Welcome to "Life's a Beach" Sign in | Help

Today was kind of a bust as Rob woke up to find his back out. Not exactly an unusual occurrence during a vacation and I quickly ran out to the nearby farmacia to grab some strong pain-killers and anti-inflammatories. This kids and I went to La Trattoria for a nice lunch which turned out to be some of the best Italian food I have ever eaten since we moved to Mexico. I know it may seem silly, but to get a dish of perfectly cooked and sauced pasta is actually quite a treat. Cat devoured a plate of lamb chops, Cole dug into a wood-oven fired Pizza Hawaiiana and I thoroughly enjoyed a simple yet delicious Fettuccine Alfredo and the Frito Mixto...a second order went home with us for Rob. This restaurant is upstairs on the corner of El Jardin de la Union just next to the Templo of San Diego. If you can score a table in one of the windows you will be rewarded with not only a great meal but a fantastic view.

We decided the best way to spend the remainder of the day would to try out all the new Mexican craft beers we had purchased and watch the sun go down from our rooftop terrace. Rob was feeling better, no doubt the combination of high octain beer and painkillers.....It was magical to watch the sun set slowly over the hills and see the lights of the city turn on one by one. As soon as the sun had disappeared completely, the temperature dropped and we changed for dinner at the nearby and now familiar Casa Valadez. As always, the plaza was abuzz with activity, music and merriment.

 

 

 

 

With just one day in town, already we could see that this is an area in Mexico that is truly flourishing. Smartly dressed business men and women and hip university students seem to make up the majority of the people we see in town, sprinkled with tourists, mostly Nationals. Guanajuato's economy has long benefited from its silver mines, which are among the richest in the world. Other treasures harvested from the surrounding mountains are tin, gold, copper, lead, mercury and opals. The state also leads the nation in the manufacture of shoes and is a major manufacturer of motor vehicles and auto parts. The day we arrived, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and French President François Hollande were here together to inaugurate a new aeronautics plant. If people are struggling here, we have yet to see it but we have not yet ventured outside of el centro.

Today, Cat and I grabbed some pastries at the nearby panaderia and brought them back for a leisurely break fast at home. We had no big plans for the day as Rob and I were adjusting to the altitude and not feeling 100%. I uploaded photos, went through email and tried to get some work done. Here are a few photos of our rental house and the neighborhood where we are staying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From our rooftop, we have a great view of the city but we really wanted to get up above it all and a visit to "El Pípila", the enormous statue that looms high over downtown seemed like the place to do it. It is possible to hike up there but we decided to take the funicula, a tram which runs up the side of the hill, leaving from behind the Teatro Juarez.

This remarkable statue celebrates the bravery of one Mexico's earliest heroes in its push toward independence, Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, or "El Pípila". He was given the nickname Pípila by his fellow miners because his pock-marked face made him vaguely resemble the egg of a species of native turkey called "pípila." In 1810, the famous revolutionary, Miguel Hidalgo, led an insurgent peasant army into the rich city of Guanajuato. The under-manned Spanish garrison was routed and the surviving soldiers and many wealth citizens barricaded themselves in the Alhóndiga (granary). Legend has it, "El Pípila" with a giant slab of stone strapped to his back to deflect bullets, crawled to the granary door with a torch and lit it on fire. The insurgent army then burst through, killing all the occupants. Hidalgo was eventually captured by the Spaniards and executed. His corpse was decapitated and his head suspended in a wire cage from one of the outside corners of the Alhóndiga. It hung there for 13 years until the fight for independence was finally won. So that's nice.

 

 

However you find your way up here, the view is magnificent and absolutely worth the trip. There are the usual trinket vendors at the top of the hill as well as a dozen or so taco carts with fantastic looking food. I was sad we had already eaten. We met a local artist and bought a small lithograph from his collection of portraits of Don Quixote. Guanajuato is absolutely obsessed with Cervantes and statues and imagery of Don Quixote can be found all over the city. The Quijote Iconographic Museum was inaugurated in his honor in 1987. Every year in October, the Festival Internacional Cervantino is held attracting visitors from all over Mexico and around the world. The origin of the Cervantino Festival dates back to the mid-20th century when short plays by Cervantes were performed in the city's plazas. The festival was officially founded and named in honor of Cervantes in 1972.

 

 

 

The state of Guanajuato is known as the land of legends due to the residents’ infatuation with supernatural tales such as the stories of El Pípila and "Kiss Alley". I thought that a visit to the Museo de Leyendas might be fun and give us a brief overview of some of Guanajuato's favorite tales. I was thinking it might be a Mexican version of the Salem Witch Museum which we all enjoyed last summer.




I don't think I can effectively depict in photos just how bad this "museum" was. Truly hokey. Not recommended unless you need a good giggle. There's 30 minutes and 60 pesos I'll never get back.

The remainder of the day and evening was spent strolling about town, wander from park to park and sitting occasionally to have a drink when the mood struck. Plaza de la Paz was particularly beautiful so we sat for a bit, enjoyed a pitcher of Clericot (sangria) in the shadow of the grand Basilica Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato and watched the world go by. Saturday must be a big day for weddings as we saw three or four wedding parties making their way through the city, taking pictures along the way. We made our way back to our now favorite spot at Casa Valadez and tried a few of their finer tequila and mezcal while the kids watched one of the many street performers, mariachi bands and musicians who call Jardin de la Union home. Everywhere you look there is art and music and culture.

 


 

  

 

 


  



 

We went for a somewhat forgettable dinner, discovered a fantastic craft beer store conveniently located across the plaza by our house and then headed home for the night. Hoping everyone feels more energetic tomorrow....

 

It's that time of year again! Time to drag my husband kicking and screaming out of Playa del Carmen in a futile attempt to get him to wind down a bit and relax! If you have been following our annual family trips over the years, you will have noticed that they have kind of devolved into actual vacations rather than opportunities for me to try to jam as much culture and "meaningful life experiences" as I can down the gullets of my reluctant children and over-worked husband. While you will never catch us lounging at the beach at some AI resort, I have at least learned to relax a bit, not plan out every single moment of the trip and just let things kind of flow. I have learned that if I let everyone sleep in, I can still run out and explore in the morning. If my husband is allowed to catch up on his emails every morning instead of rushing him out the door, he is much more apt to go along with whatever I have "planned" for the afternoon and evening. I have also learned the pleasures of sitting in one of the cafes along "el jardin", sipping mezcal and watching the world go by me. So there's going to be a lot of that on this trip. Relaxing, sipping, eating, watching, reading, chatting.....

To get here from Playa, we flew out of Cancun and into Queretaro. A fixed-rate $350 mn cab ride brought us from the airport to the centro historico where we dined on the patio at the city's famous Restaurante 1810. This had been suggested to us by a friend (thank you Diego) and online reports backed up his recommendation. We were certainly not disappointed as the food was delicious and service exemplary.

From there, we hailed a VERY small cab and, with our luggage piled high on our laps, headed for the huge bus terminal. $660 mn and 2 1/2 hours later we arrived in Guanajuato City, grabbed TWO very small cabs and followed the directions to our rental house, Casa Parra. Dylan, the property manager was here to greet us, get us settled in and point us in the right direction for a nice dinner.

As our vacation rental is located just a few minutes walk from the Jardin de la Union, that's where we went, making a beeline for Casa Valadez an elegant upscale restaurant located on the square (actually, it's a triangle) and just across from the Teatro Juarez. The area was packed with people. Some, like us where there to dine. Others strolled through the park, listened to the many musicians playing or getting ready for the walking tours of the city that leave from the Teatro Juarez nightly, showing visitors the highlights of the the centro historico. We were all pretty exhausted after dinner, so we wandered back to the house, made the obligatory Oxxo stop on the way back for morning supplies, unpacked our bags and called it a night. As we had arrived long after nightfall, it's hard to get a feeling for the place. Tomorrow, we will explore a bit further and see what this vibrant city has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Heroes of Mexico AwardsToday, The MEXICO Report, an internationally recognized blog showcasing positive news about Mexico, travel and philanthropy, announced its call for nominations for the 2014 ‘Real Heroes of Mexico' (third edition) awards. The Real Heroes of Mexico project was created in 2012 by Susie Albin-Najera, the creator and editor of The MEXICO Report, an internationally recognized blog showcasing everyday good news about Mexico The project was launched in order to showcase the true champions of Mexico, the unsung heroes in the community and those celebrating Mexican culture through their goodwill efforts, bravery, inspirational stories, sacrifices and hard work.

 "We are thrilled to launch another year of this program as it has made an important impact on the image of Mexico," says creator Susie Albin-Najera. "With this concept, we present current, real, humanitarian efforts taking place throughout Mexico and are able to bring their stories to life, and showcase their valuable efforts."

The Real Heroes of Mexico 2014From fundraising and creating healthy eating programs to education and healing the sick in rural communities, this one-of-a-kind effort showcases acts of kindness, achievements, dedication and the inspirational stories taking place in Mexico today.

This year, the program will launch with five key ambassadors who have their eye on Mexico. The ambassadors will be instrumental in helping to identify heroes throughout Mexico, however, the nominations are open to everybody.

Lydia Gregory, a fully bilingual editor, writer, translator, public relations guru and contributor to Mexico Premiere.  @MexicoPremiere

Lynne Bairstow, a bilingual and bi-cultural conduit for U.S. and Mexico business and government and is managing partner of Mita Institute and Tech Accelerator (MITA) based in Punta Mita. @lynnerae

Keph Senett, a world-traveler, creative nonfiction writer and editor, human rights champion and activist soccer player. @kephsenett

Lisa Coleman, an award-winning travel writer and co-creator of the popular Mexico news site, Mexico Premiere. @MexicoPremiere

Greg McKinney, a retired, Mexico expat living in San Felipe, with a true love for Mexico travel, beauty and the graciousness of the culture.

If you would like to become a 2014 Real Heroes of Mexico Ambassador, please email themexicoreport at yahoo.com.

The Real Heroes of Mexico awards were created to showcase the profiles of those making a difference in Mexico and in order to highlight the unsung heroes in the communities. Nominations close May 12. The nomination form for the 2014 Real Heroes of Mexico can be found here.

Previous editions of The Real Heroes of Mexico can be found here:

2012 Real Heroes of Mexico

2013 Real Heroes of Mexico

For more information and updates, follow The Mexico Report on Twitter @themexicoreport and #realheroesofmexico.

The Municipal President of Solidaridad, Mauricio Gongora Escalante, announced the official 2014 Carnaval celebrations will be held from February 27th through March 4, 2014. He presented the program of activities for Carnaval 2014 in Playa del Carmen and this year's theme, "With a New Heart".

This year's Carnaval festival will be full of surprises and novelties for those who come to enjoy this multicultural festival involving all sectors of the population. The objectives of this festival are to preserve the foundation and the multicultural richness of the city and awaken the "playense" pride in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Carnaval 2014 Playa del Carmen

The honorary President of DIF Solidaridad, Cinthya Osorio de Góngora, ensured that the Carnaval 2014 will have an excellent organization and she publically thanked the Standing Committee of Traditional Celebrations for their dedication and participation in planning this much-anticipated event.

Sra. Gongora also emphasized that in keeping with the this Municipal leader's policy of an inclusive Government, this edition of the Carnaval will for the first time include the coronation of a Carnaval King and Queen with special needs.

With the exception of the parades, all of the special Carnaval events will be presented in the Plaza 28 de Julio in front of the Palacio Municipal on Av. 20.

Thursday, February 27 the presentation of the candidates for Carnaval Royal Court and their parades will take place.

The judging of the Carnaval floats and krew along with the coronation of all of the categories of Kings and Queens of Carnival will follow on Friday, February 28.

Saturday, March 1 marks the first gala parade of Carnaval.  Lasting an hour and a half, the parade will leave from the Parque Fundadores and travel the length of 5th Avenue to Constituyentes Avenue. The parade can also be viewed on Constituyentes from La Quinta to Av. 30, along Avenue 30 to calle 8 and from there, all the way to the final destination at the Plaza 28 Julio.

Carnaval 2014 Playa del Carmen 

 

For the third year in a row, The KKiS Project is holding a fundraising auction to raise money to buy school supplies that will be distributed to low income families and children in the Riviera Maya. The live auction will be held at 11 am on February 20, 2014 at Wah Wah Beach Bar located at Calle 2 and the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Condo vacation stays, a washer and dryer, a beer tasting, gourmet dinners and many more items will be available for bid. Tickets for the LIVE auction are $250 MX or $20 US and include lunch and a great time! 

This year for the first time, in addition to the live auction, an online auction is also being held. For those who are unable to attend the live auction, or for those who want to participate online and in person, there are a variety of goods and services being auctioned off via silent auction Feb. 3 - Feb. 18. Restaurant gift certificates, jewelry and snorkel and diving trips are a few of the valuable items that are available. Bidders will need to register at the top right hand corner of this auction page. It's quick and easy and no financial or credit card information will be collected. If you're a lucky winner, you may remit payment at the live auction or be billed via PayPal.

You can access the on-line auction here at:  KKiS Online Charity Auction

KKiS Online Charity Auction

The online auction will close at 11am on Tuesday, Feb. 18th. You do not need to register to view the items in the auction, but you will need to register before you place your first bid. Each item listed has a minimum bid and bid increments posted. You can pay for your online auction purchases at the live auction by credit card or be billed via Paypal. If you are bidding but live somewhere outside of Playa del Carmen, please make arrangements with someone to pick up your items at the live Auction on Feb. 20th. Gift Certificates to donors bidding from the US will be mailed to you.

Since 2011 KKiS (Keeping Kids in School) has worked to provide school supplies like backpacks, notebooks, colored pencils, glue sticks, pencil cases and English/Spanish dictionaries. In 2013 KKiS was able to provide supplies for more than 550 children who otherwise may not have had the items necessary to attend school. KKiS has set aggressive goals for 2014 to help even more children in the area but can only do so with a successful auction, your support is critical so please bid on items online and join KKiS organizers and supporters on February 20th for an awesome event. This is the only fundraiser that KKIS has each year! They depend on support from the local and global community to raise money to provide backpacks of school supplies to 600 children, curriculum materials for our English classes, and advocacy for children in the public schools. Please help make this a banner year for fundraising!

Tickets for the Live Auction are available at Wah Wah starting Feb 8th or you may purchase tickets by sending an email to auction@kkisproject.org. Tickets will available at the door but for planning purposes, please purchase your tickets early.

If you have had the good fortune to see one or all of Explayarte's previous productions you know what kind of powerhouse talent to expect from the performers and the amazing team of directors, musicians, choreographers and designers. AIDA will be the 7th full-scale musical presentation by Explayarte whose previous successes include Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Cats, Seussical, All Shook Up and Les Miserables. If you have enjoyed any or all of these productions, you won't want to miss AIDA!

In the spring of 2014, the Riviera Maya's premier music and performing arts school, Explayarte Escuela de Musica, will present Tim Rice and Elton John's AIDA. There will be three presentations in the Foro Abierto at Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, March 19, 20 and 23 and, or the first time, two additional shows have been added to the run to be performed at the Teatro de Cancun on April 4 & 5

This exciting production, directed by Fernando Gonzalez, will feature the talents of 30 young dancers, singers and musicians. Most are middle and high school students from local schools. The stylistically eclectic score will be conducted by Musical Director Aldo Sotomayor and performed live by Explayarte's orchestra.

AIDA Explayarte 2014 

AIDA is an adaptation of the classic 1871 opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The new rock-opera took Broadway by storm in 2000, going on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Original Music Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actress. AIDA is a rock-opera in every sense of the term. Elton John spans musical genres, going from pop, reggae, gospel and African sounds to contemporary love ballads. The music is quintessential Elton John and blends seamlessly with Tim Rice's sophisticated and soulful lyrics. The book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang is contemporary and accessible to a modern musical theatre going audience while remaining fairly true to the original legend.

AIDA tells the story of three star-crossed lovers; two African princesses and an Egyptian military captain, in what may best be described as a "love pyramid." Aida, the princess of Nubia (Celia Domínguez), is captured by a group of Egyptians led by Captain Radames (Nestor Sánchez) and is enslaved. Aida is then given as a gift by Radames to his fiancee, the Egyptian princess, Amneris (Ana Rubio). A plot by Radames' father to kill the Pharaoh and elevate his son into power through a marriage to the princess begins to unravel when Aida and Radames become lovers. Together, they set a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Torn between their desires for personal affection and doing what's right for their peoples, Aida and Radames go through a journey of duty, honor and ever-lasting love. The young lovers are finally forced to make the ultimate decision: face death or part forever.

The book and lyrics have been translated into Spanish for this production but English speakers unfamiliar with the plot can familiarize themselves with the synopsis, which will be printed in the playbill.

Discounted pre-sale tickets (180 mn) are available now at Explayarte and from members of the Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary Club. Full price tickets (200 mn) will also be available on the dates of the performances from the box offices at Xcaret. Several ticketing options will be available at the Teatro de Cancun. Choose from Preferente 180mn, General 160mn or Mezzanine 140mn for seats purchased in advance. Ticket prices will be 200mn, 180mn and 160mn the day of the show. Please click here for the Teatro de Cancun seating chart.

A portion of all proceeds from all AIDA performances will go to support Seaside Rotary programs and charitable initiatives in the community. Group discounts are available. For more information call 984 668 0461.

 

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, the organizer of Kick 4 Kids and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also supports numerous local non-profit organizations, blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

After five fantastic and delicious events, the Executive Committee has decided that the 5th Anniversary year of Taste of Playa will be its last. Executive Chairperson, Monica Hartlief confirmed this decision to me last night by phone before making the public announcement this morning.

An official statement from the Executive Committee reads: "It has been an extremely rewarding experience and our pleasure to have supported the community with an event that promoted local restaurants and businesses. We are very proud of the success of Taste of Playa and we each look forward to pursuing new projects in the future."

Taste of Playa has celebrated five successful, consecutive years; each year drawing thousands of local and international visitors to Playa del Carmen's iconic Parque Fundadores. The event has provided an elegant showcase for as many as 40 restaurants and beverage purveyors annually, highlighting the unique culinary perspectives of local chefs and venues to the visiting public.

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

When Taste of Playa was conceived, the hope was that it would grow over the years to become a real destination event, something that travelers make their plans around in order to be able to attend. The intention was to shorten the usual "low season" by a week or two and put some much needed cash into the pockets of local businesses. And so it was. As Taste of Playa grew and became more well known, certainly the participants saw the benefits but so to did the local hotel owners, shop keeps, taxi drivers and tour guides. In the end, I think the whole city benefited from the event! The committee members have a lot to be proud of.

As a founding member of Taste of Playa and as a corporate sponsor for all five years, I know how much planning, organization and effort this event requires. It is an enormous commitment of time and energy that I think few people can accurately assess from the outside. While I was sad to hear the committee's decision, I can certainly empathize and I wish them all well in their future pursuits.

If for one have great memories of each event...all the delicious food and tasty cocktails from our restaurant and bar participants, the music, the crowds, our special guests and even the electrical malfunctions! Most importantly, I will look back fondly on my time as a committee member and the wonderful collaboration with a group of really smart people who I am proud to call my friends.

For most, the event will be all about the food. But for me, Taste of Playa will always be about the wonderful people I worked with and met along the way. This is what I will remember best about Taste of Playa.  

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival

Taste of Playa - Playa del Carmen Food Festival 

 

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, the organizer of Kick 4 Kids and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also supports numerous local non-profit organizations, blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

 

Recycle Playa del CarmenReduce! Reuse! Recycle! You know you should be doing it but without the regular pick-up service that many of us were accustomed to in the US and Canada, many people living in Playa del Carmen are unaware or confused about their options for recycling. The good news it there ARE some very good options offered for those looking to actively recycle on a regular basis....and that should include everyone! As the Municipality of Solidaridad creates approximately 450 tons of garbage every day, the time has come for action. It is obvious that the government recognizes the importance of recycling and is actively creating strategies to make it apart of everyone's daily life.

Depending on your neighborhood, you may be able to separate out your recyclable cans when you put out your trash and have them picked up by local workers who then turn in the aluminum for cash. Some gated communities and condominium complexes are particular about how and when waste is set out so be sure to check with your HOA or property manager to see what is allowed and expected.

Some of the more ecologically conscientious private schools in the region run their own ongoing recycling programs and this is a huge help to many families, ours included. If you have children in school, you should check with administrators to see if there is a recycling program in place. If not, encourage other parents to request that some sort of program, even on a limited level is initiated. Recycling bins can also be found now at some of not all of the supermarkets and big box stores.


Riviera Maya Recycling Programs 2014

On the first Friday of every month, the Municipality of Solidaridad accepts all recycled items including appliances and batteries at the "centro de acopio" in downtown Playa del Carmen. The collection center is set up in front of the Municipal Plaza and is well marked. Although vehicular traffic has now been prohibited on Av. 20 between calles 8 and 10, authorities will allow you to pass if you are unloading your monthly recycling.

These are the dates for 1st Friday Recycling 2014 in Solidaridad

Playa del Carmen Recycling 2014

This is the primary recycling drive for the Municipality of Solidaridad and the option that accepts the widest range of items. Alternative collection locations for Solidaridad are arranged monthly and announced in advance of the collection date. In Puerto Aventuras, you may leave your recyclable items in the "centro de acopio" at the skate park. Business owners will obtain a receipt for their contribution which can be presented to Municipal officials as proof of compliance.

Recyclable items include:

Plastics (PET) - clear plastics, water bottles etc.
Paper - must not have crayon on it or other oily substances
Newspaper
Cardboard - clean with no food oils or residue
Tetrapak (milk/juice cartons)
Batteries
Lighters
Old Electronics
Scrap Metal
Toner Cartridges
Aluminum - cans, clean foil etc.
Used Cooking Oil - in a sealed container
_________________________________________________________

Kilo Verde - Of the recycling options available to the residents of Playa del Carmen, Kilo Verde is my favorite. An initiative led by the Ayuntamiento de Solidaridad, Kilo Verde was established to promote recycling, environmental care and proper waste management. Kilo Verde encourages residents of the Riviera Maya to properly separate their household waste and, at the same time, contribute to the reforestation and beautification of their own neighborhoods.

This innovative social program began in 2008 and over the past few years, thanks to some new governmental recycling requirements, has steadily grown in popularity. Individuals and businesses in Playa del Carmen are welcomed to the Kilo Verde collection center where they may exchange their recycling for a lovely indigenous plant or tree. They have a variety of species available and the plants you can choose from depend on the amount of refuse you turn in. As long as you turn in at least one kilo of recyclable items, you can take a plant of your choice.

Kilo Verde does not yet have the ability to accept the range of products that the 1st Friday "Centro de Acopio" can. They do take paper, newspapers, magazines, clean cardboard, plastics #1, #2, #4 and #5, cans, glass bottles and jars and electronics. Everything should be sorted and will be weighed. This fantastic new recycling project is really gaining force! It is funded by the Mexico Environmental Protection Agency and is held in a different location every month in order to be able to service as may regions of the city as possible. The center will operate from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. In order to support the needs of local business people trying to comply with the local government's new regulations, Kilo Verde is able to provide receipts valid for proof of participation.

These are the dates and locations for Kilo Verde 2014:

Kilo Verde Recycling Program 2014

It can be a bit tricky to find the exact location of the monthly Kilo Verde collection if you are unfamiliar with all the various neighborhoods. Generally, if you drive to the area and ask around, someone will know where they have set up. This has become a very popular recycling program. Come early to get the best choice of plants!

__________________________________________________________

 

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, the organizer of Kick 4 Kids and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also supports numerous local non-profit organizations, blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

One of our favorite charitable organizations, The KKiS Project (Keeping Kids in School) has one major fund raising event each year, an exciting live auction which his held in February.  The money raised at this fun event pays for all the curriculum used in the classrooms throughout the school year as well as the backpacks and supplies that are distributed to needy students in Solidaridad.

The live event will be February 20 at Playa del Carmen's favorite spot for family fun, Wah Wah Beach Bar at 11:00 am. Event tickets will be $250 pesos or $20 USD per person and include entry to the auction and a great lunch! This year, an ONLINE auction component has been added so organizers will have the ability to reach more people, sell more items and raise even more money. If enough smaller items are collected, there will be a silent auction at the event as well. 


The KKiS Project

This is an appeal to all of you to donate to the KKiS auction. Popular auctions items include:

  • Hotel Stays
  • Vacation Rentals 
  • Spa Services
  • Bar & Restaurant Gift Certificates
  • Tours & Excursions
  • Fishing Charters
  • Jewelery
  • Artwork
  • Home Furnishings - new or very gently used
  • Photo Sessions
  • Gym Memberships
  • Yoga Classes
  • Transport Services
If you or your business would like to contribute an item or service for the auction please contact Gayle Collins via email kkisproject@gmail.com. Items must be delivered by February 1 so the online auction can be set up on time. If you have items that require pick up, that can be easily arranged by contacting one of the event organizers listed below. If you know of anyone who might like to participate in or make a donation for this event, please point them toward this blog post.

The KKiS Project has challenged themselves to help at least 600 underprivileged Playa kids this year and that takes a lot of pesos.  So please, donate something if you can, attend the auction, have fun, spend some money, meet some new friends and help Keep Kids In School!

Gayle Collins, KKIS Co-Director       kkisproject@gmail.com      984-127-8881
Janet Lowe,  KKIS Co-Director       jlowepots@gmail.com          984-164-5043
Marilou Young, KKIS Board Member    marilouyoung@hotmail.com  984-116-1188
Marge Tancre, Volunteer Coordinator   gypsygringa1@gmail.com     984-145-2195

  

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, the organizer of Kick 4 Kids and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also supports numerous local non-profit organizations, blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

"Life's a Beach" readers already know that Christmas Dream Playa has done a wonderful job over the past few years raising awareness about disabled and disadvantaged children in this region with their annual toy drives and "Letters to Santa" campaigns. Via word of mouth, blogs and the local travel forums and more recently harnessing the power of social media, the organizers and supporters of Christmas Dreams have managed to provide gifts for thousands of children who might otherwise go without during the holidays. But this is just one segment of the community that Christmas Dreams supports. Funds that are donated to Christmas Dreams, not specifically designated to sponsor a particular child, go into a general charitable fund and used to purchase dispensas and warm blankets for the elderly. A dispensa is a box of non-perishable food items that will help to support a household and includes essential items such as dried beans, rice, cooking oil and sugar. For the past two years, organizer Gayle Collins has been able to negotiate a great discount from the manager at AKI Supermercado who made sure all 200 boxes were on pallets and ready for us to pick up.

This year, for the first time, Christmas Dreams was able to coordinate with DIF Solidaridad. DIF Director Yara and her staff helped us to identify elders in need who were not already receiving outside support and on January 3rd nearly 200 seniors in Puerto Aventuras pueblo received a much needed care package of food, clothes and a warm blanket to start off their new year. We also brought and served Rosca de Reyes to all of the seniors and their family members who came along to assist them.

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad

This is actually my favorite part of the Christmas Dreams campaign as we get to see two, three and sometimes four generations of residents...grandparents and parents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren... all together looking forward to a bit of help and holiday cheer. One by one, names were read off the list and the elders would come forward, some in wheelchairs, other supported by a son or daughter, some on their own. Once the gifts to registered elders were given out, the staff from DIF went about the process of organizing the many seniors who had shown up who were not already registered in the system. They took names and addresses, checked identification for those that had it and made sure that no one went home empty handed. There were also people who had come to report that a neighbor or family member was unable to attend the event either due to extreme age, lack of mobility or illness. Again, a list was made with names and addresses and a promise given that these residents would somehow receive the assistance their dispensa and blanket. In the end, there were almost 25 individuals unaccounted for or unable to come in person to receive their gifts.

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Life's a Beach Playa del Carmen Blog - Christmas Dreams and DIF helping the elderly of Solidaridad 

Yesterday morning, Russell Granger (The Amigos Network) and I were asked to accompany staff from DIF Playa del Carmen, DIF Puerto Aventuras and a Municipal Diputado representing PA and deliver the remaining care packages to the 25 very elderly and infirm shut-ins who had not received them. We met at the new DIF office in the PA pueblo, loaded a DIF truck with dispensas, blanket and clothes in a variety of sizes and headed out with a local guide in hopes of finding everyone. Armed with our list and a map with all of the addresses carefully marked, we wound our way through the pueblo and the newer Porto Maya developments, knocking on doors, talking to neighbors, trying to track down the elders on the list.

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad 

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad

Playa del Carmen Blog - DIF and Christmas Dreams helping the elderly in Solidaridad

At many locations, there was no answer and no way to determine whether the elder was in the home. We were left to our own imaginations wondering if they were home alone and unable to reach the door. Did we have the correct location? Had they moved? Were they ill and removed from the home...or worse? It was painful to see how easy it would be for at-risk seniors to fall through the cracks and out of the system set up to support them. All along the way, Maricarmen and Luis Miguel from DIF were careful to explain who Russell and I were and where the dispensas had come from. They explained that the photos taken would be shown to the kind people who donated funds to Christmas Dreams to find additional supporters so that even more assistance could come in the future.They also inquired about who was the caregiver in the home, if any, whether the seniors were enrolled in seguro popular and in some cases made the determination that the household would be set up for a monthly dispensa alotment through DIF.

It was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once but we came away feeling really good about the work being done. The interest and cooperation we have received from DIF throughout this holiday giving season has us really excited about working together on future projects in different segments of the community. There is a lot of need. So much, that it can be completely overwhelming when you think about trying to tackle all the issues. It's going to be essential that locally based charitable organizations like Christmas Dreams, Fundacion TAO, The Amigos Network, the Rotary Clubs of Solidaridad and even our own initiative, Kicks 4 Kids coordinate their efforts with DIF to make sure that their support is reaching those most in need and making a significant impact in the community. We are far stronger and more affective working together than we are going off on our own.

For everyone who has contributed to Christmas Dreams this year and in years past, Thank you. I hope that you can see how much your contributions mean to the less fortunate members of the Playa community. Those of us who have chosen to call the Riviera Maya "home", whether it be to retire comfortably or to make a living and raise a family, have a certain responsibility to help those in our community who are no longer able to help themselves. The disabled, the elderly and the infirm need our support and locally based private aid that comes from Christmas Dreams and similar charitable groups is essential to their health and well-being. Whether you donate your time or your money, your contribution WILL make a difference.

  

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors, Akumal Real Estate and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, the organizer of Kick 4 Kids and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also supports numerous local non-profit organizations, blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

I don't care who you are or where you are in your life...when New Years rolls around, we ALL entertain the idea of New Year's resolutions. Should we make them? Should we keep them a secret or announce them to the world? Are they possible to keep?

Some people want to make small changes. Others may be considering a sweeping reform of their life and the path they are following. If you fall into the latter group, maybe this will be of interest to you!

__________________________________________________________________

Bar Manager Playa del Carmen 

Wah Wah Beach Bar, one of Playa del Carmen most popular beach destinations is looking for a GENERAL MANAGER.
The person who accepts this job would be someone who is looking for a true change in lifestyle. The office is located right on the beach overlooking the Mexican Caribbean. Life is a little slower down here and we love it! The pay is significantly lower than what a similar position outside of Mexico would pay, but living expenses are also much lower. We have onsite accommodations as an option as well. Experience in restaurant/bar is not mandatory but is a plus. Applicants must be completely fluent in English and Spanish. This job is based on common sense, organization, and responsibility. We will train this person to understand our internal systems in very short order. For more information including a complete job description please contact J.J. Johnston at 214 227 9946 or via email jjinplaya [@] yahoo.com.

Photographer Job Opening

Cast-A-Way Mexico is looking for PHOTOGRAPHERS!
Do you enjoy photography? Like to travel? Want to meet new people? Cast-A-Way is looking for friendly, outgoing individuals to join their team of photographers. Applicants must have a sound knowledge of the working of a Digital SLR camera, must clearly speak, read and write English fluently. Applicants must be prepared to be available 7 days a week on a 6-8 month contract. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age with excellent interpersonal skills and a willingness to be a part of a team. Only 30 Positions available.

Send your resume/CV/portfolio to rodrigo [@] cast-a-way.com. Interviews will be conducted in Cancun in February 2014. For more information, call 998 186 0004 or visit www.facebook.com/CASTAWAYMEXICO.


Mexico Travel Jobs

Journey Mexico, recently nominated by Luxury Travel Advisor Magazine for ‘Best Destination Management Company Worldwide Award‘ in their Awards of Excellence, is now hiring for the following positions:

TRAVEL PLANNER - DIRECT MARKET - Location: Cancun or Puerto Vallarta
Purpose of position: To sell, plan and design travel experiences for Journey Mexico´s direct client segment.
Principal duties include soliciting direct market business, handle inquires, present and manage pre-sale proposals, employ creative and selective selling techniques, follow the operations to ensure client satisfaction, assist Marketing Manager in researching and developing marketing opportunities and plans, develop and promote current and new products through Journey Mexico channels, scouting new itineraries, creating new travel experiences, meet sales financial objectives of Journey Mexico.

Requirements: Minimum 3 years experience in high-end travel industry and sales in luxury hospitality industry (or equivalent customer service), knowledge of Mexico and preferably Latin America, excellent interpersonal skills, ability to read, write, and speak Spanish and English fluently, strong sales and up-sell skills.


EXECUTIVE MARKETING ASSISTANT
- Location: Puerto Vallarta
Purpose of position: To support the CEO & Marketing Manager  by increasing effective communication between Journey Mexico and its clients, potential clients and travel intermediaries, generating qualified leads for the sales team resulting in an increase in business and an increase in awareness about Journey Mexico in the marketplace.
Principal duties include appointment scheduling an booking for marketing trips, send follow-up emails, manage general database, send client communication for important events, prepare marketing material for meetings, help manage content on website (photos), respond to client and administrative requests (photos, hotel descriptions, company profiles, etc), manage photo database, search for new clients (cold calling, free media outlets), manage Virtuoso network.

Requirements: Experience as executive assistant or equivalent, preferred experience in travel industry and sales/marketing background, excellent interpersonal skills, high level of customer service, ability to read, write, and speak Spanish and English fluently, strong initiative and  multitasking skills.
 

WEBMASTER - Location: Cancun or Puerto Vallarta
Purpose of position: Increase traffic to website, generating qualified leads resulting in an augmentation in direct business and an increase in awareness about Journey Mexico in the marketplace. Ensuring that the online performance and Google ads of the website are working at optimum potential.
Principal duties include  building and maintaining of websites, pages and applications,  ensure that servers remain up and running  and that webpages load quickly and effortlessly, measuring webpage speed and monitoring a website's up-time, managing Google AdWords and tracking conversions, correcting software bugs, tracking traffic, dealing with search engine optimization, programming of website features and functions, graphic design for marketing material as needed,

Requirements: Minimum 3 years experience in web marketing industry and graphic design, experience in travel industry and knowledge of Mexico, advanced level of PHP/HTML/CSS/XHTML/Javascipt/AJAX and WordPress skills, degree in computer science of software engineering is required, ability to read, write, and speak English and Spanish fluently.

 If interested in any of the above positions, please send your resume and cover letter to Susanne at susanne [@] journeymexico.com

Have you promised yourself to learn a new skill in 2014? Maybe you want to rekindle your creative passion? Are you new in town and looking for a fun group of new friends?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, Pop Choir Playa del Carmen may be for you!!

Pop Choir Playa del Carmen 

People who enjoy singing may hesitate to join a regular kind of choir or singing group for many reasons - usually it's because they think they have a 'bad' voice. Someone told them when they were little they 'couldn't sing' or they feel nervous of singing in front of others. Pop Choir Playa del Carmen is a community choir for adults who like singing! It is open to everyone, from beginners to more experienced singers. There's no need to to audition. You don't even have to be able to read music or have any experience. In short, if you read this and like to sing, you are qualified for Pop Choir Playa del Carmen!

Each session will start with a vocal warm-up. The group will then learn and work through two or three songs each week, learning some simple two or three part harmonies, as required. The repertoire will cover popular songs from the sixties to the present day.

Lyrics and some sheet music will be available online via a new Pop Choir Facebook group, so members can download and practice at home if they wish. You don't have to be able to read music and you WILL be able learn the songs mostly by ear. Some people find it helpful to follow the up and down of the dots/notes, so it's there if you want to use it or teach yourself to read sheet music.

Practice will be held weekly on Wednesdays 3:00 - 4:40pm, beginning January 8th 2014, at Le Lotus Rouge located on Calle 2 at Ave 35. The cost to participate is minimal, just $200 pesos for four weeks.


Elizabeth Ynez TulsenElizabeth Ynez Tulsen is a classically trained soprano and studied classical and jazz voice at Trinity College of Music in London. Her varied career has included singing with Monserrat Caballe at the Royal Albert Hall, opera at Covent Garden, touring with an ABBA tribute band, West End musical theatre, one woman shows, cabaret in Berlin, Jazz/Big Band on US cable and radio newsreader. She has busked her way around the world with Handel, Mozart and Puccini and is currently indulging her passion for Mexico and dipping her toes into the Blues. Elizabeth has been a professional singer for almost twenty years and has run various kinds of vocal groups in the UK. She is bringing Pop Choir to her new home, Playa del Carmen, to give people the opportunity to sing in an informal, relaxed setting....simply because they love singing and it feels great to sing with others!

For more information and to sign up, contact Elizabeth at 984 143 8716 or message via private message on Facebook.

Elizabeth Ynez Tulsen 

 

Barbara Anderson, finance columnist for the publication Milenio, speaks in her column "Nada personal solo negocios" ("Nothing Personal, Just Business") about the show center for the famous Cirque du Soleil that will be built in the Riviera Maya.

Grupo Vidanta, run by top Mexico hotelier Daniel Chavez Ruiz, is building the only Cirque du Soleil theater in Latin America. The famous show was created by Guy Laliberte, who is also partnering in this endeavor.

Cirque de Soleil Riviera Maya 

"I'm very happy about it, and we will do great things in Mexico," Chavez himself confirmed to the columnist.

The theater will be located in the Riviera Maya, within one of the properties of the Mayan brand, and will cost about 20 million dollars.

"It's 100% a Grupo Vidanta investment, and Cirque will do what it does best in the areas of talent and show development," Chavez pointed out.

The columnist notes that the theater will have a "capacity for 250 people with a unique added bonus: a dinner show with VIP seats for an additional 250 people."

It will also have the capability of adding another 500 seats in the future, giving it the potential for up to 1,000 people.

It's estimated that the performance center will be inaugurated in November 2014, and that the shows will be presented according to "public demand".

"And it won't be the only theater we'll make for Cirque du Soleil. In a few years, we plan to build a second space in Mexico for resident shows, although we're still debating between two locations to make the final decision," adds Daniel Chavez, according to the columnist.

Grupo Vidanta has various hotels and resorts in the Riviera Maya, including The Grand Luxxe, The Grand Bliss, The Bliss, Ocean Breeze, Mayan Palace and The Grand Mayan.

Cirque de Soleil Riviera Maya
 

See the original article in Spanish at La Verdad Noticias.

 

Every year, Riviera Maya music lovers are blessed with an extended visit from one North America's leading blues musicians, Brent Parkin. Brent is an industry veteran with 40 years on the Canadian blues scene and has shared the stage with such greats as B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Bo Diddley and John Prine. His awards and accolades include a Juno Award in 1993, Maple Blues Award Nominations from 1996 to 1999 and a M.B.S. Lifetime Membership in 1997.

A mix of Chicago style Blues, Jazz blues, Swing, and Roots Rock and Roll, Brent's music has a broad appeal that never fails to get people up on their feet and dancing. Such was the case when I dropped in to see Brent at his regular Tuesday night gig at the Luna Blue Hotel.

Brent Parkin at Luna Blue Hotel

Brent Parkin at Luna Blue Hotel

Brent Parkin at Luna Blue Hotel

Brent Parkin at Luna Blue Hotel 

Brent Parkin at Luna Blue Hotel

Interspersing songs with his own special brand of "humor", Brent kept the crowd at Luna Blue in the palm of his hand while Jorge manned the bar dishing out cold cervezas and dangerously tasty margaritas!

Brent should be with us here in Playa del Carmen through April, so if you are here or planning a trip the area, don't miss a chance to experience world class blues in some fun and intimate venues. If you would like to see Brent Parkin in Playa del Carmen, you can find him here:

Luna Blue Hotel - Tuesday nights  8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Bad Boys Beach Bar - Friday nights 5:30 pm  - 9:00 pm
Playacar Golf Club - Saturday afternoons 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm  (Starting soon)

For a sneak peak at what you can expect from our friend Brent, check out this YouTube video!

 

Michele Kinnon
Michele Kinnon
and her husband Rob are the owners of BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors and FurnitureMEX, both based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Michele is a member of Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside and participated on the founding committee for Taste of Playa, the Riviera Maya's largest and longest running culinary festival. She also blogs, writes local interest articles and administrates the Riviera Maya Events Calendar. Michele and Rob have lived in Playa del Carmen with their two children since 2004. Follow her updates on Google+.

 

 

More Posts Next page »