After we booked our vacation to Playa del Carmen, we booked a catamaran excursion to Isla Mujeres or the Island of Women through Viator.
The booking process was pretty easy, but our hotel was not one that was listed so I picked the option where it said they would contact us to get our hotel information. As we got closer, they still hadn’t contacted us so I reached out to them via email and they confirmed our pick up time and details.
The morning of the excursion, we were picked up in front of our hotel by a van. The seats in the van were quite close to one another and each seat was filled. From Playa del Carmen, the drive was well over an hour and it felt claustrophobic pretty much the whole time.
Once we arrived at the site, we were separated from who we came with. One person goes into the office to pay the admin fee and the rest of your party goes onto the beach to wait. For the person going into the office you need a mask. If you do not have one, you can purchase one for $1.00. You’re asked to get into a line and I found it to be disorganized. Someone told me to go “talk to the guy with the hat” so I walked ahead looking for a guy with a hat, but no one knew what I was talking about. I returned to speak to the woman who said that to me and she was confused, but I did not make up that up. She said those words to me. I had to go to the back of the line and wait which was frustrating.
After paying, we walked onto the beach to meet up with the rest of our party. We waited for a bit until the name of our boat was called, then walked with our group onto our catamaran.
The catamaran was pretty large with lots of space to sit. There were a couple netting sections in the front that people could sit or lay on. The staff introduced themselves and began handing out snorkeling gear for those wanting to snorkel. We began sailing for about 20 minutes or so until we got to the spot that the Captain said was the best place for snorkeling. I’m not a strong swimmer and you have to be one to snorkel here. My hubby went out and enjoyed himself. He saw some fish. There were a group of women that came back onto the boat and said that the water was choppy and it was difficult to swim.
After that, they opened up the bar. The staff was great at walking around and making sure everyone had a drink in their hands. They were playing lively music – a mix of upbeat top 40 and reggaeton. At this point, the group was much more comfortable with one another. People were dancing, drinking, tanning, taking photographs, etc. The hubby and I both had a feeling of “It doesn’t get better than this” while we ere having the time of our lives while sailing through the open ocean.
They had a photographer on the boat that was coming around and doing full on photoshoots with couples and groups – placing people in different poses, etc.
We eventually got ready to leave the boat and were told that we would get off and be led to the “beach club” where we would have lunch and then we would have some spare time here.
The lunch was awful. Food that was sitting out in buffet style, tasteless and combos that made no sense. For instance, spaghetti, but no sauce. I struggled finding something to eat here and I was starving. I was really disappointed. We barely ate anything and then once we were done we were left with about half an hour so we went out to the water and did some swimming.
I think we either missed some of the commentary or perhaps were just confused, but we thought that we were at our destination and then we were headed back. We were hungry and didn’t think we had enough exploring time. That’s when we learned that was just where we were for some lunch and free time so we were still headed to Isla Mujeres (haha!).
Once we arrived at Isla Mujeres, it was clear we had arrived. Beautiful beach, little town with more to do and a lot of tourists. We chose to go eat at one of the beach front restaurants and got some delicious food and cocktails. So so happy we did that. Actually, if you do this excursion I would recommend skipping the beach club meal altogether – spend that time swimming or getting henna tattoos or exploring. Don’t even bother eating there and then, although you’ll have to pay out of pocket, get some real food once you’ve arrived to Isla Mujeres. The beach here is busy, but gorgeous. We had much more free time here and spent the rest of it at the beach. We had a great time.
Once we returned to the boat, we were tuckered out. The staff did an amazing job getting us all back up and dancing. It was a whole party. We were having the time of our lives. At this time the photographer came around with prints that he took of everyone.
We were put back into the vans to head back to our hotels. This was even more awful on the way back. The alcohol on the boats are free flowing and we had a young guy in the back vomit (discreetly, but a bunch of us noticed) and we were all sitting in a small space. The stench was awful for a very long ride. It was not pleasant and we could not wait to get out of that van.
The good, the bad, the ugly – so the good is the boat. We loved every single second on that boat. We had the time of our lives! We also loved all the beach time we had. We seriously felt like we were living the life. It was amazing. The bad – online it said that we would be offered a chance to do a spinnaker from the boat. This wasn’t even mentioned. The ugly – the “delicious” lunch that they reference in the tour description is very, very bad. The transportation to and from your hotel is uncomfortable. Would have been great if they had a big air conditioned tour bus instead – dual seats.
The tour needs some work, but overall we had such a lovely day and made some wonderful memories.