We have been back on the coast now for a couple of days. Inland Mexico was interesting, but hot, and at least now we can go for a swim to cool off.
We took a 9:30 bus from Valladolid on Wednesday morning and got into Playa del Carmen shortly after lunch. My mother had come across a hostal with lots of good reviews on the internet, so we decided to check it out, and what a find! It's just three blocks from the beach, and, as far as hostals go, it's awesome. It's not really high on character, but it's brand new and spotless, with very comfortable beds (new mattresses!) and we have maid service every day! Very luxurious, and just about the cheapest place in town. It's not listed in any guidebook that I've seen, and no one appears to have heard of it, so Lauren and I consider ourselves quite lucky.
Playa del Carmen is a fun town, and definitely the most cosmopolitan place that I have been to on this trip. There are a lot of little boutique hotels, as opposed to large resorts like Cancun, and a lot of Europeans vacation here. The beach is not as nice as Isla Mujeres... the water is rougher and there is some seaweed, but the trade-off is Avenida Quinta, or Fifth Avenue. Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian street one block from and parallel to the beach, and several blocks long. It is jam-packed with hip restaurants and bars, and lots of great shopping. It has taken every ounce of my willpower not to spend the rest of my vacation budget on a brand-new wardrobe (note to Alicia and Andrea: you guys would be in heaven).
Lauren and I have been spending the past couple of days renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach and then going out for dinner at night, followed by some window-shopping, and then getting dessert from an Italian ice cream shop with fabulous lime sorbetto. It is definitely overpriced, but I can't help myself. Already, they recognize me and when I walk up, they ask, "Limonada?" Yes, please.
I know I keep saying in my entries that it's hot, but it really is. I have heard that May and June are the worst months to visit this part of the world because it is so hot and humid and it can be rainy. Well, we haven't seen hardly any rain, but we can definitely vouch for the heat and humidity. Lauren and I have stopped in countless tacky souvenir shops just to enjoy a few minutes of air-conditioning, and the other night, after we had eaten dinner in an air-conditioned restaurant, my glasses fogged up when we walked outside again. Still, I'm spending a month on the Caribbean coast, so I guess I can't complain, can I?