Weekend on Cozumel, and 'Taste of Playa' del Carmen

Last year we went, for the first time, to the Taste of Playa event held in Playa del Carmen.   I've looked back and can't believe I didn't write about it???!!!!!

Anyway The event has been happening since 2009,  here's their webpage.

So we went last year with a group of friends, some of whom had been the year prior, and at their recommendation we purchased VIP tickets.

We again purchased VIP tickets for this year.   VIP tickets allow you in an hour earlier than the General Public, it affords you a reserved area with tables and chairs (in the General Public area there are only a few scattered high tables at which you can stand, if you can get near them).

Last year we stayed for 3 nights in Playa del Carmen, this year we decided to go first and spend 2 nights on Cozumel, get the ferry to Playa the morning of the event, which opens for VIPs at 2pm, stay that night in Playa then return to Merida Monday afternoon.

We traveled as a group of 8, via ADO bus lines, can't beat bus travel in Mexico.  Oddly, the return trip seemed much longer than the going trip????

First destination was Cozumel.  Tom and I love Cozumel, we've been visiting since the early 80's.  Boy oh boy has that island changed.

We boarded our 6:40AM bus and were in Playa del Carmen in no time.  A quick dash and straight on to the 11am ferry for a 45 minute ride to the island.  The water was rough, and it got pretty darn messy on that ferry, we were sure glad when those doors opened up, let me tell you!

Most of Tom's and my experiences on Cozumel are as divers.  There used to be not much else to do; rent a jeep or moped and drive around the island, spend some time on the windward side, take the dirt track to the ruins of Gervasio, try to get to el faro, OR snorkel, dive, eat, and drink.

Mostly we dove, ate, and drank, but drank sparingly, drinking and diving don't go so well together.  This trip wasn't much different, except for the diving.  We did take our snorkel stuff and go snorkeling, but only once, there was some weather front that was keeping the water up, in fact one day the harbor was closed so that the dive boats couldn't even go out.

We have a few favorite places to eat - for lunch we've always loved Ernesto's.  After an early rise and a few hours on a dive boat, and diving food is all you can think about and Tom and I both remember getting off that boat, gathering up our gear and most days heading straight for Ernesto's for a few cold beers and fajitas.

 Well Ernesto's was right there where we last left it, 

and the most amazing thing, 
after all these years, 
and as many times as we've eaten there, 

we met Ernesto!

and the beers are just as cold, 
and the fajitas are just as good as we remember them.

Another frequented restaurant, for dinner is El Moro, I took no pictures, in fact I'm shocked at how few pictures I took over the whole weekend.

Here's their web page 

It's funny, but their clientele is mostly gringo divers.  
Guess it's not funny, it's just what it is.

Tom and I have been on friendly terms with Ray, one of the owners for years.  We email, share photos!  In fact he contacted us when his daughter decided she wanted to study here in Merida.  Unfortunately she didn't like being so far from home, so she returned and completed her studies there!   Ray is SO proud!

One cool thing that happened, the taxi driver that took us there gave us a really good suggestion which we tried the next night, La Perlita!

We all agreed that it was very good.  La Perlita doesn't seem to have it's own webpage, but I found this

although I didn't take any photos our friend Manju took this really good one of Tom and me

and like el Moro they have facebook, twitter, and some other little socialnetwork thing that I can't now remember.

Anyway, we ate, we drank, we took long walks, we snorkeled, that was Cozumel.

Sunday AM had us back on the ferry returning to Playa del Carmen.

The Taste of Playa event was fabulous again. 
 There are some issues, and complaints about the 'VIP' status.  You pay 40USD person, this gets you 20 chits, chits are used to buy your tastes, 1, 2, or 3 chits per item. It also gets you into a reserved seating area, and in to the Tasting event an hour before General Admission.   Unfortunately many of the vendors also seemed to be getting there at 2, and with no controls, the General Public was also coming in at 2.  The lack of  controls also allowed everyone to enter the VIP seating area.  We, being a party of 8, always had someone holding our seats so that was one thing.

The food was fabulous, being vegetarian, actually pescatarian (I still eat seafood) I found LOTS of options, and was stuffed well before my chits ran out.

Based on this I'm not sure we'd buy VIP again!, But we'd definitely go again, although there is a big Music festival here in Merida over the same weekend, so we might have to alternate????

It was a fun weekend.  A bit short, but whatchagonnado!

the view from my hotel balcony on Cozumel, the view the other way was the ocean!