Playa Maroma, Mexico
This year we decided to visit Mexico again, a country full of history and culture. My first time was in 2012 when was in Gran Bahia Princípe Tulum (later I will leave a report of that trip). On this trip we ended up practically not enjoying the magnificent beaches of this country, case we chose to visit Chíchen Ítza (one of the 7 wonders of the modern world), Tulum, Coba, Ek Balam, Cenote Ik il, Valladolid, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen ... and so we decided to return one day to enjoy the beaches, only the beaches! (case the Bahia Principe's beaches did not please us totally).
On July 23, we arrived early at the airport, already guarding the large queues and setbacks that are customary at Lisbon airport. We left around 4:00 PM, about half an hour late for Cancun airport. We traveled with Orbest,. The flight was quiet and at around 1:00 am Portuguese time, 7:00 pm in Mexico, (in Mexico it is 6 hours less than in Portugal) we landed. As I said this time we were looking for a special beach (although we went as usual with low expectations and we accepted what we found, we had done our homework ..., and so we chose Catalonya Playa Maroma, a small hotel that has already its beach classified as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic (and in fact now i understands the reason for this distinction !!).
This is a 4 star hotel but that leaves nothing to be desired compared to other 5 star Caribbean resorts that I have been to. Cause it's smaller, it turns out more exclusive and less confusing and queuing, which provides a higher quality holidays. The bus journey from the airport to hotel lasts between 20/30 minutes (already having a stop at the Iberostar, another hotel very close). We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 a.m. Portuguese time, 9:30 p.m. local time (we lost a lot of time at the airport waiting for the bags and waiting for the transfer) and already quite tired. When we arrived at the hotel we had made the check in quickly and left our bags in the rooms. The next step was to go to the buffet that was open and eat some sandwiches, pizzas and other snacks (if you prefer, you can ask and take you meal in your room), - Privileged customer service- that was our case, but we preferred to go and enjoy the environment. We stayed in the sixth block, on the third floor-previously requested. My sister and I are considered adults (LOL), so we were given two rooms, 6301 and 6302. The rooms were large and nicely decorated. Between these two rooms, on the balcony we saw that we were on the first line of the sea and we could communicate, what turned out to be quite pleasant ... The rooms were cleaned twice a day and the bathroom was good. They have minibar, LCD, hairdryer, air conditioning, fan, coffee shop, free safe, bathrobes, slippers, alarm clock, ironing board, towel service in the room, turndown service, pillow menu and internet in the whole hotel was very good although after a little weakening, maybe due to the number of people trying to get in. Even on the beach I was able to make video calls with my friend OMAR, hey!). The location of the rooms was excellent, we were right on the beach, the pool, and the four themed restaurants, but a bit far from the buffet (we had to cross a very pleasant walk where we found coatis, squirrels and other funny animals wandering around the resort - the crossing lasts about 5 minutes :).
On our first day in paradise we have breakfast at the buffet around 7:00 (El Pajarito). The buffet is smaller than other Caribbean hotels that ive been, but this is a small hotel, so.... With stomach satisfied we went to the usual meeting of the first day with the local operator, which took place in the lobby (we ended up not buying any excursion case this year the objective was to enjoy the beach and the facilities) and in the end we followed with some enthusiasm for the beach. Simply spectacular, water above 30ºC, coconut trees near the water, white a d fine sand... this is paradise! There was also a sarong (sargaso) that stretched along the beach, a situation that was solved with tractors that every morning removed them. After 2/3 days the beach was almost clean! The rest of the days was spent at the beach. In the evening we decided to try out the Tortuga restaurant (steak house), one of the themed restaurants available. The dishes were all excellent, but be careful if because when they tell you that it has no spice, it is almost sure that it has, and a lot!!! If they tell you that it has a little spice, be careful its extra power)! Note that this situation is standard not only in Tortuga but also in all restaurants. In fact I even think this was normal, after all we are in Mexico the country of spice!
First day and around 6 in the morning I was at the beach! This year I will enjoy all moments, so I went to see the sunrise! FANTASTIC! The sun rises right in front of us in the sea! Moments that I will never forget! After a good breakfast we went for a walk to the right side of the beach, towards the famous Punta Maroma, the place that tourists who are not staying in this area come when they visit the famous "Playa Maroma". The beach is virgin and only at the bottom we can see a small marina and some bungalows. Between the marina and the bungalows was built a small artificial island and despite having a certain joke, ends up making the beach a bit artificial. Due to this island, there are still large accumulations of sargaso in this place and the sand seems mud in certain places and in others we find small remains of corals. It was a surprise to us, case this one seemed to be a spectacular place due to the surrounding bungalows, but after all the beach at our hotel was way above what we found there. At lunch we tried the Terrace Tapas, the exclusive beachside restaurant for Privileged customers. Again a good surprise, we all ordered different dishes and we were all satisfied, from the paella, to the hamburger, to the noodles, to the tuna tacos, all dishes with great quality and an excellent presentation. In addition to this, I would like to emphasize the friendliness of Carlos, one of the employees (generally throughout the hotel we were greeted with a lot of sympathy by the hotel staff), always very humble and helpful. For example, in the Tortuga restaurant we ask for a tomato salad that they did not have in the restaurant but they sent an employee running to the buffet to bring us the tomato ... The afternoon was again dedicated to the spectacular beach and at night we decided it was the turn to test the Tuscany (Italian restaurant). Once again a lot of quality in the dishes presented and the restaurant was impeccably decorated. In short, everything flawless at the end of the second day.
Next day we got up again early, saw the magnificent sunrise, took a dip in the pool, and we still had a time to observe a squirrel fleeing coconut palm from one to another running away from some black birds that always walked along at the beach. Than we had breakfast and around 9:00 we pick up a taxi (they charge about 760 Mexican pesos for round trip - around 38 euros) and at 9:30 we were in Playa del. We agreed with the taxi driver that around 13:00 we would meet again at the same place to return to the hotel. It was not my first time here but honestly the 5th avenue seemed even bigger ... there are hundreds of shops along the entire avenue! Here we can find the most different types of souvenirs or branded clothes in the new shopping centers. There are several large stores with souvenirs, but all of them end up having the same goods, the brand stores are many (and some repeat, for example there are at least 3 Nike stores). Playa del Carmen is getting tourist-oriented, which inflates prices and makes the locality no longer typical, as I remembered it. But is still a place to visit. Security..., there are frequent shootings, almost always related to drug traffic. For example, when we arrived at the place where we were supposed to be picked up by the taxi driver, a high-speed pick-up of the municipal police passed by us at high speed. Later we heard that there had been one more shooting ...
In the afternoon, again beach, volleyball (exciting games with staff of various nationalities, Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, Mexicans and North Americans, where the good mood always prevailed) and a pool foam party. Honestly this foam party did not surprise me. The hotel pool had a strange structure ... stairs in the middle of the water, places with a depth of 2.35 meters (which was a bit unpleasant, given that the pool was not very big) and the concrete. In addition the water was extremely hot (I venture to say that it would not be too far from 40ºC). Definitely one of the negatives points of this hotel. In addition they sent the foam to an area where there were stairs and there was not much emotion. Also the animation team was very weak. I've been in some hotels where the animation was simply spectacular as in Bayahibe (in Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus) or in Brazil (in Iberostar Bahia), but this animation was not surprising. Everyone showed little energy, they hardly convinced anyone to participate in the games and in some moments it seemed that they were there because of obligation ... volleyball and several games between teams on my last day were the funniest activities! There was still time to taste some crepes and ice cream's from the creperie near the pool ... excellent!
In the evening, it was the turn to try Uncle Pedro (the Mexican restaurant) where we were presented with a range of traditional Mexican dishes that were completely unaware of (spicy) and traditional music. Once again a good surprise, the combination of the colors, aromas and flavors,with the envoirment and the music (there were every day in the 4 themed restaurants) were factors that contributed to special dinner with exquisite good mood and very pleasant!
The next day we started by trying the breakfast at Terrace Tapas (Spanish restaurant). There are no words to describe the feeling of having a breakfast with a panoramic view of that beach full of coconut trees and turquoise blue waters ... Regarding the food, this was 5 stars but for anyone who does not like to eat breakfast eggs , bacon and other foods of the sort, you end up not having much choice (one or two dishes are available more "light" like fruits or cheeses but not enough to us). Anyway if you are not satisfied you can always choose to go to the buffet ...)! From breakfast taken I went to talk to the gardeners ... I would like to have a fresh coconuts! With great sympathy, they went immediately to get a bamboo cane and with three or four strokes the coconuts fall down on the grass ... Then a straw and enjoy that this fresh flavor ... And also a lot of photos at the beach with the coconuts and my family ... LOL!
Later it was time to try the water sports that are available at the hotel: catamarans and kayaks. For each room we could use the catamaran for half an hour a day and the kayaks an hour for a day - For those who do not know how to walk with the catamaran, for 39 dollars an instructor teaches you the essential to take a walk and have fun in this paradise . In our case Captain Pena (my father) took us to sail with the Catamaran in the Caribbean Sea .... it was fantastic although I think he needs some more lessons ... (LOL) The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beach and some natural juices in the bar Ma Loo!
At night we decided to try out the ultimate themed restaurant! The Terrace Tapas, but ... honestly it was the worst dinner ever! For breakfast and lunch the dishes were very good and served with what I call Caribbean charm. But at dinner what they served us saying that were tapas was very poor! Of the 16, yes 16 ... dishes that were served to us, only 4/5 were actually tasty ... the others did not surprise ... but the tiredness already tightened and in the end we went straight to the room.
Another day, another wonderful sunrise on the beach ... and we went on for another walk. This time to the left side of the beach towards the Iberostar Hotel. Along the walk we passed an unfinished hotel and then a few corals ... to my surprise the water was colder than in our hotel for about 5Cº.
When we arrived at the Iberostar beach we could confirm ... that the beach at the Catalonia was VERY superior ... in fact anyone who is looking for a typical Caribbean beach the Catalonia Playa Maroma is the right place. For those who prefer swimming pools for sure the Iberostar will be a better option ...
Before lunch I still had time to take a catamaran ride, but this time with a friend I met in Mexico, Sara, with whom I was fortunate to have fun and take great kayak and catamaran trips every morning! The wind was weak but she still had the dexterity and ability to give us incredible moments! The nautical sports people were super nice except for a French woman who was a bit arrogant, not believing that we could manoeuvred the boat correctly ... (it was enough to know the maritime feats of the Portuguese to have looked at Sara with others eyes ...)
Even in the morning there was a small party on the beach with music, dancing and food ... an interesting spectacle. The afternoon was again spent on the beach, with the company of many natural juices and great volleyball games!
Another day, another sunrise in paradise and more catamaran and kayak tours with my sister, Sara and her father and brother! Amazing moments where we paddled to the corals and enjoyed the magic of this place where we saw the fish swimming among the corals and enjoyed the unique atmosphere of this place ... just fun !! The rest of the day was to have fun on the beach, and great dives!
On our last night we were in a night party on the beach with lot of music and lot of fun! There was still time to explore the hotel next to us (the Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa) with Sara! A hotel with an excellent appearance and, quite exclusive. In the end we still had to run away because we had been caught by a security guard .... LOL!
The next day, was the last sunrise (who misses !!!!) last dives, last photos, last volleyball games, last rides at sea and finally some funny games organized by the animation! See you soon! ...
Still on the last day (me and Sara) we decided to discover the abandoned hotel that was seen in the background ... We took advantage and made a morning race along the beach. It was not easy to get there since there was a lot of vegetation and plants with thorns that were stuck in the feet .... but there we managed to get ... Empty pools, fantastic views of the second floor, many iguanas were some of the details that jumped to the sight along the visit, with some mishaps! For example we went up a staircase and when we got up there it seemed to hear someone! These were exciting moments of great suspense, but after all it was only seabirds that also flew there. LOL!
Around 5:30 pm we went towards the international airport of Cancun. We took off without delay, at around 9:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. in Portugal). The flight was quiet, without great turbulence but I could see some lightning bolts (I found it spectacular to be able to observe that phenomenon above)! They served us dinner and breakfast and on July 31 around 12:30 in Portugal we landed in Lisbon!
Very nice and small hotel which makes a great atmosphere. It was a good surprise! The beach is amazing, one of the most beautiful in the world! For those who want to travel to an all-inclusive beach destination without major hassles and confusion, this is the ideal spot! Besides beaches, Mexico is a country that has much to be visited but in my opinion to see some of major places in the interior and enjoy the beaches you should stay at least two weeks. Otherwise you will end up not enjoying the beach completely or you will not know much about this magnificent country.
* The Images are all mine and do not have any type of editing.