New Hotel Swims Up in Tulum

By MP Mexico News Staff

TULUM, Riviera Maya – Beach goers searching for intimate hotel experiences along Mexico’s stunning Mayan Riviera in the bohemian town of Tulum now have a new little hotel to dive into.

The owners of hip Tulum hot spots, Mezzanine and La Zebra, have opened a splashy new six-room oceanfront boutique hotel, called Pez Ocean Palace in a secluded rocky cove overlooking private lagoon, Punta Piedra, and a short walk from the Tulum beach village. The hotel’s spectacular private inlet is protected by amazing rock formations, and draws testament to the ancient Mayans, who also held the place as sacred.

“We decided to call it ‘ocean palace’ as a grand statement to the genius, history and culture of the Mayan palaperos, a dying breed of artisans that build these amazing roof structures from nothing more than wood, grass and palm leaf fronds,” explains U.S. owner John Kendall. Kendall also conceived of La Zebra, a 14-cabana escape featuring a traditional Mexican beach restaurant and fresh fruit juice margarita bar, and Mezzanine, a nine-room contemporary hotel with an authentic Thai restaurant and bar that has drawn accolades for its packed Friday night DJ parties under the stars.

Full of style and whimsy, all of Pez’s six special rooms have ocean views and carry names that reflect beloved sea creatures, including dolphin, parrotfish and mermaid. Rooms feature modern amenities and comforts such as high-speed wireless internet, hot water, 24-hour electricity, private stargazing balcony, bathroom with overhead rain shower and marble sink, daily maid service, and a personal concierge who is delighted to assist guests with vacation ideas. A swimming pool sits amid landscaped gardens overlooking the turquoise Caribbean sea, and guests can spend their days gazing at the amazing local bird life that soars overhead – pelicans, eagles and even the occasional pink flamingos – while local fishermen cast their hand-woven nets into the cove from the guardian rock formations. During the summer months from July to September, giant sea turtles can often be seen at night digging their nests in front of the hotel and laying hundreds of eggs, which hatch into November.

Pez’s restaurant theme of Oriental-Mexican fusion is set to be yet another winner that rounds out the trio of fabulous dining created by Mezzanine’s Thai restaurant and La Zebra’s traditional Mexican beach cantina. The Pez menu boasts incredible fresh seafood dishes, as well as Asian-inspired noodles, dumplings and tempura with the flavors and passions of Mexico. The champagne bar serves up bubbly cocktails as the house special with fresh tropical fruit juice twists. Restaurant and bar open at 5 pm for public service, ensuring maximum privacy for guests to have the run of the house during the day.

Room rates start at $260 US per night. Check Tulum Hotel Pez for availability.

Federal Government to Provide More Support for Tourism

MP Mexico News Staff

Mexico City – At the closure of the 8th International Tourism Congress, President Calderón declared that given the current worldwide economic downturn, tourism must become one of the key engines for maintaining the country’s economic growth.
The President told an audience of businessmen in the tourist industry that nowadays, it is crucial to boost links between government, the business sector and citizens, in order to consolidate Mexico as one of the world’s main tourist destinations.
The President declared that his government will provide more support for strategic sectors of the economy, particularly tourism. An example of this, he said, is that for 2009, the budget for this sector totals over $4.3 billion pesos, 30% over this year’s record budget.
He stated that there are three factors that will play a key role in Mexican tourism next year: The first is that many Mexican tourist resorts may replace more expensive world destinations which may be eschewed due to the difficult economic situation.
The second is Mexico’s favorable exchange rate, which will make several tourist destinations in Mexico cheaper for foreign tourists while the third is the significant reduction in transport costs, which constituted a bottleneck for domestic tourism.
“Beyond the turbulence, what we need to do is to keep the country on course, and have a clear view of the future, which will enable us to pull through.” And that is exactly what Federal Government is doing, which is what I would urge the private sector and other organizations and levels of government in Mexico to do over the coming months,” he declared.
The president stated that Federal Government will not rest and that it will do everything in its power to prevent the effects of a worldwide economic downturn, which on this occasion, was not caused by developing countries, from having an impact on and reducing Mexicans’ quality of life.
He ended by saying that Government will continuously monitor the development of economic indicators and implement the necessary contracyclical policy measures to boost economic activity, and that it will act in a timely, decisive fashion to undertake actions to benefit Mexico’s productive sector.

¡Únete a la Transmexicana! (All Aboard the Transmexican!)

By MP Mexico News Staff

The Original Extreme Experience—a group dedicated to bringing you unforgettable tours within Mexico—has announced the first Transmexican mountain bike race, an amazing undertaking that will take riders from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.

The race will take place from February 21 – March 1 2009, and the daily trek is approximately 115 kilometers. A series of different categories will be part of this endeavor, including the Pacific Challenge, which runs from Huatulco to Oaxaca, and the Gulf Challenge, which runs from Oaxaca to Veracruz.

There are three first place prizes. Riders can register at http://www.original-extreme.com/transmexicana/index.php. Interestingly enough, they’re asking for registration costs to be paid in US dollars and range anywhere from $680 to $1,420. You can put 20% down and make the rest in payments.

Sounds pretty cool – they don’t have any information in English on the website, but we’re sure if you contact them at info@original-extreme.com SOMEBODY there will give you the 411.

ORIGINAL EXTREME EXPERIENCE
ALEJANDRO DUMAS NO. 145, COL. POLANCO REFORMA C.P. 11550, DISTRITO FEDERAL, MÉXICO

Mexico’s Exquisite Gastronomy Comes Alive in Houston!

Houston, TX November 24th 2008 – For the first time, the Mexico Tourism Board in conjunction with The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College and Polo’s Restaurant will present “A Taste of Mexico in Houston, TX” beginning December 1st to December 5th 2008. Residents of the Houston area will have the opportunity to experience and enjoy Mexico’s uniqueness with a variety of activities such as: Gastronomic demonstrations, conferences and wine tastings.

 

Mexico has so much to offer, a geographical diversity that varies from region to region, different climates and bordering oceans that gives a wide range of travel destinations, cultural heritage, food and flavors. But above all, it is the rich culinary tradition of Mexico that gives to people around the world the chance to have a taste of the Mexican culture as a whole. For that reason, A Taste of Mexico in Houston is perfect for those who are looking for new cultural experiences. 

 

“We are delighted to bring A Taste of Mexico to Houston, collaborating with fantastic local restaurants and culinary experts joining us from Mexico. This journey through travel destinations, culture, gastronomy, music and history will be a benchmark for Mexico’s presence within the US. We are confident that this experience will allow area residents to have a better perspective of what the Mexican culture is comprised of”, said Director of the Mexico Tourism Board in Houston, Martin Gonzalez.

 

For this special occasion, the Mexico Tourism Board has invited two of the most recognized States in Mexican cuisine: Puebla represented by Luis Javier Cué and Chef Alejandra de la Riva from El Mural de los Poblanos (en itálicas) Restaurant and Oaxaca, represented by Chef Alejandro Ruiz from Casa Oaxaca. These renowned chefs will offer demonstrations at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College, as well as design an exquisite menu with the region’s delicacies that will be available for sampling at Polo’s Restaurant and Post Oak Grill.

 

A very unique learning workshop will add a special touch to this event. Mexican wine expert, Arturo Bodenstedt, author of the “Mexican Wine Guide” will talk about the tradition and history of wines and vineyards throughout Mexico. This conference will take place at the Conrad N. Hilton College as well as the Poast Oak Grill Restaurant followed by a Mexican wine tasting.

 

In additional, our regional Chefs will delight customers at Polo’s Restaurant and Post Oak Grill by offering specially designed menus from these two fantastic states.

 

The 5 day journey through Mexico’s culture, flavors and music continues with the following events:

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

Monday, December 1st

 

WHAT:            CULINARY DEMONSTRATION PUEBLA

TIME:              4:00 – 5:00 pm Conference.

                        5:30 – 7:00 pm food tasting

WHERE:         University of Houston. Conrad N. Hilton College

WHO:              Demonstration by Luis Javier Cué and Chef Alejandra de la Riva from “El Mural de los Poblanos”

RSVP:             houston@visitmexico.com, Make your reservation now!! Limited spaces!!!

 

Tuesday, December 2nd 

 

WHAT:            PUEBLA DAY. Special menus offered at Polo’s

TIME:              Lunch and Dinner time

WHERE:         Polo’s Restaurant. 3800 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77027

WHO:              Luis Javier Cué and Chef Alejandra de la Riva from “El Mural de los Poblanos”, Polo’s Restaurant.

Open to the public!! Make your reservations!!

Polo’s Signature 713-626-8100, http://www.polosignature.com/

 

Thursday, December 3rd  

 

ACTIVITY:      OAXACA DAY. Special menus offered at Post Oak Grill

TIME:              Lunch and Dinner time

WHERE:         Post Oak Grill. 1415 Post Oak Ln Houston, TX 77056

WHO:              Alejandro Ruiz (Chef Casa Oaxaca), Post Oak Grill 1415 Post Oak Ln Houston, TX 77056.

 Open to the public!! Make your reservations!!

                        Post Oak Grill 713-993-9966, http://www.postoakgrill.com/

 

WHAT:            WINE TASTING AND CONFERENCE

TIME:              6:00 – 8:30 pm

WHERE:         Post Oak Grill. 1415 Post Oak Ln Houston, TX 77056.

Open to the public!! Make your reservations!! Limited spaces!!

WHO:              Arturo Bodenstedt, wine expert

RSVP: houston@visitmexico.com

 

 

Friday, December 5th

 

WHAT:            CULINARY DEMONSTRATION OAXACA AND WINE TASTING

TIME:              4:00 – 5:30 pm Conference (Food and Wine)

                        5:30 – 7:00 pm Food and Wine tasting

WHERE:         University of Houston, Conrad Hilton College

WHO:              University of Houston, Chef Alejandro Ruiz (Casa Oaxaca), Arturo Bodenstedt (wine expert),

RSVP: houston@visitmexico.com.

Make your reservation now!! Limited spaces!!!

 

 

 

MEET OUR CHEFS AND WINE EXPERT

 

CHEF ALEJANDRO A. RUIZ OLMEDO – CASA OAXACA

Alejandro Ruiz was born in La Raya de Zimatlán de Alvarez, Oaxaca. He started as a server at the restaurant “El Sol y la Luna” to start feeling the business from the bottom, from what the customer wants. On 2000 Alejandro decides to jump to a new adventure and to travel abroad to do a residence at the “Vau” Restaurant in Berlin, Germany and in 2001 to the “Die Winstube” Tegeernamsee in Munich, Germany.  On 2002 he was offered a position at the “Bandolinos” Restaurant in Lago de Garda, Verona, Italy.  Alejandro has developed his passion and his skills traveling abroad and doing what he does best: entertaining and cooking, his gift has been discovered and truly appreciated; he has become one of the most renowned Chefs in Oaxaca, in all over Mexico and also, his fame has travel abroad. Since 1997 he developed the gastronomic concept Casa Oaxaca, The Hotel, The Restaurant and the Café. On April 2008, Casa Oaxaca was awarded with the Five Start Diamond Award as to be one of the 50 best restaurants in Mexico.

www.casaoaxaca.com.mx

 

CHEF ALEJANDRA DE LA RIVA – EL MURAL DE LOS POBLANOS

Born in Mexico City, Alejandra de la Riva received her education at the Culinary Institute of Puebla and for 4 years she has participated in seminars and conferences focused on wines, banquets and desserts in both Paris and Mexico. Mrs. De la Riva has worked in restaurants throughout the World like Buenos Aires, Argentina; Puebla, Mexico and Florence, Italy. This young chef is now working at El Mural de los Poblanos Restaurant.

www.elmuraldelospoblanos.com

 

ARTURO BODENSTEDT – MEXICAN WINE GUIDE

Arturo was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, in August 1965. Mr. Bodenstedt got a degree in Economy from the very prestigious (University) ITAM in Mexico City and later on he got a Master Degree in Economy at the Saarbruecken University and a Master in Business Administration in Berlin, Germany.

 

Mr. Bodenstedt lived many years in Germany, close to Kaiserstuhl Vineyards in Freiburs. While living there, he was exposed to the life at the vineyards and the cellars. Every year, he participates in festivals and harvests that are celebrated in Germany.

www.mexicanwineguide.com

 

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.  For more information on destinations and online trip bookings please go to www.visitmexico.com.

 

 

Mexico City Named As Top 10 City In World

MP Mexico News Staff

Miami, FL, November 24th, 2008- Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2009 (October 2008) has named Mexico City one of the Top 10 Cities in the world! Lonely Planet is the number one information website for travelers in the world. The Web site contains over 20,000 pages of detailed, on-the-spot information, reviewed by an ongoing army of dedicated authors on the road.

Formerly titled Bluelist, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2009 is an international favorite that includes the best places to go and things to do all around the world. It captures the world’s hottest trends and experiences for the year ahead.

“We are extremely excited to know that Lonely Planet has named Mexico City one of the Top 10 Cities in the world. Mexico City is immersed in culture, history and entertainment. There is something to be found in the city for everyone and we are proud that visitors around the world feel the same,” said Oscar Fitch, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.

“Mexico City is the hot ticket. After all, we’re talking about the so-called ‘Manhattan of Latin America’, a city so fast and invigorating that sleep is a mere afterthought”, says the book. “Boredom is not an option”

Mexico City is singled out for its architecture, rich culture, trendy bars, live-music venues, museums and fine restaurants. The World Baseball Classic and Festival de México en el Centro Histórico in March are highlighted. Visiting the ruins at the Templo Mayor and taking a gondola ride through the canals of Xochimilco are also recommended as some of the top things to do. “The Most Unusual Place to Visit” is El Chopo, an alternative flea market held every Saturday, that brings together locals with a variety of interests including metal heads and counterculturals seeking rare CDs and a dose of live music. People watching doesn’t get any better than this.

In fact, Mexico City is so ready to pop, that Lonely Planet just released a brand new guidebook to the city, its first since 2000. Its two authors—one, a long-time Mexico City resident and the other a lover of all things Mexico—have captured this city in all its gritty glory. With its insider’s perspective, this guide makes this chaotic, exciting city accessible to the traveler through in-the-know neighborhood reviews and detailed maps, walking tours, top gallery showings, extensive dining coverage from street eats to Mexican haute cuisine, and the best nightlife for all tastes.

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.  For more information on destinations and online trip bookings please go to www.visitmexico.com.

The Flying Samaritans

David Simmonds

It’s hard to turn on the TV these dark days without hearing depressing news. The world economy is in the crapper, the polar ice caps are melting like a sno-cone in a sauna, our Constitution has been witch-slapped and the damn Phillies won the World Series. It makes one long for those halcyon days when our national obsession was a stained blue dress. Was that really just nine years ago? And why are Letterman and Leno still doing Monica jokes? You’ve got Harvard-trained comedy writers and that’s the best you can do?

Anyway, if your mojo is in a deep funk, be reminded that there are still some good people out there doing stuff that needs to be done. One such fine group is the Flying Samaritans (no, Sally Fields isn’t involved). They are comprised of mostly medical people who spend their free time traveling into Baja, by small plane and sometimes road vehicles, to provide health care, surgery and education to people with no medical facilities, no money and surely no hope. And, oh yeah, they don’t charge a peso for doing this. (you hedge fund managers can pick yourselves up off the floor now).

Started quite by accident in 1961, the organization now numbers 1500 volunteers that serve 19 clinics throughout Baja California’s most impoverished communities. They have grown to 10 chapters including 7 in California, two in Arizona and one in Baja. They do accept donations and volunteers, so if you have any money left buried in the back yard, or if you just want to feel good about yourself (guaranteed), please take a look at their web site and learn more about how you can help. And have a good Thanksgiving.

http://www.flyingsamaritans.org/Web/Sams/default.asp

Christmas In Mexico

From our friend, Flor Hernandez from Frascati Ristorante in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle just north of Puerto Vallarta.

Christmas or Nativity celebrates the birth of Jesus. In Mexico, Christmas is a religious holiday where the following elements are present.

Posadas

The Posadas are an enactment of the ordeals suffered by St. Joseph and pregnant Virgin Mary looking for a place to spend the night, as they were attending to the census in Bethlehem.

Each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve).

It seems that the Posadas were introduced in New Spain (Mexico) by the Augustinian monks of San Agustin de Acolman, as a way to convert the Indians to the Catholic Religion, back then they used the Pastorelas, that are a type of a theatrical Play with a great touch of humor, where God defeats the Devil, Pastorelas are very popular in Cities like Mexico DF, Queretaro, Guanajuato, and others.

Posadas are a family get-together around food, music, peaceful thoughts and harmony that is very important in this time of the year.

El Ponche con Piquete

For the adults there is Ponche with Piquete (sting) which is a hot beverage or “Punch” made out of seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks, with a shot of alcoholic spirit.

La Piñata.

Piñatas origin seems to be at the XVI century, like Posadas and Pastorelas, Piñatas were a useful tool to convert Indians to the Catholic Religion, the Piñata represents sin that appears to us, in nice shapes and colors, the person that hits it is blindfolded, as we walk through the world “blindfolded” not knowing where evil will arise and tempt us. The Piñata is filled with candy, fruit and toys for the children, that symbolize the blessings and prices given to us by God once we overcome the temptations of evil.

Aguinaldos

Aguinaldos are bags of candy and fruit that are given to the participants of the Posada, it is also by that name, that employers give a Christmas Bonus equivalent to one month of salary to their employees.

Chants for Baby Jesus

Before Christmas dinner, the children in the house, in front of the Nativity set, sing chants for baby Jesus. Then, the members of the family make a wish, followed by hugging each other and expressing all the good wishes kept in the heart for a whole year.