3 Places to Visit in Montreal During the Weekend

  1. Old Montreal
  2. Montreal Botanical Gardens
  3. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Last weekend we did a short road trip to this amazing city to celebrate my birthday. I’ve been there a few times before so I want to share with you this experience. You can visit many places in Montreal during a weekend, and the best thing is that it’s just a 6 hour-drive from Toronto!

Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal)

The city has a unique European Style that captivates the view of anyone. There are fours ways to get from to Old Montreal, either by subway, bus, taxi or simply by foot. On our first day we drove there and parked in at Complex Desjardins which is the closest mall. Alternatively, you can walk to “Vieux- Montreal” and find a spot in the street. On Sunday because of the Bike Tour we couldn’t use our car, so we took the subway to Place-d’Armes.

We spent most of our Sunday eating, visiting and exploring the most important historical buildings such as Quartier International of Montreal and walking around its pretty streets at Ville-Marie and Bonsecour Market

In a previous trip we have visited the famous Notre-Dame, however this time we found out there is a free tour of the “Notre_dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel” which lets you walk up to the roof top and enjoy the most amazing views of “Rue-Port-Of-Montreal”

Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique)

Located just minutes from downtown Montreal and near the Biodome at the northern Plateau Mont-Royal, we strolled around this beautiful place, including the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. A quick note: my husband read an article that said 50 Chinese labour men built out this authentic Chinese Garden which is a genuine replica of this amazing garden. w.Wthout words is a great experience to live!! In every corner you can feel the sensation your are at China. Walking straight ahead you will face a Japanese garden, that is a quiet with many typical Japanese decoration around the pods.

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

It is an uphill minor basilica in Montreal, Quebec. You can access by car, there is free parking at the top or by bus service provided. The modern and majestic church was one of the highlight of our visit to mont Royal this time. Very peaceful and serene inside. However the opposite outside since you can enjoy of the young people goes to see the sunset many groups enjoining the panoramic view of the city. It is worth seeing!!.

Hopefully this short road trip could be your guide in your next road trip.

With love


24 hours in Cancun

img_0661In the last minute we decided to rent a car and head directly to Cancun. A simple decision as it’s just an hour drive from Playacar. Initially, the plan was to go there with a guided tour offered by our resort but after considering some options we decided to go on our own.

Near our resort we found a branch of Enterprise. The night before our excursion we rented a car for 24 hours and then early on Wednesday we hit the road after having a delicious and varied breakfast in the resort.img_0788img_3351

We headed directly to Cancun an made our first stop at Delfines Beach as we were looking forward to taking a picture with the Cancun sign. This spot is famous for its beautiful views of the city and beaches. We were not surprised to see a long line of people – mostly tourists – waiting to take a picture with the sign. Since the wait was getting long, a couple who was ahead of us had the smart idea of offering those on the front to help them take their pics in order to speed up things. The line actually started moving and soon we were taking to long-awaited pic!

The beach has a lot of local stores selling all types of fruit including green mangos. It’s common to see groups of friends or families taking pics with the blue ocean on the background. This is clearly a spot favourited by locals. Plus, washrooms are available everywhere you go! My husband and I went for a stroll and really enjoyed this place despite the intense heat.

Later we drove to Plaza La Isla, a nice mall that opened recently. It’s a large place with many stores, many of them international brands.

As we strolled around, we ended up having lunch in La Parrilla, a nice spot facing the harbour which serves traditional Yucateca dishes. As you may expect, food was bit spicy, but I managed to wash it all down thanks to a giant glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. While having our food one of the servers offered to take a pic which we gladly accepted. Minutes later, our server showed up with the framed pic asking for USD$15. We went with the non-framed version for $10 which made a nice souvenir. The place was decorated with traditional Mexican elements, including flowers, banners and flags . Also, a couple of servers were fashioning traditional Mexican dresses. Service was excellent as usual with many restaurants in the area.

We spent the next hour strolling through the mall and doing some shopping. My hubby got a pair of sunglasses and I was able to get a hold of a nice pair of Tous earrings, which I wouldn’t be able to find in Canada as they don’t have any stores in the country. Can someone tell me why?

Following our mall experience, we explored Punta Cancun, one of the busiest areas in town. The area is full of options for entertainment, food and drinks. One of them is Hard Rock Café, a Cancun staple where we made a stop to refresh our throats.I went with a brownie ice cream, my husband decided for a giant chocolate milkshake. Right beside us was Coco Bongo, one of the most popular entertainment experiences in this part of Mexico, famous for their great musical performances and massive parties. I’ll write a post about this one describing our experience in more detail.

Before we drove back to Playacar, we did a quick tour of the hotel strip. Usually this is something offered by almost all hotel chains. Essentially, you buy a daily pass that would give you access the hotel and let you enjoy its public areas. We were lucky as the day we did the tour there was no fee (typically it costs about $30 per person to visit each hotel, food and drinks not included). Some of the best hotels we toured included Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott. Each hotel employed a different concept; the first one elegant and glamorous, the latter one more charming, modern and fresh. This is my own personal opinion, or at least how I felt about them. Not an expert on the matter to be honest.

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At the Ritz Carlton, you get a glimpse of Caribbean flowers welcoming you as you take your first steps into its elegant lobby. The guest receiving area is full of fine decoration, in the classic style. As I toured the lobby area, I came across a hostess who invited me to visit the Fantino room.

Her staff was hosting a function that evening and I was able to go around this beautiful room filled with classic European-style furniture. The hostess and I had been speaking English for about five minutes when we found out both of us spoke Spanish. How funny is that!



Visiting the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa was a charming experience. I was welcomed by a huge and beautiful floral basket placed in the middle of the lobby. Further down in the lounge area, I had a great time chilling out while listening to a great singer and her piano. This spacious lobby features multiple seating options perfect for meeting and catching up with friends. Also, the lounge bar offered breathtaking views of the ocean surrounded by white sand and rows of palm trees.

One of the aspects I liked the most about this hotel were the many restaurant and spa options it offers, along with a little shopping mall selling all types of Maya crafts, clothing and jewelry. Check out the link below for more photos.


After a busy but happy day, we drove back to Playacar, arriving just in time for dinner at the resort.

By the way .. This is my first blog…Happy New Year!

Love, Andrea

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Thank you!. 

24 horas en Cancun.


En el último minuto decidimos rentar en carro para dirigirnos directamente a Cancún. Fue fácil tomar la decisión ya que es a una hora manejando desde Playacar. Inicialmente, el plan era tomar un tour guiados de los que ofrecen en el hotel, después de revisar algunas opciones decidimos ir por nuestra propia cuenta.

Cerca a nuestro resort encontramos una sucursal de Enterprise. La noche anterior a nuestra excursión rentamos un carro por 24 horas, entonces bien temprano tomamos la ruta después de saborear un delicioso y variado desayuno en el resort, (No se logran imaginar la delicia de comida y sobre todo la variedad, es absolutamente increíble). Nos dirigimos hacia esta ciudad e hicimos nuestra primera parada en la Playa de los Delfines, estábamos buscando el letreo de la palabra Cancún. Este lugar es bastante turístico y famoso por su bella vista de la ciudad y su playa. La verdad no nos sorprendimos con la fila tan larga de personas, en su mayoría turistas, esperando para tomar su turno para tomarse una foto con la señal como recuerdos. Ya que la fila estaba bastante demorada una pareja que estaba delante de nosotros tuvieron una brillante idea se pudieron al frente de la señal ye empezaron a tomar fotos a todos para que la fila se moviera más rápido, y así fue la fila se movió super rápido, yo penaba menos mal esta pareja estaban atrás de nosotros, porque apenas ellos se tomaron la suya se fueron y volvió el caos.

Esta playa tiene bastantes tienditas con todo tipo de frutas incluido el mango verde en tiras con miel y sal, (en Canada no se ve), es muy común ver grupo de amigos o familias tomando fotos con el mar azul como fondo, así que nosotros nos apuntamos e hicimos la nuestra foto también. Claramente nos dimos cuenta de que es un lugar favorito para la gente local, ósea la que vive allí en su rato libre se dirigen a descansa en esa playa. Un buen punto es que tienen baños públicos bastante limpios en todo lado. Estuvimos caminando con mi esposo alrededor de la playa a lo largo del camino y pasamos un tiempo bastante agradable a pesar del fuerte calor.

Mas tarde manejamos hacia la Plaza la Isla, es un centro comercial bastante chévere, grande bonito y recién abierto con muchas tiendas, muchas de estas tiendas son marcas internacionales, que le dan un poco de estatus al centro comercial. Almorzamos en un lugar que se llama la Parilla típico restaurante mexicano, que ofrece su tradicional cocina al estilo yucateca. ¡Como se podía esperar la comida picante pero deliciosa y con una a super gigante limonada fresca y recién hecha, que delicia! Mientras almorzábamos una persona del restaurante se acercó un nos ofreció tomarnos una foto la cual encantados aceptamos, como algunos sabe a mí me encanta las fotos (hacer memorias) en un par de minutos luego se acercó con la foto en un marco que costaba $ 15 dólares y decidimos tomarla sin el marco que costo $ 10, aquello del peso en la maleta. un lindo recuerdo.  El lugar bastante bien decorado al mejor estilo mexicano, vivo lleno de colores, flores, banderines y estandartes, unas meseras vestidas con sus hermosos trajes tradicionales. El servicio excelente como es usual en esta zona de restaurantes.

Pasamos la siguiente hora recorriendo el centro comercial y haciendo algunas compras. Mi esposo consiguió un par de gafas y yo, la verdad entre a una promoción de la tienda de Tous y compre un par de aretes, por alguna razón aquí en Canada no están estas tiendas así que no podía perder la oportunidad. ¿Alguien me explica porque no hay?

Enseguida de nuestra experiencia en el mall, exploramos Punta Cancún, una de las áreas más llenas de la ciudad. Esta área está llena de muchos lugares de entretenimiento, comida y bebidas. Una de ellas es Hard Rock Café, donde hicimos una parada para refrescarnos y de paso me pedí un delicioso helado con brownie son mis favoritos y mi esposo pidió una malteada de chocolate. Justo atrás de nosotros está ubicado un Coco Bongo, una de las más populares experiencias de entretenimiento conocida en esta parte de México, famoso por sus presentaciones y las super megas fiestas… más adelante escribiré un blog sobre este espectacular lugar y la experiencia vivida allí.

Antes de dirigirnos hacia Playacar, hicimos un rápido recorrido en la línea de hotelera. Usualmente esto lo ofrecen todas o casi todas las cadenas de hoteles, Esencialmente, se compra un boleto por día que te da acceso al hotel y con la posibilidad de disfrutar de las zonas públicas del hotel. Estuvimos muy de buenas, justo ese día no había tarifa, (normalmente cuestan un promedio de $30 dólares por persona para visitar cada hotel, comida y bebida no están incluidas). Algunos de los hoteles que conocimos son el Ritz Carlton y el JW Marriott. Cada hotel tiene un concepto diferente; El primero es elegante y glamuroso, el otro más encantador, moderno y fresco. Esto es mi opinión cada uno, con sus gustos, (je, je) eso fue lo que yo vi y al menos lo que sentí, no soy una experta en decoración de hoteles para ser honesta.

En el Hotel Ritz Carlton, una entrada decorada con unas flores caribeñas dándote la bienvenida en un elegante lobby. El área de bienvenida para los invitados o huéspedes es super elegante en estilo clásico con fina decoración. Mientras estaba en el área del lobby fui invitada a pasar a una de las glamurosas salas la Fantino. Estaban realizando un evento esa tarde i tuve el chance de entrar y poder apreciar toda la decoración en detalle para cada mesa, floreros, vajillas amoblado por un clásico estilo europeo.  La anfitriona y yo estuvimos hablando por unos cinco minutos en inglés, hasta cuando nos dimos cuenta obviamente que ambas podíamos hablar español. ¡Que chistoso fue esto!

Visitando el otro hotel el JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa también fue una encantadora experiencia, la bienvenida es con un hermoso arreglo floral en medio del vestíbulo. Mas adelante en el área de estar, tuve un tiempo para charlar, tomar algo y escuchar una melodía al son del cantante tocando el piano. Este espacio tiene múltiples opciones para sentarse bastantes cómodas; perfectas para reunirse y pasar un rato agradable con los amigos. También desde el bar se puede apreciar una increíble vista que te quita el aliento, es estar en medio del azul del mar, con sus playas blancas, rodeada de unas palmeras largas y hermosas que brilla sus hojas verdes. ¡¡Me enamore!!


One of the aspects I liked the most about this hotel were the many restaurant and spa options it offers, along with a little shopping mall selling all types of Maya crafts, clothing and jewelry. Uno de los aspectos que más me gusto fue la opción de varios restaurantes y el hermoso spa que ofrecen junto con un centro comercial interno que ofrece todo el tipo de artesanía Maya, ropa y joyas. Chequea este enlace para apreciar más fotos.


Después de un día bastante agitado, regresamos a nuestro resort en Playa del Carmen, justo a tiempo para la cena.

A propósito, Este es mi primer artículo, Así que Feliz año!

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Top 10 things to see & do in NYC during Christmas


We’re back home after enjoying a memorable Christmas in NYC as a family. I would like to share on this post a few of the things we did because, at the end, it was worth it. I would like to tell you about some of the new dining spots we discovered as well as a handful of nice spots for a good stroll.

We absolutely loved exploring NYC during this Christmas season. Being in such a gorgeous city, there are a ton of things to do and see, so here are the 10 must-go places (more to come in January) …

  1. Radio City Music Hall.

    We got tickets for the Christmas Spectacular featuring the world-famous Rockettes. Usually, a good pair tickets would range between $350-450 each, but thanks to the TKTS booth in Times Square we were able to get same-day tickets for a fraction of said price. The show was nothing short of magical with the Rockettes bringing their best performance to the stage.



    Please see  the Giants Christmas ornaments ( balls) are located in front of the Radio City at the America Av. ( 6th Avenue).

  2. Lotte New York Palace.img_0742-1

    Right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan you will find one of the most famous Christmas trees at the New York Palace Hotel. This stunning tree is located on the main entrance on Madison Avenue, one of the best in town. Also, worth checking out its lobby and the incredible decorations.

  3. Window shopping on the Fifth Avenue. img_9840We strolled around this famous strip on a Saturday before Christmas, which means the place was crowded with people doing their own shopping, and traffic as hectic as ever. It was quite difficult to find a spot to park, which by the way, is enforced in Manhattan on Saturdays.



    All the windows across the many shops looked amazing, especially the Cartier store on 52nd Street, one of my favorites. With its giant bow it is a true icon during Christmas. Another great store you don’t want to miss is Bergdorf Goodman and the amazing facade at Saks Fifth Avenue and their Christmas light show running every 15 minutes.

  4. Rolf’s German Restaurant.

    Get ready to squeeze in because this place is small and crowded. I don’t think you can find a spot in town with more Christmas decorations than this. There’s two ways to get in, either as bar walk in or with a reservation, which needs to be made at least two months in advance.


    We did the walk in and were able to take some interesting pictures.

  5. Rockefeller Center.img_0138img_0103img_0313Manhattan’s epicenter of Christmas along with its magnificent tree, skating rink and rows of angels with banners guarding the entrance. Quite a spot. We went there for Christmas eve.
  6. Dyker Heights.

    Get ready to make the trip to Brooklyn and witness six blocks of homes turned into amazing Christmas castles. Very special place. Traffic and parking can be an issue so be patient.

  7. Christmas caroling at Washington Square Park.

    This is a tradition that started 94 years ago. Essentially, New Yorker’s gather around the arch and sing carols together as they are lead by a small chorus. Children, seniors, and people from all walks of life caroling and worshiping our Saviour. It was a memorable time.

  8. Ice skating.

    Two of the most popular options include Wollman Rink in Central Park or Bryant Park. While Central Park is the most popular option.


    We like Bryant Park as it includes an outdoor food pavilion and Christmas markets. Plus, admission is free.

  9. Grand Terminal Central.

    Not to be missed. Check out their Holiday Fair and free train exhibition at the Transit Museum.

  10. 230 Fifth Rooftoop Bar. img_0317Heated and transparent igloos surround this chic venue located on the 20th level of this building on Fifth Avenue. The place offers amazing views of the NY skyline than can be enjoyed while sipping your favourite cocktail or drink. Great spot for brunch too.
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Well, this is all for now.  By the way, Happy New Year everyone. I wish you an amazing new year. May all your dreams, goals come true.

With Love,


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72 hours in “The Steel City” & “The Forest City”.



After a 4 1/2-hour drive from Toronto, we arrived in Pittsburgh. Our first stop was Randyland which is an art project located in the north side of the city.A968A97C-3E88-4BE5-B579-B12AA3C7730A Randyland is essentially a folk-art museum based on up cycling, which is the creative reuse of waste materials or unwanted products into new materials. Randy Gilson has dedicated over 23 years to this project and has benefited from the support of his community as well as some local charities.0FF236BD-A787-4792-B14A-D1DA18917B30


I was impressed when I found out Randy has never taken vacation in the last 30 years, as he wanted to focus in building his project.


The Gothic Revival skyscraper

To my amazement, my youngest had a blast at the Cathedral of Learning which is a true gem located at the University of Pittsburgh campus.

This gothic-style building awes visitors with its four amazing common rooms, majestic arches, as well as hand-carved stone work including poems and flowers.

Notably, this building features over a dozen classrooms each of them dedicated to a different country. I really enjoyed seeing my son running through the halls and stopping at each classroom door to read the corresponding name: “The English Room”, “The Korean Room”,  etc.CDB88598-681B-45E1-AC1D-45C72B596AB2 The decoration and architecture of each room would be inspired in the cultures that had an influence on Pittsburgh’s growth. When we entered the French room, my little one pretended he was a professor giving a lecture and was able to say a few words in French! Being inside of this true great gothic building I felt I was transported to the early twentieth century.A51D5292-1B4C-4B75-8734-A0CAA3B37BEB
The Cathedral of Learning is the second-tallest educational building in the world after the University of Moscow’s main building.
On Saturday evening we strolled around the heart of Pittsburgh’s downtown as we were craving for an ice cream. We were lucky to find Millie’s, a place serving the most delicious stuff. I treated myself with a lemon coconut sorbet while my travel mates went with their chocolate shakes.EA2595AB-4158-4AF8-B7D6-AA1E73F1F228 Also, we had the chance to explore “Market Square”, a vivid spot in the heart of downtown. Adding to the fun, we came across a cool festival with live music, food and shop tents. In that same area, we were able to discover the PPG Place Plaza, a perfect spot to take break. With a fountain with over 140 water jets plus plenty of chairs, this lovely area is surrounded by the PPG buildings, which feature little glass towers on top making them look like 21st century castles.
Around 7:30 pm we headed to the Duquesne Incline which is an inclined plan railroad that climbs up Mt. Washington and where people enjoy the most stunning views of the city. My youngest was really excited to hop in the incline car as it was his first time riding this type of vehicle.

When we reached the top, we explored the station which featured a small museum with interesting exhibits and photographs of the city. Then we walked to the observation deck where we enjoyed most beautiful views of the city. The steel bridges along with the many boats sailing on each of the tree rivers looked impressive and were greatly complemented by the lights coming from the downtown building and nearby venues, including the PNC ballpark. Luckily, as we were getting ready to take the car back down we were told about a fireworks show taking place that night and so in the last minute we decided to stay a bit longer. This turned out to be a great decision as the show was stunning and added a bit more fun to our Pittsburgh experience.
“The fireworks”.

Sunday morning, we decided to explore Point State Park – such beautiful view of the city! This lovely spot is entrenched between three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela) and is crowned by a majestic fountain that refreshed visitors in what was a hot day. A huge green field is also a key element of this park and usually hosts cultural events and summer festivals.

After spending our morning at Point State Park, we headed to PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Our seats on the upper deck behind home plate offered amazing views of the Pittsburgh skyline as well as the surrounding rivers with many boats sailing around. It was really a fun experience, especially because it was the first baseball game my mother in law was attending. Truth is baseball is not a popular sport in her hometown (Bogota) as it is in other cities in Colombia such as Barranquilla, hometown of a few celebrities, including Shakira, Sofia Vergara, and Edgar Renteria aka “The Barranquilla baby”.


Our last minutes in Pittsburgh were spent exploring the former factory of the H. J. Heinz Company, home of the world-famous Heinz ketchup. Interestingly, the factory buildings – which encompass at least four blocks – have been transformed into residential spaces, now called Heinz Lofts. Strolling around this historic site was a nice way to put a finishing touch to our visit to the steel city.


“The Forest City”
Back in the highway we were now bound to Cleveland. After a two-hour drive we were already entering the city outskirts, but before venturing further into the city we made a quick stop at Brandywine falls, which make part of the Cuyahoga National Park.



Less than an hour later we were driving around downtown looking for place to grab a bite. We ended up at 4th street East, a small alley famous for its world-class dining options. http://www.east4thstreet.com/shop-dine-experience
Our choice for that evening was Lola Restaurant, which turned out to be fabulous. As I prepared to write this post, I found out Lola is home to Iron Chef’s Michael Symon’. Good to know! I think that explains the details on each table, the fancy decorations and of course the amazing food.

Right after Lola, we went to Playhouse Square, the second-largest theater complex in the US (after Lincoln Center) and home of the world’ largest outdoor chandelier. This magnificent piece was created in the 1920s.

Playhouse Square was set to be demolished 40 years ago and now it’s witnessing a renaissance that includes theatres and residences. Definitely worth a visit!
I love those glittering lights.
On the last day of our road trip we decided to further explore Cleveland landmarks, including downtown’s Pubic Square where we visited the neighboring Tower City Center, Renaissance Hotel, and Old Stone church.

At the heart of Cleveland’s Public Square lies the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, a marvelous piece of work commemorating the American Civil War. One thing that wrapped our attention was the small museum located inside the monument and its surrounding walls listing the names of the thousands of people who fought the war. I have to confess I was surprised with my little son’s knowledge of history my as he quickly identified Abraham Lincoln in one of the monuments.
Soon it was lunch time for which my husband took us to the West Side Market, home of the Parisian-style Crepes de Luxe. Truly recommended!

For dessert we walked a couple of blocks from the market to Mitchell’s Ice Cream (mitchellshomemade.com), a true oasis in the middle of a hot summer day. Not only we enjoyed our treats but also the views of their factory where you can see the elaboration process. Mitchell’s is located in a former theatre, then nightclub from the early 1900s, and has been home to this famous ice cream shop for over 65 years.

While It was about time to drive back to Toronto, we stretched our time in Cleveland for a quick visit to the Rock and Roll hall of Fame building where we took some cool pics of its front sign – LONG LIVE ROCK.


It was then time to say our goodbyes to Cleveland, with a “full belly and a happy heart” as Colombians would say. After all, your perspective changes when all your basic needs are met, especially when body and mind have been nourished.


With Love

Andrea 🌸

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Trip to Chichen-itzá


It’s around 6:55am on Tuesday and a white van picks us up at the resort lobby. Inside the vehicle we find four more people with whom we have something in common, we all speak Spanish. Surprisingly, there’s also a blonde German girl doing the tour along with her partner, a guy who looked like he was Hispanic.

And so, a three-hour ride began. Our destination? Chichen Itza, the world-famous Mayan city and ruins located west of Riviera Maya in the Yucatan peninsula. During the ride, our guide, Victor, made an effort to keep us awake by talking about the many aspects of Maya culture. In the process some people managed to take a nap, including me! Finally, we arrived to Chichen, right on time and way before the morning rush. Later that morning we found out this was the smart thing to do, as the place would be packed on our way out.

I will leave all the historic details to the multiple great books and reviews that have been written about this fascinating site. On a personal level, I can say I was impacted by the skill and precision displayed in each building we visited. It was simply staggering to see how smart this people were and the kind of technology they were able to develop.


By looking at El Castillo – a temple pyramid dedicated to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent you can witness the incredible kind of people the Maya were, as they were able to build such as majestic limestone structure without having the wheel. Also, consider the fact El Castillo is a physical representation of the Mayan calendar, which is nearly as accurate as ours. While listening to Victor, our guide, I also learned the Maya were highly resourceful and skilled when using their rustic tools. I can’t imagine the amazing things this people would be able to build with today’s technology!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t climb the stairs since access is restricted for safety reasons and conservation purposes. That said, I took lots of pictures and walked around it in order appreciate its majesty from different angles.



Another structure that called my attention was the ball court, the largest found in Mesoamerica. Interestingly,players weren’t allowed to use their hands to play, just their shoulders and legs. Matches would be played for hours, and some would last a couple of days until one of the two teams managed to kick the ball through one of the two rims placed on the side walls bordering the court. Sadly enough, members of the losing team would be beheaded as an offering to their gods!



Other structures and monuments the Maya built at Chichen Itza were dedicated to their many gods,including fertility and war. Essentially, there are more than a dozen structures in the city, which would take the savviest archeology fan a couple of days to visit. In our case, we opted for the express tour, and thus spent about two hours visiting the main buildings.

My favorite place after Chichen Itza was our trip to a cenote, one of the thousands of natural wells scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula. 51F0DBED-CB31-4979-AA27-8FC8ADE842CDThese formations were the result of underground rivers breaking through the limestone surface. To access the bottom of a cenote, you will need to walk down the steps that go deep down the rock. There, you will find a large cavern with high ceilings and dripping water, which makes the steps a bit slippery. Once you reach the bottom and jump into the water, you might notice it’s a bit chilly, which feels great after having spent hours walking around the ruins and enduring the heat.

4ECB1631-5094-4A98-9B46-33172F5055C2While I didn’t dive into the water – I didn’t have my bathing suit with me – my husband did. In the meantime, I had some fun recording videos and took some pics. It’s really amazing how the sunlight penetrates the cenote from the top and reaches the water at the bottom. How beautiful is God’s creation!

After leaving the cenote, we went for a much-needed lunch at a local restaurant. While enjoying the exquisite Yucatan cuisine, we had the chance to see a Jarana daAE8A0604-367D-4A26-8FCC-A0D0B41F79DBnce performance which turns out to be a mixture of Mayan and Spanish elements is. Dancers would perform in beautiful costumes while carrying trays with beer bottles on their heads.

Our last stop that day was in a small town called Valladolid. Just like any typical Mexican town, it featured a big square (plaza) surrounded by colourful buildings, including the lovely “Ochre” yellow colour. We also went to a few shops selling Mexican silver, souvenirs and of course, tequila.

After Valladolid, we headed back to our resort, where we were welcomed by a fruity cocktail. Much needed to cool off after a long day venturing outside!





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La Quinta Avenida at Playa del Carmen – Mexico


0F95FCAD-7A77-46B7-8FBE-84209054EB1BLast June my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. For this second honeymoon our chosen destination was Mexico, to be more exact Playa Del Carmen in beautiful Riviera Maya. It was probably the first time in over ten years we were able to spend a week as a couple without our children. This was a very enjoyable time for us as we renewed our votes and reinforced our initial commitment to build our marriage in a way that makes us both happy. Now, back to the topic, Playa del Carmen or PDC, as many people know it is a paradisiac tropical destination with amazing beaches where you can experience the purest white sand you’ll ever find. It’s a place with lots of resorts around, and a really nice place to spend memorable days. I have to confess I was really missing my children during our first day there as we would see little kids playing in the pool and young people having fun around but I also know we needed to spend time together as a couple. It was fantastic to wake up every day beside my husband and not having to think about our daily routine, worrying about work, rushing the kids in the morning, etc

The one thing that I really recommended is to pay close attention to the weather forecast. As much as we want to assume PDC is a great destination in the Caribbean where sunny days and blue skies are guaranteed, our vacations plans almost got ruined, all because of a tropical storm passing through the area. Fortunately for us, the storm dwindled at some point before our arrival but there were thousands of tourists the week before who saw their vacations ruined. According to the staff at our resort, people had to stay indoors, sometimes in their rooms and couldn’t even enjoy the pool! That said, you should definitely check the weather forecast before booking your vacation, otherwise, your plans can dramatically change.

That being said, here’s a brief summary of my seven days in PDC…( today just about first day)

On your first day, go for a stroll to La Quinta Avenida. Essentially, this is a pedestrian-oriented street, about 2 miles long with lots of shops, restaurants (both great and no so great) and other entertainment options available, including world-famous Coco Bongo.


Our resort was located in Playacar, which put us within walking distance from La Quinta, about 15 minutes. We would enter la Quinta through a mall located on the southern tip. On the other side of the mall you would find a few streets leading to PDC’s main square – aka la plaza – where you will find the town’s main church. From there, you can enjoy amazing views of the beach at “Parque de los Fundadores” where you can also see a few street shows taking place under the Portal Maya sculptures in front of the beach. You will cross the plaza where lots of people would be eating, enjoying a drink in a lounge, walking, or simply shopping.

Walking through La Quinta you will find many cute places surrounded with green plants of all sorts as well as flowers of the most incredible colours, including red, orange and ochre, my favorite colour.  Just by looking at those yellow-painted walls you instantly know you’re in Mexico. Combined with this mixture of colours you will see painting artists doing their thing in the middle of the street, dozens of souvenir shops, and dozens of restaurants displaying the most gracious signs, including the classic “Gracias por visitar” – thank you for visiting. On a separate note, I want to emphasize how great the locals are when it comes to serving. Whether you’re in a restaurant, a bar, any store or even in the resort these people are very committed to pleasing their clientele and that’s something you can see and feel. Also, it’s nice to see and hear traditional Mexican bands singing in the street for everybody’s listening pleasure.  At night, these would be lit up with warm lights while others would be hosting boutique hotels such as “Hotel Lunata”, a fancy one.


I would say PDC is a place full of sensations. Whether it’s on a plate, a glass or a tortilla, there’s always something new to experience. 197DCC3F-EC7E-46EF-A193-B7CF0F62C7D4

Delicious tortillas with guac and pico de gallo won’t disappoint and great cocktails will surely escort them. By the way, one of my favourite places for drinks is Almirante Pech. Small shops selling native hats and totes are to be found on every corner, and hidden between big-brand stores you will spot local-style restaurants with thatched roofs, palm trees, water fountains and  flowers.

Also, colourful overhead banners decorate many sections of this buzzing street, a typical Mexican fixture.


Near “Mi Pueblo” restaurant, you will find the Frida Kahlo Museum, a hard-to-miss spot as it’s located in a highly visible corner. Unfortunately, the place was closed the day I went there but I managed to take a picture of the amazing portrait of Frida in the big wall outside the museum. In short, La Quinta is the kind of spot that mixes both Mexican and international sights, sounds and tastes while wielding the power to gather all types of people. People looking for a spot to see and be seen, to eat, drink and shop while enjoy the amazing Caribbean weather and warm winds.


42DB803E-F757-4BBF-9533-4BC94636ACC5Frida Kahlo Museum








Let your light shine!



Spanish Version

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