.

*sigh*….we’re home…..it’s actually now March 10th…..

It was crazy windy our last night at Playa Arena in Isla Mujeres….as you know we sleep with the windows open and you could hear the palm leaves rustling all night and the waves a crashin’ 🙂  All rather romantic really – however what wasn’t so romantic was whatever was on the roof unattached and thudding 🙂  Oh well …. it was still paradise and still our last night….take what you need and leave the rest, huh? 🙂  OK!  Up…organize, pack, dispose…..head off for breakfast and of course immediately starts to rain!  We had breakfast down the street from the hotel and it started pouring once we got there.  By the time we were done breakie it had tapered (a little) and we headed back to the hotel for final room once over, brush our teeth and then head to the ferry.  As we were walking along the rain came down even harder and we huddled under an awning until it subsided a little then dashed off to the ferry terminal.  Quick ferry to Cancun, taxi’s waiting….and then the crazy crazy fast fast taxi driver (one of our scarier taxi trips) blasted us toward the airport.  After about 30 harrowing minutes we arrived, checked in effortlessly (no bag checks, just carry on)……went and had lunch at TGIF…..great sever named Antonio who was very helpful in assisting me with my Spanish (even bringing me slips of paper with translations for common phrases)……..munching away on a big ‘ole juicy burger, drinking this amazing gin cocktail with lemon & cucumber…..and in walks a colleague – Candy K from my office….bizarre…….she and her husband sat at next table and we chatted back & forth.  Johnny & I then headed off to wander a bit before the flight which was scheduled to leave early….wandering through the duty free and I run into an old colleague Heather A – I hadn’t seen her in a few years…so it was quite funny.  She had been in Tulum.  OK….plane boards early early, Johnny and I are in front row…. I had booked my seats eons ago but even then couldn’t get side by side…so we were across from each other on the aisle….coincidentally, Heather A actually had the seat beside me….sooo she kindly let Johnny & I use it and she sat in the other seat….strange but true….that the person seated beside me would be someone I knew.  So, here I am on a plane with 3 people I know….then, on walks another familiar face – Eve E from Kanata……oh boy…..and we took off and were told that not only was the flight leaving early, it was flying faster….original scheduled flight arrival in Ottawa 7:40 – our actual arrival time was 7:06 pm…..no checked luggage……first off plane being in row 1 – we were in fact home by 7:40……how is that for awesome!!!

OK…this is the debriefing of our 18 days.  We had a wonderful time and each of our destinations – Puerto, Morelos,. Mexico; Tulum, Mexico, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize; Caye Caulker, Belize and Isla Mujeres, Mexico had something different and special to offer.  One of the reasons we did this trip in this manner was to visit some places we were interested in to see if any of them might be a ‘fit’ for longer visits as we grow older.

Puerto Morelos, Mexico – Total population around 9,000 – most of whom live on the other side of the highway I think.  We stayed on the ocean side.  Great little spot, a few stores, some nice restaurants, a great beach (on one side, not the other)…..I could see myself spending time there because it is only 30 minutes from Cancun – easy access to groceries, malls & whatever you need.  Cancun is huge.  Also, lots of things to do should you have visitors.

Tulum, Mexico – Population around 18,000 – most are in the town which is not on the water.  About a 10 minute cab/car ride to the beach/hotel zone.  So, Tulum beach is beautiful, almost perfect.  Lots of wonderful hotels of all kinds.  Tulum town also has everything you want and need.  For us though….we want the town and the beach to be closer together.  Nearest big cities are Playa del Carmen or Chetumal where you can buy the big stuff are still a ways away.  So…Tulum, a great place to visit for an awesome vacation with lots of things to do, but for us, not a ‘spend more than a week’ type of place.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize –  San Pedro town’s population around 13,000 – long thinnish town.  Honestly, we enjoyed our time there and exploring different ends of the Island, however San Pedro is very busy.  It has amenities, but not as many as I would like.  You could probably go into Belize City for bigger/more diverse shopping needs.  Not quite as easy being an Island.  Swimming/beaches not good here.  Diving/snorkeling via boats to the roof and the Blue Hole great.  So, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize…a great place to visit, would recommend it, but for us and a longer term venture, not on the list.

Caye Caulker, Belize – Population around 1,300.  Small – friendly – easily walkable.  Not great beaches but a couple of nice swimming spots (one of which is The Split).  Would we visit again – yes…could we imagine wintering there – no, I don’t think so…again, it’s all down to amenities, fresh fruit/vegetables, having to get to mainland Belize or Mexico to do real shopping.  Would we stay for one, two, three or four weeks – yes, I think so…has a really nice vibe.  Would be an awesome place to relax.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico – Population around 12,500.  Very safe & walkable Island 15 minutes by ferry from Cancun.  Nice Beaches.  A great store that sells everything you need (kind of Walmart style) yet close to Cancun for anything you can’t get.  Awesome beaches.  The downtown is definitely touristy which is great when you have visitors.   We liked Isla Mujeres, Mexico and could certainly imagine spending longer periods of time there.  Great off season rates and good airport access to Cancun.

So….we found a couple of places we would enjoy going back to – Caye Caulker & Isla Mujeres.  As always, we start to plan our next trip while still on vacation.  We’re thinking next year it will be Fly to Belize City, going on the south coast of Belize – Dangriga, Hopkins Village, Placencia, then a side trip to Livingston, Guetemala and if possible Lake Atitlan area – ending in the Bay Islands of Honduras.  Only time will tell……..If you are reading this – thanks for sticking with me throughout our 18 days.  It’s now time for us to work off those holidays pounds and start our hiking blogging as the weather here in Ottawa grows warmer!  Adios for now Amigas!! – Johnny & Melva

PS…..Johnny is going to Iceland in April with his Mom for one week and I am going to spend a weekend with my girls in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada while he’s away!

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 17 of 18

March 7th, 2016

Accommodation:  Playa Arena Villas, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

At Playa Arena Villas from March 4th to March 8th, 2016

Hola!  Last full day of vacation *sigh sigh sigh sigh*………SIGH!   The day promised to be warm and sunny so we started off after breakfast on a walk.  Not a long walk through, we wanted to make this day mostly about beach/ocean time and dinner out.  We had prepared most of our meals in our wee kitchen in Isla Mujeres, so today was eat out lunch & dinner day!   This morning we decided to go down and look at a couple more hotel prospects for a future visit.  We found a great little one on the east side and they showed us a King suite ocean front room.  Although it didn’t have a kitchen it did have a fridge and they served breakfast.  So..you could do lunch stuff and then go out for dinner.  Loved the place, love the King room with a little sofa/lounge area with awesome views and the greatest terrace with lounge chairs and a BIG TUB on the balcony!  This place is a definite contender for a future trip!  Hmm…wonderful it’s available forever starting tomorrow?

We walked through town and I snapped shots of everything colourful 🙂  Bought a few fridge magnets (we have a fridge magnet collection from our travels) and then headed back to suit up and hit the beach!  We really aren’t sit in the sun people so we used the umbrella, chatted to the couple sitting next to us (from Alberta), took a swim (Johnny took a few swims) and read our books.  Ordered lunch on the beach, had a couple of cocktails and late afternoon headed back to room to relax before dinner.  Tried to have a nap but couldn’t.  Realized that although we had been in the shade most of the time we had both somehow taken in WAY too much sun.  Of course, that tired me out and I felt a bit off but we still headed out for dinner.  The really well rated good restaurants are more in the south end of the Island and we really didn’t feel like cabbing it up there so I found what was one of the better rated down-town restaurants and we ate at Qubano – a Cuban restaurant.  Food was great, but honestly, I was feeling off (just from sun) and we ate our tasty food and headed back to the room where we just watched HBO and had an early night.  So much for the big night out, huh?  It started getting really windy in the evening and it continued all through the night and as you know, I write this the next day (and mix-up my tenses constantly) and I can report is is still window on day 18 of 18….overcast….calling for rain – the perfect day to prepare to leave.  Catch you later……Day 18 of 18 will be from home and will contain a recap and my overall impression of our moving about vacation!!

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 16 of 18

March 6th, 2016

Accommodation:  Playa Arena Villas, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

At Playa Arena Villas from March 4th to March 8th, 2016

Wow…time is flying…..can’t believe we’ve been gone over two weeks…..can’t figure out how to keep this carousel going….*sigh*…..

We’ve are both starting to get a bit sluggish 🙂  Up, eat, shower…..weather wasn’t beach style so we headed off on a walk…..stopped and had a coffee and a cookie at a placed called Rooster (not Mexican at all)…..walked along the Malecon which runs quite a distance along the east side of the Island.  We were scoping out future places to stay.  We decided that we would like the east because there is a great breeze and that although it doesn’t have swimming waters you can always head over to Playa Norte if you want a day at the beach.  Today was a eat every meal at home day so back to the room for lunch..and then…we were off again!  This time we walked all the along the west side of the island up to Chedraui which is the big Walmart style store here.  Exciting, I know 🙂  We did have a reason ….. we were wondering what the prices of things were in general should be decide to come back for a longer period of time and perhaps stay in a vacation rental.  The prices looked quite reasonable..much better than on Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker in Belize.  It’s also teeming with fruit and vegetables….a typical North American availability of groceries and other items.  We walked about 1/4 off the way back then hopped in a cab the rest of the way…back to the room for cocktails, then dinner.  Took a walk on the beach and enjoyed an amazing sunset  and then I noticed that I was a few steps behind the person in #2 position for my weekend FitBit challenge….so we went out and got 2000 steps in to over take him *smile*…..20160306_07002820160306_07004320160306_10432020160306_115415_00120160306_12395220160306_15325920160306_19071020160306_19080720160306_19081920160306_19152020160306_19152320160306_19152720160306_19201720160306_19202120160306_20200620160306_16490220160306_164857

 

 

Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 15 of 18

March 5, 2016

Accommodation: Playa Arena Villas, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

The Princess and the Pea!  I think I have highly developed senses…touch, taste, smell.  Back in the day I actually had a website devoted to the senses….but I digress 🙂  The beach here is beautiful….that soft white sand……we went for a week walk in it last night…..and alas…..as much as one tries to wash those fine grains of sand away……they cling to you like an um…uhhh…moss 🙂  So…..as much as I appreciate my skin being ex-foliated….not so much when I’m sleeping…..I managed to get fine little grains of sand between my sheets and tossed and turned all night trying to shake them off 🙂

We were both sluggish and still shell shocked from the not so happy with our main floor hotel room forced to use AC room……so….once up and dressed I went to the recepcion (that’s my Spanish)  and asked if there were any upper floors rooms available.  The lovely day clerk did speak English and we were immediately taken to and given the key to an upper unit which although almost identical to our other unit felt 150% better!  We hurriedly threw our things together (we are backpacking so not so many things) and were living in our new room within half an hour!  After unpacking and re-settling we headed off for a walk along the Playa Norte beach toward the east and then wandered through downtown and ended up having breakfast at a little place on the west beach called Miramar – chosen for two reasons…#1 – it served breakfast – #2 – we had eaten there a number of years ago when in Isla Mujeres on a catamaran tour (when staying in Playacar (Playa del Carmen).  Breakfast was lovely – eggs done Mexican style….and then we wandered back to the hotel to get a bit of beach time (stopping for some groceries on the way home).  The weather was hot & humid long enough to catch a few rays on the beach chairs, have a swim and then read a bit.  We could see that the weather in Cancun was NOT nice and eventually it reached us starting with a bit of rain.  We high tailed it back to the room, changed into our walking clothing and headed out into the gray rainy weather.  It was still raining fairly lightly, but a taxi fellow asked us if we needed a ride and we asked him if he could take us on a tour. .  What a great choice!  His name was Freddy and he took us on an awesome tour of the Island.  From the north along the east side up to South point, then back down.  He stopped everywhere we wanted for photo ops, showed us interesting homes, places of interest, even took us to see a place I had seen on some Discovery or HGTV show where a man lives in the Lagoon on a home built on a foundation of plastic bottles….very cool….also a bit scary that there is so much plastic in the world. We  spent almost two hours with Freddy and after paying him and giving him a big hug we headed (in the rain) to a restaurant where we proceeded to have our lunch, cocktails & dinner all at once while watching the rain poor down.  After a couple of hours we were no longer thirsty nor hungry but it was still raining and we were on a pedestrian street so made a break through the river that had formed on the street for our hotel which really wasn’t far away.  So…….it rained a few more hours, we relaxed in our room watching HBO!!  Another day in paradise over.  I actually love rain and it doesn’t bother me one bit that our beach plans have gone awry….more of an opportunity to get to know Isla Mujeres a little better!  We had only been here once before and only on the North End/Downtown.  I hadn’t realized it had hills and cliffs.  It’s beautiful and I can imagine spending more time here 🙂

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This is the house on plastic bottles and built from found things.  Will have to google and get more history.  It’s on a lagoon on the Island. Here is the link.20160305_15093520160305_15100620160305_141634_00120160305_14355020160305_14371720160305_14414020160305_14374020160305_14291820160305_14212820160305_142939

Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 3 of 18

February 22, 2016

Departed Piedra Escondida, Tulum via Taxi to Bus Stop in Tulum

Bus from Tulum to Chetumal, Mexico

Taxi to Water Taxi dock

San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

A bloggers worst nightmare is WiFi that bites 🙂  I have a ton of photos to upload and there just isn’t enough bandwidth available *sigh*…I may have to come back and fill in the blanks once I get a better connecting – but that won’t be for at least 5 days…and who knows, it may not be better.  *sigh*

The rain in Tulum stopped as quickly as it started.  We had breakfast, hopped in a taxi and headed to the Tulum Centro bus station.  It’s a nice station with lots of seating.  The bus arrived right on time and we headed out on the 3.5 hr trip to Chetumal, Mexico.  Interestingly, the bus was filled with tourists and therefore people were sitting in their assigned seats (unlike our previous two trips which had locals and assigned seating didn’t seem to count).  There isn’t a whole lot to see between Tulum and Chetumal, it’s a highway like most anywhere in North America.  Our driver did tend to hug the centre line (or go over it) and being a big bus the oncoming traffic seemed to simply avoid hitting us by hugging the shoulder 🙂  There were a few nice little towns along the way waving their goods at the bus driver to try to get him to stop.  At one town the stop was a few minutes longer and the vendors got on the bus selling plantains, cheese sandwiches and some sweets.  There was also a nice little donkey pulled cart driven by a Mexican Mennonite.  Some of the local Mexicans were wearing ranch style clothing so there must have been some farming going on nearby.  The Yucatan Peninsula is flat so I imagine there is a lot of agriculture.

The Chetumal bus station was huge and really really clean and organized.  You need 5 pesos to go through a gate to get to the bathroom and bring your own t-paper!  We had noticed on Google that there was more than one bus station and our taxi driver explained that we came in on the premier bus line and that the other bus stations were the more local bus stations.  10 minutes to get to the Muelle Fiscal (commercial dock) where our water taxi to Ambergris Caye, Belize was leaving from.

Again, a really nice terminal and very organized.  However, the whole process turned out to be a little more than we had realized 🙂  First we  in and got our ticket (which we had bought on-line), then we had to go through Mexican immigration, all went smoothly.  The next steps was a bit disconcerting (for some).  We had been told that the military came to check our bags and personal belongings before we departed for Belize.  As we sat sipping cold ones at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the water taxi a big military truck loaded with armed soldiers and a sniffer dog arrived.  Apparently this happens daily.  Seemed to take them a while to get organized then the sniffer dog started on the line-up of luggage outside the boat.  One bag was pulled aside and the owner was asked to present themselves.  Everyone else was down on the same level and we of course were up top and I was snapping photos (I will post later).  In any case a young clean cut Swiss fellow was the owner of the bag and he was directed to open his bag and the dog went sniffing away.  He was then told to take everything out for the dog to sniff some more.  As it turns out, it seems he had nothing in his bag and it was all for nothing.  I told him I had caught it all on camera and emailed him his shots 🙂  We then all piled on the water taxi (comfy seats, mostly enclosed) for a 1 hr 40 min ride to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It was a great boat ride, nothing of consequence and nothing to see until you neared Ambergris Caye.  The entrance to San Pedro town is via a river/lagoon with mangroves, very tropical 🙂  Once arrived we hopped off the boat and were directed to go through the Belize customs and immigration process…..and this reminds me……I guess I’m getting old…and didn’t know it until we were lined up to get on the water taxi and one of the workers came and took me out of the line to be among the first on the boat…..I didn’t really think a lot of it…UNTIL upon arrival one of the customs/immigration people also took me out of the line and get through the process early….what I finally realized is……I was grouped with the OLD people…*sigh*…..had my hair tied back and it looks almost completely white that way *sigh sigh sigh*..also they didn’t really want ‘young’  Johnny to come with me but I insisted…..OK…end of rant 🙂  The customs immigration process was quick and easy and everyone was super friendly.   We got a taxi outside and the taxi driver was awesome too, pointing out places of interest and recommending various places to do things…as it turns out the hotel paid for our $5 US cab fare so all good!  Check in was also super simple and minutes later we were in our room overlooking the sea!  OK….I’m tired and have to upload this….will have to finish later!  Eventually there will be 3 slideshows below.  This first one was the last few photos at our hotel in Tulum before we left.  The second slide show the water taxi between Chetumal and Belize and at the bottom individual photos of the military situation.

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Mexico/Belize 2016 Day 2 of 18

February 21, 2016

Departed Hacienda Morelos via Taxi to Bus Stop at Seven Eleven (711)

Bus from Puerto Morelos to Tulum, Mexico Bus Station

Taxi to the hotel

Accommodation:  Piedra Escondida, Tulum

 

Ola!  Uploading on slow Wifi is best done early in the morning, thus I come to you from Tulum, Mexico in fact on Day 3 but writing about Day 2 commencing at 5:23 a.m.!  Shortly after I woke up this morning it started to rain.  Works well actually, today is a travel day!  So, back to Day 2.

I did not sleep well at all on night 1 – in fact I woke up at about 3:30 a.m…..finally got dressed and sat outside to write my Day 1 blog.  When I finally decided to start my day around 6 am the water in our room was off….wandered over to the front desk and they were waiting for someone to come in and fix.  In the meantime, we organized our gear, went for a short walk, had breakfast and finally the water was back on to complete our morning rituals, just in time to grab a taxi to the bus stop up near the 711 at the highway.  Taking ADO buses is a fairly simple thing.  If you do it yourself you need to realize they assign you seat numbers when you purchase – but don’t expect to actually get the seat you ordered.  So far on the two buses we have taken we have ended up at the back by the washroom.  Might I suggest that location is NOT optimum…..*sniff*…….so…..my suggestion and future actin will be to move forward when seats closer to the front open up 🙂  While waiting for the bus a few buses came through, they weren’t marked so you had to go up and ask the driver where he was going.  Finally the Tulum bus arrived!  We arre carrying packs and stow our luggage in the overhead, not recommended to put it underneath ‘just in case’.  The bus was filled with Mexican families heading off to the beautiful parks and cenotes between Cancun and Tulum.  The bus stapped about 4 x between Puerto Morelos and Tulum.  Once arrived at Tulum Centro we grabbed a cab and within 10 minutes were at our hotel.  This time we struck gold!  Piedras Escondida is beautiful, the beach nestled between two large rock formation.  The decor with a clean and modern old world Mexico feel.  Check in wasn’t until 3 so we had a few hours to wander down the Tulum beach, grab some lunch at an open air ocean front restaurant and really get a feel for the area.  The beach was beautiful.  The hotels keep the sargassum at bay.  However, later in the day on a walk through less developed areas there was a lot more sargassum.  Sargassum has recently become a major problem in the Caribbean, read a little about it here.

Our day was pretty typical, hit the beach, bounced around in the surf – there were some GREAT waves to jump.  Reading on our patio, cocktails at 4 pm (dark rum) then a walk for about 1.5 hours.  Tulum beach area is beautiful, lots of really interesting little hotels.  No high rise hotels.  Lots of little shops and restaurants.  The street along the beach is very busy and no side walks in a lot of places.  Bicycle rental is a big thing, but not for us on the busy narrow street.  It was a great walk though!  Once back at the hotel we changed and headed off for dinner on the out door patio.  The wind was still strong but they have wind screens to protect you from the gusts.  Johnny had a great chicken/rice meal and Ihad shrimp.  Although tasty, my shrimp had that chlorine taste that you often find with seafood in the Caribbean.  It was a bit stronger than usual.  To read more about this problem click here.

After dinner we head to our room, windows open and went to sleep with the sound of the  surf and a gentle breeze to keep us cool.

If coming to Tulum and staying in a smaller eco friendly resort such as Piedra Escondada you need to understand that these hotels provide their own electricity often through solar, small windmills, generators etc.  They  have septic rather than local sewer systems.  Access to AC happens only at certain times of the night.  We don’t actually use AC so not an issue for us.  However, if you are one to demand your creature comforts, this style of accommodation might not be for you.  However, just in case I haven’t made it perfectly clear, we had an awesome day in Tulum and would absolutely come back to both Tulum and this hotel.  We really did feel like we were in paradise!

6:49 a.m….time to prepare for the next great bus, taxi, water taxi adventure!  My next post will be from Ambergris Caye in Belize!!

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Mexico/Belize Day 1 of 18

February 20, 2016

Departed Ottawa, Ontario Canada – 6 a.m.

Arrived at Cancun Airport, Mexico aboard Air Transat 

Bus from Airport to Puerto Morelos Seven Eleven (711)

Taxi to the hotel

Accommodation:  Hacienda Morelos

Well, we managed to squeeze everything into our bags last night after deleting a few items.  My bag was 22.2 lbs and Johnny’s 18 lbs.  Discovered at the last minute that in fact our bags were a couple of inches too long to meet Air Transat carry on requirements but we soldiered on.  Having checked in on-line we were able to go directly to the screening area so in facto no Air Transat employee even looked at our bags and we got on the plane with no issues.  Great flight, left a bit late but we still arrived early.

Stopped at the ADO bus counter and bought our tickets.  Buses are plentifuly and very economical in Mexico.  We bought tickets for Airport directly to Puerto Morelos.  Puerto Morelos toTulum.  Tulum to Chetumal and Chetumal to Cancun.  For the two of us it came to 1,348 pesos – which is about $100 Canadian.  Had we taken a cab or shuttle to Puerto Morelos alone it would have cost 30 to 50 $.  We had to take a cab to our Hotel but that was 25 pesos, less than $2.

Hotel Hacienda was the cheapest waterfront hotel we could find.  $152 CDn.  It’s a pretty basic hotel, but clean with a minor ‘smell of Mexico’ ….however, we are happy campers who know we don’t need the Ritz.  We were early for check in (by 3.5 hrs) and the only room available was on main floor.  I don’t usually like being on main floor because I like to keep my doors/windows open to hear the sound of the surf (the room is ocean front), but we took it simply to get our day started!  Great little terrace with a table and 4 chairs on it.  A gal from New York city on one side of us and a Norwegian couple on the other side.  Quite a coincidence really, we don’t see Norwegians much on our travel (Johnny is of course Norwegian).  We were surprised to find out that you can get direct flights from Oslo and Stavanger to Cancun.

We went for a walk, had lunch at  an ocean front restaurant then had a little nap!  After our nap we went for another walk exploring further afield.  Lots of great restaurants and little shops, Puerto Morelos is a really cute little beach community (I think there is a larger more local side to it, but we’re in the beach area).  The big national park beach is beautiful.  The perfect kind of sand for walking – harder and flat!  We had a nice walk then headed back to the hotel to change and find a place to eat.  We wandered through the town square and the street with most of the restaurants.  Lots of choices with sidewalk tables, music playing….it was definitely the Mexico vibe that works best for me.  Puerto Morelos is really just a seaport that has grown a bit have a nice little tourist industry. It’s like a mini Playa del Carmen or Old Puerto Vallarta.  I like it a lot!

We dined in a courtyard restaurant open air, surrounded by trees with a nice breeze flowing through….so darn romantic 🙂 !!  We ordered our meal and a nice bottle of wine then wandered back through the square to the hotel.  Day 1 was a success with transportation working, hotel acceptable (in a 3 star way :)…….Sunday, we hope to wake early, go for a long beach walk, have our breakfast (included in the $152) and then grab a taxi to the bus and then a bus to our next destination – Tulum, Mexico.  I couldn’t read the photos from my camera so am going to upload them later when my personal system administrator wakes up 🙂  That card has the beautiful beach photos!

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Packing….

I sat down this moment to write a post in hopes it will help me to off load some of the anxiety I’m feeling  as it relates to packing for Saturdays trip.  Writing helps to put things into perspective.  Honestly, even as I type I feel the need to hyperventilate fading away.  Here’s hoping 🙂

I’m a bit OCD/anal and for weeks leading up to a vacation I start to pile things I need for vacation into a tote as I think of them.  I make lists, I download books to my e-reader, etc etc.

OK…..so this year we decided to use a carry on back pack style (for each of us).  We are doing this because once we arrive in Mexico we are spending some time moving from place to place  via bus and water taxi.   After spending a lot of time researching on the net we decided to purchase two Tortuga Travel Backpacks.   They are only available online but once received we were fairly happy with what we got.  Lots of little pockets and security features.  The ability to carry it like a suitcase with back pack straps tucked in.  Not flashy bags so you don’t look like a rich tourist.  Just what we were looking for.

This morning I pulled everything out and started trying to squeeze them all in to my pack. However does one decide what they what to wear before you get there????  We will be on small islands most of the time so I imagine it will be breezy (they are narrow..you can see from one shore to the other).  Looking at the temps, it’s not looking crazy hot and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of humidity.  So…walk clothing, beach clothing, after beach clothing, dinner clothing, tees, tanks, nicer tops, sweater, sundresses, shorts, capris, skort,  sandals, hat, belt….yadda yadda 🙂 undies, socks (we hike a lot)…..

Did I mention, CPAP machine (I have obstructive sleep apnea and it doesn’t count toward carry on, but I don’t want to bring it’s big case, so I’m packing it in my bag….my little laptop (can’t live without a keyboard), e-reader, extra glasses, contac lenses, sunglasses….does the list ever stop?  Nope, it does not – day pack, toiletries, earrings, passports, cash.

OK…this is all this stuff on the table – doesn’t fit in the pack *yet*…….that’s my travel purse on the left….kind of um…tree huggerish…but it’s VERY functional!

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Sure, it looks closed – but the stuff beside it needs to go into it – plus the CPAP and a bathing suit and another tshirt and it needs to be max 22 lbs with a ‘size’ of

Baggage weight allowed according to the class. 
Economy Class Option Plus Club Class
Weight 10 kg (22 lb) 10 kg (22 lb)
Dimensions 23 x 40 x 51 cm (9 x 16 x 20 in) (including wheels and handles)

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It has some nice features…great little zippered things that I don’t have the room to fit anything into 🙂  OH JOY.

 

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Stay tuned for Saturday’s post that tells you whether once fully packed I was actually able to carry this onto the plane or not!

 

Winter Vacation!!

There comes a day in the lives of many Canadians where they either yearn for or discover the WINTER VACATION.  I was in my late teens when I first started going on trips to Florida and Mexico.  For a period of time when I was raising my children and involved in other aspects of life this activity was curtailed.  When my girls were in their teens this blessed (I use the term loosely) activity was resurrected.  Since then we have managed to sneak off to Florida, Mexico (numerous times), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, St. Martin (twice), Saba and Costa Rica.  Mexico is definitely my ‘go to’ place when looking for a quick get away.  I love Mexico and still haven’t found another country that presents the vitality and beauty this country has to offer.

Pictured below – the reason I travel.  Today is the last day of a 3 day POLAR VORTEX.  A Polar Vortex freezes your nose hairs, hurts your lungs when you breath and the moment you walk outside it makes you feel like you’ve been popped into one of those freeze dry machines.  Over this past weekend our ‘low’ was around -28 c with wind chills between -38 to -40c.  Click here for the real definition of Polar Vortex.

This is the reason Canadians go on Winter Vacation.  This is the reason that Canadians can live happily through daily temps ranging from zero c to -20 c for months at a time because one 3 day weekend of Polar Vortex weather makes ya strong, builds character and generally numbs you into the realization that we shall survive whatever Mother Nature has to offer.

Saturday (Feb 20th, we head off for 17 days in Mexico & Belize.  Heeee Hawwwww!  Let the warmth begin!

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The Adventure Continues!!!

Being Canadian is to get that winter vacation booked so that you have something to daydream about before the snow and frigid cold sets in!  Today my daydreams can begin!  February 20th we head off to Cancun…hop on a bus and spend one night in Puerto Morelos.  From Puerto Morelos we grab another bus and head to Tulum for one night!  After Tulum, we once again board an ADO bus and head to Chetumal where we will take a water taxi/ to Ambergris Caye, Belize!  7 nights in Ambergris Caye, then a water taxi to Caye Caulker, Belize….4 nights there!  Water taxi back to Chetumal, Mexico then bus back to Cancun where we take the Ferry to Isla Mujeres for our last 4 nights!  All the hotels are booked…all have kitchenettes in Belize, fridges in the Mexico hotels, really exciting to take our first bus adventure in Mexico and Belize!

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