After good night of sleep, we were finally refreshed and ready to explore the resort and town of Puerto Aventuras. We first went to the all you can eat buffet on the resort grounds and ate before our day of fun and sun began. The buffet offers a large selection of typical breakfast food – eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, etc. If you want to try something different you might taste some cooked bananas. I took a look at them and wasn’t adventurous enough…but who knows, maybe they are good.
There is an omelette bar and you can get them cooked exactly the way you like. Pick out your ingredients, put them on a small plate and hand it to the chef. Get a bigger plate ready so the chef will have a place to put it when it is done. Anyway, they do an awesome job on the omelettes, so be sure to give that a try.
There are many drink choices, orange juice, grapefruit juice…even watermelon juice! They do have water available, but I’m not sure if it is a good idea to drink water in Mexico unless it is bottled. Why take the risk? Skip the water so Montezuma’s Revenge won’t ruin your vacation.
Take advantage of the coffee bar and order a cappuccino (see picture above). We didn’t find out about these until our second day – so if you’re a coffee freak, hopefully this will be good news for you.
After breakfast, it was time to head to the beach…only a few footsteps away. It had been a long time seen either of us had snorkeled, so that was our first interest. We brought our own equipment (which I highly recommend) so we didn’t need to go through the hassle of checking snorkel gear out from the hotel. If you don’t bring your own snorkel gear, you will get basic gear…nothing too professional.
If you plan to do a lot of snorkeling, I’d spend the $200 or so and at least buy a good mask and snorkel. You should also bring some water shoes or boots as the beach near the Catalonia Riviera Maya is a bit rocky in some areas.
The water was nice and warm, but initially I could tell it wasn’t going to be the best snorkeling as visibility wasn’t that great. It wasn’t bad, but definitely didn’t compare to Cozumel. There is a lagoon for snorkeling, kayaking and swimming. We headed that way to check it out. Again, the visibility was ok. If you swim close to the reef you’ll see the most fish.
The best place we found for fish was on either side of the bridge that seperates the ocean from the lagoon. On the ocean side, there is a corner that has some underwater tubes and there are tons of fish that hang out there. Quite a few hung out on the other side as well. Keep your eyes open for people kayaking – they may not see you and bonk you in the head.
I brought my underwater camera and was looking forward to taking a few pictures. I tried snapping some shots but the camera wasn’t responding. I could hear a constant humming sound coming from the camera. On closer inspection, I could see water inside the camera! Bummer! My camera and film was destroyed…all thanks to me not making sure my carry on luggage was taken care of properly on the trip to the hotel. Are you making a mental note of this?
So anyway, the snorkeling is so-so compared to other places in Mexico, but good enough to get a snorkeling fix before you go on a higher quality excursion. I’ll mention later on that a good place to go snorkeling is Akumal. Since we had our own gear, we paid $10 each for a guy to take us where we could see quite a few fish and a couple of sea turtles. More on this later…
Before we went snorkeling, we found two beach chairs under palapa and quickly staked our claim. If you want a shady spot, grab one of these spots early so you won’t be forced to lay in the scorching sun all day. After snorkeling, we relaxed and read for a bit and I fetched us some food from the snack bar. You can bring food outside as long as you use their paper plates.
After awhile, I decided to give kayaking a try. It was quite confusing what I needed to do to “check out” a kayak, but I finally figured it out. I thought the guy told me I needed some kind of release that I needed to get from the front desk. In reality, you get this liability release in the hut right behind him (where you get your towels). After a trip to my room and some confusion at the front desk I finally went back and figured out I need to go where they hand out towels to get the release. Finally…the kayak was mine!
I took a one man kayak out and thought it was fun right away. They are easy to ride on and a bit addictive as well. If you get out far enough and there are some waves you can try kayak surfing. Just watch out for snorkelers so you don’t massacre anyone! I didn’t take my kayak out too terribly far, just to the edge of the coastline.
Anyway, I definitely recommend trying out the kayak. If the water is too rough you may have to kayak in the lagoon. Hopefully you won’t have to as it’s a lot more fun in the main cove area. We didn’t try the two person kayak, but I did overhear that they are harder to control.
Oh, I forgot to say – be sure to wear sunscreen! We used SPF 45 sunblock on a cloudy day and still got burned. I don’t even want to think about how badly we might have been burned without sunblock. Environmentalists prefer that if you use sunscreen, use one that is biodegradable so you won’t harm the coral and other marine life. I recommend this but also one other step. Wear a white, long sleeve shirt. Sure, you might not look as cool as the other people on the beach, but you will thank me later for this advice. If you do want some sun, then alternate and put the shirt on every now and then. Or, don’t do anything and get third degree burns all over your body. 😉