ALMAPLENA

 

Website --->

 

The last time we came to Costa Maya, we went to Maya Chan. I knew from that experience that I needed to find a place that had a beach and water more to my liking. I was told by many that all the beaches in Costa Maya are the same. I was on a mission to prove others wrong. After a lot of research, I managed to find a new place that recently opened called Almaplena. The pictures on their website showed beautiful sand and crystal blue water. Since this place was new, I tried searching my friend, Google, and only found a few pictures, but they all looked as if this was exactly what I was looking for. I emailed the owners and they responded with a definate "yes" to the water and sand. So, I booked and couldn't wait.

 

Now I knew that this place was a little further down that Maya Chan was and others online had stated it would be too far away to be able to enjoy it during a cruise port day. However, to find what I was looking for, I was willing to risk the shortened time we would have visiting a beach.

 

Once we made it to land, we quickly went through the pier (still more walking…whew) to get to the part that you go out of the tourist area.

 

Now I remember this place from before. We were eaten alive by no-see-ums and mosquitos that time around. But no bites yet. I looked ahead and knew we were supposed to keep walking forward to find the taxi station. I had no idea where I was going because I had never been any further than right there outside of the pier and then I was picked up to go to Maya Chan. I’m not sure why this new place we were going (Almaplena) couldn’t pick us up at that spot. Maybe they have to pay a charge to be able to enter the port area? We had read that you walk to the Hard-Rock-Café building for the taxi’s, but the Hard-Rock was out of business, so we were doing this blindly. We had also been warned by the staff at Almaplena not to let any taxi’s drivers try to lure you in to their cab before we get to where we were supposed to be going because they did not have contracts with Almaplena and then we would be responsible for the fare. It’s kind of hard to know if you have the right cab or not then if you a) don’t know where you are going b) never been outside the port c) there are taxi’s everywhere and d) the Hard-Rock Café is gone now (with no signage) so it was hard to tell “where” we were actually supposed to go.

It was very pretty there along the walk. The locals there would ask you take you somewhere or to do a trip with them, but a simple “we already have reservations” shut them up and they never said another word.

We finally made it to where we were going and I kept thinking “man, this was more of a walk that what I had originally thought” and of course looking at the pre-printed map I had in hand, it didn’t look as far as it was.

We made it to a spot where we thought THIS “might” be it. We ask one of the locals standing there and our luck had it that he didn’t speak English. Yes, he was the taxi driver. There was a young boy there with him and he relayed the information to him on what we were saying. “Si” he said, he would take us there. However, in the back of my mind I kept wondering if THIS was the cab we were supposed to be taking or not. I pulled out my reservation papers and handed them to him…just hoping to get some type of confirmation that he was indeed planning on taking us there under this contract they had with the taxi drivers. “Si”.

 

We loaded in the taxi and away we went…and went fast. The taxi was equipped with seat belts, however they did not work (they would not stay locked in). We turned right coming out of the main road to the port, which for some reason I thought we went left. I had tried to look it up prior to going (remember that planning OCD I told you I had? Well, I will go to google earth, pull my yellow body down on to the street and “walk” the street looking around. I had thought that Maya Chan was to the left of the cruise port and Almaplena was just a little further down the road past it. I guess I was turned around or something.

We zoomed down the road…the ONLY ones on the road. All I could think about was what happens if you get a flat out here in the middle of nowhere? The taxi driver pulled out his radio and started talking to someone (who knows what about since he didn’t speak any English, but that reminded me that this would be what he would do if we had car problems and I was relieved). About then, I seen a truck pulled over on the road…with a flat tire…with no one around. Oops. I wondered what they would do since they probably didn’t have a radio to call for help.

Then we see the sign that said “Almaplena 3 minutes this way” and we turned. The 3 minutes turned in to a lot longer because this road was pot-hole hell. The driver must have taken some rally driving classes because he was weaving in and out of these holes like he knew exactly what he was doing….at the expense of scratching up his car. Avoid pot-hole=save tires but pull so far over in to the bushes along the side of the road=scratches up and down car. Hmmm The hubby quickly learn to keep his arm far inside the car. Their website says it is a 20 minutes ride from the port…guess what…I timed it…20 minutes!!! If they would fix the short road leading to the resort, I bet they could shave off a good 5 minutes of the ride. Now it is not a “bumpy-throw-you-around” ride at all. These weren’t really pot-holes as we know it. They were more like craters and you wondered what atomic bomb hit there type of holes. (Well maybe an exaggeration, but still). Remember I said our driver must have been a rally driver? He managed to miss the holes and did an excellent job at the expense of his paint job…but still it wasn’t bumpy at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there it was…Almaplena. From the outside it looked very nice. It was nicely decorated with greenery and flowers everywhere and the buildings looked nice too. We had a pretty good feeling about this choice at this point.

Information on Almaplena for those of you (and it’s probably MOST of you) that don’t know about it. They are a NEW beach resort. They just opened up in January or February of this year. They are a ECO resort and beach club. Since it is an Eco resort it is designed to be well…Eco friendly. The design of the buildings and rooms uses the shade of the sun and breeze of the sea, rain water collected for daily use, bottled water for drinking and cooking, and a wind turbine for electric energy.

There is a restaurant and bar facing the beachfront and has a raised terrace. This gave us a beautiful panoramic scene of the beautiful crystal blue water while we ate. It was extremely hot out that day (remember that walk that I thought was too long to the taxi station? Well that was also due to the heat along the way) but the breezes were nice and kept you at a comfortable temperature all day.

They have dressing rooms, straw umbrella (palapas), showers, and bathrooms. The owners also live there on the premises and they are Monica and Andrea. They had just had a baby 2 months ago (I think they said her name was Sophia). Monica had told me ahead of time that she would probably not be there that day to meet us with taking care of the baby. She has good contact with you from before booking, to booking, to answering questions, sending confirmation, giving updates and even right before the cruise with directions. Great service!

I believe they only have 8 rooms at this hotel, so it is very small and there is next to no one there. They only take 20 people a day (cruisers) so this limits the amount of people on the beach as well. VERY NICE! If you want to go somewhere quiet, not crowded and relaxing, you have found your place. If you want to stare at the crystal blue Caribbean ocean water with soft sand, you have found your place.

We were thrilled with our choice this time around if you haven’t figured that out by now.

 

We were greeted at the door by the owner, Andrea, and he welcomed us to Almaplena and offered us a drink at their bar (located as you walk in under the huge thatched building that was all open. They had a bar to the right as you walk in and seating and a Christmas tree to the left. I took a picture of Sakari by the tree but it turned out absolutely HORRID! I’ll post a small pic because I’m so ashamed and don’t even know what happened there.

 

As you walk out, you are in the “dining area” and in had the most wonderful view. YEP, I had found that nice little Caribbean slice of Paradise here. As I patted myself on the back I took in the beautiful site of the white sand and crystal clear Caribbean blue water. Ahhh…yes, this is what I’m talking about! I quickly snapped a picture of my first scene as I approached the dining area.

 

We were told we could go out and find a spot and they would bring our drinks out to us. We started walking out toward the water and palapas taking in all of the scenery. I loved that this place not only had the white sand and blue water, but there was some greenery, which makes for wonderful pictures.

 

**DISCLAMIER*** Remember that I am now going along this journey with a NEW CAMERA in hand that I know nothing about. I might as well be blind at this point. I have no idea what each of the settings do and how to work them. Of course I have a screen to “kind of” see the pictures as I take them, but I really have no idea how good (or bad they are at this point) until I get home to upload them on to my computer and see them full screen. I messed with the settings back and forth all day long from landscape to a “bright food” setting, beauty, sand/snow, water setting, sharpness and so on. You get the picture. So it’s a mixture of settings. Keep this in mind when viewing the pictures. The bad part is, with all of the pictures I love, I have no idea what settings were used to obtain them either. (Sad face inserted here)

In some of these pictures, the sky looks as if it’s going to rain and dark…trust me, if NEVER looked like rain, nor did it rain or even come close. It was BEAUTIFUL and hot out that day.

 

When looking toward the left…you see the ship parked at the dock in port? It’s really not that far away and it was neat to know that we could see her.

 

Looking up toward Almaplena. We decided on the spot here to the right of the picture. Our little "spot" for the day, which we didn't spend a whole lot of time there unless we were snacking on that great Mexican food or putting our snorkel equipement on (until the hubby got internet access and had to check his mail)

 

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You could not drag my daughter out of the water. She played there just about all day and we had to act like we were leaving her just to get her out of the water to come up and eat lunch later in the day.  At this point she had her goggles on and had been going under water and was thrilled. (I think she was getting use to the salt water again and it didn't bother her anymore).

 

For some reason, I just loved these 2 little palapas and where they were situated with the greenery behind them. It just looked like something you would see in a postcard. It made it nice that there were no chairs under them, so no warm bodies there to intrude on my picture. I would continue to take pictures of these throughout the day. LOL I’m not sure how many pictures I took, but there were a lot. I wanted to make sure I got a good one.

 

Our drinks came and they were yummy. They brought my daughter a non-alcoholic version of mine and she enjoyed it thinking she was a big girl.

We decided to explore around a little bit. I had noticed this palm tree hanging out over the water on the lot next to us and thought it would make for a nice picture so off we went.

 

I know it's probably hard to see in the picture, but I was trying to get this shot with the Star in the background. It's small in the picture, but I can see her.

The hubby put the munchkin up on the palm tree hanging over the water and she was a little unsure about this at first. It really doesn't look that high up, but as you can tell from the picture and the hubby standing by her, it's as tall as his shoulder and he's about 5'10".

 

We talked her in to letting go of daddy to get a picture, she cooperated, but was definitely ready to get down once mommy snapped the picture. "Oh come on, you can sit for just one more while I take one showing how high up you are and what a big girl you are right now. I got the "just one more mom"

 

Then it was my turn for a picture according to daddy. Now, I’m the type of person that is always behind the camera (hence the reason I had to buy a second camera, because I just don’t ever give mine up…of course this cruise proved that I would have to be a big girl and share like I was taught to do growing up) so when we are on vacation, I never really get a lot of pictures with me in them. Then of course I complain how it doesn’t even look like I was on this vacation. However, when the hubby does take a picture, I complain that I hate to have my picture taken because I just don’t like the way I look in pictures…especially after all the weight gain I’ve accumulated over the last 4 cruises averaging around 6-10 per cruise. Did I mention that I gained 7 pounds THIS cruise? Yea…I did. But, he talked me in to a few. I tried to attempt to hide myself by putting my daughter in front of me. haha.

 

Then he managed to get one of me after the daughter ran off...oh come on. I talked the daughter in to one more and off we went...I was still trying to get a good shot of the ship from where we were at. I have come to the conclustion that point and shoot cameras just don't have an excellent crispy clean "zoom" feature on them. I'm never satisfied with them.


Sakari was happy to be headed back to "our spot" so that she could resume playing with her sand toys and in the water.

 

 

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Some people had asked if there was a "drop-off" at the beach area. Where we were sitting (at the end) right in front of us there was. But in most places it was gradual. Nothing major. I don't know if this was erosion or not. To me, it was easy to walk down and nothing that would prevent me from going here that's for sure. The picture below is on down a little where no one is sitting. Remember the palapas I liked taking pictures of? Yep, these are them but from a different direction. Not as pleasing huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little tour of the grounds. It was NICELY landscaped and the buildings were nice too. It would definitely be a place I wouldn’t mind spending time here (like for a vacation).

There is the restroom facility (to the right of the picture obviously) and the showers to rinse off with to the left). The sinks are located there on the outside with the restrooms to the left and right of the sinks behind a closed door of course.

 

Once again, the eating spot...just a different "view". There are hammocks to lounge in right in front of the outside dining area...however we didn't try it...it was just a little too hot right there. If you were down by the beach, there was a nice decent breeze to keep you cooler. If you were in the dining area, you were out of the sun and a nice breeze there as well. Anywhere else...well, just plain hot if you were in the sun. They would have been nice in the evening after the sun goes down.

 

Yes, there is a volley ball area if you are so inclined to work up even more of a sweat in the Caribbean heat. I was watching a pelican flying across and he kept coming back. I never did see him dive down for any fish, but managed to snap a picture of him. It's kind of hard to see since he is right at the light-meets-dark part of the water in the picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I found that my new camera had a panoramic button. I thought I would try it out. It is definitely "different" from my dslr pano button by the way that it works. You snap a picture and then arrows appear asking you which way to go. You just start moving your camera toward the direction you want and then this round circle appears. When the "dot" on the screen goes in to the "circle", you've made it to the next picture and it snaps the picture for you. Then you keep going. It's like a pano for dummies type of thing. (Although several of them I took throughout the cruise proved that the camera is not as smart as it thinks it is and did not stitch them together too good).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I HAD to take my Santa hat with me on vacation since it was a Christmas cruise and all and I had to help Santa remember to bring Sakari a few gifts while we were on the cruise to remind him where we were. I brought it to every port with me because everyone likes Christmas themed pictures at the beach, in the sun, on vacation, in the Caribbean pictures while they are in the snow and cold weather right??? Yep, I thought so. This would continue during the remainder of the cruise…sending pictures of us in the Santa hat on the beach to my facebook. Cheezing right now.

 

When mommy says "picture time Sakari", she knows to stop whatever she's doing and pose, then go about her business. LOL I have her trained. Then she back to what she was doing instantly.

 

At this time, Andrea had come around and asks us what time we were interested in eating lunch and what we would like to have. We told him it really didn’t matter and would leave it up to him. He said that another group was going to be eating at (I think) it was 1pm so he would have ours ready around 1:30. We said that was fine. When he asks what we would like to eat, we had no idea what they had, but told him what ever everyone else would be having would be fine. He asks if beef, chicken and shrimp tacos would be fine with chips and guacamole. It sounded wonderful and we agreed. Although I told him to just make Sakari the chicken only and if he had some fries, that would work as well (since she had been living off the fries and pizza on the Star, I knew she was going to want some fries with her authentic Mexican meal. Lol)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went back out in to the water for a while before it was time to eat. There was a Palometa fish (which you see these all over the place when snorkeling) and he was a “loaner”. He would not leave us alone (not that we wanted him to). He followed us where ever we went and would go between our legs and brush up on us…kind of like a cat. Sakari was missing her cat at home; maybe this was a “sign”. Hehe I took tons of pictures of him, I’m not sure why when it was the only fish and 1 picture was quite sufficient.

 

Andrea brought us an "appetizer" to hold us over while we were waiting on our lunch to be made (while the other group had already headed up for their lunch <-- they were on our roll call too). THESE WERE DELICIOUS!!!! I wish I would have had just an entire stack of these for lunch!!!

 

Sakari was too busy playing in the water and we could not get her to come up and eat her snack. Mommy was glad to help her out with that. No problem! You will get this "look" if you try to interrupt her water time.

 

Meanwhile...daddy had discovered the internet...and caught up on his work, then came out to play with us.

 

 

 

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Andrea told us that he would have lunch ready for us in about 20 minutes so we could start heading up there some time around then. The hubby continued to play catch up on his mounds of emails and I continued snapping pictures.

Look at the baby Trumpetfish that someone on our roll call found? They said it was just jumping out of the water on them and they finally got it in their hands. How cute. I don’t think I would have ever spotted it because it was so tiny and looked like a small stick in the water.

 

Having a little fun in the sand and I wanted to send a message back home since we had internet...in case you are wondering...yes, it took me about three tries to get this (Merry Christmas). The water kept coming up and washing it away. You know how the water comes up so far, goes out, comes up, goes out, then you get that really big UP and it's more than usual? Well I was timing it…and let’s just say my timing was off 3 times! I wanted the water rushing up to it as I snapped the picture. (I’m usually a perfectionist when I get something in my mind and I want it to turn out just right). Then I left footprints in the sand...quickly washed away, but our memories would not be.

 

What happens when you stub your toe on something? Well I don't know about you, but I sit it down somewhere and make a picture of it! (A huge piece of coral on the beach I didn't see).

 

 

 


 

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It had been about 20 minutes and we were ready to head up to the dining area and see what was in store for us. Yes, we once again had to threaten our daughter that we were leaving without her in order to get her to come out of the water. I mean you know how hard it is to drag a child away from having this much fun???

 

We got up to the lunch area and the hubby had another Modelo beer and I order a “light” Coke (which they serve in the can). My husband had ask for the "Mexican" beer and that's what they served him. He seem to like it a lot. Then shortly after that our food arrived. Hmmm, I started with the shrimp taco because I love seafood. It has some type of yellow sauce all over it and it WAS messy! I thought it was VERY VERY VERY tasty whatever the sauce was. I gobbled it up quickly and stared at the hubby to see if he was going to finish his. He said he did not care for it and I quickly made sure it didn’t go to waste. Sorry, I started chowing down as soon as it arrived because I was starved by now and only got a shot after several bites and I remembered I hadn't taken a picture. I do have to mention…whatever this “yellow sauce” was, it completely STAINED everything it touched. I could not wipe, lick, or wash this stuff off. You don’t have to ask me if it did the same to my teeth right? The only thing that got it off was more ocean salt water swimming.

 

Sakari ate some of her fries but for some reason wouldn’t touch the chicken tacos. She was just in one of “those” moods and not wanting to eat for some reason. She was only worried about getting back out to the water to play. Then they mentioned ice cream. Bad choice. Given the option of regular food sitting in front of you and ice cream…what do you think most children are going to pick? Hmmm. I’ll leave at that.

 

I tried my “beef” taco and I didn’t not care for it at all. I’m really not sure what type of “beef” it was supposed to be. Was it steak? You all know I don’t like steak and this was no exception. However, I do have to comment that the bite I did take was VERY hard…like overcooked hard and not juicy at all. It was like biting in to beef jerky kind of hard. I offered it to the hubby and he did eat it and never really mentioned what his thoughts were on it.

 

I tried my “chicken” taco. Hmmm, I wasn’t too sure about it either and I love chicken. They had some type of vegetable mixed in with it that I didn’t care for and ended up picking it out. I had hoped there would be some type of cheese or something on them. (I’m a cheese freak and eat it with everything…especially tacos).

 

As you can see, every plate came with beans (which I don't like beans, so I never tried it) and also rice...plain rice. Nothing special at all and very bland.

 

I can’t say I was too thrilled with what we had at all. I really didn’t feel full and I’m not the rude kind to say “hey, I don’t like the food can you make me something else?” type of person. I did look over at the other table where people on our roll call was finishing up eating and I noticed they had something that resembled a quesadilla. It looked good and my first thoughts were that when he originally ask what we would like to eat 1) we didn’t have a menu to pick from 2) I did say we would take whatever everyone else was eating and 3) I would be satisfied with his recommendations. I started to rethink these statements. Maybe I should have ask for a menu or checked out what everyone else was eating prior to see if it was something we would be interested in. I have NEVER had a bad experience with ANY of the places we’ve been to and had their meal. I have to say, this was probably the exception.

 

They also severed us nacho’s and guacamole and it was good (not as good as others we’ve had in Mexico, but definitely acceptable!)

 

So back to the whining child now wanting ice cream… it came and boy was it special looking. Half of it was gone before I was able to snap a picture.

 

After we were done with our meal, we sat there for a while and I updated my facebook with a few “tempting photos” for the people back home to salivate over. Sakari decided she wanted to swing in the hammock that was on the deck sitting behind us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing that I noticed is that there is a little bit of a language barrier too it seemed like. I know several times throughout the day we had said something that they did not understand at all. You know when someone says something to you and you just smile or nod as if you heard so not to be rude but you have no idea what they just said type of situation? Yep, that was them a few times. Kind of awkward sometimes.

We headed back out to our “spot” and of course the water. People have said that there is excellent snorkeling here and the reef is about 50 yards??? Out. I’m sorry, but I don’t deal with “yards” and have no clue how far that is compared to “feet” so… you could look out in to the water and see where the reef was and from the shore and it didn’t look like it was really too far. We geared up. I had spoken with the other people on the roll call and they had already been out and said that there was a reef and plenty of fish. They had gone out before we ever got there and said while they were out there they spotted some dolphins out a ways. That would have been neat to see.

One of my fears for some reason is being out in deeper/open water without others around. I love snorkeling off of the beach and especially places that have reefs like RIGHT THERE when you go in to the water or even after swimming really far out it’s still fairly shallow. Yes, I have done the snorkel tours before…you are out in the water, jump in and snorkel…BUT you are out there with tons of other people. I just feel safer that way. I mentioned that I would feel better if we were out there with others and the people on our roll call said they would go out. They geared up and the kids went out. I guess we were a little slower at getting ready (with a 4 year old and all) and wasn’t able to get out when they did. The hubby took FOREVER and Sakari and I were headed out when I couldn’t touch anymore, I stopped and waited on him. Once he caught up and we kept going deeper I started having problems with my snorkel. I could breathe in but it wasn’t letting me exhale. It was causing major problems and I was struggling with spitting water out of my mouth, readjusting my snorkel, treading water and at that point my 4 year old was wanting to hop on my back and hitch a ride (as she always does here and there while we snorkel). After a while, I had pretty much had enough of not being able to breath and handed my husband the camera and said “I’m headed back. I can’t do this. It’s too far, I’m having snorkel issues, I’m getting tired, I have Sakari on my back, it’s just too far to be taking her out there.” He took the camera and went on.

Now remember I have a new camera. I'm trying to get used to it. The buttons are along the entire right side of the camera. I'm right handed. So...I kept hitting the buttons turning on things when I didn't mean to. The settings kept getting switched and I had no clue what was going on. This snorkeling adventure would be one of those times. Somehow I managed to hit the "record" button on the camera and it was recording my "swim" or lack or being able to swim out to the reef. I think there was about 18 minutes of nothing but heavy breathing, legs, bathing suit, arms, hands, upside down video footage and fins. Ugh!

By the time hubby made it to the reef, it was still recording. He tried snapping pictures and he thought he was getting pictures of all the fish…instead he was just getting video. I’ll have to try to see if I can edit some of the b/s out of it so that you can get a look at the beginning of the reef area. I’m really sad I missed it and now wish I would have been able to make it out there. Below is a shorter edited version of his trip. Like I said, he recorded the entire trip and didn't even know it. The video gets beter toward the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All aboard was 5:30pm on the Star. We had told Andrea when we arrived that 3:30ish would be a good time for pick up since it was only a 20 minute ride and we wanted a little bit of time to spend at the port and take pictures.

I started packing things up and sent the hubby up to get me a cold Coke light. I managed to get everything washed off and packed and about 20 minutes or so had passed. Hmmm. Did he run off with a cute little tan Mexican Senorita? I decided to go investigate. I found him where we had gone to eat talking to a couple and he introduced me. She was a nurse so he immediately started talking about me and my schooling. She was extremely nice and very interesting. We shared stories and she enlightened me a little on being an ambulance nurse versus critical care flight nurse. I learned a lot that day and I really wished that we had found her hours before. I could have talked to her all day. I didn’t want to leave at this point. LOL She seems to know the owners really well. She owned the property next door to them, so she must come over there a lot. She works in the US in CA and does a lot of vacation. She was there this time for a month. Now that’s my kind of life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FINAL THOUGHTS:

So to wrap up my thoughts of Almaplena.

The good: It is a beautiful place; both the beach, water and the grounds there. We enjoyed our stay tremendously. I think this new AI resort is definitely worth visiting. It is the beautiful crystal clear blue Caribbean water. The staff was friendly. It did have a reef (I just can’t comment firsthand how good it is compared to other places I have experienced). The appetizers while we were waiting on our lunch to be prepared was extremely delicious and a nice touch. Nice facilities including a shower. Free wifi.

The semi-bad: A “bit” of a language barrier, which isn’t a make or break to us. The food for lunch-which is just a learning experience and we would know if we went back to look at a menu or ask for something different. The drinks came, but IMO just a little too slow for me. They weren’t bringing you a refill or asking you if you wanted a refill…you had to ask them. The reef a little too far out for my liking. Having to walk so far to catch the taxi instead of being picked up right outside the port. Another thing I forgot to mention was the flies up where we ate lunch at were aggravating. I know this is not something they can control and it’s the only time we experienced the flies while there. It’s not like they were swarming us or biting…just flying around and I kept swatting them away.

As for a comparison with Maya Chan. The staff at Maya Chan by far, hands down, the best customer service you will find. The staff is AWESOME, friendly, informative, helpful and interactive. They are the best! The food at Maya Chan, hands down some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. Every time I have chips and guacamole, I compare it to Maya Chan and it doesn’t even begin to compare. I think I could have lived off of that for a while…we’re talking breakfast, lunch and dinner good. Get the picture? The service…Maya Chan. They were always just bringing you food, appetizers, drinks…over and over. No need to ask for anything. Maya Chan offered so many things to do…kayaks, snorkeling tours, games, floating chairs (which they delivered your drinks right out to you in the water). It’s a very intimate place and you are assigned your own palapa and they were HUGE. Not a little “tree” palapa. It was like a small hut with your own chairs, table, hammock and bed. You can’t beat that!

The ONLY drawback at Maya Chan…the ugly brownish water. I know that people have said that it just depends on the day, weather, water conditions and so on but EVERY picture that anyone has ever posted online, TripAdvisor or on here has shown this dirty brownish water. Someone prove to me that the water can be the crystal blue clear water!! The other drawback is all the sea grass everywhere. They do a wonderful job of raking the beach and even clearing the water, but it is kind of “icky” to walk out in to the water and feel it between your feet. Also the beach is not that pretty compared to Almaplena. It’s just not that beautiful Caribbean “beach” you think or dream of when you say Caribbean. You know what I mean? Almaplena is that beach. It's beautiful. I would return. I would only change one thing and that's to look at the menu and order what I want.

No one can deny the joy my little had that day.

 

**Since it has been a few years since we went here, I'm pretty sure that the slow service we received was probably due to them being a new establishment. Others have reported they have really enjoyed this place after me and great service. I highly recommend Almaplena.