Paradise Found in Magic Town of Bacalar

From Cancun all the way south along the coastline, passing Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Sian Kaan, and down to Mahahual, the Mexican Caribbean coast has dazzling shades of blue waters, fine sand, and over 345km of beachfront to find the perfect tropical escape. On my latest travels through Mexico, I found my perfect paradise at a Mexico Beach rentals in Bacalar.

bacalar panoramic

Over the years dedicated to traveling Mexico as much as I can, I have covered most of the Mexican-Caribbean coast, from Cancun to Tulum and even the surrounding islands of Holbox, Mujeres, and Cozumel. My visits here were usually crossing off the “must sees” down typical tourist tracks… but on my last trip I was searching for a truly unordinary escape, yearning for those idyllic shades of blue waters but somewhere far away from mega-resorts and overpriced bo-ho huts.  What I found was the paradise of Bacalar.

About four to five hours from Cancun, Bacalar is a small village just a bit inland from the ocean’s coast.  It is a Magic Town (my favorites places in Mexico!) and known for its large freshwater lagoons that display an impressive kaleidoscope of blue shades…. hint the nickname “Lagoon of Seven Colors”. It is just outside the Riviera Maya region and nearly borders the neighboring country of Belize.

In Bacalar, visitors will find basic infrastructure and a city center spanning just a few blocks. Artisan shops, small supermarkets, and enough restaurants to provide variety make the town very cozy.  The lagoon’s coast is dotted with palapa-hutted hotels and private homes for rent with dreamy, picturesque views of wooden swings overlooking the ocean and sun-dreched hammocks strewn across decks.  My favorite part of Bacalar is that the cool breezes on the lagoon create ideal sailing conditions, a popular activity for visitors, and perfect way to discover the hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, including the great Cenote Azul.

With a intriguing history of Mayans, Spanish, and pirates I do believe the Magic Town of Bacalar is indeed meaningful to Mexico’s heritage and culture. On my next trip to Mexico’s southern Caribbean coast, I plan on combining Bacalar with a few days in Sian Kaan, a protected Biosphere Reseve with virgin beaches and nearly no development besides one or two hotels and grand, private homes to rent for the week.

If planning to visit this area, the best best is to find a Mexico beach rental. With limited infrastructed, it is very important to find a private rental with all services included (staff, meals, etc) so you can feel comfrotable during your stay. After knowing and traveling almost all of Mexico, this is one, true unspoiled beach destination where you can truly just relax.

B A C A L A R 💙

A photo posted by Jessica Seba (@mexicanatheartj) on

My Bachelorette Party in Cancun #BridesBoat

On February 14th, 2015 I married the Mexican man of my dreams in Puebla, Mexico.  During the wedding planning stages, I had no doubt in my mind what I wanted my day to look like and where it would be — in an hacienda in Puebla. I also had no doubt what I wanted for my Bachelorette party either — a yacht in Cancun!

It made sense to travel to the beach for my despedida, because most of my girlfriends all live in Cancun and when I told my family (who all live in the very cold USA) I wasn’t having my wedding at the beach, they were kind of bummed.  With that said, I knew that it was the perfect scenario to bring them to Cancun a week before my big day for some sun time, family bonding, and a blowout Bachelorette Party.  The pressure was on for me this whole trip because this was this the first time many of my family members would be in Mexico and I wanted them to fall in love with it the same way I had. The easy, fool proof way to make that happen I knew was renting a private yacht to sail the crystalline waters of the Mexican-Caribbean Sea. Come on, does it get any better than that??

I was so happy to be able to have my friends from Mexico and my family from the US all be in the same place at the same time to celebrate with me a new chapter of life. At my bachelorette party, there was no need for strippers, monstrous heels, and late night clubbing — the luxury Sea Horse yacht from the Sunset Marina Admiral Yacht Club  was all we needed, jamming out to N*Sync in our bathing suits, drinking mimosas and being waited on like royalty, swimming at Isla Mujeres, and just having some fantastic girl time, laughing away!

I really, don’t have words to how much fun we had and what a incredible memory I will cherish with me forever. For anyone wanting to have a memorable, Bachelorette Party in Cancun or the Riviera Maya, I highly recommend doing exactly what I did. Here are some pictures,hope you enjoy!

bachelorette-party-games-2

bachelorette-party-games-1 bachelorette-party-games-3 bachelorette-party-games-cancun

If you want to read more posts about how much fun just each of us had, check out some of our posts:

What Am I Still Doing In Cancun – #BridesBoat #Cancun: A Bachelorette Party *hiccup*
Gringation – This Is How You Do a Bachelorette Party in Cancun
Olympus Tours – Yachting to Isla Mujeres, Things to do in Cancun

 

A Punta Mita Mexico Holiday

puntmita

I recently had the fabulous opportunity to go on a Punta Mita Mexico holiday for four days. Escaping on a Mexican Pacific Coast vacation in the middle of May was a real treat for me after so much time of living in the big city and even better, it was a beach destination in Mexico I wasn’t quite familiar with.

Despite living in nearby Puerto Vallarta when I first moved to Mexico, I never explored up the coast despite having heard about all the great things to do in Punta Mita which was only 45 minutes away. After listening for years about the great surfing, luxurious hotels, scrumptious fo0d, and fantastic laid-back town of Sayulita, I finally had the opportunity to experience it for myself! My trip to Punta Mita, Mexico started as I made my way en route from Puerto Vallarta. Unlike Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita is in the Mexican state of Nayarit, on the very northern tip of the Bay of Banderas and is a very ‘exclusive’ kind of destination — usually reserved for the wealthy; and very frequently, the famous.  It’s a bit of a more ‘exotic’ getaway, more than most other Mexican beach destination, because of its secluded location and virgin beaches.

After checking in to my hotel in Punta Mita, I spent the day just relaxing at the pool and hearing the soothing sounds of the waves crashing into the white sand shores. I found myself in a true paradise.

The next day was a bit of exploration on the Pacific Coast. I started the day  by going to Sayulita, a few minutes away from Punta Mita, and wandering to all the hippie-chic artisan shops. The vibe of the town was indeed laid-back just like I had been told and all the facades were painted in cheery colors, making it almost impossible not to instantly fall in love with this place! I hit the beach, started talking with the locals (many of which are expat-foreigners, and decided to be adventurous and try surfing! There are plenty of surf schools to choose from on the beach and they are all about the same price. Within about 15 minutes after my guide gave me a rash guard, showed me the basic stances, and took me out in the water.. I was able to catch my first wave! Never in a million years did I think it would be so easy.

Later that day, instead of eating at my hotel, I opted for some authentic Mexican tacos. Instead of going to commercial places such as Si Senor and The Blue Shrimp, I decided to keep it simple by just buying tacos from a street vendor. It was the right choice, it was some of the most memorable tacos al pastor I have ever had.

The rest of my trip I just hung out at the beach trying to get a tan. I was happy to finally know what all the hype was about Punta Mita. It is definitely a contrast from any other beach I had been to in Mexico. If you’re looking for a Punta Mita holiday from the UK, check out travel agents like First Choice where you can find best packages to enjoy beautiful Mexico! Viva la Mexico

surf

Discover Mexico

On a holiday to Mexico, you can’t help but be swept up by a sense of the exotic. With white sandy beaches, gently nodding palms and sparkling azure seas, not to mention cloudless blue skies and fantastic hotels gracing the skyline, holidays in Mexico really are something special.

So what can you expect from a break in this beautiful corner of the world? For starters, it’s home to some cracking beaches. On Mexico’s Caribbean Coast you’ll find the vibrant resort of Cancun, home to endless shops, bars and clubs, along with other resorts like Riviera Maya and Playacar. From here you can visit the mysterious remains of Chichen Itza, with its famous pyramid and ancient Mayan culture, or take a tour into the jungle to discover Mexico’s wild side.

Over on the other side of this vast country, you can experience Mexico’s beautiful Pacific Coast, and soak up its magnificent beaches and spectacular scenery. Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta are two lovely resorts offering knock-out beaches, local attractions and a touch of nightlife, which serves up a completely different perspective to holidays in Mexico and an alternative culture to life on the Caribbean Coast.

If a trip to Mexico tickles your fancy, you’ll find plenty of holidays in Mexico available as package break through tour operators like Thomas Cook. The Caribbean Coast is by far the most popular, and resorts like Cancun and Riviera Maya draw the most visitors. But if you’re looking for a something a little different, where the response is more likely to be “Oh, where’s that?” as opposed to “Yes, I’ve been there”, then a trip to Mexico’s Pacific Coast could be the answer.

Whichever part of Mexico you choose to visit, you’re pretty much guaranteed a fascinating stay that will live with you long after you return home.

Secrets Puerto Vallarta by AM Resorts

Never Leaving the Resort in Playa del Carmen

 

Riviera Maya Resort Hacienda Tres Rios

Waking up to paradise

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest at the Hacienda Tres Rios in Playa del Carmen. It was a very last-minute trip planned for my Mom and me. I know that I had just visited the Riviera Maya a month prior, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to spend more time on the beautiful crystal clear shores of Playa.

This visit would mark my ninth trip to the area, and for the first time, in a long time, the plan was to do nothing but enjoy the resort and relax. No crazy excursions, no to-and-from, no nightlife… Nothing but savoring every minute in paradise with good company.

Let me start by saying, that not every resort is the type of resort where you could spend 8 days straight and not go stir-crazy. Luckily, Hacienda Tres Rios is one of those resorts. It is located within their own 326 acre eco-park of mangroves, which makes it  unique to any other hotel in Playa del Carmen. Remember my post “How to Choose a Hotel in the Riviera Maya“? Well, if you plan on not leaving the resort, you’ll want to choose one like Hacienda Tres Rios.

Here is what we filled our days with:

Rise and shine! Everyday we woke up early for  yoga and stretching. I had never done yoga before in my life, but in this setting, how could I refuse?

Yoga in the Riviera Maya
If there was one thing we absolutely couldn’t get enough of– it was the food! We both spent weeks dieting before vacation, but while we were actually on the vacation we were trying to look skinny for, we just completely let go. How could you not? Being waited on at any hour of the day, regardless of where you are, with lots of yummy options (6 restaurants). Whoever said “Food doesn’t taste as good as skinny feels” has obviously never been to an all-inclusive resort before!

 

While we’re on the topic of food, our absolute best experience was at the Chef’s Table. Now this was out of the all-inclusive ‘deal’ but the hotel kindly invited us and so glad that they did. I’m a hotdog and hamburger kinda girl, so I was nervous for a seven course gourmet meal of things that sounded extremely frilly, but yum, it was delicious. I even enjoyed the raw tuna and I hate raw fish. Bonus? Chef Mario is a cutie!

Chef Mario Hacienda Tres Rios

Raw tuna

 

Cenotes kept us feeling young. No seriously, cenotes are thought to be sacred by the Mayans and have healing properties! The resort has nine cenotes in its eco-park and there are a couple that you can swim in!

Cenotes in RIviera Maya at Hacienda Tres RiosCenotes at Hacienda Tres Rios

 

Getting to know the eco-park via bicycle rides! Although it was kind of short, we took a ride into the mangroves and learned about different types of flora and fauna that the property has.

Bicycle Tour in Playa del Carmen

 

I spent lots of time hanging out at the breathtakingly beautiful beach that is “private” just for “owners”. Unfortunately, Mother Nature took away most of the beach access to resort guests only leaving “the pretty part” to the timeshare owners. Being the rebel that I am, I went and used the other side anyways. Since it was low season, and there was tons of vacancy, it seemed to be okay.

Private beach in Hacienda Tres Rios

Near the beach on one of the many bali beds is usually where you could find me. I myself prefer the ones without shade; I slap on some SPF and take several naps throughout the day.

 

While interesting to navigate through one of the riviers thorough the mangroves, I found out  one day that kayaking isn’t for me. I prefer photographing them instead!

I yi yi yi, canta y no llores. I could listen to mariachi day and night — and I did!

Mariachi Music in Playa del Carmen

 

The most eccentric thing we did was the sense adventure,  a ‘tour of perception and exploration‘. I’m super into the universe all-mighty and holistic experiences so thought this was a really cool, and completely unique tour that I was happy to have the chance to participate in.

hacienda tres rios senses tour

 

We also went to a Mole Cooking and History Class. Mom had just been introduced to the delicious flavors of Mole Poblano on her previous Mexico trip and fell in love, so getting to taste this delicious chocolate/chile sauce was a super treat! 

 

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Hacienda Tres Rios for inviting me to be a guest at their resort. For more pics and info during my week at HTR, check the hashtag #TresRiosResort  on instagram, twitter, or pinterest!

 

Choosing a Hotel in the Riviera Maya

Dreams Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive

Maybe this Riviera Maya hotel near Tulum?

Before becoming completely enamored with Mexico, I knew I wanted to work in tourism– I truly wanted to help people spend their recreation/vacation time to the maximum. Now that I’ve established myself as Mexico savvy, between my large network of personal friends combined with the followers of Mexican At Heart, every month I get inquires on the who, where, when, and hows of Mexico travel, and the truth is, I don’t mind one bit helping people!

Most of the time people just come out and ask about what hotel to stay at in Cancun or the Riviera Maya — mostly honeymooners (yea, I’m at that age where all my friends are getting married!). That is a complex question that varies on the likes and dislikes of the traveler. I always ask: Are you active? Are you going to do excursions? Are you going to hide in your hotel all week? etc.

Usually a majority of people have lived the Cancun experience, so I rule it out, because Mexico is much more than a Mexican-style Vegas…But then comes this dilemma: Riviera Maya is a big chunk of land, stretching all the way along the coast for hours, so in order not to waste precious vacation time driving all around, to and from, I’ve come up with some questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding to pick between the Riviera Maya’s million gazillion hotel options.

How to Choose a Hotel in the Riviera Maya:
1) Are you active at the hotel or a complete beach bum?
2) Do you want adults-only or family friendly?
3) Do you want a nightlife outside of the hotel?
4) Are you going to stay in your hotel or venture your surroundings?
5) What excursions are you going to be doing?
6) What is your budget? Do you want all-inclusive?

Beaches in Tulum

Not all of Riviera Maya has crystal clear waters like here at Dreams Tulum

Privacy in the Riviera Maya

Dreams Puerto Aventuras

An overall theme I found was that most lovebirds around my age wanted a romantic getaway, but not boring. In addition to lovey-dovey amenities, they wanted activities and entertainment. Okay so that answers questions 1 and 2 –try to look for a hotel that has a wide selection of restaurants, an entertainment staff, night shows, and things like complimentary use of kayaks.

Question 3 and 4 deciphers whether you should stay right in the town of Playa del Carmen or if it’s okay to stay somewhere else like Puerto Aventuras or Tulum. If you plan on partying every night, or wanting to shop and eat at fancy restaurants, you should stay near Playa del Carmen (like in the Playacar area). The last thing you want is to choose a hotel an hour away from Playa del Carmen and be shuffling back and forth every night.

Question 5 I think is super important because I know no vacationer wants to waste hours and hours of vacation driving around the whole dang state… plus, transportation costs are extremely inflated. If you plan on swimming with dolphins, visiting Coba, Tulum, cenotes or Xelha, I recommend staying south of Playa del Carmen — starting at Puerto Avenuras extending to Tulum (including Akumal). You will chop off lots of time sitting in a taxi when you could be outside enjoying your vacation.

Once you figured out 1-5, you can pretty much pick exactly what hotel is right for you based on your answer to number 6. A overall good choice for a vacation to the Riviera Maya is choosing a property at Secrets, Dreams, or Now Resorts. They have several properties that will cover your needs based on your answers. I recently had the chance to stay at Dreams Puerto Aventuras and Dreams Tulum and was thrilled with my choices. It was right in the location we needed to be! Eddy and I were there on our anniversary and were treated as so but even better, they catered to both me (the beach bum) and Eddy (the active one). Secrets Resorts offers the same, but is adults-only and Now Resorts is aimed at being trendy for young adults. There is something for everyone in the Riviera Maya!

Dreams Tulum

Is a super mega resort your style?

Views from balcony at Dreams Puerto Aventuras

This is what vacation is all about for me!

What hotel in Riviera Maya

It doesn’t take hours of research or deep Mexico knowledge to decide what hotel you should stay at in the Riviera Maya!

Idyllic Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo Ixtapa Bay

Zihuatanejo Ixtapa Bay

Formerly a hideaway for Pacific pirates and hippies, the fishing village of Zihuatanejo became known as a resort destination after its sister city, Ixtapa, was built next door.  Ixtapa was deliberately built to be a Mexican paradise while Zihua, as it is affectionately known, is the real thing.  In spite of the growth of the town as a resort destination, Zihuatanejo still retains its traditional look and historic charm, which is the source of its appeal to visitors from around the world. 

The best of Zihuatanejo: attractions, beaches and more
Nature in many forms is a major attraction to Zihuatanejo and the surrounding area.  The flora, fauna and geology of the region, both on land and in the water, offer visitors ample opportunities for exploration and adventure. 

Just offshore lies a large coral formation, the King’s Reef, which has been designated a natural reserve by the government.  On its seaward side, the King’s Reef is filled with all manner of beautiful salt-water fish, and is a natural aquarium for SCUBA divers and snorkelers.  Surfers will also enjoy time spent along the reef, with one of the best point breaks in the entire tropical Pacific crashing ashore here.  The leeward side of the reef includes a peaceful swimming lagoon, the beautiful sand of Las Gatas Beach, and a host of restaurants and rustic bungalows for visitors to choose from. 

In addition to Las Gatas Beach, a number of other beaches in Zihuatanejo are equally enjoyable and worth visiting, including Playa la Ropa.  Soft ocean waves and warm sand make the long lines of Playa la  Ropa Beach a great place for swimming and sunbathing.  Playa la Ropa is not just about relaxation, as there is plenty to do here from parasailing and rented wave-runners to dinner at a beachside restaurant.

Zihuatanejo Bay

For many visitors, getting in touch with the native plants and animals is the vacation opportunity they are looking for.  El Refugio de Potosi is an ecological park in Zihuatanejo offering just this opportunity.  A wildlife rescue center, El Refugio de Potosi houses a wide variety of animals native to the region, including sea turtles; tree porcupines; coatis; a wide variety of birds and reptiles; and even some crocodiles.  Visitors are welcome to visit the refuge, see and touch the animals, and learn about the natural balance of this part of Mexico.

If the history of the people and culture of the area are more to the visitor’s taste, the Museo Arqueologico de la Costa Grande offers a wealth of information about more than 50 archaeological sites surrounding Zihuatanejo, as well as artifacts, documents and maps from the many cultures that settled in this Pacific coastal area of Mexico.

 

Visiting Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo has its own international airport, located just south of Zihuatanejo Bay, and cheap air flights to the area are easy to locate online or through a travel agent.  The bay also periodically welcomes cruise ships.

Zihuatanejo is home to several luxury hotels, although city regulations keep the height of these boutique and budget hotels to a minimum.  There are also several hostels located in and around the downtown areas and the waterfront.

Guest post by Dave from Publishers Network

What’s New in Puerto Vallarta

Malecon Puerto Vallarta

The New Malecon

One year and 3 months had passed since I last visited Puerto Vallarta (the place I once called home when I first moved to Mexico). I consider Puerto Vallarta to be the best beach destination in Mexico; it doesn’t have the crystal clear waters like the Riviera Maya but it has the perfect blend of personality, Mexican culture, modern nightlife, and decent beaches. After so much time had passed, I was happy to return to Puerto Vallarta and I was excited to see how my old stomping grounds had changed.

Around the time I was getting ready to move from Vallarta to DF, the city was working on a complete remodelation of the Malecon and I didn’t get to stay long enough to see the finished product. Besides the remodeled Malecon, there were other new additions that I was excited to see , like restaurants, hotels and the Old Town Pier!

Here are some of the highlights and my thoughts of the ‘New Puerto Vallarta’:

Malecón
I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how this attraction turned out. In case you don’t know, the Malecón is the main ocean boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops, and night clubs. It took mountains of money and time for this remodelation and I was expecting something SUPER spectacular, like jumping fountains! What I found was dimly light walkway during the night and an overkill of street performers. The intricately talented sand castle makers where no longer prominent, the stone stackers were hidden beyond the ledge, and the Papantla Flyers in the middle of nowhere. However, with my high expectations set aside, it still remains one of my favorite things of Puerto Vallarta.  Some positives to this new layout is that cars are no longer allowed on a majority of the boardwalk and the outdoor theater has more space.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Hotels
Puerto Vallarta needed new hotels—desperately. It had been almost two decades since something new hit the scene close to downtown. If you cross the state border into Riviera Nayarit , you’ll find plenty of new, streamlined resorts…. but the problem with that is it’s too far and too expensive to get to Puerto Vallarta’s Centro from there.  Vallarta is a city to be experienced, not a place to hide in your hotel.

The newest property to be added to the Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta is the All-Inclusive Hilton Vallarta Resort, only 7 minutes from the airport. Opened in October 2012, this hotel is equipped with 259 hotel rooms, 7 restaurants, and an impressive spa (all which I got to experience first-hand). Although there are some kinks to be figured out, the Hilton brand stands out among the older branded hotels in the area. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to people looking for something clean and an all-inclusive hotel near downtown Puerto Vallarta.

New Hilton Vallarta

The second newest property comes from the line of AM Resorts, Secrets Bay Vallarta and Now Amber Vallarta. Opened in April 2012, these hotels are connected yet separate (Secrets is adults only and Now is family-friendly). This property really surprised me with how much personality and variety it had, I was literally captivated with something new every time I moved from the oceanside bali bed. It was classy, dramatic, clean, and unique. Hands down, if you are looking for the best hotel in Puerto Vallarta, this is it. I truly felt on vacation here! (Check out their YouTube Channel, and Secrets Society to earn FREE gifts!)

New Hotel Puerto Vallarta

Restaurants
Sadly, the Malecón had many newly closed restaurants with nothing to replace them. The only new restaurant that stood out was La Cerveceria Union. They had a very nice open-air atmosphere and advertise a Mexican-menu and fresh osyters bar. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and some-what authenticity of the food.  I have also been told that the oysters are legit (myself, not a fan). My mouth is watering just thinking about this place!

Another cool place I was surprised by was Los Muertos Brewing Company in Old Town –the first craft brewery in Puerto Vallarta. The beers were delicious and the batches are always changing, with wonderful variety and presenation accompanied with decent prices, this brewery is pretty cool. While I was there, they had a  Chili Ale that had a nice kick.They make their own brick-oven pizzas and other American favorites like BBQ ribs (but I would only come back to this place for their beer)!

Old Town Los Muertos Pier
After a  controversial three year wait for the pier, everyone is happy that it is finally open, including myself. It’s nothing wow, kind of random, but it’s good for generating  traffic to all the restaurants in the area ‘over the bridge’. You can never have too many pedestrian friendly walkways and it is a nice addition to the Malecon. 

 

Los Muertos Vallarta

 

So there you have it, the ‘new and improved Puerto Vallarta’. Besides the hotels, it isn’t all that shiny if you ask me.

The Nanciyaga Experience in Catemaco, Veracruz

Catemaco, Veracruz is known for its beautiful wildlife and spiritual shamans. Take a trip to discover the mysticism that can be experienced on Nanciyaga Island.

Nanciyaga Kayaks

This year, Mexico hosted their first ‘Adeventure Travel Mexico’ trade show, ATMEX, in Veracruz. Lucky me, I was invited to participate on behalf of the Mexico Tourism Board and because of Journey Mexico’s affiliation with ATTA. Not only was I invited to attend the conference, but also to travel for several days prior! The conference’s theme was “Breaking New Trails” and showing off the adventurous side of Veracruz. The pre-trip included stenurous days of mountain biking, ziplining, and white-water rafting in Jalcomulco with Mexico Verde. After we were all worn out, the group of 50 was transported to the nearby town of Catemaco.
Catemaco is located in la Sierra Los Tuxtlas region and is pretty much the only pueblo that borders the large lake, Laguna Catemaco. It is known for many things: birdwatching, alligator island, monkey island, los brujos (witch doctors) and fishing. Our group had the choice of either kayaking to see wildlife or visiting the nearby island of Nanciyaga, where the witch doctors are. Me, being totally into the universe and psychics and all that, I was totally psyched to visit witches!
Our call time to be transferred to Nanciyaga was at 6:30AM. I was miserable that morning- I hadn’t woken up that early since high school! Thankfully, my grumpiness soon faded as I boarded the lancha (boat) and saw the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen in my life. The local fisherman were already out on the waters bringing in their nets…. and watching them do this as the water and sky transformed into different colors…. was really just an amazing and serene moment for me. When we arrived to Nanciyaga we feasted on a home-grown, vegetarian-friendly breakfast followed by a tour of the property. We all got purifying mud mask treatment before partaking in the spiritual ceremony.
The spiritual ceremony was intense. The shamans gave us limpias (cleansings) of our negative energies and bad auras. We sang, danced and many of us transformed and healed (no joking– this stuff can be powerful). I recorded it all on tape (yes, VHS ;-)) and put it into a lovely show for you!

This ceremony is open to the public during the Festival de Los Brujos, or better called, “Vive la Magia en Catemaco”.  It happens once a year, the first Friday of March.

XelHa or Xcaret

Want to know the difference between Xelha and Xcaret?  If you’re like me and find yourself short on money and/or time on your upcoming trip to Cancun and can only choose one eco-park,  let me help you pick!

Beautiful Xcaret

In the last ten years,  I have had the pleasure of visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya a total of seven times. I always called it “Mexico’s Gateway Destination” and after a three year break of discovering other places and beaches in Mexico,  I finally returned to the crystal blue waters of the Riviera Maya. One thing that was on my to-do list was to visit one of the several eco-parks, something I had never done on my many spring break trips. I knew I wanted to see either Xelha or Xcaret , but I couldn’t decide which one or tell the real difference between them. I found myself asking the same question I am sure many vacationers strapped for time ask themselves, “Xelha or Xcaret?”

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