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Posts Tagged ‘Radio Margaritaville’

Party in Paradise….New Year’s Eve at the Luna Blue!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on December 18, 2009

Have a Tropical New Year!Some places seem to think New Year’s Eve is a chance to add on a hefty cover charge, double the prices on drinks and try to be super-cool. Not us. Down here at the Luna Blue we think New Year’s Eve should be all about margaritas and palm trees.

So this New Year’s Eve, we are having an old school “Party in Paradise” with Buffett, Booze and Bikinis…

* Start with a New Year’s Eve Happy Hour…2 for 1 Margaritas from 5-8 pm.

* Enjoy live music by Mike Grabow, who will sing about putting your toes in the water and your butt in the sand.

* Whenever Mike takes a break we will turn on Radio Margaritaville.

* Hungry? Spanish Tapas can be delivered right to your swing or table from Miguel at Las Cazuelas Restaurant across the street.

* And just to add to the beach party atmosphere, girls in bikinis drink FREE!

Enjoy Boat Drinks while sitting on a swing beneath a palm-thatched roof; stroll in a beautiful tropical garden; dance next to a waterfall; and join us for a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

No cover, no reservations, no inflated prices and “no worries, Mon.”

Join us for New Year’s Eve at the Luna Blue Bar…Playa Style.

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A Quick Jaunt to Belize

Posted by Tony & Cheri on February 17, 2009

Early mornings on a long boat dock
Drinking coffee as the sun comes up
Lazy days spent napping in a big deck chair

Walking home underneath the stars
Music coming from a Front Street bar
Seems like a dream we live down here.

~Jerry Jeff Walker
singing about Ambergris Caye

A view of the Caribbean

Our dear friends Jan and Eric recently came from San Francisco to visit us. They have been to Playa several times over the years and as it was Jani’s 50th birthday, they wanted to celebrate by doing something different this time. We all decided a trip to the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize was just the thing.

Ambergris is one of the islands, or keys (spelled old English Style as “cayes”), which lay off the coast near the border of Belize and Mexico. A little jewel floating in the Caribbean Sea, it has one town, San Pedro, and a whole lot of natural beauty. It’s a perfect place to get away and relax for a few days.

We began our trip in the Big Bastard, the Chevy Express van which brought us to Mexico, driving four hours from Playa Del Carmen to the city of Chetumal, Mexico which sits on the border with Belize. The border between Belize and Mexico has the feel of a Bogart movie to it with dusty border town buildings on each side of a bridge which crosses a muddy river. Rusty trucks, aged cars and people carrying luggage wander back and forth over the bridge between the two countries, while hustlers and con men looking for a handout or a quick buck wait eagerly on both sides of the border.

Once we drove over the bridge into Belize we hit a snag. Belizean Immigration would not let our van in without the original vehicle title (we had a copy with us and kept the original back home in a safe). At first there was talk of sending us back to Mexico, but after a little bargaining it was agreed we could leave the Big Bastard in the Immigration office parking lot for a “daily fee.” Right. Money changed hands and off we went in a cab to the airport. Well…kind of like an airport. At least it had a runway. Kind of.

The Tropic Air office in Corozal, BelizeTropic Air (“The Official Airline of Belize”) runs a small 12-person propeller plane back and forth from the island several a times a day. The “airport” is a small hut on the outskirts of a poverty stricken town, Corozal, where you can buy tickets and leave packages for shipping to San Pedro. The “food court” is a wooden stand across the dirt road where you can get a cold beer and maybe some nachos or chips.

In a short time the plane landed on the small runway (at least it was paved…last time we flew Tropic Air it was a dirt road!). The plane pulls right up to the building, people jump on and in a few minutes is airborne over the flatlands of Corozal. Fifteen minutes later the plane is over the blue waters of the Caribbean and heading in for a landing on Ambergris Caye.

Once on the ground in Ambergris we headed for the hotel. We had booked at a Bed and Breakfast called Changes in Latitudes. It had high marks on Tripadvisor and sent us friendly emails in response to our questions. It turned out we had made an excellent choice.
Changes in Latitudes“Changes…” reminded us of our own Luna Blue Hotel in many, many ways. It was very small (only six rooms) with a central common area of bougainvilleas, plants, hammocks and chairs. They even had Radio Margaritaville playing over the hotel speakers…just like home! The rooms were small and tropical island funky which suited all of us just fine. But best of all were the owners. Renita and Cindy had moved to Belize from the States a few years ago to start a new life much as we had and created their own adorable little tropical getaway. They were friendly and welcoming. And it turned out that Renita, who was in charge of breakfast each day, was a fantastic cook. A perfect example of her skills was the banana pancakes made from scratch and covered with a homemade caramel sauce. OH….MY….GOD! We cannot recommend Changes in Latitude Bed and Breakfast highly enough.

The next couple of days seem like a soft and relaxing blur. There was Renita’s breakfast each morning of course. And incredible Cuban coffee espresso shots with sweetened condensed milk at a little place called Mojitos Cuban Café. And as “Changes” offers free use of the pool at the Belize Yacht Club right next door, there was plenty of time spent snoozing on loungers, swimming, or sitting at the swim up bar. We rented a golf cart and cruised San Pedro’s three …count ‘em… three… streets and drove around the beautiful jungle roads outside of town. For three days we wandered about, went sightseeing, shopped, strolled on the beach, swam and ate. Boy, did we eat. Eric at the swim up bar

On Renita’s suggestion we went to a number of different restaurants…all them excellent. The favorite of our little group was the Wild Mango’s Café. Remember that the four of us are all from San Francisco, one of the restaurant capitals of the world, and as such we can be pretty demanding about our food. Yet we all agree Wild Mango’s presented as good a meal as we had seen back home, and served on a deck overlooking the Caribbean. Hard to beat. And later in the evening we would take the golf cart and wander down dirt roads to a little place called Casa Picasso for coffee, rum and an unbelievable dessert named “Cracked Coconut,” a molded chocolate shell covered in toasted coconut and filled with coconut ice cream. We might have made that trek more than once. 😉

On Jan’s birthday we went out to the edge of the jungle to a delightful restaurant called Hidden Treasure. And boy, is it. Open air with a palapa roof, it was lit by candles and torches. It was like one of those Survivor episodes where the winner of a challenge gets sent to some exotic place for a banquet. Jan said it was a great way to turn 50.

Cheri, Tony, Jan & EricWe had hoped to either get over to Shark Ray Alley, a great snorkeling spot where you can swim among harmless nurse sharks and rays, or maybe get in a dive on the reef while we were there. However the day we planned for such fun ended up being a windy rain day…so it was reading in the hammock instead. Not so bad.

Ambergris was certainly bigger than the last time we were there several years ago. Condos are being built left and right, and the old dirt roads are now paved and have a fair amount of traffic. Yet the island retains its sweet Caribbean charm, and the people are as friendly as ever. Every one seems to say hello; everyone seems to have a smile.

Our last night on the island the four of us went out searching for some Belizean Rum. Belize is very strict about its liqueur. You can only get beer made in Belize (Belikin), and most booze is heavily taxed so that alcohol from other countries is very, very expensive. As one local jokingly told us: “It’s easier to get a brick of cocaine onto the island than a six pack of Budweiser”! However the rum made in Belize is high quality, and Eric, being a bit of a rum connoisseur, wanted to get some of the local hooch.

We went to a store recommended by Renita. When we got there we found the local rum sold in various ages and proofs ranging from a clear moonshine-like form of pure cane alcohol to more subtly aged rum. The good stuff is sold under the name of One Barrel or, if appropriately aged, Five Barrel. The young man running the store that night was named LeRoi and seemed happy for the company. He was anxious to pour samples of whatever needed to be tasted. He chatted with us about where we were from and wanted to know if we liked his island home. We assured him we did.

Eric & LeRoi, after switching hatsAs we were making our purchases, Tony noticed that LeRoi was wearing a One Barrel Rum baseball cap. He pointed it out to Eric who always wears ball caps. When Tony asked where we could buy one, LeRoi took the hat off gave it to us. Eric immediately put it on and gave LeRoi his own Hermosa Beach hat in exchange. We took pictures of the two guys with their new headgear. Everybody laughed and thought this was great fun. LeRoi insisted that we take his email and send him a copy of the picture so that when his wife wanted to know why he came home with a different hat on than he left with, he’d have proof of his story!

The next day with hugs and promises to write we bid the girls of Changes in Latitude goodbye and headed home. A Tropic Air plane took us back to the mainland where we picked up the Big Bastard and headed back into Mexico.

On the way home we decided to make a stop for lunch at Lake Bacalar, a natural lake next to the ocean about three hours south of Playa del Carmen. Lake Bacalar is known as the Lake of Seven Colors. Its expansive waters contain multiple shades of blues and greens reflecting the sky and the jungle around it. Some parts of the water are deep blue, some are pale, and some contain multiple shadings. Words can’t describe it. We stopped for lunch at the Hotel Laguna Bacalar. Structured like a funky old 50s-style motel, it sits on multiple levels on the hills overlooking the blue water below. We had a great Mexican lunch at a decent price and then wandered the grounds awhile admiring the view before heading home.

When we moved to Caribbean Mexico is was our hope and intent that we wouldn’t be held captive in just one place. We love Playa del Carmen, but the Caribbean Sea is a big front yard and borders many magical places that have a strong draw for us. Last year it was Jamaica. This year it was Belize. And of course there’s still much of Mexico we haven’t seen yet. The journey continues.

Here are a few more photos from our trip:

Some local school girls walking home on the beach
Girls on their way to school

The Mayan Princess, and looking out at the Caribbean
Mayan Princess

Tony looks amazingly like his shirt, don’t you think?
Tony looking like his t-shirt

Renita, Cheri, Tony, Eric & Jan -saying goodbye at Changes in Latitudes
Saying goodbye at Changes in Latitudes...Renita, Cheri, Tony, Eric & Jan

Beautiful Lake Bacalar
Lake Bacalar

The view from the Belize Yacht Club
The view from the Belize Yacht Club

Changes in Latitudes
The sign at Changes in Latitudes

San Pedro, Belize, seen from the airplane
San Pedro seen from the air

The Caribbean reflected in Tony’s glasses
The Caribbean reflected

Looking out at the Caribbean
Catamaran & Palm

A typical San Pedro view
A view of the Caribbean

Posted in Living the Dream, The Love of Travel, Trip Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Jimmy Buffett’s Back at the Luna Blue Bar!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on July 13, 2008

Parrotheads Party!!!

It’s about time. Jimmy Buffett has had his summer vacation break and, starting this Thursday, he is back on the road with the Coral Reefer Band and the lovely Reeferettes. Of course all of Jimmy’s roads lead to Playa Del Carmen via Radio Margaritaville’s satellite concert broadcasts. And as always, every time Jimmy is performing somewhere…anywhere…we will be playing the concert live at the Luna Blue Bar.

Our Luna Blue Bar-Jimmy Buffett Live Concert-Parrothead Parties were a great success in June and figure to be just as much fun for the second half of Jimmy’s “The Year of Still Here” tour. You can see a little bit of one of our Parrothead parties in the following video, courtesy of our friends at

So starting July 17th we will again be having our Parrothead gatherings. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in July the Luna Blue Bar will have “Dos por Uno” (Two for One) House Margaritas, the best cheeseburgers in paradise grilled bar-side by Papa T, prizes, giveaways and best of all, Jimmy playing and singing LIVE for your pleasure. All the parties in July start at 7:00 pm. In the weeks to come, look for some special happenings, including the Dos Equis XX girls as guest bartenders (dates to be announced…watch here for details!). And remember…if Jimmy EVER utters the words “Playa Del Carmen” during a concert…it’s tequila for the house on us!

So deck yourself out in your best, funniest, sexiest Parrothead attire (or come as you are), and bring that giant thirst for a boat drink down to the Luna Blue Bar. The Gypsies are in the Castle tonight. Fins Up!

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Jimmy Buffett Concert at the Luna Blue Bar

Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 11, 2008

Ha! Made you look! 🙂

The Bar at the Luna BlueWe’ve always been big Jimmy Buffett fans. His music, books and concerts were a huge inspiration to us when we decided to run away to the tropics and buy the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. And when we decided to build our own tropical bar, images of “Margaritaville” (the dream, not the restaurants) danced in our heads. We tried to build a bar that was our idea of what a little bar in paradise should be. So we built a palm-thatched roof over a bar surrounded by swings, not stools. We placed it on a deck overlooking a garden filled with tropical flowers, hammocks and a waterfall.

Okay, perfect, we thought. But what about tunes?? We spent a lot of time loading our ipod and searching itunes and came up with some good ideas. But then we realized the answer was right in front of us: the perfect soundtrack to living in Margaritaville is Radio Margaritaville. Yes, it has lots of Buffett, which we like. But it also plays other great musicians associated with living or vacationing in “someplace hot.” The Neville Brothers, Bob Marley, Steven Marley, lots of other Marleys, Kenny Chesney, Marcia Ball, Willie Nelson can all be heard here. The sounds run from pop to soul to reggae to blues–just about anything you’d want to hear while laying on a beach with a cold one in your hand. And we’ve had a soft spot in our hearts for Radio Margaritaville ever since last fall when they broadcast our plea to help the victims of Hurricane Dean in Mahahual, Mexico.

So we bought a Sirius satellite radio, climbed precariously to the top of the highest part of the hotel to install the antenna, hung the speakers from the rafters and threw the switch. It started a party that has continued ever since.

Last week, while standing in the front row at the edge of the stage for Jimmy Buffett’s performance at Jazz Fest in New Orleans (yes, a trip report will be coming soon), we came up with a fun idea for the bar. Since all of Jimmy’s concerts are broadcast live on Radio Margaritaville, we thought we would bring the party to Playa del Carmen by way of satellite. So…..during every Buffett concert this summer, our legendary bartender Jose will be pouring 2 for 1 margaritas to the accompaniment of Jimmy’s live concert!

Jimmy Buffett, live at Jazz Fest, New Orleans 2008All of Jimmy’s concerts are Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays. The Luna Blue Jimmy Buffett Concert Hours start as listed below, Central Time (aka Playa del Carmen time).

June 5, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Lakewood Ampitheatre, Atlanta GA)
June 7, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek – Raleigh, NC)
June 10, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from DTE Energy Music Center – Clarkston, MI)
June 12, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Madision Square Garden – New York, NY)
June 14, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia, PA)
July 17, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH)
July 19, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Alpine Valley Music Theatre – East Troy, WI)
July 22, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Post-Gazette Pavilion – Pittsburgh PA)
July 24, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL)
July 26, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL)
July 29, 2008 – 7:00 pm (from Verizon Wireless Music Center – Noblesville, IN )
August 24, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Boardwalk Hall – Atlantic City, NJ)
August 27, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Nikon at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY)
August 30, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Nissan Pavilion – Bristow, VA )
September 1, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Nissan Pavilion – Bristow, VA )
September 4, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts – Mansfield, MA )
September 6, 2008 – 8:00 pm (from Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts – Mansfield, MA )
October 16, 2008 – 10:00 pm (from Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre – Chula Vista, CA)
October 18, 2008 – 10:00 pm (from MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV)
October 21, 2008 – 10:00 pm (from Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA)
October 25, 2008 – 10:00 pm (from MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV)

If you’re a Parrothead, or want to be a Parrothead, or don’t even know or care what a Parrothead is, stop by the Luna Blue Bar this summer for The Luna Blue Jimmy Buffett Concert Hour. Grass skirts and coconut bras are optional. 🙂

We got
your lost
shaker of salt
right here,
Jimmy's backup singers, Tina Gullickson and Nadira Shakur, Jazz Fest, New Orleans 2008

Posted in Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »