A Canadian friend recently mentioned that Isla has textures, many textures – layers within layers. He’s right.
|El Varadero Cocina Criolla – on the inner harbour of Isla|
We have had similar discussions with friends while sampling food at restaurants, or relaxing with a cool drink at various locations on the island. Conversations that start out with; “This is amazing! You wouldn’t even know we were on Isla.”
We might have been sitting at the Cuban restaurante El Varadero Cocina Criolla, hanging out over the water in a scene reminiscent of the 1951 movie African Queen starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, waiting, just waiting for the famed boat to putt-putt past.
|Bar cente piece at Captain Dulche|
Or perhaps we were sitting at the Captain Dulché Museum and Restaurante on the sand-swept west side of the island. This location with its marine artifacts, metal sculptures from Cuba, numerous Maya antiques, huge palapa restaurant, and rotating bar is so over-the-top-beautiful it could be in any 5-star resort in the world.
The view towards the Cancún skyline is gorgeous any time of the day, but the sunsets can be downright spectacular.
Today we had a terrific lunch at Zazil-Ha on the north end of the island, tucked inside the Nabalam Hotel complex.
We gazed out onto Playa Norte, famous for its blindingly-white sandy beaches featured in the Corona beer commercials.
Lawrie tempted the beer gods at lunch.
He ordered a Sol beer, instead of a Corona. Oh,oh!
|Sol beer on a Corona beach!|
A few million dollars in bad-boy yachts were anchored in the shallow waters of North Beach, allowing guests to swim in the shallow, turquoise water. Playa Norte is the beach that most of the tourist sun-worshipers prefer with rentable beach chairs or loungers, restaurants, bars and beach vendors all looking to sell their wares.
It’s also a location that topless sunbathing is grudgingly accepted. Topless, or wearing a thong is not the norm in Mexico as the people are quite conservative. The women and girls frequently swim fully dressed in shorts, t-shirts, and underwear, while the men will remove just their t-shirts and swim in their shorts.
|Enjoying North Beach|
A little further around the corner on the northwestern side of the island are the public beaches where most of the domestic tourists and their families gather to enjoy the deliciously warm Caribbean Sea.
Across from this beach is Jax Bar & Grill. Their second floor patio one of our favourite places to hang out and watch the action.
The entertainment can include watching the locals playing a pick-up volleyball game, or savouring the smells wafting up from the street vendors food carts, or listening to the families enjoying their beach, their island, their country.
|Just play! Don’t speak to me!|
Sometimes we loaf around at Cocteleria Minino’s, discussing the beauty of the island with our toes dug into the soft sand, watching the two eighty-something brothers play the marimbas. They are still angry, not speaking to each other after a fight several years ago. Awkward. They make beautiful music together, they just don’t speak.
On the beach, between Cocteleria Minino’s and the PeMex gas station is a worn, wooden booth where the fisherman clean and sell the day’s catch. Mmmm. Good sounds, good smells. Just good. Very good.
|Birds looking for treats at fish cleaning station|
There are many, many more layers of Isla to discover. We are taking our time, enjoying, savouring every minute. Waiter, another Sol, please.
Señor, otro Sol, por favor.
Walking, camera in hand, is one of our favourite things to do early in the morning, or early evening – snapping photos of the various areas of the island. In sorting through our more than seven thousand digital photos of Isla, it is a chore to decide between photographs. This photo or that one? Have I overused that particular photo? Does this one show the flavours, textures, layers better?
Ah, well, there is always next week to show you more about our little Caribbean paradise. To be continued …….