Tag Archives: beach

Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon: Copacabana

12 Nov

We’ve been back from Rio de Janeiro since Wednesday, after a fun night sleeping in a dirty restaurant booth at the airport, followed by a 9 1/2 hour flight. Good times. (This bad attitude is exactly why I could never be a backpacker… or go camping.) Can’t complain too much, though, because our airfare from Mexico to Brazil was free! (Best. Deal. Ever.)

Now that we’re settled back into Cancun, I can go ahead and start showing photos of our belated honeymoon!

In Rio de Janeiro, we stayed in the Copacabana neighborhood right on the beach. Most hotels were fairly expensive despite not being very exciting-looking, and even a private room at a hostel would have run us upward of $80 US a night several blocks from the beach, and most were booked up. We were very lucky to find out about Gringo Management, who has many apartments for rent in the Copacabana and Ipanema areas for very cheap. Our apartment was on the 12th floor of an apartment building just half a block from the beach, for only $75 US a night! It looked recently redone, plus it had ocean views, Wi-Fi, cable TV, a kitchenette and a small but nice bathroom. We were pretty impressed with it. (Didn’t take any pictures of it, though… oops!)

The view from our window

Our first day in Rio, we spent the whole afternoon walking up and down the boardwalk. It’s a very long boardwalk and it took quite a few hours! The beach and boardwalk were packed that day because apparently it’s a holiday in Brazil. The main road (Avenida Atlantica) had been closed to traffic to allow for more pedestrians. It was a pretty awesome way to start our vacation! After a long walk, we fell asleep on the beach. (Hey, we were tired!)

We didn’t take any photos our first day because we wanted to just take it all in, but here are some photos of the Copacabana neighborhood from other days:

Overall we really enjoyed staying in Copacabana, especially on the busier holidays and weekend. The mountain views from the beach were amazing, especially after years in the flat, flat terrain of the Yucatan Peninsula. (**This was the first time Jorge had ever seen mountains.**) There were also tons of cool little bars along the boardwalk, where I ordered mostly caipirinhas and pizza!

In a few days I’ll blog about our morning at Christ the Redeemer! Stay tuned…

Our Honeymoon is Booked! Guess Where We’re Going?

30 Sep

**I’d like to apologize to my readers in advance for any excessive use of exclamation points.**

I’d been waiting until it was official to bring this up.

Jorge and I have booked our honeymoon! (over a year late, but ya know… whatever.)

In just a few weeks, we’ll be strolling along the streets and beaches of RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL!!!!

We’ll also be spending some of our time in nearby BUZIOS!!! So gorgeous.

This is really exciting for both of us. For me, I work in the travel industry and I’m surrounded by vacationers all the time, but I rarely get to travel myself! This will be my first time outside of North America.

For Jorge, not only is it his first time outside of Mexico… it’s his first time flying!

We need to save up some vacation spending money this month, and I need to pick up the pace at the gym. (My goal is to be rich and skinny in Rio.)

What’s your dream honeymoon destination?

My Mexico Video (aka “my first and last ever bikini shoot”)

27 Sep

While I was in Oaxaca on the Mexico Today kick-off event last June, I was asked to do an interview talking about Mexico and my city: Cancun. I was a bit nervous as I sat down in front of the camera, but I found that the words came easily to me. Talking about places I love so much was a breeze! The minutes flew by, and before I knew it, the video crew was telling me “Thanks! I think we got it.”

A few weeks later, I got an e-mail saying that Eye Candy would like to do some shots with me here in Cancun. (They call this extra footage “B Roll”… I feel very professional when I say that.) So in August, I spent a weekend hanging out with them in Party Center and on Isla Mujeres. It was a very difficult day swimming in the Caribbean Sea, eating burgers, riding in golf carts and drinking cocktails from coconuts, but somehow I got through it. 😉

This weekend I finally got to see the end result of my “My Mexico” story on Youtube. *drumroll* TA-DA!!!

**Please forgive the horrible face I’m making on the default image… very unfortunate.**

You can also see me and some of my Mexico Today partners in crime in other My Mexico videos on the “MexicoToday” Youtube page. We talk about Mexican beaches, Mexican markets, ecotourism, ancient ruins, and more.

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.

Xcaret

22 Sep

This weekend, I made the quick trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen with Jorge’s family to visit one of my favorite places in the world: Xcaret.

Xcaret is an immense ecopark filled with unbelieveable attractions. I’ve been there 4 or 5 times already, and I still haven’t seen everything! The park has Mayan ruins, an underground river, a Mayan village, an hacienda, greenhouses, a huge butterfly pavilion (my favorite part), stunning beaches, dolphins, jaguars, sharks, a lookout tower, amazing restaurants, an aquarium… and the list goes on. All this is surrounded by lush jungle and winding paths, making you feel as if you’ve stepped into another world.

This park isn’t just about nature, though. It’s about Mexico. Combining Mexican culture, Mayan roots and the stunning jungle setting of the Riviera Maya, Xcaret is heaven on Earth. (Except for the snake that slithered across my foot at the entrance… sent that thing flying with a high kick and a scream!)

We started the day wandering around the hacienda near the entrance, with beautiful courtyards and unique colonial artwork, followed by amazing views of the Riviera Maya from the lookout tower. Then, we stopped by the orchid greenhouse (WOW) and took a turn on a riverboat.

A few of us jumped into the underground river, where we swam through caves and vine-covered cliffs, exiting into a beautiful enclosed jungle filled with vibrant butterflies. We walked past jaguars, tapirs and monkeys on our way to explore some Mayan ruins, then stopped by Xcaret’s large aquarium.

After a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea in one of the park’s crystal clear inlets, the family grabbed a quick dinner and headed to Xcaret’s famous show. Mayan warriors greeted us along the fire-lit path to the immense theater, where we sat back and watched the Mayan ball game, Papantla flyers and traditional dances from all over Mexico.

The evening ended with the show’s final song, “Mexico en la Piel” (Mexico In Your Skin), which brings tears to my eyes every. single. time.

Exhausted, I took a little cat nap on the car ride back to Cancun, thinking how much I’m dying to go back already.

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You can follow Xcaret on Twitter via @XcaretPark

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.

Happy Saturday Sept 10

10 Sep

Today I’m gonna copy Kristi and Krysten with a Happy Saturday Post!

I'd be even happier if I were here!

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week

1. Doing the hydrotherapy circuit at the Excellence Playa Mujeres

2. My shimmery powder brush from The Body Shop

3. Watching Criminal Minds reruns

4. Project Runway (no spoilers please, haven’t seen this week’s episode yet!)

5. Photoplasty entries on Cracked.com

6. Getting my first credit card

7. Salmon and stuffed tomatoes for dinner

8. Winning $200 pesos at the Yak roulette table

9. Modern Family

10. My Starbucks buddies giving me multiple cake pop coupons

Bungee Jumping at Cancun’s Playa Tortugas

29 Aug

So I was organizing all my old photos this weekend (a huge chore) and I came across these babies… some guy bungee jumping at Playa Tortugas in Cancun’s Hotel Zone.

Playa Tortugas is one of the prettiest public beaches in Cancun with some great bars and restaurants, but we never go because it gets super crowded!

I told you it was crowded.

The guy bungee jumping took a good 5 minutes to work up the courage to jump, but the crowd in the water cheered him on!

Working up his courage...

There he goes!

Flying back

And the crowd goes wild!

Have you been bungee jumping? (I’m way too chicken.)

Casitas Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

20 Jul

Last night I had an amazing opportunity to go to the Ritz Carlton Cancun to see their first baby turtle release of the year. Within the next few weeks you’ll see more about their turtle program, but for now I wanted to share other parts of my visit.

When I walked into the lobby, I was excited to see an old buddy from college at the reception desk! (Cancun is a very small city.) So while I waited for my hostess, Eduardo (“Lalo”) and I got to catch up on old times. Paulina Feltrin, the hotel’s PR Director, came to greet me and gave me a tour of this immense hotel. It was amazing! Luxury restaurants, beautiful artwork, gorgeous facilities… *sigh* Everywhere we went, we were welcomed by smiling and attentive staff.

What really caught my eye was their culinary center. They offer cooking classes with Chef Rory Dunaway in this amazing kitchen:

I know, right?

As of now my cooking skills are limited to sandwiches,  spaghetti and some pretty great guacamole, but if my kitchen looked a bit more like this… I’d make cooking a priority! (Then I’d invite all of you guys over for fabulous brunches.)

After the turtle release (more on that later, I promise!), Paulina and I had an incredible dinner at their beach restaurant, Casitas. It was a truly beautiful setting in a private cabana overlooking the Caribbean. I got to practice my nighttime photography, which you guys know I’m still trying to master… so you know, apologies in advance for all blurriness.

Casitas Restaurant

Our private cabana

We started the meal with their seafood platter: shrimp, Alaskan king crab (my new favorite), lobster, oysters, tuna tartar and a variety of amazing dips.

**Word to the wise: You’re supposed to swallow oysters whole, not chew them. Learned this the hard way.

For the main course, I ordered the Petit Filet Mignon, which came with a selection of salts as well as chimichurri and bearnais sauce. Anyone who has had a meal with me knows that I tried them all! I also asked for a side of mashed potatoes with grated cheddar, which reminded me of my mom’s Twice Baked Potatoes. The entire main course was to die for, but unfortunately I was too busy enjoying it to take pictures. (shameful behavior for a blogger)

I did make up for it by taking pictures of dessert: a sampler of all their dessert options!

From left to right: chocolate with brownie, Key Lime Pie (best I've ever had!), orange and mandarin pannacotta, tiramisu, upside down pineapple cake, and cheesecake with raspberry cream

Paulina and I talked in Spanglish about culture, family, tourism and food throughout dinner, and completely lost track of time! It was 10:30 before I left to go home. By the time I walked out the door, I had fallen in love with their beach, the hotel, their community programs and Casitas restaurant.

Thanks so much to Paulina Feltrin and the Ritz Carlton Cancun for their incredible hospitality.

Sunday in Playa del Carmen

18 Jul

This Friday, Jorge and I will have our 1-year wedding anniversary… I know, time flies, right? Since we’re booked up with plans for our friends’ wedding next weekend, we decided to celebrate yesterday by heading down to Playa del Carmen for the day.

We had a late night Saturday (bachelor and bachelorette parties) and didn’t wake up until 12:30 pm! We didn’t arrive in Playa until about 4 in the afternoon… which actually worked out great because we avoided the heat!

After a quick late lunch at Subway, we walked down to the beach. Jorge and I aren’t huge fans of the water in Playa del Carmen (we’re too spoiled from all or trips to Isla Mujeres), but you can’t beat the vibe of Playa! There were acoustic artists and bands playing at the nearby beach clubs, providing us with a great soundtrack to our afternoon.

Once the sun started to go down, we walked up and down Playa’s 5th Avenue (great for people watching!), then decided to try Wicky’s Beach Club for dinner since so many people have recommended it. It had very cool modern design, and a great location set right on the beach. When we sat down and looked at the menu, however, we realized it was a bit out of our price range for the day (embarrassing! although I suspect it’s more affordable at lunchtime), so we just ordered some smoothies. I highly recommend the blackberry smoothie. It blew me away!

Shamed by our lack of cash, Jorge and I decided to go to an old favorite… 100% Natural. This beautiful outdoor restaurant is filled with towering trees and vines, giving it a jungle-like atmosphere. As always, I had to test out my nighttime photography skills. Definitely improving! (sort of)

I had garlic shrimp with veggies (I have never had such fresh, delicious veggies in all my time in Mexico! I’ve never been so happy to see a green bean) with agua de jamaica, while Jorge got some kind of immense and amazing chicken sandwich.

By then it was pretty late, so we walked back to the bus station and made our way back to Cancun. I think I’m the only person in history who has ever been SAD to return to Cancun… what can I say, I love Playa del Carmen!

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.

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.