Casa Hamaca Guesthouse Honored in 2013 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Hotels Awards
Long time advertiser Casa Hamaca Guesthouse has been chosen as a winner in the Bed and Breakfast category by TripAdvisor in its 2013 Travelers’ Choice Awards. This award ranks Casa Hamaca Guesthouse as one of the top 25 bed and breakfasts in all of Mexico. “This is quite an honor and also quite an accolade to live up to,” said Denis Larsen the owner and executive manager of Casa Hamaca Guesthouse. We might also add that Hotel Boutique Merida Santiago and Cascadas de Merida also won awards in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards in the Bed and Breakfast category, and Hotel Hacienda VIP won in the Small Hotels category. Our congratulations to all of the winners and wishes for many more years of success. All 2013 Travelers’ Choice Winners
Perros y Gatos News
We have news this week from Proteccion de Perros y Gatos, A.C. in Progreso. As many of our readers know, it was 12 years ago that this organization began its long quest to help the dogs and cats in the Municipality of Progreso. Back then, we could only dream of the spay and neuter programs, shelters, and foster care we have today. Along the way, the concept of a veterinary clinic by and for the people was introduced and, peso by peso, the clinic is almost finished and completely debt-free. The Mayor of Progreso has recently helped with trash removal, exterior painting has been done, there is a little painting left to do inside, along with floor finishing. It looks as if the people of Progreso will have their fully-equipped and staffed vet clinic, free and clear, soon. Don’t forget that Perros y Gatos will celebrate their 12th annual fundraising breakfast at 10:00 AM on February 23 at Hotel Yakunah in Progreso. Tickets are $150 pesos per person and available from any board member, as well as at Hotel Yakunah or Thai Flash Restaurant. If you would like to contribute to this very worthy cause, you can mail U.S. dollar checks or money orders, payable to Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c., to Apartado Postal No. 30, Progreso 97320, Yucatan, Mexico. Donations of USD $100 or more entitle you to have your name (or that of a beloved pet) inscribed on the plaque that will be prominently displayed in the clinic’s waiting room, hopefully later this year.
Happy Birthday Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf
The Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, at the Yucatan Country Club in Merida, is celebrating its 5th Anniversary! The Academy opened in February 2008 as the first Nicklaus Academy in all of Latin America. In 2012 and 2013, the Nicklaus Academy at Merida’s Yucatan Country Club has been honored as the highest ranked golf school in Mexico. The Academy has grown to the point where it now trains 80 young golfers with a professional staff of seven, in a program under the direction of Alejandro Muñoz. The Academy boasts 25 junior students now playing at the competitive level, with several of those ranked in the top five in Mexico. The Nicklaus Academy has been named as a High Performance Academy by the Mexican Federation of Golf for having the best training facilities and services for teaching golf at all levels. In addition to the Nicklaus Academy, the Yucatan Country Club is home to El Jaguar, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, which has been rated as one of the best courses in Mexico. Since its opening. El Jaguar hosted the 2012 Mundo Maya Open, a PGA Tour Latin America event, to rave reviews. We wish the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf at the Yucatan Country Club a Happy 5th Birthday and wish them many more!
First Cruzando Fronteras International Cultural Festival in Mahahual
The week of February 18 through February 24 will see Mahahual, Costa Maya, hosting it’s very first Cruzando Fronteras International Cultural Festival. While Mahahual’s beaches are beautiful enough to entice anyone to come for a visit, we think the notion of a fusion of Mexican and Italian culture is definitely something worth a look. Do keep an eye on both the Cruzando Fronteras International Cultural Festival website and the Costa Maya Mahahual website for updates. And if you plan to go to the coast, perhaps you might want to time your trip to coincide with this interesting new venture.
Annual “Week of Yucatan” Returns to Mexico
It has just been announced that, beginning in May, the program called La Semana de Yucatán en México will be revived by the current administration of Yucatan. This program will be presented in Mexico City, annually in May. It will showcase tourism service providers, industrialists, traders, artisans, farmers and local artists. The show was a success for twenty years, inactive for eleven years, and is now being revived by the Governor at the request of service providers. This is excellent news. Yucatan is now well known throughout the world, but a greater degree of exposure in Mexico itself is expected to give the state a much needed economic boost.
One Million Carnival Spectators
The Mayor of the City of Merida announced that approximately one million total Carnival spectators attended the activities presented in Merida this week. This included up to 250,000 parade spectators for each major parade. Each year, throughout the State of Yucatan, Carnival activities grow and are more beautiful than the year before. What we love most about Carnival in Merida is that it is a safe, family oriented event. On hand to make certain of that are plenty of added police and medical professionals, as well as plenty of secure spaces reserved for elderly and disabled spectators. We were pleased to hear that, because this event has gone on, uninterrupted, for nearly 60 years, it is even being broadcast internationally now. We do hope that people across the globe see what we have here and decide to give the Yucatan a try next year.
The Weather – in perspective
The number 38 seemed to get quite a workout this past week and we thought our readers might like to see a little comparison. This is a bit like comparing apples (degrees Celsius) to oranges (inches of snow), but we were loathe to allow a perfectly good 38 to pass without note, so here it is: On the first day of Winter Storm Nemo, if you factor in the wind chill, it was 38.5 degrees Celsius (about 93 degrees Fahrenheit) in Merida at the same time that 38.0 inches of snow fell in Milford, CT. What we wonder is how many of our NOB readers checked the price of an airline ticket to Merida during Nemo? We’ll bet it was more than a few. We hope that all of our potential Snowbirds and new expats will be safe and warm here in Yucatan before any more of these 38 comparison events can occur.
Yucatan’s Courts and Indigenous Language Speakers
The language of Mexico’s justice system is Spanish. In reality, there are many indigenous people living all across the nation and they speak any number of languages. The courts in Yucatan are forging ahead to ensure that Yucatan’s minority language speakers are having their rights protected. They are making certain that an interpreter is with the accused at all times during questioning and as the court process goes forward. We can only imagine the horror of being in one’s own state, but not speaking the most common language, and then being accused of a crime. Yucatan has been the first to recognize and implement so many laws and policies designed to bring fairness to life here. That is one of the things that makes Yucatan a great place to live.
Xuilub and Tesoco Now Online
The small towns of Xuilub and Tesoco, in the Municipality (county) of Valladolid, now each have their own Community Learning Center and are both online. This is the product of Yucatan’s new push to bring online education to areas in which access to higher education either does not exist or is severely limited. The program includes opportunities for pre-school, elementary school, high school. Those served include everyone from pre-schoolers to housewives and men who work the fields. We have watched this phenomenon take place before and the speed with which the local society leaps forward is absolutely dizzying. Our congratulations to everyone in Xuilub and Tesoco. We will see you on the net!
Ticul Spring and Summer Shoe Fair
Watch all news outlets closely for the next three weeks. This year (2013), Easter Sunday is March 31. This means that Semana Santa is March 24 – 30 (begins Palm Sunday) – and this means that the annual Spring and Summer Shoe Fair will, in all likelihood, run the week before Semana Santa, which now is being talked about as any time from March 13 on. This shoe fair is so successful that it would not be unusual for it to begin early and remain open late, especially now that vendors are no longer required to have a separate booth on the town plaza. Mark your calendar. Buy your plane ticket. Do whatever you have to do (Spring and Fall) to get here for this Shoe Fair. And of course there is plenty of great pottery to be had in Ticul too, so you can stock up on both things.