What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

April 17, 2020
by admin
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Cancun in the Time of Coronavirus

Warning: This post is not going to be about an all-inclusive resort, a weekend adventure, or the beach. This is going to be an honest, maybe boring, detailed post about how Cancun and Bebé and I are dealing with these unforeseen events.

Just like everywhere else, here in paradise we are dealing with the @#%$!% COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. A pandemic is not something I ever expected to blog about, and I didn’t have a blog when hurricane Wilma hit, or when the much less serious H1N1 / Swine flu pandemic happened.

But, here we are so…

I started working from home on Tuesday, March 17, 4 weeks and 3 days ago. One day I had a friend visiting from the U.S. and we were at the beach, and the next we were under quarantine.

working from home in Mexico during Coronavirus quarantine

I have been wishing I could work from home for awhile now, but not when Bebé is home because there is no school, and not when I can’t leave the house. However, I feel very lucky that my full time job immediately took this whole thing seriously enough to have us work from home, not only because I want to stay healthy, but because that same day, we found out that the following Monday school would be closed for a month (that has since been extended to June 1). What would I do with Bebé if the school was closed and I had to go into work?

At that time, most people and businesses in Cancun were not taking the threat of Coronavirus very seriously, which is disappointing because Cancun could have really kept their cases down if they had. Adding to the problem is the fact that many people earn their living day to day. For example, you sell tacos. If you don’t sell tacos one day, you don’t make any money that day. Also, many people in Cancun depend on public transportation, where social distancing isn’t possible. In the second half of March they started closing casinos and movie theaters, etc. However, resorts and hotels were still open and huge gatherings like the “Tianguis”, an open air market, were allowed to continue until last week. Beaches were closed a week or two ago and are being patrolled.

So Cancun, the most popular tourism destination in Latin America, and the surrounding area, is basically closed for business. Three of the four airport terminals are closed. All of the places you love, the resorts, the beaches, the nightclubs, the restaurants… are closed. They estimate some 1,000,000 people are unemployed, and there is no unemployment program in Mexico.

Also, the authorities are now cracking down on residents. This week the governor has prohibited any get-togethers (without saying how many people constitute a get-together), and stated that people must wear masks when they go out and that only one person is allowed to be in the car when going out for groceries or to the pharmacy, which are the only two approved outings. Some of these restrictions seem a little vague or random. We have gone to pick up a pizza every Friday evening, but Bebé stays in the car while I run in and get it so… does it really matter that he’s in the car?

Cancun beaches Covid-19

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

Cancun nightclubs Covid-19

Photo: MuchaFoto Facebook

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

Isla Mujeres…

Isla Mujeres beach Covid-19

Photo: Mi Cancun Facebook

How many cases are there in Cancun? How many people have tested positive? There is a website with the “official” numbers, but just like many other places, there aren’t enough tests so we don’t know the real numbers. There was recently an article written about how Coronavirus cases are being listed in hospitals as “unexplained pneumonia” because well, if they haven’t been tested, they can’t list them as Coronavirus. There are also rumblings of healthcare workers not having enough masks, etc. Mexico’s healthcare system was already nowhere near where it needed to be before this happened.

Grocery shopping hasn’t been nearly as bad as in the US. There is plenty of toilet paper available. There have been some empty shelves, mostly rice, beans, tortillas, etc., but overall I have been able to find almost everything on my list every week. Last Saturday Walmart got a lot more serious about social distancing by moving merchandise farther back from the cashiers and putting X’s on the floor. As of this week, you must wear a mask to enter. All of the dear elderly people who bagged groceries for tips were sent home weeks ago.

I had four jobs before this happened. As of today, I have lost all three of my freelance jobs (I am hoping to get them back when this is all over) and I am working my full time job for 50% of my salary. I am grateful for this, because it means money coming in. My mortgage is going to be deferred for four months, I don’t have to pay for soccer and I am not paying for school (they expect us to, so that will have to be sorted out later, I need money for food), and those are my largest expenses. I haven’t gotten gas since the middle of March and I only had a half a tank when we started quarantining.

Keeping a schedule keeps us sane under normal circumstances, but it is even more important now. When I started working from home, I was working on my freelance from 7 am to 9 am, then working from 9 am to 6 pm, but since I don’t have anymore freelance work, the computer is coming out closer to 8 am. Bebé is playing way too much Xbox and watching way too much youtube (I am working full time after all), but he takes scheduled breaks to do schoolwork, music, and soccer. I am not homeschooling, they haven’t given us enough materials to do that (thank goodness), so the schoolwork basically consists of exercises reviewing various subjects. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner at basically the same time every day. Every evening I take a 40-minute walk while listening to music, which really helps me maintain my sanity. I am exercising the same amount and I am not drinking any more wine than I did before this whole thing started (Friday and Saturday evenings). I have gained a pound, but I am going to lose that quickly, because the last thing I want to do is come out of this having gained weight!

Coronavirus Cancun schoolwork

We also colored eggs and I managed to pull off Easter.

Easter in Cancun during Coronavirus

Easter in Cancun Covid-19

It’s getting HOT in Cancun, and I am afraid to use the air-conditioning and then not have the money to pay a large bill, so I got out the floor fans and we basically spend 24 hours a day in front of them.

My general philosophy in life is that happiness is a choice and that you have to do the best you can with whatever comes your way, and I am applying it to this situation. That’s not to say I don’t have moments where I panic or feel depressed. Family, friends and a sense of humor (OMG that My Sharona Coronavirus remake) help so very much.

The couple of months before this happened were very busy and a lot of fun. My mom was here for a month, then I had friends visit and some weekend adventures. We had a blast, and it filled my soul, but I must admit I was looking forward to a little downtime.

This was not what I had in mind.

Mexico based writers and bloggers

Stay healthy and sane out there. We’ll be here, at home, sweating.

April 15, 2020
by admin
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Our Weekend Visit to Chelem, Yucatan

In February we met up with some dear friends from home (as in the U.S.) for a whirlwind weekend (less than 48 hours) in Chelem, Yucatan, which is located on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. I love an opportunity to see treasured friends and anything in Yucatan, so despite the 4-hour drive from Cancun, I was really excited.

Toll Road Cancun – Merida

There is a “free” highway to Merida, but it goes through many small towns where there are lots of speed bumps and would take significantly longer than the toll road. However, if you’re in the mood or have the time for sightseeing, it’s a good option. We took the pay road or “autopista” from Cancun to Merida, then took 261 north to Chelem. There were loads of signs and I never had to use a map. The autopista is very well maintained but also quite expensive these days, 518 pesos each way for a grand total of 1036 pesos. There is no way to get off the autopista, except at Valladolid, and there is only one place to stop between Cancun and Merida where there are convenience stores, restaurants and restrooms.

Here is where Chelem is located…

Note where Cancun is, on the eastern coast. It’s quite a drive! And for the most part, from Cancun to Merida, it’s one long, boring, straight line…

toll road Cancun Valladolid Merida

Chelem, Yucatan

The population of Chelem is only about 1,000, and although it has been a vacation getaway for well-off Merida residents for many years, it has recently come to the attention of foreigners looking for affordable beach property.

We stayed at Bears en la Playa a charming bed and breakfast run by the equally charming Rob and Roy, a gay couple who welcomes anyone who is accepting of other lifestyles. Although children are not generally permitted, they made an exception for Bebé. (Should I change his “name” to “Niño” now??)

There are three guest rooms, two with a king size bed and one with two twins. They all have their own bathroom. There is also wifi and a rooftop deck with a bar and hot tub. Not too shabby!

And here is the beach…

Breakfast was wonderful both mornings. The first morning we had Egg McMuffin type sandwiches and the second, blueberry pancakes. We sat right out on the patio to eat…

 

Chelem doesn’t have the colonial architecture or charming town square that you find in Merida or Valladolid. It’s rustic and has that lazy, relaxed, fishing town feeling.

Walking up and down the beach is interesting, because you see new, modern homes and then you see places like this…

And each place has its own story.

Because of the growing expat community, new bars and restaurants are opening. On Saturday night we ate at Taqueria la Tejana, a little spot on the main square where you sit at plastic tables right in the street, so we could try their giant loaded baked potatoes, something you don’t find often in these parts. I chose the beef version and it was scrumptious, and so large that I couldn’t even finish it.

Afterwards we headed to The Edge for karaoke night, which was mostly expats who were fun and welcoming. Again, we’re talking a cement floor and plastic chairs, but that’s what gives the place character. Bebé got to play pool for awhile and I sang a song.

Progreso, Yucatan

On Saturday during the day we visited Progreso, a larger port city to the east. Whereas Chelem is just a regular town that happens to have some expats living there, Progreso feels much more touristy. It is also a cruise ship destination, so they have been trying to spruce up their boardwalk/malecon and beach area.

The pier is no joke. It’s so big that there were trucks driving on it.

After we walked around for a bit, we ate at one of the many restaurants on the beach.

It was way to short, but it was a wonderful weekend. During Mexico’s daylight savings time, you gain an hour when traveling to Yucatan from Cancun, and lose an hour coming back, so we headed home at 11 am Yucatan time, but first we took a few minutes to take some photos.

Chelem’s pier is much smaller than Progreso’s! You can see it in the background here. heehee

We arrived home shortly before 4 pm Cancun time.

Beware! I was stopped on the way back on the toll road by a federal police officer for speeding. He gave me a very stern warning (I’m pretty sure he’s seen some ugly accidents on that road) but behaved in a completely professional manner. I however played the shameless dizzy blond, “Was I going to fast officer??”

We hope to return to Chelem and spend more time there soon!

Cancun family vacation

November 29, 2019
by admin
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Return to Beach Palace Cancun

Bebé and I recently spent a long weekend at Beach Palace Cancun. We were really looking forward to it, but then some things happened that threatened to ruin the visit… Bebé, thanks to an accident while playing soccer at school, had to have stitches in his chin, which meant he wouldn’t be able to swim. Then he came down with the flu the day before we were supposed to check in, and had a temperature which was some times up to 102-103 degrees.

However, we didn’t want to give up our wonderful long weekend at Beach Palace, so we pushed through and made the best of things.

We had stayed at Beach Palace once before, in 2014. Bebé was so little… look!

family resorts Cancun

Maybe the next time we stay there he will be taller than I am!?!?

We arrived Friday night, and Monday was a Mexican holiday, so we stayed for three leisurely, luxurious nights.

Instead of a blow by blow report. I would like to tell you why we love Beach Palace Cancun

The Rooms

hotels Hotel Zone Cancun

The rooms are huge. I have lived in various apartments that were way smaller than the rooms at Beach Palace. Our room also had a huge balcony overlooking beautiful Nichupte Lagoon.

resorts with balconies Cancun Hotel Zone

Rooms are fully stocked with everything you could possibly need including an alarm clock, Smart TV, a Double Whirlpool Tub and a mini-bar stocked with sodas, bottled water, juice and beer. There is also a liquor cabinet and a bottle of red wine, free WiFi (throughout the resort), 24-hour room service, a hair dryer and a flat iron, bathrobes (our room was missing the slippers), a safe, a coffeemaker, a telephone (with free unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada) and an iron and ironing board.

The beds are sooo comfortable and the blackout curtains really keep the room dark in the morning.

The Pool and Beach

It does not get much better than Beach Palace’s beach. It is very wide and the seaweed is long gone.

Cancun beach

Cancun beaches

beach Hotel Zone Cancun

Mexico based freelance writer

There are tons of chairs and umbrellas available. On this particular day it was too windy for umbrellas but they put them up the next day.

beach chairs Beach Palace

There is also a Beach Palace sign which is great for vacation photos (my OCD wanted to straighten out the letters and move them further away from the chairs).

Cancun sign

seaweed Cancun

There is one large main infinity pool, with two smaller pools on either side, one with a water slide and the other with a swim-up bar. I love the huge arch which frames the Caribbean and is used to display a large screen at night.

main pool Beach Palace

 

Palace Resorts Cancun

One of the best things about the pool is this young man, Faride, everyone’s favorite waiter. He was cheerful, kind and attentive.

Faride Beach Palace Cancun

Sky Bar on the roof has two pools, two hot tubs, two swim-up bars, and offers spectacular views of the Caribbean and Nichupte Lagoon.

rooftop pools Cancun

The Restaurants and Bars

Hooray for all-inclusive food and cocktails!

Beach Palace has 4 restaurants, a delightful coffee and sweets shop, 24-hour room service, a sports bar and 3 swim-up pool bars.

Tequila is the resort’s main buffet restaurant. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, be sure to ask Gabriela to whip up your favorite kind of eggs. I requested “huevos divorciados”. They were delicious!

huevo-divorciados-Cancun

Wok is an Asian restaurant. We ate there the first night, just like we did in 2014, and they even put us at the same table!

resorts for families in Cancun

Boceli serves Italian. I ordered the carbonara and it was spectacular. I also tried Bebé’s pizza and it was very tasty.

Italian restaurant Beach Palace

Terraza, located on the terrace of Boceli, is a steakhouse. I was intent on dining there, since last time we weren’t able to, but my mission failed! The wait was too long and we wanted to go to the show, so the last night we had dinner at Tequila.

Each restaurant  offers a children’s menu. Tequila had a kid’s section on the buffet as well.

Sweet & Coffee was basically our mothership. This, well, sweets and coffee shop, served coffee and tea, ice cream, crepes, cake, cookies… we got something every single day. I recommend their iced coffee, dulce de leche crepes and vanilla cookies.

desserts Beach Palace Cancun

One of the great things about Beach Palace is that they serve food at the pool. Many resorts don’t do this. I ate lunch right on my lounge chair both days.

dining Beach Palace Cancun

I had a few cocktails by the pool as well.

Cancun vacation

Beach Palace Cancun pool bar

We spent time at the Stadium Bar every evening playing ping pong and pool, and the first night they had the Michael Jackson show there because it was very windy and sprinkling. They also have live bands there many nights, but kids aren’t allowed in after 10:00 pm.

I will say that I did miss the door knob hanger tag that used to be in the room. You could place a room service order for breakfast, specify the time you wanted it to arrive and hang it on the doorknob the night before. That may still be possible through the room service menu on the television, but we never used that. When we ordered Bebé’s lunch through room service we placed the order by phone.

The Activities

I used to love just lying around by the pool or on the beach all day, but those days have been over for quite awhile now. Unfortunately, children don’t like to lie quietly on a lounge chair all day. Luckily Bebé is getting bigger so I don’t have to be involved in all of his activities, but I do like to throw the ball or participate in some of the resort activities with him.

At Beach Palace you can be as bored or as active as you want to be. They offer a full program of daily and nightly activities and a kids club, called the Playroom.

There’s yoga, paddle board yoga, beach volleyball, beach soccer, Zumba, cocktail classes, bingo… the fun never ends!

yoga Beach Palace

Since Bebé couldn’t swim much he did spend some time at the Playroom each day playing Xbox.

Playroom Beach Palace Cancun

He also played beach soccer a couple times.

beach soccer Beach Palace Cancun

We loved the shows! Many resorts offer the same shows as all the others, but we saw two new shows at Beach Palace and both were fantastic. The Aladdin show was all singing and dancing and we both loved it. It was funny and colorful.

 

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We loved the new Aladdin show! It’s a hit! #BeachPalace #ThePalaceLife #aladdin #showtime #allinclusive #todoincluido

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I also really enjoyed the Brazilian Samba and Capoeira show, but the drums were SO loud that Bebé had to plug his ears the whole time.

Bonus Points: The Lobby

I am a sucker for a beautiful lobby and think Beach Palace had made some changes to the lobby since our last visit. It’s gorgeous!

Cancun resorts

Cancun hotels

Cancun all-inclusive resorts

Once again Beach Palace Cancun and Palace Resorts did not disappoint! We say, “Si señor!” to Beach Palace Cancun!

Cancun family vacation

 

decorated cookies Cancun

October 1, 2019
by admin
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My 50th Birthday Weekend Extravaganza in Cancun

I initially thought I should let my 50th birthday pass quietly. “Just go out to dinner with your Cancun bestie and that will be it,” I thought, “If you don’t make a big deal out of it, it will be like it’s not really happening.”

It didn’t help that some of my forever friends who also turn 50 this year were having big events that I couldn’t attend. How could I ask them to come to Cancun for mine?

Then a close friend from home said, “We’ll come down if you plan something,” but what would I plan?

Well, I decided that the best thing to do to avoid some kind of a midlife crisis or worrying about getting older would be to plan a #50thbdayweekendextravaganza, complete with it’s own hashtag (of course nobody used it but me lol). So that’s what I decided to do, and I’m so glad I did.

On my actual birthday, after las mañanitas (the local birthday song) and cake at work, I picked up my friends at their resort and we headed to Navio’s in the Hotel Zone. They have over-the-water palapa tables and serve yummy food and drinks.

restaurants in Cancun hotel zone

It was overcast so we didn’t get to see the sunset, but we did get to see this huge ray swim by our table!

waterfront restaurants Cancun

Dinner was delicious and our waiter Alex was very sweet.

seafood restaurants in Cancun

My friends totally spoiled me with lots of fun gifts and the restaurant staff came over to sing happy birthday.

It was so nice to spend time with my friends. It was a wonderful evening!

Cancun restaurants

The next day I had to get up super early to get Bebé to school, and then start preparations for the next part of my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza, the party at my house!

I absolutely love traditional Mexican party decorations, but it was going to be a small party, and I wondered if I should bother. But I figured if I didn’t do it now, I never would. So I kind of went all out with the Mexican party decorations.

Ironically enough I ordered Mexican themed plastic tablecloths and plates and napkins from the U.S., but I got the rest of the decorations in Cancun.

Papel picado (“Cut paper” for lack of a better translation) is one of my favorite things, so I headed to Market 23 to get some. Welp, all I found was PLASTICO picado. Seems the paper stuff is hard to get a hold of here. Maybe I should have ordered that from the U.S. too?

It still looked awesome…

papel picado Cancun

I also got myself a burro (donkey) piñata. I put some candy in it so the kids could break it at the end of the party. That wasn’t easy to find either! There were lots of Spiderman and Dora piñatas, and they did have the tradition star piñatas, but this was the only burro I found. I believe the store where I bought it is called El Granjero and it is in Mercado 23.

burro donkey pinata

I really wanted to have my favorite Mexican candies… glorias, obleas, tambores and mazapan at the party as well. Those were easy to find.

Mexican candy

It was also important to have gigantic 5-0 balloons, of course.

50th birthday balloons

I don’t care for most Mexican cake, so I ordered these beautiful cookies from Sugar Cookies Cancun. They were not only beautiful, but delicious and reasonably priced. (I am desperately looking for another excuse to order more.)

decorated cookies Cancun

Sugar Cookies Cancun

And last but not least, my Cancun bestie and I made these colorful paper flowers. I LOVE paper flowers.

Mexican paper flowers

The plan was to set the 5-0 on the table that was for the candy, cookies, etc., against the wall, and then attach the flowers all over the wall. Wouldn’t that have been cute? Well, it didn’t work out, because the numbers wouldn’t stand up by themselves, and nothing would stick to the wall! So we had to get creative and string them together and tape them to the ceiling.

It was kind of a bummer but desperate times call for desperate measures…

Mexican birthday party decorations

And I had to get my hair done!

I had another hiccup when I got to the salon (And I use the word salon very loosely). They had written down my appointment but nobody had bothered to check the day’s appointments. So I had to ask the only stylist that was there if she would ask the teenager whose hair she was cutting if she could do my hair and then get back to his haircut. Thank goodness he kindly agreed!

I loved how it turned out and I’m already thinking about when I can get it done again.

boxer braids Cancun

Finally it was time for the party! I wanted to keep it small and intimate. I was thrilled because Bebé’s sister was in Cancun and able to come, and Papi (Remember him?) happened to have the day off as well. Of course my friends from home came and just a couple other close friends.

Mexican party decorations

The next morning it was time for the third leg of my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza. We headed to The Westin Resort & Spa, where my friends where staying. Bebé and I had stayed there once before, so I knew it offered well-equipped rooms, great views of the Hotel Zone and an awesome beach.

My friends were already at the pool when we arrived. We had decided it would be “pink day”, but I forgot to take a picture of everyone in pink! Even Bebé had pink swim trunks with pineapples on them.

In my case, my My 50th Birthday hat was pink…

pink 50th birthday hat

Cancun resorts

Cancun non-all-inclusive resorts

We had a fun day of fruity cocktails and Tecate Light, swimming in the pool and the ocean, having lunch right on our lounge chairs and even participating in some pool activities.

Late in the afternoon Bebé wanted to change so we headed up to the suite.

When we walked in, I spotted this…

I thought, “How thoughtful!”

Then I caught a glimpse of the master bedroom and thought, “Oh they made a towel animal on the bed.” Upon further investigation, this is what I found…

I was blown away! So beautiful!!! My friends were up to their usual birthday tricks, spoiling me rotten.

(I also noticed how nicely these decorations stuck to the wall!)

That evening we went out for a traditional Mexican dinner, and I received yet another birthday serenade.

It’s just so comforting for me to be around dear forever friends from home. The next morning it was very difficult to say good-bye, but I will never forget my 50th birthday. I will treasure the memories!

And just to top it all off, Monday was Mexican Independence Day, so I had a four-day weekend and an extra day to recover.

I’m going to share one more picture, of the flowers one of my girlfriends gave me for my birthday, because this picture demonstrates how I feel when I think back on my #50thbdayweekendextravaganza.

Gerber Daisies

childrens dentist Cancun

June 4, 2019
by admin
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Dental Work in Cancun: Cancun Dental Design

The dentist has never bothered me. I’ve never had any cavities and never had to have braces. I once had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled but I was asleep for that. However, I know that a lot of people are terrified by the dentist, mostly because they have had complicated, painful work done. In addition, dental work is expensive, particularly if you don’t have insurance.

More and more people are traveling to Mexico to get expensive dental work done for a fraction of the price. It’s more economical yet at that same time done by well-trained dentists in professional, high-tech medical offices.

How do I know? Because Bebé and I just had a great experience with Cancun Dental Design. I crossed paths with many tourists who were also having dental work done.

We headed for the Hotel Zone when Bebé’s soccer game was over. When we arrived they took our info and a photo for our file. Bebé was first. Although he hadn’t had any so far, he was really worried that he might have a cavity because I told him what they would do if he did. Probably shouldn’t have mentioned it! He was a little upset at first and they were very sweet and patient.

First the dental assistant cleaned his teeth and then the dentist came in and checked them. 9 years old and still no cavities! Yippee!

dental work Cancun

childrens dentist Cancun

I did ask them about the fact that he grinds his teeth at night and they said they would take a 3D x-ray and have the orthodontist take a look at him. They also said due to the grinding his back teeth no longer have peaks on them. They’re flat. Not good.

The 3D x-ray was so cool! I hadn’t see one of a child’s mouth before. You can see the teeth he has now and the ones that will eventually come in.

3D dental xray Cancun

Dental tourism Mexico

Next it was my turn for a cleaning and laser whitening!

The cleaning was fine, uneventful and not painful. The laser whitening wasn’t painful either, but you have to lie perfectly still for a long time. In my case, 30 minutes. That was kind of tough. Had to talk myself down a couple of times. lol

laser teeth whitening Cancun

Bebé is in this picture too, looking closely at mamá. I think it freaked him out a little at first. Then he went to play on his tablet.

dental tourism Cancun

Then it was back to Bebé, the orthodontist had arrived. He took lots of pictures and molds and told me he’d get back to me.

dental work in Mexico

He did get back to me, and informed me that Bebé has an extra tooth! Luckily, for now we don’t have to do anything about that, but he also said Bebé definitely needed a night guard to protect this teeth from further damage caused by the grinding.

So we visited again to get the mold done.

dentists in Cancun

dental night guard Cancun

And here it is! You can’t really even see it, it’s on his top teeth. He used it while he slept last night and so far, so good.

children's dentist in Cancun

(And Bebé’s hair is getting curly again!)

Here is my whiter smile!

laser whitening Cancun

I feel very comfortable recommending Cancun Dental Design for any dental work. The atmosphere was very relaxed. Everyone was very nice, professional, and they all spoke English. All of the equipment was modern.

Cancun Dental Design is located in Cancun in the Hotel Zone. They have a toll free U.S. number, 1-888-224-2897. The local number is 998-313-4224 They also offer free transportation and travel assistance.

best drinks at an all-inclusive resort

April 10, 2019
by admin
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What to Drink in Cancun

I have shared my knowledge and opinions about resorts in Cancun and activities in Cancun, and a lot of other things, but I recently realized that I have never done a post about Mexican cocktails and Mexican beer!

I don’t drink nearly as much now as I did in my 20’s and 30’s, but I do enjoy a few cocktails, glasses of wine or Mexican beers. I also love aguas frescas, as does Bebé, but more about that later.

Let’s start with cocktails!

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun

Cocktail in a Pineapple! Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun

Two of the best drinks in Mexico are the margarita (duh) and the paloma, which I didn’t discover until I had lived here for many years. Although frozen margaritas are one of the most popular drinks in Cancun, especially at resorts and restaurants in the Hotel Zone, the best margarita is the classic “en las rocas con sal”, or on the rocks with a salted rim. There are also many flavored margaritas that are really delicious. One that should not be missed is the tamarind margarita.

Moon Palace Grand Cancun

Margarita, Moon Palace Grand Cancun

A paloma is grapefruit soda, lime juice and tequila with a salted rim. It’s yummy and refreshing and has become one of my favorites. Sometimes grapefruit juice is used instead of soda.

The , well, depends on the resort. Some of the most popular vacation drinks include piña coladas, daquiris, mudslides, mojitos, riviera mayas and even the superman drink. I don’t really care for the last two because they are different flavored frozen drinks layered on top of one another. *blech*

Playacar Palace Playa del Carmen

Mudslide. Playacar Palace Playa del Carmen (Disclaimer: Bebé did not actually drink any of this mudslide!)

Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Strawberry Daiquiri, Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Royalton Riviera Cancun

Piña Colada, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Another option is a shot of tequila with a delicious sidecar called sangrita, which normally contains orange juice, tomato juice, grenadine and spices. But don’t “shoot” them, sip the tequila and then sip the sangrita.

Mezcal is an agave-based liquor with a smokey flavor. Legend says that mezcal doesn’t cause hangovers! I have had some really interesting mezcal cocktails. Try one in your resort or a restaurant.

Beer aka Cerveza: The Best Mexican Beers

Kaam Condominiums Puerto Morelos

Cerveza Sol Limon y Sal, Kaam Condominiums Puerto Morelos

In my opinion the best Mexican beer is Dos Equis Lager. It’s not too light and not too dark and it tastes great, especially out of a bottle. I also like Modelo Especial, Sol and Pacifico. If you like a darker beer you might enjoy Dos Equis Ambar or Modelo Negra. These are just a few of the dozens of Mexican beer brands.

Instead of plain old beer, during your next Cancun vacation, try a chelada or michelada. A chelada is made with beer, lime juice and ice with a salted rim and is refreshing, while a michelada also contains Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, clamato or tomato juice and Tajin on the rim instead of salt. Spicy!

Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa and Nature Park

Chelada, Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa and Nature Park

The craft beer craze has also reached Mexico and a quick search for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Tulum or Isla Mujeres craft beer will steer in you in the right direction.

Mexican Wine

Photo: puntamita-rentals

One of Bebé’s first sentences was, “Your wine Mommy,” although well I guess that’s not actually a complete sentence, but the point here is that I like wine. I used to drink only white wine but have more recently gained an appreciation for red wine as well. There are many reasonably prices Mexican wines available, so give vino Mexicano a chance! La Europea is a great place to find Mexican wine or ask if they serve any in your hotel or resort.

Aguas Frescas

non-alcoholic drinks Mexico

Aguas frescas are traditional Mexican, sweet, refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks that are made in Mexican homes or sold in markets and restaurants. Many resorts in Cancun serve aguas frescas as well. Our favorite is jamaica, made from hibiscus petals, but there are many flavors including horchata (rice), melón (cantaloupe), sandía (watermelon) and more.

Now you know what to drink in Mexico. Did I miss anything? Oh, WATER! Drink lots of water when in Cancun, especially if you are drinking alcohol and/or spending time in the sun. But please, refuse plastic bottles and ask for “un vaso de agua”, aka a glass of water. Don’t worry, it won’t be from the tap. Another option is my favorite, soda water with lime. It makes me shudder to think about how many plastic water bottles are thrown away in the Cancun area in just one day. 

Note: Drink in moderation. Drinking too much combined with swimming, getting a lot of sun, leaving the resort, etc. can be dangerous. You’ll enjoy your vacation a lot more if you don’t overdo it.

¡Salud!

Azul Fives main pool

February 8, 2019
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The Fives Azul Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen

A couple of weeks ago Bebé, my mom (aka Grammy) and I spent 4 nights at The Fives Azul Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen. I was really excited to check it out, because it’s a little different than most all-inclusive resorts. The Fives offers various ways to stay at the resort. Guests can book as all-inclusive or European plan guests, they can become members of the vacation club, or they can invest in partial or full ownership of a unit. There are actually people who live in the resort!

The Room

This explains why our room was actually an apartment with a full kitchen! (See the bed they brought in for Bebé? It was super comfortable.)

The Fives suites

The Fives kitchen

The Fives residences

We also had a gorgeous rooftop deck with a jacuzzi.

The sofa is also a double-size pull-out bed. The kitchen had a microwave, oven and stove, dining table for four and a full-size refrigerator, which was stocked daily with beer, juice, soft drinks and snacks. The room also included bath amenities including a hair dryer, bathrobes and slippers (and kid-sized ones for Bebé). 24 hour room service was included.

The Fives have suites with up to 3 bedrooms available.

The Pools and Beach

Azul Fives is unique in that there are pools all over the property, not just in the beach area. They kind of wind around the buildings and provide a place to relax for those who prefer peace and quiet.

Azul Fives pool

The main pool and beach area offer a little more action. It is important to note that if you want chairs around the main pool area you have to get up bright and early and save them (but security will remove your towels after one hour if the chairs are not being used so you have to time it just right).

Between the waiters and ordering at the bar, it was always easy to get a drink at the pool. There are a few swim-up bars in other areas of the resort.

Azul Fives main pool

Photo: The Fives Azul Beach Resort

Azul Fives infinity pool

Azul Fives at night

There are always loads of lounge chairs available on the beach, and a beach club where members can reserve a beach bed (with a butler) for the day.

Azul Fives beach club

The Fives beach

Azul Fives beach beds

Playa del Carmen vacation

Azul Fives beach chairs

On a calm day you can swim in the ocean, and there is a pier, which is a nice place to take pictures or just take in the view.

Azul Fives pier

Playa del Carmen resorts

Azul Fives nature

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The Restaurants and Bars

We never went hungry, that’s for sure!

For breakfast there are three choices, the main buffet Flavours, La Brassierie, also a buffet, and room service.

Azul Fives breakfast

Azul Fives room service

We tried all three and La Brassierie was definitely our favorite.

The morning we went to Flavours we were starving and there was this awesome taco stand outside, so we had a DELICIOUS taco while waiting in line. The tortillas were being made fresh right there.

Azul Fives tacos

Azul Fives taco stand

There are numerous options for lunch. One day we ate at Sea Olive, which serves Mediterranean dishes, and the next day we tried Lizards, where you could grab hamburgers, hot dogs and empanadas to go. They even had a vegetarian option for my mom. In fact, all of the restaurants had vegetarian options and some had them marked on the menu.

Azul Fives Lizards

Both Sea Olive and Lizards were very good and very conveniently located right next to the main pool. Oriola grill and La Taqueria taco stand are located at the main pool as well. The third day we ate lunch at La Brassierie after a quick trip to Cancun for Bebé’s semifinal soccer game. #soccermom (They won!)

For dinner, Arezzo, the Italian restaurant, was definitely our favorite, with Koh Thai in a close second. The first night we had dinner at Flavours. They have a different theme each night, but the selection is very limited. The last night we ate at the Mexican restaurant, Mestizo.

Azul Fives Italian restaurant

It’s important to note that it is difficult to get dinner reservations, especially at peak times, so it’s important to head to dinner early and get your name in, and then you can have a few cocktails.

Speaking of cocktails, there are bars all over the place and it was always easy to grab one. Our favorite was The Gin Bar because of it’s central location and outside seating. Children are not allowed in any bars, except for outside seating areas and Zky Bar during the shows.

I really wanted to spend time in the Mexican cantina Nineteen Ten but alas, Bebé couldn’t go in.

Azul Fives Nineteen Ten

The Activities

There is daily and nightly entertainment at Azul Fives. During the day you can play beach volleyball or soccer, do water aerobics, or take a Latin dance class, among other things.

The best entertainment for Bebé was when he found the soccer goal on the beach and a friend to play with.

Azul Fives activities

There was a basketball court as well, but it was a little too far away from the pool and I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t see Bebé when he was there.

As usual, we were present at all of the nightly shows. We went to the fire show the first night, but it started to rain and there was a mass exodus. The second night we saw a lip-sync show where the performers imitated famous singers like Beyonce and Bruno Mars. The third night was karaoke, which was more like a sing-along. They generally hold all the nightly entertainment outdoors at The Fives Plaza, but the weather was kind of iffy when we were there, so they were moved to Zky Bar. On Fridays if the weather cooperates they have a Mexican market, and that night there isn’t a show.

Bebé spent one morning at Azulitos Playhouse aka the kids club, and enjoyed it. He played video games and then joined a gym group activity. Depending on the hour, there were often quite a few kids there. The kids club is for ages 4-12, but there is a baby room where parents can bring their younger children to play.

Azul Fives Azulitos Playhouse

Azul Fives kids club

Bebé doesn’t need it anymore, but the resort offers strollers, cribs, pack ‘n plays, bottle sterilizers, and more, so parents don’t have to lug all of that around on vacation.

Bonuses

There is a nature walk on the grounds, and in general there is a lot of flora and fauna on the property. The most exciting animals we saw were the monkeys!

Azul Fives monkeys

Bebé loves the Mayan legend about alux, little mischievous dwarf-like creatures that will sabotage you if you don’t show them the proper respect. The Fives have a house for the alux, and hold a weekly ceremony to honor them.

Maya legend Alux

All of the employees were polite, helpful and hardworking, and I don’t believe I have ever named specific staff members before, but I came across two who happily went above and beyond, Augustin in The Gin Bar and Miguel in La Brassierie. They are a couple of gems and you can tell they really enjoy and value their jobs.

One thing that is important to know is that the resort is large and spread out. If you are comfortable walking, you’ll get a lot of exercise, which is great for burning off those extra vacation calories. If you are not, there is a shuttle that circles the resort. However, wait times can range from 5 to 20 minutes, so it’s important to plan for that.

The Fives Azul Beach Resort also offers an adult only area, which includes guest rooms, a pool and a restaurant, a spa, and a fitness center that is open 24 hours a day.

Musical Theater Cancun

January 11, 2019
by admin
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Rock of Ages at Now Jade Riviera Cancun

During the holidays Bebé and I rocked it out at Rock of Ages at Now Jade Riviera Cancun. I had seen the show before at a different resort, but I was very excited to bring Bebé along this time around. He is all about music, dancing and shows, as am I (I was in all of the musicals in high school) and Rock of Ages does not disappoint!

Musical Theater Cancun

Rock of Ages is a musical featuring classic rock songs from the 1980s (the decade of my teenage years), including Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe, and other well-known rock bands. I had a great time singing along!

The music and singing is all live. The show is really well done and the set, sound and lighting is very professional.

best activities in Cancun

The show is in English and features a few of the actors from the last run, and some new ones that are doing an awesome job.

events Cancun

events Riviera Maya

There are a few risque parts, Bebé was blushing, but nothing too intense.

theater Cancun

Many of the lyrics are cleverly projected on the screen, in case you’ve forgotten them!

shows Riviera Maya

You do not have to stay at Now Jade Riviera Cancun to see Rock of Ages. Here’s the lowdown on prices and how to get tickets…

Prices per person: ADULTS: $ 75 USD CHILDREN (17 and under): $ 45 USD (there is a discount for guests of the resort)

Ticket includes beer, soft drinks and bottled water.

To book send the following information to rockofages@nowresorts.com:
a) Your full name
b) Date you want to see the show
c) Number of people
d) Phone number

Agents will reply to your email to confirm your reservation and to answer any questions.

IMPORTANT:
– The show plays Wednesdays to Mondays at 8:30 pm and is over 2 hours long.
– Recommended minimum age is 13 years old.
– You cannot take public transport to Now Jade Riviera Cancun but you can take a taxi.
– The best way to get there is by car and free parking is available.
– Round trip transportation is offered at an additional cost. It can be booked through the agents and the cost per person varies depends on the distance.

You can also book through the AM Resorts website: http://www.amresorts.com/rock-of-ages/

Or through this link to TicketMaster MX: https://www.ticketmaster.com.mx/Rock-Of-Ages-boletos/artist/2315336

I leave you with a taste of Rock of Ages, a great way to add a fun, unique experience to your vacation!

 

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January 3, 2019
by admin
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Barcelo Maya Grand Resort: The Biggest All-Inclusive Resort in the Cancun Area

Bebé and I recently spend a wonderful weekend at Barcelo Maya Grand Resort. Barcelo Maya is located in the Riviera Maya, south of Playa del Carmen, and is the largest resort in the Cancun area. There are five resorts on the property; Barcelo Maya PalaceBarcelo Maya TropicalBarcelo Maya ColonialBarcelo Maya Beach and Barcelo Maya Caribe, and they are building another one! We stayed at the Caribe, which is really the place to be. Everything is close.

Guests can dine and participate in activities at all resorts accept for the Palace, unless of course they are staying there.

The Room

Our room was awesome. We stayed in a Premium Level room with a sitting area and a balcony with a jacuzzi that overlooked the swim-up suites and the Caribe pool.

Barcelo Maya Caribe Premium Level

Barcelo Maya Caribe swim-up suites

The room included a television with satellite programming, air-conditioning, WiFi, a safe, a mini bar with drinks and snacks, a coffeemaker, an iron and ironing board, bathrobes and slippers, toiletries and 24 hour room service.

The coffeemaker didn’t work, but hotel room coffee is always pretty terrible anyway, so every morning I ordered coffee and pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) as soon as I woke up. I think this is what I miss the most!

Barcelo Maya Caribe room service

It is important to note that superior rooms do not include WiFi, toiletries, or 24 hour room service.

The Pool and Beach

Barcelo Maya Grand is located on over a mile of beach. Some areas are quite rocky, but the beach at the Caribe was good for swimming. It was also wide and there were plenty of chairs available.

Barcelo Maya Grand new resort

Barcelo Maya Caribe beach

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The pools were great! There are quiet pools, pools with music and activities, pools where you can practice laps, and pools with water parks for kids. So many pools!

Barcelo Maya Caribe pool

Barcelo Maya Beach pool

They have also solved the umbrella problem. We loved these shades and the many hammocks under them!

Barcelo Maya Caribe pool area

The Activities

We weren’t bored, that’s for sure! There were plenty of activities available, but Bebé’s favorite was the basketball court by the pool. We must have signed that basketball out at least 8 times in 2 days!

 

Basketball and the other activities by the pool were part of the all-inclusive plan, as was the mini golf course during the day, but there were other activities that were not, including, bowling, video games, Pirates Island Water Park and the FlowRider, among others, so it’s important to plan for that.

Flowrider Barcelo Maya

Pirate Water Park Barcelo Maya

water park Barcelo Maya

Strikers Sports Bar & Bowling Alley is located in Maya Mall in the Caribe, a super cool area with shopping, restaurants and activities.

Maya Mall Barcelo Maya

Strikers Barcelo Maya

Strikers has snacks available 24 hours a day (I loved the jalepeño poppers while Bebé was partial to the soft serve ice cream) and plenty of TV screens where you can watch the big game.

There is also Barcy Kids Club which offers activities all day, but Bebé has never liked being dropped off at the kids club unless he can play video games, but there are designated times for those.

The Shows

We ended up heading to the Colonial every night to see the shows they offered. We really enjoyed all three of them. The first night we saw the Circus Show, which is always a favorite.

Barcelo Maya circus show

The second night we saw the Michael Jackson Show, AGAIN.

Never. Gets. Old.

 

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The third night we saw the Variety Show, which was performed by the Barcelo singers, dancers and musicians, and it was excellent!

The Restaurants

We were able to enjoy a lot of different restaurants at Barcelo Maya. We ate breakfast at Caribbean Buffet in the Caribe every morning. I loved their Mexican offerings!

Barcelo Maya restaurants

We had lunch every afternoon at Captain Morgan grill and pool bar. It was very convenient because it was right next to the pool and was a buffet.

We had dinner at Trattoria (Italian), Tokyo (Japanese) and Mexico Lindo (Mexican). I would say Mexico Lindo was my favorite. Most of the restaurants had a kids menu (so important), and the one that didn’t (Tokyo) was happy to serve Bebé a hamburger and fries.

Since guests can dine in any of the resorts (except for the Palace) there are many additional restaurants to choose from, including a steakhouse, seafood, Spanish and other Japanese and Italian restaurants.

Bonus: The Decoration

Barcelo Maya Grand is a beautiful place. The decoration and landscaping is really impressive.

Barcelo Maya mall

Barcelo Maya weddings

Riviera Maya resortsMexico Lindo Barcelo Maya

In addition, since we visited shortly before Christmas, we had the pleasure of seeing their breathtaking holiday decorations!

Barcelo Maya Christmas

Riviera Maya Christmas vacation

The decorations in Plaza Mexicana, which is a shopping area that sells Mexican handcrafts (in other words, no need to leave the resort) was my absolute favorite…

Barcelo Maya Riviera Maya Mexico

Barcelo Maya Grand Resort also offers U Spa & Fitness Center, a sports facility that has been used by various professional teams, convention facilities, a Dolphinaris, a small hospital, a church, a dive center, a casino, an adult nightclub and a teen nightclub.

Barcelo Maya Grand Resort has everything a family needs for an awesome all-inclusive vacation, including hands down the very best spot to take a vacation photo…

Riviera Maya sign letters

November 27, 2018
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Another Weekend in Puerto Morelos at Kaam Condos

The Cancunenses have invaded Puerto Morelos once again…

Last weekend we left the big city for some small town charm with my mom, who is visiting from the U.S., and a member of our Cancun family, a close friend’s son.

Of course we stayed at our favorite condos in Puerto Morelos once again, Grupo Kaam Condominiums.

This time we stayed in the yellow building. The KaaNaab building is set up exactly the same as the Je Eleb building, the only differences are the color and decoration. For details about the condos and what they offer, check out my post about our stay at Je Eleb.

Puerto Morelos condominiums

Puerto Morelos rentals with kitchen

Puerto Morelos rentals with pool

Puerto Morelos condos with pool

When we arrived on Saturday, the boys went swimming and we relaxed by the pool and had cold beers. I found out a local secret this time…  there is a tiny store right across the street that sells beer, and it’s MUCH colder than Oxxo’s. Plus, Oxxo is further away!

Cancun bloggers

(Note: Ask the Kaam folks about the family of eagles that live on the tower that you can see from the pool.)

When it was time for dinner we headed downtown to the town square or “zocalo”. (It’s all of 3 blocks away.) There is a very simple playground but Bebé just loves it.

On weekends there is live music, dancing, and stands selling arts and crafts in the square. It’s so charming and relaxing!

Puerto Morelos town square

Puerto Morelos market

Puerto Morelos food

Puerto Morelos artists

Puerto Morelos handicrafts

We had dinner at La Sirena, which faces the town square. The ambiance is nice, especially on the roof (Note: You cannot have dinner up there, only appetizers.) and everything was good. I did find it to be a bit pricey for we locals.

I love this picture of the boys taken on the roof in front of the lighthouse.

Puerto Morelos lighthouse

After dinner we headed back to Kaam to relax before bed.

Although Grupo Kaam offers a free continental breakfast at El Pirata, this time we just brought stuff for breakfast so we could lounge around in our pjs in the morning. I remembered to bring napkins this time too!

On Sunday we headed to the beach. You may or may not have noticed that in the last post, I did not mention the beach. That was because it was covered in seaweed.

However…

Puerto Morelos My Paradise

Oh joy! Not anymore!

We spent a beautiful, wonderful day at My Paradise Beach Club. We love My Paradise because you don’t have to rent the chairs and umbrellas. They require a minimum consumption, but it is very reasonable… 500 per station (two lounge chairs and an umbrella) for the front row and 300 per station for the other rows. Their food and drink prices are reasonable as well. Happy Hour starts at 3:00 pm. Ask for José! He’s awesome. Oh! And there’s no annoying loud music.

Local friends and Bebé’s dad aka Papi joined us.

My Paradise Beach Club Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos beach clubs

It was a perfect day… sunny, warm and breezy… and the boys bought kites!

That evening, we did the town square thing all over again, but this time we ate at Tacos.com, which is located just half a block from the park. It was quaint and inexpensive. I had a vegetarian and two picky boys with me, and they were very helpful with suggestions. We all really enjoyed our meals. We even got a free, impromtu breakdance show during dinner.

After dinner we got ice cream from a place right around the corner from Tacos.com that faces the park may or may not be called Paana e Cioccolato. (That’s the name I found on Google Maps.) Whatever it’s called, the ice cream was great!

Monday morning it was time to head back to the big city, but not without taking pictures at the Puerto Morelos sign, which I forgot to do last time! It’s located right between the town square on the boardwalk or “malecon” and the beach.

Note: Taking pictures in the afternoon when the sun would be facing the sign would be preferable.

There are a couple of other places to take pictures by the main dock…

It was another fun, relaxing weekend in Puerto Morelos with Kaam Condos as the perfect home base.