By Deanna Morin
Special to the Express
In Mexico, in the Mayan Riviera, you will find a beautiful little city called Playa del Carmen and you’re going to want to go there!
This was our second time to this tropical paradise, but the first time that my husband and I were joined by our 11-year-old daughter, Madison. We went for nine full days and stayed at an ‘all-inclusive’ in downtown Playa del Carmen, just steps from the famous 5th Avenue shopping district.
Once there, we carefully selected our tours for the week.
We chose to book our excursions on our resort, which I also recommend, and was so glad we did! We had to reschedule last minute due to minor illness and they were very accommodating.
First up was snorkeling.
We had gone snorkeling in Cenotes before, but this time we opted for snorkeling along the second largest reef in the world – right in Bahia Petempich National Park, with a company called ‘The Original Snorkeling Adventure’.
They brought us out to two different reefs; one we went to twice to check out the different colours the sun’s reflection produces on the reef. There was a lunch break between the trips out along their section of the beach. It was clean, comfortable and all-inclusive. My only recommendation is to not go on a windy day – the waves are bigger, making it harder to relax in the water. Also it made me leave a little deposit in the ocean!
The second excursion was one my daughter really wanted to do – swim with dolphins. We went to Dolphinaris Park right in the Mayan Riviera. Madison was the participant and we observed. I actually regret not participating, as it looked so fun once I was there. She touched them, swam on them, kissed them and loved every minute of it. The photos they took were crazy expensive and the food was mediocre, but the rest of the experience was perfect.
Shopping on 5th Avenue was an adventure in itself; the shopkeepers are very eager for your attention and business and can get quite unnerving. If you don’t like bartering, I recommend you stick to the stores that give receipts and have air conditioning! There are many restaurants, bars and ice cream shops as well. The Italian gelato was my favourite.
We hit the Walmart to restock sunscreen and to get food items that are unique to Mexico; it was only a 10-minute walk from the beach downtown.
Two years ago, we stayed in Playacar, a relatively new development, just on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen. The beach here is superior to downtown, as it is not eroding and has fewer rough shells. Playacar also has more natural vegetation and we saw many iguanas and other small animals.
So, depending on what you’re into, both of these destinations are well worth the money you will invest. Yes, I said ‘invest’ as the returns will justify the expense.