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Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

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Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Arrived Isla on Friday, May 10th after 3 nights on Holbox. I have a trip report posted on their forum for that segment if anyone is interested in reading it.

Coming home to Isla from sleepy Holbox almost felt like a metropolis but in a good way! Happy to see so many visitors on the beach: 3 rows deep of loungers vs. 1 row come Monday. We’d decided we wanted a ground floor unit at Nautibeach even though we’d pre-requested a 2nd floor after being right on beach level in our cabana on Holbox, if felt right to continue in that vein. Imagine our surprise when we were told we were getting a ground floor! It is unit 35 which is at the far end by the guard shack. We were not bothered by this, in fact really dug the extra side sun porch and the ease of using the side gate to come and go. Our bed (a Mexican queen) was very comfortable and the furniture – white canvas rattan with nifty chests and credenzas was very nice. I did review the condo separately as well as a few restaurants.

We had caught the 1:00 ferry and secured a bicycle guy so had plenty of time to hit the beach and bask in the beauty that is Playa Norte. Shared a shrimp quesidia and had some margs from Chi Chis; same nice waiter as last time. Wound up at Jax for a light supper – Caesar salad for me, DH needing a burger.

Next morning we dropped off our laundry and went for breakfast at Café Hildago (usually closed when we’re there!). Really great coffee, service and food! Got a beach massage a little past the Ixchtel hut – very good for an hour $30 each – spectak!

Later we walked to Fenix. Had 2 orders of shrimp skewers and one of steak – pretty good but not stellar and we’re pretty sure they added on that fake tax thing to our bill.

Went to Lola Valentina’s for a drink from the lovely British waitress Kate.

Next day we get the golf cart and go to Garafon Castille. Well worth buying my $20 water shoes to wear that day as the shelliness getting in the water is detrimental to my balance! Oh first we had breakfast at Roosters and I got me some BACON!!! Anyway, GC was choppy water-wise but marvelous and DH enjoyed the snorkeling.

Off to Casa Los Suenos only to find they were doing a special Mothers Day fixed menu lunch thing so went to Playa Lancheros for the first time. It’s gorgeous there and such a welcome breeze. Had chicken tacos and DH had a shrimp cocktail that he declared wonderful – it looked kinda like soup. We watched about 5 boats called Albatross come in loaded with folks from Cancun but they all went next door.

Stopped in at Chedraui for some wine and beer and water. We later drove out to Bahia Tortuga but only stayed for one drink. We do like the place but it was crowded with people who’d been there a while and I guess we just didn’t feel the vibe as much as they were. Glad to see they are doing such a great business.

Needed some Bobo’s so stopped there for fish and chips and a chat. New bartender from Texas was very friendly and, of course Brian was there for some conversation. We do feel so comfortable there.

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Playa Norte
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Lola Valentina
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new york
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1. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Great report, thank you! Read your Holbox one as well and it sounds very relaxing and nice there. You little cabana on the beach sounds perfect :)

Boston...
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2. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Thanks for the report. I also read your Holbox report when you first posted it and saw that you were headed to Isla next. Thats a great way to split up your vacation. The contrast between Holbox and Isla is a nice one and each is beautiful in their own unique way.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Isla Mujeres
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3. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Thanks for the report! I, too, read your Holbox report and here's a link for those who are interested:

tripadvisor.com/…49849736

How would you compare the two destinations? Obviously Holbox isn't as developed and very few places have as many restaurant choices as Isla, but what else struck you as different or as similar? What do you think would be of particular appeal to Islaholics? Please, contrast and compare. And do you have pics?

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Thanks for the trip report. We have wanted to visit Holbox at some point. We have three days at the end of our vacation that we have to fill, so we still may do that on this trip. It's going to be hard to persuade the "other half" to leave Isla Mujeres though. Appreciate the detailed report.

Edited: 28 May 2013, 21:13
Des Moines, Iowa
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5. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

I could use that down time on Holbox, sounds heavenly! Love your Isla Mujeres report too!

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6. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Ok, DMartin I will try. Since Isla is my first love, it is hard to find anything close to compare and in no way do I mean anything negative about anyplace else. Had Holbox been my first intro to Mexico I might have been a tad intimidated. It is more undeveloped (barren?) and there is a lot less English to be heard. Again, I had no issues; just noticed it. For me 3 nights was enough and I did find myself longing for Isla. I also felt we’d made the right decision to do Holbox first and then release ourselves to the familiarity of home (Isla). The terrain is all flat (no gorgeous cliffs with rocky wavy shores) and the beach is not as pristine – again, I still appreciated it….just observing (Playa Norte is pretty hard to beat). Unless you stay at a resort, there are no loungers, umbrellas and waitstaff PLUS there are no vendors. You may want to go to VRBO and look at Los Cocos; it was very nice! It is much more sleepy than Isla and, of course, there is no Hildago or Medina – just a square with a basketball court and a few streets around it. (no beach clubs or Garrafon or Chedraui) Roads are still all sand everywhere; no speed bumps or traffic lights of course. Although we are not young party people, I do like the option of a little night life (like maybe staying open past 9 PM?) and missed a bit of the vibe of Isla. Having said all this I cannot stress enough how charming and peaceful Holbox is and how very happy we were to have experienced it. We may not return but we’ll never forget our adventure on the beautiful island. AND the adventure continues as we are planning to branch out yet again and check out Puerto Morelos and Akumal in November (god willin’). Don’t know if I can handle being so close and yet not going to Isla then but my vacay time is limited.

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Playa Norte
Playa Norte
6,329 Reviews
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Puerto Morelos
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Akumal
Akumal
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

Thanks. Sounds like Holbox is the place for a "get away from it all" type vacation, but like you I love the options to go out to eat and do other things so Isla offers a pretty good balance--plenty of amenities without being Playa del Carmen or Cancun.

We also like to branch out in order to see new places but can't resist at least a couple of nights on Isla. We enjoyed Akumal and it was a great base for exploring Tulum and Coba via rental car. We stayed at Hotel Akumal Caribe and found the location to be perfect, with great snorkeling right off their beach. The food was a pleasant surprise: we had some of our best meals there out of a 9-night Cozumel/Akumal/Isla combo trip. In particular we loved the bacon-wrapped shrimp at La Buena Vida and the burgers (I know, but we were intrigued by the balsamic caramelized onions) at Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe. Also a great dinner at Lol-Ha, which is the main restaurant at Hotel Akumal Caribe.

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Akumal
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Tulum
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Coba
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Cozumel
Cozumel
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8. Re: Trip Report May 10-16 Part One

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