Puerto Aventuras

February 26, 2015
Puerto Aventuras is a residential resort community with a large marina, dolphin habitat and a collection of shops and restaurants. We discovered Ristorante Massimo last time and we couldn't wait to return to enjoy more pizza. It's like being in Italy, only we're in Mexico. We had three dinners here. Yes, three. They have great pasta too. Much of it is made in house, the strozzapretti is our favorite by far. Combined with the caprese to start, and Italian sausage & spinach pizza. It's the perfect meal.

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Just outside the gates, along the highway is the Super Chedraui. It is where we like to shop. It's always fun to stop for a selection of pastries from the bakery. In the same shopping center there is a popular deli, Salciccium. We grabbed a sandwich to share. It was my choice, I perused the menu and quite a bit sounded tasty, but when I saw they had Banh Mi, I had to get it.

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It was no Saigon Sandwich, but it was damn tasty. I never expected to enjoy Banh Mi in Mexico. Next time, we'll have to try more of the menu. It is a great choice for something fresh, quick and cheap.

Tulum: Cenotes Cristal & Escondido and Kanlum Lagoon

February 25, 2015
We haven't been to Tulum since our first trip in April 2005. We saw the ruins back then (I limped my way all over the park) and haven't felt the need to return. This trip, though, we felt adventurous. We were after new snorkeling locations. We first stopped at Aktun Chen, we were swayed by their "Uncrowded Park" advertisement. However, when we got there we were dismayed by the prices. You pay per activity, it was going to cost $30 US each just to snorkel. It was the same price with or without equipment. That's more than double the cost at Yal-ku. No gracias.

It wasn't a total loss, we saw this pretty guy sunbathing in the middle of the road. We called him, Raul.

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We decided to continue down Hwy 307 to see what else we might find. We stopped at Cenote Cristal, admission ($50 pesos) includes access to Cenote Escondido across the street. Cristal is easily accessible; it's a short path to the cenote. There are several picnic areas and a couple hammocks. Much of the cenote is exposed to the sun, this means that algae is inevitable. There was plenty. I find the fresh water to be too chilly; so I don't swim in the cenotes. Frank enjoys them. Cristal has a ledge to jump off of, a group from NY joined us shortly after we arrived; he took the plunge. Frank swam all around, but there wasn't an abundance of fish so we didn't stay too long.

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Escondido is deep in the jungle. I would not want to walk on foot. From the parking lot, it's short trek to cenote. It's dense with vegetation, so the water is a bit cooler and more clear. There were more fish and Frank was very impressed with the caves. He tried to convince me to come in to see for myself, but I'm too much of a cold water wuss.

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We ventured further to Kanlum Lagoon. We had no clue what was there, besides a lake so we decided to check it out. We paid $40 pesos and drove to the parking area. Odd thing was there wasn't another person in sight. We wandered down the path and found a rickety pier that stretched into the most calm lake I've ever laid eyes on. Part of the lake is sectioned off, I assume it's due to the depth, 85 meters. Sinkhole, perhaps? The lake was in full sun (burn alert!) and it had a very eerie feel. We decided to go, after, having a look around.

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Driving back, I reminisced how hwy 307 used to be like this as soon as you left Cancun. Now, through Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras it has freeway with exit ramps. I kinda miss pulling to the right to make left hand turns.

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My memory is fuzzy, but Tulum seemed to have grown; it was really bustling. When we got to the Sea, it stunk terribly. I'm not sure why that was, but it awful. We thought we'd stop for lunch, but it was just too crowded.

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On to Puerto Aventuras!

Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

February 24, 2015
After a long football season, Frank and I had a Sunday off together. We took a drive to Boulder City. We hunted for treasures in a couple antique stores before grabbing lunch at Boulder Dam Brewing Co. We've never been before, so it was fun to have a look around and watch the footage from when the dam was built. There is a good selection of brews; we enjoyed Hells Hole and Bypass. We looked over the menu and the patty melt ($8.95) with swiss and mushrooms sounded tasty. We also tried the queso and salsa ($6.95).

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The queso was pretty darn good, it never congealed like many do and it had a nice kick. The burgers were a little overdone, underseasoned and the bread was toasted; grilled with a bit of butter would have been preferred. Prices are reasonable and service is friendly. There's a large patio ideal for beautiful sunny days. It's a great stop when visiting the dam or even a day exploring Boulder City is well spent.

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Akumal: Yal-ku Lagoon

Outfitted with our own snorkel gear, we were eager to break it in. We wasted no time, we drove to Akumal and spent the day at Yal-Ku Lagoon. Not only is it beautiful, but snorkeling conditions are always ideal because it's calm, even when the sea is rough. Since it's where the salty waters of the Caribbean meet with the fresh waters of the Yucatan cenotes the water temperature is pretty comfortable (if you're a cold water wuss like me, you will feel the sting of the initial plunge, but it subsides fairly quickly) and sealife is plentiful and the underwater landscape is incredible. We visited on a Monday and it was far busier than our first experience there two years ago. We bailed when it became overcrowded, I recommend going early or later in the day. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the water. It's wonderful to have masks that fit. Frank was so pleased. He also tried out his new dive boots (never been able to find watershoes size 15) they work great for gaining traction and protecting his feet, but they also draw the attention of the fish. They become quite aggressive by stalking and biting. I don't understand it, but his boots were a target in the lagoon and in cenotes.

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Year's ago, we kept needle nose gars as pets. So, we always love seeing them in their natural habitat. They loved lounging in the man groves at Yal-ku. We also saw them near the shore on Xpu-ha beach.

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See, the fish are after his boots!?

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It's hard to make it out, but there is a narrow passage way that winds around. I've been claustrophobic here before. This time, I had no issue. Probably because there was no schools of fish anywhere near me. When I get surrounded I get panicky. Overall, I did well this time at Yal-ku. Though, there was one area back where the fresh water comes in that I was unable to judge depth and got uncomfortable. I don't like being close to the reef, rocks, etc. I'm afraid I'll get hurt or that I'll hurt the sea life. I know, I'm a mess, but at least I try.

Above

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Below

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Time to go!

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We thought of returning a different day in the late afternoon, but our interest waned. Instead, we had lunch at La Buena Vida. We had a great view of Half Moon Bay. We saw they offered a microbrew, which was a nice change, but I must admit I love my Mexican beer varieties so light, refreshing perfect for the beach. We ordered guacamole, calamari and fish tacos. We were enjoying the sea breeze and our feet in the sand, all was good. Then, you know that saying "Some days your the bird; others your the statue?" Well, I now know what it's like to be the statue. A bird totally pooped on my leg. It fell from the palm he was perched upon above me. EW. I was so grossed out. Thankfully, our food hadn't arrived yet. I've never been so paranoid, though. I was on edge the rest of the time.

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The food was just ok, Frank had a couple decent bites of calamari, but all the rings I tried were chewy. The tacos were better, but I wasn't impressed. It's a shame, because we've really enjoyed La Buena Vida previously, maybe being shit on soured the experience? Still, it's a really cool place. Great for a lazy afternoon.

Next up... Tulum.

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