Monday, April 27, 2015

Isla Mujeres - Zama Beach Club and the Turtle Farm

Pretty soon, after a morning of beach sun/fun, my family started getting hungry by 12PM and we decided to leave Playa Norte and head to the rest of the Isla Mujeres to find some lunch.

We packed up our stuff in the golf cart and made our way back through the town area to head towards the Turtle Farm where someone suggested a nice restaurant with a great view of the water.

The cool shade from the golf cart plus the breeze in our faces quickly put me to sleep. Given there's only really one road that goes around the island, we had an easy time navigating without the map using just the road signs (which had images of Turtle Farm and dolphins for the Dolphin Experience).

Unfortunately, my father forgot the name of the restaurant we were told about, so we just drove around until we found something that we liked - Zama Beach Club.

As you can see, the place was definitely a notch above a local roadside taco stand, but we wanted to indulge a little. It looked as if it were a part of a hotel, but it was actually a stand alone beach club with a restaurant/bar alongside a strip of white sand beach as well as two swimming pools and some spacious clean bathrooms for us to freshen up.

Surprisingly the food prices were not that crazy, though our frame of reference is Manhattan, so combined with the strong US dollar, our sense of value may be skewed a bit. Since Isla Mujeres is a fisherman's spot, my parents decided to go with seafood - seafood cocktail to start, beer battered shrimp tacos and octopus tacos. The octopus was the most fresh, delicious my parents have ever had. HIGHLY recommended.

Despite being a Korean-Uzbek-Russian child by birth, I was still American by culture, so I really wanted a burger - specifically I wanted a "hamburger with rice." Unfortunately, it came with french fries, but I didn't complain.

After lunch, it was closer to 2PM, so we decided to head over to the Tortugranja (Turtle Farm). Full disclosure, it was a TINY place (just really one room and a dock), but for a little kid, it was pretty fun and cost only 30 pesos/person ($2 USD). Note, if you paid in US dollars, it would cost you $3.

Now, candidly, if you're an environmentalist, I'm not entirely sure you'd approve of this local place. So you can skip the rest of the post if this isn't something you're interested in reading about.

We first went out on the dock to see a small dolphin swimming around in the pool. Others may say he was trapped in an underwater cage, but I try to be an optimist at age 3.

Then we went into the small main building with the turtles. To be fair, it looked more like a pet store than anything else with multiple turtle tanks in the center of a single room with visitors taking photos and feeding them small brown pellets of food.

Around the room, there were multiple fish tanks holding different types of fish, including huge spiny lobsters and seahorses. They also had another tank of starfish, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs that you could hold in your hands.

 As you can see, even my mother was pretty excited to hold a sea turtle.

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