Monday, August 31, 2009

Playa del Carmen vacation

Out of office: Playing in Playa del Carmen
Two mental notes here: In lines, you spend a lot of time looking around. I, it turned out, looked down. And I found at least three different couples sporting his and her versions of the same shoe – color and brands included. Interesting. I missed that memo.

The second mental note is more our first lesson: Make sure the phrase “economy car” is what you expect it to be when you arrive to your destination. We learned our lesson at National Car Rental. We assumed it could come automatic; we got a stick shift. We stood in line again.

We finally drove off into Mexico more than two hours after landing in Cancun.

The highway scenery was fascinating – very flat vegetation, resorts and residences sprinkled along the drive, no “miles” (everything was in kilometers; another mental note – we should’ve prepared for that), and a small herd of chestnut horses grazing roadside? Yep. Just a few of them, minding their own business.

Voluntourism in Cancun

The Mayan Acquaintance Experience
Everywhere you look, people are volunteering. Random acts of kindness abound as people are searching for something more meaningful in their lives. From organized volunteering at local animal shelters to randomly helping a stranger across the street, the effect these kind gestures have cannot be underestimated. Now, those kind gestures are being welcomed in other parts of the globe.

Volunteering during a vacation, a.k.a. "Voluntourism," provides tourists the opportunity to reach out with their giving hands and feel those same feelings of gratitude and satisfaction. The Ritz Carlton's program in Cancun, Mexico, is a case in point.

A fabulous Vacation in CancĂșn

You can survive Cancun
I did it! I went to Cancun and lived to tell the tale. No one chopped off my fingers, no H1N1 symptoms, not even Montezuma’s Revenge.

First and foremost the ocean breeze was brisk and cool and made every day a total delight. It wasn’t as hot in Cancun as it was here in Oklahoma, and that refreshing breeze took a big bite out of the humidity.

Second, the resorts are immaculate and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you look. My host resort, the Gran Caribe Real, even offers a flu free guarantee. If you come down with the flu within 14 days of your return from one of the Real properties, you receive three years of vacations free of charge. So far there has not been a single claimant.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cancun Deals

Cancun deals: $300 flights, $100/night resort |
Delta Air Lines offers a walk-up, no-advance-purchase, all-inclusive rate of $305.72 to Cancun, in the Mexico Yucatan.

Take advantage of this sale with trips started as soon as this evening (there's a flight departing shortly before 6 p.m. with available "U" space) or on trips finished on or before July 24, 2010.

There are no blackout dates to avoid, which makes this offer ideal for year-end holiday getaways.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great deals in Cancun after the Swine Flu scare

Swine flu fallout: Great deals on Mexico trips
Queen Elizabeth II's annus horribilis has nothing on Mexico's tribulations of 2009. Travel alerts based on escalating drug cartel violence, the global spread of the U.S. recession and the H1N1 flu outbreak in Mexico City have kept tourists away in droves, but the hit on its third-largest source of income has mobilized Mexico to turn this into an annus mirabilis for travelers.

Having deployed troops to drug trafficking hot spots and contained the flu with a swiftness that won unmitigated praise from the World Health Organization, Mexico is wooing tourists with unprecedented vigor.

Most visible are deals that turn absurdly expensive luxury resorts into doable splurges and moderately priced hotels into screaming bargains.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garifuna Drums Beating in Cancun
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. As the week progressed the Garifuna drumming became the theme song for the resilient Team Belize and provided reassurance for a team that against all odds was reeling in back to back victories. The beat was embraced by Belizean supporters who proudly wore and waved their Belizean flags. Team Belize veteran Alex Carcamo says the drumming and cheering from Belizean fans took him back to the City Center in 1998 and its successful gold rush in the CARICOM games. And while the beat was inspirational to Team Belize, it was intimidating to the team’s opponents.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Unlimited travel for month on JetBlue -- only $599
JetBlue has created quite a stir with its All-You-Can Jet Pass. For $599, you can fly anywhere you want and as often as you want from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8. JetBlue flies to more than 50 cities throughout the United States and Caribbean, as well as Cancun and San Jose, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; and Aruba.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Cancun prices will make you rub your eyes
People in travel are talking about Mexico. The combination of the outbreak of swine flu several months ago and reports of drug-related violence served to decimate tourist traffic to Mexico this past winter and spring, and the downturn continues in summer. In those non-holiday weeks when there isn't a large amount of local, Mexican traffic, many hotels have been reporting occupancy rates so low as to defy credulity. The response of those properties — especially the deluxe hotels — are pricing lures never before seen.