Sunday, July 31, 2011

Casa Luna Turquesa

I always tiptoe around where we stay on Isla, especially while we're there. It's mostly for privacy and security reasons, but there's also that selfish part of me that wants my favorite place to be a secret so it will always be available for me when I want to stay. That cat's obviously out of the bag because I've been told this secret place is one of the most popular rentals on the island, so it's about time I posted a complete review on this blog!

The place we keep returning to year after year on Isla Mujeres is Casa Luna Turquesa! It's a lovely home located towards the south end of the airport strip in an area populated by pricey Caribbean front residential homes.

I first noticed the house on one of my round the island bike rides back in November 2004. It was under construction at the time, but I wondered if it would come available on the rental market? We'd stayed at Casa del Sol the spring of 2004, so Craig and I both were hooked on staying oceanfront away from the hotels in El Centro on a quiet beach. I'd also discovered seaglass in 2004 and knew the airport strip beaches were chockful of it.

Sure enough, I eagerly watched the local booking sites and Casa Luna Turquesa popped up as a vacation rental on Isla Beckons in 2005. I quickly decided to book one of the studios for a month in October/November 2005. Unfortunately, Wilma struck two days before my trip, wiping out my plans for a month of bliss. I'd rented through Isla Beckons and the house was not damaged by the hurricane, so the owners graciously rescheduled my rental to April 2006 with no extra charge for high season rates.

That month at the Luna Turquesa upper studio in April 2006 was sheer heaven. We broadened our horizons from El Centro to the colonias, shopping at the little tiendas, eating tacos at the balllpark, and taking our morning walks out the Caribe side and cutting back through the colonias. We spent our early mornings on the upstairs porch eating breakfast while we watched the island pass by on the street. Later, we walked into town for beach time on Playa Norte, then returned to sit by the pool in the afternoons. The water in front of the house was flat enough for Craig to snorkel most days. Having stayed there for a full month, I can tell you the pool was always clean, the maids were there twice weekly to insure clean linens, supplies, and spotless rooms, and the property manager dropped by frequently to make sure everything was good and ask if we needed anything. We were very sad to leave at the end of our month.

One of the little secrets that keeps us returning to Luna Turquesa year after year are the narrow sliding windows high above the sliders in the upstairs studios. The narrow windows can safely be left open (there are also rods in all the tracks of every slider to ensure safety) to hear the crashing waves! I feel perfectly safe staying at Luna Turquesa even if I'm by myself and have never had any security issue.

Luna Turquesa's even gotten better over the years. What amazes me is that it's so well maintained. Everything still looks new! We've stayed in a few oceanfront properties that easily look 10 years old after a couple of years from the corrosion and wear and tear, so I realize the amount of work it must take to maintain that high level of consistency! Wireless internet and DVD players have also been added to the upstairs studios for extra entertainment options.

We recently stayed in the downstairs in June and it's equally wonderful! All the living areas in the downstairs have beautiful views of the blue Caribe, and both bedrooms are ensuite with their own private bathrooms and huge closets. In addition, the downstairs has satellite television, which was a nice surprise since it carried the Seattle stations I'd been missing since we moved away five years ago.

The area around the location has also blossomed with some good restaurants in the colonias within walking distance. Da Luisa is just two doors to the south up top Casa Ixchel. John Cain was playing Saturday Happy Hour there in June. I also noticed morning yoga classes at Casa Ixchel under their palapa while we were eating breakfast at Da Luisa. The Mango, which serves excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner, is only about a 15 minute walk to the south. Monchi's, located just south of the Mango, has good Mexican food. The cut street to the bayside of the island is just south of Luna Turquesa in the colonias, so Seso Loco, Chuk Kay, and The Soggy Peso are also within walking distance. El Centro's only about a 20 minute walk, and it's also easy to hail a cab in front of the house. At the time of our last trip, we paid about 20 pesos to El Centro and also the supermercado and Basto's in La Gloria. Taxi rates have risen since our trip, and I think the going rate is now 25 pesos.

Here's a link to Casa Luna Turquesa on VRBO. The pictures below are mostly of the exterior because the interior photos on all the booking websites for the house are totally accurate. What's pictured there is exactly what the house looks like to date! And last time I looked on the booking sites, there's a 15% low season discount in place!

The upstairs porch -- our favorite spot to watch the island pass by in the mornings and evenings!

The sunset view from the rooftop out over the bay.

Craig lounging in the pool in June. If you're staying on Isla Mujeres in the hot summer months, the Caribe side is the place to be! Afternoons spent dipping in and out of the pool with the nice breeze feel at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the heat in El Centro.

Another gorgeous summer sunset from the rooftop!

In addition to listening to the crashing waves, waking to the sunrise every morning is another special perk!

View from the pool!

The infinity view from the upstairs studios. It's fun to watch fishing boats and the occasional cruise ship pass by.

Another sunrise!

View from the balcony to the beach in front.

The upstairs south studio. Notice those narrow little sliders that can be opened for ventilation and the sound of the waves! I apologize because the bed's a little rumpled and my interior photos are not as good as those on their websites.

Anyway, that's my little secret revealed in its totality. We've stayed all round the island in accommodations from semi-rustic to the higher end places on Playa Norte, but we keep returning to Casa Luna Turquesa for its consistent serenity and beauty.


Janet said...

Ooohhh Becky, what a nice post, makes me a bit melancholy. Cal and I loved CLT. I noticed it on our walks, and was sold on it by reading different things you wrote. We are going to try La Joya in March, but will probably do CLT in June. Maybe we'll see you in June???

Ann said...

Our upcoming trip will be the 1st in 10 years that we don't have specific obligations while we are there
( like the BBash ) Someday we might try out of Centro, but just like you, we have found a place we love...we even adjusted the dates of our trip so we could get the room we really like!

Life's a Beach! said...

Janet, I think you'll love the view from La Joya too! Not sure about June for us. Craig got a little burnt out on the summer weather after those two back to back tropical waves that started the day you and Cal left. Maybe we should come earlier in June! Not sure just when, but I'm sure we'll be back on Isla sometime in 2012!

Ann, I think I know your place! We've decided we're out of town people, but we're always in El Centro at least once a day.

Anonymous said...

I've had my eye on Luna Turquesa when looking at options and wishing for a return trip. I leave for Bucerias in just over a month - hopefully Isla will happen in 2012. I love the Caribe side - thanks for a great, informative post!


Anonymous said...

Love your post about CLT. I remember coming across it when I was planning our 2010 family trip and thought next time my husband and I go alone, that would be perfect. Like you, I love Centro, but we prefer to sleep and wake somewhere else on the island.

Life's a Beach! said...

Jeanne, have fun in Bucerias! I think you'd like Luna Turquesa when you get back to Isla! My Down Time, I checked out your blog. Great photos and trip reports on Isla!

drgeo said...

Hey Beck, any photos from the Isla alumni association meeting at the Tee Pee last Friday? I'm hoping the TP is really a building instead of a tent because 109 degrees seems distracting. If it rains when that hot, is one's clothing automatically steam cleaned?

drgeo said...

Hey Beck, any photos from the Isla alumni association meeting at the Tee Pee last Friday? I'm hoping the TP is really a building instead of a tent because 109 degrees seems distracting. If it rains when that hot, is one's clothing automatically steam cleaned?

AJ. Baxter said...

I like the style of your blog. I've been considering a format change and may take may inspiration from your site. Thanks,


Life's a Beach! said...

drgeo, the Tee Pee Party is this next Friday. Brad and Tiffany were shocked to find out we'd never been to the Tee Pee since it's an iconic Phoenix bar/restaurant. I'll make sure I get some photos! A.J., thanks so much! Your photos of Belize are so beautiful! I redid my format about a year ago using Blogger's new templates. It was fairly easy!

krisla said...

Hi..just read this post and what a nice review...such a lot of good things packed into one place. We always call that place the McDonald house because of the M arches in front-great to see how it turned out!