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Casa Las Tortugas Hotel in Holbox

27 Mar

Our favorite part of our weekend trip to the island of Holbox was our hotel: Casa Las Tortugas. Jorge and I both agreed that if and when we return to Holbox, we will be staying at Casa Las Tortugas again.

The hotel has a beautiful pool area, a beachfront restaurant, a spa and a chic beach club area. We loved the rustic Mexican design and beautiful palapas throughout.

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Jorge and I booked the most basic room. I was worried I’d regret not getting an ocean view room, but as we spent an evening lying in the hammock on our balcony listening to the ocean breeze move through the palm trees… I knew we’d made the right choice.

24 Hours in Holbox

26 Mar

This year, Jorge and I have made a list of all the places in the state of Quintana Roo that we’d like to visit. We’ve already crossed many places off our list, although it’s not doing us much good since the list seems to grow every week!

Still, this weekend we were happy to go to the island of Holbox (pronounced “Hole-Bosh”), something we’ve tried to do unsuccessfully for a few years now.

Since we have no car, we had to plan around public transportation, which is very reliable but didn’t present us with many options for time. Here’s a rundown of how we got to Holbox:

  • 8 am Saturday: Took Mayab bus to Chiquila from the downtown Cancun bus station (cost: $85 pesos per person)
    • 3 hour bus ride, with stops in several small villages along the way
    • Arrival in Chiquila just in time to catch the ferry
  • 11 am: ferry to Holbox island (cost: $80 pesos per person, time: 30 minutes)
    • Note: most of the day, there are ferries leaving every hour or every 2 hours
  • Golf cart taxi from the marina to our hotel (cost: $30 pesos)

The island was absolutely stunning. The downtown area is quite small, with lots of restaurants, colorful shops, and sand streets. You won’t see any cars on Holbox! Only bikes, mopeds and golf carts.

We fell in love with the island and the hotel, although we were a bit disappointed in the water. The sand was white and powder-soft and the water in the distance was clear, bright turquoise… but right on the shoreline, there was either thick mud or brownish-green water with lots of sargasso. It was beautiful, but I guess we’re spoiled after spending so much time on beaches in Cancun and on Isla Mujeres. We’re very picky!

**Note: My friend Kelly tells me that the water is much clearer other times of year. Good to know 🙂

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We came back only 24 hours later, around noon on Sunday, to catch the last bus back to Cancun. Here’s how we did it:

  • 12:40 pm: golf cart taxi picked us up at our hotel and took us to the Holbox marina (cost: $30 pesos)
  • 1 pm: ferry back to Chiquila
  • In Chiquila, there was a 1:45 bus that took the 3-hour route back to Cancun (cost: $85 pesos). There was also a bus at 2 pm that took a more direct route with no stops and took 2 hours (cost: $115 pesos). We opted for the 2 pm bus.
    • We would have loved to stay longer, but the 2 pm bus was the last one back to Cancun for the entire day. Travelers taking a car can leave much later, or you can take a taxi back for $70 US dollars.
  • 4 pm: back in Cancun

Even though we only had 24 hours on Holbox, we felt like it was just enough time to relax, unwind, explore the island and enjoy some amazing food.

Tomorrow I’ll do a separate post on our hotel, because it was AMAZING!

Mundo Maya 2012 Video

5 Jul

This year, Mexico’s President Calderon has announced a new program called “Mundo Maya 2012” to promote the Mayan culture, archaeology and heritage as we get closer to the infamous year of 2012. I’m super excited about it because the Yucatan Peninsula is full of Mayan culture and ruins, plus Jorge’s family is of Mayan descent. (Does that make me an honorary Mayan? My suegra would probably say so.)

The Secretary of Tourism has put together this incredible video for the program. Enjoy!

Of these, I’ve only been to Palenque, Tulum and Chichen Itza. I’ve got a long way to go! Have you been to any of the sites shown in the Mundo Maya 2012 video?

Father’s Day in Chabihau

29 Jun

**Note: If I normally follow you and I haven’t commented on your blog in a few weeks, it’s because about 1/3 of the blogs I follow have been strangely blocked on this computer. Trying to figure out what’s going on…**

Ok, I am a horrible blogger! But it’s been a pretty busy month, which is awesome. I still haven’t shared my photos from my trip to Chabihau, Yucatan with you, and that was almost TWO WEEKS AGO. For shame. We went to the towns of Chabihau and Yobain for Father’s Day to visit Jorge’s family, and it was relaxing as usual!

The best tamales I ever had!

Jorge in his natural habitat… in front of the table.

Happy dogs!

flamingos 🙂 That's as close as they get, though.

Arrow!

"chilpachole de langosta" with lobster Jorge's uncle caught that morning... HUGE!!

A new beach house in Chabihau... I'm going to steal it.

Cenote Tour in San Crisanto

25 Mar

I mentioned on Tuesday that during our trip to Chabihau, Yucatan, we stopped by the neighboring town of San Crisanto for a cenote tour.

The tour costs $40 pesos (about $3 USD) and lasts an hour and a half, taking you on a small boat through the mangrove jungle until you reach the beautiful cenote.

Jorge, Mike and Mau are ready for a nature tour with their carton of "chelas"

Since the water is only a few inches deep and they want to protect the area, they use motorless boats steered by a local, gondola-style

"Navajuela" (which roughly translates to "razorleaf") is a regional plant that looks harmless, but if you touch it, the sharp leaves will cut you. Jorge can attest that this is true from previous experience haha

There were tons of these trees right by the water. They had branches that grew downwards into the water.

The guides waiting for their groups at the cenote

This hole in the bottom of the cenote is where it connects to the underground river system of the Yucatan Peninsula.

San Crisanto has done a lot over the past few years to bring in tourism while still maintaining its natural beauty.

For my previous post on our day exploring San Crisanto, check it out here.

San Crisanto

22 Mar

We wanted to do something special to celebrate our civil wedding, so we decided to take a bunch of our Cancun friends to one of our favorite places … Chabihau. Set on the coast of the state of Yucatan (about 40 minutes north of Merida), this fishing village is where Jorge’s mom grew up and where a lot of his family still lives.

Here are some links to my previous posts on Chabihau:

Yucatan Seafood on New Years

Yucatan Seafood: Ceviche de Chivitas

Chabihau Beach at Sunset

Flamingo Photo Hunt

This time around we did more touristy stuff, with a cenote tour and some exploring. I’ve already posted about Chabihau tons of times here, so today I’ll focus on our trips to the neighboring village of San Crisanto.

San Crisanto has been focusing on tourism for the past few years. They have some interesting tours, beautiful salinas (salt lagoons) that change color with the season, dramatic beaches, addictive coconut pudding, and friendly locals.

This weekend the salina was bright orange

On Sunday we did a cenote tour in San Crisanto, but since that merits its own post, I’ll wait until later this week.

Yucatan Seafood on New Years Day (not for the squeamish… you’ve been warned)

3 Jan

Well, I had a very busy but very fun New Years weekend! Jorge and I went to visit his family in the towns of Chabihau and Yobain (near Merida, Yucatan) for a few days.

My first meal of 2011 was filled with traditional Yucatan cuisine, made mostly with fresh seafood caught by Jorge’s uncles and cousins in the beach town of Chabihau.

For my first meal of the new year, I had "Chilpachole", a soup made with shrimp and "jaiba" (a Mexican crab). I also got to try the jaiba meat straight from the shell. This is one of my favorite soups!

fresh local "jaiba"

Jorge's uncle shows me the "tikinxic" (Yucatecan dish with enormous grilled fish) before going on the grill. It's split open and covered in bright red achiote sauce.

Tikinxic on the outdoor grill

Tikinxic... ready to eat!

Would anyone like to venture a guess as to what this is? It's a mass of fish eggs! Roe! Yummy...

Jorge's family gathered around for a meal of tikinxic, chilpachole, and frijoles charros (Mexican version of pork and beans)

And just so we can end this post on a non-queasy note, here are some photos of Chabihau on New Years Day, 2011…

What did you have to eat/drink for New Years?

Double Rainbow in Temozon, Yucatan

12 Nov

I just realized that I never posted my double rainbow photos and video!!

It was from when we stopped to eat in the town of Temozon right on the way back from Ek’ Balam ruins. Jorge and I walked down the road to a furniture shop and saw a full double rainbow! It wouldn’t all fit onto one photo, so I made a video. Click here to check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/v/472479006479

And here are the photos…

 

Mayan Legend: The Xtabay Woman

1 Oct

Some of you may know that my husband, Jorge, is from the Yucatan Peninsula, along with his entire family. (Specifically, near the city of Merida.) This particular area is filled with Mayan heritage and culture, which can still be seen a bit in Jorge’s family.

When we visited the Ek’ Balam Mayan ruins recently, we saw a “ceiba” tree (SAY-bah).

The ceiba tree we saw at Ek' Balam

My mother-in-law told us the Mayan legend regarding the ceiba tree.

If a man is out wandering around at night and passes by a ceiba tree, he just might see an “Xtabay” (ish-tah-BYE). An Xtabay is a seductive temptress who stands under the tree, brushing her long, dark hair.

The Xtabay will seduce the late-night traveler. Then, one of two things will happen:

1. The man will be led by the Xtabay off the path, deep into the jungle, to die. (This is the version my mother-in-law prefers.)

2. The Xtabay will ensnare him in an embrace, and violently kill him right there. He’ll later be found filled with the thorns of the ceiba tree.

thorns on the branches of the ceiba tree at Ek' Balam

Most of the Xtabay’s victims are found dead, but over the centuries, a few have managed to escape and tell their story.

According to my in-laws, you’re more likely to come across the Xtabay when you’re drunk. I don’t find this surprising 🙂 haha

Ek’ Balam Mayan Ruins in Yucatan

21 Sep

This weekend, my in-laws took us to see some Mayan ruins along with some family friends. It was an AMAZING time!

We went to Ek’ Balam (which means “Black Jaguar” in Mayan), a site located about 2 hours from Cancun, near the city of Valladolid in the state of Yucatan.

Words are insufficient, so I’ll just leave you with photos…

There are 2 hills like this. Each has a large, unearthed acropolis underneath.

The ball court:

The main acropolis… 106 stairs. I got halfway up and panicked. Luckily Jorge made it all the way and was able to take photos.

Beautifully preserved carvings at the entrance to a tomb:

And finally… Pepino the snake.