We’re slowly getting settled into our new temporary home in Playa del Carmen. Before we left Kansas City we rented a condo for a month through Homeaway.com . We wanted to have a place to stay when we got here but did not want to sign a long-term lease for a place we hadn’t checked out in person. What if it smelled bad? What if the next door neighbors were raising roosters? What if there was no room to store my shoes?
Where we are now is one of the more popular condo places in town for retired expats and weekly and long-term renters from out of town. The pictures we saw online of our place did it justice. It’s a fully furnished, air-conditioned, 2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom in the heart of downtown. We’re five easy blocks from the beach, one block from Mega, the major grocery store, and less than a block from the famous Fifth Avenue (La Quinta Avenida) where all the shops, restaurants and nightlife is located. We have a gated entrance, 24 hour security (Elio, the security guard sets up each day right next to our car) and a pool steps from our patio.
We were surprised by a few things. We have a full kitchen, but our dishwasher goes by the name of Deidre. We have a bathroom in each bedroom, but they don’t have doors. Showers are short because the water isn’t that hot. And while we have a washing machine in our unit, the dryer isn’t what we’re used to.
WiFi is widely available all over Mexico, but the owners of this particular condo had disconnected it because they thought they had sold this condo. That deal fell through so they’re renting it while still trying to sell, but did not reactivate the WiFi. They provided a solution for us but it hasn’t been much of a solution at all. We’ve spoken to the owner about what our needs are to run a business, he was extremely apologetic and is currently working to get things set up for us but he lives in Spain so it might take a couple more days. In the meantime we’ve found a fantastic chocolate and coffee cafe around the corner that has free WiFi and based on what’s on the menu we haven’t minded spending some time there.
Though we’ve only been here a couple of days we are already beginning to feel at home and last night were able to have dinner, drinks and excellent conversation with a new friend, Wandering Earl. Earl is a travel blogger Jason has been following and corresponding with for years and we were lucky enough to be in the same city and free on the same night. In 1999 Earl went on a solo trip to Southeast Asia during his gap year between college and finding a job. He enjoyed it so much that he never went home. That’s right, he’s been on the road for 14 years! During that time he’s been able to cultivate a large following on his blog WanderingEarl.com and in our opinion is one of the best in the business. Whether you would like to live a life of travel, are planning on living abroad or are just bored in your cubicle I would highly suggest checking out his site, it’s entertaining as well as informative. In fact one of his first posts we read was about a time in his life when he lived in Playa del Carmen.
We spent a pleasant evening picking his brain on all things Playa and swapping tales (though his were much better) while we drank some beers and enjoyed some of the excellent food our neighborhood has to offer.
Our topics ranged from the problems of post-apartheid South Africa to Lucha Libre as he showed us some of his favorite local spots here. Not only was he able to give us some suggestions to fix our internet issues we also have an appointment with a friend of his to look at some long term rental options later in the week.
We arrived in Playa just in time for high season. Spring Breakers are everywhere right now and soon it will be crowded with vacationers around Easter. There are quiet spots on the beach but you have to walk away from downtown to find them. That means occupancy rates are high and rent is even higher. But come mid-April when college kids head back to school and everyone else heads back to work we’ve been assured that our options will open up.
Curious if you had the choice would you prefer to pay a little higher rent and be closer walking distance to everything downtown including restaurants, nightlife and grocery store or quite a bit further away from everything but with a view of the ocean? And would there be any deal breakers for you? So far not having WiFi would be one of ours, but we haven’t yet added anything else to that list, unless our dishwasher decides to go on strike.