Archive for the ‘Yucatan Peninsula’ Category

posted by colin on Oct 9

In May of 2011, President Felipe Calderon (president ofMexico) reassured travel executives attending a global tourism summit in Las Vegas that “Mexico is a safe place to visit”.

Despite Calderon’s comforting words, various news programsand magazine articles have left some of us asking whether or not we should go.

Mexico is a large country, and so any attempt to answer that question should probably focus on those places that are safest for travelers.  On April 22nd, the US Department of State issued a Travel Warning to inform US citizens aboutsecurity situation in Mexico.  In the Travel Warning, the Dept. of State specified that “resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico are generally do notsee the levels of drug related violence and crime reported in the border region
and in areas along major trafficking routes
”.

Anecdotally, I can report that my wife and I spent two weeksin and around Cancun in May.   We took taxis into town and buses to attractions outside of the populated areas and never had any problems or felt uneasy at all.   The locals were always friendly and very helpful.  Most are very proficient in English.  We are heading to Playa del Carmen in December without giving it a second doubt!

And what about our guests?  Are they concerned about venturing to Mexico?  We have had a few inquiries about this
topic.  Safety questions do arise once in a while.  To questions such as “how safe is it? and Is the media blowing it out of proportion?”  I insist that you should use common sense.  Be alert, stay in populated areas, don’t wear expensive jewelry away from the resort, late night activities away from your resort should be curtailed, be respectful of your surroundings.  The same advice that I would give if traveling to NYC, Washington DC or LosAngles.   Use your head,  contact KokoTravel for your next Mexico vacation and you’ll have a great time!!!

 

posted by colin on Feb 5

Grand Luxxe today announced the grand openings of two new resorts of its high-end luxury brand in the vacation destinations of Nuevo Vallarta and Riviera Maya.

Grand Luxxe continues its distinction of offering the most prestigious travel experience bar none.  Both locations debut an architectural philosophy that distinguishes Grand Luxxe from other brands, along with the commitment to the pinnacle of personalized service the brand has become famous for.

A world of privilege and opulence awaits the discriminating traveler which holds in high regard a resort catering to their every need; Grand Luxxe brings a travel experience unlike any other.

Sumptuous suites and villas provide between 2,300 and 3,000 square feet of room, among the largest in the resort industry. Twelve-foot ceilings and Italian design bathroom amenities exude an air of refined magnificence.

First opening in February of 2010, Grand Luxxe in Nuevo Vallarta set the bar for personalized luxury travel with private butlers for each floor. The new tower of 144 suites became a remarkable feat for the affluent vacation segment. Spectacular lakes dot the surroundings, beckoning visitors to take advantage of the various water activities. The vast expanse of the glimmering ocean and beaches of Nuevo Vallarta are an invitation to unwind.

The new Grand Luxxe resort in Riviera Maya is every bit as decadent as its sister property in Nuevo Vallarta and is located on Mexico’s most desired coastline. The low-slung resort harmoniously blends in with the surrounding tropics. Pristine white sand beaches and cabanas with glamorous, shimmering pools, privately tucked into the landscape greet guests.

Joining the ranks of the finest vacation properties in the world, Grand Luxxe blends stunning architecture with sleek, modern interior finishes. Rooms blend richly appointed details including marble flooring, fine accents, rich wood furnishings and luxurious upholstery. Bathrooms exude an air of luxury befitting a spa and offer guests a place to unwind in the free standing tubs. Guests can enjoy the scenery of the river and mountains along with the city and the distant horizon.

Modern amenities abound including private plunge pools in the balcony, private butler service for each floor, 50-inch flat panel televisions, Wi-Fi Internet access, in-room Jacuzzi and 24-hour room service, taxi and medical service. Grand Luxxe will pamper its visitors with full health spa and fitness centers, a unique Kid’s Club camp experience and a world-class Nicklaus-design 18-hole golf course that is a delight for pros and casual players alike.

“The Riviera Maya is known around the world as an area of incredible beauty and history,” says Arturo Hernandez, Grupo Vidanta Chief Architect. “We designed Grand Luxxe’s newest location to integrate the architectural development between the rich jungle environment and distinct local Mayan culture.

posted by colin on Sep 4

Merida On The Yucatan Peninsula

Merida On The Yucatan Peninsula

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico offers every traveler exactly what they are looking for;  from children to adults, even senior citizens, to couples and singles. Offering the perfect combination of cultural history, beaches, natural beauty, great cuisine and the hospitality of its people.

The Yucatan is no small region, so to help you get started we recommend a trip to Merida, the capital city, where old meets new, and traditional style and modern urban development can all be found. If you are looking for postcard-perfect photo ops, Merida is the ideal departure point for excursions to the main archaeological sites, cities and colonial towns.

In the Yucatan, you can find everything from simple boarding houses to the luxury hotels and restaurants. Our recommendations include the

Mayan Palace Resort
and one of the Palace Resorts, which offers all inclusive family as well as adults only resorts along the Yucatan Peninsula.  The countless attractions include many archaeological sites, such as Exmal (World Heritage), Chichen Itza (World Heritage and Wonder of the World) Dzibilchaltun, Ek Balam and many others, all relatively close to Merida. In fact, the Yucatan State has more than 2,000 archaeological sites to visit and discover.

For lovers of eco-tourism, this ancient land of the Mayans offers locations where sunlight filters through rocks, illuminating cavernous vaults and cenotes (underwater caves). The Yucatan Peninsula lacks rivers and other surface waters as the ground is limestone and very porous. Rainwater filters straight through penetrating cracks, forming vaults and  underground rivers, many of which are interconnected.  Adventure lovers will thrill at the opportunity to swim and snorkle the cenotes above and under ground.

Last but not least, visiting the Haciendas of the Yucatan is an incredible experience. According to the Yucatan Tourism Board, some of these haciendas began to process henequen fiber. This was exploited on a grand scale, turning it into a highly profitable business that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is interesting to walk around these old haciendas, which have fortunately been salvaged and converted into hotels, restaurants, luxury tourist shops and museums.

Certainly, as a start to exploring the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida offers a lovely place to start.

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 Donna-Lee on Jul 18

Isla Mujeras, on the Yucatan Peninsula, is one of Travellers’ Choice 2010 Top 10 Beach and Sun Destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Isla Mujeras Top Sun And Beach Destination

Isla Mujeras Dock

Isla Mujeras (Island of Women) is a small island that was once a sanctuary to the Mayan goddess of childbirth and medicine.  With its picturesque views, tranquil beaches, marine parks and sculptured cliffs, Isla Mujeras displays nature at its best. Just eight miles across the bay from Cancun (Bahia de Mujeres) the island is just five miles long and half a mile wide at its widest point.  The area that could be called ‘downtown’ is but six blocks long and four blocks wide.  The weather is glorious with an average temperature at 80 degrees with 60% humidity.  Isla Mujeras is flat with beaches on all sides of the island.

 Strolling the streets of Isla Mujeres, you will still see evidence of the fishing village that it once was with families gathered in their homes tucked between stores and restaurants.  The tourism has provided the villagers with another means to provide for themselves, but the charm and tranquility of the fishing village remains. 

 Isla Mujeres welcomed tourists from around the world, long before the development of Cancun as a tourist meca.  You can still find older residents who can tell stories of tourists signalling from a make-shift dock where Puerto Juarez stands today. The local fishermen’s sons would take a small boat to the mainland to pick up visitors for their stay on the island.  Today there is a ferry that makes runs every half hour.

Isla Mujeras Beach Restaurant

Isla Mujeres is the easternmost point of Mexico, the frontier of eastern Mexico, and the Mexican Navy base was established in 1949 . Fishing was still the main source of income; it wasn’t until recent years that Tourism became a large part of the island. In 1967, the Mexican Government and its water department (C.A.P.A), with the help of many local divers, install an under-the-sea purified water piping system, the first in the world. The 6″ pipes were replaced with 8″ pipes in 1988 the same year Hurricane Gilbert hit the island, which partially destroyed the Mayan temple on the south point. The last few years have seen tremendous improvements to the island including an extensive drainage and sewer system, electric and phone service to the various colonias, paved streets that allow rainwater to drain and a high school.

If you are lucky enough to be vacationing on Isla December 31st, it is a tradition for Isleños to greet the first rays of the sun at the dawn of each new year at the south point, the most eastern point of Mexico.

Life in this little village is much more laid-back and peaceful than that of Cancun, but there is still plenty to see and do, from snorkeling and swimming to shopping and sunning.  The people of Isla Mujeres are proud of their history, and hold the magic of the island in their hearts.

Isla Mujeras Palace Resort; All Inclusive Resort Isla Mujeras

Isla Mujeras Palace Resort

One of the most highly recommended resorts on Isla Mujeres is the small boutique all inclusive resorts, Isla Mujeras Palace Resort.

This small, 62 room resort boasts elegant contemporary design, luxury and comfort in this delightfully intimate resort. A ferry ride out of Cancun, one can look across the Caribbean Sea to the beautiful lights of Cancun’s Hotel Zone from the second story of this resort. The excitement of Cancun is worlds away, yet conveniently accessible.

The freestyle pool with swim up bar overlooks the sea as does the resort’s Holistic Center. Luxuriate around the pool or on the beach, staff will attend to your needs in either location.

The island environment is relaxing yet re-awakens all of your senses. The International menu includes the ideal wine to pair with your meal and cocktails are readily available in the lobby bar as well.

With the 1500 Vacation Dollars, you can select activities and tours to enjoy as well.

Activities on La Isla Mujeras include snorkeling with the opportunity to see stingrays, crabs, barracuda, sea turtles and huge masses of other tropical fish. The water on the around this resort is is calm and clear, and perfect for snorkeling at no cost. There are charters that will take you out to one of the bigger reefs for more fun,

Golf carts and bicycles are available to rent so that you can explore the island, it will take about 20 – 30 minutes to go from one end of the island to another. There are quaint shopping, hotels and restaurant areas on the southern tip of the island, enjoy Mayan Ruin, a turtle farm, an old pirate house, and even a lighthouse lookout where the view of the ocean is breathtaking; there’s plenty to see.

Isla Mujeras is one of Travellers’ Choice 2010 Top 10 Beach and Sun Destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.  We make it affordable for you when you stay as guest of a Palace Premier VIP membership by renting Palace Resorts Timeshare weeks.

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