Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sweet Deals in Riviera Maya

It is not rare to have “one of those days” in which one craves something sweet, especially most women and children. Fortunately, the Riviera Maya is a wonderful place to explore and satisfy the sweet tooth of numerous young people and grown-ups alike. We, at Vimex Vacation Rentals were elected to the “hard task” of venturing out in Playa del Carmen and Tulum to experience the various options of this booming town’s patisseries- We will of curse recommend only the best!

Chéz Celine

Follow the smell of freshly baked goods to this authentic French bakery located on 5th avenue between 32th & 34th Streets! Chéz Celine offers delicious traditional French products like Baguettes eclairs, tarts of various types, pastries, sandwiches, quiches and salads. If you don’t want to miss anything, do like we did, order the mini tarts with different flavors, and please, please, don’t miss the chocolate éclairs.


Ah Cacao

There are not many places like Ah Cacao. They took two basic ingredients of the Mexican culture and mixed them to have one of the greatest places in Playa del Carmen: serving coffee and chocolate. Ah cacao is one of those places where you can sit in tranquility, read a book, post on Facebook your vacation pictures, or just sit and stare at the people walking on 5th. Worth trying the brownie (kids will love it too!) and if you have it with a double espresso, it will taste even better.



Ziggy Beach

If you happen to be taking the sun in Tulum on the beach and suddenly, you have a sudden urge to savor a dessert, complementing the beauty of the sea views and soothing surf, you must go to Ziggy Beach and try the Crème Brule. An exotic version served in a pineapple slice, with fresh fruit at the bottom. One may think that this could be ¨ too sweet¨ however, the acidic taste of the pineapple balances this sweetie, perfectly.


Panna e Cioccolato


Also in Tulum, the best ice cream, ever. Homemade gelato with the Italian tradition. A very unique place with colorful decoration with two funny monkeys: Panna (Italian word for Cream) and Cioccolato (Italian word for Chocolate). Our picks: Mint -Chocolate ice cream, perfect for a summer afternoon, Ferrero Rocher ice cream and Selvanegra (Black forest), chocolate and cherry. Let´s go!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Singing in the Rain?

What to do in Riviera Maya on Rainy Days

“Anyone who thinks that summer sun is pure happiness, has never danced in the rain”. We know this by, being on vacation and being surprised by a rainy day (or two) ; definitely not a pleasant thing while on vacation however, we cannot control the weather (yet). But, it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy several great activities which accompany and complement rain filled days.

Xel-Ha

If the rain is not heavy, make sure you put your belongings in a locker and jump into the water of the “world’s largest natural aquarium”. You were going to get wet anyway! After your swim, you can enjoy one of the parks restaurants and then swim again. They provide towels, so don’t worry about getting your towel wet. Just go with the flow and enjoy!

Cooking Lesson

An unusual activity, but you might as well learn something while you’re on vacation and become chef for one night. Visit a Culinary School and learn how to cook Mexican food from a professional chef. Enjoy along with the experience, a glass of wine or mezcal, and show off your skills with your friends and family once you return back home.

Shopping

If it’s pouring rain outside, you might as well use the day to shop for all the items you need: traditional souvenirs and Mexican handcraft, bottles of tequila and mezcal and any other items you can purchase cheaper than back home. Visit Ultrafemme, Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, Zara, Quicksilver, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Ultrajewels, Liverpool, and of course, enjoy a hot coffee at Ah Cacao or Starbucks to take a break from your exhausting shop adventure.

Bowling

If you’re travelling with your spouse, family or friends, bowling is always a fun thing to do. Visit the Bowling Center at Centro Maya and get ready for tons of fun and an aching arm the next morning.

Movies


If you’re more traditional, you may enjoy a movie, and why not? Try out and see a Mexican Movie, maybe you’ll speed up your Spanish lessons! In Playa del Carmen there are two big cinemas: Cinemex http://cinemex.com/ and Cinepolis http://www.cinepolis.com.mx/index.aspx. Check out their websites to see what they’re showing. You can also download the apps and get the tickets through your smartphone or tablet.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Trendy Spot: Maíz de Mar
Famous Mexican chef Enrique Olvera recently opened this unpretentious restaurant that takes inspiration from the popular foods of Mexico’s coast, using only local products, focusing on flavor and freshness. Food is totally delicious and they provide a great service, definitely worth trying and going back!

Their Credo

A place with strong beliefs that holds a credo that goes something like this: 1. Quality above luxury 2. Absolute respect for raw materials 3. What matters is depth, not appearance 4. We prefer local, sustainable, family-based producers 5. We are authentic 6. The customer is King (or Queen) 7. We like sharing 8.We keep our word—you get what we promise 9. Local markets determine all the rest 10. We contribute to our community.


The Food

Food is a small tour through Mexico’s Coast. From the Aguachiles of the North, Fish “a la taya” of the pacific, to the local fried banana, their menu is a spectrum of Mexican Seafood embracing local ingredients and freshness.




Our Experience

On a warm mid-day of the Caribbean Fall, we were graciously received, seated and presented with a small basket of freshly toasted handmade corn chips and mint infused water with chaya, a local herb rich in iron, similar to spinach. After which,  we tried the Jicama, cucumber and sour orange crudité, a fresh salad with a beautiful presentation, refreshing to taste with a bit of a citric flavor. After that, we tried the sliced fish, orange and worm salt, and the charred octopus and habanero aguachile, two great surprises, and even the aguachile is made with habanero, it only has the taste, not the spice. Our main dish was a fish, dried chile adobo, lime mayonnaise, a very lean and tasteful fish, fresh and delicious. For dessert we had a not too sweet honey panna cotta, with hot tea- the perfect dessert. While dining, we enjoyed the relaxed ambiance with decor inspired by small coastal Mexican kitchens which, reminded me a little bit of Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita back in the eighties but in a very contemporary environment.

Seeing the kitchen at the basement was a pleasant surprise. With a see through glass you can see the organization, cleanliness and professionalism of people working here.




We strongly recommend to visit (and then come back) to Maiz de Mar!

The Shopping Experience (Part 1)


If you thought that Riviera Maya is just about sun and beach, you could not be more apart from reality. Beyond the beach, archaeological sites, cenotes, jungle adventures, great restaurants, partying all night, golf and romance, Riviera Maya offers the ultimate excitement during the Winter Season, Shopping. Either if it’s just a souvenir, an emergency swimsuit, a bottle of tequila or a full wardrobe, the Riviera Maya has it all!

First Step: Souvenirs
There’s a strange magnet for souvenirs when we’re on a trip: we want to bring home as many memories as we can, and sometimes we get back home with useless things or that don’t mean anything about the culture of the country we were visiting. Fortunately, the Riviera Maya has a lot to offer for those who want to take something meaningful. If you’re staying at Playa del Carmen, we strongly recommend to shop at “La Bola Maya” (10th street between 1st and 5th), key holders created in Playa del Carmen with different colors and meanings; you can also visit the stores Wayan, with a wide array of wooden sculptures, earrings and clothes with a Balinese style, yet many of them with a meaning similar to the Mayan Culture. If you’re staying south Riviera Maya, in Tulum, look for the brand Ak Kuxtal, a local brand with magnificent decoration in wood, which also benefits local communities.






Ultra Femme & Ultra Jewels
You must have seen at least one. From the airport, on 5th, on Paseo del Carmen Shopping Mall, on Quinta Alegria shopping mall, there are several..…the opportunity to get the best perfumes, jewelry and make-up at low cost and duty free is just around the corner. Ultra Femme provides a great service and advice on whatever you need to buy, or the best fragrance or make up for you. The shop at 5th Ave. has a big second floor just for Mac Cosmetics where service and selection are unbeatable. We picked two favorites from this Shop, the new fragrance from Estée Lauder, Modern Muse that features notes of mandarin, tuberose, lily, honeysuckle, dewy petals, jasmine, patchouli, vanilla, amber wood and musk, and the classic Tiffany Bracelet, the perfect gift for a spouse, girlfriend, friend, sister, mother, aunt or grandmother, because let’s face it, all woman wish to have one of those!

Liverpool

Maybe you need a swim suit, or maybe you got caught up by the rain and you need a jacket, maybe you need shoes, or a bag, maybe you need an iPad, a laptop cover, maybe you need mariachi music, clothes for the kids, maybe you need a new Xbox, a camera or a plasma TV, and maybe, just maybe you need a blender machine while you’re on vacation and there’s a place that has the best brands of everything for this “needs” and that is Liverpool. With two stores, one small on 5th Ave. showing perfumes, cosmetics, computers, cameras, sunglasses, jewelry and liquors, and a new two-storage store on the highway right on the exit to Tulum. Here, we picked up two favorites, one is the jersey for the Mexican soccer team, not the nicest in the history, but the one that miraculously we’re taking to the World Cup, and the second favorite is the transparent raincoat by Kenneth Cole, a fashionable way to survive the unexpected Caribbean Rain.

Our time with Vimex Vacation Rentals is over for this time!


For the past three and a half months we have been writing for Vimex Vacation Rentals during our stay in pk02 – a beautiful condo located three minutes from the ocean and the city center.  During this time we have studied a full-time marketing program but still been able to experience a lot of the Mexican culture here in Playa del Carmen. This blog has been a way for us to show you what you are able to do once you are on vacation here. We hope you can use some of the information we have given you and that this blog can provide you with a lot of useful tips to plan your next vacation.

Maria and I are leaving Playa del Carmen for this time. We really love everything about this place, and will definitely return. But instead of going home, we will actually be heading to Miami to begin our new year there instead. We hope you all have a great New Year's Eve and that you will visit Mexico in the future as well.

Happy new year and good bye!

Gott nytt år och hejdå!

/Henrik and Maria



A picture of us in Tulum

PK02's pool area