Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic returns to the AJGA 2010

The world-class El Camaleón Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico, will once again host the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic, August 16 - 19, 2010. This will be the AJGA’s 2010 trip to El Camaleón Golf Club and the only international event on the AJGA schedule. Also home to the PGA TOUR’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, juniors and spectators alike can look forward to a unique experience.

El Camaleón Golf Club at the Mayakoba resort, managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is Greg Norman's latest masterwork. The 7,039-yard layout is unique - not just to México but to the entire golfing kingdom. The course bends through three distinct landscapes - tropical jungle, dense mangroves, and oceanfront stretches of sand with holes bisected by massive limestone canals. He's even incorporated a cenote, a massive, ancient cavern common to the area, into the heart of the opening fairway. And as in all Norman projects, he has balanced the course to make it enjoyable for golfers of all abilities.

Parents and spectators will find the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic holds more than just a few impressive rounds of golf.

The Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic provides amenities AJGA golfers may not be accustomed to. The participants will have access to the PGA TOUR locker room and players will receive their own tournament locker for the event. In addition to the locker room setup, players will experience PGA TOUR event yardage and hole locations, PGA TOUR event signage, a pairings party and the test of a truly challenging course.

The pairings party is one of the best aspects of the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic and will take place on the beachfront of the Caribbean Sea. The pairings are unveiled for the first time while players and parents enjoy complimentary dinner provided by the AJGA and the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The pairings party is the same event in style and presentation that is hosted by the PGA TOUR during its own Mayakoba Golf Classic. Parents are invited to enjoy complimentary Greg Norman wine while drinking in the scenery as well.

By experiencing the rigors of travel and the intense competitive atmosphere, juniors will be exposed to a taste of the professional world of golf, further preparing them for their golf career after the AJGA.

The AJGA staff and participants couldn’t agree more.

Top Reasons to Play the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic

1) Opportunity to compete at the home of the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Mexico's only PGA TOUR event

2) Stay at a five-star resort in the Riviera Maya along the Caribbean Sea

3) PGA TOUR course setup (yardage, hole locations, etc.)

4) Unique social functions such as a Pairings Party on the beach

5) Follow in the footsteps of Fred Funk, Brian Gay, and Mark Wilson as you attempt to hoist the Champion's Trophy

6) Great opportunity for parents and family to really enjoy an AJGA trip

7) Every player will have access to the PGA TOUR locker room and have their own tournament locker for the event

8) Players and parents are viewed and treated as PGA TOUR players and family members

9) Chance to help build the players game internationally

Classification: Open
Division: Boys and Girls, ages 12 - 18
Format: 54 Holes, Stroke Play
Application Deadline: July 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Mexico gave chocolate to the world

Shortly after arriving at Tenochtitlán in the fall of 1519, Hernán Cortés and the Spanish conquistadores were granted an audience with Moctezuma at his breakfast table. They found the Aztec ruler sipping an exotic drink called xocóatl (meaning bitter water). Made from ground cacao beans boiled in water, flavored with vanilla and other tropical spices, and chilled with bits of snow from nearby mountain tops, the pungent beverage was, the Spanish reported, "of a very exciting nature."

Xocóatl was esteemed as an invigorating refreshment and its consumption was permitted only by those in the highest echelons of Aztec society. While there were various recipes for preparing xocóatl, calling for different spices and varieties of cacao, all required beating the concoction until a thick, nearly solid froth formed on the top. The drink was serve in a xícara, an elaborate gold goblet set on a base covered with jaguar skin, and accompanied by a tortoise shell spoon for eating the toothsome foam.

Xocóatl was used medicinally to alleviate abdominal pain, as an antidote for poison and as a medium for administering other remedies. When made from green cacao, the drink was considered a potent hallucinogen and aphrodisiac. Xocóatl and cacao also figured in certain religious ceremonies.

Cacao was a highly valued commodity in pre-Hispanic México. The great lords of the Maya culture cultivated large cacao plantation. They exchanged their crops for feathers, jade and other precious goods in the principal commercial centers of Mesoamerica. The buying power of cacao was such that a dozen beans more than sufficed to purchase a salve or procure an evening of pleasure with a prostitute. Moctezuma, who ruled a vast tribute-state, collected huge quantities of cacao twice a year from vassal communities. Aztec consumers often used cacao as currency for making their purchases in the bustling tianguis (marketplace).

Cacao and the other exotic tropical ingredients used in preparing xocóatl were among the New World treasures Cortés sent back to his sovereign, Carlos V. The Spanish took a great liking to the Aztec drink, especially once they discovered that the addition of sugar make it far more palatable. The dubbed the drink chocolate.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whale shark season coming up

A special time of the year is approaching, the annual arrival of the sea's gentle giants, the whale sharks. These harmless creatures arrive in the area north of Isla Mujeres, near Holbox island that has recently been established as a Biosphere Nature Preserve.

People can get a close look at these animals through the many tours offered from Holbox island.

Holbox is a small island (about seven miles long and a mile wide) off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, just a short drive from Cancun. Every year from June to September, whale sharks linger here on their annual migration. The sharks are one of the hottest tourist attractions on the island. Local boats take out groups of tourists to see and swim with them. Only two tourists at a time can enter the water, together with a guide.

Whale sharks are the world's largest fish, measuring up to 60 feet long. You're not allowed to touch the sharks and they soon swim away, so each swim lasts only a couple of adrenalin-charged minutes. Then you float in the water for a seeming eternity, waiting to be picked up by your boat…while you think of those sharks swimming below you. Fortunately, these are harmless animals, since they feed primarily on plankton.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A perfect retreat for couples, spas offer the perfect setting to put you in the most romantic mood

Nothing is more romantic then enjoying a massage with the one your love in your hotel or resort room. The spa will do everything for you. Treatment beds, music and everything that is needed to make the experience as romantic as possible, will be delivered and set up in your room. What makes this option even more desirable is that the treatments are performed at the same time and you can even pre-arrange in-room champagne, lunch or dinner with the hotel for an after-treatment treat.

One of the greatest advantages of coming to a place as beautiful as the Mexican Caribbean is that you can get spa treatment in an outdoor setting that is guaranteed to be spectacular. Lull yourself with the sound of the ocean, the breeze against your face as you are pampered by some of the world's best masseurs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Riviera Maya''s Cenotes

Scattered all over the Yucatan Peninsula, the cenotes are underground, fresh water pools formed by the complete or partial collapse of cave roofs. Many tap into larger cave and river systems that go on for miles, some not yet fully mapped.

The Mayans used to believe cenotes were gateways into the afterlife and made offerings and performed rituals in these natural structures. Remnants of the ancient Mayan presence can be found in and around many cenotes. Our guide led us to one pool in which the base stones of an ancient Mayan steam house once stood. A cave painting decorated the wall to our right and bats nestled in the ceilings ahead. It was beautiful.

Here in the Riviera Maya, Mexican land owners are opening up their properties to the public and allowing visitors entrance to the cenotes. Aware of the potentially harmful impact from sharing this natural inheritance with so many people, property owners only permit the use of biodegradable sunscreen and eco-friendly bug spray in an effort to keep this type of natural tourism sustainable.

Many places that have cenotes also offer a range of companion activities. At Hidden Worlds, you can sky-cyclle through the Mayan jungle to a large cenote where you can go snorkeling in the cave's river. The cool, underground water served as a welcome contrast to the hot sun and pointy jungle leaves.

Some of the more expansive cave networks have been developed into giant adventure parks like Xplor, where visitors can participate in a variety of activities, including an underground river swim or raft trip. The stalactite formations form an amazing sight.

There are thousands of cenotes dotted all over the Yucatan,and they range from being unknown to family managed, to professional parks. Good cenotes in the Riviera Maya include Cenote Azul, Cenote Cristalino and Kantun-Chi.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ajua Maya Restaurant

A fantastic mix of five star dining, entertaining waiter, Latin music and great service …Ajua Maya, one of the most popular restaurants in Playa del Carmen with a warm and welcoming Mayan ambiance, is highly recommend on many websites and travel guides, including Trip Advisor and Josh Hindale’s “Complete Guide to Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the Riviera Maya.”

Ajua was purchased by Brenda Alfaro (an American from Virginia) and Jorge Alfaro (a Mexican from Chiapas) in 2001. With their Chef Pedro Balam, they created a fantastic menu that includes fresh lobster and seafood, USA Black Angus steaks, traditional Mayan and Mexican dishes, Mayan-Virginian BBQ ribs and shrimp, Caesar salad, and flambé dishes prepared at your table, and more. Truly, Ajua Maya offers one of the finest dining experiences in Playa del Carmen.

Under the helm of Mayan Chef Pedro Balam Dzul, Manager Jorge Huchim Martin, and owners Brenda and Jorge Alfaro, Ajua has become one of the most popular restaurants in Playa del Carmen for fine dining, wedding receptions and great parties. Their upstairs palapa offers an upscale intimate private dining experience and is perfect for special events.

Dining there is an experience you should not miss while you are on the Riviera Maya. The lobster and steaks are grilled to perfection, their Mayan and Mexican dishes are the best in Playa, the BBQ Platter is a must, and the Caesar salad along with the appetizer of shrimp sizzling in garlic oil is a taste experience not to be missed.

Also, what is fantastic about Ajua Maya, is it extensive menu which includes dishes for those who just want a perfectly Black Angus steak grilled or chicken breast served with a baked potato and grilled vegetables; to others who wish a more exotic experience. For the adventurous palate, we would recommend the flambéed lobster and shrimp with a Mayan sauce of Xtabentun and Tequila or their Mayan dishes, including such classics as Tkin Xic (steamed fish in banana leaves with a Achiote sauce), Cochinita Pibil (pulled Mayan pork), and Pollo Mole.

And, don’t forget the desserts! From a fabulous cheesecake prepared in house to flambéed crepes with Carjeta (a caramel Brandy and Kahula sauce and Banana’s Foster flambéed at the table, they are not to be missed by those with a sweet tooth. Prices range from $5.50 usd for fish tacos to $20-25 for main entrees.
Open daily from noon – 1 am – Children welcomed

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

World''s biggest cruise ship arrives in Mahahual

Mahahual (pronounced Ma-ha-wahl) is a small fishing village turned cruise ship destination and the closest town to Mayan Beach Garden with services. It is located at the south of Quintana Roo.

Mahahual was in its best mood with the arrival, for the first time, of the biggest ship in the world: the Oasis of the Seas, which docked on the cruise pier with over 8 thousand 600 passengers that were received by the State Governor, Feliz Gonzalez.

To this cruise, and to break all visitor records to the Gran Costa Maya, another one, the Pacific Dream, joined hours later with 3 thousand additional passengers, instantly making Mahahual the most visited place in the southern part of Quintana Roo.

Oasis of the Seas took up over 270 meters of the Costa Maya pier.

Speaking to the press Mike Bourden, administrative vice president of the cruise company, said that starting this December, the number of cruise arrivals in Mahahual by the Pullman Tour company would increase t four, with two arrivals each by Oasis of the Seas and its twin Allure of the Seas.

The arrivals will come as a great aid in proming the tourism attractions found in the southern part of the state, which includes archaological sites, lagoons, old towns and other ecotourism attractions.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Riviera Maya shopping is something you cannot miss!

A tourist destination would not be complete without the ease of buying original articles not found anywhere else.In this respect, Riviera Maya shops have the best shopping opportunities.

Regional and local handicrafts are famous for their appealing colors and imaginative shapes.There are many Riviera Maya shops and galleries showing with pride the best selection of handicrafts.

Just like New York's world famous 5th Avenue, the Riviera Maya also has a street of the same name, the very popular and wonderfully chic Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) in Playa del Carmen. Here you'll see hundreds of people strolling around the many boutiques, during the day and night, searching for that perfect souvenir in to take home for friends, family and coworkers.

All along the Quinta Avenida of Playa del Carmen and in the many towns of the Riviera Maya, you will find a huge selection of stores to satisfy any shopper. Small stores sell handmade hammocks by local artisans, colorful ceramics, tiny clay figurines depicting Mayan people, and the famous Mexican multicolored sarapes, just to mention a few of the handicrafts from this ancient region. Brand name stores are also found here.
Products sold in the hotels' stores come from all regions of Mexico. Whether inspired by nature or by the people's traditional dress, each item has the distinctive seal of its skilled Mexican artisan.

There are several shopping malls (mainly in Playa del Carmen), supermarkets, convenience stores, and also shops owned by local designers and artists that sell original, innovative items. The jewelry stores display beautiful silver and gold pieces inlaid with precious stones, so popular everywhere in the Riviera Maya. It's not surprising to find bracelets, earrings, and necklaces inlaid with fine amethysts, opals, onyx and turquoise, for which the Yucatan Peninsula is very famous.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For couples, there are few places as ideal as the Mexican Caribbean, and the Mayan Riviera in particular. First class services and breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea, Mayan jungle and spectacultar beaches. Top dining spots and excellent resorts complete this heavenly picture, perfect for romance.
The choices offered in this slice of paradise are endless. Nonetheless, here we offer some options for those wishing to spend an unforgettable day in the Mayan Riviera.

When first arriving, it is best to seize the day and head straight towards an activity. You can either be amazed by the full-destination-in-one-place that is Xcaret, or you can strike out on your own and take a look at the many beach activities available in Playa del Carmen. Among these beach activities are snorkeling, parasailing, diving, fishing expeditions and much more. The Great Mayan Reef, which extends from the northernmost point of the Yucatan penisula all the way to Belize is the second largest coral reef in the world and it is the home of countless species of colorful fish and other surprising lifeforms.

After absorbing the regional wonders, what better than to cool down at a nice place for lunch? Here, we recommend trying a seafood restaurant, since this is the regional specialty. Also, the laid back atmosphere is perfect to wind down and to simply enjoy the sea breeze, a cool drink and the intimacy of the moment.

Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue and side streets is the place for shopping. Here you can find the most luxurious boutiques and the most accessible shops, all coexisting side by side. Indulge yourselves and remember that a very effective way of boosting your companion's mood is to surprise them with a token of your love.

The evening is when romance really takes off, and to welcome it, what better way than to spend an unforgettable evening in an ellegant restaurant, with the right setting? The Mayan Riviera is one of the most romantic places in the world, and nowhere is it more evident than during a candlelit dinner with the right wine and music.
If you are up to it, then party the night away! Playa del Carmen has several excellent night clubs that feature not only the hottest music, but that take pride in mixing it with big time entertainment. The biggest proof of this is Coco Bongo where you can witness amazing shows with entertainers, acrobatics, and an unsurmountable sound system.

Monday, May 3, 2010

An eco-adventure at Punta Venado

This park is located on the heart of the Mayan Riviera and has over 2 thousand acres of rainforest and over five kilometers of beaches.

What this park offers is fun in direct contact with nature. Among the activities are a houseback ride through the jungle, a tour of a dry cavern where you can gaze at beautiful stalactites and stalagmites withouth getting wet.

If you are into engines, then you can't miss the opportunity to ride an ATV to cross the jungle in search of a clearwater cenote and once there to take a refreshing plunge in its cool waters.

Another popular activity at Punta Venado is snorkeling, which can be done just a few meters from the shore, giving a beautiful glipse at the colorful coral reef and its inhabitants.