Showing posts from May, 2009

Too many things to do in Cancun!

Last Friday the phone rang in the middle of the afternoon. It was my mom, which at first led me to the "What's wrong????" question as usually the parents don't call until evening. Luckily it was good news, great news in fact, my parents had booked their flight to Cancun for a visit! I was so excited and we started discussing all the things we could do. And this is where things get tough. There are TOO many things in Cancun and Quintana Roo, too many options, what's a girl to do??

I've lost count of the number of visits my parents have made, but we always manage to show them something new. They've been to Isla Mujeres, Isla Blanca, Cancun of course, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum and Merida. This year I am torn, not sure where we should take them. I think I've settled on a place and I change my mind, then change it back again, the options are limitless and I can't seem to focus. Here are some of the places I've been co…

Hurricane Season 2009 has Begun!

Well well well, looky here, the first Atlantic "tropical depression"of the year. It's nowhere near Cancun (closer to Canada actually), but living where we do, we monitor the Atlantic activity throughout the months of June to November (and here we are May, early to the party Mr. Depression Number One). I know this may sound odd, but I get excited about these events. I know that we are not in physical danger and I must say there is nothing quite so exhilarating as a tropical storm when you know you are safe. I also figure that we survived Wilma, we can survive anything. She was the biggest, baddest of them all, nothing could be worse than that and we were fine (physically anyway). Cancun took a big wallop, but showed its resilience and ability to get back to business in a short time. I think the swine flu "infodemic" might be causing more damage than a hurricane. I am not making light of a very serious event, I understand that hurricanes are responsible f…

Swim With Dolphins Cancun!

We had a such a lovely treat this weekend! We were lucky and got some passes to Delphinus at Dreams Cancun, a chance to kiss a dolphin is always good for me, fish breath and all. (The dolphin of course, no fishy breath for Canuck!)

We arrived at Dreams at about 2:30 and were greeted and checked in by the kindly Sergio. Our swim was scheduled for 3:00 and we didn't have to wait long before our hostess Mariana came to bring us to the holding area and give us our life jackets. I'm always impressed by the relaxed good nature of the employees and their ability to switch easily from English to Spanish while talking to the variety of guests. Mariana gave us information about the animals and the program and instructions for each of the activities we were going to do with the dolphins. No touching their face or blow holes, take off all jewelry in order not to scratch their skin, be gentle with their fins, etc, etc.. We had a very small group, only six adults and Max, a mix of Mex…

What's it like to live in Cancun?

I'm quite sure I am not the only Mexican blogger to get emails asking what it's like to live here. Some of the emails have legitimate and logical questions, while others are just jam packed full of fantasies of days floating on the sea with cabana boys and piña coladas. The general questions are the hardest to answer, "What's it like? How does it feel? Is it hard to adjust?". Those kinds of questions would be answered differently by any ex-pat that lives here. Everyone's circumstances are different, the reason for living in Mexico, age, economic status, marital status, parental status and mental health status add up to a wide range of experiences. What might be great for me is hell on earth for someone else. Sometimes the things that my friends cannot tolerate don't bother me at all and the things that make me pull out my hair are just fine by my friends.

I find it amusing when people ask me what they should do to plan to come here. Me? You'r…

Andalucia Parillada Domingo

We are always on the lookout for something new and different to see in Cancun so I was happy to take the suggestion of my boss to check out the Andalucia Parillada.  Andalucia is an equestrian club in Cancun, where the rich folk jump horses and play polo and where tourists can take horseback rides through the jungle.  Recently they've started to invite the public to join them on Sundays for a "parillada" (barbecue).  Always eager to see how the other half live, we drove out to Bonfil (a "suburb" of Cancun) in search of the "horsies store" as Max decided to call it.  
From the moment we walked in we were treated exceptionally well by the staff.  We were warmly welcomed and had cold drinks in our hand in no time.  There is a charge of 150 pesos per person (kids under 6 are free) and that includes the use of the facilities (pool, beautiful gardens, incredible palapa, kids climbing toys and pony rides) and a delicious meal.  Well, delicious if you are a ca…

Mexico Travel Alerts Lifted

The best news we've had in a while, both the CDC in the United States and the FCO in Great Britain have lifted their travel warnings that have been restricting travel to Mexico since the swine flu/H1N1 crisis. Both organizations have downgraded their warnings to "precautions" and are no longer limiting citizens to essential travel. In addition, Carnival Cruise Lines are set to resume their Mexican ports of call.

Even more good news, local authorities have lifted the restrictions places on bars and restaurants, all facilities are now allowed to operate at 100% in Cancun and Quintana Roo. The only places that are closed are some hotels due to the lack of tourists visiting right now. Hopefully with the travel alerts being lifted the hotels will re-open very soon and the area can start to try to recuperate its losses.

It's a great time to book a trip down to the Mexican Caribbean, some great deals and great weather, if you love Mexico, get cracking on those reservation…

Reading with a Bilingual Kid

My four year old Max has been working hard in school this year, learning to say and write the alphabet and numbers. Some days are great, he's begging me to do more homework, other days he's four years old and prefers to play "Incredible Hulk Ambulance Driver" dragging the cat around in a box, but we're getting there. The learn to read process is a bit complicated though, as he is doing it in two languages. In school he's being taught the pronunciation of the vowels in Spanish and with me at home we do it in English. For a while we would have arguments where he would scream "But that's not what Miss Cynthia says!!!" but we've got it worked out and he knows that the two languages have different pronunciations and most of the time he can identify the letters correctly depending on whether he's asked "What letter is this?" or "Que letra es?"

Story time is becoming more complicated as he learns to read. Well, not more …

Should I Go to Cancun? -Swine Flu Mexico

The answer should simply be "YES", but I'll give you a little more than that today. While things are looking very grim for the tourism industry in Cancun and Quintana Roo, that could mean good tidings for tourists. The forums devoted to Cancun and the Riviera Maya are starting to buzz with great deals to be found, most notably on Orbitz though I am sure there are others out there with big discounts. Great package deals are popping up, if you don't have a trip planned, now would be a great time. With so few people in the area at the moment, you won't have to fight for a lounge chair, wait in line at the buffets or feel crowded on the beach, it's almost like a private vacation. The service staff will go out of their way to ensure that the few guests they currently have are well attended to and wanting for nothing. People are being upgraded to more luxurious resorts or rooms and being made to feel like kings. Now is a great time to come.

Several resorts in…

Back to School in Cancun For (Almost) Everyone

All the parents in Mexico were rejoicing on Sunday night, anxiously awaiting their children's return to school on Monday morning. Two weeks of forced Swine Flu "vacation" had people scrambling to find child care or losing precious work hours to stay home and take care of the kids. Kids who had just had two weeks off for Semana Santa (Easter Break), kids who desperately need the structure and discipline that school provides. I was one of those mommies, ever so gleeful that my hyper son would be back to his routine and out of my make-up bag (that's a whole other story).

Cut to Monday morning, Canucka back in her classroom and rolling on a grammar lesson. The cel phone rings, I ignore it (bad manners to answer in class). Phone beeps with a message. Phone rings again, better answer it as it must be an emergency. Hubby is on the phone telling me that the school is sending Max home because he's sick. Sick? No way guey, he was fine this morning, what could have …

Mother's Day with Sharks and Dolphins in Cancun

Happy Mother's Day, Feliz dia de las Mamas! It's one of those odd years where the Mexican Mother's Day falls on the same day as the Canadian/American Mother's Day, so congrats to all North American mommies out there. Mother's Day is always May 10th in Mexico, doesn't matter what day of the week it is, it's always the 10th, but I really like that it's on a Sunday this year, celebrating on a Tuesday just doesn't feel the same.

A big thank you and lots of love to my own mother, she does so much for me and my family, I hope she's having a terrific day up there in Canada. My mom being as cool as she is offered to treat us to a restaurant meal today (whoohoo!) so we headed out to the hotel zone for a special breakfast. I wanted to go to Captain's Cove, but when we pulled up the line was out the door. It's a popular breakfast spot for locals as well as tourists and I guess everyone had the same Mother's Day idea. As I was STARVING, I s…

Swine Flu/H1N1- Cancun Trying to Return to "Normal"

A quick update for today, Thursday May 7, 2009 on swine flu/H1N1 in Cancun and the Riviera Maya....

1. Archaelogical zones reopened yesterday, all ruins in the area are open, though some with restricted hours due to lack of visitors (no evening or night hours for example).

2. Bars and restaurants are reopening, under the condition that they function at a 50% level to try to restrict the amount of contact between people. For example, I took my son to McDonald's yesterday in an effort to entertain him (he's out of his mind with boredom). Every other table had a "closed" sign on it and the play area was closed (much to our dismay). In cinemas they are trying to enforce an "every other seat" rule to ensure that there is no close contact between patrons.

3. Hotels are consolidating their guests. Several large hotel chains that are suffering from extremely low occupancy have closed the doors to some of their resorts and placing all their guests in one locati…

Help Cancun Recover from Flu Mess

First thing I want to say is "THANK YOU". To all who have read, left comments and sent emails, 99% of you are determined not to let the swine flu/H1N1 ruin your upcoming trips to this area and your positivity is overwhelming. Sadly, some of you had your plans changed for you with canceled flights and travel restrictions and I understand your frustrations. I think while the closures and restrictions within Mexico were strict, they were a bold and necessary precaution which apparently has worked to stop the spread of infection. As the restrictions are being lifted and things are set to get back to normal, I hope that we will soon be seeing tourists flooding the region again.

I have been very hesitant to say "come" or "don't come". While most of the mail I received was very positive, I did have my detractors as well. As hard as I tried to stick to reporting the facts of the matter, I was accused of being "criminal" for recommending people …

Swine Flu Cancun- Monday May 4th Update

I'm still not feeling very well but I did want to update you on what we know about the situation in Cancun and Quintana Roo. Please check the links, I can only share what is in the news and trust my sources to be as accurate as possible. Don't shoot the messenger.

1. Three Confirmed Cases of AH1N1 in Quintana Roo- The governor of Quintana Roo confirmed that there are three cases of flu in the state, one in Chetumal, one in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and one in Cancun. The patients are all recovering and are out of danger.

2. Tourism is in grave danger- While the risk of infection will pass quickly, it may take up to six months for the economy of Cancun and the Riviera Maya to recover. Airline cancellations and travel alerts have tourists heading to Dominican Republic and other Caribbean destinations and leaving their dreams of a Cancun vacation behind, putting at risk the livelihood of tourism industry workers in the area. The World Health Organization insists that there i…

Taking a Sick Leave

I know many people are waiting for the latest update on swine flu in Cancun, but alas, it won't be coming from me today. I've just returned from the hospital (no, NOT the swine flu) and have been diagnosed with pharyngitis and conjunctivitis. Very sore throat, cough, headache, and my eyes are, well, disgusting. I can barely see so trying to read all the news today is just not in the plan. I'm going to bed, kicking Hubby and kid out of the house and am going to try to get some rest. With all the meds I'm taking, hopefully I'll be feeling much better very soon and will have some news about what's going on. In the meantime, please check in with Dangers, he's got a great blog and has been keeping people well up to date on all the info he can lay his hands on.

Just a note on the hospital experience. I went to the emergency room at Amerimed, a private hospital in downtown Cancun. When we arrived there was one person in the waiting room. I filled out a cou…

What to do with the swine flu?

I'm receiving an overwhelming amount of email and comments lately and there is a consistent theme to almost all of them. "What should I do about my upcoming vacation?" The good thing is, most of the mail I have received is from people who do not want to cancel their trips, they want to come down to enjoy all that the area has to offer and to give support to the economy of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. While most want to keep their plans, the majority of the mail tells me that people are being discouraged from coming down, friends and family that have fallen prey to the media mess, unaware of the true situation at hand are warning that it's too dangerous to come here. I'm also receiving mail from people who have had their vacations forcibly canceled by their airlines or tour providers and I am reading a fair bit of anger about that. Very few people are voluntarily canceling plans, they are not being reactionary and are waiting for more information.

Now, what wo…