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

**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")

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.**

[youtube=http://youtu.be/7TLWZjuKAyk]

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

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.

[slideshow]

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.

My Three Day Weekend

So my 3-day weekend for Mexican Independence Day was busy, busy, busy! I’ll do a quick run-through for ya 🙂

Thursday

To celebrate Independence Day, we played it simple this year… tacos and potatoes at a friend’s pool. Just a calm evening sitting around and talking while listening to fireworks in the distance. Ended the night around 5 am, I think.

We really need to hang out with this group of friends more often. They’re friends of Jorge from high school, and we always have a great time with them.

Friday

Also a low-key day. We ordered the plants we want for the backyard, then went to Jorge’s cousin’s 3rd birthday party where we had tortas and raspados. Then we went home and took a long nap!

In the evening, we went to my suegros house for some pasta from Cheester.

Me and Jorge at Sofia's bday party

Saturday

My brother-in-law scored a dozen free passes to Xcaret. Since Jorge’s cousins were in town visiting, we went with them for the day. I’ll do a more detailed post later this week, but here’s a teaser photo for ya…

Sunday

On Sunday morning, we (and by “we”, I mean Jorge) planted some mini palm trees in our up-and-coming backyard, and laid some some dirt. I’ll post the full makeover later this week, so you can check out our little patio, palm trees, fancy grass and orchid (whaaaaat??)!

Here’s a preview shot of Jorge hard at work while I supervised (and by “supervised”, I mean ate cereal, took pictures, played with the dogs and decided where the palm trees should go).

I think we can all agree that Jorge is the best husband ever.

The grass and orchid plant came today, but won’t be installed until tomorrow. Boo.

Immediately afterwards, my suegros came and picked us up to go to the pool. My brother-in-law’s girlfriend’s parents (confusing, I know) own a piece of land out in the middle of the jungle where they’ve built a little private pool and garden, complete with hammock area and bathroom. We spent the rest of the afternoon there. I would have taken pictures, but I was too busy swimming, eating Domino’s pizza and napping in hammocks. Life is so hard sometimes.

Afterwards we did laundry at my suegros house, like we do every Sunday. Meanwhile, I caught up on reality TV online… Project Runway, new season of Survivor (hurray!) and America’s Next Top Model All Stars (go Allison and Laura!). Then Jorge and I went home and watched the first episode of Jersey Shore Italy. (Oh Mike, you scoundrel!)

So that’s it for my 3-day weekend. What did you do this weekend?

 

Mexican Independence Day Parties in the Riviera Maya

While all my fellow Americans are fast asleep in bed tonight, everyone in Mexico will be partying it up Independence Day style. Here, we don’t just shoot off some fireworks, eat some apple pie and call it a night… oh no. In Mexico, it’s not September 15th if you’re not staying up until the wee hours singing banda music with friends, family, or maybe even several thousand of your closest friends. I mean come on, the party doesn’t even officially start until El Grito just before midnight.

Home to some of the best nightlife in the world, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are no exception.

A local Independence Day show in downtown Cancun

In the early evening most Mexicans spend time with the family, maybe having dinner, going to a bar, or enjoying a local Independence Day show. At midnight, everyone crowds around the radio or TV to hear the president give El Grito. Cheers are made, hugs and kisses are given, and then it’s every man for himself. The older crowd will usually spend the rest of the night chatting, drinking and laughing at a friend’s house, while Cancun’s younger crowd will head out to the clubs in the Hotel Zone (if they’re not there already).

September 15 is a great night to explore Cancun’s Party Center since it fills up with both tourists and locals, all looking to celebrate Independence Day the best way they know how. Music, cheers and the green and red of the Mexican flag all come together in a rush of energy. Nightclubs like Coco Bongo, Dady O and The City host excited locals and visitors, and the thrill in the air becomes contagious. This is the best way to experience Cancun nightlife.

Another great spot to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day is in the laid-back city of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya, where you’ll find a much more casual vibe along with excited crowds. Fifth Avenue and the surrounding streets overflow with partiers. Here, you can grab a beer at a local store and party in the street with crowds of thousands, or duck into a chic yet laid-back tropical bar to celebrate with your closest friends.

No matter where you are in the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Independence Day, you’ll find exciting parties lasting all night. This is a country that really knows how to celebrate!

**Note: This is a blog hop! Feel free to check out any of the following blogs for more Mexican Independence Day fun! (Listed manually because WordPress is a jerk and won’t let me post the linky… WordPress, I think we need to talk.)

Mexico's El Grito de la Independencia

Celebrating Independence Day Around Mexico

Dolores Hidalgo: Cradle of Mexican Independence

The Story of El Grito and Mexico's Independence Day

United Mexico: Their Independence Day Traditions

16 Tips for a Great Mexican Independence Day


16 Little Known Mexican Facts

The Mexican Tequila Bandera

Viva la Independencia!

Mexican Independence Day Parties in the Riviera Maya

Where to Eat for Fiestas Patrias

10 Ways to Celebrate Mexican Independence

Mexican Independence Day in Cancun

 

 

Chiles en Nogada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

My 7 Links

So I was recently tagged in a My 7 Links post by Grrrl Traveler (aka Christine). Normally I don’t participate much in these things because I’m lazy, but I really like the theme and Christine is one of my favorite bloggers. I think hers was actually the first blog I ever followed. She’s currently backpacking through Asia! If you’re not reading her blog, you should be.

As any blogger knows, sometimes you’ll write an amazing post, get tons of readers, then the post gets buried somewhere in your archives, never to see the light of day again. My 7 Links by Tripbase is designed to “unearth” some of those old posts I once loved so much. Here goes:

MY MOST BEAUTIFUL POST

The one post whose pictures I love going back to look at again and again is Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres.

MY MOST POPULAR POST

I think the post that generated the most buzz (and one of my personal favorites) was:

How to Speak Like a Mexicano: American Slang

MY MOST CONTROVERSIAL POST

Not controversial for most of my readers, but I guess many would disagree… my take on a sad event in Cancun.

Dear Michelle Malkin: Quit Hatin’!

MY MOST HELPFUL POST

One of my very first ever posts! (So even long-time readers may not have seen this one) Learn how to use the word “madre” when conversing in Mexico.

How to Speak Like a Mexicano: Madre!

A POST WHOSE SUCCESS SURPRISES ME

Also from my very first few days of blogging. I came across some recent pictures of Atreyu from The Neverending Story and Rufio from Hook, so I posted them… apparently the photos from this post are among the first to show up on some Google image searches. I get about 30 – 40 hits A DAY from this post, almost 2 years later. Crazy.

Childhood Crushes: Atreyu vs Rufio

A POST I FEEL DIDN’T GET THE ATTENTION IT DESERVED

Ya know, it’s hard to tell what readers will enjoy sometimes. Random stories about my dogs will fascinate them, while some of my most adventurous posts will flop. Seriously, who understands you guys? 😛 A few months ago I did a post on a cenote tour in San Crisanto, Yucatan that I loved, but didn’t get much attention on here.

Cenote Tour in San Crisanto

THE POST I AM MOST PROUD OF

Probably my Xel-Ha post… I dunno why, I just really like the pictures!

Xel-Ha


Happy Saturday Sept 10

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

Dear Neighbors… Seriously?

So our house has been consistently invaded by animals this year, but I can’t figure out if they’re drawn to us out of love or hatred. Either way, they love hanging out there.

First there were the cockroaches and slugs (still there, but in much smaller quantities). Then, there were the evil cats (who no longer poop in our planter, thanks for all the tips!). I also saw a teeny tiny frog in the kitchen last week, but at least he was cute. Now… ok, I seriously can’t even explain this one. My Facebook and Twitter friends already know that one of our neighbors a few houses down has acquired a rooster.

A ROOSTER.

A ROOSTER THAT CROWS.

A ROOSTER THAT HAS LEARNED TO CLIMB NOT ONE, BUT SEVERAL BACKYARD WALLS.

Apparently our house is a Mecca for Yucatan wildlife.

What animal do you think will be next? Place your bets!

New Virtual Tour of Puerto Morelos

Yesterday I came across one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time, thanks to a Google+ post by blogging friend Kelly.

Cancun’s OVC (Office of Visitors and Conventions) has recently launched an amazing virtual tour of Puerto Morelos, one of my favorite spots. On the virtual tour, you can see aerial views of the town of Puerto Morelos and its amazing Caribbean waters, as well as some of the town’s most luxurious resorts and tours of several of the area’s famous cenotes along the Ruta de los Cenotes.

Cenote Kin Ha

Designed by Cameleon360, the tour includes aerial views, ground views and of course 360 views. In other words, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play around with. You can even see my new favorite spot Cenote Verde Lucero from a crazy cool “Little Planet View”:

The tour covers about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles for my American readers), and each 360 shot requires 70-80 different images to create. I don’t know how they find the patience, but I’m glad they did!

Hotel Azul Beach

Rumor has it that soon Cancun will be undergoing the same project, showing the city’s shopping, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, etc. From there, they hope to move on to Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy and Holbox, and possibly even Chichen Itza. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to spend a morning of daydreaming at the office with virtual tours of the entire region!

At the moment, you can see this incredible Puerto Morelos virtual tour on cancun.travel or puertomorelos.com

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.