Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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After spending time on Isla Mujeres and swimming with whale sharks, we headed down the road to Playa del Carmen, just about 40 minutes away from Cancun. The roads looked just like they would in the US, except for the speed limit signs being in kilometers and there being federales (Mexican police) stations you have to drive through every 10 or so miles.

We got into Playa del Carmen in the early afternoon and checked into the newly renovated¬†Grand Hyatt. It was so hip! War on Drugs were playing over the speakers in the hotel lobby as we walked up, and they were readying the place for Volkswagon to debut their 2016 car models. I was immediately drawn to the large whale shark art on one of the walls. We went up to our room, played with the mood lights and made a drink from the mini bar, then put on our bathing suits and checked out the infinity pool over looking the ocean. So pretty! A few pina coladas later and we decided to head back to get ready for dinner. We walked one street over to 5th Avenue, the traffic-less street with all the little shops and restaurants. Playa is the cutest damn town. It’s not majorly developed like Cancun, but has more of a local feel to it. We decided on La Parrilla for dinner, a local favorite that everyone kept recommending to us. We sat upstairs on the balcony that over looked the street below and had fresh guacamole and chips, fajitas, and this amazing mexican coffee liquor drink they made for us for dessert. A mariachi band played in the background while we talked to our waitor and found out he had lived in San Francisco for 8 years…in the Mission, just a few streets over from us. He said he loved SF, but liked the weather in Playa more. We all agreed he was right about that.

The next day we set off to find two cenotes (sink holes). First we went to Cenote Azul, a series of shallow pools with the most beautiful blue waters. We took snorkel gear and looked at  the fish and caves, then Trey did back flips off the rocks into the water. Huge iguanas chilled on the banks surrounding the pools, and along the paths. Next we went to Cenote Dos Ojos, which was my favorite. There were stalactites and bats in this one. We swam around for an hour or so, finding coins and seeing how deep we could dive on one breath.

That night we had dinner at Alux, this restaurant inside a cenote. The water was all around us and then a huge thunderstorm came and we had to run inside. It was exciting. We ordered a couple more margaritas and waited out the storm. As we were walking back to the hotel, we passed a bar with live music. We popped in, ordered some mojitos, and kept the night going. As a joke, I bought this Happy Birthday button off Amazon a few years back because it has a blue heeler (like Jack) on the front of it wearing a birthday hat. Ever since it has made an appearance on our birthdays, whether we want it to or not. Haha. This year wasn’t any exception. Before leaving for Mexico, I tucked it away in my bag. I brought it out while we listened to the live music and we had a good laugh.

“Go stand in front of that heart mural right now!” I half-yelled at Trey, pushing him towards the wall
“Why!?” he asked
“Because I love you now do it!”
He did. Then I took a picture of him to have proof of birthday button-wearing and we made our back to our hotel room. The next day we would check out Tulum…

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