When you live in Playa del Carmen, you must make some tough choices.
Like, should you go to the pool, beach, or a jungle cenote?
Tough in that there are so many good options. A much better “crisis” to face than the ones we used to have to deal with when we were living in the rat race back in Chicago.
Our first decision of the day was to go to the rooftop pool at Siempre Ipana where we are staying. By pool, I mean four epic pools with views in four different directions.
Click to Play. It’s easy to live well in Playa del Carmen, with places like Siempre Ipana offering enviable luxury.
Each building has its own rooftop pool, and all the rooftops are connected. So, if one pool is too busy, just pop over to another, they all seem to have different vibes. There is even a bar with snack options and an indoor pool table if you’re feeling too pruned.
With four pools, there are loads of loungers, so you don’t have to get up before the birds to mark your territory and stake your claim on a couple of chairs. There is plenty of sun, and if you need an umbrella, ask, and you shall receive one. Siempre is one of those kind of places.
There is no point in sitting at a pool with a bar and not having a drink. That would be a sin.
So, I had a Paloma, also known as a poor person’s margarita. It’s tequila and Squirt, a grapefruit soda, and light and refreshing on a hot day.
Mark had a Cuba Libre, which is a fancy name for rum and coke. Not the most complicated of drinks, but the bartender put his own spin on them by adding tons of freshly squeezed lime to both. The best part was that they were only 60 pesos each, about $3.
After all that stressful floating about with a cocktail in hand, we decided to up the ante. Why settle for one body of water when there are so many to choose from in one day.
Off we went in search of a beach club to rent a chair and lounge for the rest of the day.
But when we got to the beach, it wasn’t as perfect as we’d hoped. Another “crisis” that makes me chuckle because it’s barely an inconvenience.
You see, it’s sargassum season here on the Riviera Maya. Sargassum is a naturally-occurring seaweed that floats ashore around this time of year. It’s annoying when it shows up, because it clogs the beach and makes it less attractive.
Since tourism is Mexico’s mainstay, the government has taken painstaking measures to install protective barriers offshore. They are taking it very seriously and doing everything they can to control the situation, but some of it still gets through.
It’s an annoyance, but not a deal-breaker…
As one expat we met stated, “It’s really more of an issue for people who come to visit for a week. Their time is limited. I’m here all year, so when the beaches aren’t great, I go to the pool or a cenote. I have more choices than the beach. And then tomorrow it could all be gone.”
His words rang true for us today. So, when we went to the beach and saw some of the sargassum, we just flipped the script. It wasn’t even a wrinkle or a hiccup. We googled rooftop pools and found quite a few options. It wasn’t a hard decision. We headed to the nearest one at the Thompson Hotel and it was stellar.
On the rare days when it’s warm enough to go to Chicago’s beach on Lake Michigan, it’s guaranteed to be jammed and downtown traffic is gridlocked. Changing plans on a whim like this is unthinkable. But not in Playa, with so many options, so much freedom.
As soon as we hit the roof, we saw three long narrow infinity pools lined with round daybeds that were so cushy they were meant to be snoozed on. Not that we did. I was too busy getting my groove on in the pool, and Mark was chatting away with newfound friends.
Click to Play. In Playa del Carmen, when life gives you lemons (or seaweed), you just hit the next rooftop pool.
I ordered a T&T, tequila, lemongrass, lemon, and tonic. Super refreshing and far too easy to drink.
Mark had the Pineapple Express made of roasted pineapple, lemongrass, lemon, and bitters. Both were delish, but mine was dangerously easy to slurp down.
And to balance out our afternoon drinks, we ordered a very healthy lunch—a tuna poke bowl with quinoa instead of rice.
Our day may not have gone as planned, but we couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon. Some things you just can’t plan for, and in some ways, our day turned out better than planned. We had a day of insane rooftop views, great music, and not one grain of sand in our bathing suits.
That’s life here in Playa del Carmen.
With so many options, it’s sometimes hard to choose what to do. If you’re not flexible, not spontaneous and not up for an adventure, then maybe this isn’t for you. But for me and Mark, it’s a “downside” we love.
Editor’s Note: Do you want to live a life like the one Kirsten and Mark are enjoying, choosing between luxuries and spending your days like you’re on a permanent vacation? Then let us show you how, right here.
And remember, if you’ve got questions you’d like Kirsten and Mark to answer, send them to us right here at [email protected].