Let me qualify something I said yesterday about Isla being a little rough around the edges. I was referring specifically to the area around North Beach, the primary tourist area. There were plenty of small hotels and rental apartments, but only a couple of newer Hi-Rise Condo type accomodations (which were quite pricey when I was scouting for a place to stay).Most of the Buildings were old,but in good shape. The Main Square was a 1/4 blk from our Rental and was just across from a Super Market and an Internet Cafe. The Square is home to the Catholic Church and was nicely decorated for the Holiday. I hear that it was the sight of a great NY's Eve Party on 12/31 - the day that we left.
Our apartment was immaculate and included midweek housekeeping with a linen change. We were 1/2 blk. from Ave. Hidalgo which is the main drag ,lined with restaurants,bars,shopping and cafes. There were several restaurants on side streets only two of which we tried (need a reason to return!).I am told that the Southern end of the Island is quite beautiful/scenic and I would like to explore there on another trip. We explored the South Central part of the island a bit when we wnt to the Dolphin Park and Turtle Sanctuary one day and to a private Beach Club another day. There seems to be several luxury rentals and hotels in this less congested area, though we did not see any restaurants or shops in this area. Cabs are plentiful and I doubt that a Taxi to Downtown would be more than $5 - $6.00.
Many people rent Golf Carts to travel around the island. We did this for 24 hours (about $65.00). It was fun, but a little nervewracking (for me) to share the road with trucks,buses,cabs, etc. (there are no seatbelts).I wouldn't do this again for 24 hrs. You don't need it in town,cabs are cheap & plentiful, and there was no way that I would be on the road after dark in a Golf Cart!
Though I can't quite put my finger on it, Isla is different from any other Carribbean Island I have visited. There were many tourists,but it didn't feel like a tourist trap.There are clearly poor people, but not as much poverty as I have seen on other islands. It is a real place where real people live. It is old and small with its' own distinct charm/character - though certainly not charming in the way of those small Villages and Towns that I love so much in Tuscany!
I did not take any pictures of the apartment, but it was exactly as it appeared on the website for Cande's Apartments
The Town Square on Christmas Eve
Restaurants and Shops on Ave. Hildago
The View from our Roof Deck
Our Block going towards the Beach