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Agua Azul – travertine cascades near Palenque in Chiapas

Posted June 20, 2005 by Kay Walten in Mexico Destinations

Chiapas-mexico-and-waterfalls

Agua Azul is a place of surreal beauty, where translucent blue water cascades over travertine flowstone that has built up here for thousands of years. It's the calcium that's responsible. Seasonally a torrent of rainwater gushes through nearby limestone mountain caves, dissolving the rock and carrying the calcium downstream. As if by magic, it's then re-deposited as travertine on almost anything it touches. As the ages pass the deposits layer into these fantastic shapes that look like frozen...

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Punta Venado ATV and snorkeling tours near Playa

Posted June 4, 2005 by Kay Walten in Riviera Maya Activities

punta venado ATV tours near playa del carmen

The last time we visited Rancho Punta Venado was in 2001 and much has changed since then. Fortunately the ranch has remained 100% intact these past 4 years, providing great off-road adventures to the public, now including an ATV All Terrain Vehicle tour to see jungle, caves, a cenote, and the beach. The ATV's are easy and fun to drive and the beach is unspoiled and truly awesome. We started with a full briefing on how an ATV operates, in Spanish and English, and a few hand signals for...

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Loco Adventure – Celestun Yucatan eco-boat tour

Posted March 14, 2005 by Kay Walten in Loco Adventures,Yucatan Activities

celestun eco tour in mexico

Celestun Wildlife Refuge is a 146,000 acre biosphere reserve spans the border between the states of Campeche and Yucatan on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. It is one of few places in the world where you can see thousands of pink flamingos en masse, in the wild. We started in Merida for the 60+ mile drive south to Celestun. It was Thanksgiving week 2004 and we knew there would be plenty of pink flamingos there and even more in December. The road goes through lots of small villages that...

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A day at Los Dos cooking school in Merida

Posted February 4, 2005 by Kay Walten in Food,Mexican Recipes

los dos cooking school in merida

In December I had the unusual opportunity to take a cooking class with Los Dos in the colonial city of Merida, Yucatan. I had been interested in learning something about authentic Yucatecan cooking for a long time since it's my favorite style of Mexican food. David Sterling, the chef and proprietor of Los Dos, teaches one and two day cooking classes, and I decided to enroll in a one day class. After morning coffee and pastries by the Los Dos pool our class started with David's introduction...

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Historic Yucatan Haciendas – exploring Yucatan

Posted December 16, 2004 by Kay Walten in Mexican Culture,Yucatan Activities

hacienda in yucatan

The evolution of the Hacienda The Haciendas of Yucatan emerged as family businesses in colonial times (17th century) and have now become historical attractions for visitors to Yucatan state. Many of the haciendas were originally cattle ranches and later converted to henequen. Henequén is a type of agave cactus (family Agavaceae) which is processed for its fibers, primarily to produce rope. The fiber strands are known as sisal and are similar to processed hemp fiber. Sisal fiber was an...

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LocoGringo Adventures – Mahahual & Xcalak

Posted October 26, 2004 by Kay Walten in Mexico Destinations,Riviera Maya Photos

Mahahual-happy-hour-on-the-beach

Sipping a cerveza while her friends get their hair braided, it's a party on the beach 'till the whistle blows to re-board the boat. Up to three cruise ships a day stop in Mahahual for a bit of on-shore adventure and beach fun. Water sports, drinking, eating and shopping are the preferred activities but there are also tours like a quick trip to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, about an hour away. All the ingredients for a good time in Mahahual Things to do are either on the beach or...

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LocoGringo Adventures – Sian Ka’an to Punta Allen

Posted July 5, 2004 by Kay Walten in Mexico Destinations

Sian Ka'an Biosphere south of the Riviera Maya

Day trip: drive through the Sian Kaan Biosphere reserve to Punta Allen. Up for an adventure? Here's a trip off the beaten path. A drive down the Riviera Maya coast on a sandy coconut road just 50 kilometers long (±30 miles) through the NE Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve past incredible beaches, pristine mangrove estuaries, finally to arrive in the little fishing village of Punta Allen (about a 2½ hour drive). For this trip you will need durable transportation (jeep recommended), plenty of...

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Horseback ride to the old ruins of Chichen Itza, Yucatan

Posted May 24, 2004 by Kay Walten in Mayan Ruins,Mindful Traveler

old Chichen in the yucatan photo

Just south of the main ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico are the seldom seen temple ruins of old chichén, an area relatively few people know exists let alone visits on a journey here. In mid April we were graciously invited to tour this mysterious part of Chichen Itza by our new friend at the Mayaland hotel, Quincy. The hotel generously donates lodging to the archaeologists who are excavating the site and Quincy can arrange the only horseback tour to old chichén. This is an easy 2-3...

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Riviera Maya aerial tour by helicopter and plane

Posted March 7, 2004 by Kay Walten in Riviera Maya Photos

aerial-tour-of-the-riviera-Maya

In September 2003 we were offered a rare opportunity to do something very few have ever done —fly down the Riviera Maya coast by helicopter. This fantasy come true was offered by our close friends Sam Meacham, Bil Philips and Steve Bogaerts who are deeply involved in the exploration and mapping of Quintana Roo's underwater caves. In this case the helicopter was needed to airlift equipment and supplies into a remote jungle cenote where their exploration would begin. What we didn't know at...

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Riviera Maya Cenotes for snorkeling and diving

Posted December 6, 2003 by Kay Walten in Riviera Maya Activities

Gran Cenote Riviera Maya near Tulum

Cenotes are a natural freshwater jungle oasis found in the Yucatan Peninsula. But what is a cenote? Technically a cenote is simply a sinkhole; a place where the ceiling of an underlying cave fell in. The photo above was taken down inside the large collapse of the East Ojo at Dos Ojos cenote park. The rubble pile of a collapse typically has very little soil. The specialized plants that grow here get nutrients from their fallen decomposed leaves and their roots split the rock to tap the cave...

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