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Just got back from Isla Mujeres


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2 hours ago, Damor said:

Thanks.

Is the HSBC ATM still preferred?  I'm a bit nervous as I've never used my little credit union debit card outside of the US.  Cash is so quaint.

And I know Isla is chill, but are we OK going to most places in (dry) swimsuits?  Will probably do Bastos after a day on that end of the island.  Pictures seem like it would be fine, but don't want to be more asshole American than necessary.

The ATM is fine.  Swimsuits should be fine but I'd have a coverup for the women and certainly shirts for the men.  It's pretty easy to go to the hotel and get changed and then take a quick cab right to Bastos.  Bastos is closed on Thursday but open every other day.

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4 hours ago, Damor said:

Thanks.

Is the HSBC ATM still preferred?  I'm a bit nervous as I've never used my little credit union debit card outside of the US.  Cash is so quaint.

And I know Isla is chill, but are we OK going to most places in (dry) swimsuits?  Will probably do Bastos after a day on that end of the island.  Pictures seem like it would be fine, but don't want to be more asshole American than necessary.

Very ok to wear swimsuits from start to finish on island. 

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14 hours ago, Damor said:

I'm going to have to go back through and reread this thread since it's been a while, but here's my restaurant list.  Let me know what I'm missing.

Basto's (figure this will get a couple visits)
North Garden (likewise, expect several breakfasts here as chilaquiles are my jam)
Fredy's (Recommendations?  Google says pork chop?)
Ballyhoo
Marbella
Fuego del Mar
Olivia
The Joint
El Varadero
Polo's Mango Cafe
Angelo
La Playita
La Lomita

Any specific recommendations at those places?

I figure we''ll take the boys to hang out at Mayan Beach Club and/or Tuturreque a couple days.  I think I saw those recommended.

Javi's Cantina is well worth a meal.  We enjoyed it more than Basto's.

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On 12/20/2020 at 7:17 AM, BurntOrange&White said:

I think we will be going here first week of July. 
 

http://www.belovedplayamujeresresort.com/

 

Will be staying in the ocean view terrace with plunge pool room. 

that's not Isla Mujeres, sir

 

On 12/20/2020 at 9:51 AM, VABuckeye said:

If Fredy's and Bastos aren't on your list you need a new list.  Fredy is an awesome guy and Bastos is a must eat for the arrachera steak.

Bastos arrachera is awesome

18 hours ago, Damor said:

I'm going to have to go back through and reread this thread since it's been a while, but here's my restaurant list.  Let me know what I'm missing.

Basto's (figure this will get a couple visits)
North Garden (likewise, expect several breakfasts here as chilaquiles are my jam)
Fredy's (Recommendations?  Google says pork chop?)
Ballyhoo
Marbella
Fuego del Mar
Olivia
The Joint
El Varadero
Polo's Mango Cafe
Angelo
La Playita
La Lomita

Any specific recommendations at those places?

I figure we''ll take the boys to hang out at Mayan Beach Club and/or Tuturreque a couple days.  I think I saw those recommended.

Solid list, but add Mango's and delete Olivia, except for the mojito there is outstanding. Lola Valentina and Rooster are good for breakfast but they are no North Garden

 

12 hours ago, Damor said:

Thanks.

Is the HSBC ATM still preferred?  I'm a bit nervous as I've never used my little credit union debit card outside of the US.  Cash is so quaint.

And I know Isla is chill, but are we OK going to most places in (dry) swimsuits?  Will probably do Bastos after a day on that end of the island.  Pictures seem like it would be fine, but don't want to be more asshole American than necessary.

order pesos in advance and pay cash, it will save you $$$

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  • 2 weeks later...

just got back from spending a week there.  half the time in this house:

https://www.vrbo.com/324551ha

6 bedrooms each with their own bathrooms and individual a/c so we were able to keep some distance from each other (I stayed there with 2 other covid cautious people).

Rented a golf cart from Prisma for $350/week

Spent the rest of the time at this little condo complex in the Veracruz unit:

https://www.isladreams.com/villas-san-miguel/oceanside-villa-veracruz/

great view and a very short walk to Hidalgo.  

Got pesos at the CIBanco but am sure the HSBC ATM is good too.

Have beers at Soggy Peso and La Palapa del Capitan.  Lots of great advice in this thread.

If you don't mind a connection get on the AA flight serviced by a 787.  Great business class seat and was only $327 on the return.  Took Southwest down.  JetBlue is starting flights to Cancun from Austin in March so it'll be good for Southwest to have some competition.

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On 12/21/2020 at 4:37 AM, Damor said:

Thanks.

Is the HSBC ATM still preferred?  I'm a bit nervous as I've never used my little credit union debit card outside of the US.  Cash is so quaint.

And I know Isla is chill, but are we OK going to most places in (dry) swimsuits?  Will probably do Bastos after a day on that end of the island.  Pictures seem like it would be fine, but don't want to be more asshole American than necessary.

To me & Mrs. Wood (no more pics), on Isla, the assholes are the ones who get dressed up to go out. 

You'll be fine in swimsuits. As a matter of, unless you're just arriving or about to get on the ferry, there's rarely a reason to be wearing anything other than a swimsuit & maybe a tshirt.

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On 12/21/2020 at 7:00 AM, VABuckeye said:

I wasn't a fan of Olivia.  At The Joint go for breakfast and get the breakfast mojitos.  On the way back hit Soggy Peso.  Careful with the matgaritas.  Very strong.  I believe THursday is cheeseburger day.  El Varadero wasn't authentic Cuban food but it was good.  At Fredy's I usually get a steak.  Mango Cafe for breakfast.  I know the people here love Ballyhoo but I've found it to be hit and miss.  Still the setting is perfect and the drinks are strong.

Yeah, be careful of those 'strong' drinks. More and more often, they aren't as advertised.

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there are several across street when you get off the ferry.  

 

My suggestion would be to grab cart, head south and stop at Soggy Peso for a drink. 

 

Then continue south and stop at the The Joint and grab a frozen mojito to go. 

 

Continue south and walk around Punta Sur.  Take lots of pics.  Make the turn back north and stop at Villa la Bella and sit in the swings at the bar  and have Pina Coladas.   ( I don't think we have talked much about Villa la Bella much on this site but we really liked it.  Amazing Pina Coladas and nice view) 

 

Stop into Isla Brewing Company and do a quick tasting.  (it is very informal) 

 

Head all the way up and park on the street by North Garden and then you can walk to the beach and hang out.   

 

If you want to do the market thing, you can walk to there and shop.  Plenty of restaurants there as well.  

 

 

There are plenty of things to fit in between the stops above, just depends on what you are into.  This gives you a good loop around the island.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, rage-a-holic said:

heads up, prepare for mandatory COVID tests to fly back

It mentions ‚Äúrecovered‚ÄĚ from Covid proof as well,¬†which without a timeline is weird and there is nothing about vaccination status.

True to form, our government apparently doesn’t think of the details and just throws crap against the wall hoping some of it sticks.

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15 hours ago, rage-a-holic said:

we've relocated to quintana roo and just as a heads up, testing kits are in very short supply here after the christmas holiday surge of tourists. we have a local friend that called 9-10 places before she found a test.

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1 hour ago, DefinitelyNotHollywoodColt said:

we've relocated to quintana roo and just as a heads up, testing kits are in very short supply here after the christmas holiday surge of tourists. we have a local friend that called 9-10 places before she found a test.

This idiotic move by the US is gonna be devastating to the Mexican tourist economy. People are already canceling Spring Break and summer trips in droves.

And even 2-3 planeloads of returning Americans trying to get COVID tests is gonna wipe out the existing QRoo supply. Cozumel doesn't even have enough to test one of the daily AA flights.

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6 minutes ago, rage-a-holic said:

This idiotic move by the US is gonna be devastating to the Mexican tourist economy. People are already canceling Spring Break and summer trips in droves.

And even 2-3 planeloads of returning Americans trying to get COVID tests is gonna wipe out the existing QRoo supply. Cozumel doesn't even have enough to test one of the daily AA flights.

i would assume there's going to be a rather large black market for phony test results.

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On 1/3/2021 at 10:25 PM, Buzzrock said:

What do you mean?

Lots of bootlegging happening, with 'tequila' etc being made in the jungle and being supplied to some bars as legit tequila. It's poison. Methanol no es bueno para ti.

If someone you're with starts acting loopy or weird after like half a drink, cut them off, asap.

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On 1/4/2021 at 9:24 AM, Mac8111 said:

Rent golf cart.

 

On 1/4/2021 at 9:41 AM, Mac8111 said:

there are several across street when you get off the ferry.  

 

My suggestion would be to grab cart, head south and stop at Soggy Peso for a drink. 

 

Then continue south and stop at the The Joint and grab a frozen mojito to go. 

 

Continue south and walk around Punta Sur.  Take lots of pics.  Make the turn back north and stop at Villa la Bella and sit in the swings at the bar  and have Pina Coladas.   ( I don't think we have talked much about Villa la Bella much on this site but we really liked it.  Amazing Pina Coladas and nice view) 

 

Stop into Isla Brewing Company and do a quick tasting.  (it is very informal) 

 

Head all the way up and park on the street by North Garden and then you can walk to the beach and hang out.   

 

If you want to do the market thing, you can walk to there and shop.  Plenty of restaurants there as well.  

 

 

There are plenty of things to fit in between the stops above, just depends on what you are into.  This gives you a good loop around the island.  

Yep. Rent golf cart and just go explore. 

Something I like to recommend that might not be for everyone is to go to the basketball court off the square or to the baseball/softball/soccer games down by Chedraui. Good time. Get to meet some nice folks and take in some good games. The 'indoor' soccer arena and the baseball games are the best. The old women in the stands during the baseball & softball games are just relentless on the players.

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17 hours ago, VABuckeye said:

It's a shame that all of the art at Punta Sur has eroded and is now gone.

Yep, and Playa Norte is still eroding away too, or at least it's moving from the west end to the east end. They were supposed to be installing erosion bladders in front of Ixchel and couple other spots, but I don't think it's happened yet.

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2 hours ago, rage-a-holic said:

This idiotic move by the US is gonna be devastating to the Mexican tourist economy. People are already canceling Spring Break and summer trips in droves.

And even 2-3 planeloads of returning Americans trying to get COVID tests is gonna wipe out the existing QRoo supply. Cozumel doesn't even have enough to test one of the daily AA flights.

Would it be acceptable to take our own with us if we could find some?

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18 minutes ago, rage-a-holic said:

I'm pretty sure you have to get a test from a clinic or hospital in your host country, but the CDC will be clarifying the rules soon.

Seems like there's a potential binness opportunity there, where a sealed kit could be sold to prospective international travelers here in the states, then unsealed at an appropriate facility in the destination country for testing of the traveler before they return. Makes it easy for the traveler, helps the destination country's tourism industry, and doesn't negatively impact their test kit supply.

Edited by wood
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23 hours ago, rage-a-holic said:

As a physician that was vaccinated in August with the Pfizer vaccine on trial, I’m fucking PISSED about this.  Having to cancel several international trips for 2021

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19 hours ago, Newdoc said:

It mentions ‚Äúrecovered‚ÄĚ from Covid proof as well,¬†which without a timeline is weird and there is nothing about vaccination status.

Found a more detailed Q/A. Looks like recovery has to be within 3 months with dated positive test as well. And true to dumbass form and hand ringing, vaccination status doesn’t matter.

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there are several across street when you get off the ferry.  
 
My suggestion would be to grab cart, head south and stop at Soggy Peso for a drink. 
 
Then continue south and stop at the The Joint and grab a frozen mojito to go. 
 
Continue south and walk around Punta Sur.  Take lots of pics.  Make the turn back north and stop at Villa la Bella and sit in the swings at the bar  and have Pina Coladas.   ( I don't think we have talked much about Villa la Bella much on this site but we really liked it.  Amazing Pina Coladas and nice view) 
 
Stop into Isla Brewing Company and do a quick tasting.  (it is very informal) 
 
Head all the way up and park on the street by North Garden and then you can walk to the beach and hang out.   
 
If you want to do the market thing, you can walk to there and shop.  Plenty of restaurants there as well.  
 
 
There are plenty of things to fit in between the stops above, just depends on what you are into.  This gives you a good loop around the island.  


Love Villa la Bella

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10 hours ago, wood said:

 

Yep. Rent golf cart and just go explore. 

Something I like to recommend that might not be for everyone is to go to the basketball court off the square or to the baseball/softball/soccer games down by Chedraui. Good time. Get to meet some nice folks and take in some good games. The 'indoor' soccer arena and the baseball games are the best. The old women in the stands during the baseball & softball games are just relentless on the players.

Hotel Secreto is down the road from the basketball gym. ¬†I love those late night hot dog stands with jalape√Īos and cheese. ¬†Great late night drunk snack.¬†

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Thanks to everyone for all the infor on this thread, we had a fantastic trip.  It went so well I think I got some family buy-in to try some other places I have on my wishlist such as Holbox and Sayulita.  Spoilering the pics because this is going to be longcat enough already.

We stayed at Hotel Secreto, and it was great.  We spent very little time there, but all the staff were very friendly and helpful, with lots of good tips.  The day we rented a golf cart they called one which was delivered and picked up from the lobby so we didn't have to jack around with a  rental place.
 

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I wouldn't be averse to trying the place next door (Media Luna) or the house next to that sometime as well, especially if we came with a group with kids (I didn't know that both are owned/run by the same family, who also operate Keen M).

We went out for a day and a half with Keen M, and while the seas were rough (everybody wore a scopolamine patch on the second day), the fishing was way better than I hoped -- everyone caught something every day, and on the second day everybody got at least one sailfish.  I think if we did it again I'd be fine with just half days (if you're not catching much on a half day, adding a few hours probably won't get you much more action).

 

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We spent a couple days on Playa Norte.  We got chairs at the Mayan Beach Club in return for ordering food/drinks and had a great time.  Service was great, and the food was way better than I would have expected.  Best chilaquiles I had on the trip were there (not on the menu).

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We were going to take the boys to snorkel at Garrafon de Castilla, but unfortunately it seems to be shut down.  We didn't want to do the big Garrafon Reef park and tourist trap, so we tried Kin Ha/Parque de los Suenos.  It was too rough that day to swim, but this would have been more our speed, and the food was good.

Speaking of which, the food pretty much everywhere on the island was awesome.  Portion sizes generally bordered on obscene.  We didn't have a bad meal there, although a couple places we ate out of convenience (Stingray's, Snapper's, Kokonuts) were nothing special.  Bastos was very good, but we were a bit underwhelmed after all the hype.  Fredy's definitely did not disappoint, though -- great food, and a great guy.

Some food highlights:

La Playita was our after-fishing spot (practically next to Keen M), and filled the boys up after they puked up their toenails on the boat.  Cool spot on the beach.  Ridiculous portions, included is the seafood platter for two.

Spoiler

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North Garden  was great for breakfast, as advertised..

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They actually just opened a space for dinner next door, called Grill Garden, a few days before we got there.  It was really, really good.

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Breakfast at Rooster was also good, with the obligatory chilaquiles.  As a side note, it was nice that all over Isla when  you asked for salsa picante, they brought you awesome habanero stuff, not weak ass gringo shit.

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Ta-Ki-To looked like a pretty new taco joint on Hidalgo.  They had the trompo rolling but it was still clean enough that my family would eat there - and they wanted to eat there every day after that.  Next time, though, I'm going to duck into some of the crappier looking taco joints we saw on our golf cart trip to the south side.

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The Canadian lady who was working at Fredy's (you got me) told us about her friend's new place on the south end, El Borracho Burro.  It was great - outdoor dining and bar, excellent food.  I don't remember what the potato things were called, but I think it was Spanish for "Get in Mah Belly."  This was where we also managed to catch the obligatory Michael Jackson impersonator show.

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Lola Valentina was outstanding for dinner.  The poblano fish was one of the best of the many excellent meals I had on Isla.

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We had a fantastic trip.  Everyone we met was awesome, and we tipped the hell out of them hoping they hang in there until we can make it back.

Thanks again to all y'all assholes for the info.

(Sorry, don't know why these pics are appended to the end, but I can't seem to make them go away)

 

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Edited by Damor
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22 hours ago, wood said:

Seems like there's a potential binness opportunity there, where a sealed kit could be sold to prospective international travelers here in the states, then unsealed at an appropriate facility in the destination country for testing of the traveler before they return. Makes it easy for the traveler, helps the destination country's tourism industry, and doesn't negatively impact their test kit supply.

Most resorts have started announcing free rapid COVID testing for guests and either free or discounted accommodations following a positive test.

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FYI for any of y'all considering a trip  ... got this from Keith Turner, one of the local rental guys:

Here is some information regarding the new CDC testing requirements for entry in to the USA for all persons.
 
 
 
mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimgssl.constantco
Other countries have required testing for returning travelers from Mexico so this is not something new. COVID testing is readily available on Isla Mujeres.
 
If you are staying with us at Villas San Miguel or Nautibeach Condos, we can make your appointment to be tested in your room with the results available in 12 to 24 hours.
 
Dr. Xhanat Tze Mora or Dr. Salas offer these services in conjunction with their labs on Isla Mujeres.
 
They both offer the cheaper rapid Antigen tests that US citizens can use and the more sophisticated PCR test that Canadian citizens are required to have. The prices range from 700 pesos to 2,800 pesos. ($35 dollars to $140 dollars depending on which.)
 
Both doctors speak English. We suggest you make your appointments in advance by contacting us prior to arrival, OR, if already on Isla Mujeres, my Property Manager, Candelario, will make these appointments for you.
 
There is also a 24 hour lab in Centro called Quimico where these tests can be done if you want to do this on your own.
 
It's an easy process with no stress. If you test positive, then you take another test to confirm that and extend your stay. The CDC states in their first paragraph that a doctor can give you an all clear to travel even with a positive test if they deem you to have recovered.
 
Not one tourist that I know of has contracted COVID while on vacation on Isla Mujeres since COVID first became known, so other than being a minor inconvenience, there has not been a lot to it.
 
The odds of getting COVID while in transit is also extremely low as the airports, airplanes, customs, immigration, etc. have been shown to have almost non-existent transmission according to many studies.
 
The bottom line is that going on vacation in Mexico presents less risk than going to your own grocery store or Walmart, etc. A relaxing vacation in a tropical environment is just what the doctor ordered after many people postponed their travel plans this last year.
 
I have been going to Isla Mujeres twice each month since before the start of the pandemic, sometimes alone and sometimes with my family, without any issues whatsoever. Mexico has great health protocols in place, with fewer tourists and no crowds. All beaches, hotels, restaurants, and tourist services are open. Enjoy your vacation.
 
Best regards,
 
Keith Turner
www.isladreams.com
ÔĽŅ
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