Friday, February 21, 2014

Two days in Playa del Carmen

I've read that Playa del Carmen is a party town, so I was imagining myself dressed in a pretty sundress, high-heeled sandals, and a light tan, dancing away the night with a handsome, Latin stranger. Reality was a bit different, but I still enjoyed my two days in Playa. My hotel was adorable: the small boutique-style, La Tortuga Hotel and Spa. It was located a few blocks from the beach and one block from the main tourist street of Avenida 5, on a corner in a busy part of town.
Pool atrium of La Tortuga Hotel and Spa, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
January 2013
I was given a room on the third floor, which at first I was not happy about because there is no elevator and I hate climbing stairs (why is it sooo hard?!!). But then I found it the room came with its own private rooftop patio with a jacuzzi! Score! It was so pretty, and so private! I spent one late afternoon just sunning up there and it was so peaceful and serene.
Private, rooftop patio for sunbathing at La Tortuga
So I spent my two days in Playa del Carmen walking up and down the gorgeous beach and Avenida 5 (the tourist street with tons of restaurants, artsy shops, and touristy souvenir shops). My one mistake was walking in high heels for hours that first night and that mistake resulted in horrible blisters that put the kabosh on my late night dancing. Also, I wished I had gotten pesos from the airport ATM while I was there, because I did spend quite a bit of time walking around looking for a cash machine in Playa. Most places did not take credit cards, so having a lot of cash on hand was necessary.

I did get approached by random men a few times while I was walking around, but they were not the Don Juans that I had imagined. They were a little creepy, so I steered clear. One guy wanted me to come back to his place to look at his artwork! I'm serious! Would any woman really agree to that?! Crazy!
The beach in Playa del Carmen: gorgeous, soft sand, not overly crowded, even in January!

I tried several great restaurants, recommended from the Fodor's guide, including Cueva del Chango, and Chez Celine, and one beautiful night, I lingered over a seltzer - (I was a little too queasy for a cocktail) - my feet in the sand, and listened to a live Reggae band at the beachside bar, Fusion. The setting was perfect, but I did feel kind of wistful that I was alone and not with a "boyfriend." I think I was the only solo guest there, so a little bit of loneliness did set in. Afterward, I walked along the beach in the moonlight, then took a taxi back to my hotel. On the way back to my hotel, I passed a part of the street that was alive with throngs of people mingling, drinking and listening to loud music - it was the famed Playa "party scene!" For a moment, I considered jumping out of the taxi and joining the crowd, but my shyness, and the blisters on my feet deterred me. I continued on to my hotel and had dessert by the perfect pool, then turned in for an early night.

My time in Playa del Carmen didn't exactly turn out how I imagined it, but I did love it there and hope to go back some day - maybe next time with an outgoing, single girlfriend so that I can participate in the party scene. I'm probably too old for it, by most people's standards, but I still love the idea of dancing for hours in a tropical location, inhibitions lowered by delicious margaritas, flirting with a cute stranger, and just reveling in feeling sexy and being a woman.