Welcome to Wandering Wednesdays, where we provide brief reviews of naturist places – outside of North America – we have visited, simply to offer our admittedly subjective thoughts about what we experienced there. With over 150 pins on our naturist travel map, we have a lot of reviews to catch up on. Once posted here, I’ll move them over to the “Places” index under the main menu of our blog.
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This week: Playa Sonrisa – near Tulum, Mexico
Though it’s been a few years back now, we’ve been twice to Playa Sonrisa, each time for an extended weekend stay. The first time we stayed in one of the stand alone cabanas; the second time, we had the second floor of the villa. When they say chill out and disconnect, they really mean it as at least during our last visit, WIFI was only available when Jupiter aligned with Mars on the fifth Tuesday of the month. But as they advertise, the very essence of Playa Sonrisa is the remoteness and tranquility of the place, far away from the madding crowds (and mega resorts) of the Riviera Maya. As there’s not a great deal to do in the immediate area, we grew a bit restless during our second visit when our adult daughter was with us, so we pooled our resources with two other guests, hired a boat taxi, and found our way to San Pedro, Belize, which made for a fabulous day trip and another stamp in our passports. Murph, the proprietor of Playa Sonrisa, thought it to be overpriced and underwhelming, be we had a genuinely great time and even returned with Belize rum and cuban cigars in tow! As this mini-resort is a solid five hour drive south of Cancun, you gotta want to get there, but we thought it worth the effort in the end, and would gladly return should the opportunity arise.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? The only way we know to get to Playa Sonrisa is to rent a car at the Cancun airport and make the five hour drive past Riviera Maya, Tulum, and on into the expansive jungle wilderness of the Yucatan peninsula. The first time we did that it was a bit spooky to go through the roadside checks with armed guards, but we’ve always been waved through without incident. You will likely want to make a stop at the large supermarket in Tulum, as that’s really the last place with major amenities before the last leg of the trip out to the resort. The last bit of the trek takes you out on a gravel road that’s pretty heavily rutted now and again. Not difficult to navigate in a small car, but it means you have to travel more slowly than you might wish.
WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? This place would be perfectly family-friendly, except that they cater to couples, and last I knew, had a loyal clientele of repeat customers that keeps them at full occupancy most of the season. I vaguely recall discussing the possibility of a resort takeover for a family reunion, but to date, we haven’t pursued that. But most importantly, this is a great place to make new friends.
HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? Simple and rustic are the best descriptors. When we stayed in the villa, there was a full kitchen, though it wasn’t really functional if you were planning on doing real cooking. The fridge was great, but I’m thinking the range was barely operable. Breakfast is included in the rates, and they offer a light lunch and a full dinner most days of the week, so if anything, you probably just want to stock up on snacks and beverages. And again, cell and WIFI connectivity is spotty in this part of the world, so you’d best tell the friends and fam you’re gonna be off the grid for a few days!
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? We think Playa Sonrisa is a really special place. Murph has been talking about selling for years, but I guess he’s yet to get the offer he’s looking for, and it would be a shame to lose this as a naturist place. Some people make a tour of it all, with a few days at Hidden Beach near Cancun, a brief stay at Intima Resort in Tulum and then on down to Playa Sonrisa. We’ve also made a (non-naturist) stay-over in Playa del Carmen in order to position ourselves for the airport return on departure day. You don’t want to destress for five days simply to wind back up again on your return trip to the airport because you’re worried about missing your flight.
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