Holbox: a refreshing piece of what a small Mexican beach town used to be…

Collage Holbox

The second time I went to Holbox, I was shocked to discover how developed the island was. It was exactly ten years after my initial visit. Upon arriving to the island, however I realized that not much had changed, yes, there was now a scheduled ferry from Chiquila to Holbox, and there are now many more hotels, however the island has maintained it’s secluded, quiet side. The hotels tend to be small and a bit far apart, so as not to have too many people crowding the beach, yet the roads are still mostly sand and the only transportation available are golf carts or bikes. The city center itself has grown, but not to much, and the 1,500 residents that live there full time all agree that the island should stay as quiet and serene as possible.

The first night I met a couple of people who lived on the island, they recommended going to Isla Passion, a tiny island, more like a big mound of dirt, right off of Holbox. I was told to drive my golf cart to the very west side of the island, and that I could just swim, or even walk across the lagoon, to Isla Passion, home to a bird watching tower and many extravagant birds. Adventurous as I am, the very next morning I took off, and after a few wrong turns which led me to kite boarding camps, I arrived to the west point. The lagoon wasn’t deep at all, and if not for the very damp mud that kept sucking me in I could have walked across, however swimming was easier, albeit longer. The complete calmness surrounding me was refreshing, just the occasional flap of a wing and the bluest of skies to keep me company. Once on Isla Passsion I sat and enjoyed the amazing view of the Golf of Mexico, I still couldn’t get over the different hues of greens and blues the water had. There were birds everywhere, talking to each other and singing out towards the ocean, everywhere I looked there were different colored seagulls, and pelicans, all enjoying, it seems the same mesmerizing view as me.

With the whole Riviera Maya growing and changing, Holbox is a refreshing piece of what a small Mexican beach town used to be, and although I would not call the center of the town beautiful, it is charming in the way that you can still see local basketball teams play in the city court at dusk. Many hotels have sprung up, but they all tend to follow the same guideline, of keeping Holbox as small and intact as possible. In fact most of the developed part is on the west part of the island, leaving the center and east side free of any construction.

On my last night I decided to take my golf cart as far east as I could go, I wanted to experience the same unforgettable sunset, I had seen the first time I had visited ten years prior, and I must say that mother nature did not disappoint. As the sun began to set, it also began to grow in size and its blaze turned into a dark orange, I could look directly into it without hurting my eyes. The surrounding clouds began to change, as if there was a rainbow hidden inside, from dark purple to dark pink, colors scattered the now darkening sky, and as if on a cue when the last of the sun had lowered into the horizon a dark ray of green jumped out from behind.

Greetings from the tropical water of the Riviera Maya!

Camila Pittman

Moskito Riviera Maya

info@moskitopm.com

http://www.moskitoplayadelcarmen.com

http://www.realestateplayadelcarmen.com.mx

Viva Mexico!

El grito

On Midnight of September 16 our “Grito” of Independence will resonate from every town square of every city in Mexico. Mexican Independence is celebrated on September 16, not on May 5 like many believe, when in 1810, the first Grito was given by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Dolores, Guanajuato, when after ringing the church bells a loud proclamation was heard throughout the small town, “Long live our Independence! Death to bad government! Long live or Lady of Guadalupe!”

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a priest in the town of Dolores, tired of inequality and a corrupt government, began a movement in hopes of becoming an independent country. Although the original grito was given in 1810, there wasn’t an organized army fighting, a few guerillas were formed in a few states, such as Vicente Guerrero in Oaxaca and Guadalupe Victoria in Puebla, yet the lack of unity and organization almost led the whole movement to collapse after 10 years of fighting. In 1820 Augustin de Iturbide, originally a Colonel in the Spanish army, was sent to Oaxaca to fight against Vicenete Guerrero’s rebel army, and in a strange twist of fate ended up joining the cause for independence. Augustin de Iturbide was able to convince his troops to fight for him by coming up with a peace treaty known as El Plan de Iguala, which outlined the establishment of Catholicism, social equality for all ethnic groups and the proclamation of independence. Finally in September 1821 Iturbide proclaimed the independence of Mexico as New Spain.

The Grito has changed since the original day, however the custom has not. Every year on September 15 the city and town government squares begin to fill as night falls. Food vendors and flag vendors stand around the squares, while waiting spectators wait until the clock strikes 12, at which point the town representative begins to ring a bell and yells out:

 

¡Mexicanos!

¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!

¡Víva Hidalgo!

¡Viva Morelos!

¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!

¡Viva Allende!

¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!

¡Viva la independencia nacional!

¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

 

 

Mexicans!

Long live the heroes that gave us the Fatherland!

Long live Hidalgo!

Long live Morelos!

Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!

Long live Allende!

Long live Aldama and Matamoros!

Long live National Independence!

Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico!

 

For those of you that are in the Riviera Maya this weekend, I urge you to go see the Grito, if you have not experienced before. I am proud to be Mexican and be a part of this amazing tradition. Through echoes of VIVA! and clapping it is a truly amazing experience. It reminds me that no matter how discontent or disappointed one can become with their country, that night all Mexicans come together to remember that we are the people, we are the essence, WE ARE MEXICO!

 

Greetings from the tropical waters of the Riviera Maya!

Moskito Riviera Maya

info@moskitopm.com

http://www.moskitoplayadelcarmen.com

http://www.realestateplayadelcarmen.com.mx

Playa del Carmen Grocery Stores

collage supermercados

Grocery stores are unique to each country, and Mexico, although just across the border from the U.S., is no exception. When I take friends, who are visiting, to the grocery store, they make comments about seemingly odd things, which have become normal to me. For instance ham, we do not have packaged ham, instead you go to the cold cuts area and tell a lady what type of ham you would like and how much. If you do not know any of the brands you can ask to taste different kinds until you like one, it is also important to remember that our measurements are in kilograms or grams.

Milk is another anomaly, our milk is found in Tetra Pak’s, a sort of carton case covered inside with aluminum, which does not have to be refrigerated until opened. This is because of the culture, not all Mexican families can afford a refrigerator, and the milk lasts for months unless it is opened.

Meats, chicken and seafood are displayed in refrigerated packs, however I recommend asking the person behind the counter to cut fresh pieces of meats and chicken for you, you can also ask them to cut it to your specific needs. 

There are many grocery stores in Playa del Carmen, however only four main ones are used by visitors and most locals: Walmart, Mega Comercial Mexicana, Soriana and Chedraui. 

Mega Comercial Mexicana is a great place for ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, although they do not have many American imported foods, it is a clean, good quality supermarket.

Soriana and Chedraui have a lot of American imported foods, such as cereals, chips and pasta helpers, yet the fruits and vegetables are lacking in quality and tend to be days old.

Walmart sometimes has good fruits and vegetable and sometimes not, the same applies with imported foods. It’s a gamble each time you go and it’s always full of people, resembling more a street market than a grocery store.

Dac is an organic supermarket where you will find the best fruits and vegetables of the season available at a higher cost, however if you are a vegetarian or prefer high quality fruits and vegetables this is the place I recommend you go. 

Next time you are in a supermarket remember to take your time and look around first, given that not all products are the same as in other countries, also if you can’t find something or don’t know what brand to buy don’t be afraid to ask, I have helped many visitors in my 4 years, and I’m always happy to do so.

Greetings from the tropical waters of the Riviera Maya!

Camila Pittman

Moskito Riviera Maya

info@moskitopm.com

http://www.moskitoplayadelcarmen.com

http://www.realestateplayadelcarmen.com.mx

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

grito_independencia_mamitas_playa_del_carmen_2013_puente

PLAYA DEL CARMEN:  Every Friday Cine Club

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

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

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

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

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

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COZUMEL: September 22nd, 2013 / MetLife IronMan 70.3

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

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It´s Whale Shark season!

Tiburon-ballena
 
Whale Shark season is in full swing off Cancún’s coast.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to dive, swim, or snorkel alongside these docile creatures, now is the time!  I had the opportunity to swim with these amazing animals some time ago and I am ready to do it again!
These gentle beasts create a lot of excitement, in numbers, from early June to September, annually, in the waters off the Peninsula’s coast, and for good reason.  Since, for many travelers living in the “America’s,” need not travel a great distance or overseas to see this amazing animals.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world.  How large?  Well, let’s imagine the size of a school bus!  They can weigh as much as 20 tons and more than 40 feet in length! While whale sharks are migratory animals, they aggregate in the warm, tropical waters, all over the world to feed on the rich plankton, krill and fish eggs.  Luckily, for us, they trek off the coast of Cancún, near the islands of Holbox and the bird and wildlife sanctuary island of Isla Contoy, calling all curious, adventurous and thrill-seekers to pursue their paths.  As they command their audience, these spectacular animals never cease to amaze their friends, visiting from all corners of the globe, even if these mammoth grazers are only here feeding for a short period of time. While the animals are happily nourishing themselves in one of the Peninsula’s Garden’s of Eden, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas or (CONANP), as well as other agencies, are controlling and protecting the endangered mammals by monitoring visitors and boats.
Eco tours are available that start off early in the morning from Isla Mujeres, Holbox or the Cancún shoreline.  Guests are transported to the whale shark feeding site, which is approximately a 45-minute boat ride.  Visitors are provided instruction with professional and eco-driven tour guides. Spotters are used to locate the path of the whale shark.  The Whale Shark tours are guaranteed 100%!   At first glance you may feel a little intimidated, given the size of this creature and at the same time you are overwhelmed with adrenalin by the whale shark’s massive size, physical attributes and tranquility.   After the swimming and snorkeling adventure, the boat travels to one of the Peninsula’s beautiful reefs to allow its visitors to swim and snorkel in a pristine and protected area.  While guests enjoy the reef, the crew prepares a tasty lunch usually of “Ceviche”, or fish salad, a classic Caribbean favorite made from fresh fish, marinated in freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, chopped onion and tomatoes, served with “Totopos” or triangular, lightly fried or baked corn tortillas, and of course, topped with homemade fresh salsas such as a habanero, tamarindo or chipotle and served with beverages and freshly sliced tropical fruit! After lunch is served, the boat departs back to shore to complete this extraordinary adventure.
VIP tours are carefully planned and customized by exclusive concierges.  The personalized service enables guests to rent out an entire yacht, giving its visitors more opportunities to swim and snorkel with these astonishing animals, not to mention the privacy the guests will have on their own luxurious boat, the glamour, and undoubtedly, the added fun and excitement with their own group of guests!
If you are lucky enough to have the chance to swim and snorkel alongside these gentle creatures I highly recommend it! Without a doubt, you will cherish the fond memories and the lifetime experience while you wonder what more can this paradise on the Peninsula share with you?
The official opening date for the Whale Shark Tour season as set beginning June1, 2013 and the closing date of the season is September1, 2013.
See you in Paradise!
 
Maria Roncarati
 
 
 
For more information about this and other tours, please contact:
 
Moskito Riviera Maya
concierge@moskitopm.com
www.moskitoplayadelcarmen.com
www.realestateplayadelcarmen.com.mx
Heidi +52 1 984 151 9952 Cel.
Diana +52 1 984 114 9088 Cel.