Isla Mujeres 2009

The  No-Dive (almost) Dive Vacation


 


Another year and another of my wife's shopping weekend at our house. If you happened to read any previous posts you will see that most years, Karen’s aunts, cousins, nieces and friends come to our house to get together and do a little early Christmas shopping. It just so happens that I love to dive so I go diving for four or five days. It works out well, they don’t have to worry about having one male in the house with twenty five or so women and I get to go diving.

 
 

Puerto Jaurez


 
Puerto Jaurez
Puerto Jaurez

 

 

I used frequent flier miles to book my ticket to Cancun and the only option I had was first class. Nice! When I arrived at the ferry terminal in Puerto Jaurez it was approaching sunset, the sky was blue, it was warm and the wind was calm. The ferry ride to the island was beautiful, I sat on the top deck enjoying the weather, it was a perfect night.


 

 

 

Isla Ferries
Isla Ferries


 

View from the ferry top deck
View from the ferry top deck


Avalon Reef Resort

Once on the island I grabbed a cab to Avalon. The cab ride over the rickety wooden bridge is a little disconcerting, the bridge is made of 4 x 4 beams and they are uneven so it was a rough, creaky ride over it. 

We thought about buying a timeshare at Avalon Reef so I decided to book my room there to check it out. I got a great deal at 1800hotels.com, $53 per night, cheap, even for Isla. It is a good thing that I stayed at Avalon before buying a timeshare. The tower room that I had was was small, the furniture was old and the window leaked when it rained (and it rained a lot). The beach is small and there seemed to be a lot of seaweed floating in the water. All things considered I would rather pay a little more money and stay at Ixchel, Nautibeach, Aluxes or even in the new section of Posada de Mar.

 

 

 

View from my room at the Avalon
View from my room at the Avalon

 

 

Carey Dive Center

I read in trip Advisor that Coral Divers was defunct and Carey Dive Center had taken its place. That was accurate but it seemed like the only thing that changed was the name on the building and the person at the desk. Most of the staff was the same, however David had returned to Belgium and Enrique had moved on to another dive company. They are still very friendly and have good equipment, I can definitely recommend them.

My first day on the island I woke up early and walked down to Carey dive shop to arrange diving. I like diving off-season in Mexico, you don't need a reservation, you just walk into the dive shop and say "I want to go diving today". Also, they will run a tab for you so you just settle up when you are done diving. When I arrived at the shop there was a Belgium couple getting their gear, they wanted to do a wreck dive which I had really hoped to do, but not the first dive. I was a little worried with a deep dive first. I usually wait twenty-four hours before diving after I fly (some people say 12 hours).





We gathered our gear and boarded the boat. The boat captain remembered me from out last dive trip, it is nice to dive with a company so many times that the recognize you. It rained on the way out (as you can see from the pictures) so we opted for a shallower dive- Aquarium, which I had dove many times before. When we finished the first dive the weather started to deteriorate even more so they canceled the second dive and brought us back to the marina. I checked back with the dive shop the next two mornings and they were not going out because of the weather.

I discovered that the bad weather was the fault of tropical storm Ida, which later turned into hurricane Ida. It rained the majority of my remaining vacation.
Isla was quickly going from a tropical paradise to a tropical prison. I could not dive, I could not snorkel, or even hang out on the beach. I could not even rent a golf cart and explored the island  because I would have gotten drenched. I was going stir crazy and I had to get off the island.

Hyatt Regency Cancun

 

 

 

Hyatt Atruim

 

I booked a room at the Hyatt Regency Cancun for Friday and Fiesta Americana Coral Beach for Saturday . It is always culture shock going from a low budget hotel on Isla to the opulence of an expensive resort in Cancun. The Hyatt is very nice but I would not classify it as opulent, however, the Fiesta Americana  falls into the opulent rating. They are located in the Cancun hotel zone across the street from each other. I wanted to stay in this area because of all of the shops and restaurants.

 

Hyatt Atruim



 

Ocean view from the Hyatt
Ocean view from the Hyatt

I made the mistake of working out the first thing Saturday morning, The sun was shinning and the wind had died down, I should have known that the nice weather would not last for long. Once I finished my workout it started raining again.  The health club at the Hyatt is one of the nicest ones that I have used in a hotel.

 

Ocean Facing Desk at the Hyatt
 
 

 

I had a late lunch at Carlos and Charlie's located in the same building as the Hard Rock. The enchiladas verde was the best meal that I had all vacation. The waiters  at the restaurant were hilarious, I am sure they have the same pranks that they pull on everyone, but they were definitely entertaining. For example, halfway through my  meal I heard a woman screaming, I looked over and saw the waiter and her boyfriend laughing. Later I asked the waiter what happened and he showed me a realistic looking rubber cockroach with a piece of fishing line tied to it, he pulled it across the table using the fishing line and I was amazed at how real it looked. I might have screamed too! Just a little.
Hard Rock Cancun

Fiesta Americana Coral Beach

The following morning I packed my bags and hauled them across the street to the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach. Since I was only moving across the street I opted to walk and I had to explain to every cab driver that I saw, and there were a lot of them, that I was just going across the street.

I was met at the hotel entrance by a bellhop who offered to carry my bags. He showed me to the front desk, while I was checking in he brought me a fruit punch and once I was checked in he showed me to my room giving me a tour of the resort and restaurants.

The Fiesta Americana was an incredible resort. The lobby was beautiful and the front desk people were extremely professional. The room was very nice suite, it had a large vanity area/bathroom, big bedroom area with a flat panel TV, the living room area was down three steps, it had a couch and another flat panel TV and there was an entrance to the balcony from the living room area.

Room at Fiesta Americana Coral Beach
Another view of the room

They have a small cafe near the hotel entrance, I had pizza there for lunch and it was both  reasonably priced and good. I went back to Carlos and Charlies for dinner. On the way back I passed CoCo Bongo  and it was packed with twenty-somethings partying their butts off.  When I got back to my room I opened the door and saw a light on and heard music playing. I was sure that I turned everything off when I had left. I double checked the room number; yup it was mine. My next thought was that someone was in my room. I opened the door and said, "Hello", no answer. I slowly walked in, leaving the door open for a fast exit, just in case. I saw what was going on, the maid had turned down my bed, turned the TV to a music station (they have XM on their cable) and left a light on. She had also placed slippers on each side of the bed and put chocolates on each pillow. Very nice!

By the following morning hurricane Ida was ninety miles off of the coast of Cancun but the weather was not as bad as I thought it would be, the rain was coming in waves and there was some wind but not close to hurricane force. I walked to Starbucks for breakfast and used their wifi to check my flight, it was still on time. I was slightly amazed, I thought for sure the weather would at least delay my flight if not cancel it. After breakfast I walked back to the resort, they had closed the huge storm shutters for the main entrance. I had the front desk call Delta and verify that my flight was actually on time. It was, so I checked out and grabbed a cab to the airport. I was early but there was no reason to stay at the hotel.

The flight back was nice, first class, no connections and uneventful. My lovely wife was nice enough to pick me up at the airport so I did not even have to get into a cold car.

This was a good news/bad news vacation. Every time I has something really nice happen it was offset by something not so nice happening.

For example:

  • Since I flew first class there were only eight people in front of me in the immigration line (a far cry from the hundreds that were ahead of us in February) but the computer were down so I had to wait. The funny thing is that the computers never came up they eventually they just started stamping passports and letting people through.
  • I was on a dive vacation but I only got to dive once.
  • I got to check out the Cancun hotel zone but it is not for me.

The Good

  • Flying first class is great.
  • Three trips to Mexico in one year.
  • Hyatt Regency Cancun.
  • Fiesta Americana Coral Beach.

The Not So Good

  • Hurricane Ida.
  • Being stuck on an island and not being able to dive, snorkel, or relax on the beach.
  • Avalon Reef.

One thought on “Isla Mujeres 2009

  • January 28, 2010 at 10:33 am
    Permalink

    Hi, I just stumbled across your blog. Interesting travel report and I look forward to following your posts!
    -Angelina (from 1800HOTELS)

    Reply

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