Finally arrived on Isla on March 7th after a very long winter in Canada. We were in Isla last year in February but there was a north wind and a few nights were downright chilly. We decided to wait till March this year and hope for better weather.
We crossed the border into Detroit to catch our flight and since we had an early flight we spent the night in a hotel near the airport with a free shuttle to the airport in the morning. The hotel had seen better days but we were only there to grab a few hours sleep and the shuttle was handy.
We flew with Spirit Air which was a mistake. The airline is a discount carrier and I received a great non-stop price from Detroit to Cancun but they nickel and dime you for everything including $28 bucks each way for carry on’s. Also they lowered their weight limits on checked luggage to 40 pounds from 50 pounds. We were over the weight limit and they charged us another $50 bucks each way!! Then we got on the plane and literally the back of the seat in front of me was only a foot away. Made for a very uncomfortable flight.
We arrived in Cancun and after clearing customs and dodging the hacks and time share folks at the airport we made it outside and found our greeter from USA Transfers. They were very good and cordial. We stopped at the duty free and bought some rum before stepping outside. The duty free is just outside the door when you clear customs. Very reasonable prices. Anyway we got to the ferry with no problems and 15 minutes later we were on Isla.
We grabbed a taxi right outside the dock and went to our hotel which is Ixchel. We love Ixchel for the location on the beach and the easy accessibility to the restaurants and bars downtown. The condo is luxurious and the people friendly, our balcony is at least 40 ft by 8 ft and overlooking the beach and sea. We were both hot and tired and hungry,we grabbed a quick shower and headed out to one of our favorites Quabano.
As we were waiting for a table it started to pour rain. We waited it out and consoled ourselves with some Cerveza’s. About 30 minutes later we ordered and had a great lunch. I had a Cuban sandwich and my wife a Toston and we split a plate of Hungarian potatoes. The Cuban sandwich was good, but the Toston was excellent!! For those of you not familiar with Tostons they are usually chicken sandwich or pork in a fried plantain. Very good and the owner Vivian very accommodating. Price was about $18 for the food. Went to the grocery store for some basic fruit and groceries and then went back to the condo, took a swim and nap and prepared for the evening dinner.
I was looking forward to Lancheros for their famous fish cooked in plantain with spices and paste, think it’s called tix en chik, anyway beautiful evening and we walked over and sat on the edge of the beach listening to the waves come in only about 30 feet away, we ordered a couple margaritas and some quacamole to start. The place only had one other table to serve, very slow night. I ordered the tix en chik and my wife had lobster tails.. I’ve got to tell you I was very disappointed with the meal. The fish was ok only, nothing great and the lobster was also only so, so, as a matter of fact they buried the taste of the lobster in cheese sauce. The veggies were dry and slim and the portions small, margaritas were six bucks each. Overall a disappointing meal and by the way a pricey one.
We decided to walk a little more and eventually ended up at Fayne’s on Hidalgo for a couple of margaritas and a great desert, Bananas Royale which are bananas cooked table side in flaming liqueur and sugar, very good. Then watched some street performers and called it a night.
I like the 5 star rating for food and I’ll try to remember the food choices as my vacation goes on, so far
Quabano – 5 stars
Lancheros – 2 ½ stars
Woke up to a beautiful morning, had a light breakfast and then were on the beach by 8 am, and by 9:30 am the sun was too hot and we had to find shelter under a beach umbrella. Great day lounging on the beach reading and enjoying the sites and crystal clear water. Decided to have lunch at Sunset Grill and just walked along the beach to Sunset Grill which is right next door to Ixchel. My wife had the nachos and I had the fish tacos, both were good and they had a special of 4 beers for 60 pesos or about $4.80 cents. By the way I checked out the policy regarding dining at the waters edge at Sunset Grill, for them to set up the table with linen and tiki candles they charge 200 pesos.
Spent most of the day relaxing on the beach. I will mention one negative here, the beach hawkers have tripled in attendance, every ten minutes a new one was showing up to sell us something and while it is easy to wave them away it gets to be annoying after awhile. Only negative so far and if I have this weather every day I can put up with the hawkers. It is festival time down here and tonight is the last night I believe, lots of performers.
Comono Restaurant which on Ixchel property had a happy hour special and one thing led to another and after an abundance of quacamole and chips and margarita’s we realized we weren’t hungry anymore and we decided to nap a bit before heading out. Well the nap turned into an 11 hours sleep and we woke up the following morning. I guess the jet lag, sun, and margaritas caught up to us. We will make up for it in the following days. Sorry for the long post and the next ones will be mostly restaurant reviews.