Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mexican Vacation

Caribbean sea.We’re home. Just yesterday in the morning some of us were swimming and Caribbean Sea and now we’re in cold, gray New York. But I must say no matter how good the vacation is it is always nice to come back home. Home, sweet home.

I want to take a moment and jot down some notes before the memories start to fade.


Flying out of JFK is sweet. The ride there is less than 20 minutes which keeps my departure fears in check and saves greatly on time and taxi fees.

Near the main pool.We had a bit of a scare during check-in. First we were told that we were missing some papers that we should’ve gotten for Alёna at Mexican consulate, so she can’t go. I kept insisting that I did call the consulate and the embassy and was told that we don’t need anything and kept making them recheck until they did figure out that everything is OK. That was scary 15 minutes.

After a relatively short flight1 we stood in a passport check line for about hour and a half. The line was huge and was moving slowly.

And going back was even more fun. When we got to the airport the line to AA (our airline) was spanning through half the terminal. We stood in it for 1.5 hours and started feeling that we’re not going to make it. At that time they started letting people bound for New York go ahead of the line. Ironically it turned out that pretty much all flights were delayed, including ours, so we wouldn’t have been late anyhow.

The whole “check-in” in JFK took about 10 minutes, which was nice.


Riu Palaces Las Americas in Cancun, Mexico.During check-in I gave $20 to the clerk and asked for 2 rooms to be next to each other, be on the highest floor they can give us, and have ocean view. Inside the resort, near the elevators on our, 6th, floor.I’m not sure if $20 did it, or just asking would’ve worked, but that’s what we got.

The room had a full fridge of beer and other drinks and there was a full bar of hard liquors. I proceeded to take a shot of tequila before putting down my bag. )

The territory of the resort was not too big, but it had 5 restaurants, a buffet, a couple of bars and a bunch of pools and jacuzzis.

And no matter where you were there were always somebody asking you if you wanted any kind of drink. So needless to say we drank our fair share or all things alcoholic.

Rooms didn’t have any internet, but there was a Wi-Fi connection in the lobby, which was half dead as well. But that’s probably should be added to the “pros” column.


This is the main part of the vacation. There was no plan, no place to rush to and it was great. Alёna, mama and Lina were on the beach getting their tan starting from 7am. Initially I was out there pretty early too, but as the time went by I kept sleeping later and later. )

On the beach near our hotel.The water in the sea was very clean and the color was beautiful. It was as warm as a sea can get and we did a lot of swimming. I took my Casio watch swimming with me every time and I it was cool not having to worry about it going bad and having the time right there with me.

The only bad part about the sea was the fact there was a lot sharp hidden stones under the water. Each one of us ended up hurting our feet pretty badly at one point or another.

Alёna sitting in the water on the Caribbean Sea beach.Besides that we treated ourselves to the spa with a massage, dry sauna and hot and cold jacuzzi. This was the first time either one of us got a massage. We all ended up liking it.

And obviously we did a lot of eating.


There is no question that there was a lot of choices. Buffets had different themes every night and there was a choice of 5 restaurants for dinner. For lunch there was buffet and Italian restaurant and for breakfast — just the buffet. There was also 24 hour free room service which a small selection of light meals.

A restaurant requires a reservation at least one night in advance, so our first 2 dinners were in buffet, but the rest were in the restaurants.

We tried out all the restaurants and I have to say that living in New York spoils you. Brazilian was a joke. A very sad parody of what a real Brazilian steak house really is. It got nothing on Plataforma and the service was horrible on top of that.

Japanese was a big disappointment for Lina and Alёna. And even thought I’m not a big sushi eater, I can tell when a Japanese place is good. The problem with this one was not the fact that it was bad — it just wasn’t Japanese. Anything, but Japanese.

Tio Pepe Spanish restaurant.Our 3rd visit was to the Spanish restaurant. We were impressed. Really interesting selection of meals, great atmosphere and great service.

Steak house was OK. I for some reason had grown tired of steaks, so I kept ordering different dishes in different places, but in steak house I had to go for a steak. As I’ve said, the steak was OK. I’ve had better, but it wasn’t bad.

And for our last night we went to a place called Krystal — a fusion of different cuisines. Another great place. Delicious food. I ordered bass and I loved it — this never happens. The atmosphere was really nice, you get greeted with champagne and friendly, funny servers.

Out of 5 restaurants I’d love to go to Krystal and Tío Pepe (Spanish cuisine) again and would stay away from Brazilian Rodizio.

Chichen Itza

On Wednesday we a took a tour to Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza it an ancient city built by Mayans.

The pyramid at Chichen Itza. Temple of Kukulkan.The price of a ticket for one person was about $99 and the private tour for 5 people was $348 + tickets2. The choice was obvious. We had a van all to ourselves with a driver and guide. Our guide was really mediocre and boring, but he showed us the right spots.

They used to place the heads of people they sacrificed on top of this.It was interesting to see the Mayan pyramid with our own eyes and the rest of the ruins of their city. They were a bloodthirsty and brutal civilization and a lot of their art and architecture depicts it.

Temple of the Warriors.Later on we drove to a swimming well. It seems to be a round deep crater filled with water, and you can swim in it. The distance from the top to the water is 75 feet and from than there is another 150 to the bottom.

Ik Kil Cenote by Chichen Itza.Sadly I managed to catch a cold a day before and by this time I had a fever of 38°, so papa ended up the only one going to swim. He said the water was not nearly as cold as he expected, it was very clean and there was a lot of fish swimming in there.


All in all it turned out to be a great vacation. It’s nice to sometimes have no agenda at all and just do a lot of nothing on a beautiful resort on the shore of a Caribbean Sea with family.

  1. 3 hours 40 minutes there; 3 hours 10 minutes back. []
  2. $110 pesos per person. Dollar was 15 pesos at the time. []
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