Sunday at Cancun’s Playa Delfines

Jorge and I spent Sunday at Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach) in Cancun. It has been years since we hung out at the beach in the Hotel Zone! Usually we prefer Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Morelos, but I’m glad we finally came around and decided to enjoy our city for once.

Honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro: Ipanema Sunset

Last night I realized I hadn’t finished showing you guys our honeymoon photos from Rio.

The photos today are very special to me.

Here’s the story behind them: Jorge and I had just been through one of the worst days of our lives as we missed our flight back to Mexico. I’d spent all morning crying at the airport and making desperate phone calls, then we went back to our vacation apartment for an afternoon nap. We woke up late afternoon, still with no idea how or when we were going to get home, and walked out toward Ipanema because that’s where the Subway shop was (extra vacation days = poor).

When I saw the sunset on Ipanema Beach, I knew that this was the reason we’d missed our flight. God wanted us to see this…

A Walk Along Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen

The past month has been one of my favorites since I moved to Mexico over 6 years ago. For three weekends in a row, we found great excuses to make the 1-hour drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. First we went to the Taste of Playa Food Festival, then the next weekend to the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, then last weekend just to hang out! Because who doesn’t want to wake up to this…

The most famous area of Playa del Carmen is Fifth Avenue (or “La Quinta”, as the locals call it), a pedestrian street that runs parallel to the beach. All along this avenue, you’ll find charming hotels, tons of restaurants, boutique shops, local artisanry, beautiful cafes and chic nightclubs right on the beach.

Coco Maya Beach and Night Club

A predominantly European destination, Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue is ideal for people-watching. You’ll see everything from luxury travelers to backpackers all on one unique street.

My personal favorite part of Fifth Avenue is a small off-street called “Calle Corazon” (Heart Street). Calle Corazon is filled with twinkle lights, cafes and art galleries, and I lose myself in its magical atmosphere every time I walk by.

Calle Corazon

 

From Fifth Avenue, it’s just a one-block stroll down to the stunning Caribbean beach, where travelers can indulge in enticing meals right on the sand at oceanfront palapa restaurants. But to be honest, sometimes we don’t even make it to the beach! Our favorite thing to do is to simply walk up and down Fifth Avenue and talk about how much we want to move to Playa del Carmen.

"Jellyfish Lanterns"

What’s your favorite travel destination?

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.

Yet Another Playa Weekend

So excited! Today after work we’re leaving for a short weekend in Playa del Carmen. The company my friend works for has a currently empty 2-bedroom apartment there, so we’re going to enjoy a couple’s weekend. It’s going to be chilly, but fun! Hope your weekend is awesome, too.

Sand and Sound at the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival 2011

This past weekend was the annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in one of my favorite places: Playa del Carmen. Held Thursday November 24 through Saturday November 26 at the chic Mamita’s Beach Club, the festival hosted some of the top current jazz artists in Latin America and beyond.

Saturday’s concert began at 7 pm , but Jorge and I didn’t arrive at Mamita’s Beach until around 8 pm. The beach was immense and PACKED. We estimated there were at least 2,000 spectators that night, but probably more. Many had brought their beach chairs, others were standing, and even more were hanging out on the sand talking to groups of friends. It was a very relaxed vibe despite the large crowd.

Throughout the evening, we got to hear music by Richard Bona, Alex Otaola and the Yellowjackets. I’m not a huge jazz fan, but even I was really getting into it! Some of the music was a bit bland for me, but the upbeat numbers were a lot of fun.

Juan and Viri joined up with us later on, and we got a new spot near the very back of the crowd. It was less crowded, and everyone in that area was just sitting on the sand talking to friends with a pretty clear (if distant) view of the stage. Juan had brought a 10-pack, so he and Jorge joked over their beers while Viri and I spent the evening talking and taking pictures. We’ll definitely be back to the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in 2012! It was a fun, relaxed evening of beach, friends and music.

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.

Honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro: Ipanema Beach

Moving along with the honeymoon posts, today I’ll write about my favorite part of Rio de Janeiro: Ipanema.

You may remember we stayed in the Copacabana district, which was lovely, but on the 3rd day of our trip we finally made it to the neighboring beach neighborhood of Ipanema. Once we discovered it, we’d spent hours on the remaining days of our trip just wandering around the streets and beach of Ipanema, just a 20 minute walk from our Copacabana apartment. It has a very cool vibe, with lots of surfers, beautiful views and endless restaurants to choose from. Ipanema is the perfect place to just… be.

If we ever make it back to Rio, we’re definitely staying in Ipanema!

Note: I know I’ve been using the slideshow feature a lot lately. Personally I like it better for posts with lots of photos, but if you have a hard time seeing it please let me know and I’ll be sure to use regular format in the future.

Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon: Copacabana

We’ve been back from Rio de Janeiro since Wednesday, after a fun night sleeping in a dirty restaurant booth at the airport, followed by a 9 1/2 hour flight. Good times. (This bad attitude is exactly why I could never be a backpacker… or go camping.) Can’t complain too much, though, because our airfare from Mexico to Brazil was free! (Best. Deal. Ever.)

Now that we’re settled back into Cancun, I can go ahead and start showing photos of our belated honeymoon!

In Rio de Janeiro, we stayed in the Copacabana neighborhood right on the beach. Most hotels were fairly expensive despite not being very exciting-looking, and even a private room at a hostel would have run us upward of $80 US a night several blocks from the beach, and most were booked up. We were very lucky to find out about Gringo Management, who has many apartments for rent in the Copacabana and Ipanema areas for very cheap. Our apartment was on the 12th floor of an apartment building just half a block from the beach, for only $75 US a night! It looked recently redone, plus it had ocean views, Wi-Fi, cable TV, a kitchenette and a small but nice bathroom. We were pretty impressed with it. (Didn’t take any pictures of it, though… oops!)

The view from our window

Our first day in Rio, we spent the whole afternoon walking up and down the boardwalk. It’s a very long boardwalk and it took quite a few hours! The beach and boardwalk were packed that day because apparently it’s a holiday in Brazil. The main road (Avenida Atlantica) had been closed to traffic to allow for more pedestrians. It was a pretty awesome way to start our vacation! After a long walk, we fell asleep on the beach. (Hey, we were tired!)

We didn’t take any photos our first day because we wanted to just take it all in, but here are some photos of the Copacabana neighborhood from other days:

Overall we really enjoyed staying in Copacabana, especially on the busier holidays and weekend. The mountain views from the beach were amazing, especially after years in the flat, flat terrain of the Yucatan Peninsula. (**This was the first time Jorge had ever seen mountains.**) There were also tons of cool little bars along the boardwalk, where I ordered mostly caipirinhas and pizza!

In a few days I’ll blog about our morning at Christ the Redeemer! Stay tuned…

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.

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.