March 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm #9521
12/6/16 Tues. We arrived into Cancun on time a little before 11:30 AM. It takes about 2 ½ hours actual flying time. One thing that is different from the last time we were there two years ago (we had to cancel last year because of Bob’s bad hip) was that now Cancun and the Riviera Maya is on Eastern time, the same as Atlanta, instead of Central (Alabama time). We went through Customs and Immigration and found our one checked bag quickly. Amstar Transportation (for Apple Vacations) was right outside and got underway fairly quickly. They had to drop off only one other couple at the Barcelo Palace, so we got to see what it looked like, because when we were there years ago we stayed on two of the other four sides. Amstar took us right up to the Grand Palladium Kantenah lobby at about 2 PM (took about 1 ½ hours to get there). Amazingly our room was ready right away and we got exactly what we asked for in our email to the resort one week ago-Building 51 (I’d asked for 51 or 50), the closest Jr. Suite (which we’d paid for) to the beach with 2 double beds, non-smoking, and ground floor. We gave the desk attendant $10 as a thank-you. A bell boy took us in a golf cart to our room right away, along with our luggage (Room 5102). He showed us how to work the a/c and the safe.
We decided we’d better go have lunch before unpacking as it was getting late. Les had given up the idea of getting a swim in the first day as she was thinking it got dark about 4-4:30 PM. She realized later that that was because the last time they were on Central time, not Eastern. It’s actually after 5:30 PM before it gets dark, but she didn’t realize that until later. We took the long wooden walkway to the Colonial pool area, where El Gran Azul, the outdoor lunch buffet was. We were still trying to adjust to the Mexico heat and high dew point so we decided we’d go on to the Colonial indoor buffet, La Hacienda, for a late lunch. It was pretty good. We then started walking out to the Kantenah beach to see where we wanted to be in the morning. We sat down to rest at the El Gran Azul outdoor buffet because we’re still adjusting to the Mexico heat, plus Les’s back is really bothering her. Then we walked on down to the far end of the Kantenah beach near the bar there (La Jarra beach bar). We sat down in a couple of lounge chairs, and Bob got us drinks. This is also where the Royal Suites beach area is. Here is where Les discovered it did not get dark until 5:30 PM or later because of the time change, and she could have swam if she’s realized that. After this we went back to the room and did nothing else (not eating supper tonight since we had such a late lunch). Keep in mind that if you use a sound machine that there is only one plug-in in the entire bedroom and one in the bathroom.
12/7 Wed. Bob took our stuff out to the Kantenah beach for the 1st time this AM at 7:15, and we went out a little after 9 AM. We sat there about ½ hr. and then went out to snorkel. There were some pretty fish, but we saw only dead coral, which was really disappointing. Les was thinking the Palladium was 2nd after Barcelo and better than CRT on having some living coral but not anymore! We are sitting not too far from the La Jarra beach bar at the end of the Kantenah beach. We are on a rise up from the beach under a palapa. We stayed out swimming and snorkeling, looking for living coral, about 40 minutes. We met a couple of nice German ladies out in the water. Then there was a nice cool breeze after we came out It is sandy going out into the water a little north of our chairs but before it gets over your head, there is dead coral with some holes that you have to be careful of. Later Les swam out way past the dead coral out to where the water looked more turquoise. She had seen no-one go out that far. It finally got over her head and seemed to be 10’ or more deep-it was also clearer out here, but she saw no living coral! The other two times we were here, she had not swam out this far. Up where the dead coral was it was not even as clear as at Gulf Shores a couple of times. It took Les about 20 minutes to make her round trip swim. She saw the parasailing boat farther out but also a couple of jet skiis from just north of the Palladium. This kind of scared her because the swells were large enough that the jet skiis might not have been able to see her, and a lady we knew in South Carolina got killed this way in the Caribbean years ago-scary! Bob was in the water when she got back and not too happy that she went out that far. We then spotted a silver vendor and called him over. We got some really good deals for both of us.
We then walked back to our room and left most of our beach stuff and put the silver in the safe. We then caught a golf cart up to the Kantenah lobby and walked around to La Hacienda (the indoor a/c buffet closer to and kind of behind the Colonial lobby). Later we walked back to the huge main pool centered right behind the El Gran Azul outdoor lunch buffet. We sat at the bar at El Gran Azul for awhile and got to know Daniel, a very good and nice bartender/waiter. After awhile we went into the pool and swam about 20 minutes, which makes 1 hr. 20 minutes total swimming for Les today. The pool is really nice and also has a swim-up bar with seats in the water and in another part lounge chairs built right into the water. It is huge and has several different arms (parts). We stayed here until almost dark, which is around 5:30 PM. Because we had kind of a late lunch again, we did not go out for supper but just stayed in our room the rest of the evening.
12/8 Thurs. Bob went out early and saved the same chairs again, and we got out to the beach about 9:30 AM. We were swimming by 10 AM for 45 minutes. After swimming we sat and enjoyed the strong breeze. Les was waiting on her silver vendor (she had told him she was interested in some other pieces and would bring more money today), but he never showed. Instead a different vendor showed up, and she got the additional pieces she wanted. Then we left the beach, dropped one of our bags and the silver off at the room and went to La Hacienda for lunch again.
We then stopped at the Kentenah lobby bar after running into Ken, a Canadian businessman from Welland that we had met at the pool bar yesterday. We also met a nice Canadian couple from Vancouver at the pool bar yesterday. Ken and his wife do their own thing during the day. He sits at the bars and chats with people, and she lays out on the beach and reads-don’t know if she goes in the sea much. Bob and I kind of do that also-he likes to chat more than me, and I like to read, but we stay together. Then they meet up to go eat and in the evening. We skipped the pool and pool bar today, and went back to the room. Tonight we went to the Mexican ala carte restaurant, La Adelita off the Colonial lobby. It is quite a long walk from our room up to the lobby and restaurants (and neither one of us needs to walk long distances (our backs) so we usually call and ask how soon a golf cart would be coming by our area. We waited until about 7:30 PM-big mistake! Les knew this from reading the forums, but we did it anyway and had about a 20 minute wait. It’s best to get to any of the ala cartes by 6 or 6:30 PM to avoid a wait. Bob had grilled beef, and Les had chicken frajitas. Les’s was good, but Bob said his beef was tough. Les had a chocolate cake for dessert that was delicious. Then we went back to the room.
12/9 Fri. We got up at 7 AM and went to the Tikal buffet off the Kentenah lobby for a light breakfast before walking out to the highway and catching a colectivo for Tulum. The Palladium is the 2nd closest resort to the highway, after CRT. We got off in Tulum pueblo, paying about $4 for both of us for the collective. We caught a taxi to La Luna Beach Club for $6 and got set up with a beach bed with umbrella and a super comfortable wood beach chair. The waves looked about 2’-3’ with an occasional larger one. We walked out pretty easily except for a few holes we stepped in. The waves were pretty strong slamming into us, but once we got into deeper water, it was great swimming in the swells. Les ended up swimming 3 times for a total of 1 ½ hrs. The last time she went in she went in she was alone and went beyond some dead coral to sand quite a ways out. We shared an order of chicken nachos for about $6. Bob had 4 beers and Les 1 margarita and 2 Coke Lights. We caught a taxi back to Tulum pueblo for $5 and a colectivo back to the resort for $4 for both of us again. We had such a good time we may go to Tulum 3 times instead of going to Akumal, Playa del Carmen, or anywhere else.
Tonight we went to El Dorado, the ala carte steakhouse off the Colonial lobby. Les had filet mignon, which was exactly as she wanted it – well done and dry. Bob’s ribeye was terrible – grisly and fatty. Les walked out in the corridor and looked at the vendors’ wares. At a jewelry vendor she saw a beautiful silver/malachite necklace that the vendor started out asking $69 for. She ended up getting it for $50-just beautiful! Then we caught a cart to the Kentenah lobby and went into the non-smoking Hemingway bar, with the library in it. The same piano player, Horatio, that was there the other 2 times we were at the Palladium, was still here and played Bryan Adams for Les again. We met the nice couple from near Vancouver in here again. We stayed here for a few drinks. It started raining really hard, and we had to wait quite awhile before we caught a ride back to our room. Going to Tulum today just made Les’s trip!
12/10 Sat. One think that has been bad here this trip has been no cable TV at all the 1st night and then very snowy cable Wed., Thurs., and part of Fri. PM until they finally got it fixed last night. This morning Bob had to find us a different place on the beach because some outfit is filming a fitness video and has the best part of the Kentenah beach roped off and the loungers all moved out-ridiculous! Another couple told us it was like that all of yesterday also. We got a swim in (Les – 40 min.) and had a drink, and then it started raining again. We sheltered under the palapa for awhile until it started pouring. There was hardly anyone on the beach, and the film crew had left. We walked back to the room in the rain since the forecast had called for a good chance of rain again after a short gap. We went ahead and showered and walked on the boardwalk to the outdoor Gran Azul buffet for lunch, which would have been less walking than catching a cart to either of the lobbies and then walking clear back to it, since it is by the pool, which is next to the beach. It was ok but not as good as the Tikal buffet off the Colonial lobby. Later we walked around and saw the secret Kentenah pool, El Rinconcito-not very big. The forecast called for rain the rest of the day, but it never rained anymore. We should have left our swimsuits on instead of showering and getting dressed. We hung around the Kentenah lobby and then took a tour in a golf cart, meeting another nice couple. Then we went back to the room about 4:30 PM since it was clouding up again. We didn’t go out for supper.
12/11 Sun. This morning we went to the Tikal buffet again for breakfast and then walked out to the road to catch a colectivo to Tulum again. We had to wait a lot longer than 2 days ago, but finally one came. We got dropped off in downtown Tulum again and got a taxi out to La Luna Beach Club for $5 this time. The security person recognized us from the last time. After we got set up with a beach bed and chair again, we waited about ½ hr. to go in because the waves looked really rough today unlike 2 days ago when the waves were larger than at the resort but still good for swimming. They were really crashing, and we hoped they would calm down, but they didn’t. We finally went in any way through the ones in shallow water, getting smacked several times. Out deeper, though, where you could dive under them, they were super powerful also with a lot of outward undertow, whereas the other day the pull was only down beach. Also, the waves were continuous-one right after the other. We stayed in only about 15 minutes, knowing they were dangerous, making it safely out. We still stayed here longer today even though the waves never calmed down, and we did not go in again. We shared a nice lunch in the restaurant of Cajun potatoes with Jalapeño dip. We again caught a taxi back to Tulum pueblo for $5 and a colectivo back to the resort. After we arrived back to the Palladium by colectivo, we just stayed up front in the Colonial lobby, getting a few drinks and having supper at the La Hacienda buffet. Lunch there is better, except for the delicious chocolates they had tonight.
12/12 Mon. We spent almost all day on the beach today, meeting 2 nice couples from Canada. Les swam almost an hour today at two different times. The water wasn’t nearly as clean-looking as at Tulum and was calm earlier and then got rougher as the wind kicked up. The other day we saw some stingrays in shallow water here. It was 4 PM before we got back to the room. After about an hour getting cleaned up and ready, we caught a shuttle to the White Sands lobby for the Ribs & More ala carte. Ribs & More probably had the best salad bar, and the4 chicken fingers starter was great, whereas the chicken main course was so-so. We caught a shuttle back to the Kantenah lobby and had a few drinks at the Hemingway bar.
12/13 Tues. We arrived at the beach about 9:45 AM this morning because there had already been a quick shower. We stayed on the beach until about 1:30 PM with it being mostly cloudy with a nice strong breeze. Les had a 30 min. swim with some waves and large swells washing over her if she swam on her back. We went back to the room and got cleaned up for lunch at La Hacienda about 2:15 PM. Then we sat at the Gran Azul outdoor buffet and had a few drinks while it poured rain for quite awhile. Then we did the long walk to the front of the lobby and caught a shuttle to our villa about 5:15 PM. We stayed in tonight and ordered room service. It is free now and not bad but not as good as at CRT.
12/14 Wed. We skipped breakfast today to get to Tulum earlier, but we still ended up not getting there until 10:45 AM The waves were really crashing-both in close and farther out and were pretty much continuous. We waited about ½ hr. before going in. We made it out past the waves breaking close in and then had fun and thrills with the ones breaking farther out. We went up on some and dove under others. Les got sent to the bottom with one, as did Bob. Even when you dove under the larger ones, you often got thrown back. There was also quite a lot of outward pull. We caught a taxi back to downtown Tulum for $5 and then caught a colectivo back to the hotel. After we got back to the hotel we checked on our pick-up time tomorrow with Apple. It was a guy this time, which was good because we did not like Diana, the Apple rep. that was there before. It was 10:55 AM, the same as before. We then had about 3 drinks each at the Kantenah lobby bar. We then went back to the room, showered, and got ready. There was a lot of seaweed at Tulum today, as there was yesterday at our resort. It took forever for Les to wash all the seaweed out of her swimsuit. Then she got the majority of her packing done. Tomorrow we won’t go out on the beach so we can sleep in a little and then finish packing. We went to La Adelita ala carte again. Bob had some kind of steak, and Les had an enchilada with both red and green sauces. This was his best beef here except for the beef tips at the buffet, and Les enjoyed her enchilada except it could have been hotter in temperature. Les’s chocolate cake and coffee with Bailey’s was great-yea!
12/15 Thurs. We got up before 7:30 AM, finished packing, and called to have our luggage and us taken to the lobby. Then we went to breakfast at the Tikal buffet about 9 AM. We were in the Kantenah lobby by 10 AM to wait for our transportation to the airport. Everything went smoothly including our flight back to Atlanta. We had to go through Customs and Immigration and then catch a ride from the International to the Domestic side. We had a great trip!
March 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm #9525
March 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm #9642
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