Travel: Quintana Roo, PLAYA DEL CARMEN & COZUMEL, Mexico

I’ve been to many parts of Mexico and every single trip has been an unforgettable and amazing experience.  My experience with the locals were mostly positive and pleasant.  Mexico is vibrant with culture and has so much history to tell.   Like any other country you need to keep your guard up and be alert of your surroundings. Just relax, enjoy your stay and soak up all of the beauty Mexico has to offer!  My #1 biggest problem was mapping out my AirBnB locations. I consistently encountered discrepancies with the mapped location provided on AirBnB and had to contact each location for the correct address. I found that Google Maps vs Apple Maps worked best in Mexico. I spent 7 days and 6 nights in Quintana Roo, during the first week of November, spending 3 days and 3 nights in Playa Del Carmen (One of those days spent in Cozumel.  Other parts of this trip will be posted separately).  It was still pretty hot, a bit on the humid side, AC was necessary. It rained upon my arrival but cleared up making it beautiful days ahead. *All costs are listed in US currency.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

Places to Stay/Sleep: AirBnB – Casa De Sal Unit #5 $35.07 very clean, simple, hot water available, AC, refrigerator, small kitchen area combined with living room area, outdoor hammock chair, secure with gates and coded locks, very good location near beach and main street areas.

  

Apartment Tuntun Unit #7 $26.89 generally very clean except for small kitchen area, open space, cute rustic decor, hot water not always available, AC, refrigerator.

Places to Eat: Some of the best food in Mexico is offered right off the street from vendors/carts. I had some of the best Tamales off of a street cart for about 50cents a pop! Don’t forget to ask for the chile!

  

El Sangha Rito the best chicken enchiladas LINKS: TripAdvisor link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150812-d7002934-Reviews-El_Sangha_Rito-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html Yelp link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-sangha-rito-playa-del-carmen

Nativo best fresh smoothies and juices. (I requested ice/hielo with my smoothies). LINKS: Yelp link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/nativo-playa-del-carmen-2?uid=kw2c_ka8eJnnN8xnWMBiew&utm_source=ishare TripAdvisor link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150812-d12132226-Reviews-Nativo-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html 

Site-seeing/Activities: Quinta Avenida, also referred to in English as 5th Avenue, is the main touristy area in Playa. It is a pedestrian only, cobblestone lined street that spans from Av. Benito Juarez to 50th Street and beyond. Along 5th Ave. you will find a variety of restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping opportunities and various services. In Playa, nearly everything starts from this street.  Infonavit Gaviotas Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico had some cool spots with murals under the freeway. Color also spills along 10 Avenida Nte. in Playa Del Carmen. Street art murals line the streets for blocks.

  

Club Mandala: THE BEST NIGHT CLUB in Playa Del Carmen. I went on a Sunday night. I walked over to a free club adjacent from Mandala and although it was packed inside and the music was decent, the vibe just wasn’t there. They always say “you get what you pay for.” On the other hand, Mandala had a $20 cover charge per person but I can honestly say it was worth every penny.  If you’re charming or in a group try to work out a deal as I did with the 2 other girls I was with. They treated us proper! They gave us a complimentary table and waters throughout the night and the DJ played the best dance music! As usual be cautious don’t let them walk away with your credit card and keep an eye on your stuff at ALL TIMES! LINKS: Trip Advisor link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150812-d8444946-Reviews-Mandala Yelp link: Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.htmlhttps://www.yelp.com/biz/mandala-night-club-playa-del-carmen

COZUMEL

Is a little island off Playa Del Carmen.  You can catch a ferry for about $16 roundtrip. Its about 40-45 minutes one way.  I don’t recommend snorkeling here.  The water was cloudy and there really wasn’t much to see.  It was actually a little depressing seeing that coral and marine life wasn’t as vibrant as it once had been. I paid about $70 for a snorkel trip to 3 locations via boat.  Spend your money elsewhere if seeing coral life is your goal (see my blog on Isla Mujeres, Mexico).  I had a decent meal at a friendly restaurant but really didn’t have an interest to stick around Cozumel long enough to give any further review.

TIPS // DO’S & DON’TS: At present, travelers must press a button when passing through Customs, and those who get a green light are free to go. The unlucky minority who gets the red light have their bags searched. Tipping is about 10%.  Cash is accepted but usually vendors will convert it at a lower rate and it really isn’t in your best interest.  Always check what the currency conversions. It’s always best to bring cash (to avoid ATM and foreign fees) then convert it into pesos preferably outside of the airport and away from touristy areas.  I used XE Currency iPhone app for currency conversion and for language translation I used Google Translate iPhone app.  Hot water appeared to be a commodity out there so always check where you are staying to ensure they have hot water if that is something of importance to you.  I personally didn’t mind since I went during the hotter part of the season. Yelp was pretty handy in finding places to eat.  If you’re a U.S T-Mobile customer your phone usage remains the same at no additional cost.  Therefore, phone calls, texting and data does not change from the current plan you are associated to.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for AT&T customers.  I set roaming off and only used my phone when in the presence of wifi. I typically rent cars wherever I travel but I take caution. I like to get a feel of where I am prior to making a decision but since I’ve been to Mexico multiple times and from Los Angeles, I know I can handle it. It’s always best practice to get full coverage rental insurance but it did cost a whopping $334.16 while the car rental itself was only $68.40 for 7 days. That’s where they get ya! I purchased my car rental and round trip flight through Expedia but found that the car rental insurance they allowed me to purchase didn’t actually cover me in Mexico. So why did they offer insurance? Beats me! With that said always double check the actual coverage prior to making a purchase. I’ve recently been having some really bad experiences with Expedia and may decide to cut ties with them soon. If you have a car you have the freedom to roam around and explore therefore, no need for a tour guide its cheaper to go straightaway to the places you want to see and for the things you want to do. Safe travels ✌️