Archive for January, 2014

What Not To Do in Cancun

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Cancun beach


What not to do in Cancun? Is there even anything? Well, unfortunately, yes. It’s important to stay safe, so that’s one thing. But with so many other things to see and do, there are bound to be some things that are better ideas than others. So what are they?

Well, for one, organizing taxis can be a hassle, and though safe, aren’t the most pleasurable experience. Ask your hotel staff if they can arrange some sort of pre-arranged Cancun transportation before heading out and come to a pre-agreed upon price. That way no one feels like they’ve been swindled and return arrangements are swift and easy. If going a cab route, be sure to agree on a price before hand, otherwise trouble can ensue. Or consider a group taxi from the airport – this should be about $15. Also, when heading out, consider taking the R1 bus to the downtown area. Then you can ask a taxi cab driver to take you to your Mercado of choice (Mercado 23 or 28, say), and then after walking around and doing your downtown thing, catch a taxi back to the hotel zone – all taxis cost 25 pesos within the downtown border, so if they ask for more, you know what to tell them.

Also, it’s a good idea while visiting Cancun to keep an eye on your drink at all times. Though the chances of anything happening are rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And while on the subject of downtown clubbing, consider ordering your drinks one at a time with call liquor. The well liquor at many of these all night danceathons typically aren’t the best, and the ensuing hangover can be deadly (well, not deadly, but painful).

Don’t lose your FM-T, or tourist immigration form. This is given to you on your inbound flight. Losing it can be a hassle and a fine. Not the best parting gift.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a great time on your trip to Cancun. Just remember to be safe and exercise good common sense and you’ll be fine.


Wildlife Encounters in Cancun

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Cancun Iguana


One of the many random iguanas you’ll see in Cancun. Photo courtesy of a2gemma via Flickr.

While it may seem that Cancun is all white sand beaches and Senor Frog-going, fun-loving party people, there’s a lot more to this little slice of the Yucatan than first blush reveals. For one thing, Cancun and its surrounding area has been premier real-estate for centuries, which is why the ancient Mayan civilization settled here so many years ago, and it’s also why so many ruins are available for your perusal today. Beyond that, the Mayan Riviera is a hotbed of beautiful wilderness – mangrove swamps, beaches, woods, jungle, and of course glistening Caribbean ocean.

Get out and explore the surrounding countryside and you’ll find that Cancun’s surrounding area full of wonderful outdoor activities. If nature is calling (in the good way), here are your best bets for getting out there and encountering wildlife.

Mexican Whale Shark Snorkel Adventure – Whale sharks are the gentle giants of the deep. These huge creatures eat nothing but the smallest organisms though they grow to be over thirty feet in length! Now is your chance to see these amazing creatures in person – it’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel the reef and try and spot one of these amazing creatures.

Sian Ka’an – Walk through the Muyil coastal jungle and learn about this fabulously diverse and unique ecosystem. Home to more than a million acres of rainforest and over 350 species of bird, this World Heritage site is for the nature lover. Float down freshwater canals, explore mangroves, snorkel the reefs – it’s all in Sian Ka’an.

Xcaret Eco Parks – Think of the Xcaret parks as nature’s theme parks. There’s so much to do and see at these parks that each of them could esily occupy a day (if not a week) of  your time. They are all natural ecosystems turned preserve that lets visitors engage with the pristine natural environment in a non-invasive way. Kayak through mangroves, snorkel some of the best reefs in Cancun, see native re-enactments of tribal ceremonies, and even swim with dolphins. The Xcaret theme parks are some of the best ways to see wildlife while in Cancun.


Meet the Sculptures of the World’s Largest Underwater Museum

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Underwater Museum in Cancun


Cancun’s newest attraction, the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) better known as the Underwater Museum – is a museum of sculptures submerged in the water of the National Marine Park near Cancun,Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. The eco-friendly goal of the museum is to re-position some of the heavy traffic (750,000 visitors a year) from the nearby reefs so the coral and marine life there can have a chance to regenerate.

The sculptures in the Underwater Museum are designed by Jason deCaires Taylor, who designed the 1st underwater museum in Grenada in the West Indies. The art is expected to become covered in algae and coral,  helping to give the ecosystem in the area a boost.

“By creating an artificial reef of sculptures, the ultimate aim of the project is to form a platform to promote the regeneration of marine life and to use sculpture as a means of conveying hope and environmental awareness,” said Taylor.


transporting sculptures for Cancun's underwater museum


The Underwater Museum in Cancun will be the largest of its kind- totaling over 400 sculptures!

Phase One in November 2009 was marked by the placement of 3 sculptures; The Gardener of Hope, The Archive of Lost Dreams and Man of Fire. These have already started showing coral growth.

2010 marks Phase Two of the Underwater Museum’s construction, consisting of Jason deCaires Taylor’s 400 figure installation – The Silent Evolution.

During the last phase, local artists will be invited to contribute their sculptures and ideas.


With the basics covered – let’s meet the artwork of Cancun’s Underwater Museum!


The Archive of Lost Dreams


The Archive of Lost Dreams at Cancun's Underwater Museum

The Visual: The Archive of Lost Dreams depicts an underwater archive of messages in bottles being maintained by a male registrar and his pet.

The Meaning: The bottles contain messages of dreams for future generations.

The Hope: The statue is placed in an area of the reef which had been previously damaged by hurricanes and tropical storms in order to help draw visitors away from the healthy parts of the reef.

The Location: The Archive of Lost Dreams was placed 8 meters deep at Manchones Reef, close to Isla Mujeres.

Behind the Scenes: The collection of bottled messages were provided by various communities who wrote about today’s values and their hopes and dreams for the future generations.


The Gardener of Hope


The Gardener of Hope at Cancun's Underwater Museum

The Visual: In the Gardener of Hope, a young Mexican girl lies in a garden surrounded by pots which will be propagated with live coral.

The Meaning: The young girl in the sculpture represents a model for hopeful future generations that will better understand the symbiotic relationship with the marine life and the environment.

The Hope: The base of the Gardener of Hope was built to attract various marine creatures such as moray eels, young fish and lobsters. The coral in the pots is also expected to grow.

The Location: The Gardener of Hope was placed 4 meters deep at Punta Nizuc which is near the coast of Cancun.

Behind the Scenes: The pots in The Gardener of Hope are filled with live coral cuttings that were saved from areas of the local reef system that visitation and recent hurricanes had damaged.


Man on Fire


Man on Fire at Cancun's Underwater Museum

The Visual: Man on Fire depicts its namesake – a lone male figure covered in live fire coral to resemble fire.

The Meaning: The sculpture symbolizes the unawareness of the “fire” our generation has started with the over use of limited natural resources.

The Hope: Man on Fire has 75 holes planted with small live cuttings of fire coral (Millepora alcicorni) which are expected to grow like fire.

The Location: Man on Fire was installed 8 meters deep at the Manchones Reef nearby to Isla Mujeres.

Behind the Scenes: The sculpture was cast from a local Mexican fisherman named Joachim and it weighs over 1 ton.


The Silent Evolution


The Silent Evolution at Cancun's Underwater Museum

The Visual: In the Silent Evolution more than 400 sculptures depict the timeline of human nature, highlighting the variety in human life – male, female, old and young.

The Meaning: The Silent Evolution is a documentation of how society and people have changed over time both physically and socially. The installation starts with Mayan times and goes through today’s society. It is also to remind us of how we are connected to nature.

The Hope: The installation is designed using specialized cement that promotes the growth of coral life with the hope of forming a complex reef structure that marine life will claim as its own and inhabit.

The Location: The Silent Evolution will be installed 8 meters deep behind the Manchones Reef.

Behind the Scenes: The total installation will expand over 150 square meters and will weigh over 120 tons. Casts were taken from local and international communities.

You can meet these sculptures in person by glass boat, snorkeling or scuba diving.   Guided tours are a must. You can catch a tour from Aquaworld, which leave every hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.  The cost is $40 for snorkelers, $65 for a one-tank dive, and $70 for two tanks.


5 Top Family Attractions in Cancun

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While many people who come to Cancun are here for the glorious beaches, the stunning scenery and the sizzling sunshine, there is a lot more to this city than just lazy days in beautiful surroundings. Cancun also offers a variety of attractions and entertainment, including plenty of entertainment for families.

Cancun may be popular amongst groups of singles, couples and honeymooners; but it is also a great place for families to enjoy quality time together. Some of the family attractions that you can look forward to experiencing in this area include:


Dolphinaris Cancun


Dolphinaris Cancun


This is an excellent place for the whole family to visit. The kids will love being able to see and interact with the dolphins and you can even enjoy swimming with these beautiful mammals.

This is a place that both kids and adults will enjoy and it even offers educational benefits, as the kids can learn all about the dolphins from the well informed guides.


Bonanza Ranch


Whilst this is more of a place for families with older children, it provides a wonderful morning or afternoon out, enabling you to combine adventure and excitement with the chance to see the natural beauty of the area in a unique way.

You get to enjoy riding on horseback through the jungle and on the beach, where you can take in the sights and take plenty of photos


The Beach


Cancun Beach

Of course, Cancun is home to some pristine beaches so a fun family day at the beach is the perfect way to soak up the sunshine, enjoy some relaxation, take a dip in the warm azure waters, and let the kids have some fun in the fresh air.


Wet ‘n’ Wild, Cancun


Water parks provide a great opportunity to have family fun in the sizzling hot weather that you get in Cancun. Wet ‘n’ Wild is a fabulous and exciting water park, where you can have fun, cool down, and enjoy some thrilling water rides.

You can even get food included as part of the day out here, so you don’t have to worry about bringing along your own lunch.


Interactive Aquarium


Cancun Aquarium


This is an attraction that is both fascinating and educational, making it ideal for kids and adults alike. You get to experience all sorts of sea life from dolphins and sharks to sea urchins.

This is also a place where the kids can interact with the sea life as well as learn more about the different species.

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Dolphinarium? Swimming With the Dophins in Cancun

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Cancun dolphins


What is a dolphinarium? Dolphinarium is an aquarium for dolphins. Makes sense right? It is also the ultimate swimming with dolphins experience. It is the dolphin habitat recreated and put in a type of giant aquarium both dolphins and humans can enjoy. It is especially enjoyable at Dolphin Discovery because the habitats are located on Isla Mujeres in resort style pools that feed into the Carribean Sea complete with Palm trees and white sand.

When swimming with dolphins before it had always seemed kind of cheesy. It was not very personal and more like “take pose and smile for the camera!” I did not feel that I got to know them and the creatures remained a mystery to me. The experience at Dolphin Discovery seems to go way beyond that.

They still have the swim and play with dolphins aspect but they take it one step further. It is an educational experience as well. I have always heard that dolphins and humans make a good interspecies pair – much like humans and dogs – but are not as accessible since they are not land animals. It seems Dolphin Discovery explores that more than other swim with dolphins groups.

They take it beyond pictures and tricks by offering lengthy activities where you can spend extended periods of time and even help train the dolphins. This involves swimming with them in the actual Caribbean Sea, not just a pool, and establishing a bond of trust with the dolphin. The extent of your experience depends on which activity you choose, of course, but once you leave you will feel as if you really got to “hang out” with the dolphin group. Each of them has a unique personality you really get to know. Some are more playful, some want to be the center of attention, some are shy, some tricksters and some just want to be loved. The depth of these creatures’ personas is amazing and so is swimming with them in their natural habitat.

Between swimming with dolphins, riding the dolphins and playing with the dolphins you feel like you’ve seen another side of these magnificent creatures, a once in a lifetime experience. And I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that you are swimming in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I just wish I had fins so I could swim with them more!

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Saveene – Tip of the day

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Enjoy lunch outside!


Whether you pack yourself a picnic for the beach, or hit up your favorite restaurant, eating outdoors can fill your tummy while boosting your endorphins, making you a little bit more likely to smile today!




Party Down in Cancun, Mexico!

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Many American’s make a yearly pilgrimage to the beautiful area of Mexico known as Cancun. Cancun is only a few hundred feet from the countries most beautiful beaches and proudly boasts of some of the most modern hotel facilities one can find. It has the most entertaining social clubs and bars on the coast and the area has created the largest mall in Mexico.

As a city, Cancun is fairly young. A mere 35 years ago this area was nothing more then a small sandy barrier until someone devised a plan to develop the spot into a vacation paradise for the 21st century traveler. Cancun is now a medium size city featuring classy resort hotels, entertainment clubs and large modern malls filled with items from every corner of the globe. The city has something to offer everyone from all day parties on the beach to the tranquility of an isolated island.

At Cancun you can find everything your heart desires from the chic to the laidback style, from rock to techno or from old style Mexican food to the cheeseburgers that the youths so eagerly demand. In Cancun all tastes are welcomed and nurtured so is it any wonder that this tropical paradise is Mexico’s most famous resort.

Foremost of importance and renowned are Cancun’s popular sandy beaches. These gorgeous beaches consist of beautiful white sand silhouetted in a background of warm, turquoise waters from the surrounding Caribbean Sea. It is virtually impossible to not enjoy the beaches even if you do not enter the crystal clear waters. Here you can put on a swimsuit or bikini and bask in the rich Mexican sunshine.

Even topless bathing is quietly accepted in specific areas of Cancun as well as some of the associated areas along the Mayan Rivera. Keep in mind if you are so inclined that total nudity is not only rarely seen but also very illegal.

Most of the resorts and hotels are located in what is known as the Hotel Zone. This is a long strip of the island where you can find various lodgings. Kukulcan Boulevard is the only thoroughfare street in the area. Located on the western portion of the island is Laguna Nichupte. This is a rather large lagoon which houses hundreds of marinas, various waterfront restaurants, several shopping malls, quality golf courses, some small islands and sunsets as you have never viewed before.

For an interesting time in the sun plan your next vacation to the most beautiful tourist destination within Mexico. Visit Cancun for all your vacationing fun.


How To Plan Your Trip To Cancun In 10 Easy Steps

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Cancun has always been a popular spring break travel destination. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip, there are several important things to keep in mind before calling your travel agent and booking your next vacation to Mexico:

1. Time of year: While “Cancun in the Springtime” is very fun, the truth is that you’re most likely to spend many days outside, because the weather can be humid and hot. Sometimes there is rain, but if you’re not sure of weather patterns, check with your travel agent who can advise you on rainy seasons or other weather-related issues for traveling to a specific spot.

2. Your budget: Decide how much you’ve got to spend, and don’t forget to include extras like tourist attractions, getting around, souvenirs and meals (which are typically much cheaper in Cancun than in the states). If your budget is smaller, consider visiting Cancun, looking for packaged tours, or, if you’re flexible, book a “last-minute” trip, which can often save you 30% or more. Check out the current exchange rate between your currency and that of the country you’ll be visiting, to have a better idea of what your vacation is going to actually cost you. Whenever possible, travel during an off-peak season to save even more.

3. Your secret dreams or “someday” wishes: For most of us, taking a vacation is something we get to do only once a year, and often plan and save the whole year for. So if you have always wanted to visit somewhere or do something special – why wait? Include it in your next vacation plans.

4. Political Climate: While most countries that rely on tourism make every effort to ensure the safety of tourists, these days it’s always a good idea to keep up on the current political climate of the country you’re planning to visit, especially if there have been problems in the past.

5. Your own “internal clock”: If you prefer sleeping in in the mornings, and “doing your own thing” then a guided tour is probably not for you. Most guided tours start early in the morning, and you’re on the go until evening. You may visit several cities in a country or countries within a specified amount of time, and you’re required to stay with the group.

On the other hand, if you don’t like traveling alone, you enjoy the companionship of others and getting to see as much as possible in the time you’ve got, a guided tour or cruise may be just the thing for you.

6. How you like to spend your time: Take a little time to think about what you like doing before planning your trip. Do you prefer the water, or the mountains? Lying on the beach, or rock-climbing? Adrenaline rushes or visiting a museum?

While going outside your comfort zone and trying new things can be a great experience, spending your time doing something that bores you silly or makes you uncomfortable and unhappy just doesn’t make sense. Once you know what you want to do, figure out what you’ll have time to do. Many times, in an effort to get the “most bang for our buck” we tend to over plan the vacation, and end up needing a vacation from the vacation when we get home! Prioritize your list, and be willing to save some activities or attractions for another trip.

7. Use the resources that are available to make your trip special and save money: Today’s travelers have numerous options when planning their vacation. You can use the Internet to find out more about the cities or countries you want to visit, check out prices, even book your flight or hotel room. If you’re visiting a place for the first time, check with a travel agent, talk to someone who’s “been there, done that” on an Internet Forum, or contact local chambers or commerce or travel councils to get more information about where to go, what to see and what to do.

8. Get organized: You can use trip-planning software, or your own favorite organizing system to organize and plan your trip. Don’t forget things like making sure your passport and picture ID are up-to-date, finding out if travel insurance is something you need, and how and where to exchange your money. The more organized you are in the beginning, the better vacation you’ll have.

9. Pack lightly: Most of us take too much on a vacation, and end up lugging heavy suitcases and other bags along filled with items that we either don’t use or don’t need. When planning your trip, look at your wardrobe and pack as lightly as you can. Take only what you’ll really need, and remember that if you forget or end up needing something, chances are you can get it once you reach your destination.

10. Have fun! Get organized, make your plans and expect the best. That way, once you’re on your way, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself. But remember, there are very few “perfect” vacations, so if something does go wrong, try to relax and “go with the flow” as much as possible. Experienced travelers say that sometimes their best vacations have been the ones where the unexpected happened.


How To Spend One Week in Cancun

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Cancun Sunset

From tranquil white sand beaches to all-night bass-thumping discotheques and everything in-between, Cancun caters to all tastes. Popular any time of the year (but particularly so with the younger crowds during spring break), Cancun is the prime North American beach destination. There are so many things to do here one has to ask oneself whether it’s worth it to put down their Corona and enjoy the many activities or to just wile the hours away with Kenny Chesney playing in the background and do a whole lot of nothing – ah, decisions.

Many come for a day, others for a month, but if you only have one week in Cancun, the proverbial line has been drawn in the sand, so to speak. If you’re trying to decide how to spend it, put down that Corona and read on.

Getting to Cancun

You’ve likely already booked your ticket and hotel, so I’ll leave the burden of that info on your shoulders, but as to getting around and getting settled, here you go: the hotel and resorts of Cancun are all located in a region called Isla de Cancun. Kulkucan Blvd is the name of the street that runs the entire stretch of this hotel zone area, so keep an eye out for it.

Once you step out of the plane, you’ll likely be greeted by all manner of salesmen, most of them promptly advertising time-shares. Ignore them and head to your (hopefully) pre-arranged transportation from the Cancun airport. If you haven’t pre-arranged for transportation, you should be aware that licensed taxis do not have permission to pick you up from the airport, but airport shuttles do. When heading into town, be sure to negotiate prices with your cabbie before jumping in, because Cancun cabbies have a somewhat less-than-stellar reputation amongst tourists.

Regarding your money

To change money or not change money? A dilemma most, if not all travelers face. When heading to Cancun, however, it’s a pretty easy equation. You can forget about changing money at the bank; Cancun has little Casa de Cambios (money changing huts) peppered throughout tourist areas, and any hotel will gladly exchange your dollars for pesos. Having said that, American dollars are accepted nearly everywhere. Your exchange will be a little bit better at a Casa de Cambio, however, if you do choose to change your money.

What to Do

Once you’ve gotten settled into your hotel and living arrangements, it’s on to the fun stuff. Sometime back in the 1970s, the Mexican government decided to make Cancun a tourist destination of choice due to its tropical weather, its nearby coral reef, and its sublime beaches. Enter Cancun of today and you’ve got a party Mecca with just about every outdoor adventure activity there is to do under the sun. Get ready to get your feet wet, because we’re jumping in the deep end.

Outdoor Activities

Nothing beats the Mexican heat like time spent in the tropical blue waters of Cancun. From power boating, jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking, swimming, and plain old-fashioned beach-going, you can be sure that there’s a time and a place for whatever you had in mind when heading to the beach.

All that considered, consider spending your first acquaintance with the Cancun sea as the indigenous locals might and head to one of the Xcaret parks. These eco-tourism theme parks are darn-near a modern wonder of the world with so many things to do and all of it based around nature. Explore the mangroves by kayak, snorkel some of the best reefs, shoot down waterslides, go on nature walks, or see a re-enactment of an ancient Mayan tribal ceremony – the Xcaret parks make the most out of the best Cancun day trips.

And as long as you’re getting out there and discovering all that the Mayan Riviera has to offer, you should spend a day or two (at least) exploring the many ancient Mayan ruins in the area. Chichen Itza alone is worth the trip to the Yucatan. Recently nominated as one of the “new” seven wonders of the world, this UNESCO world-heritage site was, during 750-1200 A.D., the political and economic center of the Mayan area. Not only is it striking beautiful, but it also gives invaluable insight into the ways of the ancient Mayans and their astronomical and technological prowess. Other nearby ancient Mayan ruins include the Tulum ruins, which you can visit on a day trip with optional lunch and snorkeling attached), the Coba ruins, and Xel-Ha. Some make Cancun their jumping-off point for a full-fledged Mayan tour and archeology trip. There are many ways to combine this with snorkeling, cave diving, sailing, you name it. You can even make it an 8-day Yucatan Peninsula tour.

Unique Cancun Activities

The list of outdoor activities Cancun has to offer could fill a book (and your week) pretty quickly. Suffice it to say, there’s more than one way to spend a week in Cancun. The best outdoor activities are the ones that pique your interests, however, so read on and get a good sampling of what’s available before, y’know, diving in.

My personal outdoor favorite would have to be the exotic car driving experience. Call this a guy thing, but who wouldn’t want to sit behind a $200,000 automobile and race around a track? Better yet, get a quick lesson and hit the open road. You can have an exotic driving experience taking a Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini or any number of other exotics from the Cancun speedway to Playa del Carmen and back. Oh, and did I mention that there’s no speed limit on this little strip of Mexican highway? Autobahn, eat your heart out.

Other outdoor activities include zipping through the forest canopy high overhead – always a popular favorite, Cancun parasailing, whale shark diving, and snorkeling at any number of dive sites – including the Cancun Underwater Museum. An ATV tour is a good way to see the sandy countryside of the Yucatan – these tours offer sightseeing with an adrenaline twist.

And last, but certainly not least, is diving with dolphins in Cancun. This dolphin swim adventure is repeatedly voted a  must-do experience. Swimming with these beautiful creatures is a spiritual experience and fun for the whole family or great as a couple’s adventure. While you swim in the water with these gentle creatures you’ll come to understand and respect the ocean in a whole new way. And this is what vacation is all about – getting out of your element and seeing the world from a different perspective. Swimming with dolphins could be the culminating event of your week in Cancun. Who knows? Stranger things have happened!

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