Jamie and Sydney in Mazatlan – Last Day

Well we’re all packed and ready to head home.  It’s been a great holiday.  Since the last update, I had a massage next door at the Costa de Oro – it was $38 CDN for an hour and was very good.  The hotel also has a nice spa, but their rate was $50 CDN for 1 hour, so I decided to go next door.
 
Santa came yesterday afternoon for the kids and handed out candy.  The kids really enjoyed it and it was a good reminder that Christmas is here tomorrow!  It’s easy to forget when it’s +27 and sunny!  They had a Mexican Fiesta last night.  The food was excellent, but we missed the show as Sydney was tired and falling asleep at the table.  We could hear the music from our room and it sounded like everyone was having a great time.
 
So, to wrap up, here is a list of pro’s and con’s for the Inn at Mazatlan:
 
Pros:
-VERY clean – the rooms, the grounds, etc.  There was always someone scrubbing something. 
-The food
-The service
-Child friendly – lots of kids, nice pool with shallow end, good water quality, etc
-Layout and size of the rooms (one bedroom suites)
-Small resort – easy to get around
-Proximity to the beach and nice beach area in front
 
Cons:
-No child menu – sometimes hard to pick things Sydney would like and the portions they brought her were huge
-There was sometimes a sewer smell as you walked past the drainage area from the bathrooms at the main restaurant/pool area (there were drainage pipes that ran from this building that had a grate over part of it – this is where there was sometimes a smell)
-It’s a time share property and they will ask you to attend a presentation a couple times during your stay.  Interestingly enough because we were only women travelling, they didn’t bother us at all because they assumed we wouldn’t be in a position to buy a time share without a ‘husband’ with us.  This was ok with me!
 
All in all, I would definitely come back.
 
Merry Christmas – we’ll soon be joining you in the snow and the cold!

Jamie and Sydney in Mazatlan – Part 3

I have to say the weather here in Mazatlan has been perfect ever since we arrived.  There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky and barely a breath of wind, with temperatures consistent around 28 degrees.  We have mainly been enjoying the beach and the pool.  The pool area of the hotel is really nice and good for kids.  There have been lots of families here and lots of little ones for Sydney to make friends with.  I think because this is a condo/timeshare hotel that has the full kitchen facilities that it draws more families. 

You can notice it getting busier as we get closer to Christmas.  A big busload of new people arrived today at the hotel.  I met a friend from Saskatoon at a little place about a block down the street last night for a couple of Margaritas (while Sydney’s grandma kindly offered to babysit).  It was a quaint little Mexican bar that had a live band, cheap Margaritas and friendly staff.  The name of the place was GusGus.  A good time was had and we felt perfectly comfortable and safe as two girls out on our own.  It was mainly tourists in the bar and everyone seemed in good spirits.

The only other thing I want to remark on again is the food at the hotel.  It has been excellent.  Although there is only one main restaurant, you can order off a menu for every meal, which I really like, and there is a big enough selection that it doesn’t get repeatative. You also have the option of a buffet for breakfast, if you prefer and there are always nightly specials for dinner.

We have two full days left before we need to think about coming home.  I think we have a little more shopping planned and maybe a massage.  Otherwise, it will be more of the same, swimming, relaxing and having fun.

Jamie and Sydney in Mazatlan – Part 2

We are having a great time in sunny Mazatlan!  The weather has been perfect around 28/29 and sunny every day.  The staff at the hotel are wonderful and remember us and pay special attention to Sydney – she now say “hola” to almost everyone!  We have been tipping though, and find that makes a difference.  It’s well worth a little extra tip to get extra special service!

A few things I looked for when choosing the “Inn at Mazatlan” were that it had purified tap water, that they had an American nurse/doctor on call 24 hours, right in the hotel, that it had suites with a separate bedroom and that it had good reviews of it’s food and restaurant.  So far, we haven’t been disappointed.  The food has been excellent and it is very nice to have a separate bedroom when traveling with a small child.  It gives them a quiet place to nap and to go to bed at night, while still leaving room for the adults to stay up and enjoy themselves.  It is also very important to have a fridge.  We can keep milk and juice cold for Sydney and beer and water cold for us 🙂  Don’t forget to pack bottles and some favorite snacks from home to keep in the room.

There was a special supper planned at the hotel last night for Christmas with local children putting on a nativity play.  Unfortunately, it was a little later than the normal supper and Sydney fell asleep before the play began.  We watched a little from our balcony after we put her to bed and it looked like the little kids were really enjoying themselves.

We have done a little bit of shopping, but are definitely still perfecting the art of bargaining.  I always leave with the feeling I’ve paid too much!  I guess I need to go ‘practice’ more!  Oh, darn!

Ok, we’re off to enjoy another beautiful morning.  Breakfast starts in a few minutes and the bacon and fried eggs are calling my name!

Travelling with a young child – Jamie Angus

Tips for Travelling on the plane with little kids:
-get to the airport early so you have lots of time to check in, have a snack and let them run around and burn some energy before boarding
-SNACKS – lots of different types of snacks to keep them busy and happy on the plane
-Activities – coloring books, stickers, books, games, etc
-pack a sippy cup – it will save you spills!
-bring favorite things like a blanket or stuffed animal with you
-travel on an airline with seat back tv’s is great
-if you’re travelling with an infant, book yourself and your traveling companion into the window and aisle seat and then be friendly to the check in girl and ask if she could try to keep the middle seat open for the baby.  There was only 1 empty seat on the whole plane and they managed to keep it as the middle seat between us so Sydney would have more room….and there were 4 or 5 babies on the plane – we were lucky!  It made a huge difference to have the extra room.

We left Saskatoon for Mazatlan on Westjet and the flight was on time and good.  They had food for purchase – sandwich’s or snacks and they had seat back entertainment.  The 4 hour and 9 min flight went by quickly – some stickers, some books, a cartoon, some snacks and a nap and we were there.

The transfer to our hotel was about 20 minutes and was on a big bus, similar to a Greyhound bus back home.  Very comfortable and air conditioned. 

We are staying in a one bedroom suite at the Inn at Mazatlan in their semi-inclusive program.  The room is huge and spotless.  It could use a little updating, but overall a very good value.  A big bedroom with two beds and a crib for Sydney, two huge full size marble bathrooms, a kichen/living room and dining room and a balcony overlooking the ocean.

The hotel grounds are spotless and the food has been delicious, particularly the coconut shrimp, although I suspect it may be what gave me a minor bout of food poisioning last night!  The service is friendly and usually quick, although you have to remember it’s Mexico and everyone is on Mexican time.  I didn’t even bring my watch 🙂

The business center will set you up with WIFI in your room for $8 a day US or $40 for the week.  You could also use the computers in the center, but they charge by time and the unlimited WIFI seems like a better deal, if you have a laptop.  You could use WIFI in the room or the common area – lobby, pool, etc.

The beach is nice and long, golden sand.  There are beach vendors on the beach, but they are not allowed into the hotel pool areas.  It is quiet here right now, although they expect it will pick up by next week with the Christmas holidays coming.  There is plenty of shopping and super markets lining the blocks by our hotel.  The Golden Zone still seems pretty busy and the businesses seem to be doing ok.  I even recognize a few from when I was here 11 years ago! 

Outside the Golden Zone, you notice it appears really rundown and shady – obviously a big difference in the class of living here – either you are very well off or very poor.  We felt very comfortable walking down the main drag ourselves this morning. We walked to the nearest ATM, which was about 4 blocks away and window shopped a bit on the way.  We were asked a few times to attend time share presentations, but they were friendly and left you alone if you said no.

The weather is perfect – 27 and sunny when we arrived yesterday and it will be 28 and sunny today.  I’m off to enjoy it with a cervesa on my balcony while Sydney finishes her nap 🙂

Ed’s Trip to Jamaica – December 14th

Jamaica Mon – Finale

On the way home now and reflecting on the last few days at the resort.

We managed a couple of more rounds of golf on the Par 3 course which was actually not a bad little course to play.

Had supper at both the French and Japanese restaurants again and without a doubt, the French restaurant is the best at the resort.

It’s a little bit scary how empty the resort is and it is a great time to visit Jamaica.  We never had to wait for anything and we always got a chair wherever we wanted.

The weather was overall very good albeit a little windier than we remember.  The only concern we had at all with the resort is that the beach isn’t the best so if you want white sand out into the ocean for a long way, here you will find more rock in the water than anything.

However, the food, the entertainment, the people were all exceptional and we can recommend a great holiday here…especially at the great prices they are offering these days!

Ed

Ed’s Trip to Jamaica – December 11th / 12th

Jamaica Mon – Days 4/5

Two days now without getting any email on my Blackberry…don’t know why.  I really shouldn’t care since I am in Jamaica but feel cut off from the world somehow.

The last 2 days have been both a blur and very relaxing.  Karen had a golf lesson yesterday and quite liked the gruff pro that shows up sometime between 9 – 11.  While she was working on her golf swing, I was practicing my putting.

We did check out the gym after lunch which is quite well equipped and with a nice view of the ocean.  Managed to burn off enough calories for a small Dirty Banana.

We had a reservation at the French Restaurant last night and I must say that it was excellent.  Coy, our server provided excellent service and surprisingly, the wine list was pretty good.  Short but some nice French wine choices.  Highly recommend the restaurant and we have another reservation there for Saturday.

They were playing a movie outdoors in the main square after supper and it was a really awful thriller.  Instead we went to the main restaurant/entertainment area for a bit of Amateur night followed by an excellent singer – AJ Brown.  Closed it down.

This morning we opted to golf the 9 hole course here at the resort.  We rented pull carts ($6.00 each) and walked the course.  It was not in the best shape but for a Par 3 course we quite enjoyed it.  But boy was it hot and we were glad when we finished.

This afternoon I enjoyed a massage on the beach.  It was $85 for an hour but she did a wonderful job.  A word to the shy…they aren’t too concerned with making sure you are covered or when you are changing.

Hope I get email service soon…

 Ed

Ed’s Trip to Jamaica – December 10th

Jamaica Mon – Day 3

Our alarm went off at 06:30 this morning.  Was I crazy – did I really want to golf this early?  None the less, off we went to Runaway Bay for 18 holes.  Now, transfers and green fees used to be included and all you paid for was a caddie and the cart meaning the overall cost was about $50 each.  However, now everything is extra and it ended up costing us about $100 each.

In talking with our caddie, this has really hurt the golf course and I don’t doubt it.  This resort was usually filled with many golfers and I have seen surprisingly few this trip.

We went to the course hoping to have our caddie from a couple of years ago – Vinnie.  Unfortunately he was not around and we ended up with Melbourne.  He turned out to be equally as good and he really helped Karen with her game.  She did pretty well while I on the other hand was trying out my new grip, my new swing and better follow-through.  Not so good but I’ll keep practicing.

The course was in pretty good shape but even here you could see signs of having to tighten their belts.

They have been crying for rain at the resort and we got it!  The afternoon rained off and on and we enjoyed some time in the hot tub in the rain.

Unfortunately, it was supposed to be the beach party but it ended up in the main dining room…not quite the same but still a good time.

I must say that the people on the resort have been super friendly and we are really enjoying some hot weather.  Sorry it has been so cold in Saskatoon!

Ed

Runaway Bay Golf Course - Jamaica