Dec 17, 2009

MEXICO TOURISM BOARD gives free trip to Mexico on Facebook

We had to share this press release with you: great deal indeed!

"Mexico City- Mexico; December 16th, 2009 – The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) is excited to announce its first Facebook giveaway- an amazing 4-Day, 3-Night trip for two guests to the popular tourist destination of Cancun. Winners will stay at the luxurious Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas, and will include roundtrip airfare.

By simply becoming a fan of the MTB’s Facebook Page by December 28th, users are automatically entered to win. The trip is a way to give back and thank the growing online community of Mexico fans.

The Mexico Tourism Board launched their official “We Visit Mexico” social media presence on Facebook among other sites including Twitter, Youtube and Flickr, to talk to travelers in a more personal way.

The platform allows past, present and future travelers to post pictures, stories and experiences, about traveling to Mexico. Discussions include great places, people, activities, culture and food.  People can also share their pictures and videos of their trips to Mexico.

 You can find “We Visit Mexico” on the following sites:

Entry Rules:
Sweepstakes open to residents of the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. Employees of the Mexico Tourism Board and affiliated companies, and advertising and promotional agencies, and the immediate family members of, and any persons domiciled with, any such employees, are not eligible to win. Travel must originate from and return to a U.S. international airport. Travel is subject to blackout dates and availability. Trip is valid for one year from the date of issue.

About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB  is  Mexico’s  tourism  promotion  agency, and its participants include members  of  both  the  private  and  public  sectors.  The MTB has offices throughout    North    America,    Europe,   Japan    and   Latin   America. "

Nov 18, 2009

Coolest hoteliers in Mexico open their third 5-star property in the capital

One of my favourite hotels in Mexico is Playa del Carmen's BASICO. I just love everything about it: the vibe, the utterly quirky design, the airyness, the guests. Once I stayed there, I started to pay more attention to what the owners of the BASICO do. They have a series of cool hotels, group under the banner grupo Habita.

They recently opened their third hotel in Mexico City, called Distrito Capital (Rua Juan Salvador Agraz, 37, tel. 5255 5257-1300) , in the Santa Fé district.

The hip French designer Joseph Dirand did the interiors, so naked they remind one of a modernistic convent.

At the entrance, dramatic cuts into the black walls let in slices of daylight.

The rooms are equally sober and minimalistic and come with iPod docks and amenities by Acqua di Parma.

It was in 2000 the four young entrepreneurs who own grupo Habita opened their first boutique hotel, the Habita (Avenida Presidente Masaryk, 201, Cidade do México, (555) 282-3100). It single-handedly changed the hotel scene in the city.

The 5-story building, enveloped in a milky glass "skin", looks like a lantern when lit up at night.

It's been a huge hit since day 1.

In 2001, they opened the Condesa df (Avenida Veracruz, 102, (555) 241-2600), a super cool triangular shaped hotel in the eponymous district of Mexico City.

Their La Purificadora (Callejon de la 10 Norte, 802, Puebla, (222) 309-1920) - is another architectural marvel, with the somber grey walls made more lively by sudden splashes of purple. Oh, and there's that famous pool in the lobby...

Their funnest hotels are the Hotel Deseo and my all-time fave, the Hotel Básico, both in Playa del Carmen. At Deseo (Quinta avenida s/no , Playa del Carmen, (984) 879-3620) the rooms face a pool that's always very happening, like an outdoor lounge party. At the Básico (Quinta avenida, s/no, Playa del Carmen, (984) 879-4448), a mere two blocks away, the décor is kooky-nautical with lots of black rubber and ivory cement tiles, with beds on stilts and other fun details.

Nov 14, 2009

Orozco murals are the main draw at Guadalajara's Instituto Cabañas


The Instituto Cultural Cabañas, an ex-orfanage in the Old Downtown of Guadalajara, is quite beautiful and has been declared part of Unesco's Heritage of Humanity.

Stone arches shade the long courtyards, and the place is used often for offical functions (Obama attended one recently).

The night I was there, local beauties paraded in folkloric dress:


The famed Orozco murals, more aggressive than beautiful, depicting a hellish scene, line the domed ceilings of where the chapel used to be. Armed guards made me leave my camera at the entrance so I had to settle for a little video make surrepticiously, so sorry about the shaken footage...


Guadalajara's Old Downtown: a photo tour


Don't get me wrong: Guadalajara is far from the first city I'd recommend anyone spending time in. Most of it is kind of ugly, the traffic is bad, and... well... I just didn't really love it. Having said that, the Old Downtown is quite beautiful, its churches and government buildings impressive and imposing and a bit European-looking. Oh, and did I mention the thousands of stores selling cheap gold and silver jewelry? :)

In short, don't make Guadalajara your final destination, but by all means do stop there for a night or two and spend time wandering the old streets.









San Juan de Dios market in Guadalajara, one of the biggest in Mexico


Large is an understatement: the San Juan de Dios market in Guadalajara is paradise for foodies like myself, where you could get lost for hours exploring a million herb, spice, fruit and veg vendors. The best part? The enormous "food court" on the second floor, with restaurant after restaurant serving the most incredible food (mostly Mexican, but also Chinese, Japanese, you name it!). The market's official official website says:

“Originally created as a meeting place for merchants in 1590. Has 40,000 square meters of floor space. It's a traditional market selling articrafts from Jalisco and other states. Among the goods on offer are shirts, hats of all kinds, shoes of all styles, jewelry, articles of the home, etc."


Oh, and did we mention they sell birds, too?


And sweets for the Dia de los Muertos:


Deliciously ripe fruit-in-a-cup:



And food in all its glory!


Delicious sandwiches (tortas) of pulled pork, mayo, shredded lettuce and tomato.



Carne en su jugo stew, absolutely delicious and fresh.


Faux Gucci e Louis Vuitton for 10 bucks? No problemo!

Toys, shirts, embroidered everything...


San Miguel de Allende, colonial jewel: a photo tour






















Here, a link to a slideshow of these and other photos.