Posted March 20, 2017 by Kay Walten in Hyper Local Info
So you need some sun, fun and down time that get you away from the daily grind. The Riviera Maya is perfect for that much needed break.
The beach is calling your name, but you have seen what your friends have experienced on their getaways, and you truly want to mix it up this vacation. As much as you love the glorious routine of beach, swim in the sea, happy hour, dinner repeat for your vacation, you really want to do something a little extraordinary this time.
Now extraordinary does not mean super crazy adventure like swimming with sharks, or hiking for miles, or trying a triathlon….that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about doing something different from your regular beach vacation, something as simple as adding a new activity, flavor, or experience. Something worth planning and doing that will shake things up a bit without going overboard.
For some visitors this could mean stepping off the resort and experiencing a small city in the area. For others it could mean visiting a remote or new Mayan archaeological site that was not on your bucket list. For others it is trying a local restaurant you have been meaning to try but just have not gotten around to it. Sure we have some friends and guests who venture far and wide, into the villages of the Yucatan, walking the streets of Merida, or just trying a new location for their holiday. This is all possible, but baby steps first.
What we do hear each time someone decides to do something new on their vacation is – “why didn’t I do this a long time ago?” or “that was the coolest experience I have had in a while” or “it was easy to navigate” or “I was not expecting that little treasure – thanks.”
So what do you want to do this vacation that is different?. What new thing do you want to try? Here are some great local things you might want to try out on your next Riviera Maya vacation.
1. Go to the nearest town. If you always stay in the same place be it a small city in the Riviera Maya or an all inclusive resort – pick the nearest town and just check it out. Researching one new place is easy. All you have to do is find a beach club, a place to eat, and a street to stroll on.
If you are staying in Playa del Carmen, check out Puerto Aventuras (15 minute drive) or Puerto Morelos (20 minute drive). If you are staying in Tulum check out Akumal (10 minute drive) or Chemuyil. Each town has its unique vibe worth experiencing. And you will find it easy to travel by either taxi, public van (collectivo) or rental car.
2. Check out an activity either in the sea or in the jungle. Some of us sit and stare at the sea for our entire vacation but don’t venture on a snorkel trip, or hop in a kayak, or paddle board. Others venture into the sea but don’t check out the cenotes, fresh water sinkholes that are a glorious if not a surreal experience. Seeing what lies beneath the Riviera Maya is as wonderful as what lies above.
3. Try a local food – Tamale? What’s that? Jamiaca water? What is that? Horchata? The list goes on and on when identifying local foods. It is easy to grab something to eat or drink at a chain restaurant you know, having nachos, a burger, a steak or a salad. But some of the best and most memorable vacations are when you try a new flavor, a new cultural food, a new dish that you have never heard of. If a food adventure is not up your alley, try a local taco, or ceviche and see what a homemade taco is supposed to taste like. Food trucks and carts are a great place to start. For one dollar you can test the waters and see if you like what you see and taste.
4. Talk to someone – Call Paulina, our gal in charge of guest services, or talk to someone sitting at the beach bar. Understanding what they like to do locally is a great way to filter through all the different things you can do and eat and get right to a great experience on your first try.
Oddly, doing something new creates physiological changes that add to your day to day health. Yup, stepping out of your routine and having new experiences give you a rush of the reward chemical dopamine and makes time go by slowly. Ever wonder why your vacation never seems long enough? Doing the same thing every day on vacation makes time go by quicker.
Read what one of our recent guests had to say when she ventured out of her regular vacation routine.
“While exploring during our last vacation we drove south on the main highway just to see what was there. As we drove I had my trusty guide book in my lap. When we thought we had driven far enough and decided to make a U turn, I saw a sign for Muyil and decided to turn in to find out what it was.
We got out of the car trying to decide if we wanted to visit this Mayan archeological site. We met a couple from the US in the parking lot who said they visit this site every time they are in Mexico. We grabbed our water and bug spray, and began our exploration. There was no one else there. What was so amazing is that this site is so very close to the main highway, yet was only discovered less than 20 years ago. It is very well maintained, and like most similar ruins – only a very small portion has been uncovered. The paths through the jungle were very well maintained.
If you walk all the way to the back you will reach a gate where you can pay a small fee to continue your adventure. We did not realize it at the time, but we were entering the biosphere. If you walk all the way to the end of the path you reach a beautiful lake. As you walked along the raised walkway through the jungle you passed several small cenotes.
This was totally worth getting out of the car. After we left there we drove down the main highway just a short bit to the dirt road that was the entrance to the biosphere. I was so surprised and excited to see carvings in large rocks along the dirt road – just right there on the dirt road!
Who knows what treasures lurk just behind the next bush.
Not sure how to make all of this happen? Check out our travel guides that take you step by step to local cultural sites, explain new foods (recipes included), or whisk you away to new cities taking the planning off your plate.
None of these experiences need to be a full day activity. We have put together half day experiences for those hoping to just test the waters, or if you want a longer experience, check out our full day activities.
Kay moved to the Riviera Maya in 1992 to explore underwater caves. As an expat, Kay has been working in the vacation and tourism profession in Mexico ever since. She is the co-founder of the travel & vacation rental website LocoGringo.com
Read her amazing story because she thought she’d only stay 6 months.
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"All our Riviera Maya trips have been booked using LocoGringo. We love their service."
"She & her new Husband had a fantastic hassle free trip. This was their very first time to Mexico and her comment upon return was " Dad, 7 days is NOT enough time ! " Super job, LG."
--Bernie in Denver,
"I have booked most of my Mayan Riviera trips through Loco Gringo and can only say I wouldn't even consider using anyone else to handle my bookings for stays in that area.
Their booking process is simple, fast and friendly, and they will answer your questions and queries until you are completely satisfied that every single detail has been taken care of.
Who else would know the area better than folks who live and work right there? Try to get that level of expertise and knowledge with a booking agent who lives and works several hundred, or even thousands of miles away.
Not only that, but they are genuinely nice people as well, who really care for their customers and the community and area that they call home
Keep up the great work Loco Gringo!!"
"and for the past five years we have used Loco Gringo for every reservation, I'm sorry that we did not find them sooner.
I have been searching Loco Gringo for all these years and one thing I have not yet found ........... someone who is not fabulous to work with. Great people, great owners and a great way to run a business."
--K & DB, Outer Banks, NC,
"I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU! The trip we booked through Loco Gringo was perfect! The price was exceptionally good and the service was second to none! If you’ve never booked with Loco Gringo before, we *highly* recommend them!"
"I will be bragging about your site to any and all who will listen. Our experience was phenomenal!!!"
"quick and informative replies from Bart ( thanks Bart) , easy booking procedure plus online management of your booking . I am highly impressed."
--Theressa - Middlesex U.K.,
"People who “live the area” will want to make sure you enjoy your vacation and come back again!"
"Go to the home page or check the forum."
"It's a great comfort to visit the Riviera Maya and know that Loco Gringo is there to help, if needed. "
--Bryan in IN,
"I had contacted you before I left for my first trip to Mexico and all of your recommendations were spot on. I started in Playa Del Carmen and worked my way to Tulum. I had only expected to stay 2 nights there and instead wound up staying for a week-and that still was not nearly enough time. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks! I will be checking in with you guys as I am tring to plan a trip to Holbox next. That place looks amazing!"
--Louis Skip Gonzalez, Unidos Magazine
"And their amazing website is one of the main reasons we started going regularly to the Riviera Maya and especially Akumal. No other place around the Caribbean has nearly as good a web presence as LG has given this area."
--Dan, St. Louis MO,
"It is like having a friend make your reservations for you .... we always feel comfortable knowing LG will be in charge of our arrangements because they know the area first hand, they live there ..... you ask a question and they answer it with good humor and great knowledge of what they speak. I will always recommend Loco Gringo in a heart beat!"
"Both in 2011 and this year we have booked our room through Locogringo.com. We searched and found a great rate at the resort we wanted, and then Locogringo met that price, and with their booking came their amazing customer service and the peace of mind that if we need anything while we are there we simply need to call. I always get a fast turnaround on any email I send them, and they work so hard to find us the best rates and the rooms we want. We hope to have a long relationship with them, and recommend their site to everyone we know."
--Tim A and Teri A, Salem, UT
"We usually need reservations for 2 to 4 people but for 2 years we needed reservations for 7 to 9 people, adults and kids and they have always done a flawless job in getting the resort we wanted and at the best price too!!"
"A company made up mostly of American Expats living in the Riviera Maya with a booking list of many hundreds of properties. Big enough to know each property intimately and small enough to know each customer personally. A level of service simply impossible for the giant companies to provide.
--Jim T., Colorado
"What an amazing company Locogringo is. Every silly question I have.... they answer , If something comes up like a travel day change, adding more people, or whatever it might be... you get a response from a real person ... who seems to love what they do . That is hard to find these days and I really appreciate that."
"Loco Gringo has an AWESOME website with great info, it is lots of fun to visit, be sure to join their forums. The forums hold more information and trip reports than you can 'shake a stick at'!"
"Loco Gringos is the VERY BEST booking site I have ever worked with. They respond to emails promptly, work hard to honor special requests, answer questions etc. They ALWAYS take great care of their customers and are conscientious and professional at all times. We have booked 8 trips with this company and NEVER hesitate to use them or recommend them when traveling to the Riviera Maya."
"...for your patience with me and making this process go soooo much smoother! I truly appreciate you and the staff at LocoGringo. Thanks again! I can't wait to be sitting on the beach!
Maggie in Colorado"
"Thanks for everything you have done with Locogringo… the site is great and your staff has been nothing short of incredible when it comes to helping us plan our trips. Maybe we’ll run into you on one of your walks some day."
"LocoGringo.com books total trip packages and I recommend LG to all my friends and even to strangers I hear talking about going to Mexico!!"
"When we use LG to book a trip we get immediate help with all of our questions in a very timely way by people who know what they are talking about and are extremely helpful, patient, knowledgeable, and congenial. They really get how to do customer service.
Once we book through LG we never have to worry about any of it again. We are always amazed at how smooth and trouble free our bookings through LG have been."
--K.B., Fort Worth, TX
""I was soooo delighted with the Loco Gringo services. Everything was trouble free and all my questions were always answered promptly. Thanks for a GREAT trouble free vacation!""
"So here is a GREAT BIG TEXAS THANK YOU TO LOCO GRINGO for all the awesome, fantastic vacations in Paradise."
"Now is a great time to tell you how wonderful you and your staff are at making it so easy to find and book the best vacations, THANK YOU !"
--Joyce & Hugh,
"Not sure if we will be returning next summer, but will definitely let you know if we are, as Loco Gringo is the ONLY way to go for us!"
--Lesley P., Texas
"You always recommend amazing accommodations and we are always comfortable and feel safe. Your staff does a fantastic job at making our vacation each year a ” hassle free ” experience ! All we have to do is ” show up ” and the rest is already taken care of. We will continue in future to use LocoGringo and also continue as we have done already, to highly recommend your company to anyone we know that is planning a vacation."
--Nancy & Bill, Toronto, Canada
"We have been Booking our Riviera Maya vacations from Loco Gringo since 2005. Always Great communication, helpful tips and quick responses to our questions. They were especially helpful when Hurricane Wilma hit and put a stop to our Vacation plans. They made sure we knew about the weather situation and did all the work with re-booking our vacation in Paradise!"
"We spent a lot of our time sitting on the second floor porch with our feet propped on the railing just staring at the water. Coming home was hard this year..Staying for two weeks still wasn't long enough."
"I would recommend Locogringo to everyone I know. It is such a great service that they provide from researching and booking the perfect place to stay to finding all the needs you could possibly want during your stay. Thanks Locogringo."
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