Saturday, February 23, 2013

Anything Goes in Mexico

...specifically in Playa del Carmen.  Back in February I had a great Cancun experience in Cancun which involves a lot  money, isolation, relaxation ... but it was time to escape the resorts and do something more... fun.

Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) is like 3rd street prominade in Santa Monica except less chains more alcohol.  Were blessed with a Mexican in our group to give us a little bit of an in, but not that much.  We were still tourists in a tourist town.  We nail a cheap AirBNB close to all of the action and the local walmart.  I was yelled at when I wanted to buy sushi from the Walmart in Mexico.  I guess that would have been a bad idea.

It was on this street that I learned about the Sangrita - shot of tequila chased with tomato juice. Magical and had bomb ass tacos off the main area at this place called El Fogon... I think.  I also learned that not all massage places offer happy endings.  That I learned second hand.

Be careful in Mexico?  I think the touristy places are well protected due to the amount of revenue it brings in to the country.  I felt very safe, no question there, but I wan't doing stupid things that many others who find themselves here.

Xel Ha is ridiculous - it was recommended to us from a guide based on our age and interest.  The other entertainment destinations under this franchaise were more about shows or history or "adventure" where you "explore case" or ride in some sort of go cart through nature that's been manicured to tourist.

We made the right choice - Xel Ha was all the fun with no restrictions.

It felt like off season, no one was here and these lovely hammocks were a great welcoming.  No lines.  Just a lot of exploration around this "park."  Did I mention - there's a buffet inside that's covered with your $80 entrance fee?  That includes margaritas.

Our bartender poured the whole bottle into the blender when he saw us thirsty group of 4.

After a few drinks you can grab a bike.. helmets were an option and no one was watching us.  So we just grabbed some wheels and biked around this path weaving between trees.  It might have been the alcohol, but this was harder than it seems.

We grabbed some "required life jackets got on a inner tube and floated down this river through a very unnatural looking tunnel made of branches.

When we finally got out we found ourselves near jumping rocks and tight rope challenges.

Alright!  Some zip lining into the water.  Put on your snorkel mask to see some fish and... modern art?

One more margarita and we explored some caves...  a photo opp?!  How convenient.. it was like Disneyland and I'm glad I had my waterproof iPhone case.

And nothing would top an exploration better than walking through tree tops on bridges that looked like they came from Peter Pan's Neverland.  Frolic frolic.

The craziest thing about this place is that I saw 4 life guards.  This place is huge and someone would surely drown from the bottomless alcohol.  It was worth all $80.. like an adult "natural" water park.

Next time I'll try Xplor which includes more cave exploration, tree top zip lining and kayaking... oo!

The evenings in Playa del Carmen were relaxing... night clubbing wasn't really worth it, but we had a nice dinner and just enjoyed the company.

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