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Archive for the ‘Living the Dream’ Category

The Naked Truth About Playa del Carmen

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 20, 2011

Playa del CarmenAs owners of the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar, we read a lot of internet chatter about Playa del Carmen. After all, we live and work here and want to keep up with what people are thinking about Playa. We also take note of people’s questions about traveling here. Over the years, we have seen many repeat questions on a few certain topics that never seem to go away or get fully answered.

Many people ask about the weather: “My family will be there the second week of August of next year. Will it rain during our vacation?” Others ask about safety: “My brother-in-law’s friend’s boss’ cousin says he heard that people were being machine gunned down in the Walmart. Should I cancel my trip?” But probably our favorite repeat question is…“Are there any nude or topless beaches in Playa del Carmen?”

Some folks ask about nude or topless beaches because they want to search them out to do a little au natural sunbathing. Others want to avoid them, worrying their husbands or sons will be scarred for life by exposure to all that flesh. And some are just…curious. So here is the truth about what you can and can’t wear on the beaches of Playa del Carmen (and some other select spots).

The Law

Many people say that Mexico prohibits all public nudity. And they are right. Mexico federal law prohibits lewd or immoral behavior, including nudity, on public federal lands. All beaches in Mexico including those in the Riviera Maya (Cancun to Tulum) are federal land. However, as in most cases of the law, there are few absolutes and a lot of gray areas about this.

Mexico’s federal law on public nudity is enforced by local authorities who have the discretion to decide what constitutes lewd behavior. In Playa del Carmen the local authorities have never enforced the law with regard to topless sunbathing. They do not consider it “lewd conduct.” On Playa’s main resort beach (between Juarez and Constituyentes) and in Playa’s north beach (Playa Norte), topless sunbathing is commonplace and will not draw the attention of any cops, except for perhaps an admiring glance. Topless sunbathing and swimming is also accepted on the beaches in Xpu-ha and in Tulum.

The Tradition

Xpu-Ha BeachSo why does Playa allow women to go topless on the beach when other places in Mexico don’t? Primarily it is a tradition that predates Playa’s city government and status as a resort town.

A couple of decades ago Playa del Carmen was a sleepy little beach town know mostly as a place to catch the ferry to Cozumel. The world and the travel industry paid little attention to it. However, Playa was exactly the unspoiled tropical paradise many people were looking for.

European travelers, mostly from Italy, began to visit here. Some never left, and a large Italian expat community began to develop. The Italians brought many traditions to Mexico with them including great pasta and “European style” sunbathing. In other words…topless.

Along with the Italian expats, Playa became a destination for American vagabond travelers, i.e. “hippies,” whose lifestyle was based on being free–which included getting naked on the beach.

In the beginning, there was no one who cared. The town was too small and remote for anyone to worry about boobs on the beach. By the time the town grew and was discovered as a destination by the travel industry, the existence of topless beaches had become accepted by the local authorities.

This is not to say everyone does it. Only a relatively small percentage of visitors to our beaches go topless, but it is still a significant number of women who feel at ease in just a swimsuit bottom on the beach, in the water and occasionally at the beach bars.

The All Over Tan

While being topless is acceptable on Playa’s beaches, complete nudity is not.
In all the years we have been coming to and living in Playa, we have never seen nudity on the town’s main beaches. We suspect that if someone was nude on one of those beaches, with the first complaint from onlookers the police would step in.

There was a nude beach in Playa some 10 or 12 years ago. Coco Beach, north of town, was commonly used by those seeking to avoid tan lines. Back then the town ended at Constituyentes, and access to this beach was limited, so no one raised a fuss. However, the famous nude beach disappeared when it was washed away during a particularly bad storm season and then rebuilt as condos and resorts as Playa’s city limits expanded north. As of now, there is no place in Playa’s city limits where public nude sunbathing is allowed.

TulumHowever Tulum has for many years had a reputation for allowing total nudity. A few beach hotel/resorts in Tulum are clothing optional. In addition, while there is no nude beach per se, we have observed over the years that the smaller beach clubs seem to have no objection to nude guests. We have seen a fair number of nude sunbathers on the beaches of Tulum and once observed an entire soccer team from England get off their bus and completely disrobe in the parking lot before running buck naked down to the water! However Tulum has recently grown large enough to create its own local government which by some accounts is very strict about beach club rules. It might be best to ask the beach club employees if it is okay before losing those swimsuits.

Beach Etiquette: What do You Say to a Naked Lady?

Women who sunbathe or swim topless or nude are doing so for their own enjoyment, not yours.
It is not an invitation to stare at them, talk to them, photograph them without permission or comment about them. They may not meet someone’s particular standard of beauty or age…and neither should they have to. The same goes for men who may choose a swimsuit to their liking but not yours. We have seen all ages, shapes and sizes in all stages of undress on the beaches and we have never felt offended.

If someone’s attire or lack of attire is bothering you, simply move to another part of the beach. There is no beach so small in the Riviera Maya that you need sit near someone or something that makes you uncomfortable. We regularly relocate when someone near us is smoking heavily.

If you do want to get topless or naked on a beach, remember that Mexico is still a conservative Catholic country where many women swim in t-shirts and shorts rather than a skimpy bathing suit. Please limit your expressions of personal freedom to the resort zone beaches which allow such behavior. Avoid the smaller out of the way beaches where local families gather. Tourists are guests in this country and should conduct themselves in away that does not upset the locals.

The Final Word

A word of warning: If you do find yourself on one of the Riviera Maya’s tropical seashores, and in the heat of the moment you are tempted to expose a little more skin than you normally do back home, we would strongly suggest one little word to make the experience more enjoyable… SUNBLOCK! And lots of it.

Have fun on our beautiful beaches no matter what you do or do not wear.

For our most recent blog entry on this top, check out Getting Naked in Playa del Carmen, Again.

‘LIKE’ the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar

Posted in Living the Dream, The Love of Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Best of Playa Raffle & Fundraiser May 27 for the Peanut Pet Shelter

Posted by Tony & Cheri on April 24, 2011

Our friends at the Peanut Pet Shelter here in Playa del Carmen have had a rough year. A local competing charity and various individuals with personal agendas tried in a malicious and underhanded way to discredit and close them down. It was an ugly campaign that caused rifts between various individuals and businesses. Fortunately this small group was unsuccessful in their endeavor. However, the result of their effort was a reduction in donations to the Peanut Pet Shelter, which has since then been struggling to make ends meet.

We are big supporters of the Peanut Pet Shelter. Because of them, we have our dog Roxie (the star of the poster) and, indirectly, our dog Gypsy, both of whom entertain us and make us happy on a daily basis. Many of our friends here in Mexico and also in the US and Canada have adopted dogs that were rescued by the PPS. We have seen first hand the amazing work they do in rescuing and caring for the many, many abandoned animals of Playa.

As a result, we’ve decided to join together with other local business owners and sponsor a kick ass raffle and fundraiser to not only raise a boatload of cash for the Peanut Pet Shelter but to show them that the people of Playa del Carmen and the nearby communities care about them and see them as a valuable part of life here south of the border.

We’re calling it the “Best of Playa,” because most of Playa del Carmen’s best businesses (as well as several businesses from the surrounding communities) are donating prizes to this worthy cause.

Raffle Details

From now until the Best of Playa Raffle Party on Friday May 27, 2011, for every $10 donation to the Peanut Pet Shelter, you will receive one raffle ticket for the Best of Playa Raffle, where Playa’s best businesses have donated dozens of cool prizes to support this worthy cause. Tickets may be purchased via the link below until 4 pm the day of the event.

Before the event, tickets will also be available at the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar and at the Peanut Pet Shelter dog & puppy washes on Saturdays & Sundays. Tickets will also be available at the event up until the drawing.

You need not be present to win…but you do need to go to paradise to redeem. 🙂

Every 10 kilos of dog food donated to the Peanut Pet Shelter will earn the donor another raffle ticket. Food may be delivered to the Peanut Pet Shelter or the Luna Blue Hotel or brought to the event.

The drawing for prizes will be at the Best of Playa Raffle party at the Luna Blue Bar on May 27. We will have live music, drink specials and some fun surprises. AND 50% of the bar proceeds will go to the Peanut Pet Shelter!

Click Here to Make a Donation/Purchase Raffle Tickets

Click here to see a list of the dozens of raffle prizes available, including a private sunset cruise on the Catamaya for up to 80 people(!!), a seven night stay at the Royal Oasis condos, and a five night stay at our own Luna Blue Hotel! Prizes will be added daily up until the date of the event, so check back often.

And please patronize the many Friends of the Peanut Pet Shelter who have so generously donated prizes:










“Like” the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar on Facebook to keep up with the latest news of Playa del Carmen, life in paradise & our version of “living the dream.”

   

Posted in Activities, Dining in Playa, Events & Happenings, Friends, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar, What's New | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

More Than Just Happy Hour….

Posted by Tony & Cheri on April 15, 2011

It's 5 o'clock somewhereThings are starting to slow down a little bit here in Playa del Carmen. The fast pace and the large crowds of the high season are disappearing as many of the snowbirds head home (probably to late spring blizzards!!!).

The locals can now find a seat at their favorite bar and a place on the beach. And travelers in the know will find less crowds and lower prices. Spring is a great time to be in paradise.

To celebrate our favorite time of year we are starting our own version of happy hour at the Luna Blue Bar.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 4-8 pm we will have $20 peso beers, 2 x 1 house margaritas, and free chips and salsa.

As usual we will have Radio Margaritaville playing via satellite. And as an added bonus, Jimmy Buffett’s live performances will be broadcast on many of those nights!

And as always, any chicas contributing a thong to the bar’s collection will receive a free shot of our best tequila. It’s a tradition. 🙂

Cheap beer and ’ritas, snacks and a front row swing to hear Jimmy’s concerts. We don’t call it happy hour…we call it the “Buffett Buffet at the Blue.”

It all starts next Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at the Luna Blue Bar and continues throughout the spring and summer.

Stop on by and you’ll say–in the words of Playa’s popular singer/songwriter Mike Grabow–the Luna Blue is “Where I Want to Be”.

“Like” the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar on Facebook to keep up with the latest news of Playa del Carmen, life in paradise & our version of “living the dream.”

   

Posted in Activities, Dining in Playa, Events & Happenings, Friends, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar, What's New | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

TripAdvisor Asks Us For Help

Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 16, 2011

We received the following message from TripAdvisor this morning. Our response to them follows.

Hi LunaBlue,

We hope all is going well with you and your role as a destination expert. Due to some recent disruptions in the Playa del Carmen forums, we are contacting you with a friendly reminder that we expect all of our experts to adhere to our forum posting guidelines and to embody our Community Mission:

tripadvisor.com/help/what_are_the_guidelines_for_…
We’d like to ask for your cooperation in helping us to restore a friendly and pleasant atmosphere in the forums. In particular, we’d ask you to please refrain from engaging in any personal confrontations in the forums or any personal gossip about other members by private message. Additionally, we’d like to remind you to completely refrain from posting any remarks that could be construed as self-promotion, such as announcing special events that take place at your property, suggesting your business when people ask for recommendations, or providing your Facebook contact information.

If you find any inappropriate posts made by other members, we would ask you to please refrain from responding to them and instead bring the specific posts to our attention so that we may investigate, track any members who are repeatedly in violation and take any necessary action.

Please let me know if you have any questions about our policies. We appreciate all of your contributions and your dedication to the TripAdvisor forums, and we thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Best regards,
TA_MikeW
TripAdvisor Support Team

Here is our response:

Hi, Mike,

We’d be glad to offer you some suggestions as to how you can “restore a friendly and pleasant atmosphere” to the Playa del Carmen forum. Our first and foremost suggestion is that TripAdvisor adheres to its own guidelines. This may require some retraining or replacement in your personnel that moderate the forums. But so far in our opinion the moderation of the Playa del Carmen forum has been laughably poor.

We’ll offer you an example. Recently, a forum member started a thread asking for directions to our bar. They stated that they had tried to find it in the past but were unable to do so. We responded by giving them directions, both via taxicab and on foot. We did not promote an event, promote our business, or make any statement which could be construed as advertising, i.e., we’re the best bar in town, etc. We answered a specific question from a forum member on how to locate our business.

This type of posting by a business owner is clearly allowed by TripAdvisor’s guidelines. TripAdvisor’s guidelines (a link to which you very kindly sent us) clearly state that a business owner can respond to comments or questions about their own business as long as they clearly identify themselves as the business owner and provide relevant information which is not promotion or advertising. It very specifically says that “contact” (i.e., how to find us) information can be given if it is requested.

Our response clearly fit into that category. By the way, please note that whenever we have posted on the forums, we have always identified ourselves in signature as the owners of a local business. We have never once posted and not done so.

Yet, despite clearly obeying TripAdvisor’s guidelines, our post was deleted. This is not the first time that has happened. Why did it happen? There has been for some time now a small group of people on the Playa del Carmen forum who have stated—often angrily and sometimes with insults—that business owners should not be allowed to post on the forums in any circumstances. We ourselves have been the target of substantial comments which have gone beyond rude, simply because we are business owners.

We suspect that one or more of such individuals marked our posting as inappropriate. The ball was then in TripAdvisor’s court. The moderator should have looked at our post and realized that it was well within TripAdvisor’s guidelines. Instead, he or she automatically deleted it. We suspect that this reflects an anti-business owner attitude among TripAdvisor moderators.

In the same vein, TripAdvisor could have done much to help “restore a friendly and pleasant atmosphere in the forums” by making an official pronouncement clarifying the guidelines and the role of local businesses in terms of posting. Instead it has allowed a small group to hijack the forum and use it to enforce personal views and sometimes personal vendettas.

Therefore, we find it somewhat amusing that you ask us to restore a friendly atmosphere on the forums when TripAdvisor feels it doesn’t even have to follow its own guidelines when deciding to delete our posts.

In the same vein, we have to note that at one point a poster from New York consistently made postings praising a certain hotel in Playa del Carmen. He did so under several different forum names. The problem with those postings is that he was the owner of the hotel. He never identified himself as the owner and instead acted as if he were just another vacationer who had discovered a great place. We repeatedly complained to TripAdvisor about this violation of rules. The moderators took no action for several months. Again, our suggestion is if you want people to follow the TripAdvisor guidelines, you follow them yourselves.

We also have to note that this letter either reflects a certain ineptitude on the part of TripAdvisor or certain rudeness. If this letter was sent out as a form message to all destination experts, then it is a simply a reflection of ineptitude. It is not relevant to our specific role or actions on TripAdvisor and should not have been forwarded to us in such a manner. If in fact it was specifically sent to us, it is outright insulting. Reminding us not to engage in self-promotion is an insult if it is specifically directed to us. Review the postings we have done over the past five years. We challenge you to provide us with specific examples of an attempt at self-promotion or advertising. We have NEVER talked about our hotel except in direct response to questions raised by other forum members. And we have always identified ourselves when giving such answers.

We also find your admonition that we “refrain from engaging in …any personal gossip about other members by private message” to be not only rude but shocking. First of all, we do not engage in such activities either on the forum or in private messages. Our private messages are almost exclusively giving answers to forum members who have contacted us about specific issues in Playa del Carmen (almost none of them related to our business). However, the second point is more important: How can TripAdvisor see itself as the moderator of “private” messages? The nature of a private message system is that it remains private between the people who are exchanging the messages. Certainly if someone is using that system to harass or attack another person or make unwanted intrusions into their account on TripAdvisor, they have every right to ask TripAdvisor to step in. But blanket warnings not to gossip indicates that TripAdvisor deems itself the moderators of exchanges between people who believe their communications to be private when in fact it appears they are not. We must conclude from your comments that TripAdvisor reads private messages. If that is the case, we suggest you change the term to “public messages.”

Lastly, we will admit to a single violation of TripAdvisor policies. Our last post on the Playa del Carmen forum (which has now been deleted by TripAdvisor) set forth our complaints regarding our unfair treatment simply because of our status as local business owners. We indicated at that time we found it impossible to offer people assistance in planning their visits to Playa del Carmen in such an atmosphere and suggested that if they wished to contact us with their questions they could do so via our blog or our Facebook page, the URLs for which were given by us. However, in all honesty, we did not do so to generate more business but because we wanted the other members of the forum community to understand why we would not be attempting to assist them with their questions on TripAdvisor in the immediate future. We wanted to offer our assistance in a friendlier atmosphere if people wanted to call upon us for help. In almost five years of posting on TripAdvisor’s Playa del Carmen forum, this was the first time we ever knowingly violated one of your rules. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for TripAdvisor itself.

Let’s be blunt here. TripAdvisor’s forums are a carefully controlled tool to bring people to the TripAdvisor website which in turn generates profits for the company. We don’t have a problem with that. We do however have a problem with maintaining a supposedly public forum where moderation is inconsistent, guidelines are enforced or not upon the whim of a particular moderator and where locals who own businesses are discriminated against and pushed out even when they strictly adhere to your policies. If you want to make the forum a more “friendly” place, we suggest you address those problems.

We have been staunch public supporters of TripAdvisor and have served the forum well as “Destination Experts.” And while exposure of our business via the forum, i.e., our signature on postings, can generally be considered beneficial, the effort, time and negative exposure resulting from personal attacks and a lack of support by TripAdvisor have made it an overall unpleasant experience.

At this time, we are the only Destination Experts who actually live in Playa del Carmen. The attempts by TripAdvisor to silence us leave its Playa del Carmen forum members without a single local voice to answer their questions. We fail to see how this serves the forum community.

We hope that you will give serious consideration to our comments. The issue here is actually larger than just TripAdvisor or the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar. The last two years have seen a dramatic drop in tourism in this part of the world. Media hysteria over dangers that actually have never touched Mexico’s Caribbean coast has caused many people to forego visiting this beautiful area. As a travel industry leader, TripAdvisor has an obligation to help set the record straight. Your forums are one of the opportunities to do that. However, that opportunity will be lost unless you operate them with a sense of fairness and an understanding of your own duty in such operation.

Please feel free to contact us in the future if you’d like to discuss this further.

Tony & Cheri
Luna Blue Hotel & Bar

Final update: After we publicly announced we were withdrawing from Tripadvisor because of their treatment of us, we had a couple of surprises. First, people on the TripAdvisor forum began to speak out on our behalf. Thread after thread was started with many, many posts from people letting TripAdvisor know they did not agree with their censorship policy. Then, the biggest surprise…TripAdvisor sent us a message of apology. They said they were sorry for the “misunderstanding,” thanked us for our participation and support in TripAdvisor’s Playa del Carmen forum and re-published our deleted posts.

We decided that based upon this we would return to posting on the TA forum. We thank TA for taking the unusual step of actually reconsidering the situation and being willing to admit an error on their part. However our greatest thanks is for the many people (most of whom we’ve never met nor corresponded with) who spoke on our behalf and said so many nice things about us. That really meant a lot to us. So in the future you can continue to find us on the TripAdvisor forum offering information about Playa del Carmen and this beautiful part of the world.

   

“Like” the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar on Facebook to keep up with the latest news of Playa del Carmen, life in paradise & our version of “living the dream.”

   

Posted in Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Tripadvisor Punishes Local Playa del Carmen Businesses

Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 14, 2011

We posted the following this evening on the Tripadvisor Playa del Carmen forum. We think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Where is the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar? We know, but we aren’t allowed to tell you.

We have been posting here on the TA Playa Del Carmen forum ever since we moved to Playa almost six years ago. After a couple of years of posting we were made “Destination Experts” for this forum. There are a lot of “Destination Experts” for Playa, but we are the only ones who currently live here. We think that gives us a knowledge that can’t be obtained simply by vacationing here occasionally.

From the very beginning we’ve done our best to offer as much information about Playa as we could and to obey TA’s rules for postings by a local business. We always signed our name as business owners so there would never be any question about it. We never started threads about our business. We never responded to questions about where to stay or which is the best hotel. We never offered opinions about the value, quality etc. of our business or competing businesses.

Mostly we have answered questions about Playa from people who needed information. If you want to see what kind of posts we made and what kind of information we have offered just click on our avatar at the left of this post. Go to our profile and look at the list of our postings.

We think most people will agree that we have regularly answered questions about Playa that had no connection to our business. And we have answered questions regularly from people who clearly were staying at large resorts and would never consider coming to a small hotel like ours.

Of course we realize that exposure on a forum like TA is generally good for business. But the reality is that the TA Playa forum is overwhelmingly populated by people who prefer the AI experience. We have NEVER had a guest tell us that they picked our hotel after seeing us on the TA forum. We have always felt that we had a unique knowledge and experience and wanted to share it.

However some other people saw it differently. An increasingly vocal group on this forum has started a drumbeat against local business owners posting here. We have never understood why. As long as people know it is a business they can judge the weight of the opinion accordingly. Readers can ignore such posts, accept them or take them with a grain of salt.

In the end, our attitude has been that locals—those who live and work here—have more information to share than those who occasionally visit some large resort on the Riviera Maya once or twice a year. We think many people are interested in what we locals think and know. However a small group of forum posters acting as self-appointed censors saw it differently. This group has made a real effort to drive locals from this board.

Because we are local business owners, we have been called shills for the tourist trade and representatives of the whole Mexican hotel industry, accused of blatant self promotion and even personally attacked. One person who publicly said we had no place on TA went on a TA forum and said our hotel was a front for an escort service! We have dealt with this stupidity as best we could over the years, continuing to post in the belief that we were actually helping some people discover the wonders of this part of the world.

However today was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Someone started a thread asking where our bar was. We posted our address and directions (both via cab and walking). No promotion, no advertising, no “we are the best bar…” etc. Just directions, no more. Someone complained it was self promotion and TA removed our post.

In short we aren’t allowed to even say where we are located without being attacked by those members of this forum who have decided they and they alone can decide what others will post. We find this unfair, and we think TA’s willingness to allow this sort of bullying to take place is equally wrong.

For us the stupidity and pettiness of certain members of this forum have reached a point where we no longer find it worth our time or effort to share our knowledge of Playa on this board.

We are still more than happy to share what we know of Playa…just not here. If any reader here has questions about Playa and think we might be able to help, please feel free to contact us at our blog (www.playazone.wordpress.com), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lunabluehotel) or through our website (www.lunabluehotel.com). Or you can even just by stop by our hotel and ask your questions in person. We’ll do our best to help.

We love our adopted home of Playa Del Carmen. We walk its streets, visit its beaches and experience its people EVERY DAY…not a couple of times a year, but EVERY DAY. If we can help others discover the pleasures of life here we are happy to do it. But we are not willing to be attacked for offering people this help.

Yes this post will quickly be removed. As soon as one of the self-designated forum police sees it and reports it, TA will remove it. But we are going to post it on our Facebook page and on our blog. We think forum readers should know how Tripadvisor has allowed a few people to restrict information on this forum.

We wish the readers of the TA Playa del Carmen forum good travels. Please come to Playa and see for yourself how sweet, laid back, and beautiful life down here can be.

Now we are going to return to our life here in paradise. We will see you on the beach.

Tony & Cheri
Luna Blue Hotel & Bar


Someone at Tripadvisor must have been sleeping last night, as they allowed this post to stay up for almost 14 hours before it was deleted and the thread closed. LOL Thanks to all the nice people who had positive comments.

Posted in Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar, The Love of Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Jazz on the Beach, Sex on the Bar and Plenty to be Thankful For

Posted by Tony & Cheri on September 20, 2010

Summer is over and fall is here.. For some that will mean shorter days and cold weather. In fact experts are predicting the coldest autumn in years for much of the US and Canada. And for Americans like us it won’t be long now until our Thanksgiving Day and the beginning of the holiday season.

But here in the tropics autumn means sunny days, trips to the beach and margaritas instead of hot cocoa. And this year Playa del Carmen is going all out with a week long celebration in late November with some incredible events.

On November 21 the second annual Taste of Playa will gather the finest restaurants and bars in the Riviera Maya for a tasting festival. If you are thinking traditional Mexican dishes you will be surprised. World class chefs will be offering samples of spectacular foods and special tasting menus. Last year’s festival drew over forty participating restaurants and bars and thousands of visitors. It was a smashing success (see our previous blog entry), and this year will be even better.

And participating this year with many local and international favorites will be our own Luna Blue Bar! Playa’s favorite bartender Jorge Sierra will be on hand with other members of our “family” to offer samples of some of the special cocktails that have made us so popular, like the “Sarita B Careful Margarita” and the new “Sex on the Bar.” We are very pleased to be part of this year’s festivities.

And that’s just the start of the week!

On November 25-28 the 2010 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival will take place at Mamita’s Beach Club, just a five minute stroll from the Luna Blue Hotel and Bar. Each evening will present international jazz stars who will perform free on the beach only a few feet away from the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Imagine spending the day on a tropical beach sipping boat drinks only to have world class entertainers serenade you as the sun goes down!

The line-up is amazing. Among the performers will be some of Mexico’s finest jazz musicians and vocalists, like the big band sounds of Armando Manzanero, the vocal stylings of Eugenia León and many more. Included in the international line-up is one of our personal favorites, The Manhattan Transfer. It will be four nights of great music and lots of fun.

In the middle of all these festivities is the US Thanksgiving day. Of course for most Americans, Thanksgiving means turkey, dressing and cranberries. So to make visitors feel at home, many of the finer restaurants around town will offer special Thanksgiving day menus with all the traditional favorites from turkey to pumpkin pie. And if you want to watch football after turkey you will find plenty of bars with big screen TVs to bring you not only the action but a bucket of ice cold Mexican beer as well.

Thanksgiving week is the second most popular week here on the Riviera Maya (second only to Christmas/New Year). Here at the award-winning Luna Blue Hotel and Bar most of our rooms are already reserved, many by folks who have made Playa their annual Thanksgiving trip. However we still have a few rooms left, so why not join us this holiday week? You get a 10% discount with our special advance pre-payment sale, along with all the usual special treatment the Luna Blue has to offer: free use of five different beach clubs, discounts on food and drinks, free homemade muffins with coffee and tea every morning, and free “Welcome to Mexico” margaritas.

So this year, why spend your time raking leaves, cleaning gutters or fighting the crush of department store holiday sales when you can be laying on a white sand beach, swimming in a crystal clear blue ocean and sipping a boat drink while watching the waves? Now that would be something to be thankful for.

“Like” the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar on Facebook to keep up with the latest news of Playa del Carmen, life in paradise & our version of “living the dream.”

   

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar, The Love of Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Party through Spring and Summer at the Luna Blue Bar

Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 3, 2010

With the end of spring and the start of summer, the calendar of events and happenings at the Luna Blue Hotel & Luna Blue Bar is beginning to fill up. Lots of parties and fun things are planned:

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for May 2010

On May 5 we will be celebrating America’s favorite Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, with 2 for 1 margaritas, fun giveaways and the traditional music of Mexico. The party starts at 7:00 pm.

On May 7 we are proud to host the Peanut Pet ShelterAnother Brick in the Wall” Party. The Pet Shelter is once again giving away a holiday for two here in Playa del Carmen. This includes FREE FLIGHTS…. FREE AIRPORT TRANSFERS…AND A WEEK STAY AT VILLA BALAM. CLICK HERE to find out how to buy a brick and help build the new pet shelter clinic (and become eligible for the fantastic thank you gift of a FREE trip to Playa del Carmen). The party starts at 7:00 pm with live music by Mike Grabow starting at 8:00 pm.

On May 9 our friend A’ndrea Houston is hosting “Another Playa Bar Crawl.” About 90 of A’ndrea’s closest friends will be cruising the bars of Playa that night (be afraid!) and will be starting the festivities at the Luna Blue Bar. The bar opens at 3:00 pm and the Bar Crawl kicks off around 8:30. There will be music and surprises and fun. What better way to start a party night in Playa than at the Luna Blue?

On May 11 we will be hosting our own InkFest 2010 party, celebrating the art of tattoos. Anyone with a tattoo on display (which means uncovered for viewing…regardless of where it is located!) will receive a free shot of tequila from our lovely Bikini Shot girl. There will also be a tattoo contest with prizes for the best, the sexiest, the biggest, the most tattoos etc. And of course we will have live music with Mike Grabow, drink specials and all the usual craziness of a Luna Blue party.

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for June 2010

On June 4 the Peanut Pet Shelter and many Playa peeps are having a “Yappy Hour Peep Meet and Party” starting at 7:00 pm. There will be 2×1 margaritas, Papa T’s famous burgers (with proceeds to the Peanut Pet Shelter), live music and plenty of fun. Stop by and meet the folks from the Pet Shelter and some of the peeps that you always wanted to see in person.

On June 10, Sadie Elizabeth Infante will arrive in Playa for the first time. 🙂

On June 11 we are starting a new tradition here at the Luna Blue with our “1st Annual Rainbow Celebration.” June 11 is the anniversary of the day Mexico banned discrimination based on, among other things, sexual orientation or preference. The Luna Blue will proudly display the rainbow flag, the international symbol for tolerance and gay pride. Come and join us in celebrating the value of everyone’s life and love.

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for May 2010

We will also be playing the live Radio Margaritaville satellite broadcast of Jimmy Buffett’s concerts on May 15, 17, 20 and 22, and June 17, 19 and 26. Get 2 x 1 margaritas and swing beneath our newly-expanded palm frond roof while listening to Jimmy in paradise.

And as usual, every Tuesday and Friday night you can hear the great Mike Grabow sing about where he wants to be as Lenny the Wonder Dog races through the crowd and girls in bikinis sip free margaritas.

If you are in Playa del Carmen, stop by the Luna Blue Bar. Paradise doesn’t get much better than this.

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St. Patrick’s Day at the Luna Blue Bar…the Place to Be on March 17th

Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 16, 2010

The two of us always brag that for all the years we lived in San Francisco, we never worked on St. Patrick’s Day. This was OUR holiday, and the festivities for us would always start around noon. We would join in one of the many celebrations held around the City, which has a very large Irish population, and we would continue in the revelry until we dropped.

When we moved here to Playa del Carmen, we found that if we wanted to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in the manner to which we’d become accustomed, we’d have to make our own party.

So, while our days of not working on St. Paddy’s Day are over, the work now consists of hanging decorations, blowing up green balloons, making fun drink menus and picking up beer bottles. And this year will be no different.

If you’re in Playa del Carmen on Wednesday March 17, come see how Mexico celebrates Ireland and all things Irish. Stop by the Luna Blue Bar St. Paddy’s Day Party! We’ll have live music from 5-11 pm with Mike Grabow and Brent Parkin, drink specials, Irish tunes, Ginger the Bikini Shot Girl, giveaways, and lots and lots of green fun. We’ll also be celebrating our friend Rick’s birthday.

Wear a green thong & get a free margarita. As always, girls in bikinis drink free.

Luna Blue Bar St Patrick’s Day Special Drink Menu
Loco Leprechaun (Jameson’s, Midori and Lime Juice) – $70 pesos
Jamesons Irish Whiskey – $50 pesos.
Irish Breakfast Combo (Beer & a shot of Jamesons)- $65 pesos.
Having a beautiful Brazilian girl in a miniscule bikini
pour whiskey or tequila right into your open mouth – PRICELESS

Don’t miss the fun. March 17. 5 pm. Luna Blue Bar. Calle 26 between 5th & 10th Avenues, Playa del Carmen.

Click here for pictures of our our last St. Paddy’s Day party

St. Patrick’s Day at the Luna Blue. Not for the timid. 🙂

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

You haven’t been to Playa del Carmen until…

Posted by Tony & Cheri on February 1, 2010

It seems to us that few visitors to Playa del Carmen come for only one trip. Playa is a special place and its uniqueness and beauty can be very addictive. People return year after year and never seem to run out of things to do or see. Part of the reason people return is that Playa is always changing with new events, restaurants, shops and clubs.

At the same time there are some places and activities that have stood the test of time and have become “Playa classics.” In our mind they are part of what makes Playa del Carmen so special…and if you haven’t seen or done a good part of them…you haven’t yet seen the real Playa. So here is our “must see and must do” list for your next trip back to paradise.

In our opinion, you haven’t really been to Playa until you…

1. Skip the mega-resort out on the highway and stay in town. At night, turn off the air conditioner, and listen to the call of geckos as you fall sleep beneath a whirling ceiling fan.

2. Walk along the empty shore of the Caribbean early in the morning and watch flocks of pelicans diving into the water for breakfast.

3. Get coffee and a pastry at Java Joe’s. Sit and listen to the chatter of old time locals talk about how Playa used to be.

4. Snorkel in Akumal Bay where you might come upon a sea turtle or two casually munching the sea grass on the sandy bottom.

5. Sit in the evening at a beach side bar, pulling your chair down to the water’s edge and watch the lights on Cozumel island sparkle against the night sky. Look for cruise ship lights in the distant ocean.

6. See fire dancers whirl flaming torches as they perform amazing acrobatic movements in the sand.

7. Guys: Go fishing for marlin while smoking a real Cuban cigar. Out on the ocean any man can be Hemingway for the afternoon.

8. Gals: go topless on the beach. It doesn’t matter your age or shape. This is the Caribbean where every woman can experience the freedom of the sensuous tropics…and no one back home will ever know.

9. Explore the locals’ Playa del Carmen. Walk along Juarez Street or 30th Avenue. Pick a café or restaurant where you see no tourists and sit yourself down. Better yet, stand in line at a taco cart and try something new.

10. Volunteer to help at the Saturday Dog Wash at the Peanut Pet Shelter. Hang with the local ex-pats and fall in love with the puppies. If an adorable stray falls in love with you, take him home with you for a permanent reminder of this special place.

11. Bar crawl the beach, starting on the north end with Mamita’s and then head south hitting beach bars along the way. End at Bad Boys late in the afternoon on a Thursday or Saturday when you can dance in the sand or on the bar to the music of the Nasty Bastards.

12. Swim in a cenote with local kids jumping in from the overhanging rocks.

13. Find the best tacos al pastor (marinated barbequed pork tacos). Start at Carboncitos and then head over to El Fogon or to any number of other local eateries. Try to pick your favorite…it may take several tastings. And if you get tired of tacos, go to H.C. de Monterrey for some arrachera.

14. Meet Lenny the Wonder Dog. Toss the ball so he can bring it back to you. Repeat…all night long.

15. Get a tattoo at Scream Ink. Only for the truly hardcore Playaense.

16. Rent a car and drive to Cobá instead of flying by small villages along the way in a giant tour bus. When you get to Cobá climb the pyramid and gaze on the same jungle that Mayan priests looked out over thousands of years ago.

17. Stroll along Fifth Avenue at night listening for the best come on line from store owners (“Hey Buddy, now it’s my turn to rip you off.”).

18. Speak a little Spanish to someone…even if it is just “Buenos Dias” or “Gracias” or “Uno Mas.”

19. Drink some really, really good tequila…and sip it, don’t slam it.

20. And last but not least…sit on a swing at the Luna Blue Bar, drinking a Sarita B Careful margarita and listening to Mike Grabow sing his original song about discovering Playa, “Where I Want to Be.” Then say to yourself, “This is paradise.”

Of course this is just our own subjective checklist. Feel free to make your own…and we would love to hear any suggestions you may have.

By the way, it was five years ago today, Feb 1, 2005, when we sat in the lawyer’s office in Cancun and signed the final papers making us owners of a little hotel in Playa Del Carmen. We had been coming here to this lovely part of the Caribbean for a number of years and had finally decided to make it our home. So here we are five years later still trying our best. For all who have helped and encouraged us along the way you have our sincere thanks.

Posted in Activities, Dining in Playa, Events & Happenings, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Once in a New Year’s Eve Luna Blue Moon!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on January 1, 2010

You’ve heard that old expression “once in a blue moon,” meaning something pretty rare and special. That’s one of the reasons we picked the name “Luna Blue” for our hotel since it translates to “blue moon.”

A blue moon is a rare occurrence which happens when there is a second full moon in one calendar month. Even rarer is a blue moon on New Year’s Eve. But that’s what’s happening tonight. There won’t be another NYE blue moon until 2028…19 years from now!

So if you want to celebrate this rare blue moon in style, what better place than to do it at the Luna Blue Bar. And if you can’t make it down for our New Year’s Eve party, please accept our warm wishes for a safe, prosperous and happy new year to come.

Happy New Year

Posted in Events & Happenings, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »