Hemos Vuelto!

by brendan on 08/1/2010

We have returned, from Playa Del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Actually, we were just outside of Playa at the Hotel Valentin Imperial Maya. I took some pictures, you can see them on my Flickr page here.

It was a great trip. Very relaxing, lots of time on the beach. We couldn’t have asked for more.

A few comments:

– The Mexican people were extremely friendly, and not just the resort employees who could have been pleasant just for the sake of a tip. Every person we came across, down to the airport security employee who searched my bag, was amazingly friendly.

– Based on a consumer reports review, we went with a Walgreens brand sunblock. That stuff worked great; easily the best sunblock I’ve ever used. I thought for sure my fair pseudo-ginger skin was going to fry, but it didn’t. I have a little color from walking around without sunblock in the morning, but otherwise I look much the same as I did before I left. I can’t recommend this sunblock highly enough, especially considering it’s a discount brand and I put it to the test, spending at least 4 hours a day out at the beach or pool in the blazing Mexican sun. It was the Walgreens Sport SPF 70+ Continuous Spray. If you want to spend some time in the sun and not burn, even you fellow paper-white peeps, get this stuff (and don’t forget to reapply).

– And for other teetotalers out there, you can get non-alcohol beer in Playa Del Carmen. I had about a 50% success rate in getting it when I asked, and about a 85% success rate in getting a weird look for asking for such a thing. At the Argentinian Steakhouse in Playa they had O’Douls Amber, and at the resort they had Sol Cero.

– Back to sunblock, be advised that the super fantastic sunblock I was just evengelizing above will do you no good if you go snorkeling or swimming in the caves. Those are protected areas, and as such you’ll need biodegradeable sunblock. Predictably, it doesn’t work nearly as well. But if you’re going the cave route you probably won’t see much sun. Snorkelers should buy the bio-friendly stuff ahead of time so as to not be forced to buy the overpriced versions when you’re at the snorkel shop in Mexico.

– There is no shortage of “day adventures” you can sign up for, and the zip lines alone are worth the price of admission. We did the Tulum Xtreme and were led around by a great guide named Gus. You can see a video of me riding a zip line here, ladyfriend here, and Gus here. Our day trip was offered by Aventuras Mayas, and we would definitely take a tour with them again given the opportunity.

I’m sure there is more I can say, or there are details I’m forgetting, but the pictures and video links are the most interesting things anyway. If I think of anything else I’ll come back and append this post.

There are 3 comments in this article:

  1. 08/3/2010Courtney says:

    Looks like a fun time! Thanks (?) for all the info on sunblock.

  2. 08/4/2010Lauren says:

    This looks like a super fun trip – love the zipline videos!

    RE: sunblock. So I just happened to read this right before I was having a conversation with a guy at work about Lollapalooza (since we are both going!) and we were discussing what to bring, namely sunblock. The very first words out of his mouth were “Do not get the Walgreens brand!” I was like, is this a joke?! How can 2 people have such strong opposing opinions about one off-brand sunblock? I told him of your rave review and he said that he brought it to Lolla last year and every time he put it on it was a sticky mess and wouldn’t dry. He says Coppertone is the way to go and I’ll be sorry if I listen to you!

    You may now formulate a rebuttal.

  3. 08/4/2010brendan says:

    I’d agree that the Walgreens brand stuff is sticky, if we’re talking about the “Continuous Spray Sport” in the blue bottle. I didn’t mind the stickyness, or even really notice it, while Ladyfriend did notice it and was no fan of how it felt.

    It was effective, though, and I stand by my glowing review of its sun blocking powers.

    To get away from the stickyness, Ladyfriend actually switched to this biodegradeable stuff we bought locally, just for the last day of our trip. She roasted, as you might have noticed from the pictures she twittered. You know, the pictures that look like somebody stuffed a salmon filet into a ballet flat. And we had been talking all week about how amazing the Walgreens stuff was and how nobody would believe us when we went back because we would still be pale. She was so close to making it…

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