Showing posts from 2014

Vallarta Adventures - Extreme Canuck

I received the invitation to travel to Puerto Vallarta on a Thursday. Friday I had the Aeromexico tickets ready to roll. Saturday, a trip to the emergency room in extreme pain. Wednesday travel across the country, three flights and four airports, with a bag packed with more meds than anything else. And so began my press trip to the fabulous tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta.
My physical health was NOT going to stop me from enjoying this visit, I grit my teeth, smiled through the pain and met my fellow travelers at the Casa Velas boutique hotel for our first dinner before crashing out after a long day of travel. 
We had an early start the next day and I was mega excited about the agenda. The adrenaline-junkie in me was ready to take on the Sierra Madre mountains on the "Outdoor Adventure" tour with Vallarta Adventures. I took my antibiotics and skipped the pain meds (wanted to be fully alert) and we headed to the marina for the first leg of the trip on an inflatable boa…

Cozumel Quick and Dirty

Oh Cozumel, my first home in Mexico. Small town life on Mexico's biggest island, after the cruise ships leave, the flashy diamond stores close down and the island breathes. The economy thrives on the cruise industry and the flocks of scuba divers who arrive to explore the magnificent Mesoamerican Reef. Most people who live on the island have always lived there, families of fishermen going back generations. The island is still a vast stretch of natural eco-systems, most visitors only see a small portion of Cozumel, and definitely not my favourite parts. 

Last weekend a group of friends who work in social media marketing got together under the leadership of Miguel, "La Vida es Viaje", who arranged a whirlwind visit to the island with the local tourism board, the #aventuraencozumel (we are Twiteros!). It was going to be quick and dirty, in and out, we only had two days to pack as much in as possible. This was no luxury tour, but so much BETTER. I packed up my car, my tent,…

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2014: From a Canoeros POV

The Travesia Sagrada Maya is an annual event presented by Xcaret Park in the Riviera Maya,a recreation of the ancient crossing of the Maya from the mainland to the island of Cozumel to make offerings to the goddess Ixchel. It is an homage to culture, history and the perseverance of the human spirit, rowing more than 30 kms in open sea and returning again the next day. I am always humbled and moved by the experience (I always cry!) and this year was even more emotional for me. Someone very important in my life participated as a "canoero", his journey inspired me so much that I thought I would share his story instead of mine. Here are his words...

It all started when I was present at the arrival of the canoes in the 2013 edition. All that passion, the families awaiting their loved ones, the amazing energy they brought from the sea...I just felt like I had to be part of it no matter how.

(not a real canoe)
Training for the TSM was without doubt one of the most intense experiences…

Sustainable Tourism - Xelha Park Riviera Maya Receives EarthCheck Gold Certification

"Sustainable tourism -Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities"  (via UNWTO)
Anyone who has visited Cancun or the Riviera Maya on more than one occasion has certainly noted the massive growth of the region and the rapid development of new hotels, condos, entertainment parks and housing. In my ten plus years of living here, I've witnessed huge changes in my little piece of paradise. Each time I see a new building going up, it makes me a little sad to wonder what effect it will have on the future of the Mexican Caribbean's environment and communities. Many companies like to throw around the terms "eco-friendly" or "sustainable" in their marketing, so it is always a pleasure to witness real dedication to these important matters and not just the use of the words for publicity.
Press conference Xelha Park
In …

Riviera Maya Film Festival 2014

"El Cine Nos Une"..."Film Unites Us", the theme of the 2014 edition of the Riviera Maya Film Festival is all about bringing people together to share in the art of cinema. For years people have complained about a lack of culture in Cancun, but that is rapidly changing as projects like the RMFF continue to grow and experience success. This is the third year for the festival and it just keeps getting better and better, providing a world-class cinematic experience for the residents and visitors of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

The 2014 festival kicks off on March 9 and runs until March 15 in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The films will be screened on the beach, in public parks, in cinemas and at their own drive-in. What? That's right, dig your toes in the sand while you enjoy the Latin American premiere of Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac", the long-awaited film "Hard to be a God" from the late Russian director Aleksei Ge…

Rio Secreto Experience in the Riviera Maya

Max guiding the guide 
Been there, done that (but hey, I didn't get a t-shirt!) Having lived in Cancun for more than ten years, I have had the pleasure of experiencing most of the natural attractions in the region, including Rio Secreto. But that was years ago, my last visit was back in '09 when Max was but a wee thing. When I received the invitation to explore Rio Secreto again, I was more than happy to don my adventure shoes and hit the caves.

Stunning stalactites and stalagmites
This was a "work" visit, a "fam trip" as they say and it was with my banda of social media buddies and Max the Explorer that we headed south to Playa del Carmen. Max kept the bus entertained with his (senseless) jokes and we arrived in great spirits and ready for adventure.

Peace my brothers and sisters
As you may or may not know, the Yucatan Peninsula is set on a limestone foundation and there are thousands of cenotes and caves throughout the region. Rio Secreto is an opportuni…

The Bravest Race Xplor Park Riviera Maya 2014

"Fear is a Liar" was the phrase of the day at "The Bravest Race 2014" at Xplor Park in the Riviera Maya. This was the first race of its kind in the area, a 5 km obstacle course in the jungle, over rough terrain, through cenotes, jumping off cliffs, crawling through mud, climbing through ice, the 1100 participants battled through while being chased by "The Fears" trying to steal their bravery. The goal was simply to finish, the bravest with their "flags" intact, no first place, no last, just a group of awesome athletes pushing their limits and having a blast doing it.

I was invited as press to cover the event, which meant a very early Sunday morning. We left Cancun before the sun came up! I had Max with me and he soon had the bus laughing and awake with his "jokes" (8 year old jokes are seldom all that funny). We arrived at the park and made our way to the press "lounge". A parking area had been set up as the starting line/pa…

Xoximilco "A Taste of Mexico" in Cancun

Xoximilco is the newest attraction from the Xperiencias Xcaret Group, modeled after the famous area of canals in Mexico City, "Xochimilco". 

Just when I thought I had seen and done it all in the Riviera Maya, along comes Xoximilco. I had been looking forward to this new experience for a long time, I had been hearing all about the development of the project for months and was eager to "get on board". The idea sounds simple...dinner and drinks on a boat (a traditional "trajinera"). The execution of the idea was anything but simple, it was an evening rich in details!

This was a night for the press to have a taste of the park, which means I was surrounded by the usual gang of good friends who normally attend these events. We were laughing before the first round of drinks, we were all ready for a party. We had about an hour to enjoy the bar, the esquites, the shop with some really gorgeous pieces of art, the Xoloescuincle puppies and have our fortunes told by …