7 (March 10, 2014) Playa del Carmen
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
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!
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.
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
For this, we join another line to deliver the
custom form, our passports and 20€ per person as entry taxes.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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