Biosfera Ria Celestun

celestun flamingos

Biosfera Ria Celestun is a very mixed bag. Known for its world-famous flocks of thousands of flamingos, those documentary film makers line up to shoot that classic shot of a sea of pink bobbing necks and skies filled with birds. Of course, they do it at the right time of year.

We, however, showed up at the wrong time of year (that’s the last time we listen to Lonely Planet). There were still enough flamingos around, but they weren’t very cooperative as they decided to park themselves in a part of the park that wasn’t really accessible by boat forcing visitors to march knee-deep in mud through a tangle of mangrove roots. We’re used to that, but a lot of other people weren’t, so there were definitely some unhappy park visitors. (If you’ve never walked through mangrove it may seem like whining, but mangrove roots grow back up out of the mud creating wooden spikes which are not really conducive to hiking.)

Having said that, Ria Celestun’s mangrove is some of the most beautiful in the world (we’ve seen a lot), and the boat Continue…

Hangin’ at the Hacienda

Our-door family area and dining area
Outdoor family area and dining area

When Tony wrote up Ten Things we Loved about Merida, he totally overlooked my favorite thing here – our beautiful casa. Casa Iberica, named after the nearby Iberica Park, served as our home in Merida for a luxurious three weeks. We nick-named the lavish pad “our little hacienda” because after the small apartments we had in Playa del Carmen, Casa Iberica felt like a sprawling palace. Decked out with an entry foyer, two bedrooms, a living room, an outdoor family room / dining area, and a very well equipped kitchen, the casa had everything we needed and more. Even better, there was a beautiful little garden area with a dipping pool in the “shape of the pyramid at Chichen Itza” (we’re not making that up). That pool was a major blessing as the mercury hit Continue…

Makech

makech

We’ve seen some crazy jewelry over the years: neck rings, lip plates, ear plugs made with empty film canisters. But up to now, none of it has been alive. Makech (also written maquech) just might be the craziest piece of jewelry we’ve ever encountered. These giant bejeweled beetles are traditionally worn by Yucatec Mayan women for a night out on the town.

Thomas was so intrigued that he had to try one on for himself. Honestly, I don’t think it works with Continue…

Ten Things We Loved about Merida

merida-11

Who doesn’t love a city where you can get away with a lime-green house, right? Colorful Merida feels VERY far away from the Mayan Riviera. The city is far more mellow, and there’s a much healthier proportion of tourists to Mexicans. Merida is relaxed and authentic. Nobody jumps in your way offering you a tour to Chichen Itza despite the fact that Chichen Itza is only about 70 miles away. In fact, there are dozens of Mayan sites in the surrounding area and tons of potential day trips. But it’s not a city that immediately reveals itself. It would be easy to shoot through and remain totally unimpressed. Merida takes a bit of time to discover – and that was just fine for us. Here’s a bit of what we loved about the Yucatan’s low-key capital Continue…

Tulum’s Ruins and Beaches

Tulum ruins

The Tulum ruins, perched cliffside above a perfect white-sand beach, must be one of the most widely shown images of the Yucatan Peninsula. I would go as far as to say that it is one of the defining images of Mexico as a whole.

Although the Mayan site is not as grand as Chichen Itza or Uxmal, its picturesque location above bizarrely turquoise waters and the fact that is seems to double as an iguana reserve make it quite an attractive destination. Add to that the fact that Tulum is Continue…

Buzzin’ Around Cozumel in our VW Bug

Beyond diving, the highlight of any visit to Cozumel is jumping into one of the island’s convertible VW Bugs and driving the southern loop road.

You might assume that world-famous Cozumel is loaded with perfect white-sand beaches. Bizarrely, it’s not. Quite apart from the mainland, much of western Cozumel is dominated by narrow, grainy, gold-sand beaches, rocky coast, and mangroves. Those postcard moments are spread out around the island and you have to drive if you want to see them.

With the wind in our hair, we bounced from beach to beach and explored some of Cozumel’s very modest Mayan ruins. Portions of Cozumel are Continue…