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Mexico Travel / Hard Rock Cafe / Cancun Travel / Cozumel Travel / Acapulco Travel / Cabo San Lucas Travel / Souvenirs / → All Tags
It's a rite of travel passage, regardless of the merit; everyone just has to have a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt sporting the name of a desirable vacation destination, from Las Vegas to Nadi, Fiji.
Judging from our own observations at state fairs and gas stations around the USA over the years, it seems like the locations doing the briskest business of selling branded T-shirts are those in Mexico. Nonetheless, a glimpse at the Hard Rock Cafe official locator map reveals that there are none at all, other than a few Hard Rock Hotels (Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Riviera Maya).
Mexico Travel / Mexico / Cancun Travel / Cancun / Conservation Travel / Green Travel / Museum Travel / Scuba Diving / → All Tags
In 2009 we told you about a neat little conservation scheme that Mexico had brainstormed to preserve the country's coral reefs. The reefs around Cancun were getting overrun by tourists, and so the government wanted to give those tourists something different but still shiny to play with instead. In this case the folks in charge of Mexico travel decided to build the world's largest underwater museum, and to fill it with precious sculptures. It would give divers a brand new thing to explore. Clever clever.
Fast forward half a decade, and CNN just did a full-blown photo spread on the now-completed Museo Subacuático de Arte. The museum's collection is filled with among other things sculptures by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The article explains that the cement was covered with a particular kind of material that boosts coral growth, with the aim being that the art of providing a skeleton for a brand new coral reef.
The infamous "drinking dragon" arch of Cabo San Lucas
Given the geographic locations and flight paths, it makes total sense that spring breakers from the east coast party in Cancun and those in the west shake their tailfeathers in Cabo. The same goes for normal people who want to sip margaritas and live the resort life.
But Delta is giving New Yorkers a way to do something different this year with a nonstop flight between JFK and Cabo starting in December, and it will be the only direct flight between the two cities. The interesting caveat here is that the flight will be seasonal and operate only on Saturdays and only from December 20 through June 27, 2015. Sounds like Delta 1) is going to test out the route and 2) rightfully believes that there isn't enough demand to fill a weekly flight during the hot summer months.
The Occidental Grand Xcaret, located next to the eco-archeological Xcaret Park in Riviera Maya, Mexico, is giving guests two unique ways to get a hands-on conservation experience.
Option 1: an opportunity to get up and close and personal with the hotel's Flamingo Flock as a trainer. Every day hotel guests can help park trainers carry the flamingos one-by-one into a public area during their "walk around times" in the morning and afternoon. Talk about getting "hands on" with the local wildlife!
Street Food Friday / Food Travel / Mexico Travel / Baja California Travel / Puerto Nuevo Travel / → All Tags
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world. Last week, it was Laksa, Kolok Mee, and Satay in Kuching. This week, we head south of the border to Puerto Nuevo in Baja California to see what's cooking.
Tacos and tamales are clearly the first thing that comes to mind concerning street food in Mexico, which is why it is somewhat refreshing to see a town doing something different. The self-described “Lobster Capital of Baja,” Puerto Nuevo sits been Ensenada and Rosarito, about 90 minutes from San Diego in Baja California. You can definitely get a taco in town, but what the tourists come for is the fried lobster.
Yes, fried lobster. Just when you think something can’t get any better, someone throws it in a vat of fat to find out. The shell is kept on and the entire lobster is pan-fried in lard to keep the meat moist, which is the key aspect and major difference between good and bad restaurants serving the dish. Rice and beans come on the side.
Cabo San Lucas Travel / SJD / Cabo Travel / Airports / Mexico Travel / Medical Travel / Health Travel / → All Tags
Coming back from a weekend of adventures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and feeling a little, well, under the weather? Just pop into the new terminal at the Cabo San Lucas International Airport (SJD) and pick up whatever you need from Zithromax to Ibuprofen and even Cialis and Valtrex. And no, you do not need to show a prescription for most of the products.
While we scanned the shelves for some Xanax or Valium (see below, we were hesitant to pick up the 800mg Ibuprofen. It just didn't seem right.
If you're just about anywhere in the U.S. today we bet you're fantasizing about be somewhere warmer. So, how does a long weekend in Mexico sound?
Rooms are still available for One Big Holiday, a live music festival taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya Mexico from January 26 through January 30.
Adventure Travel / Hawaii Travel / Portugal Travel / Mexico Travel / Puerto Vallarta Travel / Surfing / → All Tags
After the warmth of the holiday season fades and January and February begin to sink in their teeth throughout most of the country, you won't be alone if you find yourself dreaming of the ocean. You could always cruise out to So Cal, but we're recommending an extended winter vacation this year, one that you should start planning now while the cash is already flowing from your wallet. Don't wait for those holiday bills to come -- at that point, you'll be too discouraged to cough up any more.
Given the popularity of resolutions, the beginning of the new year is a great time to try something new. And since we're talking summer, how about holding up in a small beach town and learning to surf? Here are three destinations we visited this year that will have you hanging ten in no time.
So far, organic growth thanks to newfound tourism has created a local, pleasant surf town vibe in Sayulita that is not found in the hustle and bustle of nearby Puerto Vallarta. Even though many of the businesses are most definitely there because of tourism, the town has done a nice job overall of keeping them authentic and feeling local -- something we greatly appreciate.
Surfboards can be rented right off the beach for less than $25 a day and multi-person bungalows can be rented for as little as $90/night (there are also cheap hostels and a campground). We recommend you not hesitate, because as great as the town is at the moment, we see small signs of infection – such as annoying beach vendors and aggressive restaurant greeters – that could very well begin to change the feel of the town in the coming years. We have our fingers crossed, but we aren’t holding our breath given the direction most other Mexican destinations have gone with their approach to tourism. So, go!
When we mentioned the Marieta Islands in our basic overview of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas last week, a reader chimed in to say that its "Hidden Beach" -- aka the incredible scene you see in the photos in this post -- formed when the Mexican government used the island as a bombing range in the first half of the 20th century. Well, we did some research and guess what? It could be true!
The Marieta Islands were formed by volcanic activity and were never inhabited, prompting the Mexican military to use it as a place to test bombs. The explosions are rumored to have created the islands' caverns and rock formations, the most dramatic in the form of Hidden Beach. But, because the islands were never inhabited, there's really no documentation or official eyewitness account that confirms what was already there and what was a result of the bombings and explosions (if anyone knows otherwise, please let us know!).
Our Assistant Editor is on patrol down in Mexico, exploring the greater Puerto Vallarta region on the west coast of the mainland. He has, it seems, reached a boiling point when it comes to one aspect of tourism that has grown all too prevalent across our southern neighbor.
When I talked with the owner of Mezcalito in Sayulita, a small surfing village north of Punta Mita, he told us that he wouldn’t have opened his tiny cafe had the town not caught on with tourists. There wouldn’t be enough people to sustain it otherwise, he said.
I smiled. This is precisely the hope with tourism growth, that authentic businesses arise to accommodate the desires of authentic travelers. Unfortunately, we have seen many destinations across the globe (and in Mexico) go the other direction, filling their ports and seaside towns with souvenir shops and bad restaurants with aggressive hostesses. We’ll talk more about this in a separate piece to come, but I think Sayulita has done a great job thus far in this realm, creating businesses that are there because of the tourists but still true to the locals.
Puerto Vallarta Travel / Mexico Travel / Punta Mita / Bucerias / Mismaloya / Boca de Tomatlan / Maps / Guides / → All Tags
Yesterday, we told you why you should be making plans to visit Puerto Vallarta this time next year. Now, you need to understand the layout of the region to fully appreciate the amount of opportunities you will have within a short distance.
For the sake of this discussion, we'll consider the city itself, including the Zona Hotelera (north side), El Centro (center city), and the Zona Romantica (south side), as one point on the map (although we may break it down further in a later post). You can see that Puerto Vallarta is located pretty much in the center of the Banderas Bay, which, by the way, is huge - 62 miles of coastline in total that stretches from Punta Mita in the north down to Yelapa in the south. Using the city as a center point, let's split the region in two and take a closer look.
So much of what you are able to experience of a destination comes down to the timing of your visit, and we picked the perfect week to be in Mexico as cities across the country celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The festival is in remembrance of when the Virgin Mary left her image imprinted upon a cloth as a way of revealing herself and her identity to a Mexican peasant back in 1531 (the cloth in question is currently housed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City, where one of the larger fiestas takes place).
Across the country, Mexican Catholics participate in parades that symbolize pilgrimages, making the journey from their homes to the church on foot as an offering to the Virgin Mary. Although religious tourism isn't exactly our thing, we are very pleased to be in town during this time because of all the other things that come along with it.