Welcome to Loco Gringo Mexico, the place where we transform a tourist into a traveler, because you deserve to see more of the world than just what is in a guide book. Each week we talk with amazing locals who know the Riviera Maya and Yucatan like only a local can and get them to share their tips and insights on the local scene, culture and cuisine from a locals’ perspective. So pour yourself a Margarita, grab a comfy chair, and let's get the show going. In today's installment I talk to
Captain Quickie. He was born in Southern Florida. His family moved to Mexico in 1982. Quickie went back to Mexico for College, where he graduated with an Economics degree. Quickie thought he needed a degree in that field to make the money he wanted to make to afford the big boats he knew one day he would own. Quickie was a stock broker in New York City for a couple of years. Until finally his love of Mexico and boats drew him back. Him and his wife Amy started their own business called Local Quickies, best tour in Playa Del Carmen Riviera Maya area. You can go sailing, snorkeling, zip lining, check out the turtles, culture, wildlife, local cuisine and more. They want their guests to feel like they are hanging out with friends that happen to be locals.
What is Quickie’s favorite place on the Peninsula?
He has been to over 70% of the ruins on the peninsula. Quickie’s go to place is EK Balam. It is one of the most untouched, unscathed, and well preserved areas. He says to go 1 km past EK Balam, and there is an actual town called EK Balam. He met a lady there named Telmasa, who chased him down with her bicycle and hopped into his truck, and showed him the best cenote he had ever seen.
Where is a great place to stop for shopping and food?
Quickie says Temazon is a great place to stop for smoked meats, their pork chops are outstanding. Three-fourths of the town is smoked meats and the other quarter is all about the old Caribbean style furniture.
What are the best kept secret beaches?
In Tulum there is a beach bar called the Zazil-Kin. This is the cheapest place to snatch up a beer; they are only charging 25 pesos and also have happy hour from 12 to 2pm. When you walk on the beach you will want to kick your shoes off and get a great pedicure, because this beach is well preserved. The second would be a cenote in Jardin del Eden, in the Yucatan.
What are some tips and tricks that families traveling to Mexico should be aware of?
You will want to bring a double stroller if you are traveling with multiple children and make sure to bring your own car seats for the kidos. You will want to avoid the big resorts, such as Playa and Cancun. Akumal and Puerto Aventuras are the most family oriented resorts. Quickie says this is the place that he would trust his daughter to be safe in.
Welcome to Loco Gringo Mexico, the place where we transform a tourist into a traveler. Because you deserve to see more of the world than just what is in a guide book. Each week we talk with amazing locals who know the Riviera Maya and Yucatan like only a local can and get them to share their tips and insights on the local scene, culture and cuisine from a locals’ perspective. So pour yourself a Margarita, grab a comfy chair, and let's get the show going. In today's episode I talk to Kelly McLaughlin. She is a Canadian woman who arrived in Mexico back in 2003 for a two-week vacation, and hasn't left since. She's a writer and social media personality known as Cancun Canuck. Through her blog and social network, she shares her love of Mexico by sharing her unique personal tales. If she is not online she's probably underwater, climbing a pyramid, or getting into some sort of shenanigans with her adventuresome son, Max. Kelly also has five rescue cats, which in no way implies she is single, except she is!
What do you find special about Cancun outside of the proverbial hotel zone?
Cancun is known as the Las Vegas of Mexico. There are many places that are hidden gems within the hotel zone that only locals pretty much know about. Rio Nizuc, which is a little corner of Cancun that has been there forever. The restaurant doesn’t have electricity. This is a rustic place where you can go to have a nice cold one, order some ceviche, and even grab your pole and fish.
The Wet’n Wild is still open and is in the process of partnering with another company. They will be doing expansions and possibly changing their name in the near future.
Has Punta Sam been developed for the tourists?
There is development there now; however, there are still secret places there as well. Punta Sam is located ten miles north of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. The shore faces Isla Mujeres to the north east and the archeological sites of El Meco and El Cerrito are on the southwest side. Punta Sam is a tranquil beachfront that offers varieties of food and shopping. You need to check out a restaurant called Les Hiebas, this is another place you can go fishing, get ice cold refreshments, and chow down on some great food.
Do you have any fun spots in the Riviera Maya?
The Riviera Maya extends along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Morelos to the Slan Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This place was once home of small fishing villages. The Riviera Maya has been developed into a tourist area now. One of the secret places to check out here is the Jardin del Eden, where there are cliffs you can jump off of. There is also a cavern that has many interesting fish. Xpu-Ha has some glamping. This place costs about 400 pesos (about $25.00 USD). You don’t need to bring a tent, but make sure to leave your valuables at home.
Have you been to EK Balam in the Archeological site area?
This place is easily accessible from Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Kelly says you need to hire a local guide. The tour guides have been around for a long time. You are hearing the history from the family members themselves. She says this is nothing short of spectacular. You have to eat the longaniza, the best sausage you will ever sink your teeth into.
Kelly went to a ranch in EK’ Balam and visited a little place called Genesis Eco Retreat. There, she discovered a Canadian journalist named Lee who was from Kelly’s home town. Lee invited Kelly and Max to her ranch in the jungle. There were cenotes in the ranch and a spiral down cave, which is where the cows were hanging out.