We left Halifax international airport the day after a snowstorm (believe it or not) April 11. We went with another couple and stayed at Hotetur Beach Paradise. We're not into 5 stars. We booked with Entertainment Plus for the airport transfer. No doubt we're the only people who booked with Brant's (we don't know him- but we think of him as 'Brant' because he's Canadian-even if he's from the opposite coast!) transfer to Dos Playas last year. Beach Paradise was Great! The staff was fabulous. The food was very good (even for buffet). We had lamb and salmon at the specialty restaurant and it was excellent. We had no complaints about the food, service or accommodation. We had jr suites and I would have preferred a balcony, but the hotel was booked. I hadn't asked previously, so I got what I got. Great ocean view, though. We booked two trips through 'Brant's' service. Since there were four of us, we booked private tours. One to Xcaret - Xcaret, as always was fantastic. We split lunch at Dos Playas- we had the steak and seafood grill and it was incredible. We ate overlooking those little pools made by the rocks in the ocean, and there's no way that meal could have gotten any better. We didn't want to eat too much, though, 'cause we booked the meal at the night show. We were really looking forward to that, but it was a huge disappointment. It couldn't compare with the lunch. The night show was great! We really like that last song; Mexico en la piel, I think it translates to 'Mexico under my skin' or at least in my bad Spanish Next day, we hung at the beach and drank too much- I know that hasn't happened to any one else! I think the highlight was the trip to Ek Balam, Ik Kil and Valladolid- again with Brant's service. Our driver, Patrick (we teased him about the old Mexican name) was an incredible guy. We arrived at Ek Balam aroun 9 am. There were two other people there. Our guide was an scrawny canine, who didn't talk much but obligingly shadowed us as we climbed the largest pyramid and tiptoed around the site as though some Mayan God was gonna come down and kick serious butt because we weren't showing proper respect. The sky was overcast and it was very still- only the sounds of the jungle. It was incredibly spooky and awe inspiring. Unforgettable, really. We then headed for Chichen Itza. It was early Sunday morning, so it wasn't as crowded as it is usually. It fills up quickly, and although I felt privileged to be there, the crowds eating chips and catcalling somehow destroyed the mood. We had lunch at Ik Kil. Went for a swim. There were a couple of Danish guys afraid to go in the water and my gf threatened to grab them by the ankles. Other than that it was deserted. I don't know if I've ever seen anything so beautiful. On our way to Valladolid, Patrick took us to some friends of his in a place called Akaui (I think that's it). The house was made of sticks and there were a couple of pigs and chickens in the back yard. The girl in the family sold hankerchiefs at Chichen Itza and her father collected sticks to sell from the jungle to support the family. There were 4 hammocks and a and a small kitchen in the house. The mother taught us how to make tortillas. It was an incredible experience, and I won't ever complain about not making enough money again. We then went on to Valladolid and bought a hammock and some sort of Mayan honey liquer. Unfortunately, I drank most of it after imbibing considerable tequila, so I can't give you an objective report. Valladolid was really interesting. It was Sunday and as taxi drivers passed the church, they crossed themselves. I really recommend Brant's private tours, and Patrick is an amazing guy with a social conscience. I'll post some pics tomorrow. Now we're spending most of our time plotting how to get back for Christmas.