Day 7 (March 10, 2014) Playa del Carmen


Route for day 7 

   We’re going to spend the most of this day in the trip to Playa del Carmen.

   We first will take the early Water Taxi to San Pedro, where we must pass through the customs tasks for entering to Mexico. Then, another Water Taxi will take us to Chetumal.

   Once in the continent we will take a taxi to the ADO bus station in that city to get into one to Playa del Carmen, our final destination.

   The rest of the day is for resting and enjoying the location of Xtudio Comfort Hotel, where we’re allocated: the popular 5th Avenue. It is the street of more live of the whole area.


Sunrise in Caye Caulker    We say goodbye to Caye Caulker and Belize while watching the sunrise from our room. Then we take our baggage and walk to the water taxi pier.

   At the moment we reach the beginning of the pier some boys take our bags, label them and deliver the receipt to us. It’s still 20 minutes to 7 AM, the scheduled time for leaving, and we look for the nearest place to get some breakfast. It is a small place where we get eggs, bacon, fry jacks and some other things to take away. We start to eat them close to the pier, looking at it for not missing the arrival of the boat. When we see a water taxi coming we go to there, but it is not ours, the one to Chetumal is on its last call to leave, and we didn’t noticed because it results to be a small boat at one side of the pier. I can’t believe we’ve been so close to miss our water taxi in the silliest way!

Shop in Front StreetBoat to Chetumal

   This boat is small but very fast and reaches San Pedro in less than 30 minutes. The procedures here are all made in a small part of a big pier with two windows: one signed as “Ticket booth” and the other one as “Immigration”. The first is make a line for the first window, where we deliver our passports, the water taxi tickets to Chetumal and 10 BZ$ per person. Then we join the line for the second window, where we show our passports, the typical form for leaving a country filled with our data and 37.5 BZ$ per person as exit taxes. There we get the Belizean exit stamp. As we officially are in no country we’re not allowed to leave the small place and must wait for every passenger has completed their procedures. When everybody is ready to leave, we board into a bigger boat, this one with roof, which makes the trip to Chetumal.

Caye Ambergris
Immigration pier in San PedroImmigration pier in San Pedro

   It is a longer ride, around two hours, and we put a feet in Chetumal around 10:15 AM. There we can see how all the bags are put in the ground making a line. We’re asked for making another line with all the hand bags and then the military men make a dog to sniff all the baggage in both lines. When the dog is done, we’re ready to enter to Mexico.

Boat for San Pedro - Chetumal tripInside Water taxi to Chetumal

   For this, we join another line to deliver the custom form, our passports and 20€ per person as entry taxes.

Chetumal Water taxi terminal   There is a person exchanging money but when it is our turn he is out of pesos. As the taxi to ADO bus station costs 50$ (I’ll use the symbol “$” for the local money and in the few cases I need to reference to American dollar I’ll use US$) and we’ve got the change for my 50€ bill in pesos, 170$ by 10€, we’ve got enough. A woman is telling me I’ll be able to get local money at bus terminal anyway. Somehow, the taxi driver tells us later there are no longer ATMs in the bus station and offers me to make a stop to exchanging money in our way. I agree just for 100€ because I’m suspicious the exchange rate is going to be bad, and it is confirming when I get 1,550$. I’m not surprised either when I see the ATM machines in the bus terminal.

   We purchase our tickets for ADO bus to Playa del Carmen at 12:30 PM by 352$ each and, it’s still 45 minutes to the bus time, we go out for lunching in a place nearby after leaving our baggage in a locket by 5$ per hour. The restaurant looks quite genuine, so we’re not surprised on getting local prices: a meat sandwich with a coke for me and a tamal with watermelon shake for Eva by 90$ in total (around 5€).

Ado bus terminal in ChetumalRestaurant in Chetumal

   A man appears in the specific waiting hall for our bus to check in the baggage and some minutes later we can hear it is time for boarding. The bus is very good inside: big and
ADO bus to Playa del Carmen comfortable seats, with a lot of room.

   In our way to Playa del Carmen we can see a movie and a concert of some local group in the screens. Around 5 PM we arrive to our destination and the bus leaves to complete its trip to Cancun.

   I identified the ADO bus terminal in Playa del Carmen at 5th Avenue and only two blocks from our hotel, but there is not where we are. When I ask about I’m told there are two ADO bus terminals in the city, so we take a taxi to as close as possible to our hotel in 5th Avenue, as it is a pedestrian street.

    It takes a while and some help to find the entrance to the hotel as it is very small, but the room results to be a beautiful apartment.

Bedroom of Xtudio Comfort HotelBathroom and kitchen of Xtudio Comfort Hotel

   We’ve been able to see the live of this street while looking for the hotel and we feel like we want to join to it, so we go out to explore it. We go far, but don’t reach the end of it. When we’re back I’ve already got a deal for the car rental, I’ve found the place with the best exchange rate for money and I’ve bought a prepaid SIM card by 200$, which comes with 50$ for calls.

Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue from our balconyPlaya del Carmen's 5th Avenue from our balcony

   We look for a good place for dinner and we find it in Karen’s, with live music, where I order a big and soupy dish with a lot of thins called “molcajete”. My wife eats a filet mignon and we end so full with the nachos they put in all the tables to help waiting for the dishes from the kitchen. We pay 600$ in total.

Restaurant Karen'sEntrance to Xtudio Comfort Hotel

   Then we go up to sleep. The room is so soundproof and we cannot hear the noise from the street. Anyway, at around 11 PM everything ends outside.