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
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Now displaying: August, 2016
Aug 30, 2016

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Ryan headed to the west coast to complete his graduate degree in architecture. He started working with a local sculptor in California, who does art installations, furniture designs and architecture. During Ryan’s initial interview, the sculptor asked him if he would move to Mexico. Ryan ended up in the city of Merida with a team of people. About a year and a half ago, Tulum called to him and Ryan transitioned from life in the city to life on the beach.

After giving himself time to settle in, Ryan started working with local building contractors to get a feel for the area. He saw opportunity in Tulum, which lead him to start his own design and building firm, Caribbean Luxury Builders. An aspect he loves about building design in Mexico, is the intricate tile work he has seen in many of the colonial houses. This inspired him to design the concept for the tiles on a computer, then have local craftsmen make the tiles by hand.

Ryan says his business is picking up but its slow, going nature aspect is like everything else in Tulum - you just have to give up planning and go with the flow. You have to network―you just can’t wait for customers to come to you. But in Tulum, it’s easy to get conversations started.


Ryan’s Secret Places:

Uno Astro Lodge for Magical Sunsets

Tulum Art Club for Coffee and Mexican Art

Papaya Playa for Electronic Music

Todos Santos for a Good Party

La Dama Juana for Mezcla 

Casa Jaguar Tulum  to Party ‘Til You Drop

Eden Tulum for Artsy Entertainment

ZINE for Dinner and a Movie


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Caribbean Luxury Builders

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Caribbean Luxury Builders on Facebook

Aug 23, 2016

My guest today, Sandra Dayton, is a huge supporter of the local Mayan community here in the Riviera Maya, specifically Puerto Morelos. She is an icon who embodies a true pioneer spirit. Sandra became enchanted with Mexico when she was only 7. Her family would take her from Texas to Mexico for shopping trips. Her silky blonde hair got her a lot of attention from the local women who said it reminded them of corn silk. She says the women would give her free ice cream and the mariachis would sing songs about the little market princess. She knew then she would one day live in Mexico.

She fell in love with the community of Puerto Morelos and it was there she founded her first business Jungle Tours in the Jungle. A local Mayan family had some land with a cenote in the area so Sandra bought roughly 2.5 acres to build a community tour center there. Sandra’s dream to bring local community tourism to the area became a reality. The success of the project has spawned a weekly Jungle Market complete with a peace ceremony. 

In 2008, Sandra was looking for an additional way for the local women to make money. She learned massages had been part of the Mayan culture for ages so she started the Jungle Spa. The women receive 75% of the cost of each massage they perform. At first, there was a bit of a cultural hurdle to jump when Sandra had to explain to the local women that tourists would take their clothes off and get a massage from a stranger because traditional Mayan massage was performed only as a healing exercise. The Jungle Spa is now frequently visited by tourists during the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.


Sandra’s Special Spots:

1.) Yal Ku Lagoon in Akumal  

2.) Shopping in San Miguel

3.) Central Vallarta on Cenote Road 

4.) Cobá Cenote and Ruins


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Maya Echo

Maya Echo on Facebook

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Aug 16, 2016

Originally from a failing tourist town in Washington State, an offhand comment prompted a friend to tell Margo about a management opportunity in Xamach Dos in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. In just four days after speaking with the owner of the property, she arrived ready to work. She had no electricity and had to take a 2-hour drive just for groceries, and this was in 2006.

Margo finds the small town of Punta Allen inspiring due to the multi-generational Mayan families and eccentric expats who visit in the winter months. She says it has six really good restaurants, and the Serenidad Shardon hotel is nice, especially for sports fishermen who want to pick up a Grand Slam of tarpon, permits and bonefish. During the boat ride to Punta Allen, many of the 350 species of birds of the area can be seen as well.

Margo found herself spending a lot of time on travel blogs, including Loco Gringo, during the day and hanging out listening to local music at night. People started to fall in love with her life and wanted to know more about it. After a forum reader asked her about being a masseuse, she ended up with eight massage appointments within two hours.

Margo’s passion is something she calls My Feel Good Way. A fun and easy way for massage clients to lower chronic pain and stress. She is currently working on a book, online classes, and she also has personal retreats. 


Margo’s Special Secret Places:

1.) Zamas for Live Music

2.) Cenzontle Jardin Secreto for Great Food

3.) Tita Tulum for a History in Local Architecture

4.) Dos Ciebas for Romantic Dinners

5.) Batey for Mojitos

6.) Campanella Cremerie for Gelato

7.) Único and Ginger are great Gourmet Food Restaurants

8.) Antojitos La Chiapaneca for Tacos and Great Prices


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My Feel Good Way

My Feel Good Way on Facebook

Aug 9, 2016

Originally from Mexico City, Claudia came to the Riviera Maya in 2000 when she was hired by the tourism board to create a hardcover publication called Destination Riviera Maya for hotels. At that time, the Riviera Maya was known as Playa del Carmen, or just Cancun South.

When Claudia’s father passed away she decided to turn her life upside down and start doing what she loved, so she could have more time with her son. She started freelancing for travel writers as a scout and eventually found herself translating for visiting doctors. She then went to the Red Cross to study to become an EMT. It was during the relief efforts after Hurricane Dean that Kay and Claudia met. Today, she spends her days in promoting tourism in the area and translating for doctors. She has even bartered with doctors to get access to behavior modification medical techniques. 

Claudia plans to offer these techniques to spas and retreats in the area for tourists who want to truly relax, and for locals who want to modify their behaviors. She believes the Riviera Maya is a healing paradise which has no equal.

Claudia’s Special Places in Playa del Carmen:

  1. El Pirata for Fresh Ceviche 
  2. PapaCharly for Homemade Pasta 
  3. Don Chendo for Deep Dish Pizza
  4. La Tarraya for Great Prices on the Beach
  5. Zenzi Bar for a Tuna Burger

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  1. Loco Gringo
  3. LocoGringo Mexico Vacation Free E-books
  4. Brain Tap Technologies   
Aug 2, 2016

Arielle Thomas Newman moved to Playa del Carmen from Kansas City, Missouri, in 2001. She and her husband knew they wanted to live in a beautiful beach environment, but didn’t want to be more than 2 hours from the US. The Riviera Maya in Mexico was the perfect location.

Arielle is a yoga teacher, a writer and a choreographer. A perfect sequence of events gave her the opportunity to cover yoga classes at a local gym, write healthy living articles for the local paper and then choreograph the Jesus Christ Superstar musical, making her life in Playa complete. She has now been teaching yoga (Hatha) longer than anyone else in the area and she trains other instructors who have their own studios.

Her passion to continue living in the Riviera Maya is fueled by her love of what she does, the modern conveniences which are now available and her ability to meet people from all over the world. She says the area is healing, rejuvenating and healthy for those calling this area home and for the visitors who come to attend her yoga retreats.


Arielle’s Secret Spots

  1. El Jardin Restaurante in Playa del Carmen - Friday night cabarets
  2. Thompson Beach Club in Playa del Carmen - Weekend brunch
  3. Latitude 20 by Live Aqua in Playa del Carmen - Beautiful setting
  4. Cafe Antoinette near the Cozumel Ferry Dock - People watching
  5. Das Brot in Playa del Carmen - German Pastries
  6. Rolandi’s in Cozumel - Fresh fish
  7. La Parrilla in Playa del Carmen - Great prices
  8. Soliman Bay - Sit under a palm tree and relax
  9. Valladolid - Yoga retreat


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More than Yoga

Yoga by the Sea on Facebook

Alhambra Hotel

Soho Playa Hotel