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So we find ourselves sin Playa Del Carmen, an hour south of Cancun. The town stretches for a mile or two from the shore, but there is little to see in the rest of it and about twelve blocks of the coastline seems to be dedicated specifically to tourists. The bus drops us off somewhere a few blocks from the beach and we head for the hotel mentioned in the Lonely Planet, the bible of all travelers. It has never steered us wrong. Though many prices have changed since the one we have was published (a few years before), the maps and information and recommendations are invaluable.
The Hotel Barrio Latino, a few blocks from the beach is a little place of a little more than two dozen rooms and we find ourselves in 25. Designed in Mexican adobe style, with personal decorative painting in the rooms and our own room a warm sunrise yellow. The beds are clean and comfortable, the balcony has a hammock and we have a little refrigerator to chill our juice and fruits. The bathroom is impeccably clean and the whole place feel warm and homey, just the way we like it.
We go for a walk to the main promenade, a block from the beach. A sprawling chain of pedestrian only blocks and not much different than the Santa Monica promenade we looked around for a place to go snorkeling the next day. Sarongs and little Mexican figurines and butterflies and art and kitsch and tequila and cigars and silver and restaurants and everything for sale. That is the only difference between here and the promenade in Santa Monica- it’s longer and all in Mexican. Otherwise…
We find a place where we sign up to go snorkeling the next day and then go find some ceviche. It’s ok. Mediocre at best and we decide we simply aren’t going to find anything better than what we had at that upstairs restaurant on the edge of the park in Palenque. Delicious. We have a couple of margaritas and wander around a while longer before settling on a place for dinner. Another margarita and we head back to our hotel where we collapse into bed.
The next day we rise, have breakfast of mangos and papaya and banana and limes and, after a leisurely morning, head to the dive place where we’ll get a boat for snorkeling.
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