Woke up to the million dollar view of the sunrise from my comfy bed at Rocamar and was not disappointed. Immediately went to lay in the hammock and defrost from the arctic chill that descended upon my bed during the wee morning hours. After a warm cup of tea and possibly an early morning nap, I pried myself off the hammock and decided to explore the centro and snorkel by the bridge at Mia. I walked along the malecon to playa media luna and was stunned to see quite a bit of sargassum washing ashore there. I had thought this would be my magical beach spot away from the crowds of playa Norte, but it only got worse as the week went on. Despite the slight stench, I enjoyed the soft sand on my toes and viewing the makeshift living rooms the workers put up in the buildings they are working on. Couches, hammocks, one even had a tv. Not sure what they do when it rains, because there are no external walls, but they got the million dollar view too. It felt kinda like looking into a Barbie house, where you can see all the rooms on each floor and the people inside, except a lot less pink and nobody inside had long blonde hair. The workers were nice and waved a friendly good morning as I admired what must certainly be The Sea Glass Factory, but it’s not shown on my handy mapchick map, so maybe it was just a large pile of discarded trash and beer bottles left by the shore- I’ll have to check with Laura on that one.
The water and beach closer to Mia didn’t invite me to snorkel, so I just kept walking. There were lots of locals and tourists jam packed on the beach with their cacophony of music competing for attention as bodies staked out a small patch of sand. It turned my leisurely stroll into an obstacle course I couldn’t exit quick enough. As I am a person who prefers quiet solitude, I made a mental note to get my a*s out of the hotel way earlier than 11:00. No more morning hammock naps, will save those for afternoon siestas. I also made note of places, I personally, would avoid staying on future trips (this should also be read as the go to list for nonboring, sociable, party people unlike me)... anywhere near the thumping Green Demon, but it’s a great place to watch hot bodies displaying mad volleyball skills and if you don’t know how to work your new drone or GoPro, someone here does. Ixchel is just as many had described, beautiful beach, free of sargassum, and entirely covered with beach chairs so close you’d want to skip the last taco, lest your expanding belly spill over your two inch buffer zone to your neighbor’s beach chair. I’m imagining by my next visit, they will have installed a second floor of beach to accommodate the ever present demand for chairs in this area.
The shock of alienation syndrome eased up as I made my way to Playa Arena where there was a little more breathing room and the volume from the boats was a little less intense. Nautibeach seems like a great place on playa Norte for families with kids wanting to stay directly on the beach, but it’s still busy. Then I came upon the oddity of Chi and Charlie’s. What happened here? Prime location, if only the majority of rooms weren’t blocked by the restaurant which I’m not sure is even functional and the hotel itself needs some TLC. Watch your step around the corner, the beach is very nice here and you can listen to the waves a little. Luxury beach club has a huge stretch of beach and doesn’t crowd their chairs. The beach seems like the same sand and water as around the corner, so I was a little perplexed, but grateful for the noise reduction and space to actually enjoy the view. If someone forced me to stay on the beach, I would choose Privileges. Oh, and someone must have hired an environmental engineer to fix the smokey ferry, because they all seemed fine to me. The off-brand ferry does pass close to the beach, but I liked floating on the waves and swimming against the current.
All that criticizing beaches and people dodging worked up an appetite for me, so I kept walking the beach to Bally Hoo for some delicious shrimp tacos and a strawberry margarita. Thought I ordered a small margarita and a medium bottle of water, but got the opposite (darn you Dora), ce la vie! Enjoyed the food and view, but surprised the bill was just a few pesos and a lot of alcohol short of dinner at Rolandi’s. 3 tacos 150 pesos, margarita 200 p, 2 waters 60 p.
Continued walking along the beach and around the ferry dock to the Navy base. I enjoyed seeing the less touristy side and colorful fishing boats bringing in the fresh catch of the day. Meandered around centro a bit, marveled at the beautiful murals and finally made my way over to Elektra to pick up my Remilty money. Waited about 6-8 min in line, but it wasn’t bad because they have a/c and free entertainment via an upset tourist throwing a fit about having to have a passport and not just a license to make a transaction. Pro Tip: Don’t be that guy, bring your passport. Showed my confirmation number from the email AND my passport, and it worked! Pranced out with my pesos feeling relieved I could tell my doubting family I was successful getting my $500 USD worth of pesos from the appliance store in Mexico. Cha-Ching!
Picked up a few snacks from the Super Alki, got a chocolate shake from the ice cream ladies at the end of Hidalgo, back to the hotel, checking messages on the WiFi, excited to see a confirmation message from Captain Tony Garcia regarding our previously arranged WHALE SHARK TRIP tomorrow!!! My brain had gone on vacation mode and I had forgotten tomorrow was the big day I came for, so thank goodness Tony sent me the message.
PS- thanks everyone for the kind comments and I’m happy my experience on Isla can bring smiles to others too. My trip wouldn’t have been even half as great without all the selfless knowledge, both good and bad, shared here from all of you. Really, I know. Spent 4 days solo at a retirement hotel in Cancun for Mardi Gras because I saw a sale on Southwest, booked a ticket and left the next day without reading anything about where I was going. It was peace and solitude in spades. Too much of a good thing can be bad. :)