Plant a Tree, Watch it Grow and Celebrate Earth Day in Riviera Maya

Grand Velas TreeGrand Velas Riviera Maya Offers a Green Escape Hotel Package through December 2011

Riviera Maya (March 30, 2011) – Guests can give back to Mother Earth this Earth Day (April 22nd) and beyond and experience a natural adventure at the Green Globe-certified Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The resort’s Green Escape Package gives travelers the chance to see and learn about the property’s natural cenotes (fresh water sinkholes) and plant a mangrove tree in their name in the resort’s lush jungle area. Guests will receive a certificate with the tree coordinates so they can watch it grow from home on Google Earth. A lecture on reef conservation from a Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative (M.A.R.T.I) expert followed by a snorkel tour to the Moc-che Reef is also part of the package.

Additionally, guests have a choice of visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site); Contoy Island, where the Ixlache reefs looms; or Xcaret Natural Park. Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s all-inclusive rate includes suite accommodations, a la carte dining at a choice of five gourmet restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hr in-suite service, access to fitness center with personal trainer, activities for adults and kids, roundtrip airport transfers, taxes, gratuities, and more. Rates in a Master Suite start at $493 per person per night based on double occupancy through April 30th and $439 per person per night from May 1 –Dec. 19th. The children from 4-16 years are $99 per child per night (Jan 3 – Apr 30, 2011) and $75 per child per night (May 1 – Dec 19, 2011). A three-night minimum stay is required. For more information and reservations, please call 1-866-230-7221 or visit

In addition to Green Globe Certification, Grand Velas Riviera Maya received the 2010 Playas Limpias (Clean Beaches) Certification from the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico in recognition of the resort’s pristine beach as well as their continued preservation efforts to preserve the natural beauty and general condition of the area. Grand Velas Riviera Maya is also certified by EarthCheck, the world’s leading sustainable travel and tourism certification organization who guides them in their sustainability initiatives, insuring that they adhere to the highest environmental standards.

About Grand Velas Riviera Maya:
The AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya, an all-suites and spa resort located five minutes from Playa del Carmen, is the latest and most sophisticated iteration of the ultra-luxury, all-inclusive resort experience. This Leading Hotels of the World designated resort is the preeminent one of its class boasting 491 suites, each more than 1,000 square-feet, in three separate ambiances– premium ocean-front Grand Class Suites with terrace plunge pools for families with children 12 and up, family-friendly ocean-view Ambassador Suites and Master Suites embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle. The resort presents a gastronomic tour of the Yucatan, Europe and Asia offering seven restaurants with world-class chefs from France, Spain and Mexico; dedicated butler service for each guest, and the region’s largest spa sanctuary at over 89,000 square-feet specializing in signature treatments inspired by ancient cultures from around the world. The spa recently won Virtuoso’s “Best Spa” in the world and a SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Award. The resort was designed by lauded Mexican architecture firm Elias and Elias and features the sleek and modish interiors that fuse the serenity of the Caribbean with the vibrancy of Yucatan cultures.

The Storm That Swept Mexico

The Storm That Swept Mexico is airing nationally on PBS on May 15th.

Produced by Raymond Telles (The Fight in The Fields) and Kenn Rabin, the new 2-hour documentary tells the epic story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Fueled by the Mexican people’s growing dissatisfaction with an elitist ruling regime, the revolution was led by two of the most intriguing and mythic figures in 20th century history — Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. At stake was Mexico’s ability to claim its own natural resources, establish long-term democracy, and re-define its identity. Capturing the color, drama, intrigue, and tragedy of the era, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO also explores how the Mexican revolution not only changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, but also profoundly impacted the relationships between Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world.


Over ten years in the making and featuring interviews with a variety of scholars, veterans of the Revolution, and a trove of film footage virtually unseen in close to a century, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO is a fascinating exploration of the beliefs and conditions that led to the revolution, influenced the course of the conflict, and determined its consequences over the century that followed.


You can watch a trailer here:

Cancun and Riviera Maya join Earth Hour 2011

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Quintana Roo – The two most important tourist destinations in Mexico, Cancun and Riviera Maya, have elected to unite in support of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour. With the Earth Hour initiative, destinations and members of the tourism industry are joining more than 125 countries participating in this global movement for the planet against climate change.
This year, besides encouraging governments, companies, associations and citizens around the world to turn off their nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 26, WWF calls for going beyond Earth Hour to register a public commitment to sustainable actions in daily life. Through a hosted web platform, , Mexican citizens can register their commitments, and also meet and vote for the others.
Nationally, Earth Hour 2011 is supported by Coca Cola and HSBC while locally it is sponsored by Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office, the Cancun Hotel Association, Palladium Hotels, Fairmont Mayakoba, Plaza Forum, Earthcheck, Hard Rock, Pixel Press and SIPSE Group.
In Quintana Roo, three public events will be held. The first one in Cancún at Forum by the Sea Shopping Mall, beginning at 5 p.m., with workshops on environmental education and ending in a concert conducted by Metro, in conjunction with Hard Rock Cancun. The second event will be in Playa del Carmen with the support of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office, to be held at the famous Fifth Avenue. The third one, to be held in the state capital, Chetumal, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Flag courtyard, and it has been organized with the support of the Friends of Sian Ka’an.

Tourism businesses have come together for this initiative, as they did last year. To date, over 100 companies are participating, both in Cancun and Riviera Maya and in other tourist destinations of Mexico and Huatulco, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Los Cabos and even in other countries like the Dominican Republic. All these companies have signed a pledge to go beyond Earth Hour, demonstrating the will of the tourism sector to take action to preserve ecosystems.


In a recorded message, Omar Vidal, Director General of WWF Mexico, stressed how significant it is that a private initiative, governments and organizations are working together for the preservation of the natural wealth of the Mexican Caribbean, and the welfare of its inhabitants.
Earth Hour, a WWF-led global movement that emerged in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, hopes to surpass the remarkable participation in 2010 when more than 4,600 cities in 128 countries joined this initiative. Worldwide, more than 125 countries have already confirmed their participation this year, and some of the world’s most representative icons such as the Eifel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, the Redeemer Christ in Brazil, the Obelisk in Argentina, Kronborg Castle in Denmark, the Alhambra in Spain, the National Mausoleum of Pakistan, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the UAE, and Ngoc Son Temple in Vietnam, among others, will turn off their lights in a symbolic message.
WWF is calling on companies, individuals and governments to join Earth Hour and extend this beyond the hour, recording their commitments on the site

So many museums, so little time…

By John Mitchell

When it comes to Mexico City’s museums, most people have probably heard of the world-famous National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park and the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan. But how many know about the likes of the Antique Toy Museum, the Watercolor Museum, or the National Museum of Interventions?

The fact is that Mexico City claims to have more museums than any other city in the world — at least 150 according to some sources — and exploring them all could easily become a lifelong project. Over the years, I’ve visited as many of Mexico City’s museums as time has allowed, but I still have an awfully long way to go. Here is a slide-show of some of the museums that I’ve managed to poke my camera into so far.

(Move the cursor over the screen to view captions. Click on individual images for information on ordering prints or on leasing photos for personal or editorial use.)

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Mexico City Museums – Images by John Mitchell

If facts don’t lie, is Mexico safer than the U.S.?

The following article was recently published by Patrick Osio, Editor of He is the co-founder of TransBorder Communications, Inc. ( dedicated to binational economic development.  He has been kind enough to let us pass along his findings to you. 

If facts don’t lie, is Mexico safer than the U.S.?
By Patrick Osio

Here comes Easter break again and young people will be young people – high school and college kids will travel to distant places where the drinking age is either less than it is in the U.S. or where authorities don’t care to enforce minors’ drinking laws. For several decades Mexico has been one such place of choice where the legal drinking age is 18. Mazatlan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun were the fly to favorite places and Rosarito Beach and Ensenada the favorite drive to places from Southern California. – But not this year, or for that matter neither was it last year.

Our government and the U.S. media have convinced most Americans that Mexico is not a safe place to visit as drug traffickers are fighting it out to see which gang will have the right to sell their illicit drugs to the very group that will not be visiting Mexico. They will have to wait until they return from Easter break to get their Mexican smuggled drugs at home.

But what really struck me was that the preferred country to visit this Easter break in lieu of Mexico is the Dominica. It struck me because Dominica is rated as the number one country with the highest propensity for crime in the world. According to facts gathered by, their total crime per 1,000 residents (per capita) is 113.822 –Compared to the U.S. that is 8th in the world in total crimes at 80.0645 per 1000 residents, making chances of being a victim of a crime in Dominica better than 10%, and slightly less than an 8% chance of being a victim in the U.S. 

But here is the real clunker – Mexico, the country our government tells us not to visit and the media has a field day reporting any crime be it significant or not to further put the fear of God into staying away from there – well, it ranks 39th in total crime in the world with a per capita of slightly less than 13 crimes per 1000 residents that is a 1.3% chance of being a victim of crime in Mexico. 

So Mexico is out, Dominica is in, yet the chances of being a crime victim there is greater than in the U.S. and the chances of being a crime victim in the U.S. is greater than in Mexico. But, for our own safety we need to stay out of Mexico.

Have you ever felt like you’re being duped but you can’t quite put your finger on why – what’s the motive? Is it to keep us from facing some bitter truths?  We keep reading how crime is down, how safe we are compared to most other parts of the world. But is it true?

So here are some multiple choice questions for you:

1. Which country has a higher crime rate per 1,000 residents?
a. Mexico, b. Germany, c. Canada, d.  U.S.
2. Which country has the highest murders with firearms?
a. Mexico, b. El Salvador, c. U.S.
3. Of the following countries, which has the least number of drug offenses?
a. Germany, b. United Kingdom, c. Canada, d. Switzerland, e. Mexico
4. Which country has the most prisoners?
            a. United States, b. China, c. Russia, d. India, e. Mexico
(Answers: 1. d. U.S., 2. c. U.S., 3. e.  Mexico,  4. a. U.S.-  Source:

In one of the only bright spots due to its recent gang related murders, Mexico, on a per capita, ranks as more dangerous than the U.S. occupying No. 24 and Mexico No. 6 in the world, but in total number of murders the U.S. is No. 5 and Mexico No. 6.

In fact, much of the crime data per capita 1000 population suggests that in many respects Mexico is safer than the U.S.: in assaults the U.S. ranks No. 6, Mexico No. 20; burglaries the U.S. No. 17, Mexico No. 34; car thefts U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 22; fraud U.S. No. 18, Mexico No. 29; Rape (Canada No.5), U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 17.

No doubt that at the expense of Mexico we are being duped. Is it to hide our insatiable appetite for illicit drugs and cheap labor, and so by pointing the finger of guilt to the biggest supplier of both we exculpate our actions or at minimum pacify our own guilt?

Maybe it’s time for “the home of the free, and land of the brave” to take note.