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.

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.

Beach Day in Puerto Morelos

Saturday was a fun day. Juan, Viri and Jorge picked me up from work at 1 pm to go down to the beach. We went to the beach at Puerto Morelos (about 20 minutes south of Cancun), which I’d never done before. I had no idea it was so beautiful! The beach is much wider than the beaches in Cancun and the sand was a little softer, plus there were no waves! Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres is still our favorite beach, but this comes in a close second.

Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres

Jorge went to Merida this weekend for his mom’s surgery, which went very well! He came back Sunday evening, and since I had Monday off for a Mexican holiday, we decided to go to Isla Mujeres to celebrate our 4 year dating anniversary. (Can we still celebrate that even if we’re married? Well, we did.)

One of my favorite things about going to Isla Mujeres is the ferry ride. Here are some shots…

That's Cancun's hotel zone skyline on the horizon

Isla Mujeres on the horizon

 

We arrived at the Isla Mujeres port and headed straight for my favorite spot in the entire world… Playa Norte (North Beach).

 

My view

 

My favorite part of Playa Norte is the water. There are no waves (I hate waves), and the water is only chest-deep for as far as the eye can see. The sand is powdery, and there are no plants or rocks underfoot. It’s like swimming in a pool, but it’s the ocean!

After a few hours we saw some storm clouds rolling in, and we decided to head back to the ferry.

On the ferry ride back home, we could also see some intense storm clouds headed for Cancun on the horizon. It made for some cool shots.

We were lucky to get back home before the rain started! Today I’m back at the office (no fun) and it’s still raining!