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Loco Gringo Mexico

LocoGringo Mexico gives you local insights, vacation tips and stories from people who live and work in the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Our host Kay Walten, will introduce you to people in Mexico who tell of their journey to the Yucatan, their local scoop on the people, the Mexico and Mayan culture, places not to miss on your next vacation, food and more. LocoGringo gives you travel info that you won’t find in a travel guidebook. Discover Mexico for your next vacation on a more intimate level than a typical tourist. As an expat, Kay has been working in vacation and tourism in Mexico since 1992. She is also co-founder of the vacation rental site LocoGringo.com.
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Mar 13, 2018

When this week’s guest, Tony Schaefer, and his wife bought their home in Puerto Aventuras in the early 2000’s, he had never heard of paddleboarding. While sitting on the beach one day, Tony saw what appeared to be someone walking on the water. It was a paddleboarder. He says it was love at first sight. He has been passionate about the sport ever since.

 

He ordered a couple of paddleboards and quickly found a friend who shared his enthusiasm for the serene, zen-like feeling that came from being on top of the ocean. When his paddle boarding companion, Tony Johnson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, Tony was devastated.

 

In honor of his friend’s voracity to find a cure for his illness, Tony is creating a paddleboarding event to help raise $500,000 for cancer research for the Tony Johnson Memorial at University of Calgary. The event is gaining support from paddleboarders from Calgary, the U.S., and the local Riviera Maya paddleboarding community.  If you are interested in coming to the area to participate in the event and want an authentic Mexican experience, Tony recommends visiting:

 

 

For authentic local foods that support the local economy, Tony recommends getting a taco from one of the many vendors that line the streets. Or, for a scrumptious meal with plenty of green chilies, visit The Pub in Puerto Aventuras and the Naughty Burrito

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

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@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Paddler’s Life on Facebook

University of Calgary Tony Johnson Memorial

Mar 7, 2018

The energy of Tulum called out to this week’s guest, Kelli Reese.  She had been feeling vibrationally out of alignment in her marriage and 17-year career in Northern California. During a visit to Tulum, Kelli felt the energetic pull of Tulum and the surrounding area. She knew she must take whatever actions necessary to follow her destiny and move to the Riviera Maya.

 

When Kelli’s soul profile in her Akashic Records confirmed her path, she quit her job and followed her heart to Tulum. Kelli currently uses her ability to read a person’s soul history Akashic Records to guide others to their destiny in her Life Coach practice and in her new book, The Destiny Road Map: The Little Guidebook to Face Your Fears, Embrace Change and Follow Your Heart. She also offers online readings.

 

She says she has reconnected to her true self in Tulum and when she needs to find peace away from the frequent construction dust in the area she heads to The Coba Ruins, she visits with a local Shaman for a Mayan cleansing in Temazcal and she submerges her body in the healing waters of the Caribbean waters.

 

Kelli’s Recommends these Vegetarian Restaurants:

 

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

LocoGringo Coba E-book

Kelli Reese

Kelli Reese on Facebook

The Destiny Roadmap: The Little Guidebook to Face Your Fears, Embrace Change, and Discover Your Calling, by Kelli Reese

Feb 20, 2018

My guest this week lives in the jungle of Tulum. Suzan Crane has a colorful career and travel history. She ran a famous punk club in New York, she was a PR Executive and toured with well-known musicians. After over 25 years in the business, the universe pushed her in a different direction.

 

At 47, Suzan sold everything she owned and for 14 years she backpacked to places all over the globe doing whatever was necessary to stay afloat monetarily. She turned her hobby of jewelry making into a source of income and found work as a freelance travel writer. When she felt it was time to put down roots she bought an out of the way place in Tulum.

 

She created the Ladies who Lunch/Chicas who Chat Sisterhood for women of all ages who live full or part-time in the Riviera Maya. The mission of the group is to make a positive impact in the area.

 

With photographer Sofia Hernandez she Founded an all-female interactive artisan market. The second annual market will be held on March 11, 2018, at Alumbra on the beach road. 20% of the rent from vendor booths will go to charity.

 

If you want to work with companies who support Suzan’s organization’s visit:

 

Colibri Hotels — A community conscious organization.

Habitas — A restaurant with remarkable food.

Amansala

Hip Hotel

El Vegetariano Mar Y Tierra

Loyal Order

JOSA Tulum

Global Gypsy Collection

Sophia Hernandez Photography

Margot Guenther

Carrie Haley

Tulum Now

Rivera Kitchen

Cenzontle Restaurant

Mestiza Pet Project

The Jungle Place Monkey Sanctuary

Green Tulum Recycling

Halo Bar

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Ladies Who Lunch/Chicas Who Chat Tulum

Artisan Market at Alumbra

Feb 6, 2018

My guest this week has lived near the beach in Mexico for most of his life. Alejandro (Alex) Espejo is a recent addition to the Loco Gringo team. His passion for wine and nightlife is what brings him to the podcast today.

 

Shortly after attending University in Mexico City, Alex and his friends opened the first organic food store in Cancun. When one of his partners wanted to go back to Mexico City, Alex to Akumal. He got a job at a resort hotel and spent most of his time under the water, near Cozumel, diving. His instructor is one of the best-known cavern divers in the world.

 

In addition to diving, Alex loves gastronomical pleasures. He visits the new restaurants that open in Tulum and Playa.

 

Restaurants Alex enjoys are:

 

In Tulum:

 

Uno — An organic, vegan wonderland of Japanese noodles.

Arca  — Voted one of the best new restaurants in Forbes magazine.

Beso  —  Great atmosphere and great food.

Kitchen Table — Everyone loves the food here.

 

In Playa del Carmen:

 

SOMA — An Urban Sushi Bar.  

Cantina Numero 20 — Mexican food from different regions. Try the grasshoppers or fried ant eggs.

 

Alex says the weather in the Riviera Maya calls for a lighter wine, depending on your meal. And Mexican vineyards produce excellent wines in Baja. Dry Rosés like the ST Rosé and the Calixa Grenache and the El Cielo and Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blancs are must-haves.

 

A good place to find these wines is at Europa. They have a great wine selection and they can special order wines and champagnes for you. Two locations in Playa del Carmen, 8th Street between 5th and 10th Avenue or in Quinta Allegria at the corner of Av. Constituyentes and 5th Avenue.

 

For those who enjoy the nightlife, there is a full moon party in Tulum on the Saturday of the full moon. The party starts at 10 pm and goes until 4 am. And Boa’s has a sunset party on Sunday's from  12 pm to 10 pm alongside their private bay area.

 

Travelers looking for an authentic Mexican experience should go to the traditional town of Valladolid and visit the local market or spend the night in the Sian Ka’an Reserve.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Alejandro Espejo on Facebook

 

Jan 30, 2018

My guest this week is an artist whose passion for a more tranquil life brought him to Playa del Carmen. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Gastón Charó made the decision to move away from the traffic and pollution of the city to languish in the natural places and multicultural environment of the Riviera Maya.

 

Eighteen years ago, he realized there weren’t many places for people to enjoy art. He reached out to local hotels and after a few months of waiting he finally had his first successful exhibit that lasted for sixteen years. He was gaining feedback from people who came from all over the globe. He used this insight as a catalyst to open his own gallery which displays his work as well as the work of other artists he respects. His gallery includes sculptures, lighting, and gardens all designed by artists with the intention of relaxing people who visit.

 

Gastón is searching to find a balance between his art and his business. He happily admits that his artist side always wins. It’s not easy to be an artist. Business doesn’t make it easy to enjoy life but his art brings him riches that money can not.

 

Gastón says the best Argentinian food can be found on his very own rooftop but when he does venture to Fifth Street he enjoys dining at:

  • Piola — For the welcoming and romantic atmosphere.
  • Cheester  — For big, heaping plates of pasta.
  • Casa Sofia  — For a robust Italian menu.
  • El Diez  — An Argentinian grill.

 

For visitors to the area, he recommends the Yal-Ku Lagoon where sculptures surround the area where cenotes meet the sea.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Gastón Charó Art Gallery on Facebook

 

Jan 23, 2018

My guest this week is a transplant from Scotland. Marieke Brown came to the Riviera Maya to dive the incredible caves and explore the second-largest reef in the world. She planned to continue her travels throughout Central America but something about Akumal drew her in.

 

In her 13 years in the area, Marieke has seen the coast change quite a bit. The amount of people has increased as well as the diversity of educational options. Her two young boys attend an affordable, international, bilingual school and they are getting a fantastic education.

 

As a licensed real estate agent and a mom, Marieke appreciates the cultural diversity, the modern healthcare, and all the family-oriented things to do that are close to home. Her expertise in the local real estate scene has even made her a 3- (soon to be 4-) time TV celebrity on HGTV house hunter shows. She enjoys helping people find their dream homes in one of the most beautiful, safest, travel destinations in the world.

 

Marieke’s Best of the Coast To-Do List for Family Adventures:

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Marieke@buyplaya.com

Buy Playa

HGTV Beachfront Bargain Hunters

LifeProof Cases

Beach Safe

Jan 16, 2018

My guest this week is someone who we, here at Loco Gringo, consider family. Scott Brown has been in the Akumal area since he was seven. He moved with his mother and sisters to be with their grandparents at the Akumal Dive Shop, which they started a few years before.

 

The Yucatan was a much different place 32 years ago. Scott remembers a childhood filled with snorkeling, diving, and exploring a shipwreck for treasures. His family made weekly trips to Cancun to visit the post office and for groceries.

 

Even though Scott went back to Texas for high school, Akumal always felt like home to him. He is now raising his own family in the Riviera Maya, a place where he feels a sense of community and feels safe. Through his photography, he has captured the breathtaking beauty of the people and the area.

 

Scott recommends visiting the less visited Mayan ruins such as Xcalak in Costa Maya and Puuc Route in Merida. Taking a day trip is easy on the fast road from Playa del Carmen to Merida.  And, just south of Tulum the Muyil site has a lot to offer. A family can book a guided boat tour through the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve there.

 

Scott and his family enjoy visiting Valladolid and Mexico City and spending a Sunday afternoon at the Ponderosa cenote.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Scott Brown Photo

Scott Brown Photo on Facebook

Scott Brown Photo on Instagram

 

Jan 9, 2018

This weeks throwback favorite from 2017 is.....Episode 056 with Cristobal Tamariz.

Cristobal Tamariz, is the owner of Riviera Maya Food Tours. Cristobal believes the best way to preserve a country's culture is through sharing and experiencing local traditions. And, his way of sharing is through authentic, regional cuisine.

Born in Central Mexico, Cristobal grew up surrounded by his grandmother’s and his mother’s flavorful cooking. He thought he might become an engineer and study chemistry, but soon realized he could create chemical reactions through food, so he spent five years studying the culinary arts. Cristobal traveled to different parts of the world before his love of his culture, his food, and his family, drew him back to Mexico.

 

Cristobal’s Secret Places:

● Puerto Morelos Square The Best Churros Ever!

Rincón de Archon — Puerto Morelos — Take a Food Tour.

Bacalar — The Lagoon Has Seven Different Colors of Blue.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo Directory

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

Riviera Maya Food Tours

Riviera Maya Food Tours on Facebook

Dec 26, 2017

This favourite from the past year was aired on episode 33.

My longtime friends, Laura and Perry, are calling in from Iowa to join me as my guests on today’s podcast. They are the couple responsible for Cancun Map and MapChick maps, and travel guides of the Yucatan Peninsula.

 

Perry shares the amusing story of how a waiter friend had won an obstacle course contest for a free trip to a little-known place called Cancun, Mexico. When he returned from the trip he told Laura and Perry, they must visit. This was in the 80’s when hotels were so far apart it was a 2-3 minute plane ride between them. The couple loved the area so much they would visit over and over even though they didn’t have it in their budget. They would sleep on the beach in a tent, and buy a loaf of bread with some butter, and rough it for a couple of weeks. 

 

They knew they had to share the information they were collecting with others. This is when they started their map projects. In the early days, they would pay someone to show them local swimming spots, local life events, and remnants of the ancient people. Perry also used a bicycle equipped with a compass and an odometer and pinpointed every last turn through small towns. And, all with little to no Spanish. 

 

The couple muses about writing a book about their experiences over the last 20 years but with the annual updates to their seven sets of maps, they may not find the time.

 

Be sure to catch the story of the night time fish dinner!

 

Laura and Perry’s Secret Spots:

 

Dec 19, 2017

On today's favourite throwback, we take a listen back to episode 060 with Amber Pierce.

Amber Pierce, writes the very popular Puerto Morelos Blog, plus she raises her children and works as a certified real estate agent in the area. When Amber first visited Puerto Morelos she appreciated the “Mexican-ness” of the place, as compared to cities like Cancun.

 

Amber says she accidentally became a property manager, after many snowbirds and friends asked her to take care of monthly bills and to help them find someone to watch over their homes. She knew a lot about the area, and when people started coming to her to see what properties were available in Mexico, she decided to become a real estate agent and opened an office. Then in 2006, when a certification became available, Amber became federally certified to sell real estate.

 

Amber’s children are bilingual, and have gone to top-notch private schools which are affordable. She says they wouldn’t have had the same opportunities in the U.S., and feels there are absolutely no drawbacks to raising children in Puerto Morelos.

 

3 Tips for Travelers Visiting Puerto Morelos

  1. 1. Snorkel or dive the reef — The area is designated as a Marine Sanctuary and has National Park status.
  2. 2. Visit every taco stand you see.
  3. 3. Go to the cenotes.
  4. Outside of Puerto Morelos, Amber Recommends Visiting:
Dec 12, 2017

As the end of 2017 closes in, we have decided to choose some of our favourite shows from this year. Hope you enjoy! 

 

Loco Gringo welcomes Craig Zabransky, the writer and photographer behind the Stay Adventurous travel blog. Craig was working as a consultant on Wall Street, back in 2004, when he yearned to see the world. Mexico wasn’t one of the first places he visited on his sabbatical but, after being lured to Mexico City for a consulting gig, his passion for exploring the country began.

 

Mexico City is one of the world’s most populated cities, with over 20 million people living in it. Craig notes that it can be an intimidating place to visit for the first time, but the experience is a must. Craig has chosen it as one of his favorite places in the world and calls it the heartbeat of the country. Craig takes an annual trip to his favorite place, with a group tour he facilitates, called Stay AdvenTours Mexico City. He tries to catch the Michoacán Monarch Migration, which he calls the most amazing thing he has ever seen.

 

When Craig explores other parts of the country, he relishes the ruins and cenotes. His favorite ruin is Coba, because he loves the sense of discovery, walking through the jungle to climb an ancient pyramid. He loves ease of traveling to and through Cancun, and visiting the Casa de Corazón at Soliman Bay.

 

Catch up with Craig and all things Mexico on Twitter #mexchat.

 

Craig’s Secret Spots:

Nov 29, 2017

My guest this week is a New Yorker who makes Chicago-style pizza in Playa del Carmen. Russell Granger’s story of finding himself in the Riviera Maya isn’t as romantic as some of my past guests. After a long-distance attempt to run a tourist hotel and restaurant with partners didn’t pan out, Russell decided to give the venture 100% of his attention and moved to Mexico. 

Russell’s story took a romantic turn only after he fully committed himself to Playa del Carmen. At 50, Russell quit drinking, stumbled upon a new restaurant to open, practices daily meditation, and found a great gal. When he is not taking care of business at his restaurant, Don Chendo’s, he helps organize community projects and non-profits.

By reaching out to the tourist and expat community, he collected 300,000 low dose aspirin for local children with heart issues using his restaurant as a donation center.

Russell’s advice for an authentic Mexican experience, take a minute and listen to how gentle people are when they talk to each other, even in the midst of a confrontation.

Russell’s dining recommendations:

 

Elemento, in Playa del Carmen, for good food with an international flair and great prices.

 

La Floresta has amazing shrimp tacos and the best Mexican salsa in Playa. This place offers a special treat. In the evening it changes into a Guadalajara style taco place called El Fogon.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Don Chendo Playa on Facebook

Seaside Rotary

Coco’s Animal Welfare

 
Nov 21, 2017

My guest this week is a New York Times award-winning journalist, former Director of Communications for a presidential candidate, a contributor to the Loco Gringo blog and a complete and utter Foodie. Kerra Bolton left North Carolina after she said goodbye to her lover, her mother and her high-powered career. Does she miss it? No, and yes. Kerra says the Riviera Maya is her home now but visits the U.S. every three months because she just can’t seem to quit it.

 

When Kerra’s transition to living in Mexico wasn’t all sunsets and rainbows she felt lucky to have a community of expats to lean on when she needed help. Her new circle of friends helped her deal with all the things that were not easy to navigate, especially when they were in Spanish. Another community Kerra has embraced are the creatives at the Akumal International Artist Residency. She had a photography show at the residency and promotes the idea of a more active artist community in the area.

 

Kerra is a self-proclaimed foodie. Her love of food has inspired her to visit local restaurants who have an international menu. She has even started her own food blog, Love in the Time of Collards, where she shares her favorite places to eat and celebrates pork ribs. While Mexican food isn’t her favorite she is looking forward to exploring the expanse of the country through its eateries.

 

Riviera Maya Restaurants Kerra recommends are:

 

 

Kerra’s advice to those who are visiting the area is to stay fluid and come with the spirit of openness.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Kerra Bolton

Love in the Time of Collards

@KerraBolton on Twitter

@KerraBolton on Instagram

Kerra Bolton on Facebook

Nov 14, 2017

Ellen de Jonge and her friend needed a break from the hustle and bustle of city life in Amsterdam. They decided they would take a year-long break to Mexico and boarded a plane without knowing exactly where they were going. During the flight, they used a Lonely Planet guide to help them decide where to go. They made it to Isla Mujeres in the Caribbean and enjoyed life so much they decided to stay.

 

Ellen has lived in Playa del Carmen for the past 17 years. To make ends meet she has tended bar, set up a fitness group, had her own yoga studio and now leads yoga and meditation classes and trains yoga instructors. Her favorite style of yoga is wise progression where beautiful postures are integrated with meditation for healing purposes.

 

Ellen is a vegetarian. She recommends the following restaurants:

 

Eazy to Go on Avenida 10 for handmade pasta noodles mixed with fresh veggies.

Ah, Cacao for great coffee with great service.

Ciao Ciao Cafe for oven- fired pizza.

Ellen will be facilitating a Yoga teacher training and workshop in 2018 in the UK and Amsterdam.

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Ellen de Jonge

Ellen de Jonge on Facebook

Nov 7, 2017

Before moving to the Riviera Maya, Kai Kirk lived in Texas with his wife. Both were putting in long hours for ungrateful companies. When they decided it was time to have children, they knew their existing lifestyle wouldn’t do. Kai says the decision to move to Akumal in the Riviera Maya changed their lives for the better.

 

Now with two children, Kai says he is surprised by the number of low-cost, high-quality private schools there are near Playa del Carmen and Akumal. There are both Waldorf and Montessori schools who accept all nationalities. The classes are taught 50% in English and 50% in Spanish, which has made his young son completely bilingual.

 

The move was made easier by the fact that Kai is familiar with the Akumal area. His family owned a condo in Akumal when he was young. His mother was an avid cave diver who appreciated the underground rivers in the cenotes.

 

Kai and his wife have had very few challenges moving to and living in Mexico. Kai recalls one challenge when obtaining a birth certificate for his son due to the difference in the North American tradition of the wife taking the husband’s name at marriage. He didn’t want his son to have the same two last names so he was forced to jump through some hoops at a time when his Spanish was still its infancy. And even then, the U.S. required more documentation to verify the birth than Mexico did.

 

For those who may have safety concerns about raising children in Mexico, Kai says you can certainly look for danger but danger doesn’t seem to hit innocent bystanders.

 

For enjoyment Kai and his family visit:

 

  • The colonial town of Merida.
  • Turtle Bay Bakery for comfort food.
  • Xpuha for long stretches of beautiful beach.
  • Xcacel, to swim in a crystal clear cenote.
  • A snorkeling spot in Akumal.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Akumal Now

Oct 31, 2017

You may have seen my guest today on cooking shows such as Beat Bobby Flay, The Taste, TLC Discovery or from her online syndicated cooking show, Chef Dimeo. She has also been written up in the New York Times, NY Magazine, the LA Times and more. Chef Diane Dimeo is on the show with me today because she is also the heart and soul behind the Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival which starts November 9th, 2017.

Diane came to the Riviera Maya area to visit a friend who was living in Playa del Carmen. After returning to the Big Apple, Diane found herself at a crossroads. She thought “I can sit here in New York and struggle or I can say screw it and live comfortably in Playa del Carmen.” She came soul-searching and eventually found herself in the magical town of Tulum.

While in Mexico City, Diane saw a different side of Mexico. After experiencing the fresh seafood, handmade salami, and other artisanal delights, she set out to let other people know Mexico was more than the traditional ‘spring-break’ destination. She contacted TLC Discovery about helping her to initiate a food festival there.

Her current event is the Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival taking place November 9th at various restaurants and hotels throughout Tulum. The well-known Chefs who are attending will be buying all their supplies from local vendors and creating unique menus from only locally available ingredients. You can see a list of the A-List Chefs at TulumFSWF.com.

 

Highlights of the Tulum Food, Spirits and Wine Festivals are:

● The Grand Opening Ceremony — Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, from 7-9 pm. 

○ It includes street food, artisanal craft, freebies from sponsors, and live mariachi music.

● Liquid Love & Pool Party — Friday and Saturday from 1-4pm.

○ Music, swimming, and tasting at Hacienda CoCo.

● 10-Course Taco & Mezcal Tasting — Friday from 6-10pm. 

○ At Safari Chef Mike Bagale and Chef Luis Aguilar cook in an Airstream.

 

The festival is for all people, not just Foodies. There will be vegetarian options and locals (including Expats) get a 45% discount off their ticket! All proceeds go to victims of the 2017 earthquake in Mexico.

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival

 

Oct 24, 2017

My guest this week is an authentic Mexican Chef who shares family recipes with visitors who attend her personalized cooking classes. By opening up her kitchen, Lina is able to live out her passion for cooking while sharing her special gift with others.

Lina says that many visitors are confused as to which foods are authentically Mexican. When people ask for fajitas, chili con carne, or chimichangas Lina must politely tell them the foods they are asking for are Tex-Mex. When Lina makes a meal passed down from her grandmother it almost always includes a mole sauce which can include chilis and other sumptuous spices. Lina’s personal favorite is her black mole.

When Lina has a day off she visits one of the crystal clear cenotes around Tulum or she works on her hobby of creating her own bags. She reminds visitors that using a reusable bag is a great way to show their love for the environment and biodegradable sunscreen is a must for preserving the pristine cenotes.

When Lina has the opportunity to visit a local restaurant, her favorites are: 

 

Hartwood

Cetli

La Zebra

Mezzanine

Posada Margherita

Antojitos La Chiapaneca

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

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Lina’s Mexican Kitchen on Facebook

 

Oct 10, 2017

My guest today, Lorenzo Ancona Diaz de Leon, and his father are the visionaries behind the Aktun-Chen Natural Park located just South of Akumal in the Riviera Maya. In the Mayan language, Aktun means cave and Chen means underground river. Both natural wonders are featured in the luscious green park.

Lorenzo studied Hotel and Business Management at a University in Cancun.  His father purchased the land which is now the park — over 400 acres of pristine jungle — 25 years ago. His father’s mission was to share the magic of the jungle with visitors. The park has recently been named the #3 attraction in the area, due to its cave tour, ziplines, baby wild animals, and the underground river. The family-friendly park offers guided tours and snorkeling in a cenote.

Lorenzo has made agreements with local schools and communities, which offer special pricing for locals who want to have fun and learn about their environment. He says he also has a soft spot for guests who are visiting for the second or third time.

No matter where you are from in the world, Mexican people welcome you with open arms. The Cancun area is a fun and safe spot to bring your family. Lorenzo recommends renting a car so you don’t miss out on any of the wonderful sites that his country has to offer.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

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Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

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Aktun-Chen Natural Park

Email Lorenzo: ancona71@hotmail.com

Aktun-Chen Tripadvisor Reviews

 

Oct 3, 2017

When Ricardo Arellanos’ family moved to Cozumel, the Riviera Maya was a very different place. Cancun only had two hotels and Playa del Carmen was just a small town. Today the area is abundant with visitors and many of those visitors are drawn to the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary where Ricardo works.

Working at the Monkey Sanctuary allows Ricardo to live out one of his missions in life, which is to give people an experience an unforgettable experience by sharing the treasures of the Riviera Maya.

The six-hectare sanctuary cares for injured, displaced and unwanted wild animals. They rehabilitate the animals, introduce animals back into their native habitat, and educate humans. They have four different types of monkeys, snakes, exotic lemurs, zebras, goats, and more. Visitors learn about how the animal ended up at the Sanctuary, why the animals behave the way they do, and interact with the snakes and birds.

A partner of the Sanctuary, VEA Tours offers rides on ATVs to a beautiful cenote for swimming and then an underground cavern tour which has stalactites and stalagmites.

 

Ricardo Recommends Visiting These Authentic Local Places:

● Cenotes — Cristalina and Azul are two of Ricardo’s favorites.

El Alux — An underground restaurant in Playa del Carmen.

Un Taco Mas — The name says it all— in Playa del Carmen.

Los Aguachiles — Great seafood platters.

La Cueva del Chango — A nice place for breakfast.

El Pescador — For fried oyster ceviche in Cozumel.

La Cocay — International dishes in Cozumel.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

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@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Akumal Monkey Sanctuary

Akumal Money Sanctuary on Facebook

VEA Trips and Tours

 

Sep 26, 2017

Originally from the cold white north in Saskatchewan, Canada, Parrish Konda worked in sales. He now lives in the capital city of Yucatan, Merida. Parrish can’t imagine ever going back to his previous life. He, along with his business partner, is building a residential condo development that sits on the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico in a little town named Progreso.

During today’s episode, Parrish shares the story of his first trip to Mexico, why he stays and his favorite places in Mahahual, the first pueblo he called home here.

Parrish came to Mahahual two years ago based on a friend’s recommendation.  He loves the beaches, the views, and the adventurous beach road. When his friends make their annual visit they always go to Mahahual.

 

Things to do in Mahahual:

● Diving

● Visit the Costa Maya Water Park

● Birding — Over 200 species of birds frequent the area.

● Drive to Bacalar’s Lagoon of 7 Colors.

● Drink margaritas on the beach.

 

Parrish lives in Merida, also known as the White City.  It’s a colonial town with new boutique shops and wine bars popping up along its cobblestone streets. Parrish loves the laid-back lifestyle in Mexico, the people, and their culture. His only regret, he says, is not making the move sooner.

Merida’s Mercado 60 is a unique food truck park that features live music and dancing in the evenings.

The condo development Parrish is working to create is in Progreso.

 

Things to do near Progreso:

● Visit the Dzibilchaltun Ruins.

● Visit the Uxmal Ruins.

● See the flamingos at Celestun Biosphere Reserve (Nov-Dec).

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

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Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

Regal Property Developments

Regal Property Developments on Facebook

Regal Property Developments on Instagram

Parrish@regalproperty.net

 

Sep 19, 2017

Margo Guenther is back for another installment of “Things to Do in Tulum.” During today’s episode, she shares all the places on the jungle side of the beach road. Since Margo moved to Tulum in 2006, she says the jungle side has exploded with great places to eat, drink, and shop.

So open up a map of Tulum and follow along, so when you visit you won’t miss any of these great places.

 

La Eufemia — One of the hippest places on the beach. The Argentinian owner’s motto is “Relax and Eat Some F*ing Tacos.” That should tell you everything you need to know.

Hartwood — Big marketing dollars helped this place reach out to New Yorkers visiting the Riviera Maya for the food. It’s a bit pricey but the chef is known by name.

Cortázar Bar — Named after the Argentinian author, Julio Cortázar this bar offers high-level cocktails and is the perfect place to spend your time while waiting for your reservation at Hartwood.

Cenzontle: Jardin Secreto — One of Margo’s favorites. There is a beautiful garden out back with twinkly lights and all the drinks are named after 1920’s film stars.

Clan-Destinos — A new, hidden spot that serves up some great burgers and their own hand-crafted beers. There is a beautiful cenote to marvel at as well.

El Cangrejo Mudo — It’s a small taco cart in front of Clan-Destinos that has really good ceviche.

Casa Jaguar  — High-end food and drinks and techno music a few nights a week for their party in the mangroves.

Gitano  — A little bit of New York, New York in Tulum. Features live music during dinner.

BOLAS de Postre  — Has alcohol with ice cream. What’s not to like about that combo? It turns into quite the party scene.

Tunich  — Margo’s favorite place for breakfast and brunch. They recently introduced Boozy Smoothies.

Kitchen Table — A jungle kitchen. Check out the people camping in the old limestone mine next door.

Ahau Beach Club — When Margo goes to the beach she goes to Ahau. Food and drinks are delivered to you right on the beach and some evenings feature music.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

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Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

My Feel Good Way

 

Sep 12, 2017

Margo Guenther is back for her third installment of Things to Do in Tulum. During today’s episode, she shares all the happening spots that feature live music. Margo is not sure how it happened but she says she somehow became the token gringa that hung out with all the musicians. She also says that the amazing music is one of the reasons she still lives in Tulum.

 

Live Music Can Be Found At:

Batey Bar — Located downtown on the new hip street in Tulum.  It features a VW bus parked in front that has been transformed into a sugar cane press. During high-season, they have people playing music early in the front, and in the back, there is live music every night, year-round. Margo recommends the mojitos.

Curandero — Features a DJ and late-night parties.

WAYE — The music STARTS at 1 a.m. here.

La Palapa del Indio — Live Salsa dancing, a Mexican smorgasbord, and a fiesta-type atmosphere.

Infinyto — A great place to hang with locals in the upstairs bar.

Todos Santos — Popular with the younger crowd. It’s hopping on the weekends.

Encanto Cantina — A 3-man band who play classic rock near the street. Great food.

Terraza Nawal — High-quality Mescal bar exclusively for LGBT crowd.

ZAMAS — Beachfront bar with great food and amazing musicians. It’s Margo’s home away from home.

Puro Corazon — A favorite place for musicians who can sing for their supper. Visit the Ciel Rose Sunset Bar on top of the 4-story tower.

Le Bistro — You can find great specials at this quaint French restaurant.

La Malquerida Cantina — Typical Mexican food.

La Querida — Margo’s favorite flan & good prices for pizza.

Ki’Bok — A cool place to get coffee, cupcakes, and hamburgers.

Mateo’s — Mexican fare with a sunset bar.

La Luna — Features live music with BBQ every Wednesday.

La Zebra — Great live music during the DAY, the beach is super close and on Sunday nights there is salsa on the beach.

Papaya Playa — Famous for their full moon parties in which hundreds of people attend.

 

If you are planning your visit to Tulum mark all these places on the map and try and visit them all! Just make sure to follow Margo’s recommendation and take a disco nap in the afternoon.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

My Feel Good Way

My Feel Good Way on Facebook

Margoinmexico@hotmail.com

Loco Gringo Podcast featuring Margo Guenther #1

Loco Gringo Podcast featuring Margo Guenther #2

Sep 5, 2017

Today’s  guest, Margo Guenther, is a long-time resident of Tulum. When Margo moved to Tulum there were only about 3,000 people. Today the town is estimated to have 30-40K people and is still growing. Margo is a fan of both the established staple restaurants and the newer progressive eateries.

 

Margo’s Favorite Traditional Places:

Antojitos la Chiapaneco Tulum  — Order the El Pastor!

Doña Tina’s — Try the Caldo. Doña Tina cooks it up fresh every day.

El Camellos Jr. — Fish at its finest. You must try the Shrimp Diablo.

Los Aguachiles — Tacos, Tostadas and Ceviche served in a Northern Mexican style.

Margo’s advice has been featured in popular publications and her list is a must-do for New Yorkers visiting the area.

 

Margo’s Favorite New Eatery:

Primitivo — Located behind the Agua Viva hotel which features an unrivaled bamboo building technique and sweat lodge, Primitivo offers two distinctly different menus. One is from Raw Love, a raw vegan local restaurant and Primitivo’s own menu which includes ribeye tacos on handmade tortillas.

Juanita Diavola in Coco’s — Fresh pizza and homemade pasta on the beach road.

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books

My Feel Good Way

My Feel Good Way on Facebook

Margoinmexico@hotmail.com

Loco Gringo Podcast featuring Margo Guenther #1

Aug 29, 2017

Today’s  guest, Ilse Diamant, is in the business of love. As a Luxury Romance Ambassador, Ilse has perfected the romance industry by providing couples with magical, destination weddings in the Riviera Maya and beyond.

Born in Merida, Ilse realized 99% of the economy in the area was driven by tourism. Both her mother and father worked in the hotel and tourism industry, and helped to make the resorts in Cancun successful. Isle studied hotel and restaurant management in Mexico, and went to Spain on a scholarship. She fell in love with weddings, and made the decision to return to the Riviera Maya to start her career in the romance industry.

In 2005, Ilse started contacting hotels with the new concept of releasing butterflies during a wedding, and as her reputation grew, more and more people were asking her what other services she could provide them. After earning her wedding planner certification, she went on to become certified in LGBT, Jewish, and Green wedding services.

Ilse currently has a network of top-quality vendors, or ‘friend-ors’ as she refers to them, and wows people with her inspirational ideas and high-quality wedding planning services. Ilse understands that it’s the people involved in the process that makes the Riviera Maya such a sought-after location for destination weddings.

In an effort to give back to an industry that has given so much to her, Ilse started the Signature Love Wedding Foundation. The foundation assists couples to have a wedding they may not have otherwise been able to have.

 

Ilse’s Favorite Places:

● Puerto Morelos — A fisherman’s town which offers visitors the ability to eat fresh ceviche on a boat in the middle of the ocean.

● Chichen Itza — In December, there is a grand fiesta near the main pyramid.

● Merida — A culturally rich colonial town with a Sacred Art museum.

 

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents, and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

Luxury Romance Ambassador

Diamant Events and Weddings on Facebook

@Diamantevents on Instagram

Aug 22, 2017

My guest this week, Jorie Maloney, finds the family-friendly atmosphere in Puerto Morelos a great place to live and raise her son. Jorie’s art, entrepreneurial spirit, and big heart have also been major factors in building a fulfilling life in the local community.

As a child, Jorie lived in the dramatically different landscape of Baja on Mexico’s western coast. When she came to the Riviera Maya, she was pregnant with her first child, and uncertain of how her new life would play out.  After only four short years of living in Puerto Morelos, she created the thriving Puerto Morelos Market, which includes 60 vendors who sell their food and designs to visitors who want to buy custom made crafts, a prosperous art business, Xuperb Designs, and has become the Acting Director of Riviera Rescue, an animal sanctuary dedicated to rehabilitating dogs in distress.

 

To make the most out of your trip to the Riviera Maya Jorie recommends:

● Visiting one of the 40 accessible dive sites that are a part of the Marine Parks in Puerto Morelos. There are many opportunities for first time, and experienced, divers to discover a sunken military ship, and to become surrounded by eagle rays that frequently swarm the area. Jorie says it’s also incredibly easy to hire a panga (a small boat), and snorkel spot for the day.

● Visiting the Cenotes where you can swim in a magical, fresh water pool in a hidden spot in the jungle. Jorie’s favorite is at Kin-Ha, which is part of the Ruta de Cenotes route near Puerto Morelos.

● Eating breakfast at El Nicho. El Nicho is one of the only restaurants in the area to offer Eggs Benedict. Jorie attributes the meal as being a driving factor in her moving to Puerto Morelos. The owners also support local artists by displaying art on the walls inside.

● Visiting the family friendly town and beaches of Puerto Morelos. The reef along the coast keeps the waves small for swimming with youngsters, and the playgrounds surrounding town square make the day enjoyable for the entire family.

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They are buyer’s agents, and only sell titled properties. They are truly experts in their field!

 

Use these Resources to Continue Your Journey:

Loco Gringo

Loco Gringo on Facebook

Concierge@locogringo.com — Ask Paulina

Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com

@locogringocom on Twitter

@locogringo_mexico on Instagram

Xuperb Design

Puerto Morelos Market on Facebook

Riviera Rescue on Facebook

Moms de Puerto Morelos on Facebook

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