Nov 8, 2008

PaaMul as we found it...

October 26, 2008
We arrived here in PaaMul two weeks ago brimming with excitement. This is our seventh winter camping trip in Mexico. Since 2000, we have traveled through much of this country, exploring the Baja, the Pacific coast and much of the interior, and even then, there was much more to see. However, as we were enjoying some months here last winter, we came to realize that this was a terrific destination. This could be a place we would be happy to return to many more times. In the meantime, we will be driving across nearly the entire country (even the shortest, most direct route from South Texas is over 3000 kms), so we will have many more oportunities to explore more. We decided to join this unique community -- left a deposit with the camp manager, secured a palapa builder, and have been dreaming of our new winter home.
First, some basics. What is PaaMul?
PM is an RV park and a resort right in the middle of the Mayan Riviera. We have a beautiful stretch of Caribbean beach with a protective reef off shore. We are 15 kms south of the rapidly growing city of Playa del Carmen and about an hour south of the Cancun airport. The island of Cozumel is visible on the horizon. There are dozens of popular large resorts along this coastal highway and many more are being built. PaaMul is unique in that is one of the few, and the only RV park of any size along the coast. Over several decades it has grown to include a small hotel, a good restaurant, a popular dive shop and a collection of palapas that are built over travel trailers. Building in this area is controlled as our PaaMul Bay and the bay next to us are turtle sanctuaries. The jungle between us and the highway, 1 km inland, is a protected mangrove area.
So what is a palapa?
Of the nearly 200 spaces in the park, more than a half are these permanent structures. Each one is unique, but they have some general similarities. A palapa is a post and beam structure, approximately 22 x 44 feet (6.7 x 13.5 M). They all have grass roofs. Under that is some sort of RV - travel trailer, 5th wheel, or bus. Most of these rv's become permanently absorbed into the structure. Under the grass roof, along side the rv there is usually a tiled patio which can have a kitchen, bath, and other "outdoor" living areas, and then stairs leading to lofts and balconies.
As I have tried to describe this to various people over the summer, I have been repeatedly asked to send more details and photos. And as we are starting ours from scratch, you will get a "ground-up" report.

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