Archive for the ‘Mexico Travel Tips’ Category

posted by colin on Aug 4

 To many would-be travelers to Mexico, the only place they think of is Cancun and similar made-for-tourism enclaves, and they probably aren’t aware of the county’s rich heritage.

Mayan Ruins Along The Yucatan Peninsula Offer Vacationers To Mexico A Much Varied Experience Than Cancun As A Party Town.

Mayan Ruins Along The Yucatan Peninsula Offer Vacationers To Mexico A Much Varied Experience Than Cancun As A Party Town.

One such place where travelers can sample this “other” Mexico is the Yucatan Peninsula, particularly the area in and around the regional capital, Merida. There, visitors who have a taste for history and a desire to do more than just relax at spas or on the beach will find Mayan ruins and colonial remnants.Among these sites is Chichen Itza, known for its signature pyramid, ball court, sacrificial cenote and observatory.

During its most powerful period, 900 to 1200 A.D., human sacrifices were regu­larly made near the top of the pyramid, now known as El Castillo.  In its prime, it was not the unadorned gray stone structure of today.  It was covered with brightly painted masonry depicting dai­ly life. For preservation purposes, tour­ists are no longer allowed to climb onto or up the pyramid, nor can they access the majority of Mayan sites. A Chichen Itza highlight is the cenote, a deep, broad sinkhole that was regarded as a sacred well.  There, heavi­ly bejeweled women were thrown in and drowned in an attempt to please the rain gods.  Acceptance of the sacrifice was as­sumed as long as the body did not re­turn to the surface.  Not surprisingly, vast amounts of treasures have been uncov­ered from the cenote, helping archaeolo­gists to date the time of the sacrifices. The ruins of an observatory sit on an elevated plateau from which astro­nomical calculations were made.  The alignment of the main pyramid indicates that the Mayan people knew about equi­noxes, as crowds of locals now flock there twice a year during the equinoxes to watch the sun project a shadow down the middle of El Castillo.

Easy access to many of the Mayan ruins along the Yucatan Peninsula while staying at some of the Palace Resorts large and boutique all-inclusive resorts.

Mexico is constantly unearthing archaeological wonders, and one of the newest is Ek Balam. Built between 600 and 1,000 A.D., according to estimates, Ek Balam features numerous mounds (thought to be burial sites) and a pyra­mid that contained the library of a for­mer king.  When the king died, his ash­es were placed inside, and the exterior was decorated with statues of birds, jag­uars, various mythical creatures and de­pictions of priests wearing bird feathers.  The site also features two main plazas and a central area that is fenced in by defensive walls. Unlike Chichen Itza and Uxmal, Ek Balam has relatively few visitors and is essentially vendor-free.  That provides a quiet atmosphere where visitors who do see it can relax and take in the Mayan culture.

Of course, the Yucatan, like all of Mexico, has plenty of more mod­ern history. Part of this history revolves around the sisal industry, a four-centu­ry-long saga about Mexico’s efforts to market and profit from the indigenous hemp plant, one of the few agricultural products that manages to thrive in the Yucatan Peninsula’s arid climate.

Less than an hour from the Merida airport, Hacienda Temozon has been refurbished to emulate its peak period of prosperity, which stretched from the 1880s to the 1920s.  The property fea­tures spacious accommodations, and airy bathrooms feature separate walk-in shower and toilet sections, with a sunken marble sink and vanity area in between.  The style of the bedrooms is reminis­cent of the colonial period, with oversize beds, comfortable chairs and tables, climate control and state-of-the-art audio­visual amenities. The hacienda also features a 140­foot-long swimming pool, a fine-dining restaurant serving Yucatan cuisine, ten­nis facilities, stables for horseback riding and an extensive spa, part of which is situated in a candlelit cave with a cenote that functions as a plunge pool.  All of this sits among sprawling grounds with miles of walking paths.

Visitors can stroll where hundreds of workers once processed sisal, prepared it for ship­ment and transported it to market on rail tracks that still crisscross the prop­erty. Adding to the atmosphere are tools of the former sisal trade, including ma­chinery, smokestacks, wagons, carriages, production tools and equestrian gear.Merida itself is home to a renowned anthropology museum, a city museum, a cathedral and the Governor’s Palace, with its second-floor gallery of historic paintings. Downtown Merida is live­ly on Thursday nights, when musicians perform and meals are served in the Parque Santa Lucia. On weekend evenings, many res­taurants in and around Merida’s Plaza Grande place tables outside, creating an urban fair complete with craft sellers and strolling musicians.

posted by colin on Jul 6

Moon Palace Cancun Hosts Global Flu Summit

 

Acknowledged as one of the world’s finest meeting properties, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancún, Mexico, was chosen to host the Global Flu Summit on July 1-3, 2009. The Global Flu Summit was held to reflect on the lessons learned from the Influenza A-H1N1 virus. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon called the meeting to order on July 2, 2009 and then the attendees collaborated resources from around the world to uncover tools to  prevent, limit and mitigate the pandemic

Moon Palace Cancun

 Attendees included the World Health Organization General Director Margaret Chan, who recently praised Mexico for the openness and speed with which it implemented health measures, as well as Pan-American Health Organization General Director Mirta Roses, ministers of health from approximately 40 different countries and the highest level specialists and representatives from more than 50 countries. Mexico’s immediate reaction, taking control of the epidemic in a matter of a month, and acquired knowledge is proof that the world can only benefit from Mexico’s experience, said the country’s Minister of Health.

 

The Governor of Quintana Roo, Felix Gonzalez, emphasized the importance of this event, as it shows the reestablishment of confidence and trust in the country, especially in the Mexican Caribbean, where tourism continues to recuperate at a rapid pace and is almost back to normal seasonal occupancy levels. The Global Summit not only positioned all of Mexico and singled out Quintana Roo as a safe place for tourist activity, but also served as platform to exchange knowledge and information regarding Influenza A (H1N1) virus benefiting people around the worlds, added Gonzalez. 

 

Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort was chosen to host The Global Flu Summit due to its stunning meeting facilities at the largest convention center in Cancún, as well as its reputation for five-star service and amenities. The extraordinary conference center facilities include 142,000 square feet of flexible meeting space with permanent staging, the capacity for up to 8,600 attendees, and the option of 40 breakouts. Serving as one of the most technologically sophisticated resorts in Mexico, high tech board of director rooms and a business center will make these conference facilities ideal for the Global Flu Summit.

 

Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort is located on Cancun’s tranquil south shore, nestled between 123 acres of tropical foliage and secluded white sand beach. This quintessential Cancun family resort offers something for everyone, starting with 2,457 luxurious rooms, including waterside and garden view accommodations or golf villa suites. Two of the largest lagoon-style pools in Mexico wind their way along the beach for more than 650 feet and are complemented by two children’s pools, one Golf Club pool, six Jacuzzis and four swim-up bars. Additional on-site adventures range from a water sports marina and sporting activities to a fully equipped fitness center and private Kids Club. The Moon Spa & Golf Club is home to the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Cancun and one of Palace Resorts’ signature spas, which offers a complete hydrotherapy journey and signature treatments for the body and soul. Travelers enjoy a variety of international delights at 13 restaurants and premium beverages and nightly entertainment at 11 bars and lounges.

        

posted by colin on Jun 1

ATV Tours

ATV Tours

The terrain in the Mexico jungle makes it difficult or impossible for guided tours to take place from a bus or a car. If you are interested in scheduling an ATV jungle tour, you will have to find a tour guide or company.   While ATV rentals are available, you are advised against touring the jungles on your own.  Professional ATV tour guides not only know where to look in the jungle for exciting adventures, but they also know how to keep you safe.  To find an individual or company that specializes in ATV jungle tours, you can contact your travel agent or do the research yourself.

While researching ATV jungle tours, it is likely that you will come up with a number of tour companies. When selecting a tour guide, it is advised that you determine the location of each tour and then compare it to your intended Mexico vacation destination. ATV jungle tour guides are popular, but they can only be found in limited areas.

If you are interested in scheduling an ATV jungle tour, you may have to be prepared to travel to the intended tour site.

posted by colin on May 28

The Ministry of Health initiated a certification program for tourism destinations that are free of influenza A H1N1 by analyzing the most important touristic places and endorsing them as safe and healthy.

 

To this date there are five cities certified as “virus free”. These cities are: Cancun, Cozumel, Villahermosa, La Paz and Manzanillo. Nine more entities will be added to this list, including Mexico City.

 

The program involves the daily review of tourists and employees and is led by the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS). This commission will maintain control of the spread of the virus and confirm that these places are safe and ready to receive tourists.

 

The program declares a destination as safe after 20 days of certification–the estimated incubation period ensuring the absence of the virus.

posted by colin on Apr 28

Crime Threats

The Yucatan Peninsula has not suffered the same level of escalating violence seen in other parts of Mexico. There is no evidence that indicates that criminals specifically target American citizens. Criminals select victims based on appearance, vulnerability, and inattentiveness.

Safety

In recent years, moped rentals have become widespread in Cancun and Cozumel, and the number of serious moped accidents has risen accordingly. Most operators carry no insurance and do not conduct safety checks. U.S. Embassy Mexico City recommends avoiding operators who do not provide a helmet with the rental. Some operators have been known to demand fees many times in excess of damages caused to the vehicles, even if renters have purchased insurance in advance. Vacationers at other beach resorts have encountered similar problems after accidents involving rented jet skis.

One of the better recommendations for avoiding being the victim of a crime at tourist destinations is employing the buddy system, traveling with a trusted individual. Be cognizant of your consumption of alcohol. Most vehicular accidents and incidents of crime affecting U.S. citizens involve the excess consumption of alcohol.

Traveling by Automobile

Road conditions in the Yucatan Peninsula are different than those encountered in the United States. Extra care should be exercised when passing a vehicle or being passed. Non-toll roads between major cities can be narrow and vary in conditions. Toll roads are generally wider and better maintained. Drivers should beware of unmarked speed bumps in populated areas. Driving at night outside of major cities is not advisable due to the lack of adequate street lighting.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of U.S. citizens in Mexico. Motorists should exercise special caution on the heavily traveled expressway south of Cancun, particularly between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where the road reduces from four divided lanes to two-way traffic on a narrow and poorly maintained road.

U.S. citizens are advised to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

Prior to road travel ensure your vehicle is in good working condition and that fluids are at the correct level. When traveling long distances, it is best to travel in tandem with another vehicle. Ensure that there is enough fuel to reach larger cities or towns, as some smaller communities may not have service stations.

The following items are recommended for road trips:

  • Cellular phone and charger
  • Spare tire
  • Portable gas can with funnel
  • Potable water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares / reflectors
  • Tool kit
  • Spare key

Protecting Your Vehicle

Do not leave valuables or items such as laptops, iPods, and expensive sunglasses in plain view and unattended in your vehicle. Avoid leaving your vehicle on the street. When possible park your vehicle inside residential compounds or parking areas with attendants.

OSAC – Overseas Security Advisory Council

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