Tag Archives: Cancun

Cancun Grand Residence

Grand Savings at The Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

 

Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya coast, just 10 minutes from the quiet fishing village of Puerto Morelos, the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is an all-suite beachfront retreat that delivers unrivaled services and luxurious amenities, including handmade furniture, fine linens, state of the art appliances, Jacuzzi tubs and large outdoor terraces. The Bed & Breakfast allows travelers to experience the best of the Riviera Maya with substantial savings on stays through the year.

WHAT: Bed & Breakfast Getaway special

WHERE: Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, Mexico

WHEN: Book by March 5, 2018 for stays through Jan. 31, 2019

DETAILS: Package is based on a three-night, four-day stay. Includes gourmet breakfast at onsite restaurants throughout stay, and round-trip private ground transportation to and from the Cancun International Airport. Must be booked by March 5, 2018 for stays at the resort from now through Jan. 31, 2019, based on availability, and blackout dates apply. Nightly rates start at $324 per couple.

INFO:http://grandresidencesrivieracancun.com/

Jamaica Half Moon Spa

Superior Soaks: Amazing Resort Bathtubs in Tropical Garden Settings

 

Whether it’s a cleansing dip after a day of adventures in rainforest and reef, or a relaxing immersion in preparation for a private candlelight dinner on the beach, a bathtub can become more than just a way to get clean. Here’s a sampling of amazing bathing experiences from around the world. So sink in and relax. A marble tub is the perfect place to refresh with a flower and herb scented bath after a massage at the award-winning Fern Tree Spa at Jamaica’s Half Moon resort.

BVI Snorkel

Unique Caribbean Snorkel Adventures

 

Sure, you’ve explored the shore in front of the hotel, and maybe even signed up for a boat trip to a nearby coral reef. But are you ready for a snorkeling adventure with a wow factor and maybe some bragging rights? These adventures exist in places across the Caribbean. But though they can be thrilling, they aren’t dangerous. Here are five of my favorite Caribbean snorkel adventures that go beyond the usual reef tour.

Blackbeard’s Treasure Caverns, Norman Island, BVI

Legend has it that the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard once stashed chests of gold and plunder in the sea caves of Norman Island. But even those who doubt that tale would agree that the real treasure is the chance to snorkel into this trio of semi-submerged caverns, which are cut into a cliff face just south of the popular harbor known as The Bight. It’s suitable for all ages, because there’s always a hint of sunlight in the caves, and no branching passages. I’ve brought dozens of snorkelers to this site during charter trips, and usually give them a waterproof light so they can hunt for marine live in the nooks and crannies, and admire the purple and red patterns on the rock faces inside.

BVI Snorkel

The caves at Norman Island are said to have once held treasures hidden by the pirate Blackbeard. Snorkelers can safely explore these mysterious caverns. Dale Harrison/Flickr

Bimini Road, Bahamas

Legends of the Bermuda Triangle meet tales of the lost city of Atlantis just off the shores of the tiny Bahamian island of Bimini. On the island’s western shore, a half-mile-long line of rectangular limestone blocks runs parallel to the shore. This unusual formation was first discovered by free diving legend Jacque Mayol, and in the years since, all manner of experts have speculated about the origins and purpose of the structure. Some say it’s the remains of a wall or a pier, while others have pegged it as a highway that was once part of the fabled lost city of Atlantis. I’ve explored this site on scuba dives several times, but actually enjoy it more when seen from above. When floating on the surface with mask and snorkel, you can make out the full extent of the formation in the clear waters below, and then form your own opinion on its origins.

Bimini Snorkel

A snorkeler descends in clear Bahamian water to examine the unique formation known as the Bimini Road. Some believe it to be part of the ruins of the ancient city of Atlantis. Photo: Atmoji Photography/Flickr

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The aerial view of Captain Jacque Cousteau’s Calypso floating in the center of a gigantic submerged crater in the center of a Caribbean coral reef became a world-famous image. This perfectly round geological anomaly measures more than 1,000 feet across, and plunges down to more than 400 feet. I’ve done deep dives into the Belize Blue Hole, but honestly, the most interesting sights are right at the top, where the shallow rim of the hole is ringed in growths of coral. It takes a two-hour boat ride from Belize City or one of the resorts on Ambergris Caye to get to Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole, but the reward is a chance to glide over the cliff-like edge of the hole into deep water, then spend time watching tropical fish among the corals. Keep an eye open, because there’s always a chance to catch a glimpse of large tarpon or reef sharks emerging from the shadows below.

Belize Great Blue Hole

The Belize Blue hole is a massive 400-foot-deep pit set in the center of Lighthouse Reef. The rim of the hole is covered in coral gardens that are ideal for snorkelers to explore. Photo: Kasia Kaczy?ska/Flickr

Dos Ojos Cenote, Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is riddled with cenotes, which are natural sinkholes in the limestone bedrock that fill with clear fresh water. Many of these cenotes are connected to underground rivers that form the longest underwater caves in the world. But you don’t have to be a bold explorer to enjoy these amazing places. With just a mask and snorkel, I’ve swum in dozens of these natural pools. Often, the walls overhang the water, creating a chance to swim into the twilight zone and discover marble-white stalactites hanging from the ceiling. A personal favorite is Dos Ojos Cenote, where swimmers can follow a set of guidelines through a maze of caverns that connect a pair of sunlit pools. You can explore for yourself, or hire a guide to lead the way.

Riviera Maya Cenotes

The cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula are filled with clear fresh water. At Dos Ojos, snorkelers can swim through overhanging ledges that lead to stalactite-decorated chambers. Photo: Guillén Pérez/Flickr

Lac Bay Mangrove, Bonaire

This snorkel adventure is more about relaxation than excitement, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable. It begins with a trip to the undeveloped east coast of Bonaire, and a stop at the Mangrove Information Center within Lac Bay National Park. Here, you’ll sign up for a guided kayak tour that leads through the twisting channels that lace the mangrove forest. Once you reach a hidden bay deep in the reserve, you’ll have a chance to get out of the boat and wade in waist deep water. There’s not much to see out in the middle of the sand bottom bay, because the real show begins when you swim closer to the tangled underwater roots of the mangroves themselves. These roots provide shelter for numerous species of small and juvenile marine life, making Lac Bay the island’s primary fish nursery. If you are lucky, you might also be treated to a swim by from one of the bay’s resident snook or tarpon.

Bonaire Snorkel

A snorkeler glides through a sand channel in the mangrove forest of Bonaire’s Lac Bay. The tangled roots of these trees create habitat for small fish and other marine life. Photo: Mangrove Information Center

St Lucia Body Holiday

Caribbean Resolutions

 

The ball has dropped; you’ve welcomed in the New Year, and probably made a few promises to yourself for the coming months. Maybe it’s to shape up, help others, or just get out and experience something new. With those resolves fresh in your mind, check out these unique Caribbean experiences that take you beyond the beach chair and provide a chance to fulfill some of those promises. Here are six ways to make those resolutions come to life.

Rebuild and Restore

Most everyone resolves to start a new diet and exercise program on January one, but most such plans soon fall apart. One of the best ways to jump start a new you is with a trip to the island of St. Lucia, and a stay at the Body Holiday Resort, which isn’t your usual Caribbean all-inclusive. The focus at this upscale beachfront retreat is health and wellness, but with plenty of play time as well. Guests have full run of an expansive spa and wellness center, with daily treatments and a variety of classes and activities included in the daily rate. Join a morning yoga session, discover qigong energy work, or learn the health benefits of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ready for some fun? Then sign up for a scuba or sailing class, join a group bike ride, get some tennis or golf coaching or sign up for a fencing class. Meals and libations can be as healthful as you desire, but there are also plenty of guilty pleasures if you are ready to reward yourself.

Body Holiday Resort St Lucia

The Body Holiday resort is located on one of St. Lucia’s finest beaches. Guests of this all-inclusive property can participate in a wide range of sports, wellness and fitness programs. Photo: Flickr

Go Green

If you’re up for an eco-lodge adventure, but still want some creature comforts, this is the place. The Pacuare Lodge sits in a rainforest overlooking the Pacuare River, and guests arrive either by four-wheel drive vehicle or on the river as part of a multi-day rafting tour. Jungle paths lead from the central lodge to a collection of unique palm thatched villas and suites, each offering a unique personality. Some perch along the banks of the river, others rise into the treetops, or sit atop a ridgeline, providing sweeping views. Interiors combine rustic elements such as cane ceilings and rich hardwood floors with luxurious furnishings and premium beddings and linens. Pacuare’s kitchen team crafts an innovative menu from farm-to-table ingredients, and guests can take in the views while dining on an elevated terrace, or schedule a private dinner at a table on the riverbank. Guests can participate in a variety of adventures and experiences ranging from nature hikes and cultural experiences to high-energy canopy zip line tours, canyoning excursions and whitewater runs.

Costa Rica Limon Pacuare Lodge

The canopy honeymoon suite at Costa Rica’s Pacuare Lodge is reached by a private suspension bridge, and features an elevated terrace and stone swimming pool. Photo: Martin Kunz/Flickr

Help Out

Puerto Rico continues to rebound from the devastation of hurricane Maria. By the beginning of 2018, more than two-thirds of the islands hotels were once again open for business, and regular air service was restored. But at the same time, many areas of the island are still in the process of rebuilding. This creates a unique opportunity for what is being called voluntourism— combining an island vacation with some time spent helping the people of Puerto Rico rebuild their island. One property that has gotten fully behind this trend is the Serafina Beach Hotel, which is located in the heart of the vibrant Condado District, directly on stylish Ashford Avenue, and is the island’s newest lifestyle- boutique hotel. Beginning in March, guests of this upscale beachfront resort can participate in a range of rebuilding efforts, from cleaning up local parks and historic sites, to helping distribute medical and food supplies.

Serafina Hotel Lobby

The casual-chic lobby of the Serafina Beach Hotel, which will open in the spring of 2018 as the first hotel associated with the upscale Serafina Restaurant Group. Photo: Serafina Beach Hotel

Connect With Nature

If you are ready to go beyond the usual two-hour day hike and really get into some Caribbean back country, book a three-day excursion into the Central Mountain Range of the Dominican Republic. Known as the Caribbean Alps, these peaks rise to heights of almost 10,000 feet, and are a realm of cloud forests, unique rock formations, and hundreds of beautiful rivers and waterfalls. Explora Ecotours provides a three-day guided exploration of the mountains that includes the forests of the Valle Nuevo National Park, the endemic plant and animal life of the Ebano Verde Scientific Preserve, and the Aguas Blancas Waterfall, which is one of the highest in the Caribbean. For more adventure, participants can spend extra days in the town of Jarabacoa, which is the epicenter of the island’s ecotourism industry.

Dominican Republic Birding

The high altitude forests of Valle Nuevo National Park are home to hundreds of species of birds, including a number of endemic species such as this Hispaniola trogon. Photo: Mitch Walters/Flickr

Find Your Bliss

Just down the beach from the world-class resorts of Paradise Island is the Sivananda Yoga Retreat. Sitting on five acres of tropical gardens, this waterfront property is more than just another place to practice your sun salutations; it is an ashram established in 1967 by Swami Vishnudevananda that now serves as a spiritual community and study center. The ashram provides an immersion into the yogic lifestyle, with daily schedules that include meditation, yogic breathing practices, yoga postures, and learning. A core staff of residents and long term students make their home in the ashram, which also welcomes guests who come for stays of a few days or a couple of weeks. Housing options range from self pitched tents and dormitories to cabana like cabins and luxurious beachfront suites. The ashram’s kitchen serves healthful meals, which are included with accommodations. When not engaged in spiritual awakening and physical rejuvenation, guests can also find relaxation and recreation on the white sands of Paradise Beach.

Bahamas Nassau Paradise Island Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat

At the Sivananda Yoga Retreat, daily practices and meditation sessions take place on an oceanfront deck that faces the sands of Paradise Beach. Photo: Sivananda Yoga Retreat

Learn a Language

Forget apps and recordings, the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the culture and day-to-day life of the country. That’s the idea behind immersive programs such as the Spanish language program at Meztli. Participants can spend anywhere from a week to more than a month engaged in daily sessions with native Spanish speaking instructors, and engage in a range of immersive cultural and recreational activities, all designed to make learning the language fun and natural. And best of all, Meztli is located in the heart of the trendy coastal town of Tulum, and close to the white sand beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The school is within walking distance of hostels, hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, Internet cafes, and a variety of shops. For the full 24/7 immersion experience, participants can opt for a stay with a local family, where they will enjoy home cooking and a chance to practice their new found language skills in a real world setting.

Mextil Language School Tulum

Immersive Spanish language programs at the Meztli School in Tulum include a mix of interactive classroom sessions and opportunities to interact with local people. Photo: Sherry Howell/Flickr

Tulum Cenotes

Best Day Trips from Cancun and the Riviera Maya

 

Sun and sand; palm trees and margaritas; clubbing and spa time. These are the things that lure travelers to the resorts of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. But there’s much more to the region that is worthy of discovery, and for those who want to venture away from the beach and explore a wider swath of the Yucatan Peninsula, there are limitless opportunities to immerse oneself in the region’s deep-rooted culture and history. Moreover, this territory’s distinct beauty is so outstanding it’ll knock your socks…er flip-flops off! To get you started, here are five notable destinations that are an easy day or overnight trip away from Cancun and the resorts of the Riviera Maya

A Crossroads with Colonial Memories

Though it is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the Yucatan, Mérida retains the eclectic charms of a Colonial era town. The narrow, cobblestone streets of the old town are lined with rows of multihued buildings, where horse-draw carriages share the roads with pedestrians. It is a town perfect for walking. Roadways intersect at thirteen lovely town squares, where lofty trees shade park benches, and historic monuments front Colonial cathedrals. Mérida has been named among the top places in the world to visit, and recognized as capital of culture for its lively music and cultural flamboyance.

Merida Mexico

In the center of Mérida, the Church of the Third Order is home to a massive crucifix sculpture known as Cristo de la Unidad, by contemporary Spanish artist Ramón Lapayese del Río. Photo: Juanita Rodriguez

Be sure to visit the Mercado de Lucas de Galvez, which is a lively indoor/outdoor market place that bustles with merchants, selling everything from jewelry and shoes to honey and flowers. The Plaza Mayor is a vibrant meeting place where locals linger at sidewalk cafes to enjoy traditional drinks, such as champola or sorbet. The city’s most alluring avenue, Paseo de Montejo, is closed to traffic on Sunday so residents can enjoy live music and a popular artisan market.

Bright Waters and a Colorful Past

It’s called the Lagoon of Seven Colors. This natural freshwater lake is fed by underground rivers that flow from mysterious blue holes that mingle to create a captivating palette of Caribbean blues and greens. On the lake’s western shore, the town of Bacalar is a hidden gem of thatched roof cabanas and quaint bed and breakfast-style retreats, and it is a town with an intriguing history. Linked to the sea by canal and river, it was settled by the Conquistadores in the 1500s, and became the most important trading port in the southern Yucatan.

Bacalar Mexico

The flow from hundreds of underground springs fill the waters of Lake Bacalar with clear fresh water, which is lit in many shades of blue and turquoise from sunlight reflecting from the sand. Photo: Juanita Rodriguez

Pirates came to plunder, prompting the building of Fort of San Felipe. This stone fortress still commands the waterfront. Behind the stone ramparts are well-preserved cannons, while inside is an impressive mural and plaques displaying the area’s fascinating history. Arguably the most intriguing exhibit inside the museum is a glass tomb containing the skeleton of an alleged Pirate of the Caribbean! Bacalar is a four-hour drive south from the Cancun area, but well worth the trip.

The Magic Place

It’s not just a saying. Izamal is magic. That’s according to the Government of Mexico, which has honored a small number of unique and especially picturesque towns across the country with the title of Magic Towns. What makes a town magical? According to the requirements for consideration, it must be small, scenic and with rich historical tradition. So why Izamal? Just enter the town and that question will be answered. The first thing any visitor notices is that the town is painted yellow… all the colonial buildings, the market, the huge convent, everything! The next things that stand out are the cobblestone streets and the iron lampposts that give the town a unique ambiance.

Izamal

The San Antonio de Padua Convent at Izamal was built in 1561 by Spanish conquistadors and monks, using stones from a destroyed Mayan pyramid that previously occupied the site. Photo: Juanita Rodriguez

Called the City of Hills, Izamal may be the oldest city in Yucatán, dating back to the Classic Mayan period. Today the town is alive with three cultures – the ancient Maya, the colonial, and the present day bustling town. Izamal is a monument of color, history and pride that can be felt in its streets and buildings. Art, music, and gastronomy are all around you, and there is a lively town market. Among the locations not to be missed is the Government Palace, the Maya archaeological site of Kinich Kakmo, and the Franciscan convent built over the remains of a Maya pyramid. Izamal is a 45-minute drive from Mérida and a bit less than three hours from Cancun.

A Tropical Euphoria

Before Cancun and the Riviera Maya became an international resort destination, the coastlines of the Yucatan Peninsula were home to small, sleepy fishing villages. For a taste of the bucolic seaside charms of yesteryear, head to Holbox Island. Located 40 miles to the northwest of Cancun, and accessibly only by ferry, the island’s single beachfront town is a place of sand streets, eclectic eco lodges and pristine ocean views.

Holbox Island

The thatch-roof bungalows of the Hotel Villas Delfines overlook a white sand beach on Isla Holbox. This eco-conscious property includes composting bathrooms and solar water heating. Photo: Juanita Rodriguez

The Caribbean Sea is the central attraction. The calm coastal waters are a favorite with paddle boarders, who come to explore the shoreline, or participate in SUP yoga sessions. Nature lovers head to the Yum Balam Biosphere to view flamingos, or snorkel with sea turtles and wild dolphins. From June through September, Holbox becomes the starting point for day trips to an offshore sand bank where massive yet harmless whale sharks gather to feed. Swimmers can don mask and snorkel for a life-list encounter with these gentle giants.

Heaven on the Water

You can only get there by boat. The sandbar known as El Cielo is a white sand shoal that lies about a half mile off the southwestern coast of Cozumel. A number of tour operators will provide the ride, and once there, passengers disembark to wade in the shallows, or swim in crystal clear waters. Stingrays are frequent visitors to the shoal, and the white sands are strewn with colorful starfish. It is the combination of these stellar-like creatures and the cerulean blue of the water that inspired the name El Cielo, which translated into a combination of the words “sky, heaven and paradise.”

El Cielo Snorkel

A sailing catamaran glides over the shallow sand bank known as El Cielo. This is a favorite destination for swimmers, who can wade in the shallows among tropical fish, stingrays and starfish. Photo: Juanita Rodriguez

For an added dimension, visitors can don a mask and snorkel and venture out to the edges of the bank, where colorful coral heads rise from the sand, then become a massive reef as depths increase. Two of the island’s most popular snorkeling destinations— Colombia and Palancar—are just a short boat ride away. Many tour operators combine a stop at El Cielo with a snorkeling excursion to one or both of these reefs, which are home to turtles and a wealth of colorful tropical fish.

Cancun Grand Residences Riviera

Too Good to End Sale at Grand Residences

 

The modern and luxurious Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, in the fishing village of Puerto Morelos, just 20 minutes from the International Airport of Cancun. The hacienda style architectural design gives the resort an attractive, elegant and welcoming personality, with amenities and world-class services.

WHAT: Save up to 43 percent on all-inclusive stays with the Too Good To End offer, and receive a resort credit of $150 and other perks.

WHERE: Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

WHEN: Stays by Dec 20, 2017 or Jan 2 through Dec 20, 2018

DETAILS: Must book before Dec 20, 2017. Nightly rates start at $381 per couple, kids 12 years old and under stay at no additional charge, and taxes/service fees are included. Discounts depend on availability and seasonal rates. Resort credit can be used at the onsite Spa or Gourmet Food Market. Package includes complimentary bottle of tequila and premium gift basket upon arrival.

INFO: www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com/offers/year-end- special-riviera-maya

Banyan Tree Mayakoba Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Best Cyber Monday Vacation Deals

 

Cyber Monday has become a worldwide phenomenon, and some of Mexico’s premier resorts have embraced the trend. A number of spectacular beachfront resorts are offering substantial savings for travelers who log on and book during the long weekend after Thanksgiving. Here are some of the prime deals that await.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

As the first Banyan Tree property in the Americas, Banyan Tree Mayakoba sets the benchmark for resorts in the Riviera Maya. Guests enjoy five-star service and amenities in a setting that preserves the site’s natural beauty. From the Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, to the Greg Norman signature 18-hole El Camaleón Golf Course, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba sets the standards for vacation excellence. Plan ahead and you can save up to 20 percent by booking a stay 60 days in advance. These savings are good anytime between January 29 and December 20, 2018, and also include a $30 gift certificate per person to Banyan Tree Spa. To book visit www.banyantree.com/mayakoba.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

A bedroom suite at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba opens to a private plunge pool and sun terrace, which faces one of the resort’s mangrove-lined waterways. Photo: Banyan Tree

Oasis Hotels

It’s hard to choose. Would you prefer to step right from your ocean view room onto the legendary shores of Tulum, or stay in the center of the action on the beaches of Cancun. Either way, you’ll be enjoying the premier service and lavish all-inclusive amenities of the Oasis hotel group when you book their Cyber Monday special. Sample per person rates start at $117 on bookings at Grand Oasis Tulum, $124 at Grand Oasis Palm and $127 at Grand Oasis Cancun and Grand Oasis Sens. Even the brand’s most luxurious property, The Pyramid at Grand Oasis, is on sale, with rates starting at just $160. Visit oasishotels.com for details.

Oasis Tulum Grand Oasis

The Sian Kaan Suite at the Grand Oasis Tulum delivers rewarding beach views from the bedroom or the adjacent terrace, where a private soak tub awaits. Photo: Oasis Hotels

Temptation Cancun Resort

Discover sensual minimalism at the resort known as Cancun’s favorite playground for adults. From the topless optional pool to the high-energy clubs and sensual menus, every facet of this beachfront property seeks to titillate your senses and encourage you to let go of your inhibitions and live in the moment. Start the party with a booking during the Cyber Monday sale and you can enjoy up to 54 percent off regular rates, starting at $150 per person per night, for stays of three nights or more throughout 2018. Visit www.temptation-experience.com.

Cancun Temptation Resort

A night view of the Temptation Cancun Resort, where the second- floor club sits above the Sexy Pool—so named for its topless- optional guest policy. Photo: Temptation Resort

Seadust Cancun Family Resort

From water parks to live entertainment, there’s something for all ages, day and night, at this beachfront all-inclusive. There are 11 themed restaurants to sate your inner gourmand, water sports for your active side, and calming spa treatments to promote relaxation. Book online between November 22 and 29, 2017, to receive 40 percent discounts on rooms, with seven nights earning a complimentary Cancun Queen Lagoon Cruise. The discount applies to travel throughout 2017 and 2018. Go to https://goo.gl/Sn5bnN for more details.

Seadust Cancun

Beach-view rooms at the Seadust Cancun Family Resort overlook the resort’s three-tiered infinity pool, with the Caribbean Sea just beyond. Photo: Ruben Hidalgo/Seadust Resort

Desire Riviera Maya Resort & Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort

If a sensual, clothing optional scene is your thing, the Desire resorts are your place. Set on the beaches of Puerto Morelos, the couples-only properties temp the senses with gourmet restaurants serving exotic cuisine and Caribbean cocktails, Bali beach beds set on soothing white sand, and nightly entertainment and performances designed to arouse the senses. Book a stay during the promotional window from November 24 to 27, 2017 and enjoy savings of up to 30 percent on stays of three nights or more, with rates starting at $160 USD per person per night. For more info go to desiresecretsale.com.

Riviera Maya Desire

In keeping with the resort’s theme, bedroom suites at the Desire Riviera Maya are designed to evoke a sense of casual yet sensual elegance. Photo: Edgardo Contreras/Desire Resort

La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana

With twelve premier resorts to select from, all set on some of the finest beaches in Mexico, any stay at La Coleccción is a good choice. Guests can vacation at any one of the group’s signature properties in Acapulco, Cancun, Chetumal, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta, and enjoy savings of up to 50 percent when booking during the Cyber Monday special. This special rate is available for stays between November 24, 2017 to December 28, 2018 and is also combinable with a resort credit of up to $1,000. Visit www.lacoleccionresorts.com for details.

Grand Fiesta Resorts Mexico

The Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta is one of 11 properties in the Colección group that will be offering special rates during the Cyber Monday sale. Photo: Fiesta Americana

Riviera Maya Bahia Principe

Best Mexican Resorts to Celebrate El Grito

 

Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, a day known as El Grito de la Independencia – the cry of independence. It is a time of parades, fiestas and feasts. And visitors can get in on the celebration, as a number of resorts get into the spirit of independence with special banquets, entertainment and even fireworks.

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

Independence Day celebrations center around the resort’s award- winning La Joya restaurant, where typical Mexican delicacies will be dished up at food stations throughout the restaurant, accompanied by a domestic open bar from 7 p.m. to midnight. Colorful entertainment will include mariachis and musical trios, along with the live broadcast of the “Independence Day Ceremony” directly from Mexico City.

Fiesta Americana Cancun

Mariachi music livens Independence Day festivities at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, where the party will continue until midnight. Photo: Claudio Pellettieri/Fiesta Americana

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive & Spa

Every year this Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resort plans elaborate Mexican celebrations, which include ballet and mariachi performances. There is a buffet with Mexican cuisine, highlighting the delicacy known as “Chiles en Nogada.” This dish is a signature element of Mexican celebrations, encompassing the authentic flavors of Mexican fare with ingredients such as poblano chilies, picadillo, walnut-based cream sauce and pomegranate seeds, which are arranged to paint out the three colors of the Mexican flag: green, white and red. During the celebration, the staff will be dressed in traditional “charro and china poblana” attire, and there will be fireworks to end the evening.

Puerto Vallarta Fiesta Americana

Chiles en Nogada as prepared by the chefs at Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta. This traditional dish is a favorite entree at Independence Day feasts. Photo: Carlos Parra/Fiesta Americana

Live Aqua Cancun

This upscale adults-only property celebrates Mexico’s independence with a grand “Chef Parade” where the resort’s culinary team presents a delectable food tasting for guests to enjoy at the pool. Staff will also be dressed in traditional costume to interact with guests as they enjoy vibrant dinners and music during the festivities.

Live Aqua Cancun

As part of the Independence Day celebrations, the beachfront pool at Live Aqua Cancun is visited by a replica of trajineras—a traditional Mexican canal boat. Photo: Diaz Ana/Live Aqua

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun

Aside from mouthwatering Mexican gastronomy and treats at El Mexicano restaurant, Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun will host exquisite tequila tasting at the pool to educate guests on the nuances of this signature Mexican libation. Mexican independence characters like Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Ma Morelos, Josefa Ortiz and Ignacio Allende will also be present at the property to share Mexico’s journey to independence with guests. Other celebrations include a beautiful folkloric ballet performance in the main pool and a “Noche Mexicana” which will celebrate “El Grito de la Independencia.”

Fiesta Americana

Fireworks light the sky above the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun during the annual Mexican Independence Day celebration known as El Grito de la Independencia. Photo: Fiesta Americana

Bahia Principe, Riviera Maya

In the Riviera Maya, four picture perfect properties of Bahia Principe will offer plenty of opportunities to feel the spirit of Mexican Independence Day. Grand Bahia Principe Coba and Grand Bahia Principe Tulum cater to families, while adults gravitate to the Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal and Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an. During the day, beach parties will feature traditional Mexican games, activities, contests and a Charreria show. Charreria is a Mexican take on rodeo developed after the Mexican Revolution. Guests can take in the cultural display as horses visit the beach with cowboys and cowgirls in traditional attire. At Hacienda Doña Isabel, the fun will kick up in the evening. Hotel guests will gather for a Mexican party including festive décor, mariachi performances, folk dancing and a video mapping highlights of the events that took place in 1810.

Bahia Principe

On the beach at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum, riders known as Charros exhibit their horsemanship as part of a Charreria, which is a Mexican cultural event similar to rodeo. Photo: Bahia Principe

Grand Oasis Cancun

This premier beachfront resort will observe Mexican independence with a range of events that includes a Mexican Kermesse, or block party, which will take place by the pool and garden. This will be followed by a Mexican show and an Oasis company show. At 10 p.m. guests can then head over to the official “Fiesta de la Independencia” at the Oasis Cancun Beach Club, where there will be a DJ, go-go dancers and contests. There will also be a live stream of “El Grito de Independencia” that will lead up to the grand finale fireworks display.

Grand Oasis Cancun

The Grand Oasis Cancun stages an extensive Independence Day celebration that includes a traditional block party, live performances and a live-stream broadcast. Photo: Grand Oasis

 

Cancun Coast

Cancun’s Amazing Eco Adventures

 

Cancun has long been known for beaches and a lively party scene. Now, the destination is also becoming known for unique eco adventures. Both the government and area businesses are committed to nurturing a sustainable tourism sector, by offering a variety of responsible tourism experiences that allow visitors to give back to the community and the environment while having a fantastic time on vacation. Here are five of the most popular.

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Don’t let the word “shark” scare you off. The biggest fish in the sea only eats really tiny things like plankton. And when these oversized filter feeders show up in the nutrient-rich ocean waters near Cancun each summer, they provide a unique opportunity for humans to don mask and snorkel and swim alongside. The swim season lasts from mid-May to September, and several operators in Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox offer excursions.

Whale Sharks Cancun

The whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea. These heavyweights pose no threat to humans, and swimming alongside them is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Photo: Stephanie Munarriz

Underwater Art

The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art is the world’s largest underwater sculpture garden. Created by renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor, the exhibit sits in calm, clear water near Isla Mujers, and can be visited by scuba or seen from the surface with mask and snorkel. There are currently more than 500 individual pieces in the collection, and new statues are constantly being designed and submerged every year, adding to a collection of underwater galleries of more than 500 statues.

Cancun Underwater Museum

At the Cancun Underwater Museum, the figure known as the Man on Fire now sports a coat of live fire coral. The statue sits in 25 feet of clear Caribbean water. Photo: Barcroft Media

A Visit to Xibalba

The jungles around Cancun hide hundreds of pools of sparkling fresh water, which flow up from underground rivers. The ancient Mayans considered these to be sacred portals to the underworld of Xibalba. Visitors can experience these mystical waters on the Ruta de los Cenotes, a trail featuring eight subterranean freshwater pools that connect with each other through underground streams. These natural subterranean sinkholes are ideal for diving, snorkeling and swimming.

Cenote Cancun

Tree roots reaching downward to the waters of a fresh water cenote create curtain-like patterns. These cool bodies of water are a favorite with swimmers and snorkelers. Photo: iStock

See Sea Turtles

Between May and November, hundreds of sea turtles make their way to Cancun to build nests in the soft sand and lay thousands of eggs. Most hotels participate in turtle egg preservation programs that give the species the best chance to survive and make it out to sea. Beach patrols build nest barriers to keep the eggs safe from predators, and hotels offer guests the chance to help release the baby turtles back out to sea once hatched—a memorable activity for kids and families.

Sea Turtle Cancun

A tiny sea turtle, just minutes after emerging from its egg. Release programs along Cancun beaches help return thousands of these vulnerable youngsters to the wild each year. Photo: Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau

What a Croc

The native creatures of the Cancun area are alive and well at the Crococun Zoo. Don’t let the name fool you; this place isn’t about viewing caged animals. This crocodile farm is part of a broader program that protects the conservation of local species. It’s not advised to pet the crocodiles, but guests can interact with a wide variety of native species from butterflies, to monkeys, parrots, snakes, wild cats, deer, and the Mexican hairless dog known as a Xolo.

Cancun Crocodile

Cancun’s Crococun Zoo provides a refuge for the Cocodrilo de Pantano, aka the Mexican crocodile. These reptiles can grow to nine feet long, and live for 70 years. Photo: Flickr

Mexico Cozumel Beach Swing

Best Family Beach Resorts in Mexico

 

The family is ready for a vacation, and everyone’s thinking beach. But as much as mom and dad love the little ones, they are ready for some personal time. And that’s fine with the kids, who also want to do their own thing. The answer is stay at one of Mexico’s family-friendly beach resorts. And for the summer season, a number of the best properties are offering special savings and incentives for families that stay together, but want to play apart.

Fiesta Americana Cozumel

This family friendly all-inclusive is about fun in the sun and time on the water. The resort’s private beach club provides easy access to on-site snorkeling and a convenient starting point to the island’s best dive sites. The hotel is set well away from the cruise ship crowds of downtown, but close to Chankanaab Natural Park, Mayan ruins and a number of the island’s premier attractions. Spacious guestrooms and suites include large private balconies or terraces with partial or full ocean views. Mid-century modern hardwood furnishings complement wood-grain porcelain tile floors and modern artwork, with fixtures that include LCD satellite TV and Wi-Fi Internet access. Families can upgrade to a suite for additional living space. The property includes seven restaurants, with cuisines ranging from Asian and Italian to traditional Mexican fare and fresh seafood. The special includes 30 percent off summer rates when you book and stay from May 9 through August 12, 2017. www.lacoleccionresorts.com

Fiesta Americana Cozumel

Following a three-year closure and a $17 million property-wide renovation, the Fiesta Americana Cozumel reopened as one of the island’s premier all-inclusive properties. Photo: Fiesta Americana

Club Med Ixtapa

This all-inclusive resort has all the ingredients needed for a perfect family vacation. Attentive child care and engaging youth programs allow parents to enjoy some away time without worries, enjoying everything from water sports, fitness classes and tennis to spa time and naps on the golden sand beach. Families can also come together for shared activities such as sailing lessons, stargazing and a unique circus school with flying trapeze lessons. Four on-site restaurants serving a variety of cuisines to please both simple and sophisticated palates, and three bars pour complimentary libations for the adults. All this would seem reason enough to stay as long as possible, but as a further enticement, Club Med is offering incentives for stays booked by June 21, for travel through December 23, 2017. Book 3 to 5 nights for a 45 percent discount, 6 to 7 nights to save 50 percent, and enjoy 55 percent off on stays of eight nights or more. www.clubmed/us

Club Med Ixtapa

In addition to offering poolside relaxation, the Club Med Ixtapa is home to a large sports school staffed by experienced coaches and instructors. Photo: Alessandro Carpentiero/Club Med

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta

There are a number of reasons why this landmark all-inclusive property in Puerto Vallarta’s popular North Hotel Zone is a family favorite. Rooms are well appointed and spacious—some can accommodate groups of up to six. Each has the added space of an open-air balcony with either ocean or mountain views. Eight on- site restaurants accommodate every taste from children’s favorites to elegant international cuisines. And then there are the programs, tailored to age groups ranging from preschoolers to teens, with a playground, supervised pool and beach games, arts and sports activities. The adults have a private beach and a sprawling outdoor pool with a swim up bar. They can also enjoy some pampering and personal time at Nakawe Spa, where treatments and the atmosphere are eco friendly. Take advantage of summer savings in July and August. You’ll receive 40% off when you book and travel from July 7 to August 12, 2017. www.lacoleccionresorts.com

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta

In keeping with the resort’s inclusive but separate theme, the expansive pool at the Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta separates the swim up bar from the children’s swim area. Photo: Fiesta Americana

Grand Oasis Palm Cancun

This upscale beach resort goes beyond the usual definition of family friendly with a range of kid-centric features that will keep youngsters busy and engaged day and night. In addition to a separate pool with water slides, fountains and water trampolines, there’s a dedicated kid’s beach club that includes game rooms, a movie theater and dance club. Daily-supervised activities extend to evening entertainment and overnight camps. Several of the property’s 12 restaurants offer children’s favorites and the next- door sister property hosts a kid-centric buffet. While all this is going on, adults can spend the day at their own beach club or pools, make use of the on-site nine-hole golf course, relax in the Kin Ha spa, enjoy gourmet dining and take in a nightclub performance. During the summer vacation season, the resort is offering a “Kids Stay Free” deal where two kids 12 years old and under can stay and eat free when sharing the room with two adults. Rates start at $241per person, based on double occupancy. www.grandoasispalm.com

Grand Oasis Cancun

Cancun’s Grand Oasis Palm combines five-star amenities with a wide range of family-friendly features. Guests also enjoy reciprocal privileges at the Oasis Palm next door. Photo: Grand Oasis Palm

The Explorean Cozumel

This isn’t your average Caribbean beach resort. In fact, the Explorean Cozumel isn’t even on the water. Instead it is tucked into the jungles of Cozumel—though the ocean is just a short walk away through the grounds of the sister property, Fiesta Americana. The all-inclusive concept at this family-friendly property goes beyond buffets, bars and shows to include a range of daily guided adventures. Guests are invited to join in on activities that range from kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling trips to jungle treks, bike tours, archeology projects and horseback rides to Mayan ruins. Guests also have access to all the amenities at Fiesta Americana. This summer, guests can settle in and relax at the jungle pool or the private beach club, while saving 30 percent on stays through August 12, 2017. www.lacoleccionresorts.com

The Explorean Cozumel

Stone, wood and earth tones help the Explorean Cozumel blend into its jungle surroundings. The property was designed as a relaxing alternative to large beachfront hotels. Photo: Explorean