Category Archives: Travel Agent Corner

Mexico City Named No. 3 Most Inspiring City in the World

2014 GOOD City Index Names 50 Most Inspiring Global Destinations; Cities That “Best Capture the Elusive Quality of Possibility” Using A Criteria of Eight Attributes

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Mexico City is ranked No. 3 on the GOOD City Index (GCI), which ranks the most inspiring cities in the world. The annual list compiled by GOOD, media company that also publishes the quarterly GOOD Magazine, features cities that deliver on eight key attributes that “best capture the elusive quality of possibility,”: progress, civic engagement, street life, defining moments, connectivity, green life, diversity and work/life balance.

Zocalo, Mexico City, MexicoGOOD praised Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera for his progressive approach to city government and reports reasons why Mexico City is continuing to emerge as a top global destination. In addition to Mexico City’s rich cultural history and deep traditions, the capital city is gaining acclaim as one of the world’s most influential culinary destinations citing attractions such as Michelin-starred restaurant Pujol and gastro-hall Mercado Roma. Mexico City also gained recognition for its sustainability innovations such as its bike share program and key initiatives overseen by Mayor Mancera including mobile health clinics, free uniform distribution, arts discount program for teens, expanded bike lanes and technological advances.

“It’s a huge honor for Mexico City to be recognized as one of the most inspiring cities in the world on the GOOD City Index,” said Armando Lopez Cardenas, director of the Mexico City Tourism Promotion Fund. “We welcome visitors from around the globe to experience our great city again or for the first time, whether for business or leisure. Now is an exciting time to visit Mexico City.”
North American cities include Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Santa Fe in the U.S. and Montreal and Vancouver in Canada. The GOOD City Index is available online now at http://magazine.good.is/guides/good-cities-index-2014.

Mexico City is the country’s premier tourism destination, welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors a year. The ancient capital offers a vibrant, contemporary culture that combines pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern influences that span nearly seven centuries. With more than 160 museums, 30 distinct archaeological and historic sites, and 100 art galleries, the city is a mecca of fine art and treasures that speak to its vast history. The Mexico City Tourism Promotion Fund (Fondo Mixto de Promocion Turistica del Distrito Federal) supports and enhances city tourism. For more information and daily updates please visit/follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MexicoCityLive) and Twitter (@MexicoCityLive).

Waiting for Huatulco

By: Lisa Coleman

Exactly 30 days from today I will look over the Pacific from my private pool at the Dolphin Cove Villa at Las Palmas in Huatulco. It seems so cliché to use words like “amazing” or “breathtaking” to describe some of the places I’ve been in Mexico, but they do the job in a place like this. Two years ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday in Oaxaca City and Huatulco, and fell in love with Mexico all over again. It was my first time in Huatulco and it reminded me of why Mexico is part of who I am. Most of our readers (and all my friends) know that my heart has always belonged to Zihuatanejo. That town and its people have spent more than 20 years atop my list of favorites. Well, times are changing, maybe I’m changing (certainly getting older), but to be completely honest, my new crush is Huatulco. Villa8 Simple, elegant in all the right places, laid back just enough, safe, warm and embracing – that sums it up. For me, this is the Mexico that soothes my soul. This is the Mexico that feels like home. It’s all here. Huatulco is that place  you have to explain how to find on a map, and most of us are happy to keep it that way. It feels like Zihua did 25 years ago, and that’s a good thing. The energy is different here. Mexico savvy travelers know exactly what I’m talking about. The days are long and slow, the scenery is gorgeous, the water is perfect, the beer is cold and I can’t wait to get there!

Huatulco’s infrastructure was put in place by FONATUR (Trust for Tourism Development -Fondo Nacional del Fomento al Turismo), back in the 70’s. FONATUR is well known for creating and building Cancun, Ixtapa and Los Cabos, as well as the off-the-beaten path communities of Loreto and the Bahías de Huatulco (the Bays of Huatulco, which has been shortened to just Huatulco.) If you love the hustle and bustle of Cancun, this probably won’t do it for you. But if you like the pace of Zihuatanejo, and you’re charmed by Loreto, Huatulco will be right up your alley. It will remind you a little of Ixtapa in design, but with the coziness of Zihua. Huatulco dances to its own beat and it’s one special song.

I’d usually tell you all about the lodging along the coastline, but I’ve only stayed in one place, a perfect place to me: Las Palmas. With an extraordinary location, perched on a cliff with incomparable views of Violin Bay on one side and Santa Cruz on the other, it doesn’t get much better. Owned by Ron and Jackie Williams, who have become dear friends, Las Palmas is like your own private paradise. With only five casitas and three villas, you’ll be part of the family from the moment you arrive. (For more details read my previous post here: Huatulco and Las Palmas: A Match Made in Heaven.)

The countdown is on. I can almost feel the sand in my toes and the Pacific sunshine on my face. I know it won’t disappoint! See you soon Huatulco…

DSC01225

Culture and Courtesy – Being a Better Traveler in Mexico

This post was previously published on Mexico Premiere. With Mexico travel season about to kick into gear, we have had several request to re-post it. Enjoy!

By: Lisa Coleman

I’m sure you’ve heard “when in Rome…. do as the Romans do,” but when stepping into a foreign country it’s really worth considering these words a bit more carefully. The saying originated in 387 A.D. when St. Augustine arrived in Milan and observed the Catholic Church did not fast on Saturday like it was done in Rome. He consulted the Bishop of Milan (St. Ambrose) about the matter who simply replied:  “When I am in Rome I fast on Saturday; when I am in Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of where you are.” That sentiment has stood the test of time and can really make a difference when visiting Mexico, or any other country for that matter.

I have traveled the world and feel there is nothing more frustrating than watching “ugly Americans” (Canadians are guilty, too!) being rude or disrespectful to the local people. Regardless of whether it’s an all-inclusive in Cancun where everyone speaks English, or an eco-hotel in the remote jungle of Chiapas, you are still a guest in Mexico… you are still visiting someone’s home.  As a citizen of the world, you owe it to yourself and your hosts to take the time to understand the basics of the Mexican culture and to embrace their hospitality with the respect it deserves.  I have seen bad manners exhibited many times in Mexico, so I am hoping to shed a little light on some common courtesies that may change your travel experience. At the very least, it will bring a smile to your Mexican hosts!
First, let’s talk about changing your mindset when you plan a trip to Mexico and switch from being a tourist to being a traveler.  What’s the difference? Plenty…

•    A tourist expects (and insists) everyone speaks English. A traveler tries to use even the most basic high school Spanish to make an effort.

•    A tourist is content to hang out at the swim-up bar getting lobster-red sunburn while becoming louder, drunker, and more obnoxious by the minute. The traveler heads into town, checks out the local markets, tries to make heads or tails of the menus at local restaurants and takes the time to stroll the streets, smile at the people and take in the flavor and color of the place they are visiting.

•    A tourist goes to the local McDonalds, American chain restaurant, or orders a hamburger at the hotel. A traveler will find out where the best local dishes are served and at the very least give them a try.

•    A tourist is content to be part of a group and to take large tours to all the most famous spots. A traveler tends to rent a car with a few other people (or solo) and explore the area on their own.
That list could go on forever, but you get the idea.

Always A TouristMexico is also far more formal than many would think. If you know anything about Mexican history, you know the Spanish had a tremendous influence on the people and culture of the country. The early Spanish overlords who came to Mexico in the 1500s brought the etiquette of the Royal Court of Spain, and many of those formalities still exist. As a rule, the Mexicans have maintained this cortesía, and it’s important that foreigners be aware and sensitive to not insulting the dignidad of the people they encounter.

The Basics
•    For starters, it helps to use Señor (Mr.) or Señora (Mrs.) with the men or women you encounter. Mexicans always address by social status and this immediately shows respect and will be a quick step in the right direction. (Señorita would be used to address a young, unmarried woman and is similar to Miss.)

•    In a restaurant, if you wish to call the waiter, you generally use the term Joven (Ho-ven). Though it means “young person,” it is an accepted term for all waiters. If you have a waitress, Señorita is appropriate. Snapping your fingers? Never.

•    “Please” (por favor) and “Thank You” (gracias) are a given if you’d like to ask an employee (or anyone for that matter) to do something. Look them in the eye and be sincere, it will take you a long way.

•    Americans tend to enter a room of strangers and only say hello in passing, if at all. They are usually casual, self absorbed and miss the almost constant greetings by their Mexican counterparts. Whether it’s in a public place with strangers, or with people you already know, say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good evening) to those you see. You’ll notice smiles right away.

•    Being humble is a cultural virtue often forgotten by visitors.  Mexicans will always welcome you when you arrive to your destination and refer to their home or even your hotel as su casa (your house). They are modest and truly want you to feel at home in their country. Keep an eye out for that and be sure to thank them for their hospitality.

•    If you can’t speak Spanish, don’t insult the local people by shouting louder and slower in English. It’s rude and it doesn’t change the fact that they don’t understand. They will appreciate any effort you make, regardless of your skill level.

•    YES it is customary to tip in Mexico.  Here is a great article for reference: http://gomexico.about.com/od/historyculture/qt/tipping_in_mexico.htm

•    Come to a church just as you would at home.  Be aware when entering and always take off sunglasses, baseball caps or hats. Wearing shorts is rarely an issue in the beach areas, but women should take care to wear a wrap or sweater to the waist to avoid showing too much skin, which could viewed disrespectful in such places.

•    The beach is the beach, but away from the resort areas shorts are very rarely worn by Mexicans on the street. Be cognizant of how you look and avoid drawing too much attention to yourself as a foreigner. Never wear shorts to a business event or to a restaurant outside the immediate resort area.
The Mexican culture isn’t overly complex. It’s built on simplicity, humility and courtesy. The people are tremendously warm and inviting, and genuinely care about their guests. Whether you’re a tourist, a traveler, or a little of both, take an extra few minutes to embrace Mexico at its core and I think you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of a country waiting to invite you home.

Mexico Travel Requirements for Children

With so many families traveling to Mexico, it’s important to know about the documentation before you go. Take a minute to read this article by our friend Suzanne Barbezat from About.com Mexico. It should provide all the infomation you need.

http://gomexico.about.com/b/2014/01/22/mexico-travel-requirements-for-children.htm?nl=1

 

97533636

 

Mazatlan Welcomes 18,000 New Visitors With the Return of Three Major Cruise Lines in 2013/2014

“The Pearl of the Pacific” rolls out the red carpet to kick off its first cruise season in two years, showcasing a new cruise terminal and exciting tourism offerings

 MAZATLAN, Mexico, /PRNewswire/ — Mazatlan announced today the return of the first of three major cruise lines to its port, welcoming more than 1,300 passengers on Holland America’s ms Veendam ship. Governor Mario Lopez Valdez of the State of Sinaloa as well as Dr. Frank Cordova, Sinaloa’s Secretary of Tourism, greeted passengers at a brand new cruise terminal complete with music and dance performances. With the return of ships from Norwegian Cruise Lines and Azamara Club Cruises in December and February respectively, more than 18,100 cruise visitors will have the chance to experience Mazatlan during the 2013-2014 season.

MAZATLAN HOTEL ASSOCIATION MS VEENDAM

“As Mexico’s only ‘Colonial City on the Beach,’ Mazatlan is a one-of-a-kind travel destination, and we are thrilled to share our beaches, arts, history and food with this season’s cruise visitors and the thousands of visitors for years to come,” said Secretary Cordova.

Like the ms Veendam, the Norwegian Star and Azamara Quest will bring visitors to Mazatlan as part of their Mexican Riviera tours. The Norwegian Star will arrive in Mazatlan on December 25, 2013, and the Azamara Quest will make its first stop on February 1, 2014.

Cruise passengers can visit the new “tourism corridor” between the new Port and Old Mazatlan, catch a show at the historic Angela Peralta Theater, stroll through the remodeled Plaza Machado or dine at one of dozens of world-class restaurants featuring all of the dishes that make Mazatlan “The Shrimp Capital of the World.” Visitors can explore these aspects and more by strolling along the beautiful Malecon boardwalk—the longest in North America—or by taking a ride in an iconic “pulmonia,” an open-air taxi exclusive to the city.

For more information on visiting Mazatlan, visit www.GoMazatlan.com.

Mexico Unveils “Live It To Believe It” Campaign at the Tower of London

Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board yesterday unveiled the country’s new 2013-2014 advertising and promotional program titled “Live It to Believe It” at the Tower of London.

Mexico Unveils "Live It To Believe It" Campaign at the Tower of London

The campaign aims to take destination advertising to another level and to portray Mexico as a destination of diverse and unique experiences. Through visual imagery, it powerfully showcases the country’s wide diversity, culture, nature, flavours, history, innovation and state-of-the-art destinations, in the form of memories.

“Live It to Believe It” challenges the world when considering Mexico as a destination. It is aspirational, elegant and created to evoke memories through visitors’ experiences.

The destinations showcased in the first phase of the campaign are: Vallarta-Nayarit, shown together as a single destination for the first time; Mexico City, depicting the exciting cosmopolitan, vibrant and modern city, with its strong sense of history; amongst other destinations like Yucatan, Los Cabos and Cancun-Riviera Maya.

Mexico’s new promotional program incorporates a robust media plan geared, for the first time, towards the consumer. It includes all media communication platforms and was officially presented to more than 300 representatives of the national and international tourism industry, travel agents, associations, hotel chains, tour operators and special guests, hosted by: Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Claudia Ruiz Massieu; the Embassy of Mexico to the United Kingdom; and Rodolfo López Negrete, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.

“Dancing With The Stars” Comes to the Riviera Nayarit: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Presents Dancing Week with Louis Van Amstel From November 17-21

Morning LaBlast Dance Fitness classes, Daily Spa Treatments, Salsa classes and More

RIVIERA NAYARIT, Mexico, Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Feel the rhythms, move your body and become a dancing star on the golden shores of AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit during the resort’s premier Dancing Week. From November 17 to 21, three-time World Dance Champion and “Dancing With The Stars” favorite, Louis Van Amstel will lead a program highlighted by four dance classes including three partner-free LaBlast dance fitness class and one salsa class led by Van Amstel and co-host Stephanie de Ortiz. Features include daily treatments in the Leading Spa of the World at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit designed to relax the mind and improve dance moves, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit culinary tour and group farewell dinner complete with live music at three different AAA Four Diamond restaurants. Also included are all of the features of this luxury all-inclusive resort and roundtrip airport transfers.

gvrn89
All-inclusive rates include luxury accommodations in the Grand Class or Penthouse suite, guaranteed ocean view, a la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, fitness center, taxes, gratuity and more. Dancing Week at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit starts at $410 per person, per night based on double occupancy and requires a minimum stay of three nights.

Grand Velas Nuevo Vallarta. Nayarit. Mexico.
At Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Dancing Week, guests will have fun and be pampered all in three days work beginning with the partner-free and easy to follow, LaBlast classes followed by daily spa treatments; Four-hand Samunprai, sports massage, and aromatic body wrap. Guests get to know Van Amstel and LaBlast more during the meet and greet then spend the night dancing to live music on the half-moon terrace. At the end of Dancing Week, a group farewell dinner gives guests an opportunity to show off their skills before heading home.

All packages are subject to availability. For reservations contact Velas Resorts at (888) 407-4869 or visit vallarta.grandvelas.com.