“Did She Really Just say Ditch the Heels?” A Ladies Guide to Packing for Playa!

“Did She Really Just say Ditch the Heels?” A Ladies Guide to Packing for Playa! - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenPacking for vacation can sometimes be a stressful task! You don’t want to forget anything so you bring it all! And yet you still feel that you have forgotten something! After having traveled here so many times, and saying a little prayer every time I got my suitcase weighed in at the airport, I started to realize the things I could have actually done without.

Lose the stress of forgetting something!

First I want to point out that traveling to this heavily populated and major touristic destination, which comes complete with a centralized Walmart, means that you can stress less and even ditch packing heavier items such as full containers of sunscreen, bottles of body wash, body lotions, shampoo and conditioner! Those things are heavy!

If you have actually, in fact, done the scariest of all, and forgotten your phone charger (oh my!), you may not be in such a huge dilemma as you think; given that even the local convenience stores located on every corner will sell universal USB’s.

And with stores like Mac and Ultrafemme, even forgetting your makeup bag wouldn’t be the worst thing in the entire world!

And FYI…Advil, Claratin, Pepto, and all your favorite over the counter medications exist here! No need to bring an 80 count of Advil or a boat load of “just in case you get tummy sick” meds. Bring just a few and if you need more I promise you, there will be more!

Ok ladies, on to the closet!

I say ladies because let’s face it boys, over packing usually isn’t your dilemma! First remember where you are going! The beach should be one of the easiest vacations you’ll ever have to pack for! A few bathing suits, your favorite cover up, flip flops a couple of your favorite sun dresses, shorts, tanks, undergarment and you are done! Easy right?

If only it were that easy for us to logically keep the long jeans out of our suitcase in the hot summer months – but we can’t because we just feel better that they are there, just in case!

I’m here to tell you – unless you are traveling in December or if you love the feeling of sticking to your jeans, leave those non essentials at home, you won’t be using them! Save the space for a cute new sundress and some of the other purchases you will most likely be carting home from Playa!

Stick to the basics girls – beach, pool, causal, and a little bit of elegance for the evenings!

Cobblestone is a high heel nightmare!

The first time I traveled to Playa del Carmen I brought 3 different pairs of high heels with me, not to mention my sneaks, my wedges and everything else that fits on my foot!

After about a half a night out I realized that wearing high heels out was the worst idea I could have ever had especially since I headed out to two dance clubs located on the beach! And good luck walking the cobblestone streets from your hotel to the night clubs in HIGH HEELS! If you do choose to brave it out, make sure you have someone to hold your hand very tight or a nice companion that will offer you a piggy back ride! That is only a slight exaggeration but still you get the point!

While I can’t discourage heel wearing 100 percent – I would like to point out that perhaps limiting to one pair is sufficient! Your classic black go with everything heel will do just fine! After all – the option does make us feel better!

I do still brave the high heel every now and then but it usually just ends up in a routine walk back to the car to get my sandals!

Even though Playa hosts some of the most brilliant night life it still remains a casual beach town; and while your hot city life may call for high-end everything, a night out Playa remains cool and calm with the dress code. A good pair of flat strappy sandals to go with your hot summer dress will help you to stay comfortable while fitting in just fine!

Keep your towels and Linens at Home!

You know what else can put suitcase right over that dreaded 50 pound limit? – A big beach towel! Leave them at home! All resorts and hotels will provide towels as well as most beach clubs in the area. If you are truly without, you can purchase very well priced light and decorative beach linens all over the 5th Avenue; which also serve as nice, and I should say light for travel, souvenirs!

Think before adding on International Plans for your cell phone!

It’s not that it isn’t a smart idea to add international minutes or special plans with your cell phone carrier, it’s just that if you are traveling here it might find it simply unnecessary. While international plans are not heavy on your suitcase, it can be heavy on your wallet and skype can do the trick very nicely.

All you need is your smart phone, Wi-Fi and a skype account. Adding some minutes or paying a very cheap one month rate to skype, will allow you to make unlimited international calls over Wi-Fi, to any phone number, in any country you choose to set it up for.

There are also fantastic WI-FI text messaging options like Whatsapp, Viber or Facebook messenger to keep in close contact with family and friends.

Wi Fi is available for free in many hotels and establishments in the area, including multiple Starbucks locations. Now you can even access free Wi-Fi zones on the 5th Avenue, so you are really never as disconnected as you think! Just put your phone on airplane mode and connect to Wi-Fi wherever you are!

And finally, things you shouldn’t forget!

Your Passport, money, camera, a call to your bank to let them know you may use your card in Mexico, a good wristlet or over the shoulder purse with zipper, your beach bag, flip flops, bathing suits, sunglasses, some fitness gear (if that’s your thing), an I-pod, a great beach book, and a laid back vacation style attitude!

Secret Spots in the Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is the name given to the pristine stretch of Caribbean coastline between Cancun and Tulum. Playa del Carmen lies at the center of this amazing part of the world which is home to pristine beaches, crystal clear cenotes, ancient ruins and dense tropical jungle.

The Riviera Maya is a special part of the world. Just ask anyone who comes here and they will tell you that there is a unique energy in this natural, cultural and historic paradise that is unrivaled by any other destination.

We want to take it a step further and introduce you to some secret spots in the area, places only discovered by the intrepid and the adventurous.

1. Secret Snorkeling Spot in Puerto Morelos

About 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen is the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Morelos. Not many people know it, but just off the shore in front of the Ojo del Agua restaurant, is a secret snorkeling spot which includes a reef and an underwater cenote.

Pueto Morelos snorkeling photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Swim right off the beach toward the white market buoys and discover a magical underwater world. It’s one of the area’s best kept secrets!

2. The Secret Cenote of Xcacel Beach

Forty minutes south of Playa del Carmen is Xcacel Beach, the most underdeveloped and ruggedly beautiful beach in all the Riviera Maya. It is also home to a turtle sanctuary which protects this precious species.

The beach itself is delightful. Iguanas roam the shore and there are no resorts or beach clubs in sight. Just miles of white sand flanked by verdant jungle, which makes you feel as though you have stepped back in time.

A well kept secret of this natural paradise is the cenote which is located in a mangrove forest. Follow the small sign which leads you down a sandy path, emerging at a fresh water sinkhole surrounded by jungle.

Xcacel Beach cenote photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Birds flit from branch to branch and fish dart between rocks in the crystal clear water. Don your snorkel to discover another well kept secret of the Riviera Maya!

 3. The Secret Ruins of Muyil

While most of the tourists flock to the well known Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Coba, why not explore the lesser known ancient city of Muyil, just south of Tulum.

Forget the tour groups and large crowds, this gem of an ancient site is set in a dense jungle and opens out onto a lagoon and canal system which was used as a trade route for the Maya.

You can also access the ruins on a boat tour in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a protected nature reserve containing exceptional biodiversity and historic significance just one hour south of Playa del Carmen.

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

4. The Secret Tacos of Playa del Carmen

Ssh! Don’t tell anyone about this local gem, located on the corner of 30th Avenue and 20th street. This small stand has been serving up delicious cochinita (marinated pork) tacos to hungry locals for many years, with no signs of stopping. You only need see the crowds of happy customers who line up every day from 7am till 12pm for this delicacy unique to the Yucatan.

We hope you enjoy these secret spots of the Riviera Maya and discover many more of your own!

Giving back to the local community

Playa del Carmen is a wonderful vacation destination with stunning beaches, friendly people and fantastic restaurants. It’s no wonder many of our guests return year after year to experience the magic of this vibrant Caribbean town.

For those guests who would like to deepen their experience of Playa del Carmen by volunteering their time or resources to help the local community, there are several not-for-profit organizations who are doing some great work.

KKIS Project Photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

The KKIS Project (Keeping Kids In School)

What started as a small gathering of ex-pats who bought basic supplies for local schools has now grown into a thriving non-profit organization.

The KKIS project aims to ‘Keep Kids In School’ by assisting hundreds of needy families with their school supplies every year. In 2013, the project delivered over 300 brand new backpacks filled with high quality supplies, from pencils and rulers to dictionaries and calculators.

The project also co-ordinates volunteer English classes in several schools around Playa del Carmen. Donating your time and energy once a week for one hour is a great way to connect with the community in a valuable way.

KKIS Project Photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

The project accepts donations of money, supplies and time, in whatever way you can help. From leading a small group of children in an English-based activity once per week, packing backpacks with supplies, delivering supplies to the local area or making a donation, every little bit is appreciated.

The KKIS project’s long-term goal is to provide a better education for Playa del Carmen’s youngest residents, resulting in increased opportunities for the future.

The Amigos Network

The Amigos Network is another group of Playa del Carmen ex-patriots doings some great work in the community. Led by Russell Granger and Michele Kinnon, this group of local business owners raises money for developing communities on the outskirts town.

They recently installed ceiling fans in a tiny, make-shift school in a small village south of Playa, co-ordinated the ‘Kicks 4 Kids’ shoe drive for needy children in rural villages and delivered blankets and clothing to the elderly people of the Puerto Aventuras community.

Kicks 4 Kids Photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

They are open to donations and welcome volunteers who would like to make a difference to the community’s most needy residents.

Christmas Dreams Playa

Christmas Dreams Playa is a project which gathers donations of children’s gifts. Every year in early January, coinciding with ‘Three Kings Day’, they deliver the donated goods to children in needy communities.

This year, with the help of the two other organizations above, they hosted a party with food, drink and even a Santa Claus appearance in the village of Nuevo Noh Bec. The smiles on the faces of the local children is proof of the generous work they do.

Christmas Dreams Playa Photo - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

If you would like to donate a small gift for next year’s event, contact Christmas Dreams Playa via Facebook.

Coco’s Cat Rescue

Of course the four legged members of the community also need some TLC. Coco’s has been offering free neutering and spaying services in Playa del Carmen for several years, in order to decrease the stray cat population and increase the quality of life for those who are born to the streets.

They offer many other valuable services, and even host a ‘kitten cuddling’ session every week at their premises.

Coco’s welcomes donations and volunteers who care about the well being of Playa’s furry friends.

If you are looking for a way to say ‘thank you’ to the local community of Playa del Carmen, getting involved in these wonderful programs not only helps those in need, but will provide you with some unique and special memories.

 

Enjoy a Caribbean Christmas in Playa del Carmen

The countdown to Christmas is on and Playa del Carmen has recently come alive in a show of light, color and Christmas cheer. A huge tree has been erected in front of the Sanborns department store in the center of town, decorated beautifully in red and gold.

Christmas tree in Playa del Carmen - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

It seems the residents of Playa del Carmen take Christmas cheer very seriously – hotels, stores and local homes are stringing lights, tinsel and decorations, and trees are popping up all over town.

Playa del Carmen is in bloom with hundreds of bright red poinsettia plants, which really enhance the festive atmosphere around town. Poinsettias love the heat and lots of light, so if you pick one up for your condo, place it somewhere where it can get lots of both.

Poinsettias - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Some may find it strange to celebrate Christmas in the tropics, but here at Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen, a ‘white Christmas’ involves digging your feet into the fine sand of the Caribbean at Indigo Beach Club!

Indigo Beach Club - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Instead of hot cocoa and egg nog, Christmas drinks include creamy pina coladas and refreshing margaritas while watching the turquoise waters lap against the shore. Christmas day viewing includes miles of white sand beaches and sparkling seas instead of old movies!

Events and fiestas are happening every night around town, from the Mexican night at Indigo Beach Club on Wednesdays with unlimited fajitas and traditional pozole, as well as two-for-one cocktails at Imprevist.

Imprevist - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Don’t worry about not being able to find traditional Christmas fare – the supermarkets are stocked with chicken, turkey, ham and all the trimmings for those who would like to prepare a meal in their fully equipped kitchen.

Or better yet, why not make use of your very own private chef to create a Christmas meal for you and your loved ones you will never forget!

Indigo beach club is also putting on a sumptuous spread at their beachfront restaurant in front of the El Taj hotel.

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Don’t have a tree? Well, that is easily fixed! How about a Caribbean-style Christmas tree? The kids will love it, and best of all, there is nothing to clean up afterwards and no messy pine needles!

Christmas on the beach - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

The Caribbean answer to a Christmas tree…

Whatever you decide to do for Christmas, whether entertain on your private terrace, relax by the pool or soak up the sun at the beach, you can be guaranteed it will be a holiday to remember.

While the sun is shining instead of the snow falling and the margaritas are flowing instead of hot cocoa, there is no shortage of Christmas cheer in Playa del Carmen. Come celebrate with us and experience a white Christmas – Caribbean style – on the beach!

Christmas on the beach - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

 Celebrate Christmas on the shores of the Caribbean with us!

3 Ways to Learn Spanish in Playa del Carmen

When I first visited Mexico last year, my Spanish skills were close to zero. My vocabulary was limited to the bare basics; ‘Si’ (yes) and ‘gracias’ (thank you), which I knew weren’t going to get me very far. During my visits to Playa del Carmen over the last year, my Spanish has certainly improved, and while I’m certainly not fluent, I am picking up more and more every day thanks to the following three methods:

1. Spanish School!

Going back to school may not be everyone’s idea of an ideal vacation, but if you are really serious about getting a solid grounding in the language, then this is a sure-fire way to get started. Last year I decided to attend a local Spanish school for a week to learn the basics. Whilst I did feel in over my head at times (even though it was a beginner course!), it definitely gave me a good start in learning the language.

Spanish books

There are quite a few Spanish schools to choose from in Playa del Carmen, and all of them offer beginner courses. Playa Lingua and Solexico are two with good reputations. How much time you spend in class each day is up to you, and there are full or part-time courses to suit your schedule. I decided to go for the course which offered four hours of tuition per day because I still wanted some beach time in the afternoon. I found this a good balance between learning and relaxation time.

2. A Computer or Online Course

Computer courses are a popular way to learn any language and there are some good systems available. Rosetta Stone is a famous program with a solid reputation, and the best thing is that it’s a one-off purchase, allowing for self-paced learning. Of course, this also can be a negative, if, like me, you lack the necessary discipline to log on every day and practice! But for those who are dedicated, it is a great way to learn. Most programs will use a combination of listening, visual and written exercises to get your brain working and learning new words and phrases.

There are also some really great free online courses available, and the best one I have found is Duolingo. Completely free and available as an app for your smartphone, Duolingo is easy to use, highly interactive, and tracks your progress as you learn. It’s actually quite addictive, and I found myself on level six the first night I used it.

Spanish course

3. Eating at Local Restaurants

Eating at local restaurants around Playa del Carmen is a fantastic way to learn the lingo. Reading the menu and ordering in Spanish are great ways to improve your vocab and speaking skills. It may be daunting at first, but pretty soon you will get the hang of it and be ordering your favorite dishes like a native speaker.

Menu in Spanish

Of course the up-side to this method is trying all the delicious Mexican cuisine Playa del Carmen has to offer, which is not a bad way to spend your time!

Mexican food

Learning Spanish doesn’t have have to be dull and boring. As you can see, there are many different ways of picking up the basics, while having some fun as you go.

Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

Enjoying the off-season in Playa del Carmen

I arrived in Playa del Carmen in February, catching the tail end of Playa’s busy holiday season. There was an energetic vibe in the air as tourists and visitors from all over the globe converged on white sand beaches and tumbled out of waterfront beach bars. Posters for festivals and events were plastered around town, and ‘La Quinta’ was a buzzing hive of activity as stores and restaurants overflowed with happy vacationers.

Now, July has arrived along with warmer temperatures and fewer tourists, but I have to say, I’m enjoying the laid back pace of the off-season. Playa del Carmen is a thriving town, with enough locals to sustain the economy all-year ’round, so the place is far from deserted. It just feels like things have slowed to more chilled out pace, and life is moving along less frenetically.

I have to say, I’m a fan of the off-season, and I don’t think it’ll be long before other people start catching on…

For one thing, accommodation is more affordable, with many special offers and discounts available. Condo Hotels offer some excellent deals this time of year that people would be crazy not to make use of. Savings of up to 45% are not to be scoffed at, and can mean being able to afford the sort of vacation you’ve always dreamed of.

el taj condos

It’s not just accommodation that you can save on, however. Less tourists around town means you can bargain more at the stores along Fifth, and get much better deals on your souvenirs and handicrafts. And don’t worry, bargaining is all part of the shopping culture here, so don’t be afraid to haggle hard for a good deal!

shopping playa del carmen

Another gift of the off-season is quieter beaches both in town and along the coast. Visit Xcacel beach south of Playa and you’re almost guaranteed a completely empty patch of sand to relax on; a world away from the commercialism of Cancun further north.

Snorkeling in Akumal bay is a dream in the off-season, with far less tourists occupying the crystal clear waters to observe sea turtles feeding. If you get there early, you may even be the only ones out there, with prime viewing of the majestic creatures.

Akumal snorkel

Mostly, though, I just love strolling the streets in off season, especially around dusk. When the sun drops into the horizon, the sky comes alive in a blaze of orange and pink, it’s the perfect time to be out for an evening stroll. Families gather in the main square, children play in the street, and the local parks host out-door fitness sessions and Zumba classes. It’s great to pull up a bench and watch, or if you’re really game, join in!

playa del carmen sunset

There really are so many rewards for visiting Playa in the off-season, I just wonder why the secret hasn’t gotten out yet. From making use of better deals and discounts, to enjoying a slower pace of life, it’s a great time to travel. Of course, the busyness of the peak holiday season can be fun too, but personally, I like this time of year and the relaxed atmosphere it brings. For me, it’s more true to the Mexican way of life; the manana manana lifestyle that helps me slow down and appreciate the simple things in life like the ocean, good food, and beautiful sunsets.

Playa del carmen beach

 

Some Things Never Change in Playa del Carmen

When I returned to Playa del Carmen earlier this year, a place I fell in love with during my last visit, I noticed some things were a little different.

Walking along the beachfront early one morning, I braced myself against the cool sea breeze, unaccustomed to Spring’s milder temperatures. The coastline had been re-sculpted by the changing tides and the water was unusually choppy compared to the smooth-as-glass seas of last September.

playa del carmen beach

‘My beach’ looked wilder, more rugged, and more natural. It was as though my baby had turned into a wayward teenager, adopting a rough new look, and I was the shocked parent who didn’t know what to make of it.

“I think I’ll get used to it,” I thought to myself as I walked along the palm-fringed shore.

After all, that’s what nature does. It changes and evolves within a continuous cycle we are a part of but may never fully understand.

Playa del Carmen has certainly grown and evolved since I was here last year. New restaurants have popped up, whilst some have disappeared. Boutiques showcasing the latest local designers have emerged, along with smoothie bars and yoga centres focused on health and well-being.

‘Playa’ may be developing, but it is managing to do so whilst preserving the important natural treasures that make the area so special – the beaches, cenotes and jungle-clad ancient ruins – so we can all enjoy them for many years to come.

Thanks to being slightly jet-lagged, I was up early enough to see the sun rise over the Caribbean’s silvery seas (though the birds soaring gracefully overhead probably had the best view of all).

Sunrise in playa

A few other early risers stood on the pier at the end of Avenida Constituyentes to welcome the new day, including one very snappily dressed Chihuahua in a pink dress.

“Only in Mexico!” I thought to myself as I stepped off the pier and headed north, my feet slapping into the cool whitewash. As I walked along my favourite stretch of beach in front of the luxurious El Taj condos, I saw him.

The familiar face of a Playa local, a man I had met before along these shores, and surely would again.

“Buenos Dias!” he stated, as though imparting a fact rather than a greeting.

I’m not sure if he recognized me. It was rather unlikely since I had seen him hand out precious gifts to many different people (mostly ladies!) along the beach, but I accepted his offering with a heartfelt, “Gracias.”

I was thankful indeed, not just for the beautiful shell the old man pressed into my palm, but for the fact that no matter how long I had been away from Playa del Carmen, he had been here, striding along the beach as he did every morning, collecting shells in his weathered fingers to give to passers-by.

As I clutched the tiny gift in my hand, I proceeded up the beach with a spring in my step, grateful that no matter what changed in Playa del Carmen, the important things remained the same.

beach shell

Horse Riding on the Beach: A New Experience

Traveling is all about having new experiences, so when my sister-in-law visited us in Playa del Carmen, we had a slew of new things for her to try, such as swimming in cenotes, skydiving and visiting ancient ruins. Little did we know that we would be having a few new experiences of our own, as top of her list of things to do was horse riding on the beach.

Horse riding on the beach in Playa del Carmen

“You have never been horse riding?” she asked me incredulously, finding it difficult to believe I had never ridden one before.

“Well, my friend had a horse when I was a kid, and she led me around the stable yard once, but I don’t think that counts,” I replied, slightly embarrassed that in all my adventures in Playa del Carmen and beyond, I had never actually ridden a horse.

The truth was, like all new experiences, I was slightly afraid of the unknown, and whilst I did enjoy the company of horses and certainly appreciated them, I’d just never considered myself enough of an ‘animal person’ to be able to ride one.

But all that was about to change as we headed north along the highway from Playa del Carmen toward Rancho Baaxal, the place my sister-in-law had chosen for our horse riding adventure.

She chose that particular ranch due to the ethical nature of their business. The horses at Rancho Baaxal are all rescue horses, some of who have been abused and mis-treated in the past. They now have a safe haven in the jungle of the Riviera Maya, being cared for and loved by the owners of the ranch.

Arriving at the gates of Rancho Baaxal, we were greeted by Steffi, one of the friendly staff, whose love for the creatures we were about to ride was immediately evident. She sat us down and asked us to fill in a questionnaire about our weight (yes, there is a restriction!), height, and experience levels.

I told her I was an absolute beginner and slightly nervous about riding, so she matched me to ‘Indio’ a timid male horse. We met our two guides for the ride, and before long, we were off! We carved a path through the jungle in single file, the horses following patiently after each other along their familiar route.

horse riding jungle in Playa del Carmen

It was a warm day, but the trees provided much needed shade from the sun’s rays as we meandered peacefully through the thick foliage. The two dogs from the ranch had the most fun, however, darting in and out of the jungle and winding in between the horses who seemed completely oblivious to them.

Jungle horse riding in Playa del Carmen

When we broke through the jungle and onto the shore of a deserted beach, the dogs took straight to the water for their daily swim, while we followed our guide along the sandy beach track.

“This is so much fun!” My sister-in-law cried, absolutely in her element riding a horse along the Caribbean coastline.

Caribbean Beach horse riding in Playa del Carmen

I agreed, and even said ‘yes’ when the guides asked us if we wanted to gallop! Holding on for dear life, Indio burned some energy along the beach, kicking up a cloud of soft white sand in his wake.

It was truly a magical morning, unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and I was certainly glad I had agreed to try something new. Horse riding is a relaxing and fun activity, even for beginners like me, and riding through dense jungle and along the shore of the Caribbean was a unique adventure I’ll never forget.

Happy horse riding in Playa del Carmen

*Contact the concierge at condo hotels to arrange your visit!

Sunday Bliss at El Taj and Indigo

We awoke to a blazing blue sky on Sunday morning at El Taj Oceanfront and immediately knew it was going to be a great day. Though every day in Playa del Carmen seems like a weekend, Sundays have a special feeling of relaxation; a chance to completely unwind before the week ahead. First though, we had a few dilemmas to face in regards to how we would spend the day…

After waking up in our deluxe King bed clothed in high thread count linen,

Deluxe King Bed at El Taj

Perhaps we’d brew a pot of delicious strong coffee in our fully appointed chef’s kitchen?

Kitchen at El Taj

Then sip it on the terrace overlooking the pool, lush gardens and Caribbean Sea?

Balcony view at El Taj

Or head to Imprevist restaurant to indulge in a gourmet breakfast of pastries, fruit, yogurt and eggs?

Imprevist in Playa del Carmen

After breakfast, maybe we’d relax in the infinity Jacuzzi perched over the main pool like an overflowing champagne fountain?

Jacuzzi at El Taj

Or simply chill out on our private terrace, taking in the view of the stunning Caribbean sea, streaked with ten different shades of blue…

View from El Taj

Perhaps a soak in our private, heated Jacuzzi, relaxing our muscles against the massaging jets would be in order?

private jacuzzi El Taj

Then maybe we would spend the afternoon with a good book under one of the umbrellas at Indigo beach club, listening to the waves lap against the shore and watching pelicans soar overhead…

Indigo beach club

Later, we could make use of the complimentary ‘Manager’s Welcome Party’ buffet at Indigo, while sipping on fruity cocktails and listening to the live tunes of the resident band.

Indigo beach club

Then walk along the pier in our ‘front yard’ and watch local families haul shiny silver fish from the water with nets.

Pier condo

Fishing El Taj pier

Perhaps we’ll stop on the pier for a while, watching the sun set over our ‘home away from home’, El Taj, wishing we could stay forever in this Caribbean paradise…

Sunset at El Taj

Then make our way back to the comfy lounges at Indigo, singing along to old favorites as the beach turns black and the palm trees are illuminated with golden light.

Indigo band

Afterwards, maybe we’d retire to the luxurious comfort of our condo to watch a movie on one of our three flat screen televisions, lounging on the spacious modular sofa with a large bowl of pop corn…

With so many options, how would we possibly choose how to spend our Sunday at El Taj?

By doing them all of course!

So that’s exactly what we did, experiencing a day of food, music, sun, relaxation and pure bliss; the perfect Sunday at El Taj Oceanfront and Indigo beach club.

I’m already dreaming of next Sunday…

Skydiving in Playa del Carmen: The Ultimate Rush

It was something I was terrified of: falling from a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 ft, and yet, something told me I had to do it. I guess that’s the beauty of adventure, it’s scary, terrifying even, but the rewards of the experience outweigh the fear.

The guys from Skydive Playa were cool as cucumbers and put my mind at ease with their professionalism and experience – they have been operating in Playa del Carmen for seventeen years and have the act of falling from a moving aircraft over the Caribbean down to a fine art.

Before the jump I was beside myself with anxiety about the unknown, and yet, once I was on my way up the tiny plane, my fear was replaced with a calm knowing that I was about to experience the ultimate rush, and all my apprehension would soon be a distant memory.

What I didn’t know was that I was about to have the most fun I’d ever had in my life.

The thirty second free-fall was exilirating, mind-blowing and utterly incomparable to anything I have ever experienced!

Not to mention providing me with the best view of Playa del Carmen and the surrounding Riviera Maya as I am ever likely to get.

I was actually a little sad when the parachute was opened, slowing our free-fall to a soaring glide. The best part was over, but flying above the bright aqua sea looking out over to Cozumel, then to the white sand beaches of Playa was pretty wonderful too.

Skydiving Playa del Carmen

As my feet touched down on the soft white sand, my immediate thoughts were, “I did it!” quickly followed by, “I could do it again!”

Skydiving is certainly not something everyone will experience in their lifetime, but I’m so grateful to have experienced the ultimate rush in one of my favorite parts of the world, Playa del Carmen.