Get Ready for Adventure and explore the wonders of the Baja! Travel Red Travel Mexico and Tam on March 10-16, 2019 and experience two of the Earth’s most charismatic marine species, gray whales, and whale sharks! [Read more…] about Explore the Wonders of the Baja Peninsula with Tam and Red Travel Mexico
Yes, you heard me! Cozumel has a Pearl Farm and it is the only one in the Caribbean! My fellow traveler, Linda Beach of A Passionate Dream Life came to visit and we decided to check it out. We had a great time, and learned so much.
I’ve seen pearl farms in Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean, and they are huge. The Pacific is an ocean of rich nutrients, but the Atlantic, and especially the Caribbean, offers much less in the way of nutrients and food. Compared to the Pacific, the Caribbean is a desert. But this wonderful family from Mexico City had a dream, and they have made it a reality. Isa Caamaño gave us a fantastic tour, and since she is the biologist in the family, we really learned about the biology of pearl farming. Her enthusiasm is infectious!
The story of the farm could be made into a movie. Dad was a successful contractor in Mexico City, but had a dream of starting a pearl farm in Cozumel. The entire family became involved in the project, and they started up in the early 2000s. In 2005, WILMA came along and destroyed everything, and I mean every single thing on the farm and the island. They decided to stay and rebuild, and in doing so, have created unique technologies and a successful business. They have also called upon Our Lady of Guadelupe, the patron saint of Mexico, to help. Visiting the Pearl Farm is a must do on Cozumel!
The tour also includes lunch, and plenty of time to relax and rest on this uninhabited beach on the north side of the island. It is about as far north as you can go on Cozumel, and utterly undeveloped except for the pearl farm. It is a beautiful area and one that is very rarely seen. I highly recommend visiting the Pearl Farm, and you can find them at Cozumel Pearl Farm on Facebook! Tell them Travels with Tam sent you!
The information says it is “renewed”, but it certainly looks brand new! I couldn’t believe it when the car pulled up to drop me off. The lobby is open air with gorgeous stonework, and the staff could not be any friendlier or helpful! Every single staff member treated me like a queen. The buildings are gorgeous, and blend in with the mountain desert behind it. Every small detail was in place, and the buildings were just stunning. The Westin is environmentally friendly as well, check out their commitment to helping our oceans and our planet.
My villa was amazing. Amazing! The view was just incredible, and my balcony had a hot tub on it! A lovely bottle of wine and sweets welcomed me to the 2 bedroom villa with full kitchen. I never wanted to leave the balcony which overlooked the pools and the ocean. I had just come off a liveaboard dive boat, and nothing is ever clean or dry on a boat. The villa had a washer and dryer, and it was wonderful to pile all of my clothes into the washer and then go off to explore.
I was so hungry, and my restaurant selection was large. There are four restaurants, a swim up bar, and a market. I chose the beachfront restaurant, Coralline. It was gloriously peaceful, shaded, with the sound of pounding waves. They had excellent french fries! You don’t get french fries on a dive boat, and I was feeling deprived, so it was the first thing I ordered! Yum!
Breakfast buffet is served at Cocina Casera, also overlooking the ocean. The breakfast was delicious, and the restaurant has themed buffets every night. Yum! I had a quick sandwich at La Cantina Sports Bar and it was also excellent. I shopped at the Mercadito (market) for soda and snacks. The only restaurant I did not get to was El Ciruelo, the hilltop restaurant with incredible views of the sunset. It looked lovely, but time just ran out. I couldn’t force myself to get out of the infinity pool or off the beach to make reservations! Next time!
The pool area is right on the beach, and there is a pool for adults, and one for children. I love the separation. When you have children or grandchildren you love being with them and hearing their noise and splashing, but when you want some quiet adult time, it is lovely to have a tranquil spot. The pool is heated to just the right temperature, and is long enough to get some exercise. Loved it!
The hotel has everything you could imagine in a resort. Tennis, golf, Kids Club, baby sitting, a soothing spa where I had an incredibly pampered massage… It is just amazing. If you are headed to Cabo, I recommend the Westin Villas Resort and Spa Los Cabos with all my heart. I hope to go back for a longer stay and take my family!
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I finished my international travel of 2017 in Mexico. First, a fantastic and fun trip in October to my second home in Cozumel (we rent it! www.vrbo.com/368692) with three of my blogger friends, and a wonderful trip in December to the Sea of Cortez and La Paz with Red Travel Mexico! I love both coasts of Mexico, they are so radically different. The east side is jungle and rain forest with calm, clear, blue waters, and the west is almost desert, with mountains and the ocean waves. Both are beautiful.
#4TravelChicasinCozumel! Sara of Travel with Sara, Suzanne of Adventures of Empty Nesters, myself, and Melody of www.whereverimayroamblog.com. #4TravelChicas is our hashtag, and we are available to brands and destinations to add spice to your dish!
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After two days and six dives in Cabo Pulmo, adventures with bull sharks and fish tornadoes, we were off to Sierra Laguna Biosphere, ready for a change of scene. Our fantastic Red Travel Mexico guide, Christian, had a little disappointing news for us. A “norte” (a storm where the winds come from the north and are cold) was closing in on La Paz, making our trip to Espiritu Santo to see whale sharks and sea lions unlikely. To save you the suspense, the winds were high and the ports were closed, so we were unable to participate in that itinerary. Thankfully, we had a flexible, seasoned group who knew that Red Travel and Travels with Tam can’t control the weather. Instead, we enjoyed other areas of the Baja, which means we’ll need to go back to Espiritu Santo another time! Something to look forward to.
On Day 3 we visited the Sierra Laguna Biosphere in the mountains of Sierra Laguna. UNESCO has designated the Sierra de la Laguna a global biosphere reserve: “This semi arid to temperate subhumid climate area represents highly important and contrasted ecosystems, including arid zones, matorrales, low deciduous forest type, evergreen oak: Quercus devia (“encino”) woods, pine-evergreen oak mix woods and oases with palms and “guerivos” situated throughout the gallery forest following the long river basins.” The Biosphere reserve was established by a Mexican presidential decree of 6 June 1994, which designated a core area and buffer zones. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_de_la_Laguna) Within the biosphere are ranchos, and we visited Rancho Refugio where the old ranchero way of life is unchanged. There are few left, and the culture may well die out since the children are opting for cities and the larger world.
We toured Rancho Refugio with one of the family, Rogerio, and discovered the life of the authentic rancho family. I was expecting a “hacienda”, but that is not rancho culture in the Baja. The family had furniture outdoors for sitting and sleeping, and the kitchen was also outside. The ranchero showed us how they live, different ways they make their living (leather working, crops, animals), and the lack of modern day “necessities” (which of course, are not necessary). We embarked on a hike through the mountains, taking us through boulders, woods, and streams. The stream was as clear as glass, I don’t know that I have ever seen such clear, clean water! We walked through huge white boulders and saw waterfalls, pools, and even a “slide”! No, I didn’t try it, that would be tempting my luck too far. We had one fall, but it wasn’t me! (Mark!) We also bouldered, and looked at a ficus palmeri, also called a rock fig. It is known as the Boulder Strangler. The fig roots encircle another tree’s trunk and eventually reach the ground. The roots then enlarge and squeeze the host tree’s trunk while the upper branches overshadow it and starve it for light. The host dies and rots, leaving a hollow giant fig tree. It looked like a banyan tree, only white. Fascinating killer strangler tree! After our hike, we headed to the outdoor kitchen and made tortillas. Their honey was absolutely amazing, maybe the best I’ve ever had! Lunch was lovely, under the trees.
We headed to La Paz after our day in the mountains. As you can imagine we were very tired! The sun was setting, so we snapped a few photos and headed to our beds at the Hotel Catedral. The hotel was quite lovely, and more on that later!
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Red Travel Mexico and Travels with Tam (that’s me!) are offering an amazing adventure to Cabo Pulmo and La Paz in the Sea of Cortez! There is something for everyone: scuba or snorkel on a reef that is 20,000 years old, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, snorkeling with whale sharks and sea lions, kayaking, and of course, just relaxing! Where does all this wonderful activity happen? In Cabo Pulmo, Mexico and La Paz, Mexico, about two hours from Cabo San Lucas. The dates are December 3-9, 2017. Imagine being in Cabo Pulmo National Park where thousands of jacks school! Cabo Pulmo is an exciting example of what a marine park can be. Ten years ago Cabo Pulmo became a National Marine Park, allowing no fishing. In ten years the ocean life has multiplied 463%! This sleepy place has not yet become a tourist haven, and one can enjoy quiet, unspoiled beauty. We will visit beautiful, protected locations with expert guides. Want to stay longer? You can extend your trip in La Paz, or head two hours west to Cabo San Lucas!
You can learn all about the trip at Red Travel Mexico with Tam Warner Minton! Hurry and book, there are still spaces available and this is going to be AMAZING!