Larry Grossman 7 at 70: The Beautiful Remote Shores of Isla MujeresJanuary 18, 2022 • By THIRDHOME
THIRDHOME member Larry Grossman turns 70 this year.
In celebration of this milestone, he’s hitting all 7 continents with the help of THIRDHOME.
World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member
As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.
Next Stop: Isla Mujeres
It was “Big Chill Week” on the Mexican Island of Isla Mujeres and I got lucky. With THIRDHOME’s help, I scored a seaside house large enough to host four couples at the southern tip of Isla. Word travels fast with my travel buddies and Dale called first and said, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine that we’re going to Mexico the week before Christmas.” Shortly thereafter, Fiesta texted “I Ain’t Too Proud to Beg and count me in!” Pam emailed, “I Second That Emotion and I’ll buy the tequila,” and finally Tina let me know that she was “My Girl” and she was not staying home.
*If these song titles are too obscure, power up your Spotify and listen to what could be the greatest screenplay soundtrack ever made: The Big Chill.
And thus, another grand “Larry World” vacation got on the calendar, and seven vaccinated Gringos flew into the Cancun airport from Baltimore, Chicago, Phoenix and Norfolk, VA. One cab ride and a 30-minute ferry ride later, we arrived at the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal to begin our adventure in this beachy, funky, laid-back island paradise.
While only eight miles removed from Cancun, Isla offers a totally different vacation experience. Missing are the mass of all-inclusive resorts with partying tourists everywhere. Present, are visitors from all over the world riding around in golf carts, visiting the beaches that surround the island, partaking in a beverage in one of several unique beach clubs, and deciding on the optimal location to watch crazy-beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
In the course of our week, we met visitors from Australia, Denmark, Ecuador, Italy, France and Great Britain. It quickly becomes apparent that Isla Mujeres is a really diverse environment with any number of languages being spoken over the course of a day – “arrivederci” meets “hasta la vista.”
The entire week we never left the island, and why would we? We had a great house, Casa Amarilla, with a chef-worthy kitchen, a lap pool in the back yard, one deck to watch sunrise and another deck to watch sunset. Most importantly, our house was a short walk from Punta Sur, the eastern most tip of Mexico that features Punta de Amanecer, the Point of Sunrise.
As the first part of Mexico to be touched by the sun’s rays every morning, this spot has a “Key West Sunset” vibe that draws visitors from all over the island. Every day began with our group ambling over, coffee in hand, to the same spot that Mayan warriors hung out 2,000 years earlier. The statue of the Mayan Goddess Ixchel alongside the giant iguana statue greeted us every morning as we entered the point.
My Top Seven Isla Memories:
1. Sitting on our deck, listening to a Christmas jazz collection while sipping one of Art’s top shelf margaritas as the sun set over the turquoise waters and the Cancun skyline.
2. Our private Chef dinner that featured Mexican lobster, shrimp, and fish, along with killer guacamole and totopos (chips).
3. Visiting the Women’s Beading Cooperative to witness beautiful, handmade necklaces, bracelets, purses and more. This wonderful business provides an income to island residents and provided us the chance to purchase colorful and unique Christmas presents.
4. Snorkeling off the beach at Garrafon Natural Reef Park. This part of the world is renowned for crystal clear water and abundant fish, and the reef didn’t disappoint.
5. Our spur of the moment golf cart “Photo Safari” that covered the whole island and gave me the opportunity to capture all the colorful murals, statues, and dramatic Caribbean coastline of Isla.
6. Singing (badly, I should add) old Motown hits while we cooked, ate, drank, and reminisced together in the kitchen.
7. Our afternoon lounging at the Capitán Dulché Beach Club. This was not your run-of-the-mill beach club. A row of faceless, metal statues greet you as you arrive, and great food and drinks welcome you as you lounge at the beach, in the pool, or under the palapa.
This is a really tiny island that is five miles long and half a mile wide at its widest point, yet every inch is worth exploring. And explore we did, walking and “golf carting” every day. This quirky, historically significant, and simply gorgeous slice of Mexico proved to be an idyllic location to reconnect with good friends.
Seven days post-arrival, none of us were ready to depart and I fully understood why a number of expats chose to make this place their home. It was a great place to end 2021 and set the stage for 2022. Our “Big Chill” week at Casa Amarilla left us all singing Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.”
To read more about Larry’s adventures with THIRDHOME, click here. Stay tuned for more of his travels!