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Bimonthly . Year 05 · Number 127 · 20,000 copies · 24 Pages · February 21 - March 6, 2018


w w w.t h e p l a y a t i m e s .c o m

Getting Around Playa >> What’s your transport of

choice in our sunny city?

>>DISCOVER MEXICO Piston Pueblo Theme Park

>P. 11


Cancun Travel Hacks P h o t o : P i x a b a y. c o m / B o s m a n e r w i n

>P. 16


ANIMAL WELFARE POOCH PERFECT OR HOUND HEADACHE? Playa del Carmen’s transportation was the subject of this town hall meeting on how to improve movement in the city.

Photo: Ian Mackenzie

>P. 6

Dogs are Mexico’s favorite pet, but is Playa del Carmen totally geared up to accommodate our four-legged friends?

Photo: Michael Renouf

>P. 22

Feb 21 - March 6


Looking for something to do? Check out our What’s On section online at for a list of things to do including live music and dancing, yoga, markets and special events.


FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018


DIRECTORY Rebecca Page

Make Playa Accessible For All

Siobhán Gallagher

As the city grows, so must our awareness of, and facilities for, those with mobility issues

General Manager


Ian MacKenzie

By Siobhán Gallagher

Copy Editor


n this edition, we explore the options for getting around Playa: private transport, public transport or just good old body power. While increased tourism and investment are positive for the region, they bring their own problems and responsibilities. As the city grows in size and popularity, so do the problems associated with circulation. The infrastructure to support this growth unfortunately can’t be developed at the same rate and we noticed it in particular during the last holiday season. Traffic jams, queues for parking and high tempers became the norm for a while for motorists. Increased traffic means increased fuel emissions and environmental problems for this natural wonderland

Efrén Velázquez

Art & Design

Ana Martínez

Brand Manager Cell: 984 169 1637

Erika Serra

Public Relations Cell: 984 119 1586


Cell: 984 -147 5597 & 147 5571

Omar Coral

that we want to protect and preserve. That’s why initiatives like Bicineta featured on page 17 are important to raise awareness and offer fun alternatives for getting around. I thought that this would also be the ideal edition to highlight an issue raised a few weeks ago by Richard, a reader of the Playa Times. He wanted to draw my attention to an accessibility issue for people in Playa who have mobility problems. While there is an increasing number of disabled ramps on sidewalks in the city, he conveyed his frustration at the fact that they are often useless because of businesses blocking the sidewalks with tables and signage. This is particularly notable on Fifth and Tenth Avenue. On Tenth, pedestrians are forced to step onto the cycle path, which is dangerous for both cyclists

and pedestrians, and an additional obstacle to negotiate for those with less mobility. While less can be done about gaping holes and telegraph poles in the middle of sidewalks, this accessibility issue is completely avoidable - all that is required is greater consideration and common courtesy. My main mode of transport in Playa is my bicycle and I frequently experience problems on the cycle path due to this lack of consideration. However it doesn’t impede my daily activities. I can’t begin to imagine what it most be like for those with reduced mobility and the differently abled who experience this every day. Along with a developing city and infrastructure, we have a responsibility to develop our collective conscience and sensitivity to make Playa a more accessible and inclusive city for all.


CONTACT US AT: 984 -147 5597 & 147 5571 /theplayatimes @ThePlayaTimes playatimes theplayatimes Photo: The Playa Times

The Playa Times


Número de Certificado de Reserva otorgado por el Instituto Nacional de Derechos de Autor: (PENDIENTE). Número de Certificado de Licitud de Título: (en trámite). Número de Certificado de Licitud de Contenido: (en trámite). Domicilio de la publicación: Calle 2 entre 45 y Carretera Federal, Mza. 088 lote 003-1. Impreso en talleres Grupo Megamedia Prolongación de Montejo número 301, entre 40 y 42, fraccionamiento Campestre, Mérida, Yucatán. Distribuidor: Meridian Media, S.A. de C.V., Calle 2 entre 45 y Carretera Federal, Mza. 088 lote 003-1, Playa del Carmen, Solidaridad, Quintana Roo C.P. 77710.

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FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018


New Hobbies to Practice in the Riviera Maya :ah[[rpbeeZepZrl[^[^g^Û\bZe_hkrhnk^fhmbhgZe hkf^gmZea^Zema4b_rhnZk^\hglb]^kbg`lmZkmbg`Z g^pZ\mbobmr%aZo^ZehhdZmma^l^himbhgl By Thomas Lloyd, Founder of Top Mexico Real Estate


he Riviera Maya has such a relaxing lifestyle: the beach and the sense of “Mexican Time” will allow you to unwind. However, there are many benefits for those willing to invest time and energy in a new pastime. According to a study published in 2015 by The Society of Behavioral Medicine, having a leisure activity will allow people to have “a better mood, more interest, less stress, and [...] lower heart rate”. Starting a new hobby in Playa del Carmen is easy, there are many activities available. So if you are interested in starting a new activity, have a look at our list.

According to a study published in 2015 by The Society of Behavioral Medicine, having a leisure activity will allow people to have “a better mood, more interest, less stress, and [...] lower heart rate”.

Yoga Yoga is an ancient discipline that helps to promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve some medical conditions. There are many types of yoga and many yoga studios throughout the Riviera, and many offer a free class. Volunteering Nothing will make you feel better than helping someone in need. Volunteering is an activity that has proved to build empathy, strengthen social bonds and make you feel happier overall. Playa del Carmen has many groups working non-stop to help the needy. Arts & Crafts Taking an art or craft class is a great way to make new friends. This kind of hobby will help you to relax, expand your creative horizons and feel good about your abilities and willpower to finish your projects. Remember, the main idea is to have a good time. Do not get discouraged if you do not enjoy an activity, just keep a positive attitude and keep trying until you find the ideal pastime for you. If you’d like to know more about living in Playa, visit this link: https://topmre. com/livingplaya

Paddleboarding If you like surfing and found that the waves in Playa del Carmen are non-existent, this might be the activity for you. Paddleboarding can be practiced in the sea, lagoons or cenotes, so it is ideal to explore different sites on the Riviera Maya.

Paddleboarding / Photo:

Photo: Shutterstock.

Ask Allan

- Where to Volunteer in Playa? By Allan Lockhart Hi, Allan We are looking to do some volunteer work while in town. What can we do to make a difference? Pam Hi, Pam Thanks for your thoughtful question. Well, there is a lot you can do apart from giving food or money to those in need. There is a local organization called KKIS (Keep Kids in School) which is focused on education. They often need volunteers and donations. The plus is that I know and trust the people who run the organization and they take no salary. It’s run from good intentions. A new charity is also being formed called Leyendo which is focused on building libraries. They also need donations and volunteers. Both groups can be found on Facebook or online. Animals, specifically cats and dogs, are another key area for volunteers. Many don’t spay and neuter here, so stray animals are a much bigger problem here than in the US or Canada. Coco’s Rescue shelters and spays both cats and dogs. SOS el Arca, and Playa Animal Rescue are both no-kill shelters focused on the care and rehabilitation of dogs. All

Pie de foto aquí / Photo: Crédito aquí

three organizations could use volunteers and donations. Lastly, one of the biggest contributions you can make to Playa is to patronize local businesses. Almost every business here, whether owned by a foreign or local, employs local staff. The more we stimulate the economy here, the better off everyone is. Allan Allan Lockhart Co-owner, North American Standards



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Javier Resendiz from Bicineta explains the need for a bike-friendly city. / Photos: Ian Mackenzie

Urban Mobility Forum Ma^\nkk^gmlmZm^h_IeZrZ]^e<Zkf^gl transportation was the subject of this town hall meeting where guest speakers presented their ideas on how to improve movement in the city. By Ian MacKenzie


rban mobility is defined as the displacement carried out by the inhabitants of a city from one place to another. In Playa del Carmen there are many ways in which residents do this on a daily basis, using a variety of transportation. This includes taxis, buses, colectivos, personal automobiles, as well as non-motorized means, like bicycles. But how does one deal with the kinds of challenges that a fast growing city like ours has? This was the focus of the Urban Mobility Forum held on February 2 at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba hotel. Architects and engineers from the local colleges had organized a number of topics that were explained by each invited speaker. One presentation focused on the rescue of the low bridge on the highway running from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and the creation of an intermodal route by a committee of socially responsible companies. Guest speaker Cesar Navarro talked about mobility from the point of view of development, while the Riviera University showed us samples of some of their architectural laboratory projects. It was the final speaker of the day, however, who I felt made the biggest impact. Appearing in his cycling outfit and helmet, Javier Resendiz from Bicineta began by doing laps around the room before telling us about his experiences of traveling through bike-friendly cities in

Europe. His video presentation showed clips of places where effective strategies have been implemented, offering hope for a similar such plan here.

Despite the criticisms and concerns shared by the presenters, the meeting did highlight what a great cosmopolitan city we live in. Resendiz criticized the current state of Playaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bike paths which he feels need improvement. Avenue 10 is often used by pedestrians in lieu of a proper sidewalk, leading to many near accidents, while the bike path on Avenue 135 near the hospital is in poor shape. His video clearly showed motorists using it for parking, forcing cyclists to ride around them. Despite the criticisms and concerns shared by the presenters, the meeting did highlight what a great cosmopolitan city we live in. As a bike rider myself I appreciate how easy it is to get around Playa without depending on public transport or a car. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not perfect, but with more forums and discussion such as this, Playa can grow with a forward-thinking transport plan that benefits all of its citizens.



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Transport Options in Playa Depending on where you want to go and what your budget is, there are many ways of moving around the city. By Melissa Méndez Orantes


Getting around / Photo: Melissa Méndez Orantes


Quintana Roo’s Multiple Listing System By AQR MLS The Real Estate Industry in North America is finally united in technology as “AQR MLS” is launching the first Multiple Listings Service for the state of Quintana Roo, along with an exciting suite of productivity tools for the real estate community branded as “Terminus Sistema Global”, “InteliDocs”, “InteliFirmas”, and “InteliBox” – a bundle of services that are widely accepted as the standard for real estate profession-

als in the United States and Canada, where the same services are branded as “CoreLogic Matrix™” (NYSE: CLGX), “zipLogix”, and “sentriSmart”, respectively. A multiple listing service or MLS is a set of digital tools that real estate professionals use to store and publish their listing data to other brokers and offer sales commissions, allowing the creation of a centralized database of properties for sale in the state.

or both tourists and locals in Playa del Carmen, it is very important to know which are the best transport options to come and go in and out of the city, so keep reading to discover all the alternatives available to you! Combis and Vans: You can take them in Calle 2 North (2 Norte) and basically you will find routes to all the tourist destinations near Playa del Carmen, such as Cancun, Tulum, Puerto Morelos, Yucatan and more. They have departures every 15 minutes, 30 minutes and hour, depending on the destination. The price varies between 15 and 50 pesos, so it is really the cheapest option you’ll find. Ask the driver to tell you where to get off, and get the exact price of the journey before boarding. Buses: Traveling by bus is one of the most comfortable and safe options you will find. There are two ADO bus stations in Playa, one almost at the end of Fifth Avenue and the corner on Juarez Avenue. The other is at Calle 12 between Avenues 20 and 25. The prices are a little high but you will find a very wide variety of tourist destinations and

Beyond the MLS Members of the real estate community in Quintana Roo will be able to manage the entire property promotion and sales cycle by using this newly available combination of state-of-the-art tools. Once a listing is uploaded to the MLS, it syndicates to chosen websites and marketing platforms, connects with the online contract system, the signature system, and lockboxes, providing a streamlined experience to all parties involved. An Ambitious Project Backed by Years of International Experience With 18 years of experience, Heidi Wosak - who is widely known in the real estate industry as one who acts with the highest standards of ethical conduct - is the ambitious entrepre-

even packages and promotions. Taxis: You can find taxi stations throughout the Fifth Avenue or flag them down on the road. Prices can be higher if you board at Fifth Avenue, so just head up one or two avenues to secure a better fare. Confirm the price before starting the journey. Ferries: Outside the dock of Playa del Carmen in Juarez Avenue you will find different ferry companies offering trips to Cozumel. Prices are between 150 and 170 pesos one way, and 300 pesos round trip. Children pay less and in general all the companies offer an excellent service that can include catering service, comfortable seats, and even live music to liven up the trip! Bike Paths: On 10th Avenue you will find a bike path that is a good option if you want to get to know the city. Playacar has an excellent bicycle path that is quite safe, and you will find a fairly long one on the federal highway that starts near the supermarket Chedraui. If you like mountain biking, I recommend Punta Venado Bike Park. Remember that your safety is the most important thing, so pay attention to the little details and enjoy your trip wherever you go!

Heidi Wosak / Photo: Richard Marin

neur behind “AQR MLS”. Heidi moved to Mexico with a California Real Estate license in 2004. She has been involved with the Mexico AMPI real estate association both locally and internationally. As an Associate Member AMPI since 2005, Heidi has served several years on the board of directors for AMPI Chapters, serving as VP of MLS & Memberships. She was instrumental in bringing in the first real MLS in English into AMPI “Seccion #51” in 2008 where she

merged the boards and re-wrote bylaws and regulations. After closing her C21 office in 2013 she embarked on a mission to bring the very best bilingual MLS system to the country of Mexico, focusing to launch Quintana Roo first. Heidi is widely known in the professional community as one who acts with the highest standards of ethical conduct and is dedicated to professionalism within the real estate industry internationally and throughout Mexico.

FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018



Relaxed and Amazed at

Ecopark Kantunchi

Underground River & 5 cenotes in one place! By Ecopark Kantunchi

People of Playa: Joe Biner - Disability or Possibility? Dividing his time between the US and Mexico for 25 years, Joe brings awareness and a positive message to Playa about disability issues By Siobhán Gallagher


hen I first came to Playa a few years ago, I regularly saw a man in a wheelchair pushing himself backwards, with his feet, along one of the main avenues. Every time I saw him a few thoughts crossed my mind. The first was always one of admiration for the patience, effort and determination that it must have taken for him to reach his destination. Then I thought how dangerous it was for him on the road, although I understood that the sidewalks weren’t a feasible alternative for him. Playa traffic was quieter back then, but to their credit, road users seemed both aware and respectful of him. Probably they were as humbled as I was every time they saw him, and their worry of getting somewhere in a rush dissipated. I thought about who this man could be and what his story was. Then I stopped seeing him and I wondered where he had gone. Years later, I met him under different circumstances and put two and two together. His name is Joe Biner and he hasn’t gone anywhere. He has, however, got a new motorized wheelchair that allows him to travel quite quickly through the streets of Playa, apparently evading my attention! Originally from Los Angeles, Joe was born with cerebral palsy, a permanent movement disorder, which limits activity and can cause sensory problems. I contacted Joe to speak about his experience as a wheelchair user in Playa and learned that despite his condition, his life has never been limited. Joe graduated from college with a degree in outdoor recreation management. Over the years he has worked for, run and advised businesses and programmes enabling trips for disabled children on the rivers of Colorado, Montana and the Grand Canyon. His first-hand experience of disability, combined with running a fly-fishing business in Montana for 25 years, made him an ideal candidate for such roles. It was his fly-fishing passion that brought him to Punta Allen and Playa del Carmen in 1995. Soon after, he decided to divide his

time between Playa and Montana and he has been doing it ever since. While Playa’s accessibility for the disabled is improving, there is still a long way to go. Some sidewalks now have ramps, but they are useless because the sidewalks themselves are in such bad shape - or local establishments are blocking them with seating and signage. Joe commends the attitude and energy of employees here who, in the absence of proper facilities, willingly lift him and his wheelchair up steps and into their spaces. Other establishments such as La Tarraya and Playa del Carmen Hotel have installed disabled facilities. He mentioned positive experiences in Zenzi, Siblings, Club Lido and Sushi Club, who all work to accommodate him. A positive attitude on both sides is important - he finds one gets further by being polite and cooperative rather than angry and demanding. Now Joe wants to make a positive contribution to his second home. With his lifetime of experience, he wants to help make Playa del Carmen more accessible for the disabled. He and his good friend, Mindi Hill of Bahia Divers, are launching a project called Liquid Love - Where Disabilities Become Possibilities. They have two aims - to give children with disabilities access to the water and use of special masks at Xpu Ha beach, and to create a mobile ramp initiative so that local businesses can give access to the differently abled. The idea is to build wooden ramps, painted with colorful art, of various heights, that establishments can easily install, remove, and store as necessary. If you would like to get involved with these initiatives, Joe and Mindi would be delighted to hear from you. From volunteers to help carry and move wheelchair users on the beach (guided by Joe), to artists, and carpenters, all help is gratefully accepted. Hopefully increased awareness through initiatives like this, and more community involvement, will help Playa del Carmen to become an example of sensibility and positive action promoting accessibility for all. To learn more, contact Mindi Hill:

It is a pleasure just arriving at this ecological park that invites you to follow a path lined by a variety of tropical plants all the way from the main road to its reception (approximately 250 meters). I was received by a very friendly staff with a welcoming smile. They presented their tours to me and I picked the GRUTAVENTURA Tour. I must say that it is an indescribable experience that only those who have done it will understand. Entering the underworld (Xibalbá as the Mayas called it) amazes you as it wraps you in the blue of its crystalline waters, and you find yourself surrounded by the impressive formation of rocks (stalactites and stalagmites). Once out of it, you arrive in a jungle that only a few have the honor to enjoy.

The second part of the adventure consists of a tour of five cenotes; the first one, named after the Kantun-Chi park, is a semi-open cenote, as is the second (Saskaleen-Ha), in which you can take a kayak tour (already included in the package). I arrived at the third cenote named Uchben-Ha Simply Extraordinary; it is an open cenote and one of the favourites of most visitors. I took a tour in Truck (a small cart on a rail pulled by a horse), which took me to Zacil-Ha, a cave-like cenote of incredible turquoise waters. Finally, I visited Zihil-Ha, where, besides swimming, you can give the big “I do” at a Mayan wedding. To end on a high note, I savored succulent dishes typical of the region in the Lol-Ha restaurant. ECOPARK KANTUNCHI is definitely a 100% natural place that you cannot miss when visiting the Riviera Maya.

Kantunchi/ Photo: Hans Reinhard

Joe and Chida / Photo: Mindi Hill



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Frida Kahlo Museum / Photo: Alejandra Campo

“Ay Dolor de Mi” (Woe Is Me) A new show is coming to the Frida Kahlo Museum that will both educate and entertain spectators on the life of the troubled artist By Alejandra Campo


motion and lots of excitement! These were my reactions when I learned of the new project at the Frida Kahlo Museum. “Ay Dolor de Mi” (Woe Is Me) is a show performed by the Contemporary Dance Com-

pany of Silla Movil. Director Alejandra Lopez is presenting this work in a new space, in order to benefit from national and international tourism. The idea is also to invite residents of Playa del Carmen and its surroundings to expand the number of artistic shows in the region.

The show begins on Fifth Avenue, and then gradually audiences are taken inside the museum and into the inner life of the painter. It is done through different scenarios; aerial dance, singing, dancing, and projections of the elements that make up some of her works. You even get a tequila at the end, so it is quite a spectacle for the senses! The original idea is that of Alex Lopez and Julia Mejía, directors of the Silla Movil. It is a well planned and executed presentation, designed to make the work of Frida Kahlo better known. It reveals her moments of pain, sickness, treachery and suffering due to her love for Diego. This is a very good opportunity to get to know more about Frida’s life and what was behind her iconic paintings. People will love the quality of this dance company as well as the costumes and dresses that Frida wore and the atmosphere created by the museum.Visitors can join in if they wish, singing or dancing at some of the moments. I don’t want to tell you much more so that you can go and enjoy it for yourself. Everyone involved manages to convey a variety of strong emotions, one of the many great qualities of art. The show will be presented on Friday February 23 and every Friday in March. You must book in advance in order to attend as space is limited. We wish them all much success!

Raymundo Tineo / Photo: Raymundo Tineo

Raymundo Tineo: The Chronicler of Playa del Carmen By Alejandra Campo Today I want to introduce you to someone who arrived here many, many years ago. Like the majority of us who arrive in Playa del Carmen, he was smitten by its great natural beauty. Raymundo Tineo is a well-known long-term resident of Playa and has witnessed the changes that have occurred in this tourist destination of now-international stature. He came in the 1970s for work, but was so fascinated by the place that years later he decided to leave his life and job in Mexico City and came to live in paradise. In the beginning he devoted himself to handicrafts, starting up busi-

nesses and making great friendships with others, like himself, who were attracted by the magic of this place. Together with other entrepreneurs he founded a handicraft market located on Juárez and Fifth Avenue. In the mid-80s, an alliance with a friend led to the birth of the now legendary Roof Garden, the first bar and nightclub in Playa del Carmen. Many tourists passed through there, most of whom were European, as well as young people from Playa and Cancun who enjoyed the special atmosphere. Patrons would listen to great music and dance, enjoying the sounds of legendary reggae bands like Splash and Bushman who played there. Following this wave of reggae, he continued organizing events with great success for several years, including the Festival of Rock and Reggae. From the beginning, Raymundo began to document, photograph and videotape everything that happened in Playa del Carmen and the history of its inhabitants. He also tracked the drastic environmental changes and destruction of nature that cenotes, trees, and mangroves experienced during the urbanization progress. For his great commitment to culture, the preservation of nature, and the records he has made of the history of the city, Raymundo is worthy of the title of chronicler. His publications include: “Playa del Carmen, Village of Fishermen” and “Playa del Carmen, XV Years of Solidarity.” If one day you need to know something about the history of Playa del Carmen, you can approach him and ask him to tell you one of his many stories about “Playita”.

FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018



Alma Libre - A Bookstore Gem in Puerto Morelos By Gail Collins

Making a splash at Piston Pueblo

Go-carting zombies at Piston Pueblo / Photos: Michael Renouf

All Revved Up with Somewhere to Go :gZ]k^gZebg^&Ûee^]]ZrbgZ`k^Zmcng`e^l^mmbg` By Michael Renouf


recently spotted a billboard advertising a motorsports theme park, so we decided to have a day out at Piston Pueblo, located just off the Playa to Cancun highway. Exit as if you are going to Moon Palace, the entrance is right before you go down the road to the hotel. You can choose to do the full-day package or select individual activities. Being the greedy sort we went for the full day which gives you the option of repeating any of the activities, if you should so desire, and a meal of burger, French fries and a soft drink. For obvious reasons they do not sell alcohol and you must turn up sober. Our day began with an informative and fun briefing from Luis who informed us of the rules. Number one: do not to kill any of the many species of animals who inhabit the jungle setting. Rule number two is do not crash the cars, while number three is to push the gas a little when you get to the oasis on the ATVs. With this advice ringing in our ears we set off on our day out. You start by zip lining through the jungle shooting at targets before climbing aboard the Monster Truck Big Bad Bob, to take aim at zombies. Unlike the animals, you are encouraged to annihilate them. Next was the ATV driving experience. You can choose to drive or be driven. The 1000cc vehicles fly on the exhilarating jungle track and I guarantee you will get soaked if you follow rule number three.

The final activity of the day for us was driving the 200cc Dirt Go-Karts. All the activities are great fun.

You start by zip lining through the jungle shooting at targets before climbing aboard the Monster Truck Big Bad Bob, to take aim at zombies. Unlike the animals, you are encouraged to annihilate them. Piston Pueblo opened in March 2017 and employs 29 friendly staff, including Cristhian and Roberto who were on hand whenever we needed them. For more information, head to their website I would advise taking plenty of mosquito spray and some money for tips for the staff. If you have a resident’s card you get a discount, but The Playa Times has been given a discount for those of you not in possession of said card. All throughout 2018, if you take this article or a picture of it on your phone, you will receive a 10% discount. Disclaimer: No animals were harmed on our day out, although several zombies were!

Puerto Morelos, nestled in between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, is a quaint fishing village on the Riviera Maya. It is here you will discover Alma Libre – a bookstore that instantly charms you and beckons you to discover its treasures within. Originally opened over two decades ago by author Jeanine Kitchel (Where the Sky is Born, Maya 2012 Revealed), the store has recently been updated and restocked by new owners Nici and Caleb. The Canadian couple have had a long love affair with Mexico, first visiting over eighteen years ago. They discovered Puerto Morelos during a family vacation around 10 years ago. As owners of a bookstore in Canada, they were instantly drawn to the little store tucked away in Avenue Tulum on the south side of the main square. They struck up a friendship with then current owners Joanne and Rob. A throwaway remark about being given first refusal to take it over in the future became a reality when Joanne and Rob decided to fulfil their dreams of more travelling. The store now stocks over 12,000 books, predominantly in English, but with respectable shelf space for Spanish, French, German and even a few Dutch, Swedish and Eastern European books thrown in for good measure. (The Italian section was wiped out by one customer!) There is also a commendable selection of children’s books in Spanish. In December 2017, shortly after opening, Nici and Caleb became involved in a local project, kindly sourcing and donating $ 2000 USD worth of Spanish language books for 7 to 12-year-olds attending a local school. They run a credit scheme for books you bring in, allowing 20-25% of their resale value as store credit and they are also very

Ladies Who Lunch: Not Just a Women’s Group By Crystal Mitchell There is a growing local group of dedicated and determined women who meet to celebrate their community and what they can contribute through each of their own unique talents. They began by meeting as a social group and discovered that they all work in different areas in service to their community. They soon began to shift their focus from meeting to working together to meet community needs, such as sterilization clinics. Now this group of women donate 20% of their proceeds to the cause on the table at the time. Suzan Crane is the facilitator of Ladies Who Lunch/Chicas Who Chat Tulum. She began the group in July 2016 in order to meet people when she moved to Tulum, after 14 years of traveling the world as a ”global gypsy”. Years of working in journalism and music in New York City and Los Angeles helped push her into this role. She landed in Tulum because of its “artsy bohemian vibe” in 2015 and became a permanent resident in April 2016. The group grew from 13 to this past month’s

Not just a women’s group / Photo: Suzan Crane

Owner Caleb with regular customer Kinich / Photo: Michael Renouf

willing to try and source any titles you are looking for. Caleb commented “It has exceeded our expectations both business-wise and with our customers – around half are from the USA or Canada, with an even split of Europeans and Mexicans determining the rest of our customer base.” It is open seven days a week, 10 am - 6 pm - but will close for low season at the end of April/beginning of May with a re-opening scheduled for late October / November (check their website I went in and came out with a big bulging bag of great reads and a smile.

number of 66. The gals range from ages 23 to 78 and come from 15 different countries. They realized that their common thread is being proactive for the area and they are now hosting artisan markets showcasing female artists and entrepreneurs. Their next market will be at Alumbra on Beach Road in Tulum on Sunday, March 11. “In addition to donating 20 percent of all vendors’ rent to charity, we provide FREE tables to community groups and NGOs to disseminate information and collect donations”, Suzan informed me. She describes the group as a “diverse and ever-evolving group of strong, passionate, interesting, beautiful, talented and welcoming women” ranging in age and cultural backgrounds. They are bound by the common thread of humanity and sisterhood, while “positively impacting our community”. These diverse women live full or part-time in Tulum and throughout the Riviera Maya. “There is no ‘type’ that characterizes our group,” says Suzan. “The important thing is that we help how and where we can.” Suzan used this quotation to summarize what her group is all about: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi To learn more about the Ladies Who Lunch, check out their Facebook group at Facebook/LadiesWhoLunch.







Keeping kids in school has never been more important than it is today / Photo: KKIS

How to Get

Involved with KKIS DDBLlni\hfbg`Zn\mbhgblcnlmhg^ pZrmh\hgmkb[nm^Zg]a^eid^^ieh\Ze \abe]k^gbgl\ahhe By KKIS


KIS – Keeping Kids in School is a volunteer program helping children in Playa Del Carmen and surrounding areas. Mary and Doug Reilly, scholarship sponsors and volunteers with the KKIS Conversation Club, told us that “With very little financial commitment, we not only help one child, but also their extended family.” Getting involved with KKIS is as easy as being part of any of the programs below or as simple as buying a ticket for the March 1, 2018 Auction. Scholarships are the most tangible way KKIS keeps kids in school. KKIS Scholars are chosen based on financial need and the students’ demonstrated drive for academic excellence. This past semester, 8 of 16 KKIS Scholars at CETMAR high school achieved 9.6 or above on a 10 point scale! Volunteer mentors are paired with scholarship students and serve as role models or confidants. To sponsor a student or become a mentor, go to: www. School supplies are basic tools for learning but sadly there are children who do not go to school because their families cannot afford it. This past August, a mother brought two daughters to school but only registered one until she learned that KKIS was providing free school supplies. Both daughters are now attending school. A donation of only $20 USD or the equivalent in-kind can literally make the difference between a child being enrolled in school or not. Learn more at English Conversation Club offers an alternative way to spend a few fun hours during the week. Monday to Thursday KKIS takes volunteers to a public high school where they sit with small groups of students and talk. Mtra. Reina Chay, the English teacher at CETMAR tells us that she appreciates the program because “it is building the students’ self-confidence and the students who attend get better grades.” Financial support for their programs comes in large part from an online auction (Feb 11 – 23) and a live dinner/auction event which will be held March 1 at 5 pm at La Vagabunda Fiesta. Tickets can be purchased online at



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Travel Hacks: Cancun


Symphonies and Ballet in Cancun

What are the transport options when travelling south or to the airport from Cancun? Photo: Lahouari Benichou

By Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III Last December I had the pleasure of seeing the Quintana Roo Juvenile Symphonic Orchestra perform twice. These young musicians are from all over the state and they play a fun repertoire, from classical to classics of rock ‘n’ roll. The first show was in Bacalar, using the Bacalar fort as the venue. I stayed after the recital because I recognized some people from Cancun and Cozumel, and they told me about an upcoming symphonic state-funded project. I’m glad to communicate that a couple of weeks ago the first open rehearsal of the brand new official Symphonic Orchestra of Cancun was announced. If you are reading this edition of Playa Times in its two first days of circulation you still have time to catch it at Casa de la Cultura (Cuxil Baxal for the locals). While you are there, you might want to take a look at their billboard. They always have something interesting every day of the week, workshops, shows and sports events. The rehearsal will have an unusual schedule for a concert, on Thursday 22 at 11 am. If you are not busy, don’t miss out! If you can’t make it, don’t worry, they are

Photo: Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III

preparing a series of shows for the year, but this one looks like it’s going to be intimate, and is also for free. Another big event coming up in the first week of May is the FIBCUN: Cancun’s International Ballet Festival. This third edition is open for registration until the end of the month for national and international ballet companies. The festival is mainly focused on juvenile groups to learn new techniques. Among the special guests, teachers and performers for the 2018 edition are Dusty Button, Principal Dancer of the Boston Ballet Company and Juliet and Krista Doherty, both from renowned companies in Arizona (including the official Phoenix group) and second time collaborators. The people behind this project have been working in the ballet universe for decades, and they are by far the biggest ballet authority in our state. Workshops, master classes and galas will be in the Cancun Theater (Teatro de Cancun) and the host ballet academy Ballet Clasico Cancun, so the quality is guaranteed. If you want to see the whole program, the guests, and view last year’s videos and resume, visit their official website (, or their Facebook page; they always reply really fast!

By Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III t The Playa Times we always try to focus on the positive side of our community. There are so many good things to talk about and there is enough sensationalism out there. Before dealing with how to get out of Cancun without having to go to the always busy downtown bus station, I begin this article with bad news: it’s a real shame Uber is gone from Cancun as it was a great alternative. Taxis are cheap, but the service isn’t always great.

If you are not traveling with heavy luggage or bags, mini-vans go straight to Playa and points in between (any hotel you ask) on the Ruta Kabah circuit

Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum Most people go straight to the ADO station whenever they want to travel to Puerto Morelos or Playa del Carmen. Buses and minivans depart from there every 10 minutes or so. However, the traffic jams around the station can be a bit problematic. If you are not traveling with heavy luggage or bags, minivans go straight to Playa and points in between (any hotel you ask) on the Ruta Kabah circuit (that’s how they are tagged). These vans go from west to east, down Kabah Avenue every 15 minutes from 7 am to 7 pm and will save you valuable time. Ruta del Sol also takes this very same route but only until noon. These red buses will get you to Tulum at the best price possible, but might take 30 minutes longer than a regular ADO bus. This is the only bus that goes to Tulum, so there’s a limited number of units passing by every hour. It’s a great option when you are on a budget.

Cancun Airport Getting to the airport easily and inexpensively has always been an odyssey. As I mentioned above, almost everyone will end up at the ADO station when flying from Cancun, even though it’s almost three times as expensive as getting a shared taxi in Kabah and Lopez Portillo. These taxis are just like the vans and buses that were originally designed for hotels and airport employees, so they have the fairest rates. The only con is that they only run from 5 am till noon, so if you fly at night you are not going to be able to catch this one. However, ADO minivans depart from Plaza Las Americas (the most important downtown mall) every hour or so. Tickets are sold at the mall and are half-way between the ADO and the shared taxi rates. Just make sure to get yours in advance.


Photo: Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III

FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018



A single man told me that he would never want to be in a monogamous relationship again. He believes men are not able to be faithful.

Fun in the sun / Photo: Ginger M.

Open Relationships in the LGBT Community How do open relationships work? What about jealousy? Ginger investigated at the recent Arena Festival By Ginger M.


rom January 31 to February 5, I had the opportunity to participate in Arena Festival 2018 on the Riviera Maya. I met a lot of amazing people, from the staff to the crowd throughout all venues. I always find it really interesting, especially getting to know

the attendees. I noticed a lot of guys having fun with each other. It intrigued me and I investigated to find out more. I found out there are actually a lot of open relationships in the gay community. I asked someone who has been in an open relationship for seven years, how they came to take that decision. He told me that as he is

almost 10 years younger than his boyfriend. He feels he would not be happy in a monogamous relationship as he wouldn’t enjoy his sexuality to the fullest. He ended it with his previous partner because he didn’t want to be in an open relationship. Their agreement: both of them can sleep with other people. I wondered about jealousy, since letting your

FEB 21 - MARCH 6


Bicineta - Cycling for Change In this edition where we are talking about transportation in Playa, which is becoming increasingly chaotic. Traffic during peak hours can be heavy, and in the city center you are often lucky to find parking. Today many people move around on bicycles, and to learn more about this we spoke to Clara Guerra, founder of Bicineta, a project that is changing Playa. How was Bicineta born? It was started nine years ago to promote the use of bicycles and be a part of the cultural change that is needed. What is your mission? To make our cities more suitable places for people to use the bicycle as a tool for social change. How complicated is it to move around by bike in Playa? It’s very easy because it is a small city; it’s flat and it has few high speed roads. The biggest challenge in Playa del Carmen is the climate, there are very few paths that offer shade, so that reduces the possibility of people considering it as a transportation option.

What proposals do you have to improve bike routes and spaces in the city of Playa? We have been doing night tours for five years, which has increased the city’s cycling community. Playa needs a pedestrian tourist area like Fifth Avenue’s, but on more streets, and also exclusive spaces prioritizing cyclists. This will help to strengthen the economy for local businesses. Tell us more about your night tours in Playa and the routes that you take. The Night Tour is an activity that we have been doing every Wednesday night for the past five years. We ride around and visit different neighborhoods every week, with distances of 8 km to 24 kms. They start and end at Plaza 28 de Julio. All types of bicycles can be used, and we recommend using a light and wearing a reflective jacket and a helmet. If you don’t have a helmet or reflectors, you can still take part in the central part of the group. You can follow us on social media to learn more about our special events and tours. Facebook: bicinetamx/ Instagram: @bicinetamx Youtube: user/bicinetamx Web Site:

opportunity for life transforming opportunities, to break through and free yourself from past conditioning around sexuality, trauma and emotions and any limitations that are blocking you from showing up to your highest self. Kulbulum Eco Resort, Tulum, Highway Tulum-Carillo Puerto km 210. Facebook/ ShamanicaTantraImmersion FULL MOON ZAMNA ft REBOLLEDO, NEO HUMAN, & MUAN, Saturday, March 3 at 3:00 p.m. Zamna Tulum, Highway Tulum-Carillo Puerto km 220. Facebook/FullMoonZamna

Cyclists on tour / Photo: Bicienta

By Erika Serra

partner sleep elsewhere is not that common in the lesbian community. Two men who have been dating for the past few months told me how they manage to be open, as they are both jealous people. They said as long as there is no romance involved and it is just physical, it is OK. Feelings are only between them and no one else. Another couple only allowed threesomes. They can’t have sex with other people on their own, that’s the rule. They invite people into their bed together. A single man told me that he would not ever want to be in a monogamous relationship again. He believes men are not able to be faithful. Therefore, they might be honest from the beginning by having an open relationship. He feels more fulfilled living his sexuality this way. And, as some say - sharing is caring! So, what do you think about that? Would you be in an open relationship? If so, why or why not? Share your comments online!

Playa del Carmen

SPECIAL EVENTS By Crystal Mitchell

Akumal SOUND HEALING TRAINING IMMERSION WEEKEND, Saturday, March 3 at 10:00 a.m. to Sunday March 4 at 5:00 p.m. This Immersion workshop will develop your understanding of Sound Healing techniques, and connect with your inner world as your energy is aligned and harmonized by the sacred sounds of Himalayan Bowls. Further information please contact: 984 234 4196 Laura or 555 287 2983 Silvestre. Euphoric Yoga & Wellness, Rancho San Martin, Akumal Facebook/SoundHealing Training

Tulum SACRED SHAMANIC TANTRA IMMERSION WORKSHOP, Monday, March 5 at 8:00 a.m. to Friday, March 9th at 11:00 a.m. Held in a private jungle retreat right next to the beach and cenotes. Dive into the mysticism and science of Tantra and energy work. This life transforming retreat creates the

LATE NIGHT THURSDAYS, from Thursday, February 22. DJ music and 2 x 1 drinks. Sundowner Night Club, Aviation Avenue in the Plaza Coba. Check their Facebook event page for times and details. Facebook/ LateNightThursdays KOLOMBO at MARTINA BEACH, Saturday, February 24 from 8:00 p.m. Come see Olivier Grégoire, a prolific and renowned producer and DJ from Belgium. Martina Beach Club, Beach and Calle 44, Playa. Facebook/ KOLOMBO MAYAKOBA GREEN ENCHILADAS AND ENCHILADAS WITH RAJAS POBLANAS AND BEAN SAUCE , Wednesday, February 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. $60usd. Federal highway Chetumal-Puerto Juarez km. 298, 984 873 4900. Facebook/El Pueblito at Mayakoba YUCATAN BITES (KIBIS AND POC CHUC TACOS) AND LIME SOUP. Thursday, February 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. $60usd. Federal highway Chetumal-Puerto Juarez km. 298, 984 873 4900. Facebook/El Pueblito at Mayakoba

For more information visit: w w w.t h e p laya t im e s .com /ca le n d a r/



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Sit at The Chef’s Table at Royal Hideaway Playacar By Siobhán Gallagher It’s not every day one gets to enjoy a private meal, at a luxury hotel, in the company of a top-class chef. When I recently had such an opportunity at Royal Hideaway Playacar, I readily accepted. La Mesa del Chef (The Chef’s Table) is an exclusive concept offered by the five-star hotel in Playa del Carmen in which their recently appointed Gastronomic Director, Andalusian Chef Alejandro Sánchez designs and personally presents each course to guests during an intimate sitting of interaction and fine dining. The experience offers a privileged view of the chef and his staff at work. A private sommelier offers paired wines for each course and the discreet, perfectly coordinated service of the waiting staff provides the finishing touches to this special experience. The experience is offered at the must exclusive of the resort’s six restaurants, Las Ventanas, and Chef Sánchez’s collaboration marks a return to a previous initiative of the hotel, which will see the Las Ventanas restaurant once again open to the public for dinner. Our Chef’s Table menu reflected the life, experience and travels of the Spanish chef who arrived in Mexico via Asia in 2014. After delicate hors d’oeuvres and champagne, we enjoyed an eight-course meal with an emphasis on seafood, set off by a surprising first dish of white gazpacho and a final dish of perfectly spiced, succulent pork shoulder. The chef shared his influences including anecdotes from the fishing village Roquetas de Mar, where he grew up in southern Spain; it inspired my favorite dish of the day - octopus on a bed of yucca, served with roasted garlic and cinnamon spiced oil.

Alejandro Sánchez / Photo: Royal Hideaway Playacar

Roquetas de Mar is also the home of the chef’s Michelin-starred restaurant, ‘Alejandro’. The two dessert courses prepared by the hotel’s pastry chef deserve equal mention as they were as appealing to the eye as they were to the tastebuds. It seemed a pity to vandalize their delicate, artistic presentation with my fork, but it was impossible to stop once I’d started. This is just one of the dining experiences to be offered with the arrival of Chef Sánchez at the adults-only resort. He is also redesigning the menu for the themed dinner show at the hotel’s Teatro Club Royal. We were joined by the Director General of the hotel Ignacio Lázaro who expressed his enthusiasm for the culinary innovations that the hotel’s new gastronomic direction will bring in 2018. In taking this “qualitative leap forward”, he excitedly anticipates a year of “challenges and possibilities not just for Royal Hideaway Playacar, but for the hotel industry of Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo and the rest of Mexico”. My conclusion is that they got off to a fine start. Karla Enciso and Herman Griccini / Photo: Dania González

First Foodies Night at PuroBeach Recently opened PuroBeach at The Fives Downtown ahlm^]bmlÛklm?hh]b^lGb`ampbma`n^lm\a^_DZkeZ >g\blh%Zehg`pbma>q^\nmbo^<a^_A^kgZg@kb\\bgb By Dania González


laya del Carmen is well known for its diversity of cultures and visitors from all over the world. In terms of gastronomy, how about combining two different strategies, and two different traditions from two chefs from different countries? PuroBeach is one of the facilities at The Fives Downtown. On February 1 they had their first pairing dinner event called Foodies Night. Mexican guest chef Karla Enciso, Manager of El Pueblito at Mayakoba and Executive Chef at El Pueblito joined Executive Chef at The Fives Downtown, Hernan Griccini. It entailed a five-course dinner with dishes from each chef for each course. All of them were paired perfectly by their sommelier with a cocktail, white or red wine. The evening was set in a friendly environment on their oceanview terrace. Chefs Enciso and Griccini gave a small presentation of what this Foodies Night has in store for their followers. Both chefs displayed different techniques and individuality in every dish. From the spiciness of the dish to the presentation, each chef’s trajectory was evident and the result was a dinner suited to every taste.

Both chefs displayed different techniques and individuality in every dish. From the spiciness of the dish to the presentation, each chef’s trajectory was evident. PuroBeach has been offering events since its opening in December, leaving people happy and coming back for more. We will let you know about the next Foodies Night! For more information about the Foodies Nights which are offered twice a month visit for bookings. Book & Feel – Restaurant Bookings Made Easy 9841342913

FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

The Flavors of Yucatan from Merida to Playa del Carmen Guest Chef David Cetina recently delighted diners at Axiote Cocina de México with traditional specialities from the region By Dania González


xiote Cocina de Mexico is a local favorite thanks to its creative Mexican dishes made with local products and its responsibility to spreading the word about sustainable fishing and helping species in danger. Every two months, Chef Xavier Pérez Stone from Axiote offers a special wine, beer or mezcal pairing dinner, inviting a well-known national guest chef for “a dinner among friends”. This time, Axiote had a guest of honor in the kitchen offering a perfect traditional Yucatan dinner on January 31: Diplomat Chef David Cetina from La Tradición, his restaurant in Mérida. Not only did he bring all his knowledge and cooking experience, Chef Cetina brought his passion and love for food, making it easy for the customers to taste it in every bite. Dishes such as queso relleno de picadillo (meat-filled cheese), tikin xic, and lime soup among other Yucatan specialities delighted everyone. Chef Cetina approached every table to explain the dishes, spreading his inspiration and good humor. Mexicans and tourists alike joined us at this dinner of Mexican traditions and ingredients. Axiote’s team of gastronomy students were also present, practicing and learning from the best chefs in Mexico. More information about the pairing dinners with invited chefs of Axiote Cocina de México will be released soon. Visit for bookings.

Chefs David Cetina, Xavier Perez Stone and Juan Carlos Meza. Traditional Dishes / Photo: Erick Huicochea

Book & Feel – Restaurant Bookings Made Easy Mail: 9841342913 Pie de foto aquí / Photo: Crédito aquí

to corn dough (masa) so it´s flexible and doesn´t crack, even without gluten. Maybe you will have to prepare them several times before you get the right consistency. Paaaatience! Get a drink, play your favorite music and enjoy the practice. Let´s do this!

Making tortillas at Rivera Kitchen Tulum / Photo: Lily Espinosa

Mexican Tortillas By Lily Espinosa The ingredient you will always find in any Mexican home is tortillas, because tacos are our thing! Here is the recipe to prepare your own tortillitas with corn flour; you will never buy them ready made again. Just make sure the corn flour is “nixtamalizada.” This means the corn went through a simple process (mixed with limewater) to change its composition which lets us absorb the vitamin B present in the corn. This ancient culinary technique also gives the right consistency and texture

Ingredients: • 2 cups of corn flour (remember it should say “nixtamalizada” or “nixtamalización”) • 2 cups of warm water • 1 pinch of salt • What do I do? Add the cornflour and the pinch of salt in a bowl. Start adding the water little by little until it reaches play-doh or clay consistency. Make small balls of corn dough the size of a pingpong ball. If you want, you can cover your masa with a wet towel to avoid it drying out. Take a ball and press the tortilla in your tortilla press (or use a roller bin, two books or plates, etc.). In a very hot pan (no oil) put your tortillas to cook. Once you see them change color and the borders are curled, flip them. Wait about 30-45 seconds. When you see little bumps flip them again. With this flip, they should start to inflate like a balloon. Once that happens they are ready. Place them in a special container (tortillero) and enjoy your fresh handmade tortillas. If you have any question about this or other traditional Mexican recipes, just email me:, I’m happy to answer! If you want to book a Mexican cooking class, please mention that you found us through Playa Times, we will have a special gift for you at the end of the class. Buen provecho hermos@s! Rivera Kitchen Tulum, Mexican Cooking Classes and Culinary Tours





FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Socially Responsible at


Molly’s Game

By Siobhán Gallagher

By Michael Renouf


olly’s Game (or Apuesta Maestra as it is called in Spanish) is acclaimed writer Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut. He also wrote this film and as expected from someone whose back catalogue of scripts contains A Few Good Men, The Social Network and Moneyball, it does not let us down. We first meet Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) as she is trying to qualify for the Olympics as a skier. Alas, this is not to be and she ends up working for a deadbeat boss in Los Angeles and running his weekly poker game, which just happens to be frequented by movie stars, boxers and billionaires. This leads to her running her own game - one of the most exclusive underground poker events you could wish to find in both the City of Angels and the Big Apple. This in turn leads to an investigation by the FBI which introduces us to her potential lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba). I am glad to say Elba is back on form after his role in A Mountain Between Us. Along with Jaffey, we discover much about Molly Bloom in these meetings and both the American and the Brit put in decent showings with some scintillating scenes between the pair. In the acting department, honorable mentions go to Michael Cera, Kevin Costner and Chris O’Dowd. Cera’s character is Player X, who despite having wealth, fame and a legion of fans, needs to “destroy lives”. (When you discover who this character is in real life, I guarantee your opinion of him will drop faster than a fat man without a parachute.) Costner is Molly’s pushy father, and Irishman O’Dowd is another of Molly’s customer

Photo: Agency

who likes to drink too much and starts every sentence as if he is a character directly out of a detective novel. Throughout this true story we have intrigue, glamour and get to see the best and worst of people. As well as the rich and famous, Molly’s tale introduces us to the Russian mafia and Italian mob. My only real criticism is that the card scenes could have been explained a little better for those of us who don’t play poker. This week’s star of the show is Jessica Chastain who puts in a very convincing performance as the alluring “Poker Princess”. Overall a bloomin’ good film - 7.5.

In order for a business to stand out these days, it takes more than excellent service, high quality products and new experiences. Modern enterprises need to go further, and social responsibility and community spirit is the route that Paradisus La Perla & La Esmeralda Resort is taking to get there. This was my conclusion after an informative morning of breakfast and conversation there recently. Joining General Manager Conrad Bergdorf was a team of familiar and new faces updating us on the resorts’ accomplishments in 2017 and its projects for 2018. As we reported in The Playa Times last year, the resort has recruited more than 30 differently-abled employees. Mr. Bergdorf reported that this initiative has been a success beyond the management’s expectations as such a diverse workforce has had additional benefits not just for their clients, but for their entire staff, as they share this dynamic and inclusive environment. New team members include an executive chef who will continue to carry the baton of quality for Paradisus. Their focus on quality won them Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence for four of their restaurants, and a Best Award for Passion, the signature restaurant from Martin Berasategui, which is open to the public and is one of only eight restaurants in Mexico with five

diamond awards from AAA. The resort was the first at a national level to conduct a full hurricane simulation over several days in July 2017. Involving 1500 collaborators and the property’s Brigada de Atencion Inmediata (First Response Brigade), the effort was recognised by local and national authorities. Carlos Aseguro spoke on the hotel’s numerous sustainable development projects. Paradisus currently holds Silver Level Certification from the UN in this area and is working at achieving Gold Level. As part of the resort’s ongoing commitment to UNICEF, a meeting is planned to present the organization with a check for $30,000 from recent fundraising activities. The resort is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint and became a leader in environmentally friendly services. Three of their aims in this regard are to neutralize CO2 emissions, preserve the local aquifers and prevent erosion. Their CO2 production levels are constantly monitored in order to minimize them. In cooperation with the local government, Aquakan, Calica and Sian Kaan, a campaign of sensibilisation and research is underway to improve the drainage system in the rapidly developing Colosio neighbourhood. Several other projects are also being discussed, such as improved recreation spaces and cycle paths for both Playenses and tourists. With so many projects, in addition to the their continued efforts in offering ever higher quality for guests, 2018 already looks like a positive year for Paradisus and the local community they are obviously committed to.

FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018 No meat, no dairy / Photo:

One of the best ways to get around central Playa del Carmen is to walk. I know, the sidewalks are often comparable to an obstacle course, with random trees and garbage cans blocking the way, holes or uneven paving underfoot, and water spouts draining rainwater from rooftops (whose idea was that one?). However, during the beautiful winter months, getting around Playa on foot to run errands or just to enjoy the fresh air can be a great way to add some activity to your day.

Last year Sara went vegetarian for a month; this year la^lmkb^]Zo^`Zg]b^mbgCZgnZkr By Sara Jones


n January 2017 I went vegetarian for a month. This year I decided to give myself a slightly more difficult challenge: I went vegan for a month! Never before have I removed eggs and cheese from my diet, but I was interested to see the effects, and I like a challenge! Here are some of the benefits of eating a plant-based diet: Increased fruit and vegetable intake You will naturally eat more fruits and vegetables making your diet higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Weight loss / fat reduction While this wasn’t my goal, eating a plantbased diet for 30 days has definitely had a noticeable effect on my waistline. Better digestion With the absence of heavy meat and dairy products and the natural increase in fiber the digestive tract functions optimally. Playa del Carmen now has plenty of options for vegans, and while it can be a challenge finding items to order when your friends want to go to a steakhouse or an Italian restaurant, the choice of vegan cuisine has definitely improved in recent years. Here are a few restaurants to try out: The Pitted Date – now in a new, bigger location on CTM close the beach, The Pitted Date has an excellent all-day breakfast menu. La Senda – located at 10 and 10, La Senda has a full vegan menu including some great vegan burgers.


Walk This Way! By Sara Jones

VegEnero - Vegan for a Month


Walk the Beach What better place to go for a walk than our picturesque white sand beach with the Caribbean turquoise blue water lapping at your feet. Yes, there are parts of the beach that aren’t perfect, and parts that are lacking a considerable amount of sand, but all in all, it’s pretty great place to be able to walk daily. Walk Quinta Avenida Fifth Avenue in the center stretches 2 km from the ferry pier to CTM (Calle 46); when was the last time you walked it the entire length? Shops and restaurants change frequently here, so taking a walk down our famous Qunita Avenida may unearth a new boutique, restaurant or bar you’d like to try. If you fancy a longer walk, the Fifth Avenue extension runs all the way to the entrance of Grand Coral and is over 4 km from the ferry pier. The first few streets past CTM are home

Clorofila – opposite DAC on 30th Avenue and 20th Street, Clorofila makes a fantastic spicy spiral vegetable ‘pasta’ dish and healthy vegan pizza.

While it can be a challenge when your friends want to go to a steakhouse or an Italian restaurant, the choice of vegan cuisine has definitely improved in recent years. Bio-Organicos Store & Restaurant – this local favorite on 26th between Fifth and Tenth Avenue has an excellent selection of smoothies and juices with superfoods, along with delicious salads and Mexican favorites adapted for vegans. Bio Natural Store & Restaurant – choose from two locations on 16th with 10th and La Quinta with 42nd Street. Be sure to try one of their delicious pita wraps. Could you go vegan for a month? Set yourself a challenge, enjoy the health benefits and reduce your impact on the environment! Sara Jones Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant, Speaker and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine Explore on foot / Photo: The Playa Times

to some excellent cafés, restaurants, stores and a great dive shop. You can also check out some eye-catching street art along the way.

Getting around Playa on foot to run errands or just to enjoy the fresh air can be a great way to add some activity to your day. Run your errands on 30th If you need to do some light shopping, get to the bank or run some errands, 30th Avenue probably has what you need. Agreed, there are buses or you could take the car, but in this amazing climate, why not consider walking? Get in touch with nature in Playacar This beautiful gated community has wide footpaths and bike paths lined with trees to provide shade. The frequent pedestrian crossings, well-maintained golf course and manicured lawns lush with flowers and fruit trees make it a great place to take a stroll. Sara Jones Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant, Speaker and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine



FEB 21 - MAR 6, 2018

Marine Hitchhiking By Florencia Cerutti There are many ways in which marine animals get transported in the ocean. Besides their individual capacities using body parts like fins, many animals use the environment or other animals as a means for transportation. Larvae of fish or invertebrates like lobsters use ocean currents to move from spawning grounds to growing and adult grounds. Some populations of the spiny lobster in the Caribbean, for example, are known to lay eggs a few kilometers off the coast in the south of Mexico and Belize. While the tiny lobsters are still in a larval phase, they get transported north towards Florida by the Yucatan Current. Another way of moving around is used by some sessile organisms. Barnacles are invertebrates whose larvae are mobile but need to find a substrate to attach to and grow into a little animal that doesn’t move. Sometimes this substrate is a boat or a whale or a marine turtle. Whales are famous for having large amounts of barnacles attached to their skin and their skin looks much lighter in color than what it actually is. These attached travelers get to visit nutrient-rich waters where whales feed that would otherwise be inaccessible for them. We also have the famous suckerfish or remoras. These are fish that have turned part of their dorsal fin into a sucker and they use it to get attached to large fauna, such as sharks, mantas, or turtles. They travel attached to these large animals and often release themselves to feed. Remoras feed on the leftovers of their host or may also feed on their host’s external parasites, and all this feast with minimum use of energy. Some animals are thought to use the earth’s magnetic field to orientate their migrations. So, this isn’t a physical means for transportation such as currents or hitchhiking on a large whale, but rather it is like a compass that tells the direction. Hammerhead sharks are thought to use this field when they undertake long migrations across the oceanic islands of the Pacific Ocean. So next time you are swimming with a marine turtle or a whale shark in the Yucatan peninsula, pay attention to these hitchhikers!

Clean it up! / Photo: Michael Renouf

Playa del Carmen – Pooch Perfect or Hound Headache? =h`lZk^F^qb\hl_Zohkbm^i^m%[nmblIeZrZ]^e<Zkf^g mhmZeer`^Zk^]nimhZ\\hffh]Zm^hnk_hnk&e^``^]_kb^g]l8 By Gail Collins


ccording to a 2015 global online survey of over 27,000 people across 22 countries, Latin America came out top of the pet-owning stakes. Mexico claimed second place for dog ownership at 64%, being pipped at the post by Argentina at 66%. But is Playa del Carmen totally geared up to accommodate Mexico’s favorite pet? Several years ago, the municipality ruled that no dogs were allowed on the beach in Playa, so if you dream of Fido’s pawprints following yours in the sand, you’ll have to make the journey to Playa Coral (also known as Playa Mirador II), located in Cancun’s hotel zone next to Ventura Park. The Blue Flag Playa Coral is Latin America’s first pet-friendly beach and welcomes your dog from 5am – midday every day. It works well, and I am sure dog owners would appreciate it if the same could happen here. There are a couple of very small public dog parks located in Real Ibiza and 38th Street next to the Hotel Magic Express, but in both, rules stipulate dogs are kept on their leashes and they are not always open at the advertised times. With a little initiative you can always find some tracks and lanes to give your dog a good run in the green areas away from the main town. If you don’t have a car it can be difficult, although there are dog-loving taxi drivers in the area who will take you and your furry

friend wherever you want to go. They usually charge an extra 50 pesos per dog – you just need to stipulate this when you book.

There are dog-loving taxi drivers in the area who will take you and your furry friend wherever you want to go, normally charging an extra 50 pesos per dog. Some bars and restaurants with outside areas will allow a well-behaved dog to accompany you. Local businesses will often leave bowls of water outside for thirsty pooches and there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels and rentals in the area. The Playacar area has sporadically placed dog waste bins, but downtown and other surrounding areas are sadly lacking. There is also still an underlying problem of not everyone having the good manners to clear up after their dogs. If you are reading this and know you are guilty – please, please clean it up! Overall, Playa del Carmen welcomes dogs but more needs to be done to assist in dog-waste disposal and larger parks or beach areas opening to accommodate us and our best friend.

Barnacles / Photo:

Tierra de Animales Sanctuary Tierra de Animales Sanctuary (TDA) has been saving the lives of abused and abandoned animals of all kinds since March 2011. With approximately 3.5 hectares of land in Cancun, it is a refuge for over 400 rescued animals. This non-profit organization is always in need of food and donations for medical treatments. Tierra de Animales is dedicat-

ed to the rescue, rehabilitation, adoption, and the protection of abused and mistreated animals. They work very hard to raise funds and bring awareness through education, at conferences, schools, and companies, to spread the message to respect all species that inhabit the planet. As well as dogs and cats, this sanctuary homes

all types of animals: bulls, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, turtles, iguanas, rabbits, coatis, opossum, birds, and many other species. Support Tierra de Animales by participating in Sabados de Apoyo, washing dogs, cleaning the grounds and kennels, donating food, financial donations, or adopting. Follow them on Facebook/Tierra de Animales Photo: Fb/Tierra de Animales.

Edition 127  
Edition 127  

The Playa Times is an English language, community newspaper in Playa del Carmen, Mexico aimed at providing useful and interesting informatio...