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Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Rochester, New York
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Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

My Accomodations:

I stayed at Maria Leticia for the week. I had a nice efficiency apartment at the back of the property -- clean, quiet, comfortable, basic, and most importantly, inexpensive. ML is not luxurious -- no bar, no pool, not even any beach towels -- but I had plenty of extra change in my pocket for drinks and a splurge or two. I loved that I could make my own coffee, cook my own eggs, keep my juice, water, and leftovers refrigerated, and enjoy simple meals in the open-air courtyard. I had a small TV, a microwave, A/C and ceiling fan. Complimentary wifi is available -- just ask for the code at the desk, but be prepared to sit pretty close to the office to use it. I felt very safe and comfortable here, and loved the convenience to pretty much everything. One block to Playa Sol, Jax, Hidalgo, etc. It's an ideal spot for solo travelers or couples who simply want comfortable and inexpensive accommodations.

My Favorite Haunts:

Having made friends with a number of folks at Posada del Mar (which backs up to ML), I spent untold hours at Romi's Bar (the PdM's new Palapa Bar) and at PdM's beach club (loungers are free for guests; 50 pesos for non-guests). I confess I even took a few dips in PdM's pool with my friends. Romi was always attentive and friendly, and the 2x1 drinks were reasonably-priced. For those who enjoy a game of pool, Romi's bar is one of only a handful of places w/a table (Jax and Miguel's are the other two I know of). Speaking of Jax and Miguel's, I enjoyed time there as well. Jax is in a great spot and has a great bucket special. Miguel is a fun guy, and treated us warmly. Though I spent most of my time on Playa Sol and Norte, I also ventured out to beach clubs at Garrafon de Castilla and Zama. For 50 pesos, I snorkeled to my heart's content at GdC, and briefly enjoyed their surprisingly nice beach club. And then there's Zama -- wow! Just a beautiful place. My friends and I spent a relaxing couple of hours there... nobody hassled us about a minimum, but they did warn us they'd be closing early for a wedding reception. Their tri-level pool is pure bliss. The beach is relaxing, but the mushy bottom can't compare to Playa Norte.

Favorite Eats:

La Lomita - excellent dinner served with tasty black bean soup at a very reasonable price.

Rosticeria La Mexicana - 90 pesos provided a delicious and filling meal for three hungry hombres. Smaller meals are available as well (eat-in or take-out). Their Hidalgo location is now open for dinner too.

Taqueria Medina - it's easy to make a meal of three tortillas (favorites include al Pastor and Barbecue). With cheese, tortillas are a mere 15 pesos and delicious.

Loncheria Alexia y Giovanni - Frequently visiting the market to get fresh OJ anyway, I treated myself several times to a great and inexpensive breakfast at Dona Leonore, aka Alexia y Giovanni. Yum.

Cafe Mogagua - The ambiance here is hard to beat. Sitting under the orange globe lights in comfortable chairs, it's easy to spend a few evening hours here people-watching. Our waiter was friendly and attentive, and brought us complimentary shooters of sangria with the check.

Honorable Mentions - Sunday morning cochinita pibil from the market (bought a half kilo - with tortillas, made for great snacks for several days), Marquesitas (favorite variety, nutella y banana) and pretty much any street food, Cafe Hidalgo, Poc Chuc, Amigos, Sancochos.

(there are also many places I'd promised myself to visit, but couldn't squeeze them all in; next time, for sure!)

Favorite Watering Holes:

Romi's Bar at PdM, Miguel's Moonlight, Jax, Zama, Garrafon de Castilla, Soggy Peso, Modelorama Drive-through (probably my favorite for it's novelty), Sunset Grill. The Queen Bar was worth a visit, but I'm too cheap to pay those prices consistently. Your typical Mexican beers are everywhere, and almost always very reasonably-priced. (I wish I'd found time to visit OM Lounge and La Luna)

Cherished Memories:

- Meeting my new good friends from Dallas and Boulder, some of the most beautiful people one could hope to meet.

- Cruising around the island in golf carts, visiting special places like Sac Bajo, Las Colonias, Zama, and Modelorama.

- Being introduced to Lupita, the kind woman who cares for the ferral cats of the island. Such a beautiful person.

- Meeting Gladys, another island institution, and visiting with her dogs

- Snorkeling at King's Pool and Garrafon.

- The many times where I did nothing at all. :-)

Like so many others, I find myself under the island's spell. As much as I'd like to put my resources towards new and different vacation destinations, I think Isla Mujeres will continue to call me back.

new york
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1. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Not long at all and I could have kept reading on and on. Isla is one of my favorite topics so I never get enough of trip reports :) ITA about so many places: Romy's palapa bar, Mogagua, breakfast at the market, my only regret is always that there's not enough time to try every place I've heard about.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us here and in your "live" report. It sounds like you had a wonderful time :)

PA
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2. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

After visiting for 20+ years, it NEVER gets old.

Texas
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3. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Bill...great report. And thanks for all the reports. ML although not for everyone is one of my favorite stays on Isla.And as you mentioned I did not go to Isla expecting to make friends with people from all over the globe but that has one of the real treats of my trips. Thanks again for all the comments....making plans for my next trip.

Rochester, New York
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679 posts
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4. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

I'm with you couzinfrank... For me, ML more than meets my needs, but I know many would like something fancier.

Others have given a lot of ink to mapchick's wonderful maps, and I regret that I didn't think to mention them in my trip report. At the bar, I had others admiring and borrowing my map, wishing they could go down the street and get their own.

If there's one piece of advice I'd give to first time visitors, it'd be try to find some time to get out of el Centro (to Mango Cafe, to Garrafon de Castilla, Zama, etc.). I love el Centro, but also LOVED driving along the coast and seeing placed I'd not seen on my first trip. You can rent a golf cart (Ciro's will do it by the hour if you wish), take a cab, or even hire a cab at $13/hr.). El Centro and Playa Norte are absolutely wonderful, and worthy of the lion's share of your time and attention; but if you can afford one afternoon to get out and see other spots, you'll be grateful you did.

Navarre, Florida
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5. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Thank you for this trip report! Very thorough and detailed information which those of us who've been there can happily relate to and which newbies will find invaluable for their first visit to the island.

Cape Town Central...
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6. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

A nice and very easy to read report.

Rochester, New York
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679 posts
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7. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

BTW, I wish I had pictures to share. I had/have a "waterproof/shockproof" digicam that worked wonderfully for me a year ago. Unfortunately, one of the gaskets must have failed, as it took on water at King's Pool (quite early in my vacation), and hasn't worked since. I've asked some of my new-found friends to share photos with me, so I'll have at least a few pics to remember the trip by.

I'm still hoping that putting my digicam in a ziplock bag with some rice, and perhaps setting it out in the sun, might get it to cooperate again. We'll see. Has anyone seen the new waterproof Kodak videocams? They're priced and spec'd to compete with the Flip, but can be used for snorkeling and swimming. I imagine they take still shots too, but haven't yet seen one in the flesh.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Isla Mujeres
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8. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Thanks for the report! It's stories like these that will have me on the edge of my seat for the next 124 days. Two questions: what is Modelorama? (I know what I hope it is). And do the Avalon folks hassle you if you try to get to the King's Pool? I had been given the impression it was for their guests.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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9. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

thanks for the report, Bill . . . enjoyed the summary, but your live reports were just so much fun! Can't wait for you to go back again. :)

Yorktown, VA
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10. Re: Trip Report - April 20-28, 2010 (nb, it's quite long)

Enjoyed your report! Counting down the days till June 15:)