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Tarantula Crossing (or “Why I Don’t Go Into the Jungle”)

1 Sep

So on our trip to La Ruta de los Cenotes this weekend, I mentioned that you can often see Yucatan animals crossing the road. On our way back from Cenote Lucero Verde, we stopped when we saw this bad boy crawling out of the jungle:

Posted in full size so you can take in every hairy detail

I asked my father-in-law if I could get out and take a picture because… well, because I’m a blogger and that’s what we do. I would have put my hand side-by-side for a size comparison, but I’m not suicidal. (Just trust me when I say it was roughly the size of my face.)

I’ve identified it as a Yucatan Rust Rump Tarantula.

Cenote Verde Lucero

31 Aug

This past weekend, my in-laws, Jorge and I decided to travel in search of adventure in La Ruta de Los Cenotes (The Cenote Route), located just south of the town of Puerto Morelos about half an hour from Cancun.

La Ruta de los Cenotes is a small highway that heads further and further inland from the coast, bordered on either side by dense jungle. Along the way, you’ll see rustic signs pointing toward dirt roads leading off the highway to take you out to adventure parks, eco hotels and beautiful cenotes. (If you’re lucky, you might see some unique Yucatan wildlife crossing the road! We saw a pisot and a tarantula.)

After checking out some eco cabins, artisan shops, local farms and winding dirt roads through the jungles of the Yucatan, we finally came across the stunning Cenote Verde Lucero (Green Star Cenote). We got there late, but decided to go in and explore anyway. The cenote had a zipline, a small cliff, bright green waters, several small caves and a beautiful canopy of trees. There were a few groups there already, and they were having so much fun I knew I had to come back soon and spend an entire day here… maybe bring some sandwiches and sodas and 20 of my closest friends.

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An entire day at this cenote is only $80 pesos per person (about $7 US dollars). We will definitely be back here with friends and family, although I can’t promise I’ll be doing any cliff jumping!

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Xel-Ha

19 Apr

For my birthday this past weekend, we decided to go with some friends to Xel-Ha.

Xel-Ha is a huge ecopark set on in inlet in the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen. It has a great All Inclusive plan (all you can eat buffets and all you can drink bars), and it’s perfect for snorkeling, exploring and just relaxing. It has cenotes, lagoons, a mile-long river you can swim through, cliffs, ziplines, a floating bridge, and the list goes on.

One of the highlights was floating down the river, but I didn’t get any pictures because I don’t have a waterproof camera. I saw lots of fish and a barracuda!

Other than that, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The dolphinarium

Its hard to get the full effect from this picure, but under this bridge were HUNDREDS of fish. Later, Jorge and I snorkeled through there... Ive never had such an amazing experience. Then someone threw fish food on top of me and I was attacked by hundreds of fish. Good times haha

Jorge and Juan trying to look cool by the floating bridge

The man of my dreams, taking a much-needed nap.

Our Beaches Kick Butt

12 Apr

I’m so proud!

TripAdvisor’s Choice 2011: The Top 25 Beaches in the World

My state of Quintana Roo is representing! We have FOUR of the top 25 best beaches in the world (and that’s considering that they forgot Puerto Morelos!) Guess who made TripAdvisor’s list:

#5: Tulum I know I have a picture of Tulum’s beach around here somewhere… might have to look around on the iPod later tonight.

#15: Isla Mujeres Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I’m just surprised it’s not higher up!


#17: Playa del Carmen The views, the ambiance and the sand are incredible.


#20: Cancun Hurray!!!I live 20 minutes away from the 20th best beach in the world! Not too shabby, eh? I’m still going to have to disagree with this choice because Cancun has too many waves for my taste… but maybe I’m just being picky.


Guess who’s going to be at the beach this weekend? 😉

Beach Day in Puerto Morelos

14 Mar

Saturday was a fun day. Juan, Viri and Jorge picked me up from work at 1 pm to go down to the beach. We went to the beach at Puerto Morelos (about 20 minutes south of Cancun), which I’d never done before. I had no idea it was so beautiful! The beach is much wider than the beaches in Cancun and the sand was a little softer, plus there were no waves! Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres is still our favorite beach, but this comes in a close second.

Beachfront Lunch in Puerto Morelos

24 Jan

First of all, thanks to everyone for the advice last week on this post. I was expecting it to be more of a unanimous opinion, but everyone had something different to say!

I think everyone was right, which was what made this a difficult decision. In the end, Jorge and I decided that we won’t be getting involved in real estate anytime soon, and there will probably be more courses available in the future, so we’ll save the money now and take a course later!

—————

Anyway, moving on…

This weekend was a blast! On Saturday, my friends Juan and Viri invited me to lunch with their families in Puerto Morelos, a small beach town about 20 minutes south of Cancun.

I’d passed through Puerto Morelos many times, but this was the first time I’d seen the beach!

We had a late lunch at Pelicanos restaurant (lunch in Mexico is at about 3 – 4 pm). The food was ok, but the drinks and the view were AMAZING.

Pelicanos restaurant
View from our table

My shrimp ceviche... not bad, but a little dry!

Juan Sr's giant fried fish

The boardwalk

The dock and the beautiful Caribbean

*sigh*

Viri and I stopped by this neighboring restaurant for some Kahlua flan.

"La Panza Es Primero" - "The Stomach Comes First" .... amen.

My strong but delicious mojito!

I’m so glad I finally got to spend some time in the town of Puerto Morelos! I could enjoy those views (and those mojitos) for a lifetime.

A Taste of Playa

25 Nov

This past Sunday was the annual Taste of Playa event in Playa del Carmen.

The event was held at Parque Fundadores, a beautiful area by the beach. Many of Playa del Carmen’s best bars and restaurants set up their own table, serving samples of their more popular dishes and drinks.

I’d been dying to go for months, but Jorge wasn’t as excited about it. Good husband that he is, he agreed to tag along. By the end of the day, I think Jorge was more excited than I was!

 

First, we went to buy our “Taste of Playa Pesos”. This little chips costs $10 pesos (or $1 US) each. With these, you could buy a drink or sample dish from the different restaurants and bars.

Jorge and I were able to try quite a lot for $200 pesos ($20 US)… not too bad!

Fried shrimp with sauce, and a side of rice with lime

"Sex on the Bar" by Luna Blue... best drink ever?? I may or may not have had 3 of these...

Cupcakes by Turtle Bay Cafe and Bakery ... God bless you

Red velvet cupcake

Overall, such a fun event! I was surprised by the number of expats I saw there (probably way more expats than Mexicans!)

We’ll definitely be back next year.

Exploring Playa del Carmen

24 Nov

This Sunday was one of the funnest days ever!

Jorge and I took the bus down to Playa del Carmen for their annual event, “A Taste of Playa”. WordPress is being a little screwy, so I’ll have to show you the event photos tomorrow.

We got there a little early so that we could have some time to walk around, since Playa is one of our most favorite places.

Here are some of my photos from Playa’s famous “Quinta Avenida” (Fifth Avenue) and the beach.

 

Check back tomorrow to see what we did at “A Taste of Playa”!

EcoGuestrooms

3 Sep

Remember Monday when I posted about our weekend at Sandos Caracol EcoResort and Spa?

Today I’m going to show you our room! It was simple, yet cheerful. I loved the layout, and someday would like to have a Master Suite with a similar one.

I love the big closets in the hallway

Yes, we each brought our own suitcase just for a weekend. Don't judge me.

view from one of the windows... the kids' water park. The other window looked out over beautiful gardens and the mangrove forest.

Anyway, the coolest part of the room was right by the door…

In order to turn the power on for the room, you had to insert your room card into a slot. What does that mean? That when you’re not in the room, everything is turned off. Love that idea!!!!

The hotel is also undergoing renovations on the guestrooms in order to (1) make them more fabulous and (2) make them some of the region’s most ecofriendly rooms. Good job, Sandos Caracol.

Weekend at Sandos Caracol All-Inclusive Resort

30 Aug

This weekend, Jorge and I went with some of our friends to Sandos Caracol Resort in Playa del Carmen for my friend Juan’s birthday. We’d been once before, and we LOVE IT! It’s an all-inclusive eco-resort, and they’ve done everything they can to leave a lot of the native surroundings intact. Most resorts here tend to cut down everything to make room for villas, pools, bars, etc. This hotel has done the same, but still left behind lots of local mangrove all over the property.

This means lots of wildlife roaming on the resort grounds, a creek running through the middle of the resort, beautiful mangrove scenery and 2 gorgeous cenotes.

I love the layout of the hotel. Many resorts here have a bunch of builings set in a semi-circle in front of the beach, with the big pool area in the middle. This resort is a bit different, with small villas spread out along winding paths throughout the property, with restaurants and small pools nestled in there. It definitely makes things feel a lot more private.

24-hour outdoor buffet? Yes, please!

View of the mangrove from my favorite bar

The spa has a sauna, showers, jacuzzis and hydromassage pool with beds that you can use FOR FREE!! I have definitely spent a few hours here 🙂

People in Mayan costumes hanging out in the parking lot before a show 🙂

A 100% Mexican dog breed, called a Xoloitzcuintle, known for being used by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs

The adults pool, where we usually spend most of our time

Gringation, living the life

The main outdoor buffet often gets special visitors...

"I like to move it, move it"

The hotel just got a new kids' water park this year, called Splash.

Getting a little better at taking nighttime photos...

Freshly rolled cigars

Las Mascaras Mexican restaurant

The resort is currently completely renovating some of their guestrooms, mainly the ones closest to the beach. They’re going to be bigger, more modern and more eco-friendly. The main pool will also be bigger. AWESOME!  (The renovations in no way affected our stay, btw, and everything still looks attractive!)

Mr. and Mrs. Gringation

During certain seasons, Sandos Caracol gives special discounts to locals. We got an all-inclusive deal for $650 pesos (about $50 US) per person per night. Not too shabby!

The staff is incredibly friendly and the grounds are impeccable, yet natural. We’ll definitely be back a third time!

Check back later this week for pics of our hotel room, and the great idea they have for keeping guests eco-friendly!