We started the day with a long walk on the beach. The high prices and non-existent service seem to be minor annoyances once you turn your back on them and look at the gorgeous Caribbean. This really is a paradise.
After our walk we loaded the bike and headed towards Playa del Carmen. It is a high volume, high priced tourist area but much larger than Tulum so presumably more options would be available. We flipped through a Lonely Planet guide in the restaurant at breakfast and it looked like there may be some relative bargains to be found.
Our eyes were opened as we traveled along the coast from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. The coast is teeming with huge resorts, and I mean huge resorts. Some resemble small cities. Some of the massive gate structures alone would rival some Mayan ruins. Not having ever visited places like this we were somewhat awestruck.
My brother tells me there is a weekly turnover of 50,000 tourists on the strip of beach called the Riviera Maya. Now we know where many of them are housed.
It was a short ride on the freeway to Play del Carmen and we arrived before 1:00 PM. There are huge resort hotels here as well but also many small hotels. We looked for and found one of the small hotels listed in Lonely Planet and were able to get their last available room. Obviously getting in early is important in these kind of places.
It is a very nice hotel with secure parking for the bike and a reasonable rate for this area. The large, clean and well decorated, room even has a small fridge as well as cable TV and a wonderfully hot shower. What a contrast to last night. It is only a couple of blocks from the beach and the main tourist pedestrian street. There is even a good restaurant/bar, a pool and an internet café right in the hotel. We decided to book two nights right away since it seems so busy here. (Hotel Tucan, calle 4, $600 pesos/night).
In the evening we took a stroll down the tourist strip which is a pedestrian only street lined with shops and restaurants. It is about 2 km long and was packed with people the whole distance. It was like walking down the midway at the Calgary Stampede; wall to wall people. Simply amazing.
As Dorothy said in the wizard of Oz, “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.”