Monthly Archives: February 2018

Chichen Itza, lunch at Valladolid, & Arrival at Nah Uxibal ~ Mexico, December 2017

We couldn’t let Monica visit the Yucatan and not see at least one of the amazing Mayan sites. Chichen Itza is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was along our route to Tulum. The architecture is boggling, and if you are interested in the history, be sure and hire a guide – and if it’s hot, use an umbrella for shade! Photos by Jamie and Monica…

The last time Wally and I had been to Chichen Itza was on our honeymoon in 2000, and we got to climb the pyramid then!

Lunch was our next stop, and I had chosen Hotel El Meson del Marques on the Valladolid Square. We had stayed there in the past, and it’s a charming hotel with the restaurant in the interior courtyard. It was a Colonial mansion dating from the early 17th century, and has been operating as a hotel and restaurant for 40 years.


On the back side of the hotel is a lovely pool and bar area to relax.

Time for food and drink..and yet another amazing meal in the Yucatan! There are many cattle and pork ranches in the area, and their meats are a specialty. The marinated pork melts in your mouth, and is so juicy and flavorful.

I love all the bird cages on the wall and the big metal star… IMG_0433

We walked around the square, and Monica did a bit of quick shopping.

Now onward to Tulum…this is a typical home for the locals…IMG_0405We arrived in Tulum and stopped off at Chedraui to pick up some groceries. It’s always fun to explore groceries in other countries!

We arrived a Nah Uxibal “House of Good Energy”, our favorite beach destination, just before sunset. Soliman Bay is about 15 minutes north of Tulum, and about 15 minutes south of Akumal (an hour and half south of Cancun). This is Monica’s first visit, and she snapped lots of pictures… Visit their fabulous new website to learn all about it.

Drop bags and out to the beach!


We reunite with owners and friends Skip and Jeannette and beach dog Sukie, hav a drink, and it was dark before we knew it. We’re all hungry, and after driving all day, decide on dining at Oscar y Lalo’s just across the highway for dinner. Owner Victoria was there, and she brought out some of their special tequilas to try. Their margaritas are large, tasty and powerful, and I love their chaya margarita. Healthy and not too sweet – just right for me! We ordered a variety of their delicious specialty dishes, and enjoyed a great meal with friends! Check out their great website!

Can’t wait for sunrise in the morning and our first beach day!

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Sunday in Merida, Mexico ~ December 2017

We awoke to a sunny Sunday, and I went next door to the little coffee shop and market called Deli Town for our early morning coffee fix.

We got ready for the morning out, and headed for breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which was delicious! You get to choose from traditional Yucatan dishes or American favorites such as waffles with a local twist.

Time to walk off breakfast and go check out the Sunday Market on the Plaza Grande. There’s vendors selling local products and souvenirs, and tons of food vendors. The churches were open to welcome Sunday worship, so we peeked in each one.

We had attended one of the music events in the courtyard of the Museo Casa Montejo the night before, and I wanted Monica to see the museum and lovely rooms of this 16th century former home. They had an exhibit featuring exquisite Mexican-made clothing.

This is the Public University of the Yucatan, where later in the evening we would discover a Christmas music presentation.

It was time to explore some new territory, so we made the short walk to Paseo de Montejo from our hotel. There are quite a few shops along the way, and even some antique shops.

On Sunday mornings, they close the Paseo de Montejo to car traffic, and residents flock to the famous mansion-lined street to bike, roller blade and congregate. There are bike rental companies along the way too! There are restaurants and boutiques, and many artists set up along the sidewalks working and selling their art. We realized as we saw several other stages along the Paseo that we had missed out on some of the entertainment the night before!

We had walked up an appetite, and La Chaya Maya back by the Parque de Santa Lucia was our lunch destination. We ate here the year before and absolutely loved it! We sampled many different dishes, and everything was so delicious! Dressed in traditional Yucatan style, the staff is courteous and friendly, and the open courtyard and garden make this a delightful dining experience.

Hunger quenched, we stopped in the park, where a stage in the corner was filled with dancing couples swaying to the music. How fun! We watched and listened for a while before going back to the hotel to rest.

Later in the evening, we decided to walk to the Plaza Grande and we were surprised to hear more music, this time coming from the University of Yucatan courtyard! It was a Christmas show with wonderful singing and dancing!

When we reached the Plaza Grande, we realized the festivities were still going on! The market was still set up, and one street had a stage with a mc and dancing girls, and the street was filled with people dancing! From young to old and everywhere in between, they were having a great time. We swayed along and enjoyed people watching for quite a while. IMG_0363And here’s a little video clip so you can enjoy it too!

La Negrita Cantina was our next stop, so we walked back down Calle 60 and past the hotel a few blocks. This small building is deceptive as to how many people they can fit! The bar area was small and packed, and then you go back through a few rooms and it opens up into a large seating area with a stage for their live music and another big bar. The music was getting ready to start and we couldn’t find a table, so we had a beer and moved on. We were hungry again and those pizzas at La Tratto were calling again.

Eating at La Tratto is like being in Italy!

IMG_0208And we’re done… tired, full, and time for bed across the street to Hotel Casa Lucia!  Tomorrow we’re off to drive across the Yucatan to Tulum, and we’ll be making a quick stop at Chichen Itza for Monica to see the famous Mayan city. She’s been helping with the photography too!


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Casa Lucia Hotel Boutique & Lunch at Apoala ~ Merida, Mexico, December 2017

We had such a great time in 2016 visiting Merida and their La Noche Blanca “White Night” music and arts event, that we decided to go back again this past December. The first Saturday night in December, the centro comes alive with music and dance. Stages are set up around the historic centro in the main streets of the Grande Plaza, as well as venues here, there and everywhere it seems as you walk around. You’ll hear music coming from the university courtyard, the museum courtyard, and down an arcade. And it’s all FREE! There are very few tourists in town, as this is for the local people. You can’t find much about the event online – we happened to luck upon it in 2016!

Wally’s sister Monica had never been to Mexico, and we convinced her to come with us for a quick immersion to our favorite spots in the Yucatan. We flew into Merida, and it was a short cab ride to our hotel in the historic centro and Hotel Casa Lucia Hotel, across the street from Parque de Santa Lucia.

We arrived at Casa Lucia Hotel and immediately loved our choice in this charming boutique hotel. They have a small restaurant at the front of the hotel, and offer complimentary breakfast for guests. Just next door is a great coffee shop and little market for early birds, snacks and drinks.

We had reserved through, and everything was in order for easy check-in. The rooms were lovely, spacious, spotless and the air conditioning worked great – very important in hot Merida! We loved all the outdoor seating, and especially the nice sitting areas on the stairwell landings. This became our lounge and gathering area. The pool area is also a great space to hang out (literally with hammocks) and comfortable seating.

Checked in and refreshed, it was time for lunch! This is a great location, as there are numerous restaurants surrounding the Parque de Santa Lucia, as well as many other options in surrounding blocks.

After surveying the menus, we chose Apoala with nice outdoor seating on the park. We ordered drinks, and I think they were some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen and delicious too!


When our food arrived, we were impressed with the presentation, and it was soooo good! Merida is definitely a town for foodies, and this was just our first stop!

We wandered around a bit, had a few drinks and got ready for our night on the town. As we walked towards the Plaza Grande there were street performers, artists creating murals and people everywhere enjoying the evening.

La Noche Blanca is held during the Pilgrimage of  Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the churches are amazingly bedecked with flowers for the weekend. Brides and grooms take advantage of this, and there are weddings held all evening in the churches! It’s such a touching event to be able to sit down and watch, and cheer for the newly wed couples – every 20 minutes or so! It’s a community celebration night!

We reached the Plaza Grande and there was music coming from all directions its seemed, and hordes of people waiting in line – especially young girls! We discovered later they had been waiting hours for the Mario Bautista concert – or Justin Beiber of the Yucatan! It was a full moon that night, and so beautiful to watch it rising over the Merida Cathedral.

IMG_0177IMG_0364IMG_0147Here’s a minute video on the Plaza Grande and the moon over the Cathedral of Merida.

IMG_0325We decided on La Tratto Italian Restaurant on the Parque de Lucia and just across from our hotel for dinner… LOVE this restaurant! Great food and service every time!

IMG_0138And home across the street to Hotel Casa Lucia…  What a wonderful day in Merida!

IMG_0167Stay tuned for Sunday in Merida with more great food, places to see and dancing!

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