Travel

Isla Mujeres by Talia Hannosh

There are moments in time where you really feel alive. You can feel your heartbeat, the air circulating through your lungs, the blood pumping through your veins. You can feel your thoughts escaping into the air and taking flight. It’s within these moments, that you can really feel what your purpose is, why you’re here on this planet. And quite simply- it’s overwhelmingly magical. I have felt this way a few select times in my life. The most recent and powerful, was when I was sitting atop a roof overlooking the ocean in Isla Mujeres, México.

Isla Mujeres is a magical island. The streets are always bustling with people, working, selling, shopping, breathing, living. Isla Mujeres is not one to shy away from color; the brightest structures I have ever seen were walking through the streets of this island. Street art is on every corner you turn, houses are painted coral, turquoise, yellow, orange. Just walking through the city made me appreciate the beautiful pigments life has to offer. The air is breezy and kissed by salt from the ocean. My senses were constantly being offered something new to see, feel, touch, smell, hear throughout my stay.

One morning I woke to orange light flooding over my face.

 

Isla sunrise 2  .jpg

Still tired from the day before, I opened my eyes slowly, only to be greeted by the most breath taking sight. The sun was slowly taking her time crawling in to the sky. Her light was vivid this particular morning, offering my eyes the most fiery sunrise I had ever seen before. I saw orange in away I had never experienced. The vibrant sky touched the ocean waves on the horizon line, and it was like the beautiful blue water and the rich bright sky were working together to bring out the best in one another. The smell of coffee was slowing creeping its way up the stairs, and just the slightest wif of it was enough to wake me up. I pulled the covers off of me, and walked down the cold cement stairs. I was greeted by my mother, which was no surprise, considering she and I were the only early risers in our family. After each pouring ourselves a strong cup of the magical energizing elixir that coffee is, I followed her up two flights of stairs and on to the roof top of our villa. The stairs to reach the roof were so narrow, we were forced to bend our backs forward just to ensure we wouldn’t hit our heads on the long cement bar above us.

And there we were. My soul and my mother’s, dancing in our bodies, overlooking the most magnificent view in what felt like the whole world. To our right was the powerful Caribbean Sea, and to our left, the waking city. Every glance and every turn, we were greeted by a different view. One of my favorite things about early mornings in Isla Mujeres, was that they were always the perfect temperature. Humidity had not gotten his chance to dominate the air yet, and all I could feel was the brackish and cooling ocean breeze. My mother and I would sit there together, enjoying one another’s company, for as long as our sleeping family would allow us, until finally, she had to go back downstairs to my waking siblings.

But this morning, I wanted to stay on the roof longer. So after my mother left, feeling particularly inspired, I grabbed my Luna Ukulele, and started strumming a variation of several different chords. I would play my ukulele, then I would write a line or two in my travel journal, and then I would appreciate the view and where I was. Soon enough I was singing, my vocals and ukulele vibrations being carried by wind and lost in the sea. An hour had passed, and then two, and still I didn’t notice. I was so engrossed in being there, just living and doing what I loved best. This memory will always be so special to me, because my soul had truly felt content. For a fragment of time, I was not worried about who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, I was just allowing myself to do what I had the most innate desire to do.

Soon the city became fully awake, and I was still sitting there with my legs criss-cross-applesauce, playing my ukulele and singing my heart out. People were walking along the boardwalk beneath me, looking around trying to find where the music was coming from, but I was so high up, I was invisible to them. So I kept playing, trying to hold back giggles watching the confused strangers attempting to locate the veiled musician. Soon I became curious to discover if anybody had stopped to listen, so I peered over the edge of the roof that overlooked a small alley. To my surprise, I saw a man who was lying on his back, with a back pack supporting his head, just staring up at the roof, beside him a little puppy companion. In shock and embarrassment, I quickly concealed myself again.

A few minutes later, my embarrassment had resided and transformed in to a feeling of flattery. The fact that this man had loved my music enough to just lay there to listen and simply be was such a powerful, uplifting experience. I had no idea how long he had been there, perhaps it was hours or maybe even just minutes, but that didn’t really matter to me. He wasn’t like the others, he didn’t care to unveil my identity, he just wanted to enjoy the music. Somehow my music had made him feel something powerful enough to stay there, right beneath me, and it was incredibly heartwarming. This complete stranger resonated with the feelings, thoughts, and emotion I poured in my songs.

Sitting on top of that roof, completing concealed, just singing and writing, has to be to most remarkable moment of my existence. I was so in tune with myself, and my thoughts, so aware that I was alive. It’s a powerful resolution, becoming aware that you are alive. Everything makes sense in moments like these. You are not worried of the future, you are not mourning of the past, you are just accepting of the present you are in.


 

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which  enables me to make more creative content such as this.

WD_004.png

Heath and fitness

35 Ways To Raise Your Vibration

So, this isn’t a typical health and fitness post but I think we can all agree that happiness has a direct link to our overall health. In today’s hectic society, depression is all too frequently a battle. I have found that if I start every day with meditation ( for me that is prayer ) it gets my day started on the right track. On days that I struggle I have found these 35 practices to help immensely. Some suggestions are not always feasible or simply may not work for you. Please feel free to add to this and or make your own list of what works for you!

Enjoy and may your day be blessed!

  1.   State out loud ten things that you are grateful for
  2.   Dance
  3.   Eat raw veggies
  4.   Take an epsom salt bath ( add a little lavender known to elevate mood )
  5.   Meditate
  6.   Find some grass, walk through it barefoot ( grounding )
  7.   Say NO to something or someone who drains you
  8.   Technology detox
  9.   Breath deeply for 5 minutes
  10.   Create, use the right side of your brain ( this can be a meal, craft, art, writing )
  11.   Read a high vibration book ( Bible, The Secret etc. )
  12.   Say something nice to a stranger *** warning this can become addictive
  13.   Go to the ocean or a body of water
  14.   Hug and get hugged *** warning I don’t suggest this with a stranger 
  15.   Look outside for something beautiful
  16.   De-clutter your space
  17.   Spend time with a high vibe person
  18.   Get your blood pumping ( even if its running in place )
  19.   Drink oxygenated water ( I have a recipe below )
  20.   Find the sun
  21.   Become conscious of your thoughts
  22.   Visualize something or someone who brings you happiness
  23.   Laugh / Smile ( Fake it till you make it! )
  24.   Take a shower cleanse
  25.   Tell yourself something positive while looking in the mirror ( 100 x’s )
  26.   Send loving thoughts to 3 people who annoy you
  27.   Play with a child or pet
  28.   Listen to music you love, sing along really loud
  29.   Stretch
  30.   Diffuse some essential oils
  31.   Take a sauna
  32.   Get a massage
  33.   Take a hike and get some fresh air.
  34.   Write on paper 25 things you are thankful for
  35.   Buy yourself ( or pick ) some flowers for yourself

10 Ways To Lower Your Vibration

1.)    Use of technology

2.)    Negative people

3.)   Watching violence

4.)   Processed foods

5.)   Alcohol

6.)   Smoking

7.)   Chemicals / Pesticides

8.)   Microwave radiation

9.)   Worry

10.)  Lack of oxygen

Recipe for oxygenated water:  On an empty stomach add 4 drops of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide to 8 ounces of water. 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide  ( Diluted from 35% ) See Disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which  enables me to make more creative content such as this.

WD_0043

Family

How My Dad’s Suicide Affected Me

6EC138D8-1EA8-4492-AD0E-AC86405AB758

It is my hope that by sharing my experience of suicide my story may somehow help someone else who is trying to sift through and understand their own grief. If my story helps even one person, my mission will not be in vain.     

It sounds selfish, right? I mean HE was the one who was so sad, so distraught and hopeless that he felt the need to take his own life. What do I have to gripe about? I’m still here, alive and breathing. Yes, breathing – one breath at a time.

Addressing what he was going through and why he did what he did I haven’t written about yet. One day I will, possibly, if I can face my own demons. For now I will write about how his act, his death, affected me. It was three years ago and only now can I bring myself to revisit the hours and days following, but first I must go back to two months prior to his death.

My 14 year old daughter had just lost a close friend to suicide. Her friend was only 14 years old. The hardest thing a mother can go through is to see her child in horrendous pain and not be able to do anything to stop that pain. How could I begin to explain a fourteen year old taking his own life when I was struggling to understand it myself? All I could do was hold her while she cried herself to sleep in exhaustion only to have her wake up hours later and start the same process over again. My dad, her grandfather, saw the pain she was in. The pain this single act had created for her…. his granddaughter. Yet somehow only two months later he would choose the same path.

I remember vividly, like a scene in a movie that you’ve seen 100 times. I was in a meeting at my church. It was a frigid Tuesday morning in January, shortly after 10:00 a.m. My phone rang- I turned the volume down but it began to vibrate only minutes later. Everyone who knew me knew that I was in a meeting. Who would possibly call and text me repeatedly? I excused myself to take a peak to see who had been calling. It was my uncle from California, my brother from Indiana- both numerous times. I felt like someone hit me in the stomach because I instinctively knew that my worst nightmare was about to be confirmed. Part of my world was to be destroyed. I hesitated briefly before dialing my uncle. Would it be news that I would be able to bear? His phone barely rang and he asked “Why haven’t you answered your phone? Have you talked to your dad?”

BACK STORY:  My mother had passed away 21 years prior and my dad now lived alone. It was our routine that he called me everyday, no later than 9:30 a.m. to let me know he was okay.

I explained to my uncle that the day before I had told my dad that I would be in a meeting at my church and I would call and check on him when I got out or by noon. My uncle then asked me if I had read the email from my dad- He sounded so frantic.  Evidently, my dad had written his “good-byes” and sent it out to my uncle, myself and my siblings, via email. I remember running out of the church to get in my car and make the 30 minute trip to my dad’s house. I couldn’t open my car…. my purse, it was still in the church. I had an odd sensation that my brain was floating. I felt confused, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breath. As I ran back into the church I tried to remember how to get to the home that I grew up in, the house that I had driven to countless times. Why couldn’t I remember?

Ultimately, the 30 minute trip took me almost an hour. I realized that I couldn’t do this on my own.  I remember praying “God, help me find the way.” After 30 minutes I finally found my way to the expressway. Then it dawned on me. What if I walked in to something that I just couldn’t process? I quickly dialed 911. I don’t know exactly what I said but I did ask them to meet me there. The response was that there was already officers “on the scene.” What?? What did that mean?  I called my brother and told him to stay on the phone with me. I felt so alone. I couldn’t do THIS alone.  I pulled into the sub that I had grown up in. I tried to calm my breathing. My brother told me that the police said there had been a note on the door, it said, “Wendy, don’t come in, call 911.”

As I pulled in the drive I saw two officers and a neighbor. Were they waiting for me? I was still in a cloud of confusion, yet I knew. I opened the car door and stumbled out. The officer asked if I am Wendy…I say yes and begin to tell him about the email but he cut me off. He tells me that my father has been shot.  I fell,  to the ground, in the snow. I heard someone screaming No! – and realize that it is me. A voice is telling me that the ambulance just left and that he was still alive when he left. Yet, I could see it in the officers eyes. He knew. We both knew.

He asked if I needed a ride to the hospital, if there was someone he could call for me. Who?? Who could he call for me that could un-do what had been done? Is there a person for that? I suddenly realize that I’m still on the ground, someone had their arms around me. It was the neighbor. All of a sudden I was so thankful to have another woman there. Someone who wasn’t staring down at me, unsure what to do or say. Reality seemed further away than the hospital yet I knew I would drive there alone. I had calls to make. My husband was waiting, my uncle and siblings waiting to find out what I knew. By the time I reached the hospital, two of my grown kids were there waiting for me in a room…THE ROOM where they bring a social worker in to talk to you. I wasn’t sure how my kids found out. Had I called them?  I didn’t want to talk to a social worker. Yet I did and she confirmed what I had known in my heart. My dad was gone. Identification was discouraged.

When my siblings arrived that evening we met at my house. Together, we drove back to our childhood home the next day.  As we pulled into the driveway the first thing I noticed was where my fallen body had left an imprint in the snow.  It was like I was trying to wake up from a reoccurring nightmare. In my dream I could see a lady crying, humped over in the snow. She was in so much pain. Who was that lady? Was it me? I just wanted to wake up.

We needed to focus, to make arrangements. My dad however had been extremely organized in that he had made and paid for all of his final arrangements. We had nothing else to do except ask ourselves why. We all knew that dad had been depressed and on antidepressants since we were kids. His mom- my grandmother, once told my brother that my father was born angry. After my mom passed, his depression escalated. He had just recently had a surgery that he thought would greatly decrease some pain he had been experiencing. When his recovery wasn’t as quick as he had hoped, maybe it was too much and he decided to take his own life. We all could have been there more…should have been there more. Surely we had seen the signs. He told me that his meds made him feel “loopy.”  I took him to his doctor and his medication was modified- but he still wasn’t okay – and now neither are we.

We all know that there are 5 stages of grief. The survivors of suicide loss know that there are more for us. For me, there were 8 stages- in no particular order. 

Confusion, Denial, Anger, Guilt, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and Feelings of Abandonment.

Confusion: People told me to “take one day at a time.” One day?? I couldn’t even breath- how could I possibly make it through a day?  Then the voice inside me whom I call God said, “I know you can’t take one day at a time so just focus on breathing. One breath at a time.” This made sense. I could focus on a deep breath in and slowly letting it out. I remember just listening to myself breath. One breath turned into two and then minutes had passed, then hours. With practice, I learned to make it through a day.

Denial: There was no denying what he had done.

Anger: I grew up knowing that my dad was the strongest man, my protector and hero. He was the one person who would never do anything to hurt me. Yet, he did and it was the ultimate betrayal. I am also angry that he didn’t just hurt me but he knew how his granddaughter, my daughter was suffering from her friends suicide. How could he?

Guilt: Of course guilt. I still have my moments but deep inside, I know he fought depression his entire life. There was nothing I, or anyone else could do to stop what he had planned for years.

Bargaining: What he had done could not be reversed. I knew that.

Depression: I am still struggling but I won’t be like him. Everyday before I get out of bed I count my blessings. I choose to be happy.

Acceptance: You can’t fill a vessel that is broken. Happiness comes from within. My son pointed out a different perspective.  My dad’s action had nothing to with me but only to do with him. He needed to escape HIS pain.

Feelings of abandonment: I won’t lie. Everyday I still wonder why I wasn’t enough.  Wasn’t I worth it?  When I start to feel like this, I remind myself of my son’s words…It was never about ME.

It was never about me or my siblings. It wasn’t the death of my mother, the loss of his status as a GM employee. It wasn’t about being raised by an alcoholic father. It wasn’t the lengthy recovery after his surgery. Life gives us all roadblocks. It is how we choose to get through these blocks. Will they make us stronger or weaker? His suicide is my roadblock, but I make the choice daily. I will be strong.

If you are having feelings of depression or suicide please know that there are people who can help.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  Hot Line # 1-800-273-8255 or asap.org

 

 

WD_004.jpg

 

Beauty tips

My Laser Hair Removal Experience

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Details….

LASER VS WAXING

So, the above photo stock picture will be the only picture that I have with this blog. With up stretched arms, I think you get the idea!  Since I think many women are curious I decided to share and compare my Laser and wax experiences.

For Christmas this past year I bought my daughter a Groupon Coupon for Laser hair removal treatment at a local Med Spa. The Groupon cost was $88.00 for a $600.00 service, on one area. Since it was such an awesome deal I decided to buy one for myself as well. It sounded too good to be true. All of my underarm hair, gone for a mere $88.00.  With the cost of razor blades so high I could not possibly pass this up. Besides, we all know that picky underarms have got to be the single most uncomfortable experience.

For some unknown reason, my daughter decided she did not want to use her Groupon….What?? Well, lucky for me because that meant I was able to have laser hair removal on two areas. Quite generally the area choices are ∼  lip, chin, underarm, bikini line and Brazilian. I don’t have any dark facial hair so that left me with my underarms choice #1.  The thought of a Brazilian takes the second seat to the fact that I am terrified of pain, especially there, so I decided on the bikini line. This way, I could remain partially clothed ∼ WHEW ∼

The first detail that came to my surprise was that I was able go in freshly shaven. This was a huge plus considering my intolerance for picky under arms.  It also appealed to me as I didn’t want to go in looking like an overgrown gorilla.

So next detail; Did it hurt?  Well, it was tolerable. I was told that it would feel like tiny bee stings, and it did but it still wasn’t as painful as I had anticipated. There was no pain or discomfort afterwards. What I did not realize is that it would be more than one appointment. Be prepared to have 6 sessions per given area. The sessions are six weeks apart. They are fairly quick 10-15 minutes, and the procedure could even be done on your lunch break if need be. When all 6 sessions are complete, you can expect to remain mostly hair free, although a touch up session may be needed once a year.

As far as a review goes, I can’t quite give that yet. I am excited and plan to update when my series is complete.

Another alternative to laser would be waxing. I have successfully used  Gigi  microwave wax for my eyebrows. No Muslin strips are needed and I love it! I have also used the Gigi Hair Removal Strips For The Body. Again, I order the self waxing so I don’t have to deal with the muslin. I have coarse hair and it eliminates the need to shave my legs for at least 3 weeks!  I order both of these products from Amazon prime, please note disclaimer below.

You can click link to order.

Gigi wax hair removal for legs

Pros of Laser

• Semi-permanent removal of unwanted hair.

• No uncomfortable stubble

• No need to purchase razors, initially it is a more expensive option but if you can get a     Groupon, I think it would save money in the long run.

Cons of Laser

• Initial cost

Pros of Waxing

• Removal of hair for up to 3 weeks

• Can be done at home

Cons of Waxing

• I can’t lie, for me it was more painful ( underarms ) than laser.

• You must let your hair grow out to at least 1/4″

• Cost – while it is not as expensive as laser initially, I think over time it could add up to more.

So, there you have it. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

If you have any experiences on hair removal that you would like to share, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

“http://“>

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which  enables me to make more creative content such as this.

WD_004.jpg

Diy

Rustic DIY Coat Rack Under $50.00

 Total DIY time 1 hour 15 minutes / Total prep time 24 hours

So, what do you do when you need a 5′ long coat rack for your mudroom?

If you are like me and are in love with Etsy, it is the first place you check. Getting ideas from Pinterest is a definite close second.

I can’t tell you how many beautiful coat racks I saw on Etsy. Considering that I needed a coat rack that is 5′ long and I only had a budget of $50.00, Etsy was out of the question….plus I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to love my coat rack.  I am by no means discounting the value of fellow artisans; they work hard  and I definitely admire their creativity. For this project however, I needed something fast and cheap.

Keeping my budget and rustic design in mind, I set out to my garage. Fortunately, my husband is a saver ie. pack rat. In my garage I found two old ( the older the better in this case ) 1″ x 3″s  that were perfect to cut down to the size I needed. I had some glass antique door knobs in my rehab stash, but I needed something else.  It was time for a trip to my local antique store. I knew instantly when I saw the adorable bunnies that they would be perfect. The shabby chic hooks I found on amazon. Did I mention that I love my amazon prime account? They deliver to my door, in most cases for free.

I have included a link to the shabby chic hooks after my TIPS section.

SUPPLIES.                                                                                      TOOLS NEEDED.     

2 1″X 3″ PIECES OF WOOD     ( HAD )                         ELECTRIC SCREW DRIVER

STAIN                                         ( HAD )                          TABLE SAW OR HACK SAW & MUSCLE

TWO BUNNIES        13.95 each  27.90                          DRILL BIT

4 ANTIQUE GLASS KNOBS.    ( HAD )  

3 SHABBY CHIC HOOKS.            15.49                         

JB WELD EPOXY ( CLEAR )          4.40

CONCRETE SCREWS                ( HAD )

3 DOUBLE SIDED SCREWS  .17each.   .51c

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Cut 1″ x 3″s in the desired length.

2.) Stain or paint wood in desired color. I used an ebony stain and smeared a bit of brick red paint that I had. I wanted to tie it in with my brick wall. 

3.) Attach your coat hooks of choice. To do this I first used a drill bit so as not to split the wood. You’ll need to measure and come up with spacing that appeals to you. I attached the shabby chic hooks first as I needed to make the two 1 x 3’s into one piece. By attaching the shabby chic hooks to both the top and bottom piece of wood. I then added the bunny hooks. 

4.) Adding the antique knobs…. I gave this step its’ own number because preparing the knobs took awhile. First, turn the knob over. if it still has a 2″ long metal bar you will need to unscrew it and use pliers to pull that bar out. Once this is done, you will need to fill the hole the bar left with your epoxy. Put a q-tip where the screw was so the epoxy doesn’t drip out. Put the double sided screw in and balance it stays level and can dry. I believe drying time is 45 minutes but I left mine overnight.

IMG_1184

*** I DO NOT suggest using the JB WELD cement epoxy. Some DIY’s will recommend this. It will not adhere to metal, glass and wood. When you try to screw it into the wood, the cement will crack. Use the JB WELD CLEAR EPOXY ( 50112 ). It will have a dual injector that you need to activate but the directions are right on the pack. 

As soon as you feel the epoxy has dried sufficiently, go ahead and screw in your last coat “hooks”

Wah Lah- Project done.    TOTAL FINAL COST  $48.30.  

Mud Room Coat Rack, Coat Rack, DIY Coat Rack, Rustic Coat Rack
Mud Room Coat Rack

A FEW TIPS: Antique stores are a great resource for glass knobs  ( usually under $5.00 ) and hooks. Use your imagination when it comes to hooks. You can use almost anything that you can screw into your base. Many coat racks use cute drawer pulls. This is fine for purses or scarves but I live in Michigan ( have you seen the size our coats ). 

Shabby Chic Cast Iron Decorative Wall Hooks – Rustic – Antique – French Country Charm – Large Decorative Hanging Hooks – Set of 3 – Screws and Anchors for Mounting Included

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products that I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which I use to make more creative content such as this.

Gran Cenote, Mexico, Cenote, Cancun, Coba, Yucatan Peninsula
Travel

Six Cenotes Near Cancun to Add to Your Bucket List

 

This past August I was fortunate enough to visit the Cancun area with my family. This was by far one of my favorite vacations for many reasons. It was a 16 day trip with my husband and four of my six kids. The main purpose of this particular trip was to explore  some Mayan pyramids and ruins that we had not yet been too and to also visit some different cenotes.

If you are unfamiliar with the term Cenote, ( seh-no-teh ) it is basically a sink hole.  Because much of the ground in the Yucatan is limestone and porous, there are no major rivers and most of the fresh water runs underground. When the land above collapses, a sink hole, or cenote is formed. Cenotes are natural fresh water pools in which to swim and cool off.  Many people enjoy snorkeling in them as well. The types of fish you might see depends on weather that particular water way is connected to the ocean. These sink holes come in many different varieties.

GRAN CENOTE

Admission is 465$ P or about $25 U.S

When most people think of a Cenote they envision Gran Cenote in the Riviera Maya. While there is no denying that it is indeed gorgeous, it is also one of the top visited cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula so it is very, very crowded. If you are like me, you prefer a more laid back, no flippers in your face kind of fresh water swim. Yes, the cave you see below is at Gran Cenote and yes, it has resident bats. They don’t bite and they actually fly around so fast that you would think they are birds. Since Gran Cenote is close in proximity to the Coba Ruins, many find it a perfect place to stop and cool off on their way back to Cancun. There is no lunch facility on site so pack a snack or lunch. Lockers are available.

 

Gran Cenote Tulum, Gran Cenote, Cenote, Mayan Riviera, Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula
Gran Cenote Tulum

CRISTALINO

Admission is 150$ P or about $8 U.S

If you decide to by pass Gran Cenote altogether, there is a much more secluded, less crowded watering hole just north of Akumal. Cristalino is the same type of cenote as Gran but it happens to be my personal favorite as it was much less crowded. In fact, we had the whole place to ourselves for almost 2 hours.  It is truly a tropical paradise! There were tiny black fish that nibble on your feet and toes giving you the ultimate fish pedicure. In  fact – this same pedicure is offered in Playa Del Carmen at a fee of  $20.00 U.S per person.  This park has natural cliffs to jump off of, mangroves and caves to swim through. It is by far the closest I have been to heaven on earth! There is no lunch facility on site so pack a snack or lunch. Lockers are available.

Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Cenote, Akumal, Playa Del Carmen, Cristalino, Mangroves, snorkeling, Cancun
Cenote Cristalino
Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Akumal, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Cenote, Cristalino, Cliff jumping
Cenote Cristalino

CASA CENOTE or CENOTE MANATEE

Admission is 120$ P or about $6.50 U.S.

My second favorite was Casa Cenote or Cenote Manatee, located in Tankah. There are no longer manatees there however if you are very lucky, you may see the resident crocodile. Don’t worry, he stays in the back of the lagoon.  He is very shy and only about 4′ long. We were lucky enough to catch a quick glimpse of him before he slide in to the water and disappeared. This Cenote is very different from the first two in that the previous seemed to look like collapsed land. This body of water looks more like a lagoon but is cenote fed. It leads to the ocean in a very unique way,  via a cave that goes under the ground and road and empties out into the ocean.  For this reason many people practice their scuba diving here. They offer kayak rental as well. You can take the kayaks ( no need for a tour as it is do-able on your own ) all the way to the back of the lagoon. It is a narrow, prehistoric setting taking you back through the mangroves and low jungle. There are a two Restaurants across the street. Blue Sky ( love this place ) and the other one I believe was called Casa Cenote Restaurant. There is also a convenience store across the street where you can purchase snacks.

Casa Cenote - Cenote Manatee
Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Tankah, Casa Cenote, Cenote Manatee, Cenote, kayaking, Cancun
Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Tankah, Casa Cenote, Cenote Manatee, Cancun
Casa Cenote – Cenote Manatee

X’CANCHE or CENOTE AT EK BALAM

Admission is 150 Pesos or $8 U.S ( bike included )

X’Canche is an exotic cenote in the middle of the hanging vines of the jungle. You can visit after touring the ruins at Ek Balam. It is quite far back from the ruins so I don’t suggest walking if it is too hot. Bikes are included in the entrance fee or you can do as we did and rent a rickshaw. What I love about this site is that the same Mayan family has owned it for generations. The funds created by the ruins and the cenote entrance stay in this village and family. The stairs that lead down to this magical oasis are quite steep but it is truly worth the effort and the walk down, in itself, is breath-taking! At this site you can cliff jump and swing into the water from a rope.  The water itself is very dark and deep but in the middle of August, in the middle of the jungle, it was a refreshing treat. You will need to pack a lunch or snack as there are no eating facilities on site.

Ek Balam - X' canche, Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Ek Balam, X'Canche, Cenote, Cancun
Ek Balam – Cenote X canche
Ek Balam - X canche, Mexico, Ek Balam, X'Canche, Yucatan Peninsula, Mayan, Cancun
Ek Balam – Cenote X’ canche

YAL KU LAGOON

Admission is $260 Pesos or $14 U.S. ( snorkel gear extra )

Technically, this body of water is referred to as a lagoon but it is fed by fresh water cenotes that surface and lead out to the ocean. Because it is a mix of fresh and salt water        ( brackish ) the water appears somewhat oily the closer you get to the sea. There is a huge variety of fish and the snorkeling is phenomenal. We have found the best area in which to see the most fish is close to the entrance. Here you will find huge Parrotfish and schools of vibrant Blue Angel Fish. The closer you get to the mouth the sandier the bottom becomes. Here you may see rays, barracuda or if you are really lucky, the sea turtles that Akumal is famous for. Arriving before the hordes of tour buses get there is highly recommended. We have even rented a townhouse on the lagoon in order to have after hours access. There is a restaurant on site and a couple more with in walking distance. Lockers available.

Yal Ku Lagoon Akumal, Mexico
Yal Ku Lagoon Akumal, Mexico

BLACK CENOTE AT BACALAR

Admission was free but you need to access from the lake

Bacalar is a small town near the Belize border. It is about a four-hour drive from Cancun and is well worth the visit. Bacalar means lake of seven colors. It is a beautiful fresh water lake fed by underground springs. What is unique about Black Cenote is that it is located IN  Lake Bacalar and next to another cenote, Emeralda. Who would have thought it? A body of water inside a body of water! They are both next to Cenote Azul which can not be accessed from the lake. If you venture this far south you must take a tour of the lake through Amir AdvenTours at amiradventours.com. I can not sing their praises enough. Not only did they take us to this amazing cenote but they took us to a spot on the lake where we were able to take exfoliating mud baths. They also provided us with an amazing spread of fresh local fruit. The best Papaya and Mango I have ever eaten!

Click on the link below the pictures to see a clip of Black Cenote tour through Amir Adventours!

Bacalar - Black Cenote - Cenote Azul - Cenote Esmeralda

Bacalar, Lake Bacalar, Amir Adventours,
Bacalar, Mud Baths

Amir AdvenTours, Bacalar, Black Cenote

There you have it. I find that even writing this I am making plans to go back to all of the places we visited.  Our route from Cancun was 6 nights in Tankah, 2 nights at Bacalar, 4 nights at Akumal, and 4 nights on Isla Mujeres.

Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below!

DISCLAIMER: My content may or may not contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may earn money which  enables me to make more creative content such as this.

WD_004