All posts by Jeanine Kitchel

International Women’s Day Conference To Be Held on Isla Mujeres

By Jeanine Kitchel

To coincide with International Women’s Day, which takes place March 8 each year worldwide, We Move Forward — a conference for women who value living life with passion and purpose — will stage their conference on Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, for the third straight year. The four-day conference begins March 5.

Isla Mujeres, which translates to island of women, was chosen partially because of its name and also so attendees could be surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, said founder Janeen Halliwell.  “It’s the perfect spot to celebrate International Women’s Day.”

Daily motivational speakers are the cement that binds this four-day conference together. Several of the speakers included in the line-up are Monica Parker, Jane Hatwin, Karen Sugar, Deborah Kimmett, Sunny Twelker, Paula Pyne and Bonnie Hamilton.

With the help of skilled facilitators, women will harness inspiration and make pathways forward in a direction that will serve them in their daily lives. Movement sessions, including yoga, dance, and pilates, will be available to all that attend.

Over the length of the conference, attendees will be immersed in experiences that encourage them to become clear on their passions, chart their way forward, and gain insight and self assurance. Along with this bucket list of life priorities will be the chance to enjoy all Isla Mujeres has to offer at the end of each day.

For every ten women who register, We Move Forward sponsors one local woman to attend the conference.

“We Move Forward brings together one hundred women who have lived one hundred unique lives,” says Halliwell. “There are universal milestones all women share, and the natural bond between women transcends geography, culture and status. It feeds our resolve and broadens the boundaries of what we think is possible. It provides momentum for moving forward.”

To enroll in the conference, see the website www.wemoveforward.com. Cost is $555 USD for four days. For details, contact founder Janeen Halliwell at janeen@wemoveforward.com.

Yucatan Program Helps Maya Children Attend School

Maya Children in CholulBy Jeanine Kitchel — Most people come to Mexico for sun and sand.  But lately it seems there’s a fair share of both travelers and expats who are doing a whole lot more than soaking up the rays.  Take Jill Allison from Seattle, for instance.

She’d read Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea and wanted to give something back.  So after landing in Merida in 2010 where she’d planned to spend extended vacation time, she happened onto edúcaTE.  It’s a program that helps children in the Yucatan receive an education when their parents cannot afford to send them to school, and it was sorely in need of funding and on the verge of shutting down.  It had 19 students under its wing.

To save the program, she needed to find someone local to run it.  That person was visual and ceramic artist Katrin Schikora.  Schikora lives in Cholul, a pueblo near Merida, where edúcaTE is located.  Then Schikora called on her friend Cheri Pittillo for help.  The three formed a bond and decided they were good to go.  Allison returned to the US and started registering the program as a charitable organization and non-profit.  Schikora and Pittillo, local Yucatan residents, started tinkering with the charity to see how they could make it work.

The simplicity of the program and what it accomplishes is probably what hooked Allison in the first place.  While the Mexican government provides children a free public education, it does not cover expenses of mandatory uniforms, specific footwear, and school supplies, thus children living in poverty often can’t attend school because of the additional expenses.  EdúcaTE picks up these costs and now has 45 children in the program who couldn’t have gone to school before.

Now registered as a non-profit both in Mexico and the US, the current focus of edúcaTE’s work is in Cholul.  Katrin Schikora, executive director, explained how she was drawn into the budding organization.  She wanted to do something for the disadvantaged population in Cholul, which she said was a small pueblo when she moved to Mexico 20 years ago.  Of late, large houses are becoming more common, and in a town with many advantages, she knew there were also people who had nothing to eat.  This program was a beginning, a way to help the local people.

With a staff of eight volunteers Schikora set up headquarters in her ceramics studio.  Schikora said the main emphasis of the program is to pay for children’s school costs, to give tutorials in math and physics for secondary students, and to give all types of tutorials for the primary grades.

Many tutorials deal with learning English as a second language and one of her goals is to set up a more advanced language program that could be coordinated with volunteers.  She feels this would also help kids improve their academic levels.  She said often children will have little support from their parents as they want the children to go to work rather than school.  So it’s a struggle for many in the program to even be there.

Another part of edúcaTE’s emphasis it to give breakfasts to needy children in the group.  The charity realizes that kids cannot learn if they are hungry.  This part of the program is funded in part by the Merida Men’s Club, an informal group mostly comprised of expats that meets once a month.  Donations are made for the program whenever the club meets, but oftentimes those donations do not cover all breakfast costs.  EdúcaTE has 25 places for breakfasts and feeds kids in primary grades, four through six, as the government provides food for the lower grades.

Schikora, who trained as an art therapist, said her goal is to be able to assimilate students into an integral development, and take them to exhibitions and on excursions.  She has lots of plans.

Presently the program is in need of new sponsors for next year and there is already a waiting list of 40 children.  The selection process is done by word of mouth, and children are vetted through home visits to see if they qualify for the program.  One of Schikora’s volunteers is her lifeline to the town, Doña Chula.  She knows the entire village, said Schikora, and with a questionnaire, figures out a socio-economic study on the basis of the home visit, the child’s grades and the family’s need.

More sponsors are needed to keep on track with what has already been accomplished.  A rather unique way they’ve upped sponsorship was started by some older expats who travel back and forth to the Yucatan each year from the US.  They’ve begun giving their grandchildren a sponsorship of a Cholul student as a gift rather than buying them presents for Christmas or birthdays. In this way the child plugs in early as to how to help others, and can see the progress made through edúcaTE’s website, or through notes written to them by the children in school.  Check out the website at  www.educateyucatan.org/ for info on how to sponsor children through the organization.  A $140/US donation will sponsor one student in grades one through six for one year.

Cooking It Up in the Yucatan

By Jeanine Kitchel
David Sterling, chef and mastermind behind Los Dos Cooking School in Merida, has the right idea about cooking in Mexico. Use what’s fresh, use what’s local, and try regional recipes. That’s exactly what he teaches in his cooking classes, dished up twice weekly between the months of October and March. Add a pinch of Yucatec history, a smidgen of Maya culture, a sampling of fresh spices and you have a tasty recipe indeed.

For Sterling, a Merida resident of many years now, cooking came naturally and one thing led to another down the path of regional cooking. Originally from Oklahoma and “weaned on chili,” Sterling discovered Mexican food early on due to a large Mexican population where he grew up.

In an interview the chef said his career took parallel tracks–cooking and design. While in graduate school for a Masters of Fine Arts in Design at Cranbook Academy of Art in Michigan, he worked part time as a pantry chef at a well-known French restaurant, Le Bijou. This inspired him to start a small catering business.

After graduation he moved to New York City where he lived for 25 years. A friend who lived in the Yucatan urged him to come to Merida to visit, and after seven trips, he was hooked on Mexico. He did some serious thinking and decided on turning 50, “Why not shake it up?” He took the plunge, wrapped things up in NYC and moved to Merida.
On arrival he bought an old mansion with 18 foot ceilings, lots of space but in need of repairs. The plus side: it was in the historic district not far from the main plaza. He and his partner, Keith Heitke, started renovation.

When first in Merida, Sterling designed a gourmet line of Mexico food products that can be found on his website (www.los-dos.com) and slowly the idea for a Yucatan cooking school took shape. Now Los Dos hosts hundreds of students a year, mostly in the seasonal winter months.

Designed for people who love to cook, each class begins with coffee and pastries while Sterling gives an impromptu presentation of the history and techniques of Yucatan regional cooking. Sterling elaborates on the finer points of local food lore and the importance the Maya played in the development of Mexican cuisine and culture. The chef’s knowledge of Yucatec cooking comes from an intense interest in the subject. He scoured old cookbooks and did research through standard texts on the Yucatan, including books as seemingly unrelated to cooking as Friar Diego DeLanda’s Yucatan Before and After the Conquest. But even basic history books, he explains, have messages on what the food of the day was like.

He calls his wealth of knowledge on Yucatan food serendipitous, crediting a long list of mentors, including his friend Marta, a local anthropologist, and his favorite food writer, Sophie Coe (The True History of Chocolate and America’s First Cuisines), wife of archeologist and Maya scholar Michael Coe. Two friends, Diana Silveira and Socorro Rodriguez, also played a role as they’ve cooked with him since he came to Merida and taught him their skills in preparing regional cuisine which to them was just home cooking.

Included in the day’s itinerary is a tour of the sprawling Merida market, and under Sterling’s tutelage, students learn to identify first hand the exotic ingredients that make up Yucatec flavors by shopping for them. Then back to Los Dos to start cooking. What do the students whip up? Everything from tortillas to salbutes, panuches, tamales and more.

The school caters to a variety of needs and Sterling is flexible in how the classes are run. The grand finale to this epicurean adventure ends with a dinner the students prepare under Sterling’s guidance. It’s served in his formal dining room complete with all the trimmings.

A meal fit for a king? Well, maybe not far from it.
For rates and info, check out: www.los-dos.com.

The Lost World of Quintana Roo author Michel Peissel dies in Paris

By Jeanine Kitchel

Michel Peissel died in his sleep in Paris on October 7 at age 74.  His brother Bernard emailed me this information a few days afterwards.  I’d failed to see his obituary in the New York Times.  Apparently Bernard located a copy of  the review I wrote of Peissel’s incredible journey to Quintana Roo in 1958, and he wanted to let me know about Peissel. I was glad he did, as Peissel’s book was a life changer for me and countless others who were lucky enough to locate a copy.  I found the book in the mid-80s, couldn’t put it down, and shortly after reading it, booked a flight to Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

In the mid 80s, Cancun was not the sophisticated resort city it is today. It definitely wasn’t a backwater because even then the hotel zone had pizazz.  Cancun had a Club Med and had been picked to host the Miss Universe contest in 1983. That put a spotlight on its luscious beaches and turquoise waters.  But venture five miles south or north, and you would find adventure.  I know I did.

Although I was a seasoned Mexico traveler I’d never ventured to the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Maya pyramids were a real draw. Peissel’s world was penned in 1958 when there was barely a road in Quintana Roo.  It was hard for me to imagine a place as desolate and rustic as he described, but I soon discovered that Quintana Roo was truly wilderness.  My husband and I wanted to see Tulum and Coba and we started out on a local bus.  Back then you just hopped a bus and when you saw a sascab road heading towards the beach you asked the driver to stop and let you off.  We did this frequently and found unpopulated, uncluttered beaches with nothing on them but coco palms. (Today these same beaches house all-inclusive resorts).  Jumping off was easy, but finding another bus –sometimes not so easy.

That’s what led to our next adventure, as we were standing on the side road to Coba.  While waiting for a bus, we were given a ride by the man who became our connection to living in Mexico.  He was a contractor, and one thing led to another.  We eventually built a house in Puerto Morelos, started a bookstore, and later visited Paris where someone told us we simply had to see Shakespeare & Company on the Left Bank, as it reminded them of our humble store in Quintana Roo.  A far cry to be sure, but we did find a kindred spirit in George Whitman, owner.  When he asked where we were from, I thought I’d throw him a curve and said, “Quintana Roo.”

“Aaah, Quintana Roo,” he sighed. “What a place.  I loved it there.”

“You’ve been there?” I said, surprised.

“Oh, yes, in the 30s I was traveling through Mexico.  My visa ran out and I helped them build a bridge between Chetumal and Belize to get my papers in order.”

“I first heard about it in the book The Lost World of Quintana Roo,” I said, “by Michel Peissel, a Parisian.”

“Michel, of course.”

“You know him?”

“Oh, yes, he came into the store while he was a student at the Sorbonne, and I’d tell him about my travels in Quintana Roo.”

This coincidence led to a fine friendship with Mr. Whitman, who invited us to tea, and then to stay with him in Paris as he always had a place, he said,  for writers and travelers.

So Peissel had heard of Quintana Roo through George Whitman, and that changed his life.  Whitman was his game changer as he was mine.  I’d come full circle, from  finding the out-of-print copy of Lost World of Quintana Roo in California to the source of Peissel’s desire to head to Mexico, George Whitman telling Yucatan tales at a bookstore in Paris. Peissel went on to write 15 more books and produce 20 documentaries.  His life was a tapestry of travel and adventure, and after Mexico he shifted direction to the Far East where Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal became the passion that would consume him for the rest of his life.

As his brother Bernard said in my  email, “He always lived his life his way, never had an employer  and never ran out of ideas.”

May the rest of us live life so well.

 

 

Have You Ever Dreamed of Retiring on a Beach in Mexico?

Aaah, sweet bliss. A white sand beach, a hammock and not a care in the world. Imagine running away to the Mexican Caribbean and never coming back.
That dream became reality for author Jeanine Kitchel and her husband who traveled to the Yucatan in 1985 and a decade later left their Silicon Valley jobs to pursue a relaxed lifestyle in Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village on the Quintana Roo Coast south of Cancun.
Kitchel’s travel memoir–Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya–is now available at Amazon on Kindle for $9.99. Here’s the first chapter.

 

The Umbrella—Highway 307 on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula stretched like an asphalt ribbon before us. The Maya named this place Sian Ka’an, or “where the sky is born.” It was untouched, this open, desolate wilderness, except for the narrow strip of pavement beneath us.
Standing there at the crossroads on the highway, more like a swath cut from the low scrub jungle than the major thoroughfare for the state of Quintana Roo, I wondered if the bus would ever come.
The year was 1985. We were sixty miles from the sparkling new resort city Cancun. It seemed unfathomable that just an hour’s drive on virgin highway separated us from the traffic and noise of a city, and then, as if by sleight of hand, we were transformed into a world of sky, clouds, jungle. We were in the heart of the Yucatan, land of the ancient Maya and their pyramids.
We had embarked on an extended vacation, escaping our city jobs for a few weeks to relax in the Mexican Caribbean. Another four hours south and we could be in Belize, but we had other plans that day.
After spending the night in a rustic hotel at the Tulum pyramids we planned to explore the Gulf Coast and to visit the undeveloped island Holbox new Rio Lagartos. Someone had told us to catch a bus at the crossroads, where we now waited. The bus route would jog past the pyramids at Coba and then head north through the heart of Maya land.
In a lackadaisical way, I suppose we were searching for something in this flat, wild territory that just forty years ago had been called the most savage coast in Central America. We had no idea in a few years’ time we would be buying property and building a house in this foreign land. But at the moment, we were deep in the Yucatan jungle, on a side road to seemingly nowhere.
Paul, my fiancé, had traipsed ahead of me, carrying the bulk of our belongings on his able shoulders. Nearly six feet, he looked much younger than his forty-three years. I noticed the morning dampness had caused his sun-bleached hair to curl slightly at the ends. My own hair, light brown and should length, was well on the way to a bad hair day.
Rain was coming. Unbearable humidity and not yet 9 a.m., but this was typical weather for the neo-tropical rain forests of southern Mexico. Moments later, when the skies opened delivering a heavy downpour, we moved beneath the branches of a Ceiba–the Maya tree of life–for shelter. Steam began to rise slowly from the asphalt, hovering about ankle height. Still no bus.
Then rounding the corner careened a small rusty Honda. Brakes squealing, it screeched to a stop in front of us. We had no idea that our future would be determined by accepting a ride with the man who drove this car. He would lend us a yellow umbrella. It seemed a simple act at the time, but the desire to return that umbrella changed the course of our lives for it introduced us to the place we would one day call home, Puerto Morelos.
The driver, Alejandro, was in his late forties with the dark, good looks of a Castilian. He waved us over as his girlfriend, Karla, rolled down the window. She looked and dressed like an American, ten years his junior, with her brunette hair cut stylishly short. Both were smiling broadly, as if they already knew us.
“Where are you going?” he asked, barely an accent to his perfect English.
“Up to Isla Holbox, through Chemax,” Paul answered. Chemax was a Mayan village forty miles north, known for its church, one of the oldest in the Yucatan.
“Well, hop in. We’re going to the Coba pyramids for the day and we can give you a lift to the crossroads.”
It didn’t take long to organize our things and crowd into the back seat. What a relief. Number one, we were out of the rain. Number two, the driver spoke our language. As we progressed in a westerly direction, Alejandro spoke casually about himself, where he was from, the San Francisco area like ourselves, and their day trip to the pyramids. He had the air of a storyteller, recounting tales of spider monkeys and crocodiles that lived at the pyramid site near the lake, explaining that Coba had been one of the largest Mayan cities in the Yucatan, with over 200,000 people, although at present, only five percent of it was excavated.
The man radiated charisma, flashing comfortable smiles at Karla as he chatted easily, all the while fascinating us with his accounts of the Quintana Roo jungles. And if these tales weren’t enough, hundreds of iridescent blue Morpho butterflies engulfed the car in a cloud of turquoise just then, adding a touch of Fellini, or better yet, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
He definitely had our attention. Then he told us about the house he was building in a small fishing village called Puerto Morelos. We were intrigued.
“Where is that?” Paul asked as he tried to locate the map from his duffel bag. “We’ve been traveling through the Yucatan looking for smaller towns. It doesn’t sound familiar.”
“Puerto Morelos is twenty-five miles south of Cancun. Have you seen the Pemex station between Cancun and Tulum? The only gas station for one hundred miles?”
Even this simple statement reminded us how far from civilization we were. As Californians it was hard to fathom one hundred miles of road without a gas station anywhere on the planet, no matter how far into the rain forest jungle one might be.
“Turn at the Pemex,” Alejandro continued, “and head towards the beach. In a few minutes you’ll be at the town square.”
As we approached the Coba junction, the rain continued to fall, now in a more menacing manner. Alejandro slowed to a stop at the crossroads that led to the pyramid site, his destination, or the Maya outback, ours. He fumbled beneath his seat and grabbed something. A yellow umbrella.
“Take this umbrella,” he said, holding it out, bouquet fashion. “This rain won’t be stopping anytime soon.”
“We’ll be fine. It can’t last forever,” I replied, not wanting to impose more on this accommodating stranger who already felt familiar to me.
“No,” he insisted. “Take the umbrella.”
“Only if we can return it to you,” Paul interjected, apparently sensing my hesitation.
“Sure, why not? If you do, that’s fine, and you can see my house. If not, don’t worry about it. Directions…When you get to Puerto Morelos, take the first left and head all the way out the beach road. Once you pass the hotel, my house will be the first on the beach. It’s Mediterranean style, you can’t miss it. Who knows,” he continued as we locked eyes, “maybe we’ll see you later. Hasta luego.”
And with that, he and Karla departed. We watched them drive in the direction of the pyramids as we began walking down the wet and isolated jungle road, with forest so thick on either side of us it seemed to be on the verge of devouring the asphalt. Just two days earlier we’d seen an eighteen-wheeler hanging–or suspended–in the roadside thicket as if by velcro, all wheels well off the ground. The jungle had sucked it in when it crashed, offering a surreal resting spot. Getting it out would be another story.
As for us, we were on the road again. Time for another adventure as our path curved northwards away from the coast and inland, to Maya country.
Days later, worn out from touring various villages in the northern Yucatan and visiting Isla Holbox, we were ready to return to the calm of the coast. We were still searching for an ideal place that hadn’t materialized. But the seed was planted. Maybe Puerto Morelos would be that paradise.
–Excerpt from Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya, by Jeanine Lee Kitchel.

Milagro Gata aka Miracle Cat in Mexico

By Jeanine Kitchel
When we moved to Mexico in 1997, we took our three month old cat with us, too. His name is Max, he was born on the 4th of July, and we got him from the San Francisco SPCA on Union Square where they’d set up a tent and were trying to unload kittens. There were little charmers in the cage and Max was the most bodacious of the bunch. Even when a two-alarm SF fire truck went raging past, he didn’t back away while I was trying to pet him through the wire. He was the one.
He’s been neutered and had his shots. That was his life story–and what was ours, the SPCA authority asked. Well, we explained, we were leaving for Mexico in a few weeks and wanted to take a cat with us. We were cat lovers and we trusted the SPCA when looking for a kitty.
Ohhh, not so fast, we were told. How could they be sure we’d provide a good life for the cat south of the border? In Mexico!
Wait a minute, was this really happening? Were we being questioned about our capacity to provide a risk-free life for our new kitty by the San Francisco SPCA?
Apparently so. By this time we had over-bonded with newly named Max, and just thinking about him not in our lives was almost unbearable. Paul, my husband, must have done some real talking about then, because in half an hour we were trotting away with Mr. Max.
Oddly though, in looking back over the past 14 years, we came to see that Ms. SPCA may have had a leg to stand on. Max has endured some unbelievable ordeals, many man made. Let me elaborate. He didn’t get the nickname “Milagro Gato” or Miracle Cat from our trusted Cancun vet for nada.
First of all, Quintana Roo in those days was very unsettled and downright wild as far as critters go. It was literally a jungle in much of Puerto Morelos and our house sat a mile out of town. We had very few neighbors back then and the mangroves across the sascab road were full of, well, varmints:  gray foxes, crocodiles, boa constrictors, monkeys, and coatamundis.   Also to add to the neighborhood combat list — beach dogs and stray cats. Non-neutered cats.
As life rolled along I realized Max was probably the only neutered cat in all of Quintana Roo. All the strays still had
their testosterone.  I could tell by the midnight cat fights that woke me; I’d jump out of bed, open the screen door, and clap my hands a few times to curtail the fight. That usually worked and Max would haul his battered buns inside the house to sleep off his late night wake-up call, and to realize he was indeed a stranger in a strange land.
By now of course he was tri-lingual: English, Spanish and Mayan, but somehow his 4th of July birthday must have given him away and every stray seemed to know he was a gringo through and through.
He’d cat around in those early days, and often when we went back to the US I’d hear neighbors say, Max was over, or we saw Max in the mangroves. When we went back to the US for months at a time we left him with caretakers. Basically their only job was to feed him. I received an email from a neighbor that said he’d lost all his hair and he was as skinny as the pink panther so obviously something was amiss.
We’d assumed the simple task of feeding him was taking place but when we returned home we saw a raggedy cat with no fur from his midsection to his tail. The caretakers said he wasn’t eating.   After checking his food supply –now Whiskas–what happened to the bags of Science Diet I’d left–I discovered it was moldy.  We dragged him to the vet.   Malnutrition had caused the hair loss and the ungas. Ung-what?   It was a fungus, the vet explained, and if  we applied a topical cream it would go away. From then on we asked the neighbor to check in on him while we were gone.
Although Max was usually an outdoor cat who’d use a flapper door for easy in and out privileges, about a year ago he shrank from any open door for a good two days. We were flummoxed because he liked being outside rather than in.  A day or so later the gardener found a four-foot boa in the front yard, and we assumed this was Max’s reasoning for avoiding the outdoors.  We marveled at what he saw on those dark jungle nights, and how he managed to stay alive.  But there was no way he’d stay inside full time.  Not his style. Early on he’d cavort inside and out of our gated property throwing caution to the wind as he ran across the street. But a few years ago he started avoiding going out the gate as the road got busier (it’s paved now). He hung back and restricted himself to being inside the high walls. His nine lives must have been knocking. Over the years we saw why our vet called him the milagro gato. When we first took him to see the vet at the tender age of 6, he’d nicknamed him that.  Why milagro gato?  Why miracle cat?  we’d asked.  No cat can live in the jungle that long! he’d explained. He’s ‘un milagro.’  And that he is.  To this day.

Explore Tourism Social Media Boot Camp 2011 in Riviera Maya

by Jeanine Kitchel

Kay Walten of Locogringo.com has transitioned into social media consulting with her new Walten group and Explore Tourism Seminars. October 8 and 9 she’ll host the social media boot camp in the Riviera Maya-Cancun area at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa in Puerto Morelos.

The two day seminar will discuss how social media and networking can be used effectively by travel and tourism businesses, and explore strategies for tourism marketing for Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Walten says Mexico is in the process of winning the battle against negative press and social media and the use of social networks can assist in overcoming some of the challenges Mexico faces in the international press.

Explore Tourism Social Media Boot Camp 2011 will educate industry professionals, both large and small, on how they can create a voice for their business and work with others to promote Mexico as a destination.  The seminar is designed for marketing professionals, business owners, management staff and employees in the Mexican tourism industry, resort hotels, small hotels, e-commerce site owners, tour companies and small businesses such as dive shops, restaurants, wedding planners and spas.

Walten’s success with Locogringo.com has dovetailed with her new efforts in social media.

“Since  the internet evolved and social media marketing began to get popular in 2007, I naturally  gravitated towards more platforms than the Locogringo forums and website,” Walten said.  “In 2011 I have discovered I have valuable information and want to share it with other businesses in the area so they can easily start or continue a social media marketing strategy that is not only good for their own businesses but for the area as well.”

Walten has lived in Akumal for over 19 years.  She and husband Gary founded the popular locogringo website in the mid-90s, which is the largest independently owned online booking and resource website for the area and has been written up by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The seminar begins October 8 and 9 at 9 a.m. and finishes at 1:30 p.m. Early bird discounted tickets start at 1750 pesos plus a 57.75 peso processing fee.  The event includes lunch and refreshments. For more information, contact Kay Walten at kay@kaywalten.com.