05/05/13 I got up at 4:00am to make our 6:30am flight to Cancun Mexico via Phoenix Arizona. All went well and we arrived at 3:30pm central time in Cancun, Mexico. It was cool and partly cloudy in the high 70’s. Our trip included van transportation to our hotel to Barcelo Mayan Beach Resort about 1 hour from the airport. The drivers handle their vehicles like Tijuana Taxis on this road. My sister Joanne Allen and her husband David were waiting for us in the lobby when we arrived. After finally getting checked into a room only 2 doors away from my sister we unpacked and got settled. We had dinner at the Santa Fe Steak House. Most of us had rib eye steak which was good. We then crashed early to bed as we had been up for way too many hours.
05/06/13 Slept well until 9:00am and had breakfast at the Colonial buffet. The huge all inclusive resort is set up similar to a Cruise ship operation. I had fresh cooked eggs and fruit for breakfast. We spent the morning making tour reservations with out Cheap Caribbean tour representative, a very congenial Mexican man. Then went to another representative to make several dinner reservations at the various resort restaurants. We then headed for the beach only a very short walk from our hotel room. We actually found a pine tree on the beach which had very nice shade and spent about 3 hours lounging and taking dips in the warm Caribbean ocean waters. After a buffet dinner we all took a walk to the Palace Court area of the resort, which is up one level from our Colonial section. It was very plush and definitely a step up from where we are staying. I must check out the pricing on this area of the resort. If it is not too expensive, I would definitely consider a stay here. I would compare it to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
05/07/13 Got up about 8:00am and had breakfast at the buffet. We grabbed our tour shuttle around 9:30am. It consisted of a 1 hour ATV tour in the jungle about 30 miles from our resort. After the fast moving ATV safari tour we did a one hour tour through a cenote sink hole cave. Roots from trees head down for water and create a cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites. We had to wade through underground river water using canes to see it. I used my Gopro camera for filming both the ATV trip and the Cenote tour.
We ate at the Italian Restaurant Capri tonight which in my opinion was the best dining experience so far at the resort. I had Osso Buco which was excellent. The pear tart baked in phylo dough was also outstanding. Unfortunately my sister Joanne ordered pizza which was bad. Linda had pasta carbonara which was great. I splurged and ordered a bottle of Chianti Classico wine for 680 pesos less $10 hotel rebate for a total of 680/12 = 56.70 - 10 = $47. The wine was excellent and I drank 2/3rds of it this night. I took the bottle back to the room and never saw it again. I think the maid had a party?!
05/08/13 We all left this morning on a big huge comfortable bus for Chichen Itza. It took about 2.5 hours to get there. We had to stop at 4 resorts on the way which slowed us way down. The world heritage site was quite impressive. Unfortunately venders were allowed to set up shop throughout the grounds which detracted immensely from the experience. The main temple and the ball field were very impressive. Our bus driver was excellent and drove very sanely. Our guide with the tour company was also quite good with a great sense of humor. The bus sound system was marginal and both guides constantly switched back and forth between English and Spanish languages which I found extremely distracting and hard to understand what was being said. The most important guide the certified historical expert was terrible with a bad Mexican dialect who also rambled on and on about complicated trivia. I am glad I took the long tour but sure wished I had a better historical guide. The trip included a stop at a large Cenote near the ruins.
05/09/13 We met Joanne and David at 9:00am for breakfast at the Main Buffet building. I have been having fresh fried eggs, whole grain fresh baked bread, fresh fruit watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, and mango every morning along. After breakfast we all headed out to the beach. Linda mostly read her book on while laying on a beach lounger. David also read and went snorkeling in the ocean seeing a giant turtle and a sting ray. Joanne and I waded into the ocean for perhaps 75 to 100 yards out. The sand is a beautiful white pristine color and goes way out to see the elevation dropping very gently thus even at 75 yards out the crystal clear water is only up to lower chest lever. The waves are very gentle and not too high. I brought my GoPro sports video camera along attached to a head band. I let it run the whole time while in the water. We got a glimpse of a giant sea turtle and were told that there was sting ray under it. The balmy day was perhaps 88 F. with very cooling gentle winds blowing off the ocean. The water is different shades and hues of the color blue. There were patches of rock and coral adding to the structure and beauty of this beautiful resort. The premium Barcelo Palace hotel with large domes on a hill added to the dramatic scenery. We witnessed a wedding on the beach near us after returning to our beach loungers. Joanne and I then decided to wade in 4 of the pools in front of three hotel sites at the Barcelo. We totally walked around the interior of each pool with my Go Pro camera. The swim up bar patrons were all interested in my Go Pro camera attached to my partially bald bean instigating several conversations. It probably took us 1.5 hours to walk and swim theses pools. The miniature jacuzzi like small pools with very strong bubbles rising from the depths was another good place to strike up friendly conversation with other patrons of the resorts. My sister Joanne is always on the look out for new resorts and tours to try based on word of mouth reports. After our water walk we had a light lunch at one of the grills out near one the 10+ pools in this huge beautiful all inclusive resort.
My sister Joanne bought an upgrade to dine at the Palace Hotel eloquent French restaurant for dinner. The service, ambiance, and food was a real experience. I had Foigrais, French Onion, Duck, Lobster, and Crepe Suzettes all quite good. The upgrade only cost $15 per person plus tip. I decided to break down and buy a premium bottle of dry red Norton wine from Argentina for $840 pesos. The USA cost of this was 840/12 = $70 - $20 coupon = $50 which is a very reasonable restaurant price for this wine and it was excellent. I drank half it and will be allowed to take it to the seafood restaurant tomorrow night. We walked back along the ocean walk to our hotel about a 1/2 mile. The lighted pools, buildings, and Mayan art statues along the way were beautiful. David and I did a bit of photography. Went to bed after a very relaxing fun day with my sister Joanne, her husband David, and my wife Linda.
05/10/13 Had breakfast at 8:00am as Joanne and David are returning to Wisconsin today. Their shuttle bus left at 9:00am for the airport. Their flight leaves at 12:00pm, so they have to wait in the airport for two hours. Linda and I are staying in the resort for the next two days with no excursions. They have so much to do here, it is unbelievable; swimming in the pools or ocean, snoozing in the loungers, swim up bars, Bingo at the bars, buffets, grills, premium restaurants, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing catamarans, entertainment theaters, Mercado shopping center, wifi internet $60 per week, Karaoke bars and theaters, photography terrestrial and aquatic, room tv, etc. We had dinner tonight at the premium Seafood Restaurant at the Colonial Hotel. The ceviche salad was great and really fresh. The oyster soup was terrible made with canned smoked oysters. My main course Australian lobster was excellent. My desert was lemon meringue pie also very good.
05/11/13 Sleeping last night was a problem as an active couple at 2:00am had a very noisy bed banging against a wall. Linda banged our bed board so hard it sounded like a gun shot. I think it scared the couple out of bed as the noise stopped shortly after. We slept until 9:15am and got up for breakfast. We did a two plus mile hike at 11:30am around the huge beautiful grounds of the jungle like Barcelo Resort complex. It is a beautiful day in the mid 80’s with a very nice brisk breeze off the ocean. The various artist like blue colors of the ocean waters are amazing. We observed water exercise programs directed by good looking singing Mexican men with bouncy music and rhetoric. They have a full time doctor, spa, gym, and convention center here. We had lunch at the large buffet around 1:30pm. I love the pasta bar which has a chef that cooks you fresh made to order pasta while you watch. I load up on fresh vegetables sauteed in butter, loads of fresh garlic, spaghetti pasta, and some great tomato sauce. Yum Yum. I am considering a nice massage next on the agenda. Life for a senior in Mexico is tough!!
They stock us with bottled water, soft drinks, beer, snacks, etc stored in our room refrigerator every day. I like a peanut type snack called Esilo Japones Plus. I must look these up and find out what they are. They are different than our US Jimmy Carter peanuts.
We had dinner tonight at the premium Japanese Restaurant at the Colonial Hotel. The Teppanyaki chef put on a very good show and the food was excellent, definitely the best restaurant in the Colonial Hotel complex. I had salmon sushi, salad, steak and lobster, sauteed fresh vegetables, steamed rice, and a deep fried green tea ice cream that was to die for. Linda had shrimp tempora, salad, seafood combo, fried rice, and fried ice cream. Linda got the running trots the next day but I was fine. Linda still has a bad cough but her cold is slowly leaving her. After dinner we walked out to the beach side walk between the pools and the ocean. There were several weddings going on and some premium dinners being served right next the ocean with two or three waiters and gourmet food. They have lots of ways to party and spend your money at the Carribean Resort. I had my tripod and tried some night shots of the pools, statues, and fountains. It was a bit windy so the palm trees were really swaying. Sadly went to bed on our last night at this fun all inclusive resort.
05/12/13 Had breakfast at 7:00am and caught our shuttle to the airport at 9:15am. Our plane left the Cancun Airport at 12:30pm to Charlotte NC and then connecting to San Diego. All connections went smooth, but we just made it to the plane in time at Charlotte because of long custom lines and having to recheck our luggage through security. I drew a young pushy egotistical black women who scanned my photo suite case twice delaying me unnecessarily. Actually arrived home at 7:30pm about 30 minutes early. All went well with the valet parking we used at the Hotel Sheraton across the street from airport. Highly recommend this place for same money as lots far from the airport and it includes a timely free shuttle and valet parking.