San Pedro to Playa Del Carmen

Friday, February 8, 2008

Surprise we are headed for Mexico – Playa Del Carmen to be exact. Got an email last Sunday from Paul’s sister saying they were on their way there Tuesday for a week and could we meet them for a couple pf days, so we started making plans and decided to catch them closer to the end of their trip. I wrote Michele right away, her and husband Rob are fellow bloggers that live in Playa Del Carmen. We met them when they came to San Pedro recently through Paul and Cindy. Michele told us of a decent place to stay near where they live and we made plans to meet up.

Alarm was set for 5 am - got woken up at 10 min to by happy UDP people parading through the streets, they were cheering and playing their political soca music song.

Our flight is for 7 am to Corozal- I booked it yesterday along with our return flight for Sunday. While getting ready we realized that we needed to get our hydro bill paid so we called Dianne quicksilver messenger and got her what she needed to pay it on our behalf how handy for us. It was getting close to 9 pm and we realized we had not booked our transfer service yet so Paul called Moralez transfer service and arranged a pick up to go across the border for this morning. I was considering trying the bus but in the interest of time and having used George and Esther Moralez Get transfers service before, we decided to stick with them.

5:50 am chatting Bill on coconut phone – pretty well packed, need to add ice packs to the cooler.

8: 30 or so - waiting at the bus station - our bus leaves at 9 am. Border crossing was easy with transfer service – will write out process later on the bus. I am very hungry now and can’t wait to get settled in our seats and start snacking on the lunch I packed. We were too rushed for johnny cakes this morning.

We are on the bus now and just realized we did not go first class with Ado, which means a few more stops and no movie (we forgot to specify when buying tickets). The trade off is that we got on the bus in ½ h instead of waiting 1.5 h for the 10:30 bus. It is 11 am – I just saw signs for Tulum 132 km – looks like the chicken bus is not so slow after all. (we figured out about 1/2 h difference between this bus and first class - I guess it would depend on how many stops it made though)

Here is a walk through of trip and pricing from San Pedro to Playa Del Carmen….

Tropic air to Corozal (return flight to San Pedro Included) $328 bzd

Get transfers $35 usd one way – we paid for round trip – Landy was our driver and he was great – answered all our questions and chatted with us.

Departure tax from Belize $37.50 bzd or $19 usd per person (p.a.c.t. included) - Landy helped us change Belize dollars for Pesos at this point. (We have to pay 237 pesos on leaving Mexico on our return to Belize)

Tourist Visa at Mexican Border - have an extra pen or 2 – Landy shared his with Paul

Landy said that the 15th and the end of the month can be very busy at ths spot. We did not have to wait and we were given 180 days tourist visa. Landy also told us to make sure we did not loose that paper.

It took is about 15 minutes to pass through both borders – after we went through a spray down which is a customary procedure for vehicles coming from Belize to Mexico.

Not long after that we were at Ado bus station in Chetumal. Our tickets cost us $29 usd one way or $292 pesos. The bathrooms at the bus station cost 3 pesos and the girl at the desk was willing to make change. We made it to Hotel Alux (Alush) and managed to check in with our limited Spanish.

This is a cash only hotel and for 2 nights it ran us $1100 pesos or $110 usd

Time to put shorts on head to the internet cafe to post this and see if we can hook up with Michele, Carole and Rick. Of course you know I have pictures coming eventually ha ha. (I had emailed the hotel to reserve a room before we left, when I checked my email from Noah's Zoo net cafe, I found out they had reserved for us at better price. Luckily we could print the email and Michele was close by - she came to meet us and walked back to the hotel to help us explain that we had reserved at $40 usd a night and we got pesos back.) After we went next door to see her place and she helped us find the number for Carole and Rick's Hotel - then it was off to Mega and Wal-mart to buy a few things we cannot get or that are much cheaper than in San Pedro - odd thing they only sell razors in packs of 3.

We met up with everyone easily. Had a nice dinner with Carol and Rick then strolled 5th ave for a bit before heading off to PJ Gringos sports bar to meet up with Michele and Rob. Barefoot skinny was playing - did not stay out late we were tired from a long day of travel and needed to catch up on some zzzz's - went back to hotel and watched Simpsons in Spanish before turning in.

Tropic air flight

Air shot

Corozal

Corozal

Getting ready to land

Corozal

Our plane

Baggage pick up

Get Transfers

Driving through Corozal

Roadside animals

First stopping point - pay departure tax here

Getting Pesos for Belize dollars

Off we go

Bienvenidos a Mexico - Welcome to Mexico

Next stop

Filling out tourist visa's

Easy pass through

Chetumal Mexico

En route to Ado

Getting vehicle sprayed

Heading to bus station

Punch buggy green and blue no punch backs

Ticket sales

Main floor seating area

Pesos

Seating area to wait for busses

Our bus

Statue at bus station

Taco festival sign - taken by Paul aka tacoboy

House

Roadside vendor

Park on other side of bus station

Tostada girls

Juarez statue

Side street

Blue truck

House

Roadside vendor

Banana chips for sale

Rancho Guadalupe

Playa is a lot bigger than San Pedro

Fish delivery

Side street

Walking to hotel

Hotel Alux (alush)

Our first room

Big church

Keeping people out

Tropical Wal-mart

Looks like Steak for dinner tonight

Barefoot Skinny on left

Rob and Michele

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