Monday, August 15, 2011

Toddering in Cancun - part 2

Ok, let's continue our adventures:

4th day:

-we've decided to stay around the hotel and just relax after the exciting day at XEL-HA and TULUM (I believe everyone who will go there, will need a day off after).
So, after some splash, splash in the pool and the Caribbean, we've decided to shop some traditional items; apparently, the best place to go for these kind of souvenirs is called Mercado 28. We got there by cab and got sucked up in the shopping vibe. The place is not that traditional but amid the usual, crappy, souvenirs, you can find some little goodies. Personally, I found a little store with handmade shirts and dresses (very beautifully sewn) where I've purchased two darling shirts for my son. And in the craziness of silver jewelry, I actually found a place where I bought a beautiful, amber and silver bracelet, a bit different than everything else you'd see in other shops.
Anyway, overall, I didn't find it being the best place of traditional items, it's filled with a lot of plastic, cheap shit, prices are overall expensive, you get to negotiate but they start so high, there's no way to get a good deal, but if you are in the neighborhood, and have some time to kill, go and visit it!
One little advice for the family with kids! We took the cab almost everywhere we went. Cabs don't have car seats and sometimes the cab drivers can be a bit "loco" when driving. Tell them to slow down and hang on to your kids, that should do it! Generally, the distances are not too far away one from each other so the cars don't get to go that fast.

Restaurants in Cancun

If you don't go for an all-inclusive kind of deal, there are some good restaurants in Cancun that are worh trying. My favorite is, by far

1. The crab house - the seafood is fresh and to die for. Service is great and the restaurant itself is very cute and with some amazing views towards the golf;

2. Argentinian Steak House - if you like beef, then this is the place to go. Big, amazing, juicy steaks. Great side dishes. The food is to die for. Very kids friendly.

3. The Habichuela restaurant : this place is especially impressive by the interior and exterior design. It sits on Maya ruins so the moment you come down the stairs, your feet will touch the glass floor that protects the beautiful ruins beneath. The service was good and the food although interesting in taste did not impress me otherwise.

4. Ruth's steak house : good steaks, nice sides, nothing too impressive.

5. Cenacolo restaurant: although this restaurant seemed to have the right ingredients for being a good one , for some reason it's not. The food selection is scarce, apparently their thing is homemade pasta but even so there's not too much to choose from, the salad I've ordered didn't even remotely came close to the presentation and the price tag so, this place should either revise their menu or just redefine itself.

6. Mocambo restaurant: kind of a cheap, bad mexican food although the view is pretty amazing.

5th day:

We decided to go by ourselves (no more organized tours) to see Isla Mujeres. To get to Isla Mujeres you need to take a boat. There are special places where you can buy the tickets and from where the boats live. The tickets costed around 30 USD and then we also rented a golf cart for the whole day which was an extra 50 USD, that put us to a total of 80 USD.
Isla Mujeres is a very interesting place. You finally get out from the all pampered, nice and shiny hotels and malls and meet some kind of reality: abandoned houses, stray dogs, simple people selling their stuff on the street in order to make a living. But beside this, there was something magical about this island. The raw life, the white sands, the blue and clear sea. We drove up and down, visited the turtles farm, enjoyed the wide almost deserted beaches and then shop in those shaky, little stores.
When it came time to eat and having a toddler on board, we searched for a clean, nice place and we found it in:

- Villa Rolandi - such a cozy, nice place on the shore of the sea with spectacular views and a beautiful layout. The food was great and the service quick and efficient.

The Cancun vacation definitely set up the bar for our future traveling destinations as a family. Overall, it was a great experience, full of fun, sun and great memories and pictures, too. If Cancun is on your waiting list, don't hesitate to go there, you will not regret it!

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