Thursday, April 6, 2017

An adventure at Isla Holbox

What a beautiful little town! This is what I like to experience when I visit Mexico! We took a trip there with my brother and sister-in-law who are long time Playa del Carmen residents and they tell us that Holbox is what Playa del Carmen was like about 15 years ago.

I love all the colors in Holbox - it has a very Caribbean feel - the bright orange fence being painted as we walked by, with a bubble gum pink building right next to it! There is no fear of using bright colors around town. The businesses are all unique, small individual operations - no franchises here - you won't find any familiar names like McDonalds, Starbucks etc. in this town.

The roads are all unpaved, dusty, sandy roads that just adds to the character of the town. No cars are permitted and the taxi service is "yellow cabs" which are actually golf carts. You need to take note that they can only hold 3 passengers so if you are a group of 4 you will require 2 taxis. It is possible to rent golf carts as well to tour around the island.

There are a lot of things to do around the island - everything from snorkeling and diving to kiteboarding lessons, take a boat to see the flamingos and various water sport equipment for rent. For us, this trip was about exploring the town and relaxing on the beach. 

We knew we would be in town much earlier than our room would be available, but as expected, the resort was happy to supply us with towels and invite us to enjoy their pool, beach area and dining facilities. 

It was an easy walk between the resort and town so we decided after relaxing by the pool and the beach to head into town for an afternoon coffee. Imagine our surprise when we found that very much in Mexican fashion, the coffee shop was closed between 1 pm to 4 pm - I guess it was siesta time. We showed up at the cafe at about 340 pm so we explored around town and we did notice that the town was very quiet during the afternoon. We returned to the cafe just before 4 pm and decided to wait and see if it would open on time. Imagine how happy the owner was when he showed up, just slightly after 4, and found 4 customers patiently waiting for him. You should have seen the smile on his face when we cheered his arrival.

After enjoying a leisurely coffee and having a bit of a discussion about our future adventures it was time to wander aimlessly towards the Raices Beach Club that we had passed earlier. They were advertising a grilled seafood platter - how could we not have dinner there!! It was timed to coincide with the setting sun which in itself was quite beautiful, even with a bit of cloud cover, but it was made even more symbolic by the restaurant staff as they signaled the day's end by blowing on huge conch shells. The restaurant sign gave us fair warning - it says slow food and that's what it was but that's okay because we had some nice music, a beautiful sunset and good company. When our seafood platter for 4 did arrive we were not disappointed - talk about a seafood feast: lobster, prawns, mussels, conch and 4 fish - each prepared differently! We were very happy feasters!

We ended our evening with a quiet glass of wine by the pool and then retired in our little bungalow to be rested for a morning of beach and pool before making the trip back to the mainland. We went into town for a bite to eat then found a cab to take us to the ferry, arriving within minutes of its departure - that was good timing! On the trip back to the mainland we even spotted dolphins and one gave us a beautiful jump - what a perfect ending to our trip.

I enjoyed Holbox so much and look forward to one day returning. It's the perfect place to just unplug, relax and recharge!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Igloos in Mexico - say what?!?!?!

Another fun adventure is in our future! While they not be real igloos they will certainly look like it when all is said and done.

We are blessed with a good family relationship with my brother and his wife. When they first moved down to Playa del Carmen we were able to stay connected by coming to visit them and becoming familiar with Playa.  Now after about 15 years in Playa the time has come for them to move on.

Their plan is to move across country to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico's wine valley, just 15 minutes inland from Ensenada (a lovely coastal city and cruise port) and about 2 hours drive south of San Diego. My sister-in-law Suzanne has always had the dream to have her own B&B so they are going to make this dream a reality. Having spent time as Suzanne & Shawn's house guests over the years we can attest to the fact that Suzanne is an awesome cook but even more fantastic as a baker and everything she creates is done with love. It gives her so much joy to create happiness for others through her cooking and her infectious good spirit. Always with a smile on her face and a quirky joke now and then you can't help but be drawn into Suzanne's goodness. Shawn just smiles pleasantly at Suzanne's antics - you never know when she will suddenly break out in dance as a tune takes hold of her!

Their new venture will involve creating earth bag casitas (cottages) that really give the appearance of an igloo when they are complete.  They will be creating an eco friendly lifestyle using earth bag construction for their buildings. The benefits of this are:
  • easy to build with;
  • ecological - using mostly earth;
  • durable;
  • earthquake and flood resistant;
  • non-toxic;
  • uses a simple foundation.
Along with the earth bag construction they will also be incorporating:
  • solar power;
  • captured rain water;
  • reusing water in the gardens;
  • the use of natural cleaning products.
They will have a main house for themselves and 6 casitas for guests to book while they explore the wine country and the many vineyards in the valley. They have even included space for us to build our own accommodations above the 3 car garage. So the next chapter and a new adventure begins soon. We look forward to helping with the construction of the casitas and watching this new chapter unfold. 

ALL PICTURES ARE EXAMPLES from their last trip to Valle de Guadalupe, to give you an idea of what they will create.

If you are interested in learning more about this venture you can follow these links:

Ah Amor B&B

#igloosinmexico #lifeisanadventure #bringonfun #werollsuccess #liveoutloud #earthbaghousing #sustainablehousing #ecohousing