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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Posts Tagged ‘catamaya’

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

There are 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:

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

A Perfect Day

Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 26, 2009

What Should We Do Today?
Guests at our Luna Blue Hotel often ask our help in planning their activities. The questions we are most commonly asked are “What do you like to do on your days off?” and “What would be a perfect day here in Playa?” Those are difficult questions to answer. There are so many things to do and many places to visit, and of course, there is the whole Caribbean coast that runs from Cancun through Playa Del Carmen and on down to Tulum and beyond. A lot depends on the guests themselves and the type of activities they enjoy. Some folks like a day of strenuous activity while others like to be laid back and relaxed for the whole vacation. For us, the answer is a combination of taking it easy and something a little more adventurous. And of course, any “perfect” day in Playa Del Carmen has to include some time experiencing the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. With the recent slow down in Playa’s tourism (see our recent blog entry A Trip to the Beach and Some Thoughts on the Swine Flu Hysteria) we decided to take some time off from the hotel and have our own Perfect Day.

The Perfect Morning
the beach at Blucacao Beach ClubWe started out by heading over to Blucacao Beach Club. Since we added free use of the Blucacao for guests of the Luna Blue earlier this year we have heard nothing but rave reviews. And it’s easy to see why. Blucacao is an upscale, beautiful and sexy beach club for the discriminating traveler. It has two pools, a chic bar and one of the better restaurants in town, not to mention a classic Caribbean beach front. Check out the photos we have of Blucacao at Blucacao, Luna Blue’s Newest Beach Club. So when we decided to start our “Perfect Day” on the beach the Blucacao was an easy choice. Once we got there we laid down on a wonderfully cushy beach bed, shaded by an umbrella only steps from the water’s edge. As always the service was terrific. The waiters swarmed over us getting us drinks, snacks, towels and anything else we needed. We alternated between lying in the shade of the umbrella, admiring the incredible vista and wading into the calm water to float under the morning sun. Then, as the morning drew to a close we said goodbye to our friends at the beach club and headed back into town for the afternoon portion of our “Perfect Day.”

The Perfect Afternoon
Spa ItzaOver a year ago our darling “semi-adopted” daughter Sarah and her husband Adam gave us a gift certificate to Playa’s premier spa, Spa Itza. We have long recommended Spa Itza to our guests for their top quality spa treatments but had never found the time to make use of our free massages. So, as part of our “Perfect Day” we called Spa Itza and scheduled some time.

The spa is located in the middle of Calle Corazon just off 5th Avenue. It is a multi-level building in the style of an open-air tree house. The facility has flowering trees, small gardens, and decks. They greeted us warmly, gave us a chilled towel to cool off from the afternoon heat (ahhhhh!!!!) and took us to our third-floor massage room. We each received a towel, a pareo, a key to a locker and a robe before being directed to the appropriate shower/changing area. We then went to the massage room where we each had a fifty-minute massage that left us limp and content. Then it was up to the rooftop where we were shown the temescal (a traditional Mayan sweat lodge), the lounge area, a sauna and showers. The whole area is a pleasant blend of stone and wood with the open sky above and the ocean in the distance. There is even an intercom for requesting water or fruit juices if you want.

First, we tried the Mayan sweat lodge. The temescal is a short (about 4 feet high) rounded structure with a wooden floor and the steam source in the center. We crawled in and sat in the near darkness with the steam swirling around us. It’s a little like a sensory deprivation chamber with heat. After a while we crawled out into the bright sunlight and cooled off under the open air stone and wood shower stall. Then we popped into the traditional dry sauna for a few minutes. By this time we could not have been more relaxed. If we had wanted we then could have relaxed in lounge chairs on the roof top deck, but we had to move along for the final part of the “Perfect Day”… a sunset cruise on the Caribbean!

The Perfect Evening
Regular readers of this blog know how much we enjoy the Catamaya sailing trips. We recommend them to our guests as one of the best tours/activites in Playa. The boat itself is beautiful, and the crew is always attentive and loads of fun. Besides, the Catamaya owners are just good people. Fabio and his wife Elvie are always willing to help out and donate to any good cause or need, like the Bomberos and the Peanut Pet Shelter. And the way they treat their staff like family says a lot about what kind of people they are. On this particular evening, they were taking the boat out with some family and friends just to enjoy a little time on the water. We were thrilled when they invited us to join them.

We all met at the dock in Puerto Aventuras at 4:00 pm. Fabio introduced us to his other guests. Then we were off. As we cleared the channel leading from the harbor to the open ocean, the sky was a lovely shade of darkening blue. The waters were calm and the breezes gentle so the sail was unfurled and we were soon skimming along the waves heading north along the coast. The regular crew was serving and working that evening and soon everyone was enjoying drinks and snacks. We chatted with Fabio and Elvie about the rewards and difficulties of operating a business in Mexico. We traded some stories of outrageous events and funny happenings, a common pastime among foreigners down here.

We eventually dropped anchor and a number of guests (us included) dove overboard to take a sunset swim in the warm water. The Fat Cat catamaran, another Playa tour company and friendly competitor of Catamaya, was anchored not far away with a full boat of guests. Suddenly somebody on the Catamaya let out a loud laugh and we all turned to look. The folks on the Fat Cat had lined up on the deck, turned their backs to us on the Catamaya, and then dropped their swim trunks and bikini bottoms. A full mooning! We all had a good laugh and some good-natured cat calling went back and forth.

The crew then began dinner. The grill was filled with lobster, steak and sausage. Pasta, salads and pastries were also served. Fabio and Elvie could not have been better, or nicer, hosts. We anchored for a while, enjoying dinner and watching a large storm pelt Playa with rain and spectacular bolts of lightning that lit up the evening sky over the jungle. Then as we unhooked from the anchorage and began to motor home we ended up in a bit of weather ourselves. The wind picked up and the waves began to roll. A downpour eventually forced us all inside the cabin and we watched as lightning crackled in the skies above us. To take advantage of the rolling of the boat the music was turned up and salsa lessons ensued, with Alberto the newest crew member donning the infamous tiger bikini for his lessons! Eventually, the storm passed on and we motored back into Puerto Aventuras. Thank you, Fabio and Elvie for a thoroughly delightful time!

So there you have it…our Perfect Day. It started with floating in the Caribbean and ended up sailing upon it. This is why we live here. Of course, living in paradise means there are still lots of other perfect days yet to come. And if you make it down here to visit us, we can help you have one too. 🙂

Buffett Plays Playa Update:
Still no word from Jimmy. If you haven’t e-mailed Jimmy yet (or you want to send a second…or third…e-mail) go here for the whole story.

Tony at Blucacao

Cheri enjoying a mimosa at Blucacao

Cheri in Spa Itza robe

The temescal–Mayan sweat lodge– at Spa Itza

Tony relaxing in the Spa Itza garden after his massage

Cheri enjoying the outdoor shower at Spa Itza

Our massage room

Alejandro, Captain of the Catamaya

Tony on the Catamaya

Jose, the Catamaya’s bartender

The crew raising the sail

Alberto teaching the girls to fish

Cheri catching the last rays of the day’s sun

Fatcat Full Moon

Tatiana, Elvie & Fabio’s daughter, with her boyfriend Ivan

Tony & Fabio

The End of a Perfect Day

Posted in Activities, Living the Dream | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Bomberos Catamaya Sunset Cruise 2008

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 9, 2008

This event has been cancelled. Thank you to all the people who donated money. Your credit cards will not be charged. And thank you very much to Catamaya Cruises for their very generous offer. We still highly recommend Catamaya as one of the finest tours in the area. Thanks also to Sarah Bursey of Graphicos Design for designing the t-shirt.


On August 22, Mexico will celebrate Dia de los Bomberos, or Firemen’s Day. Here in Playa there is extra reason to celebrate as our local Bomberos will soon be opening three new fire stations here in town. There will be a large gathering at the main firehouse with an all-day open house and festivities, including the presentation of the firefighter team and individual awards given by the State of Quintana Roo, and won (of course) by our own Bomberos de la Riviera Maya. If you have a chance, stop by the fire station that day to meet and say thanks to some of the people who keep all of us is Playa Del Carmen–locals and visitors alike–safe.

One of the things that make our Bomberos very special is that they exist on contributions from a grateful public. Locals and visitors both benefit from the hard and often dangerous work of the Bomberos and have generously contributed donations allowing the Bomberos to buy the expensive equipment needed to protect the community. Those needs are ongoing, and on behalf of the Bomberos, we are asking for your help in protecting the little slice of paradise we all love, Playa Del Carmen.

So…..Catamaya Cruises and the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar are proud to announce:

The Bomberos Catamaya Sunset Cruise 2008

On Sunday August 24th Catamaya Cruises will offer a special Sunset Cruise with 100% of all ticket sales going to the Bomberos. All costs of the trip are being paid for by the generous folks at Catamaya!! Luna Blue will be coordinating the event & donating commemorative t-shirts.
The Catamaya Cataman

The cruise starts at 3:30 pm and continues until 7:30 pm. We will sail the beautiful Caribbean Sea, snorkel, swim and grill hamburgers on the open deck (with appropriate side dishes and munchies) as we watch the sunset. There will also be an open bar. And you will get a chance to talk with some of the firefighters themselves who will also be along to share their stories, including Bomberos President Brian Borjesson.

Cost is $80.00 USD per person including transportation to and from Playa Del Carmen (the Catamaya leaves from Puerto Aventuras). Tickets must be purchased in advance. Simply go to the Luna Blue website reservation page and authorize your credit card payment. In the “notes” space just type “Bomberos Cruise.”  You will receive confirmation of your ticket purchase via e-mail within a few days.  Or, if you live in Playa or are visiting, stop by the Luna Blue any day between 7:30 am and 10:00 pm and pay in person.

Last year, donations helped purchase two sets of the “Jaws of Life” which are used to extract victims from badly mangled vehicle wrecks. In the past 12 months, the Bomberos saved the lives of more than 20 people using the Jaws of Life by enabling them to free the victims from the wreckage of their cars. Our friends Mayte and Alex are among those who were saved with this vital equipment. Donations from the Bomberos Catamaya Sunset Cruise 2008 will help purchase a badly needed additional set of the Jaws of Life so even more lives can be saved.

Bomberos of the Riviera Maya fire truckThis is a not-to-be-missed event…a great time sailing on the sea and a chance to help some real heroes do their job. And if you can’t be here, you can still be a “Bomberos Buddy” by making a donation. Every person who donates $25.00 US or more (or buys a ticket for the cruise) will receive a one of a kind “Bomberos Sunset Cruise 2008/Bomberos Buddy” t-shirt . These donations will also be used to purchase tickets for deserving people who might not otherwise get a chance to join us…other local heroes who do tremendous work in helping make Playa del Carmen the special place that it is. And the t-shirts (which we’re hoping to have designed by the lovely SarahB) will promise to be collector’s items!

Don’t wait. Space is limited to 80 passengers… Send your ticket order or contribution today so you too can proudly say, “I’m a Bomberos Buddy!”

For more info on our Bomberos here is an article which appears in the August 2008 Playa Del Carmen Tourist Information Magazine written by Editor Scott Novak and reprinted here with permission:

Dia de Los Bomberos, as it is known here, is recognized throughout the world with the exception of the U.S. and Canada. It is particularly big in Latin America, where the populace is very aware that the fire protection they count on is largely a volunteer effort. Playa del Carmen, in the heart of the Riviera Maya, is fortunate to have a well equipped, professional fire department. Its history is short because Playa was just a small village not that long ago. A volunteer “bucket brigade” was formed in 1995 after a visiting tourist lost his R.V. to an electrical fire. By 1998 there was a full-time force of eight men, without a lot of equipment, but with a firehouse.

The year 2000 saw the arrival of Playa’s first fire truck, a 1964 Seagraves donated by sister city Glendale, Colorado. That’s the white fire truck we now see on the roof of the fire station as a remembrance. That truck and the men who operated it saved many lives. That’s why it sits there.

Now, in 2008, Playa’s Fire Department is recognized as the best, most well organized, and effective team in the state. Firefighters from Cancun, Cozumel, Chetumal, and indeed all over the country come to Playa every year for training at the annual Academy in April. The force, comprising about 50, now has around 20 vehicles including 13 trucks, pumpers, tankers, 3 ambulances, and a 75-foot ladder truck. They’ve also just acquired an all-weather rescue boat.

The department currently responds to about 700 calls per year, and not just for fires. The entire force is trained in urban rescue techniques, first aid, and CPR. Their 3 victim ambulances are equipped with the “Jaws of Life” so they can extricate accident victims much faster than the private ambulances. Dangerous wild animals, poisonous snakes, hornets nests; the call goes to the fire dept. They maintain extensive coordination with Civil Protection and other emergency service workers, particularly during hurricane season.

The dedicated firemen who make up the force do it to help their community, not for money, of which they don’t receive much. Rather their own fundraising efforts bring in resrouces for much needed equipment. You can help out by buying a tee shirt at

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »