Holiday in paradise: Playa Marlin

Our family doesn’t celebrate birthdays, we like to celebrate birthday weeks! Feliz cumpleaños (Happy birthday) to Merri Beth for another trip around the sun and we’re in Mexico all week looking for the best beaches and snorkeling. Were here during the winter solstice near ancient Mayan cities, how awesome is that? We had to grind it out and do some grocery shopping before making it to the beach, but getting supplies is super important for a successful trip. And the beach was pretty amazing. This is our first full day of vacation in Mexico.

December 20th – A birthday at Playa Marlin

First thing on the agenda: Sleep. Yep, we slept the fuck in. It was so awesome. I have no idea what time anyone woke up, but it didn’t matter. We were all in our own bedrooms and we needed rest. I had COVID a week before the trip, and then Zander (my son) had the flu, a day before we left. Rest was muy importante, and these beds hug you and we embraced this gift.

Our AirBnB had a few breakfast supplies that the kids devoured. Luckily, I haven’t been eating a lot of breakfast lately, so I was content with a snack before our next move. Our groggy morning coupled with the bright sunshine was slowing us down, but we needed supplies. We did some research on the nearby grocery stores and made a list of items for snacks, hydration, and a few lunches and dinners. We like to stretch our dollars by cooking in for a few meals and making lunches (i.e. sandwiches/chips) to save money for adventurous stuff. We like to eat out too, but we balance it to maximize our experience.

We were told Cancun was somewhat “Americanized” but I didn’t expect that we’d end up shopping at Sam’s Club and Walmart while traveling abroad. It’s funny, because our most popular travel phrase, to settle our travel anxiety is this: “You’re just a Walmart away from anything you forgot.” Yep, best travel advice ever. And now that we’re in Mexico, it totally applies to our situation.

We navigated to the shopping location with ease and wound up grabbing some lunch at VIPs because you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach. We enjoyed our meal at the “Mexican Denny’s” (no disrespect, just a description for comparison). We learned how to use Google translate to convert our place mat menus into English. Burgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwich, and some amazing local dishes were ordered and inhaled. We actually did have some leftovers to take home. They disappeared quickly.

Next, we buckled up for a trip to Sam’s Club. Holy shit it was just like home. You walk in and it’s big screen TV’s, appliances, tires, and the jewelry hustlers. We got a cart and made a beeline to the food section. Yes, they have food samples too. Yummy. However, the Vespa scooters for sales caught my attention like, what?

Shopping on vacation is the worst fucking thing. Nobody wants to do it, nobody knows what they want, and then we can’t agree on any shit. Red sauce or white sauce? It’s super frustrating. We just want to have fun, but we have to bite this bullet and struggle through an unknown store layout with prices in pesos and we’re executing our shopping list like a pro.

We made it back to our place and put the groceries away. Then the kids were demanding beach time. We can see the water from our condo and it’s beautiful. We hopped in the car and ventured to Playa Marlin. Holy smokes, this place was amazing.

Our first pass to get to Playa Marlin failed to get a parking spot, so we had to sit in some light traffic to turn-around (Returndo) before we approached again with more eagle eyes for a parking space. Score, someone was leaving, we swooped in, and exited the car and proceeded directly to the playa. The flip flops came off half way down the ramp to the beach. It was like walking on clouds as the sand sifted between our toes.

The kids were excited to get in the water–which was warmer than the air. It was a little later in the afternoon and the sun was setting to the west while the kids played in the surf. There was a stiff breeze making it borderline chilly on the beach. It was mostly warm though because it’s cold back home. We headed back to the car, but found our way to a grocery store inside a mall on somewhat of a whim. MB wanted bubbles to celebrate her birthday.

After exploring the wine section, the kids found the bakery and stocked up on pastries for breakfast back at our place. We left the mall, hopped in the car heading back to our AirBnB. We enjoyed the sights at night–bright lights and all of the hustle & bustle in the hotel zone. There is a show called Coco Bongo featuring The Mask (remember that Jim Carrey movie, Smokin!) is a big attraction out here in Cancun. I actually remember seeing an ad for it at the airport (good marketing).

Dinner time was rolling around and I thought it would be fun to grab some takeout from the Italian restaurant near our place called Luna Rossa. We decided to do take out so that folks could shower and get ready for the evening. The spread was something like Ceasar salad, calamari, penne with Salmon, three stone-cooked pizzas, and a few birthday desserts (chocolate mousse and Tiramisu). The food was really good and not just because we were hungry from the day, bonus score is that now we have leftovers!

We had a pretty full day and people started crashing left and right like we were here partying on spring break on the sixth round of shots. I bet some of you are thinking, this doesn’t sound like vacation at all. But, we’re out of our house, in a tropical place, and we kind of like to blend in when we can. I think that’s gonna be hard to do here, but at least the barrio is nice.

And point in case, I’m sitting here and writing this with the sliding glass door open. There is a nice breeze coming in and I’m in shorts and a tank top with a perfect night temp. Oh, and Sons of Paradise, Streetwalker is playing in the background. Pura vida!

Side bar | True story–When we were walking back from Luna Rossa, a short 6-minute walk from our place, something caught the corner of my eye. I thought I saw a football being thrown my way, from some kids on the street. Nope. It was a coconut trying to whack me in the head and take me out. Crisis averted, but too close to call.