Arriving in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Departing for Mexico

We were 40 minutes from our one-way flight to Cancun when Martin said to me, “I think they called our name to the front desk.” 

A few minutes later he came back shaking his head. Things did not look good.

The woman at the front desk wasn’t going to allow us to board the plane since we didn’t return ticket for our international flight. There are rules about this, apparently.

My mouth gapped open. I was speechless. How were we able to purchase the ticket if they wouldn’t let us use it? This seemed really ridiculous. What if we wanted to return using ground transportation? What an antiquated rule!

Suddenly, we heard our name called again. Martin walked back up there while my mind raced to find the best solution for this hick-up.

Never mind. I guess you can board the plane. But, you may not get through customs once you arrive in Mexico, said the uninformed woman. Good luck!

When we arrived at the Cancun International Airport 6 hours later, we breezed through customs without any hesitation. No problemo. 

Getting from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

We hopped on an ADO bus at the airport to Playa del Carmen, which was a 1 hour bus ride and cost us 292 pesos, about $21. 

I took a dramamine for the flight. We had only eaten the homemade oatmeal bars and a few pretzels for sustenance. I had slept just a few hours the night before. And now I’m in a colorful, vibrant, Spanish-speaking country. Whoa.

The bus dropped us off just two blocks from the beach. We could see Cozumel on the horizon. The water was a bright turquoise. I wanted to take pictures of everything but I didn’t have the gumption to dig my camera out of my bag. 

We stopped at a sign that has a map to see if we could determine where our hostel is when a man, Luis, from the storefront nearby asks if we needed any help. Suddenly he was telling us that if we want to go to Chichén Itzá (which we do), we can pay $109/person for a full-day tour or he will give us a deal at $40/person if we go listen to a timeshare presentation tomorrow, but don’t worry, it includes breakfast, tequila, and kahlua.

I needed lunch. Now. I refused to make any decisions without more brain capacity.

Luis insisted on walking us over to his favorite restaurant. I mentioned that I don’t eat meat or cheese, but I do eat fish. Somehow we ordered some food and made Luis disappear. 

The food is perfect.

First Mexican Food

Then we walked to our hostel. It was hot. The sun was so bright my sunglasses were not enough to prevent me from squinting. My bag was so heavy. We walked over 2 miles to our hostel. All the while I was wondering how I ever managed to walk 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail with a heavy backpack.

Our hostel is perfect. 

Hacienda Del Sol, Playa Del Carmen

We had toyed with not making lodging reservations before we left, but I’m so glad we did reserve a room. Not only was it one less decision to make when I was tired and confused, but on our immigration card we had to write down where we were staying. 

After checking in, we collapsed. Sweaty and exhausted. 

Feeling refreshed from our lovely nap, we explored the area by stopping at the ATM and getting a few groceries and cervezas. 

Our hostel is on this “street”; the owner claims the neighborhood is very safe. Yep, there is a horse a block from our hostel that could use more than a couple good meals, perhaps a pasture, and some horse friends…

near Hostel in Playa del Carmen

Horse in Playa Del Carmen

Tonight, we are going out to eat at a nearby restaurant with other people from the hostel. It apparently has fantastic ceviche. I’ve never had it, but I’m excited to try! 

Arriving in a new place is always jarring, but I’m already feeling ready to hit the town and explore what Playa del Carmen has to offer!

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4 Responses

  1. OMG I am so excited for you! Thanks for sharing, glad you’re happy and healthy in Mexico, and can’t wait to read more!

    Jill, are your only dietary restrictions meat and cheese? You will find that lots of the food is made with varying degrees of lard.

    • Jill Wigert says:

      I would prefer not to eat lard but I know it will be difficult to be extremely strict here in Mexico. I eliminated dairy from my diet a couple months ago and feel much better. I’ve found finding food without dairy is more difficult than without meat.

  2. mom-in-law says:

    We love to read your news! Glad you’re doing OK and no “turista”. That plate of food looks really good!