After playing around on the beach, snorkeling and kayaking, we decided to check out the main area out in town which has been rumored to have dolphins and manatees. From the Catalonia Riviera Maya the “dolphin town” as I like to call it is a short walk away – probably ten minutes or less.
Head out of the hotel and start walking left and the road will take you straight to town. When we got into town we indeed did find out that there are many dolphins and a few manatees in town. There’s even an aquarium you can visit. The dolphins were very playful and gave us a show when we arrived. Here’s a little video clip of of the dolphins in Puerto Aventuras:
There are quite a few shops and restaurants in town, but don’t expect to cool off if you go shopping. As far as I could tell, none of the shops are air conditioned and many leave the lights off to help keep things cool (or perhaps save on the electric bill). Some of the shops only take cash, so this is something to keep in mind. If you see something you want to buy remember that it is very common to bargain with the store and get them to go down on the price. Also remember that you are likely to find the same item being sold in different places while you are on your trip, so maybe take a mental note and do your buying before you leave.
After looking in a few shops we decided to have a couple of beers and some chips and salsa. Pretty much all of the restaurants have outdoor seating and have excellent specials. One place had a steak and lobster dinner for only $10! We were pleasantly surprised to find that it was happy hour – which meant 2 for 1 beers. The chips and salsa were very good..and they had this super powerful habanero dip to go with it (use with caution…very hot).
Dogs and cats are welcome at restaurants, so don’t be surprised to see a cat or dog walking near your table when you eat. They seem to have a bit of an attitude though…maybe because they get so much attention from the tourists…or because they are stray. Who knows. Anyway, it’s kinda cool.
After or beer, chips and salsa, we checked out the manatees swimming near the aquarium. They were very cool… for some reason I have this obsession with these flabby sea cows. How can one not love them? Here you can swim with the manatees if you don’t feel like hangin’ with the dolphins. Here’s a video clip of the manatees:
After the manatees, we started to head back to the hotel, but noticed an interesting character talking to some tourists on a golf cart. He gave them a free margarita coupon for his restaurant down the road, Gringo Dave’s. We decided to get in on the action and get a couple of drink coupons ourselves. Free drinks…what’s the catch you ask? Well, there is no catch really…but they do hope that you will decide to eat something with your free drink. We had other plans, so we gave a good tip so we wouldn’t be a couple of leeches.
You may see this guy driving around between your resort an the main town area of Puerto Aventuras. He’ll probably give you a ride into town on his golf cart if you are nice enough to try one of his drinks. One time we saw him with about six people on his cart…too bad I didn’t have my camera ready for that shot. So, if you see Gringo Dave and are headed into town, wave him down and start your journey into town the right way. Drunk.
Bookmark this site and stay tuned for my next installment. If you have any questions on Puerto Aventuras or other areas in the Yucatan, email me and I’ll try my best to answer your questions.