Brian Loftus

Joined April 2019
  • Day7

    Thursday, April 18th in Playa

    April 18 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    More beach/pool time today.... we are on vacation after all. The day started as usual, breakfast and workout. We got to the pool around noon. So kind of a late start.

    Around 3 PM we headed to Fogon for lunch. This was on the same road as our hotel, but inland about 5 blocks (between 25th and 30th). I had read good things about Fogon's authentic tacos. It lived up to the hype. We tried the tacos al carbon, chorizo, and arrachera. Definitely a place to come back to. We especially like the arrachera and chorizo tacos. Their margaritas were huge, and good. The salsas that they provided were extremly HOT! A great lunch spot (or dinner).

    Then we got cleaned up and headed out to see the Cirque du Soleil show "Joya". We had cocktails at a bar/restaurant just outside of the theatre. Lisa had another Mexcal based cocktail (similar to a margarita) that was delicious. The show was spectacular - in line with the other Cirque du Soleil shows we've seen.
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  • Day6

    Wednesday, April 17th in Playa

    April 17 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Today, back to relaxation mode. We actually needed to recover a little bit from the excursion the previous day. Of course, we hit the gym after breakfast. But other than that, more lounging, reading, napping by the pool. For dinner, we went to a very good restaurant, La Perla Pixan and Mezcal Store. They had a very good Mezcal Margarita (Mezcalita). This restaurant would be on our list of places to return to for our next trip to Playa!Read more

  • Day5

    Tuesday, April 16th, Chichen Itza

    April 16 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    Today, we took an excursion to see some of the sites within the Yucatan peninsula. First up was Chichen Itza. I alsways throught of Chichen Itza as just the Mayan pyramid. However, it was an entire city complex. We took a tour that left early in the morning (around 7 AM). It was about a two ride from Playa. The tour guide gave us a lot of information about the site, and the Mayan culture, although he was a bit hard to understand as he kept weaving back and forth between Spanish and English. Turns out the Mayans were very obsessed with time. With the Mayan calendar, they believed they could predict what would happen in someone's life based upon the day they were born. Many of the buildings were oriented based upon celestial evaents (solstice, equinox, and such). The main pyramid at Chichen Itza is unique not because of its size (it is actually small for a Mayan temple) but because it has a complete facade on all four sides. There are 91 steps to the top on each side (91x4 plus the temple at the top = 365).

    There was also a large stadium/field complex just next to the temple.. This was for a game that they would play, the object of whicih was to place a ball through a hoop (similar I guess to basketball). The overall complex was incredibly impressive. It is hard to conceive the effort it must have taken to build these structures at the time.

    It turns out that the Mayans were not centrally organized (like the Egyptians or Romans) but had many independent factions (like the Greeks). There were over twentry different Mayan languages, so different factions could potentially not speak to each other.
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  • Day5

    Tuesday, April 16th, Ek Balam

    April 16 in Mexico ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    The excursion wrapped up with a visit to Ek Balam, another ancient Mayan site. Apparently, Ek Balam was recently discovered and is still being excavated/restored. We were actually allowed to walk on the ruins at Ek Balam, which was unique. The main temple was a good deal larger than at Chichen Itza. At the top, you were able to have a good view of the overall site. We also saw where there were other structures at the site not yet excavated. It was amazing the different. I am not sure how people recognized there was a building to be found, as they just looked like a large pile of rocks with trees and plants growing over it. Just a rocky mound!

    Not too much new information to be learned here, but more impressive structures and it was neat to climb stairs that the Mayans climbed a thousand years ago.
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  • Day4

    Monday, April 15 in Playa Del Carmen

    April 15 in Mexico ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

    Another relaxing day in Playa. We slept in and had breakfast in Pelicanos again. We hit the hotel gym for a very hard workout. Now time to hit the pool and relax, read, sleep, whatever....

    The day is mostly overcast. The weather app called for rain, but so far nothing.

    The resort had a Mezcal tasting that Lisa and I thought would be irresponsible for us to skip. So we learned a little bit about Tequila's older brother, Mezcal. Who knew there were over 140 different types of agave (although not all are good for making spirits)? And who knew that some of these plants need to live to be 25-30 years old to actually make Mezcal? While the education was helpful, neither Lisa nor I were ready to splurge on a bottle after the tasting. Off to dinner...

    For dinner, we tried a local restaurant, Los Aguachiles. This was also recommended by our driver. Unfortunately, this restaurant was nothing special. Lisa had a shrimp taco and I had dynamite shrimp (which were very similar to Bang Bang Shrimp). Can't win them all!!! After dinner, we strolled along 5th Avenue some more. Lisa found some silver earrings with the Aztec calendar, and I bought two t-shirts. Then we picked up a coffee beverage and headed back to the hotel. We are taking a tour tomorrow to Chitzen Itza and other local attractions. Bus leaves at 7:00 so we can't stay up too late.
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  • Day3

    Sunday, April 14 in Playa Del Carmen

    April 14 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    Another day of unwinding in Playa. Lisa and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant Pelicanos. I had a delicious Huevos en Salsa de Guajillo. We got in our workout and then relaxed, read, and slept in a cabana overlooking the beach. The weather was a bit overcast, so not a great beach day, but probably for the best as we don't need to get crushed with too much sunlight.

    We came back to hotel room and caught the end of the Masters tournament (Go Tiger).

    We had dinner in the same restaurant, Pelicanos. Lisa had a delicious Salmon Tostada appetizer. We both had a Tequila Grouper entree.. Very good, but not quite up to par with the dinner at La Parilla the night before.

    After dinner, we strolled up to 5th Avendue to grab a coffee beverage at Starbucks and watch the people. It started raining, so we got a bit wet on our walk back to the hotel.. Sunday night was all about the season premier of Game of Thrones final season.
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  • Day2

    Saturday, April 13, Playa Del Carmen

    April 13 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Our first full day in Playa. We ate breakfast at the all-inclusive buffet, Spice. It was good (what you expect from a hotel buffet breakfast). Then we hit the hotel gym for a workout - very nice gym for a hotel. They have some interesting equipment including suspension trainers and pilates reformers (may need to sign up for a class sometime this week).

    We relaxed on the beach most of the day under a cabana. These weren't hard to get on the beach as most people were congregated at the pool for the college frat-like atmosphere.

    For dinner, we ate at La Parilla just up the road from the hotel. This restaurant was recommended by the driver from the airport. The food was fantastic. I had a very good margarita (made with fresh lime juice - no mix, yay). I had a tortilla soup starter that was fantastic (Lisa had a Lime soup that was also very good). For an entree, I had their Cochinita Pilbil which was out of this world. I'll have dreams about the Pibil!!!
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  • Day1

    Hilton Playa Del Carmen

    April 12 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Very pleased with the hotel. The room is very nice. Nice large room, large bathroom. The hotel itself is also very nice. There are many restaurants onsite (Marie Marie, Pelicanos, Asiana, Spice) that we can dine at for free as part of the all-inclusive package. Plus many other places to get snacks and drinks. Early impressions are that the food is good, but not great. We'll probably take advantage of the free breakfasts, lucnhes, snacks, etc... but dine out on several nights to get some of the local cuisine.

    The beach has cabanas that we can use (first come, first serve). The beach itself is not great. Pretty narrow. The water is rough, so not seeing many people actually getting into the water. The pool is a bit rowdy (all-inclusive crowd). It will be interesting to see if the environment is different Monday - Friday as opposed to the weekend. However, Lisa and I aren't big water people to begin with, and we've found the beach cabanas easy to get as most of the people are drawn to the pool party.

    The hotel staff is incredibly nice and helpful (similar to our experience at the Hilton resort in Cabo).
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