THEY JUST KEEP COMING Canadians love Playa del Carmen

About Cozumel, Mexico

THEY JUST KEEP COMING Canadians love Playa del Carmen

The Playacar Palace has envied real estate in Playa del Carmen. To the right, the famous shopping street 5th Avenue, with hundreds of stores and restaurants, turn to the left and walk the upscale residential neighbourhood of Playacar, and on the leafy street in between, a small Mayan ruin in a little park. But the best, their very best, asset is the stunning beach in front of the resort.

Choose the ocean for a swim, or laze in the pool that is built right on the sand. Lots of guests just lie in their beach chair and do nothing more strenuous than watch the ferries sail in and out sounding their horns as they sail.
I’ve always wanted to stay here, and this weekend we did. It didn’t disappoint.
It is just 201 rooms, each with a double whirlpool tub. The rooms, in fact the entire resort, reminds me of Greece - cool shades of white dominate, leaving an impression of quiet elegance. In the intimate lobby lounge there is always a table of card players. And, on a nearby table tea, coffee and cookies are waiting … reminding me a lot of Europe.
There are three restaurants and a buffet all with a view looking out on the ocean. Our favourite was the Italian with Enrique playing the piano, and yes, he takes requests. Omar was our waiter, and it was entirely a pleasure to have him serve us. He and his family moved here because, “It is a safe place to bring up my family.”
‘Safe’ is what I am here to find out about. I know the shootings in the Blue Parrot nightclub have brought lots of questions from your clients.
A couple from St. Louis was sitting enjoying the park on 5th Avenue when we stopped.
They’ve been coming to Playa for five years, and always stay in the Tukcan Hotel.
“There are lots of Canadians in our hotel,” said Mandy. “None of us talked of being scared because of the shootings in the Blue Parrot. We chat about the best restaurants to visit, the best tours to take, and how sad it is to be leaving.”
Tara from New Brunswick is at the Playacar Palace with her parents this trip. “ I had a couple of fleeting concerns when the news of the shooting broke, but after I read a bit about it, I was fine. I’ve been here five times and know the area, so I’m comfortable. My friends who have never been to Mexico are the ones who were worried about my trip.”
Mike and Shana from Innisfill Beach weren’t worried at all about the shootings. “I have a friend on a police force in Ontario” they explain it to me. “The owner of the bar allegdly wasn’t paying fees to the Cartel, and they made an example of him. “
Over and over Canadians told me they felt as safe as at home. They reminded me of the shooting in the Fort Lauderdale Airport recently. They talked of the murders in Chicago, the drug problems in Toronto. I have to admit that a man was shot to death over a drug deal two blocks from our home.
Mostly my questions were met by puzzlement. The people I met were not new to Playa, they come back and keep coming back, and some of them are buying the condos going up in the area. They feel perfectly safe, and think the people at home that are nervous are stupid.
I did love the response I got from the owner of a luggage store on 5th Avenue. “ Nothing to worry - they with bad people. Good people with good people.” Made sense to me.
Playa, when I first arrived more than 20 years ago had already grown from the little fishing village described in the guidebooks, with a lovely beach and passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and a world-famous scuba diving destination.
Now in 2017 it is the fastest growing city on the continent. Luxury condos have arrived and north of Playa - so has Sam’s Club, Costco, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.
When I first arrived the road from the airport was two lanes, now it ranges from four to seven in places.
The Playacar Palace is built on the land that the Continental Plaza once occupied, and what a magnificent improvement.
Yes, it is one of the Palace’s smallest resorts, but has a kid’s club that both kids and parents like, and a very nice spa. Their fitness program was amazing too. For your clients who don’t want to be isolated this is a perfect choice. It had an interesting mix of seniors and young families.
From my balcony at the Playacar Palace, we were happy to be watching the ferries sail in and out. The difference today is that there are three ferry companies servicing the island, and a new two-story waiting and administration area. Still the same are the souvenir stores lining the street down to the ferries.
Drugs are not a problem in Playa del Carmen I was told, “ It’s the tourists that use them.”

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