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.

posted by Donna-Lee on Jul 17

Riviera Maya: Tulum, Mexico is 2010 Travellers Choice in the Top 10 Beach and Sun Destinations, Romance Destinations and Relaxation and Spa Destinations, in the Caribbean and Mexico.  This award winning area  is located on the breath-taking Caribbean coast of Mexico, a 50 minute drive South of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Tulum is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya served as a major port for Cobá.  One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is a popular site for tourists.  Tulum’s greatest attraction is its location. It stands on a bluff facing the rising sun looking out on views of the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular. In Maya, Tulum means “Wall”, and the city was christened thus because it is a walled city; one of the very few the ancients ever built.  When visitors arrive at Tulum’s ancient pre-hispanic site they are able to see the buildings that in its time were the city’s main center (ceremonial and political), monumentally encircled by the Mayan world’s best known wall.  This site is impressive!  You may be able to feel the energy of an amazing civilization as you tour the area.

The most famous Mayan temple city, Chichen Itza  served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. The Kukulkan Pyramid (El Castillo) itself was the last, and arguably the greatest, of all Mayan temples. The Maya believed that on the Equinoxes, their god Kukulkan came down from the heavens to speak directly to their priests. This natural phenomenon of light and shadow is a unique experience that attracts visitors from all parts of the world. Unquestionably, the ancient Maya created a wonder of the world in the great Pyramid of Kukulkan  In 2007, Chichen Itza’s KuKulkan Pyramid was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote.

This ancient Mayan region   offers relaxation and romance, adventure, historical, ecological and geographical interests as well as gorgeous Yucatan beaches.

Two very popular destinations for visitors  are Xcaret (pronounced sh-cah-ret) and,Xel-Ha (pronounced shell-ha) which are beautiful natural parks with inlets and cenotes for swimming and snorkelling, as well as swimming with dolphins in natural aquariums  for an unforgettable experience .

Xcaret Eco Park Cenote

Xcaret Cenote

Known as ”nature’s sacred paradise”, Xcaret is one of the world’s most famous eco-archaeological parks. Here, you will find archaeological ruins, a dolphin show, a display of horses and riders working together, a farm with tropical birds, butterflies, bat caves and a stunning beach. You can go also snorkeling in the famous caves and the well known underground river.

Xcaret Underground River

Xcaret Underground River

With its 53 activities to enjoy, Xcaret is an experience for all your senses. This ecological park was once one of the most important Mayan ports.

Xcaret Plus is a new experience that provides an array of services with one ticket. One major benefit is the preferential access to the exclusive Plus Area, created only for those visitors who purchase the Xcaret Plus ticket. There you’ll find all the facilities you need including towels, snorkel gear, life vests and lockers available at any time of the day. You will also have access to our lockable bags to store your things while you travel down the river. Your Plus Admission will allow you to enjoy the park attractions and the main advantages it has over the Basic admission is that you’ll also get a buffet lunch included with juice and coffee, as well as a 10% discount on all water activities! Without a doubt, this is your opportunity to spend a perfect day just having lots of fun.

The amazing Xcaret Show is the most renowned attraction in this park, featuring 300 artists on stage that will fascinate you with the best selection of music, regional dances and Mexican folklore. When the sun sets the sound of pre-Hispanic drums starts and a line of Mayan warriors and priests guard the way to the theater, this will let you know it is show time. Get ready to experience an extraordinary feast of color and learn about the different episodes of Mexico’s rich history, including a stunning recreation of the famous Ball Game.

Xel Ha is an eco-archaeological site that arose with the Maya Civilization settled on the eastern coastline of the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico.  Xel Ha is located in the Riviera Maya, south of Playa del Carmen.   The name is the combination of the roots xel that means ”spring” and ha’ that means ”water”. Xel Ha is the largest natural open sea aquarium in the world, which offers a myriad of land and water activities, ecological attractions, world-class restaurants, and countless more unimaginable experiences, a place to enjoy the biological parade of the Riviera Maya.

The Yucatan peninsula is renowned for water activities in the Caribbean sea as well as the natural freshwater pools called Cenotes, which are underwater caves and caverns to swim in, snorkel or scuba exploration. 

One of the most beautiful is the Gran Cenote,  just 4 km. from Tulum hotel zone on the road to Cobá, Its clear water allows swimmers and divers to see the underwater cave formations and the small fish that live there.

Cenote Calaveras is located about one km before the Gran Cenote, down an unmarked path into the jungle. Its three holes form the skull shape which gave the cenote its name. Visitors love to jump into the water from the ground above. 

Farther up on the highway to Cancún and Playa del Carmen is Cenote Dos Ojos, (about 10 minutes north of Akumal whose two holes make an excellent place to swim or dive. Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are both located south of Tulum, on the road to Carrillo Puerto and Chetumal, just five minutes from Tulum pueblo Admission prices include both cenotes.

Ancient Mayan ruins are scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Tulum is the best preserved Mayan coastal site.  The Cobá ruins are located about 45 minutes from Tulum along a quiet highway through the jungle and are well worth visiting by either car or bus.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, one of Mexico’s largest parks, covers more than 1 million acres of coastal jungle or about 20 percent of the state of Quintana Roo’s land. This virgin wilderness is home and sanctuary to innumerable species of tropical flora and fauna, of which, the jaguar found here is counted as one of the many protected species.

As eventful and exhilarating as the encounters with the native wildlife are, archaeologically, more than two dozen ancient Mayan sites have been discovered here in various states of ruin. Evidence of habitation dates back at least 2,000 years but most sites uncovered belong to the post-Classic Period, around 1200 AD.

This vast complex, Mexico’s donation to the world nature inventory administered by the UN, contains just about everything the area has to offer the nature buff. Services are meager and activity access is highly restricted. Punta Allen, a small fishing town 60 km. into the biosphere is the only settlement in this northern sector. There are a couple of modest accommodation facilities just before the entry.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is located about 2 hours south of Cancun, just south of Tulum on the road to Punta Allen.

Tulum certainly is an impressive vacation spot in Mexico  for whatever you are looking for whether it be a romantic anniversary celebration, an adventure vacation, simply a beach destination , an archeological experience or just a fabulous family vacation.

There are several All Inclusive Palace Resorts in the Tulum area.  You can save substantially with our Palace Resorts Timeshare Rental.  We suggest the Adults Only Aventura Spa Palace or Aventura Cove Palace for family vacations with children.  Xpu Ha resort is perfect for couples or families interested in ecotourism as the resort has several animal displays and tours.~Playacar Palace is another small boutique hotel withing walking distance of the quaint market area of Playa del Carmen and the ferry dock to Cozumel.

posted by colin on Jul 15

New on the list of popular Mexico vacation destinations; the Riviera Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta is growing and changing, but with a plan to ensure that the natural beauty and culture remains.

 

Nueve Vallarta Beach

Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta Beach

New on the list of popular Mexico vacation destinations; the Riviera Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta is growing and changing, but with a plan to ensure that the natural beauty and culture remains.

Riviera Nayarit is in the beginning stages of development. Between 2005 and 2007, the government has invested $1.5 billion in tourism facilities and infrastructure. Of the 20 projects currently in development, 15 percent of the investment is from the United States. Our resorts, restaurants and other establishments place a major emphasis on service and quality as well. Travelers will also be spoilt for choice in terms of lodging options because Riviera Nayarit not only offers all inclusive resorts but also luxurious accommodations for the discerning traveler,” states governor of the state of Nayarit, Ney Gonzalez.

The region’s first stop is just 10 minutes from Puerto Vallarta’s airport, which allows visitors to benefit from constant flights from major U.S. gateways. “This accessibility has helped us to develop the Riviera Nayarit region and promote its unique traits of luxury, culture and nature.”

“Our primary focus in on luxury and nature and as the region develops in the next decade, luxury resorts and facilities will be enhanced by the protected flora and fauna. Nature is an important asset of Riviera Nayarit. For instance, did you know we are a major migration point for humpback whales? Riviera Nayarit is also home to several species of protected sea turtles and sanctuary for over 250 species of birds-one of the largest in North America-and many are rare,” he explains. “We believe a wide-spectrum of travelers would be interested in traveling to Riviera Nayarit, especially those who appreciate the beauty of the region’s natural wonders such as its mangrove forest reserves, Ridley sea turtle sanctuaries and 100 miles of golden-sand beaches. In terms of accommodations, Riviera Nayarit offers many options ranging from intimate bed and breakfast hotels by the sea to luxurious five-diamond resorts. It attracts couples, family vactions, destination weddings, incentive groups, golfers, and watersports enthusiasts.”

Riviera Nayarit; La Cruz Huanacaxtle

With these plans come an abundance of amenities, perks and unique offerings. For instance, Riviera Nayarit is home to La Tovara National Park, considered on the top sports for birdwatching in the entire continent. Visitors to the area can choose from four signature golf courses, with two more in construction. The town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, says Murphy, is completing its first phase of development with a 400-slip marina; the second phase will see the construction of a boardwalk and a commercial area with boutique hotels. “Another totally new area, Libitu, is just being developed now, starting with a golf course that will be completed this year. Other locations are just starting their initial development phases and will be announced in the near future,” he adds.

One of the jewels of Riviera Nayarit is the fishing village of San Francisco (also known as San Pancho), which has a polo club with an active season from October through April. It’s out of the way yet very accessible, with hidden beaches and lush hills providing a hush-hush hideaway spot that’s still unknown by the masses.

Also, in the state of Nayarit, is the picturesque fishing village of Sayulita, Mexico that offers visitors and residents incredible beaches, lush jungles and a taste of rural Mexico. Located on the Pacific coast of Nayarit, Mexico, this pueblo is slowly gaining popularity as a vacation/second home destination with plenty of North Americans. With cobblestone streets hosting dogs, chickens and playing children, Sayulita is a half-century away from nearby Puerto Vallarta and it’s huge resorts, discos and parasailing. Sayulita’s location is ideal, only 35 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta airport and 3 hours from Guadalajara.

Nuevo Vallarta is a beautiful tourist destination, waiting to give you the most relaxing experience you have ever had. Nuevo Vallarta has emerged as a sister resort to Puerto Vallarta, keeping a very personal charm. Ultramodern hotels, most featuring an All-Inclusive plan, frame almost 4 miles of fine sand beaches, the best in Vallarta, and ideal for water sports and leisure, as they offer a hidden yet close paradise to stay and relax.  

Vallarta Palace Pool

Vallarta Palace Pool

Recommended All Inclusive Resort:   Vallarta Palace All Inclusive Resort & Spa Vallarta

Recommended Resort:   Mayan Resorts Nuevo Vallarta Grand Mayan Resorts Timeshare Rental      

Recommended Luxury Suite:   Grand Luxxe Nuevo Vallarta Suite  Rental With Golf 

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