Playa Del Carmen
I decided to check out the other side of Mexico this time. I flew into Cancun, since there were cheap flight to that location. I didn't expect to like it, since it's a peninsula lined with fancy resorts, and that just isn't my kind of thing. I spent the night in downtown Cancun, which wasn't very nice or particularly cheap ($30), but I wanted to do some market shopping.The next day I took a bus to Playa del Carmen, a 45 minute ride south. The bus was nice, air-conditioned and cheap ($3). I was dropped in the center of town and from there walked up the main road to find a hotel. I checked at different places and was offered rooms by touts, but I knew there were plenty of rooms available, since I went 10 days before Christmas, and that is the lowest of seasons. So I took my time finding a place and looked at the rooms offered until I found a place I loved. I ended up staying at a place called "Jungla Caribe", which is on the corner of 5th & 8th and one block from the beach. The room was $50/night, had 2 double beds, air-conditioning, a patio and a clean marble tiled bathroom. This hotel is run by an Austrian couple, and the people who work there are very nice.
The main road in Playa is a colorful array of handicraft stored, restaurants and hotels. There isn't much traffic during the day, but at night the road is closed to traffic and it becomes a wonderful place to wander and watch people.
The best part of the Yucatan peninsula is the beautiful water and beaches. The beach at Playa was no different. Powder-fine sand, beachchairs and restaurants make it a great place to spend your days. The water is crystal clear and inviting.
There are some day excursions available also. There's X-Caret a waterpark with shows and all sort of attractions (swim with dolphins). There's Tulum, a mayan ruin on the beach near Playa. There's the ferry to Cozumel, which is overpriced and simply deposits you in a place alot like Playa, but without a nice beach.
All in all, Playa was a wonderful place. I was a bit surprised at how expensive it was, especially the food and the clothes. I had expected the famous mexican bargains, but I guess those are a thing of the past. It's safe and a great place for families, since everything is in walking distance.