Friday, July 17, 2015

Guardavidas Junior Cancun Curso de Verano - Junior Lifeguards Summer Camp Cancun

Summer in Cancun! School is out and like every parent, I was seeking a way to keep Max busy, entertained and learning over the summer break. There is a great variety of "cursos de verano", summer camps in Cancun, music, art, sports, but when I saw the "Guardavidas Junior Cancun Curso de Verano", I knew my search had ended.

This is THE ideal summer camp for Cancun kids. Water safety and respect for the ocean are things I have been instilling in Max since birth, taking it to the next level with real water rescue and first aid training was a dream come true for us both.

We are at the end of the first week and I am knocked out by how much was covered. I love that each day begins with a clean-up of the beach, respect for nature from the first moment. The coaches insisted on discipline and order with the 30 kids and they all got on board. If they didn't, it was push-ups in the sand, they learned QUICK to pay attention to instructions!

Three groups of 10 kids rotated between activities with a great deal of personal attention from the staff. Water rescue, first aid, and CPR were introduced in addition to water safety, reading currents and waves and respect for the sea.

Apart from the important "learnin'", the course is FUN. Each day a bit different, from paddle boarding to sailing to windsurfing and jetsurf, the kids got a taste of new and exciting ways to enjoy the ocean. I have been following along and having my own fun capturing the adventure, I may possibly be enjoying myself even more than the kids. Max has been having an absolute BLAST and is ready to join the junior lifeguard academy course in September.

This is lining up to be the BEST SUMMER EVAH, educational and fun adventures in the ocean of Cancun, we could not ask for anything more.

There are still spots available for next week, please contact Guardavidas Junior Cancun on their Facebook page. The price is fantastic, only 1000 pesos for the week (about $62 USD) and worth every single centavo. The only downside is that they are only doing this for two weeks, I wish it was all summer long! I have oodles more photos on the Guardavidas Junior Cancun Flickr album, please enjoy!

So, what are YOU doing with your summer vacation? Wish you were here!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Girl's Weekend Getaway in the Riviera Maya

Booking Hello is taking care of business with their online platform that’ll have you stress-free and easily finding a vacation in minutes! Hello offers its members unique services and prices within the market and access to special discounted rates in over 80,000 hotels, car rentals, helicopters, airplanes, yachts, theme parks and cruise companies to travel around the world. Hello is a relatively young and evolving company with international expansion projects to offer the best deals to members in some of the main tourist destinations in the world.

I will never, ever complain about my work, visiting hotels, living travel experiences and writing about them for the world. But it IS work. Generally when "influencers" are invited to a hotel, we are on a tight schedule following a public relations person around, seeing all that they wish us to see. It is interesting, educational and fun, but rarely relaxing. So when Booking Hello invited me for a weekend escape promising NO organized public relations events, I was overjoyed and ready to simply chill out in paradise with one of my besties LisaLove.

Water aerobics...not on our relaxation plan

Playing in the fountain, yes please

The fine folks of Booking Hello arranged for us to have an adults-only weekend at the Royal Catalonia Tulum, located on my favourite beach in the Riviera Maya, Playa Xpu Ha. The "adults only" part was another bonus, a break from being mommy!

If you can't be sexy, be goofy!

We arrived on Friday afternoon, were greeted by the friendly staff and made our way to the bar to enjoy some ice cold bevvies. We checked into our room a few hours and cocktails later and felt the relaxation kicking in.

OUR spot in the VIP beach club

Beach massage, so popular we couldn't get an appointment

The rest of the weekend was mostly spent in MEGA CHILL MODE. Stuffing ourselves with great food, enjoying a rainbow of cocktails, playing in the pool and walking along the beach. Traveling with LisaLove is always a joy, we know each other so well that there is a flow to our time together that totally worked with the laid-back vibe of Xpu Ha.

The HOT hot tub with a most awesome view

Our fabulous server Vilma

A weekend escape goes too quickly, even when the plan is to do absolutely nothing. I must confess that we spent a good chunk of Sunday morning lying in the uber comfy beds with the air conditioning cranked after stuffing ourselves with breakfast. Living in the Riviera Maya, A/C is a treat that we don't normally enjoy at home (the cost of electricity is exorbitant), so those moments of clean sheets with no cat hair, fluffy pillows and cold cold cold air were absolutely divine. 

In the end the escape left me feeling refreshed, reconnected with mi amiga Lisa and a wee bit hungover. No complaints here, thanks Booking Hello! When can we do it again?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Little Love for the Sargasso in the Riviera Maya

Anyone who has traveled to any beach destination in the Caribbean this year has noticed the abundance of seaweed on our shores, Riviera Maya beaches included. We have seen a huge increase in the amount of sargasso on the beach, more than I have seen in my almost 12 years here. While tourists complain, I have to say, let's show a little love and respect to nature, there are GOOD things to be said about this natural phenomenon.

"The Sargasso Sea" is an area of the Atlantic Ocean roughly 1100 kms wide and 3200 kms long, home to the seaweed called "sargassum". There are no physical boundaries to the sea, only the currents of the Atlantic mark its boundaries. Christopher Columbus reported on the vast expanse of seaweed on his 1492 crossing to the new world, erroneously thinking it meant land was near.

So why the heck is there SO MUCH SEAWEED this year? My research came up with a lot of speculation and no real answers. Changing climate, changing patterns of the sea, pollution, rising sea temperatures, nobody can nail it down to just one reason, it just IS. Who are we to question Mother Nature?

The sargasso is a vital eco-system unto itself, home to many species of ocean life. Sea turtles rely on sargasso for protection from predators as they make their way through the oceans. It is a floating refuge for crabs, shrimp, and a wide variety of fish who take advantage of the rich feeding ground and use it as a safe place for breeding. When the sargasso washes ashore, it nourishes the beaches and prevents erosion, as well as creating a food source for birds and other beach creatures.

Is the sargasso a danger to humans? NOPE. Some people may have an allergic reaction to some of the critters that live within (insects etc after it is washed ashore) but the seaweed itself is harmless. You can walk on it, pick it up, swim through it and enjoy knowing what an incredible source of life it is. It is not slimy or "icky" when fresh, though when it dries it can be a bit crunchy underfoot. The resorts of the Riviera Maya and Cancun have crews working throughout the day to try to clear the beaches, but it really is a Sisyphean task.

So while some may not think it's pretty (up close it's lovely really, like little bunches of teeny tiny grapes) and it may interfere with your picture-postcard vision of the beach, it is a natural and integral part of a healthy ocean. So let's show a little love to the sargasso, get past our human need for "perfection" and salute the plant that brings LIFE to the sea and our beaches.

What are your thoughts and experiences with sargasso? Let us know in the comments!

(photos property of  CancunCanuck © , shot with GoPro Hero Silver, please do not use without permission)