An Organic Market In Playa del Carmen From Humble Beginnings

Organic Market in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Organic Market in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

For those of us who are used to the organic options available to us back home, the lush tropics of Playa del Carmen can seem like a desert.  Most major grocery outlets do not carry organic products beyond in-the-box items like nuts, dairy, or cookies.  That’s why what Anja Schafer, Vicki Lyall, and Scott Lyall are doing at the Coco Beach Market is so important.

Started by Vicki Lyall and Anja Shafer as a means for locals to showcase their organic products between each other and to the public, The Coco Beach Market has grown over the last few months to include 6 regular vendors.  “We don’t want to be 100% organic, just because,” Schafer says.  “The philosophy is that food should be as natural or as organic as possible, it should be locally made, and we want to avoid repeating  products without making it ridiculously expensive.  Produce should be organic, of course, and actually we are spending a hard time to find those, but we don’t give up!”

The market isn’t only about food, either.  Several vendors offer handmade products such as jewelry, children’s toys, and soap.  Prices are fair and the quality is great.  Shafer and the Lyall’s efforts to maintain variety really pays off, too, as all products for sale are unique and within a separate niche.

The Coco Beach Market is open every Friday, from 9 am – 11 am, at the Los Alizes Condominium Complex.

Riviera Maya Events – September 2013

PLAYA DEL CARMEN: September 12th, 2013 / Paul Van Dyk @ Palazzo Disco

PLAYA DEL CARMEN: September  13 – 14 – 15 @ Mamita´s Beach Club


PLAYA DEL CARMEN:  Every Friday Cine Club

PUNTA VENADO: September 14th, 2013 / Panteón Rococó in Concert


PLAYA DEL CARMEN: September 14th, 2013 / Mexican Fiesta @ Roof Club


PLAYA DEL CARMEN: September 14th, 2013 / Mr. C @ La Santanera


PLAYA DEL CARMEN: September 15th, 2013 @ Canibal Royal


CANCÚN: September 15th, 2013 – Viva Alive Festival @ Palazzo Cancun


COZUMEL: September 22nd, 2013 / MetLife IronMan 70.3


CANCÚN: September 29th, 2013 / Enactus World Cup 2013


Incredible Cenotes in Riviera Maya…


A few weeks ago a group of friends came to visit me in Playa del Carmen, as soon as they arrived they asked me to take them to a cenote during their stay.

Cenotes would best be described as sinkholes however they are much more impressive. Imagine crystal clear water, so clear in fact, that you can see the bottom, and although it’s 30 ft deep you get the impression that it’s much more shallow, a geological scenary that is still being formed from hundreds of years ago, to dancing light beams throughout the water.

Cenotes are a very important part of Maya history; major cities were built around cenotes given that they provided clean, potable water. Also some cenotes were considered sacred, such as the Sacred Chichen Itza cenote, given that they believed these underwater lakes were gateways to the afterlife. The Mayas also believed that in order to keep the god of rain “Chaac” happy they had to throw humans as well as sacrificial objects into the cenote. I should point out that not all cenotes were places of sacrifice, the Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza is the only place they have found evidence to support this theory.

There is not certain explanation of how or why Cenotes were formed, given that the Yucatan Peninsula is the only place in the world you can find these natural wonders, however one of my favourite theories is the impact of the Chicxulub Meteor which, coincidently, also lead to the extinction of dinosaurs. This Meteor, named after the place it fell, impacted the north-western part of the Yucatan Peninsula, creating the lime-stone soil of the region to collapse into an already water filled subsoil. In fact it is said that the circumference of where the meteor hit is scattered with hundreds of cenotes, however they are also scattered throughout the whole Peninsula, including the Riviera Maya. All cenotes are connected to each other through a series of rivers that lead out into the ocean, and most exist point are located in the Riviera Maya as well.

Many people believe that cenotes are strictly for diving, but that cannot be farther from the truth. Yes, diving cenotes is an amazing experience, and the stalactite and stalagmite formations are amazing, and if you’re a diver I would highly recommend doing it, however some cenotes are just as amazing for snorkelling, swimming through a stalactite path, while looking below at the stalagmites with the help of a flashlight, cenote Dos Ojos is a great place to experience this. Other cenotes are fun to jump into, take cenote El Eden, with a 12 foot drop it’s the perfect place to practice all sorts of dives, and because it is open through all sides it looks more like a giant, natural swimming pool. Cenote water is very clean, and rich in minerals, given that the soil in the region is mostly lime stone, I expect this is the reason that after a nice, cool swim in a cenote one always feels refreshed and renewed, it’s the perfect place to go after a long night out or after getting to much sun. Most places ask that you not wear sunscreen so as to not contaminate the water with oils and chemicals, I recommend using a rash guard, and if diving or snorkelling a wetsuit.

The cenotes in the Riviera Maya are all easily accessible by car or a colectivo, a van that stops wherever you need along the highway. Given that these type of sinkholes only exist in the Yucatan Peninsula I highly recommend going to at least one, whether you’re visiting or living in the region it is an experience that cannot be missed.

Greeting from the tropical waters of the Riviera Maya!

Camila Pittman

Moskito Riviera Maya

Summer Time


Summer in the Riviera Maya tends to be more relaxed with fewer tourists most of us locals tend to reclaim Playa del Carmen as our own. However what most visitors don’t know is that summer is one of the best times of the year to visit the Riviera Maya. A friend of mine voiced his concern the other day, “but what about the hurricanes? To which I can only answer, what hurricanes? In the last 42 years since Cancun and the Riviera Maya were established (1970), there have only been 3 hurricanes that have made landfall: Gilbert in September 1988, Roxanne in October 1993 and Wilma in October 2005. Of course we have had many tropical storm/depressions and hurricane warnings, but in the past few years there have been more hurricanes to make landfall in the state of Florida than in the Riviera Maya. Generally if you visit the Rivera Maya during hurricane season you will not encounter any difficulties, the weather will be fine, and although it may rain a little more, meaning that there is a quick drencher once or twice a day, normally in the late afternoon, and the rest of the time the sun will be shining. Not visiting the Riviera Maya during the summer because you’re scared of a hurricane hitting is like not going to Japan because you’re scared of a tsunami, it happens, just not that often. Another concern I have heard voiced is the heat, again I ask, what heat? I remember that last July the North-Eastern United States was suffering through one of the hottest heat waves on record, according to the Washington Post, Washington DC reached a total 119 degrees Fahrenheit on July 22, 2011, and in Playa, you might ask yourself? Well here the average high during summer is 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with the heat index accounted for, not to mention the proximity of the Caribbean ocean, which is steps away, creating a nice cooling breeze. As much as I love the Smithsonian Museum, I would much rather be enjoying a cool breeze while soaking up the sun than melting on the street with a sweaty bottle of water.

What most people don’t understand, my friends included, is that summer time in the Riviera Maya means more beach space, vacation rentals for a bit cheaper, cheaper day- tours and less people in eco-parks. Better deals are to be had and more fun, it’s experiencing the Riviera Maya de local way. With whale shark season falling during summer months as well as turtle nesting season, there are more activities to enjoy as well. I invite you to come experience the Riviera Maya this summer, and I am almost certain you will not be disappointed.

Greeting from the tropical waters of the Caribbean!

Camila Pittman

Moskito Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen Beach Clubs


Canibal Royal is a small yet very popular beach club where mostly locals go to, although there are a lot of international visitors. The main building is shaped like a ship of sorts, the first floor has a bar and sitting/lounging area, the second floor offers tables for people that just want to stop by to have lunch, while the roof-top has loungers and a nice sized Jacuzzi. The beach itself is very scenic, given that there are a few small fishing boats anchored in front, however it is still very nice to swim. This is more of a family place, although there is also a DJ, the loungers and beds are spread out in such a way that families can enjoy quality time together, while those who want to drink and dance have the freedom and space to do so. The food here is superb, offering anything from tacos and ceviches to brick oven pizzas!

You have finally found the perfect Vacation Rental in Playa del Carmen, the weather forecasts sunny blue skies, and warm weather, and you can’t wait to enjoy the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, but once in town you are at lost as to which beach club to go to. Many tourists I meet tend to go to the first one they see, or one they have read about, however that club doesn’t always suit their needs, with so many beach clubs around I can assure you that there is one that will be perfect for what you are looking for. Keep in mind that most beach clubs have a minimum consumption, depending on what type of lounger you want.

Mamita’s started it all, this beach club was the first and most famous in Playa, and although it is still a great place to go it can get a little crowded during high season. Don’t underestimate it, it is still very popular and if what you are looking for is a big beach party surrounded by beautiful, bikini-clad women and for the most part handsome men, you are at the right place. There is always a great DJ spinning great beats and nice comfortable beds to lay in while you are not having a drink and mingling with the crowd. Mamita’s offers restaurant and bottle service, as well as a pool, however it is a little out of the way.

Kool beach is right across from Mamita’s, this happening place is best known for the yearly BPM event. Kool caters to a more international crowd, especially during high season, and the DJ is positioned right next to the pool, so you will never miss a beat.  This is the place to go for die-hard electronic music lovers. Kool offers restaurant and bottle service.

For a more relaxed environment head to Zenzi, this small beach club offers huge cushions instead of loungers on the beach as well as an indoor restaurant. Zenzi offers great music and is normally visited by Canadians and Americans, as well as scuba divers. Once the sun goes down the bar begins to fill up and live music begins to play. Zenzi also offers a Monday night movie on the beach, as well as a Sunday barbeque.

I can’t say for certain that these are the 4 top beach clubs Playa has to offer, however these are the places I recommend my friends and family to go to and they have always enjoyed them, as I hope you will too!

Greetings from the tropical waters of the Riviera Maya!


Camila Pittman


For more information please contact:

Moskito Riviera Maya


Family vacation in Riviera Maya



Mexico is well known for considering children the center of attention, we love their laughter and are in a mission to accomplish this, of course it is not hard with the largest sand bank and natural playground  in all of Mexico

The Mesoamerican reef protects our shores making our beaches as calm as swimming pools, lots of “cenotes” natural sinkholes offer their adventurous and fearless imagination a real life movie experience, zip lines, sky cycles, the most colorful variety of fish, boats, canoes and hammocks, even an avatar ride a fast roller coaster type zip line unique to this area.

Staying at a nice house or condominium gives your family the opportunity to explore the culture and add to your memory collection incredible mind prints, with a turquoise blue background, and the most enjoyable sounds of laughter, all possible and easy to achieve here.

If you are travelling with a baby, Playa del Carmen has 5 major supermarkets carrying everything from your favorite brand of diapers, to the baby food brand you are used to, it is advised to use only bottled water but you should not be scared of health issues, we host over 3 million visitors a year with the most sensitive stomachs, and children are some of our favorite repeat guests.


Claudia Hurtado Valenzuela

For more information please contact:

Moskito Riviera Maya

Kitesurfing in Playa del Carmen!



I first moved to Playa del Carmen to work as a scuba instructor, but life and its twists and turns have led me to a different path. However the ocean still calls me and I try to dive and visit the beach as much as I can. The Riviera Maya has always been popular for its reefs and pristine beaches, I remember years ago hearing about my uncles’, cousins’, friends father’s experience diving in Cozumel or in Playa, and although it is still a very popular sport, and will continue to be as long as we take care of our reefs, another sport has come into popularity, kite surfing or kite boarding.

It’s hard not to notice the huge colorful kites gliding in the air, when lounging on a beach chair. Ranging from different sizes, depending on the speed of the wind, kite surfing has become very popular through out the Riviera Maya. A mix between skiing and windsurfing, the point is to hop on a wide medium-sized board and let the wind take you up and down the coast. There are many kite surf schools in the Riviera Maya, as well as a huge kite surf community.

Because this sport depends fully on wind, the Riviera Maya is a great place to practice it, with constant winds that blow throughout the year, and if for whatever reason there is no wind in one particular place, all you need to do is drive a few kilometers up or down the coast.

Many of my friends are kite surfers, and given that the kite surfing community is pretty tight knit, I have come to meet great kite surfers who compete for international awards. After about a year of watching their kite gracefully fly from one end of the coast to another I decided to try it out. Having had plenty of sailing experience before, I figured it would be easy, honestly how difficult can balancing on a board and controlling an 8-meter kite be? Trust me it sounds more difficult than it looks. Training begins with a trainer kite, a very small version of what you actually use, practicing the feel of the wind, the zen position (meaning controlling the kite so it doesn’t move form side to side) and figure eights. This I was able to complete in a span of 3 hours, piece of cake, right? The difficult part began when my abs began to get sore, as well as my arm muscles, I had no idea it took so much strength. That’s when I realized that kite surfing is not only a great way to have fun and feel as though you are flying, but it’s also a great work out. The next session consisted of dragging in the water, you need to get used to the drag, as well as practicing how to pick yourself up once the board is on your feet.

I actually haven’t begun to officially kite surf yet, I still need a few more hours training, but like with any other sport it all depends how much time you invest in it. I have a girl friend who doesn’t know how to swim that was kite surfing within two weeks, however, she would go everyday after work to train.

The beauty of this sport is that, not only do you get a complete body workout, but it actually makes you feel as though you can fly, feel free from everything, zipping up and down the coast; at least that’s what’s attracted me the most to kite surfing.

Greetings from the tropical water of the Riviera Maya! 

KSM Kiteschool Mexico:

Asociacion Mexicana de Kiteboard:

Camila Pittman


For more information about this and other tours, please contact:

Moskito Riviera Maya

Heidi +52 1 984 151 9952 Cel.

Diana +52 1 984 114 9088 Cel.

Eco-Parks in Riviera Maya


Ever since I moved to the Riviera Maya I’ve become the official go to person for any information concerning activities and places to stay, therefor when a friend of my sisters,

whom I have never met, called to ask me about eco-parks to go with her family it came as no surprise to me. There are plenty of places to go, especially if you are staying at a Vacation Rental, given that you have more freedom to either take off in a rental car or book a day-tour. Out of all the adventure day-tours and eco-park, I will talk only about three, given that I have visited them plenty of times and I have never been disappointed.

Xcaret, Xplor and Xel Ha are sister parks, Xcaret and Xplor are located right next to each other right outside of Playa del Carmen.

Xplor is by far my favourite one, with 3.8 kilometers of zip lines and underground rivers it will definitely keep you running around all day. These parks have two zip line circuits. One has a water slide in the middle of the zip line run, and the last one takes you through a waterfall where you land in a small lake. The other circuit is considered to be the tallest in all Latin America and passes over a jaguar sanctuary located in Xcaret. Xplor also has an underwater cave system, where you can either swim or take a small raft around all the stalagmite and stalactite formations, they are truly an incredible sight. Xplor is an all inclusive park, meaning that all food and drinks are included within the price, however you do need to pay extra for photos and souvenirs.

Xcaret was the first park of it kind, not so much an adventure park but more of a historical stroll through south-east region of Mexico. With Maya pyramids, a henequen hacienda, a cemetery where the tombs are made of recycled materials, and a Maya village, it is a great place to experience the local culture. Xcaret also has the a very unique salt water aquarium, with natural corals and hundreds of tropical fish, it’s the perfect place to see the underwater Caribbean life. Other attractions include a butterfly sanctuary as well as a living orchid museum and mushroom farm. These are only a few attraction Xcaret has to offer, a jaguar sanctuary, a sea turtle area and swimming with the dolphins are other activities, it even has its own winery, although it should be noted that Xcaret is not all-inclusive, therefor some activities come at an extra cost as well as all restaurants. My favorite activity in Xcaret is the night-time show, this live performance takes you back to the time of the Aztecs, giving us a very accurate and mind-blowing depiction of Mexican history, with colorful costumes and typical dances from all the regions of Mexico, it is one of the most amazing shows I have seen of its kind.

Xel-ha is located about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Its is located around an natural estuary providing hours of fun in the water. Biking through the jungle to arrive to the exit of a cenote, where you are offered single or double tubes that will lead you out into the ocean with the rivers current. Along the way, there are strategic stops where you can climb atop rocks and jump off. There is also a small hammock zip line that lands in the water and tons of snorkeling to be done. Xel-ha is an all-inclusive park, meaning that the food and main activities are included, however there are some activities that come at an extra cost, such as swimming with manatees, swimming with dolphins, snuba, and sea-trek among others. This is a great option for families who love the water and the ocean.

As I mentioned before there are many other eco-parks and day tours, Rio Secreto rumors to be an amazing place, as well as Alltournative day tours, however I have never experienced either. Keep in mind that if its adventure you are looking for there are plenty of activities in the Riviera Maya, from the most extreme to the most tame, you are sure to find the perfect activity for you or your family.

Greetings from the tropical waters of the Riviera Maya! 

Camila Pittman


For more information about this and other tours, please contact:

Moskito Riviera Maya

Heidi +52 1 984 151 9952 Cel.

Diana +52 1 984 114 9088 Cel.

Snorkeling and diving in Riviera Maya

Snorkeling in Riviera Maya

Snorkeling in Riviera Maya

When you have the 2nd largest reef system in the world right outside your front door, you will always have plenty of snorkeling locations to explore the rich marine life and the warm, clear tropical waters.

Some of the best snorkeling and water activities can be found in the Riviera Maya. With the reef system being so close to the shoreline, often one can easily swim out to the reef system, in many areas, without the use of a boat-

Also the Riviera Maya and Cozumel are world renowned for their diving locations! Whether you are a beginner, diving in the crystal clear and shallow waters, an advanced diver exploring the numerous underground caves and the region´s cenotes, experienced enough to climb the rich coral shelf and strong currents  of Cozumel´s coral reef in the world, you will undoubtedly find a location to fit your level of skill.

If a Thrilling adventure is what you seek then we can arrange a dive with bull sharks, an adventure not for the faint at heart but one that you will never forget, with a DVD to remember your adventure…

María Roncarati

For more information about this and other tours, please contact:
Moskito Riviera Maya
Heidi +52 1 984 151 9952 Cel.
Diana +52 1 984 114 9088 Cel.

Akumal : an amazing experience!


Is a favorite spot for snorkelers, located just 35 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Akumal means “Place of the turtles” , and certainly one of my favourite picks! The warm, calm waters, with the reef breaking the waves a good distance from the shore, makes the location ideal for swimming and snorkeling!

This is an amazing place since many do not know that 30% of the world’s population of sea turtles including the Loggerhead and Green turtles come from this area of Mexico and fortunately, continue to come ashore from May -October to lay their eggs.  More often than none, if you swim out a distance, you will see the giant sea turtles grazing and feeding from the reef and the grass beneath you, what an amazing experience!

Akumal, Xcacel have guided turtle walks, turtle programs, adopt and release program, great for families, and other ecological programs that is essential to help the region and educate.

We provide the private transportation, coconut water, and snacks.  I try to recommend package a few tours together to fill the day that way guests can enjoy their time at their villa, unit, beach, etc. Add this to a tour of the Tulum and Cobá ruins and make this last spot for a refreshing swim!!

Maria Roncarati
For more information about this and other tours, please contact:
Moskito Riviera Maya
Heidi +52 1 984 151 9952 Cel.
Diana +52 1 984 114 9088 Cel.