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Archive for October, 2009

Rio Secreto

Last weekend we decided to do something special by taking advantage of a “cancunense” offer of discounted prices for Rio Secreto! I went with the usual “suspects” 🙂 Cesar, Erika and Fredy. Rio Secreto http://ow.ly/xmB0 is a natural reserve that was discovered by a farmer on his land while chasing one of his animals about 3-4 years ago. It is an underground maze of passageways and thousands of calcified stalactites and stalagmites.

The tour takes you through 600 metres by walking and swimming. When you arrive they give you everything that you will need for the 1.5 hour tour which consists of a half wet suit, a hard-hat, mining light , appropriate footwear and a guide. All you need to bring is your bathing suit and your spirit of adventure.

After our guide had given us some background on the place and shared his deep love of the experience that we were about to have we set off behind him single file until we reached some stairs going down to the subterannean caves. First we passed a small Mayan alter that had been blessed by a Mayan priest and then we arrived at the cave’s mouth. It was amazing! We were told to follow our guide-Pablo exactly in his footsteps so as not to disturb anymore of the natural ecosystem than necessary this included not touching anything as we were informed that once you touch one of these marvelous calcified stalactites and stalagmites they stop growing due to the natural acids on our skin.

As we proceeded all natural light disappeared and all we had were our mining lights and Pablo’s flashlight to lead the way. We arrived at a large open cavern and sat down in about 1 foot of water. Pablo asked us to turn off all of our lights and to imagine what the Mayan priests would have heard so many years ago when they came to this sacred place. We sat in silence and darkness for about 5 minutes listening to the soothing drops of water falling from the ceiling. We were enveloped by the cave and I must admit it was a pretty mystical experience until Cesar’s stomach grumbled. 🙂

We turned our lights back on and proceeded through the passageways at times walking and at times swimming through fresh crystal clear water. You could see where the trees’ roots from above had slowly made their way down through the crevices to find water. There were small fishes, bats (but they were sleeping) and other creatures that shared this wonderful place with us. As we went deeper and deeper I noticed that not only were the caves devoid of any sound except us but also there were no odours aside from our wetsuits. It was an amazing feeling.

An amazing experience at Rio Secreto

An amazing experience at Rio Secreto

Unfortunately you are not allowed to take your own camera but a photographer accompanies you along the tour snapping photos at various spots. Be forewarned Rio Secreto charges you A LOT of money if you choose to take any photos home with you. It is a shame that the photos cost more than your tour. They should make them more reasonable and as a complement to the tour instead of  a “big money maker”. We only bought 1 photo that was put on a disk for us and that cost $25 US–that’s right $25 US!!!! If we had wanted all of them it would have cost $89 US

As we came to the end of the 1.5 hour tour through the caves Pablo asked us to be aware of the differences we would feel as we slowly started coming up. The air became heavier and humid, colours became more brilliant as we climbed the steps up into the daylight and jungle and once again my nose was assaulted by everyday smells. Time had flown by while we were underground and I was sad that it was over.

We took off all of our gear and were teated to a nice healthy light lunch of salad, ham and cheese croissants, and fresh “waters” made from either tamarind, horchata or jamaica (hibiscus). We then picked out our 1 photo bid good-bye to Pablo and headed on our way feeling rejuvenated and alive!

I highly recommend this tour it is indeed an experience that should not be missed. Regular entrance fees go for $49 US or $95 US if you need transportation from Cancun. Our “special” price for locals was 250 pesos (about $19 US)

I would like  to do this tour again one day maybe next time with my Dad or Cuzzy!!

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If you are ever in Cancun and you are looking for a great place to have a drink or a bite to eat then look no further just head on over  to Marakame Cafe on Ave. Circuito Copan, Super Manzana 19, Lt.25.http://www.marakamecafe.com/

It features a very pretty garden deck, gourmet coffee bar,cocktail and martini bar and if you are hungry they serve International cuisine. I go there often with friends and A LOT when my Mom is in town for the winter months–she loves it there! The service is a bit slow and the food can be a bit hit or miss at times so I tend to stick to my favourites (Italian baguette or cannelloni stuffed with goat cheese, bacon,spinach smothered in arrabiata sauce or the cheese and serrano ham plate for two, or the cream of tomato soup al pesto) then I am never disappointed. What makes this place special is at night the lighting sets it apart from many locals- it is very inviting; whether, you choose to sit downstairs or upstairs on the terrace on the couches you will feel right at home. They usually play great music which is a big plus in Cancun as many places either a) don’t have any music or b) have a T.V on blaring either some sporting event  (usually futbol (soccer) ) or a novela ( a Mexican soap).

They often host live music and dance events featuring pre-Hispanic instruments and often bossa nova jazz. There is always a buzz with lots of different people there and I have spent many memorable evenings socking back wine and exchanging stories with friends and family. If breakfast is your things they also have a great breakfast menu and fabulous omelettes.

So next time you are in Cancun make sure you put Marakame on your list of places to go you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

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"Fall" has arrived to Cancun!

The last few days I have awoken with a spring in my step and excess energy to burn which can only mean one thing–fall has finally come to Cancun!! Now I am not referring to autumn as I knew it in Canada which meant the leaves changed amazing different colours and then filled the streets as they started to fall but the only autumn that a tropical place can ever hope to have  where really there aren’t any changes of season except that it gets hotter and hotter.

On occasion I am lucky to be in Vancouver in the autumn to be able to see the leaves fall

On occasion I am lucky to be in Vancouver in the autumn to be able to see the leaves fall

After almost 5 months of incessant heat and humidity that has you showering 2-3 times a day all of a sudden the air feels different, lighter, cooler and even fresh. Blankets come out of storage and are washed and jeans replace capris and shorts and you even dare to start wearing long sleeved shirts! Oh joy–it is like having a whole new wardrobe to choose from again.I now get up earlier and with a clear head and the desire to clean my house, do errands go for a run or just “do” anything. So I may not get to see the leaves fall or jump in the  piles of leaves that my Mom just cleared away like I did as a child but Cancun does indeed have  its own kind of autumn even if all it means is I can finally wear my jeans again. 🙂

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“Fall” has arrived to Cancun!

The last few days I have awoken with a spring in my step and excess energy to burn which can only mean one thing–fall has finally come to Cancun!! Now I am not referring to autumn as I knew it in Canada which meant the leaves changed amazing different colours and then filled the streets as they started to fall but the only autumn that a tropical place can ever hope to have  where really there aren’t any changes of season except that it gets hotter and hotter.

On occasion I am lucky to be in Vancouver in the autumn to be able to see the leaves fall

On occasion I am lucky to be in Vancouver in the autumn to be able to see the leaves fall

After almost 5 months of incessant heat and humidity that has you showering 2-3 times a day all of a sudden the air feels different, lighter, cooler and even fresh. Blankets come out of storage and are washed and jeans replace capris and shorts and you even dare to start wearing long sleeved shirts! Oh joy–it is like having a whole new wardrobe to choose from again.I now get up earlier and with a clear head and the desire to clean my house, do errands go for a run or just “do” anything. So I may not get to see the leaves fall or jump in the  piles of leaves that my Mom just cleared away like I did as a child but Cancun does indeed have  its own kind of autumn even if all it means is I can finally wear my jeans again. 🙂

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Weekend Fun!

It was another great weekend in paradise! On Friday my husband and I decided that it was time once again to put on our dancing shoes and hit a club. We were joined by Erika and Fredy and the place we went to is called Rush which is at Plaza Peninsula on Bonampak. Unfortunately they don’t have a website yet so I can’t share a link with you in this post. It’s a cool open air rooftop bar. We arrived just before midnight ,ordered a bottle of vodka and had a great table–right where all the action is and a great spot to be able to get up and dance around your table. That  night there was a female DJ and she played some pretty great music- a mix of progressive, house and electronic–all my faves! We had a great time and around 3:30am it was time to go home-a fairly early night but hubby was tired 🙂

Me, and Erika at Rush

Me, and Erika at Rush

Saturday was spent at home-a nice leisurely day watching movies and ordering take-out. It was raining so it made for a very relaxing day.

Sunday we had planned to go snorkelling on Fredy’s boat-a recently acquired speedboat. Unfortunately the day was pretty cloudy and the water was a bit rough so we were only given permission to boat around the lagoon. We were somewhat disappointed; however, we still had a great day going around the lagoon and stopping off at La Isla Plaza for lunch at a very reasonably priced place called Taco Grill  right along the dock. YUMMY! We also got to see 7 of the cutest newborn puppies at the marina. If I thought that my cat Simba would ever forgive me I would have put one in my bag to take hoome LOL.

Toooooo cute!

Toooooo cute!

It started to look like it was going to rain so after lunch we headed back to the marina. It would seem that Cancun’s summer has finally ended–thank goodness. The humidity has dropped and we are no longer seeing temperatures above 31 degrees celsius and we now have lows down to 20 degrees. I have actually taken our blankets out of storage as late at night we now need them on our beds and as I am writing this post I have my slippers on 🙂

Fredy's new boat with hubby in the background.

Fredy's new boat with hubby in the background.

All in all a very good weekend–now I have to think of something fun to do this weekend!

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Wow!! How time flies! Another Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s time to get ready for Halloween which is my personal favourite holiday of the year! 🙂

This year for Thanksgiving my husband and I spent the day at Captain Morgan’s which is about 45 minutes from Cancun at Isla Blanca which is part of Playa Mujeres. We threw our beach chairs in the truck along with our beach bag and set off to spend a few hours at one of my favourite beaches. It isn’t actually that far from downtown Cancun but unfortunately because the road to get there hasn’t been paved yet it makes for an interesting trip as you never know exactly in what state the road will be in.

Captain Morgans

Captain Morgan's

This time it wasn’t too bad except we were caught under a huge rain cloud for the ride there. For people who live in the tropics you understand that means that you don’t cancel your day at the beach as the rain will stop within the hour;however when I lived in Vancouver that meant go home or find an indoor activity for the day. 🙂

By the time we had arrived the rain had stopped and the sun was out again and steam was rising off the sand–oh joy! It was going to be a hot day. Captain Morgan’s is a beach club (and I use the word loosely here) and also has several cabanas for overnight stays. My husband and I have stayed there on several occasions as you can’t beat the pristine beaches and lack of tourists and people in general. We also often spend our Sundays there with friends.

What a beach!

What a beach!

Today since it was a Monday we were the only people there-YEAH! I noticed that the owner had finally done some much needed repairs on the beach palapas and he had even painted the cabanas. It was about time! The “beach club” has tables, palapas, a shower, bathrooms and a restaurant for a 25 pesos (2CDN) entrance fee. Should you wish to stay the night a cabana costs 500 pesos (45CDN) and has a bed, a shower, toilet, sink and electricity from nightfall until about 10 p.m. and then you better have candles and a flashlight on hand. You can also camp for the night, bring your own cooler, kayak, etc. (see the photo below for prices in pesos). The restaurant is ok–nothing special and if you are planning to spend a night or two you are better off bringing your own food for breakfast and dinner as the menu is very limited.

Beach club

Beach club

Cabanas

Cabanas

 

Price list

Price list

After lunch and playing in the waves it was time to get a move on as I had a turkey dinner to prepare for a few of my friends:  Pilar who is another expat Canadian, Erika who is American and Fredy and Cesar (my husband) Mexican. We decided to just cook 2 turkey breasts and have the usual fixin’s, potatoes (thank you Pilar) assorted greens, gravy and apple pie–YUMMY!

Getting ready for dinner

Getting ready for dinner

Dinner was great and the company even better and the wine went down like water 🙂

So that was my Canadian Thanksgiving in Cancun!

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I have just added a personalized banner to my blog. What do you think? I enlisted the help of my very talented and creative cousin Graeme who also has a blog–go check him out at http://marvellemedia.wordpress.com/

I wanted my banner to show that I am a true Canadian at heart even though I have chosen to make Cancun, Mexico my home. I believe it is possible to be born in one place, live in another place and have your heart belong to both places.

I shot the image of Vancouver on a cloudy day around Stanley Park seawall and the other at Isla Blanca, just outside of Cancun. The shot of me with my camera is thanks to Erika (an American who made Cancun her home as well).

I want to thank my cousin for putting all the images together and for understanding my vision and for patiently doing it over again and again until it was perfect.:)

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