Monthly Archives: September 2013

Last Day on Soliman Bay…

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Our 11 days had flown by – as it always does. We re-connected with old friends, met some new ones, and had some great get-togethers and adventures.

Our last morning on Soliman Bay, Mexico dawned calm and sunny, making it even harder to go. The bay was like glass and was perfect for a morning swim and snorkel, or taking a kayak out to the reef. I took a walk along the beach to capture a few parting shots…

Soliman Bay morning calm

Soliman Bay bird hunting, calm waters

Soliman Bay sandpipers vert

Soliman Bay sandpipers flying

Soliman Bay beach curve

Soliman Bay pink house

Soliman Bay turtle nest marker

Soliman Bay floats, beach view

How sad to say goodbye to our Nah Uxibal chaise gathering spot…

Nah Uxibal morning chaises

Bye Bye sweet Mimi! (sleeping in the chaise lounge)

Nah Uxibal palapa, chaises, blue sky

Nah Uxibal palapa tops clsup  Big House, nice light

Nah Uxibal in sand

Our parting picture ~ time to load up and head for the airport. : (

Jamie and Wally good pic, Uxibal Aug

But we’ll be back!

Nah uxibal from water, kayak pting

Our paradise ~ Soliman Bay, Mexico

Visit to learn more about staying at this slice of heaven

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Heavenly Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato in Tulum, Mexico

After dinner at Zamas on the Tulum Beach Road, our final stop for the night was for dessert in Tulum Town for some gelato. The big cone at the front door signals entry to ice cream/gelato lover’s paradise. The name is a mouthful – Gelateria Panna e Cioccolato and the flavors are numerous.

Panna & Cio cone signI like that they have little clues on their flavor markers to help you figure out the translation. The staff is happy to give you samples so you can pick your flavors..

Panna & Cio flavors

And you can watch through the window as they make their homemade waffle cones…

Panna & Cio cone maker

I got a scoop of cheese cake and hazelnut – divine! Yummmm!!

Panna & Cio Jamie with coneI will definitely be stopping in again next time we’re in town ~ What a treat on a hot Tulum day!

Until next time!

# The End #

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An Afternoon on Tulum Beach Road, Mexico

We always enjoy a trip down to the Tulum Beach Road for dinner and a bit of shopping. Along Tulum Beach, there is a diverse collection of restaurants and boutique hotels and quality shops.

Tulum Beach Zamas sign & road

Tulum Beach Road view

Late afternoon is a nice time to visit the Beach Road, when things have cooled off a bit and you can enjoy a cold cocktail and appetizer at one of the restaurants before doing a little shopping. We drifted down the road, stopping in the assorted businesses along the way.

Check out the calendar of restaurant and happy hour specials on a local blog site, Tulum Living, and check the link on their weekly calendar:

So we drifted down the road, checking out the shops and vibe…Need a bike rental?

Tulum Beach bikes for rentI always enjoy browsing through Mixik, which offers fine Mexican crafts

Tulum Beach Mixik sign

Tulum Beach Mixik ext

Tulum Beach Mixik grotesque masks

Tulum Beach Mixik interior

Tulum Beach Mixik, Wally

Trendy clothing at Shalom

Tulum Beach Shalom shopNeed a shot of coffee to keep you going?

Tulum Beach, Exresso stand

Tulum Beach shop palapas

Interesting characters…

Tulum Beach tulumite guy

I really liked the jewelry in this guy’s shop and purchased several pairs of earrings. The jewelry features natural stones, feathers, seed pods, wood, and silver to create unique designs. There is also some wild art and dream catchers.

Tulum Beach jewelry guy

Tulum Beach jewelry, earring boards

Tulum Beach dream catchers

Tulum Beach jewelry display

Tulum Beach jewelry guy & merch

A couple enjoying a coco cocktail…

Tulum Beach Mateo's Grill couple

Pura Corazan Restaurant has an inviting and artistic atmosphere…

Tulum Beach Pura Corazon entrance, signs

Tulum Beach Pura Corazon front entrance

I love their bright signs… we haven’t eaten there yet – will have to try them next time.

Tulum Beach Pura Corazon wall of signs

Our plan was to have dinner at Zamas, where we love to sit under their open air palapa and watch the swimmers playing in the surf and climbing the rocks.

Tulum Beach Zamas entrance  Tulum Beach Zamas sign

Tulum Beach Zamas view to water

Tulum Beach Zamas Restaurant

Tulum Beach Zamas pelican pole

Tulum Beach Zamas menu

Tulum Beach Zamas waves

Zamas has little beachfront cabana rentals next to the restaurant so you don’t have to go far to eat or sit in the sun

Tulum Beach Zamas cottage

Tulum Beach Zamas hat & chair

After dinner, twilight was setting in and the evening lights were coming on down the road

Tulum Beach twilight vert lantern

Pura Corazon pulses with red glowing lights…

Tulum Beach Pura Corazon red lights

We’re headed to Tulum Town next for some gelato…

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The Spa Experience, Maya Tulum Resort, Tulum Beach, Mexico

For those of you craving a relaxing and indulgent spa experience, we have just the place for you. Located on Tulum Beach, past Zamas and over the bridge a bit, is Maya Tulum Resort. Their corporate name of R & R Resorts reflects the experience for visitors. You can learn more about the resort and their services at: 

Maya Tulum signThe resort is on the left side of the road but you park on the right side opposite their entrance. We’ve found the best way to schedule a massage or treatment is to stop by, pick out our masseuse from their bio board and make our appointment.

Maya Tulum masseuse board

Their spa waiting area is a nice place to relax while waiting for your treatment. Arrive a bit early to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Maya Tulum spa interior

Your therapist will then escort you to your massage cabanas. Aren’t they lovely?

Maya Tulum massage girls

Maya Tulum massage palapa path  Maya Tulum massage palapa

The last time we went I chose a hot rocks treatment to hopefully relieve the big rocks in my shoulder.

Maya Tulum massage table:room

Maya Tulum hot rocks

Maya Tulum sink & flowers

Ahhh!!! Much better now : )

So after your treatment, they have a gift shop and you can head toward to beach where enticing hammocks and chaise lounges have a heavenly view. They have a restaurant and cottages for guests.

Maya Tulum statue and restaurant

Maya Tulum hammocks

Maya Tulum beach chaises

Maya Tulum cottages

Time for a nap… zzzz

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Los Colorados Salt Mine, Rio Lagartos, Mexico

We decided to visit the ocean side of the salt mines on our way out of Rio Lagartos. They were originally mined by the Mayans. We had glimpsed the pyramids of salt from the river side where the flamingoes are but it was too far away to see the actual operation. Taking the ocean front road it didn’t take us long to find but beware of potholes in some stretches of the road. A storm was brewing behind the mounds of salt. We wondered what would happen to the salt if it came a downpour!

Rio Lagartos salt mounds

The salt is put on a conveyor that goes across the road and out to the ocean where it is loaded on ships. Interesting contrast how to the southeast behind the mounds was so stormy, yet in the opposite direction was blue skies…

Rio Lagartos salt conveyor to ocean

Rio Lagartos yucca bank to ocean, saltworks

This part of the Yucatan is quite arid and has cactus growing.

Rio Lagartos cactus

Rio Lagartos salt mounds, jamie

We drove on past the mounds and detoured to the right onto a work road that goes past the salt plains. If we had gone left we would have gone into the little village.

Those are tanker trucks driving in the distance to give you perspective of how many acres this was.

Rio Lagartos salt works plain 1

Rio Lagartos salt works plain 2

The salt was dry in the corner right next to the road so of course I had to scoop up a bag full. Natural sea salt right from the source!

Rio Lagartos salt crystals on ground

A little bit further down the road is the river where all the birds are. We watched the sandpipers and flamingos for a while and picked up quite a few feathers that had drifted to shore. I later rinsed them and smoothed them to dry and they are beautiful!

Rio Lagartos sand pipers in water  Rio Lagartos flamingoes feeding

Rio Lagartos flamingoes forever

It was time to head back to Nah Uxibal at Soliman Bay to relax after all that adventure…

Ahhh! Heaven!

Soliman Bay August afternoon

### Til Next Time.. ###

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San Felipe, Mexico Rodeo/Bullfight

Our evening entertainment our second night in Rio Lagartos was to visit San Felipe, another fishing village about a 10-minute drive to the west. We had been introduced to the only gringo couple in town and they had heard a rodeo was going on and asked us to join them.

We arrived in town and parked on the main street and went in search of the rodeo. We made it to their waterfront where the fishing boats were tied up. I loved these carved fish…

San Felipe carved fish vert

San Felipe carved fish & arches

San Felipe boats tied

San Felipe man statue on water

San Felipe octopus boats

The fishermen were lined up at the waterfront fish cooperative with their octopus catch

San Felipe fishermen in line

San Felipe octopus pile

A cute restaurant San Felipe restaurant with bike

San Felipe woman statue

There were lots of family arcade tents and food booths set up along the waterfrontSan Felipe arcadeWe followed the locals down the next street and as the piles of horse manure increased, the sounds of the townspeople grew around the metal arena. We were the ONLY gringos in sight, but everyone was friendly. Our biggest impression of the San Felipe residents was how gorgeous they were! The girls were just drop-dead gorgeous and many of the men very handsome as well.

I only had my little sports camera so didn’t get many great pictures, but you’ll get the idea. Their “rodeo” is actually a bullfight. Sadly, none of my shots of the girl on horseback (the picador) turned out. Her job is to thrust the ribboned lancets into the top of the shoulders of the bull to weaken (and enrage) him. Having years of experience on a cattle farm, I know how dangerous enraged cattle can be, so was cringing every time the bull charged her on her horse. The matadors would then step in to “fight” the bulls. They started with a larger bull that we are pretty sure became the sacrificial lamb after he left the ring to feed the community. Then smaller to larger bulls were brought out to fight.

San Felipe bullfight, cowboys waiting outside

San Felipe bullfight 3 matadors

San Felipe bullfight bull charging

San Felipe bullfight matador & bull standing

San Felipe bullfight two matadorsAfter the fight was “called” the cowboys would all run in and lasso or herd the bull towards the chute. San Felipe bullfight, bull & cowboys

San Felipe bullfight, bull's legs roped

San Felipe bullfight, cowboys all running

This was our first bullfight and it was definitely not for the squeamish, but it was exciting!

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Rio Lagartos, MX: Day 2: Bird Tour, Mud Bath & Beach

Our second day in Rio dawned bright and sunny and we enjoyed coffee on our rooftop terrace and watching the fishermen head out to fish.

Rio Lagartos coffee on terrace, lighthouse

Rio Lagartos morning boat trafficFrom our terrace we could see Flamingoes feeding on a sand bar

Rio Lagartos flamingoes on sand bar, town

We headed downstairs for a breakfast of huevos rancheros… yum!

Rio Lagartos rancho heuveros

Then it was time to load up for our morning birding boat tour up the river. We boarded the AleJandra with our captain, Alberth who turned out to be a great guide and speaks excellent English.

Rio Lagartos Alejandra boat

Rio Lagartos Skip, Net, captain

The locals hand fish from the sea wall.

Rio Lagartos locals hand fishing

Rio Lagartos pelican on post

Rio Lagartos Los GaviotosThe community swim and swing palapa…

Rio Lagartos town water gazebo

Rio Lagartos Villa da Pescadores

Rio Lagartos tern on post

Rio Lagartos Wally with town in back

Rio Lagartos town from water closer

Rio Lagartos wide town view from water

Double crested cormorants were drying their wings on the sign. They are divers like loons

Rio Lagartos cormorants on sign

Rio Lagartos cormorants swimmingView up the river, which is freshwater.

Rio Lagartos view of river

Black hawk

Rio Lagartos black hawk

Rio Lagartos birds silhouetted in river

FrigatesRio Lagartos frigates flying

Mangrove cuckoo – Alberth got very excited when we saw this guy.Rio Lagartos mangrove cuckoo

Rio Lagartos mangrove vert roots

Needlefish and jellyfish

Rio Lagartos needlefish and jellyfishWHAT? What was that? Mud zombies???Rio Lagartos mud boat people with waveMangrove seed podsRio Lagartos mangrove seed vert

He explained how the seeds would vertically float for awhile then eventually plant themselves

Rio Lagartos boat captain mangrove seed

Rio Lagartos white egret flying vertOsprey

Rio Lagartos osprey on limb

Rio Lagartos osprey flying  Rio Lagartos osprey swooping over riverMore cormorantsRio Lagartos cormorants on mangroveNot sure what this guy was but very pretty…

Rio Lagartos bird with yellow throat

More zombies…Rio Lagartos mud people Bonita boatFlamingoRio Lagartos flamingo on river bank

Then we reached the big area next to the saltworks and they were everywhere! They feed on the shrimp larvae that are in the water and this part of the river is shallow so they can stand.Rio Lagartos flamingoes wide view

Rio Lagartos flamingoes group mid-range

Rio Lagartos flamingoes preening

Rio Lagartos flamingoes feeding

Rio Lagartos flamingoes flying, boat coming

Rio Lagartos flamingo last step to flight

Rio Lagartos flamingoes flying

Rio Lagartos flamingo in flightWow – so amazing!

Now – time for our saltwater soak and mudbath. Too wet and messy for the camera. Our captain pulled over to the bank of the saltworks and we climbed over and into a shallow trough of saltwater. You can float in it as it is so buoyant (be sure and where water shoes for your excursion). Then we went a bit further for our mudbath. Alberth reached down in a hole, pulling out fresh silky mud for us to scrub up and cover ourselves. It’s like going to the spa but much more fun! The mud is too deep on the river side to rinse off, so you leave it on to dry on the boat ride back to Rio.

Rio Lagartos Wally mud face

Skip added a bit to his brow for the cro magnon man look

Rio Lagartos mud Skip face

We zipped past Rio, out the cut and around to the beach to rinse off and chill for a bit. There is only one house on the beach right now, and an acquaintance is selling lots and developing the beach. This part of the Gulf has calmer waters and the winds run parallel to the beach making it a perfect kite-boarding paradise.

Rio Lagartos beach jamie in water

Rio Lagartos beach solo house from water

Rio Lagartos beach solo house

Rio Lagartos beach view towards east

Rio Lagartos beach conservation signWhat a heavenly hammock spot…

Rio Lagartos beach hammock palapa

Rio Lagartos beach jamies hammock vert

Rio Lagartos beach rooftop hammock

Rio Lagartos beach jamie in hammock

Rio Lagartos beach Wally on roofA dolphin skull was lying under the hammock palapa  Rio Lagartos Wally with dolphin skull, palapa

Rio Lagartos beach Wally dolphinhead

Time flies… time to head back to Rio for a late lunch. As you come in the cut there is a fisherman’s memorial on the bank.

Rio Lagartos sailor's memorial

Rio Lagartos pelican on pretty water

Rio Lagartos view from cut to townWe chose to eat lunch at the El Perico Marinero Restaurant…

Rio Lagartos El Perico Marinero Restaurant ext

Rio Lagartos, El Perico menu

Fresh octopus ceviche!

Rio Lagartos, El Perico ceviche Shrimp cocktail Rio Lagartos, El Perico shrimp cocktail

Then a walk back through town to the Macumba (just a few blocks). A typical house…

Rio Lagartos typical house

Villa de Pescadores HotelRio Lagartos Villa da Pescadores

Rio Lagartos terracotta fish tile

Rio Lagartos stone wall & window

Se vendeRio Lagartos Skip & Net sa vende house

Rio Lagartos cardinal courtyardCardinals are popular as caged birds in this area…

Rio Lagartos cardinal in cage

Time for a nap! We’ve got to re-charge for evening and a night at the rodeo in San Felipe…

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Rio Lagartos, MX: Day 1, Colonial Church and Hotel Macumba

After leaving Ek’ Balam, we continued on towards Rio Lagartos, our destination for the next two nights. When traveling the Mexican interior roads, be aware you will probably be stopped and checked by Mexican Federal soldiers at checkpoints along the way. They are checking to make sure your driving and car paperwork are in order and such – so have them in order and ready to show. They mean business!

Here’s our road trip good luck charms…

van features & dragon

Road trip dust and inscriptions…

Rio Lagartos van dust

We bypassed the town of Tizimin and took a country route towards Rio. At one junction we stopped to check out the Colonial church missing it’s roof at the Gabriela? community. (Not sure exactly where we were – sorry).

Colonial church bell Gaby shops

Colonial church three quarters view

Colonial church vert door & window

Colonial church wood corbels

Colonial church front view

Colonial church interior orchid

Colonial church interior

Colonial church bell & cactus, vert

Colonial church bell cross clsup

Colonial church bell hori

Colonial church bell small chapel

Colonial church cross & bell

We arrived in Rio Lagartos mid-afternoon and checked into the Macumba Hotel, right on the water’s edge where the fishing boats tie up. The owner of the Macumba Restaurant and hotel is artistic and has painted lots of tropical scenes throughout the hotel that have an Afro-Polynesian feel. (you’ll see what I mean).

Rio Lagartos Macumba hotel

Rio Lagartos Macumba room

Rio Lagartos Macumba room ext

The owner makes really pretty shell collages as well such as the burgundy one at the top.

Rio Lagartos Macumba Welcome wall

Old water bottles are recycled into these creative flowers on the tree

Rio Lagartos Macumba bottle tree

The room ran around $40 a night and the owner does NOT speak English or take credit cards or US dollars and they do NOT have an ATM in town. So take your pesos and your translation guide to Rio. Not many of the locals speak English or take dollars either. And be sure and fill up your tank with gas in the last big town you are near. Their one gas station was out of gas as we were leaving : )

Rio Lagartos Macumba hotel from water

Rio Lagartos Wally Macumba

Here’s our view from our rooftop terrace on top of the Macumba. It faces west and is fabulous for sunset and the morning fishermen commute to the Gulf through the cut. It was octopus season and the bamboo curved rods on either end of the boat are for attaching crabs as bait for the octopus. They then use the little dinghy boats to row around the bigger boat to collect their octopus.

Rio Lagartos view of boats

Rio Lagartos wall painting and dog

Rio Lagartos Alejandra boat

Rio Lagartos boats at anchor

Rio Lagartos trap, anchor & rio boat

The fishermen are creative too – check out these recycled boat bumpers…

Rio Lagartos bottle bumpers

Rio Lagartos shoe bumper

The town center features a game court

Rio Lagartos town center, ball court

Rio Lagartos town center, church

For dinner, we chose fresh lobster – this is a fishing village and we LOVE lobster! Our Hotel Macumba staff was hard at work, preparing our delicious dinner, when we saw the sunset starting to fire up outside our dining room window …

Rio Lagartos Sunset Panorama

Rio Lagartos sunset fisherman headed in

Rio Lagartos Jamie & Wally good sunset

Rio’s lighthouse uses a Fresnel lens which was invented in 1822 by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel

Rio Lagartos sunset lighthouse

Rio Lagartos sunset octupus boat front

Rio Lagartos sunset town in front  Rio Lagartos sunset, lighthouse streetlights

Rio Lagartos sunset, red bay, blue in sky

Rio Lagartos sunset, red bay, town edge

Rio Lagartos Sunset, lighthouse glowing

WOW! Words can’t describe watching that. Most beautiful sunset of my life.

The sun went down and dinner arrived… Lobster and yummy mojitos.

Rio Lagartos Macumba lobster dinner

What a day!

Stay tuned for our adventures on our birding tour, mud bath, beach frolic and Mexican Rodeo/Bullfight in San Felipe.

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