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Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

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Richmond, Virginia
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132 posts
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Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

Now that I'm beginning to get over my depression because I had to go home, recovering from my fresh papaya/papaya juice addiction, and got my DSL at home back up, it's time to tell everyone what I did on my vacation.

I swam, snorkeled, kayaked, went out on the Hobie Cat, visited ruins, snorkeled in a cenote, kissed a dolphin and a manatee, shopped, took a gazillion pictures, and got masages, a tan, and a marriage proposal from a local( not the dolphin or manatee).

Oh, did you want DETAILS????

First off, a great big muchas gracias to BC (Hey, how's that grandbaby?), CoPilot 54, and everyone who helped me before I went. I wouldn't have been nearly as well-informed, well-prepared, or had nearly as good a time without you guys.

I loved the Sunscape. I LIKED that it wasn't one of the big mega-size resorts where you have to take a tram to get to your room, the beach, etc. I'm sure those places have have their strong points and their devoted supporters (please don't feel you have to write to defend them), but for me, the Sunscape was perfect. I did walk over to the Cat and had some fantastic snorkeling by the little bridge. If they had a spa, I might stay there next trip. There's just something heavenly about a massage on the beach, and pampering yourself with facials, etc. I just posted a review with photos tonight, so it should be up in a few days.

The staff at the Sunscape have got to be some of the hardest-working and most underpaid people in Mexico. Forget anything like wage and labor laws, apparently they don't apply in Mexico. I asked Veronica, who was my waitress most mornings, what she earned in a week. I was blown away by the answer: 400 pesos, or about $40 US, AND that salary is made up from the gratuities of the "gratuities included" packages we book. So people, please, please tip your housekeeping staff and waitstaff as well as your bartenders. Now I know why everyone was so appreciative of those one, two, and three dollar tips. To us, it's pocket change; to them, it's a fortune.

I definitely have to go back because I just couldn't fit everything I wanted to do into a week and still have some down time to lay on the beach, relax, etc.

I rented a car at the Cancun airport, and I didn't even get out of the Dollar office before someone tried to sign me up for a time-share presentation. They backed off when I said I didn't think I could afford a timeshare because I was so poor I'd had to save for almost 10 years to afford a week in Mexico. LOL, when she heard that, she said she hoped I had a good time in Mexico, and that was the end of the timeshare pitch. I chickened out on driving myself to Chichen Itza, which I regret, but the tour I signed up for with the Apple rep was really good, although it made for a very long day as we were the first hotel picked up and the last one dropped off.

I loved the snorkeling at El Jardin de Eden, just a couple minutes from the hotel, heading in the direction of Tulum. Definitely the cheapest thing I did at $3.50 US admission. I had my own mask, snorkel, and flippers, but you can rent them for $3.00 US; scuba divers pay $5.50 US, and you have to have your own equipment. The fish were phenomenal. I kept wishing I had a book to identify them every time I spotted a new one.

If you sign up for the tour to the Lapiz jewelry factory, they stress buying jewelry over watching it made, but I did get a really, really good deal on an emerald ring and ruby ring. My justification is that my birthday is coming up. Seriously, I paid less for both rings than I could have gotten either one alone back here. I had trouble finding a gold charm for my charm bracelet, although I did finally break down and get one in Playa on 5th Avenue--ouch! I try to get a charm that's representative of where I've been whenever I take a trip, and it is a pretty neat one--Chac, the Maya rain god. I knew I'd be able to bring back silver for my friends, but I just didn't think gold would be so difficult to find. Oh, poor, poor pitiful me, having to do so much shopping! :)

The marriage proposal came from Carlos, who took me out on the Hobie Cat. I told him he didn't meet my requirements for my next husband--old, rich, and sick. He seemed truly puzzled, so I had to break it down for him.

Did the full deal at Dolphin Discovery, which was pretty cool, and offers more time with dolphins than Sea World in Florida does. Maybe one day I'll get to go out and swim with them in the wild. Manatees, by the way, have amazingly bad breath! My travel agent had warned me about that, but smelling it up close and personal is a lot different than hearing about it. Be sure to check out the steak and lobster deal at Richard's over at the marina--yummy, and just $12.80.

I thought the bed, which others have described as rock-hard and like a cement slab, was perfect! I sleep on a firm mattress at home, so I was in heaven. Too-soft mattress wreak havoc on my back. I did buy a softer pillow at the Wal-Mart in Playa, and saw the egg-crate bed-toppers Chadman had written about there, so if you don't want to take up space for one of those on the way down, you can get one there.

So, to sum up, I had a fabulous time, and can't wait to go back. Looks like it will be a full year before I can, so I'll be living vicariously through your posts until I return.

If anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to reply. This is a LONG post, and I just scratched the surface.

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1. Re: Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

Thank you so much for posting! We are heading to Sunscape this Friday, and it is great to hear you had a wonderful time and liked the resort. If you think of any tips for those of us heading down, please post them. We are going with family and friends and will have several kids, some young adults and middle agers, We are also renting a car at the airport and plan to go to Akumal to snorkel, visit Chichen Itza and visit some cenotes.

Mission, BC, Canada
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for Puerto Aventuras, Mission, Abbotsford
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2. Re: Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

Hola Lvs2,

Glad to hear you had such a great time!

TJ is doing great, thanx for askin, keeping his mom up at nights. Ahhh “Pay-Back”

Anyways, good to hear you liked the Sunscape, I’ll be less nervous about staying there myself if I have to in the future. I usually book last minute, so you never know…..

By the way, the “Cat” does have massages in the little grass shack by the lagoon.

I truly am glad that we didn’t steer you wrong about the area & good point to know about the manatee. Boy they call me the “Expert” & I didn’t know that…..


Fitchburg, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

Hi Lvs2trvl,

My wife and her sister had a massage near the beach at the Cat..... maybe it was the same guy that proposed to you that was rubbing them down???

Glad you had a wonderful vacation.


Pinetop, AZ
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4. Re: Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

Sounds like another ecstatic PA traveler. Glad you had such a great time and packed a lot of fun/excitement into your trip. You've just added a couple of more things to my to-do list. Welcome back.

Richmond, Virginia
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132 posts
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5. Re: Awesome time in PA, May 5-11

BC--Is it just massages, or is there really a spa where you can get facials, seaweed wraps, etc? So the baby keeps them up, huh? Did you by any chance give them the parents' curse of "I hope you have one just like you?" :-) I do have some ?s about the Cat I'll send you an email on rather than write a novel here. The folks over there seemed like they were having a blast, too!

Sportfish--Hmm...was his name Carlos? Nice kid, and he really, really wants to come to the US. At least he was trying for a green card via marriage instead of sneaking across the border.

Snorkel 4u2--remember the water shoes. Take about $100 in singles and $100 in $5's. Gas stations, Pemex, take only cash, no plastic. Best exchange rates for dollars are at the banks. If you have just the most basic Spanish, there's no trouble using the ATMs at banks, etc. Gas prices are standard as Pemex is owned by the Mexican government. Sunscreen--make sure it's the eco-friendly, biodegradable kind; there was even a sign posted at Eden that said "Please don't use sunscreen--it kills the fish." It was in Spanish, and I think it would have been good to have an English translation for those without Spanish. My sunscreen wasn't biodegradable, so I got a little burn from not wearing it. Leave early enough to get to Chichen by the time it opens at 9 am, be sure to take a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water, You can buy bottled water at Chichen for about $2, but I just took H2O from the hotel since they stocked the frig when I was out. I did have to call once to get it re-stocked, but they came within 10 minutes. You might want to go to Attractions on the TA site and read my review. I loved Chichen, but being followed around by pesky vendors when I was trying to listen to our guide or explore on my own really took away a lot from the whole experience for me. Cash only at Chichen, but they do have an ATM.

WildnWooley--I don't know what the nursing school academic calendar is going to be yet, but if I haven't booked by the time you go, I'll be eaten up with envy!