What Should We Do Today?
Guests at our Luna Blue Hotel often ask our help in planning their activities. The questions we are most commonly asked are “What do you like to do on your days off?” and “What would be a perfect day here in Playa?” Those are difficult questions to answer. There are so many things to do and many places to visit, and of course there is the whole Caribbean coast that runs from Cancun through Playa Del Carmen and on down to Tulum and beyond. A lot depends on the guests themselves and the type of activities they enjoy. Some folks like a day of strenuous activity while others like to be laid back and relaxed for the whole vacation. For us, the answer is a combination of taking it easy and something a little more adventurous. And of course any “perfect” day in Playa Del Carmen has to include some time experiencing the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. With the recent slow down in Playa’s tourism (see our recent blog entry A Trip to the Beach and Some Thoughts on the Swine Flu Hysteria) we decided to take some time off from the hotel and have our own Perfect Day.
The Perfect Morning
We started out by heading over to Blucacao Beach Club. Since we added free use of the Blucacao for guests of the Luna Blue earlier this year we have heard nothing but rave reviews. And it’s easy to see why. Blucacao is an upscale, beautiful and sexy beach club for the discriminating traveler. It has two pools, a chic bar and one of the better restaurants in town, not to mention a classic Caribbean beach front. Check out the photos we have of Blucacao at Blucacao, Luna Blue’s Newest Beach Club. So when we decided to start our “Perfect Day” on the beach the Blucacao was an easy choice. Once we got there we laid down on a wonderfully cushy beach bed, shaded by an umbrella only steps from the waters edge. As always the service was terrific. The waiters swarmed over us getting us drinks, snacks, towels and anything else we needed. We alternated between lying in the shade of the umbrella, admiring the incredible vista and wading into the calm water to float under the morning sun. Then, as the morning drew to a close we said goodbye to our friends at the beach club and headed back into town for the afternoon portion of our “Perfect Day.”
The Perfect Afternoon
Over a year ago our darling “semi-adopted” daughter Sarah and her husband Adam gave us a gift certificate to Playa’s premier spa, Spa Itza. We have long recommended Spa Itza to our guests for their top quality spa treatments but had never found the time to make use of our free massages. So, as part of our “Perfect Day” we called Spa Itza and scheduled some time.
The spa is located in the middle of Calle Corazon just off 5th Avenue. It is a multi-level building in the style of an open air tree house. The facility has flowering trees, small gardens, and decks. They greeted us warmly, gave us a chilled towel to cool off from the afternoon heat (ahhhhh!!!!) and took us to our third floor massage room. We each received a towel, a pareo, a key to a locker and a robe before being directed to the appropriate shower/changing area. We then went to the massage room where we each had a fifty minute massage that left us limp and content. Then it was up to the rooftop where we were shown the temescal (a traditional Mayan sweat lodge), the lounge area, a sauna and showers. The whole area is a pleasant blend of stone and wood with the open sky above and the ocean in the distance. There is even an intercom for requesting water or fruit juices if you want.
First we tried the Mayan sweat lodge. The temescal is a short (about 4 feet high) rounded structure with a wooden floor and the steam source in the center. We crawled in and sat in the near darkness with the steam swirling around us. It’s a little like a sensory deprivation chamber with heat. After a while we crawled out into the bright sunlight and cooled off under the open air stone and wood shower stall. Then we popped into the traditional dry sauna for a few minutes. By this time we could not have been more relaxed. If we had wanted we then could have relaxed in lounge chairs on the roof top deck, but we had to move along for the final part of the “Perfect Day”… a sunset cruise on the Caribbean!
The Perfect Evening
Regular readers of this blog know how much we enjoy the Catamaya sailing trips. We recommend them to our guests as one of the best tours/activites in Playa. The boat itself is beautiful, and the crew is always attentive and loads of fun. Besides, the Catamaya owners are just good people. Fabio and his wife Elvie are always willing to help out and donate to any good cause or need, like the Bomberos and the Peanut Pet Shelter. And the way they treat their staff like family says a lot about what kind of people they are. On this particular evening they were taking the boat out with some family and friends just to enjoy a little time on the water. We were thrilled when they invited us to join them.
We all met at the dock in Puerto Aventuras at 4:00 pm. Fabio introduced us to his other guests. Then we were off. As we cleared the channel leading from the harbor to the open ocean, the sky was a lovely shade of darkening blue. The waters were calm and the breezes gentle so the sail were unfurled and we were soon skimming along the waves heading north along the coast. The regular crew was serving and working that evening and soon everyone was enjoying drinks and snacks. We chatted with Fabio and Elvie about the rewards and difficulties of operating a business in Mexico. We traded some stories of outrageous events and funny happenings, a common pastime among foreigners down here.
We eventually dropped anchor and a number of guests (us included) dove overboard to take a sunset swim in the warm water. The Fat Cat catamaran, another Playa tour company and friendly competitor of Catamaya, was anchored not far away with a full boat of guests. Suddenly somebody on the Catamaya let out a loud laugh and we all turned to look. The folks on the Fat Cat had lined up on the deck, turned their backs to us on the Catamaya, and then dropped their swim trunks and bikini bottoms. A full mooning! We all had a good laugh and some good natured cat calling went back and forth.
The crew then began dinner. The grill was filled with lobster, steak and sausage. Pasta, salads and pastries were also served. Fabio and Elvie could not have been better, or nicer, hosts. We anchored for awhile, enjoying dinner and watching a large storm pelt Playa with rain and spectacular bolts of lightning that lit up the evening sky over the jungle. Then as we unhooked from the anchorage and began to motor home we ended up in a bit of weather ourselves. The wind picked up and the waves began to roll. A downpour eventually forced us all inside the cabin and we watched as lightning crackled in the skies above us. To take advantage of the rolling of the boat the music was turned up and salsa lessons ensued, with Alberto the newest crew member donning the infamous tiger bikini for his lessons! Eventually the storm passed on and we motored back into Puerto Aventuras. Thank you Fabio and Elvie for a thoroughly delightful time!
So there you have it…our Perfect Day. It started with floating in the Caribbean and ended up sailing upon it. This is why we live here. Of course living in paradise means there are still lots of other perfect days yet to come. And if you make it down here to visit us, we can help you have one too. 🙂
Buffett Plays Playa Update:
Still no word from Jimmy. If you haven’t e-mailed Jimmy yet (or you want to send a second…or third…e-mail) go here for the whole story.
Tony at Blucacao
Cheri enjoying a mimosa at Blucacao
Cheri in Spa Itza robe
The temescal–Mayan sweat lodge– at Spa Itza
Tony relaxing in the Spa Itza garden after his massage
Cheri enjoying the outdoor shower at Spa Itza
Our massage room
Alejandro, Captain of the Catamaya
Tony on the Catamaya
Jose, the Catamaya’s bartender
The crew raising the sail
Alberto teaching the girls to fish
Cheri catching the last rays of the day’s sun
Fatcat Full Moon
Tatiana, Elvie & Fabio’s daughter, with her boyfriend Ivan
Tony & Fabio
The End of a Perfect Day
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