An equinox occurs twice a year (around March 20th and September 22nd), when the sun, in its orbit around the earth, passes directly over the Earth’s equator making the length of the daylight and evening hours equal. Most of us refer to these dates as the First Day of Spring or the Last Day of Summer. Not a normal, celebrated day for people in the U.S. But it is in Mexico.
In September of 2011 my husband and I took our first vacation to the Riviera Maya. Wanting to be sure and see ‘Mexico’ we had pre-booked an excursion to Chichen Itza – an ancient Mayan City and archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula. The main pyramid is known in Mayan as “El Castillo” or the castle and since July of 2007 has been listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. On the day before our excursion, we were contacted at the hotel and advised Amstar (our tour guide) wanted to move our date up 1 day so that we could take advantage of the Summer Solstice Celebration. We agreed but did not fully understand the significance of this occurrence to the Mayan people. We quickly found out this is huge there. Thousands of people were there that day. After a guided tour of the ruins everyone gathers in the center of the city to witness a phenomenon of light and shadow on the steps of El Castillo pyramid. The shadow of the ‘plumed serpent’ of light descending the steps is said to be the ancient ‘serpent’, Kukulkan, making his way to the well of sacrifice nearby. How does this work? As the sun passes over, seven isosceles triangles are formed and compose the body of the 37 yard-long serpent that creeps downward until it joins the serpent’s head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway. Don’t worry… there was and is no sacrifice conducted… today. This could not always have been said. Definitely a wonder to be seen and experienced.
A normal person would think just being at a beautiful resort with unlimited food, drink, entertainment, incredible beaches…non-stop luxury would be enough of an amazing vacation. Then all us ‘normal people’ would be wrong. While you are on your amazing vacation there are some pretty amazing excursions that are a must, depending on where you are. Chichen Itza is rich in it’s history and grandeur. You won’t be disappointed if you include this in your vacation.
Once you have your trip booked, ask your agent what there is to do where you’re going. Each of our agents have either been there or know where to send you to guarantee a wonderful time.
In the United States we celebrate Halloween by handing out candy for spooky, costumed trick-or-treaters. In Mexico the idea is similar but tastier by far. Known throughout Latin America as El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away. Cancun offers visitors a truly unique version of this popular holiday, with many events incorporating both Mayan customs and modern Mexican traditions.
On October 31st both Cancun and most of the Mayan sites outside the city hold candlelit services to honor the deceased. After this time of reflection, the holiday is quickly transformed into a friendly meal shared by hundreds, marking a 3 day culinary feast that takes place both in the streets and all the best restaurants. At night many visitors move from the restaurants to the bars and dance clubs where special events such as costume parties have become the norm.
A very interesting and beautiful “Day of the Dead” activity takes place just south of the city in the Xcaret Nature and Cultural Park, located adjacent to the Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort. The park, which sits right on the coastline, features unique activities one of which is The Bridge to Paradise. One of the worlds most lavish cemeteries, it is composed of 365 grave-sites created by local artists. Each grave, distinct from the others in design and style, are created to reflect a place or theme that is unmistakeably Mexican. The park itself is also home to underground rivers, a Butterfly Pavilion and the beach. Something to fill everyday you are there.
The Occidental Grand Xcaret, situated next to a sea-fed lagoon, is the perfect All-Inclusive resort to stay in while you’re there. A short walk to and from the Park, the resort has everything you could ask for including an on-site shopping center call Pueblo Del Rio. You can also swim in the subterranean river which forms canals through the resorts pathways. Each of the 769 rooms and suites are distributed in small buildings surrounded by tropical gardens, pools and rivers.
Cancun is an amazing place where the present meets the mysterious past of the Mayan people and their culture. Vacationing at this beautiful resort city during the “Day of the Dead” festival is an exciting way to connect with these people’s ancient beliefs and traditions.
Most everyone fantasizes about a vacation to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. I as well have viewed this as the ultimate family vacation. The hotels are great, the shows are fantastic and there’s virtually any type of food you could ask for and if you purchase the Fast Pass you don’t have to wait in line at designated rides. For those who plan a family vacation every year, I’m sure there are many who have gone to Disney multiple times. I have a close friend who is planning their fourth trip this coming year. I offered up the option of, instead, going on a tropical vacation to the Riviera Maya. My friends first reaction was that she couldn’t afford it. But to be fair, she asked me to get her the prices and let her know. I couldn’t believe what I found out.
Comparing land only for a family of 4, Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the Park Hopper Pass from June 1 to June 8, 2013 costs $5,290.28. The cost covers 7 nights at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and entrance to the parks. That does not include meals, shows, tax, fees, etc. Now, the all-inclusive Barcelo Maya Palace in the Riviera Maya for the same family of 4, land only, is $2,884.00 and this gives you access to all the other hotels within the Barcelo complex. That means you are staying in the best hotel in that chain of properties but have access to the other 2 hotels. All the food you can eat, drinks, six ocean-view restaurants, day and night entertainment, a disco, four swimming pools, a children’s water-park with slides, eight tennis courts, mini-golf…the list goes on. ALL of this is included in the price. You can relax and enjoy yourself and so can your kids. From the look of the water-park you will probably want to jump in and play with them.
Call us today and we’ll help you re-define your ultimate Family Vacation you’ll want to take every summer.
Most people go on vacation to rest and enjoy being pampered. I learned a long time ago my husband is an odd-duck and not like most other people. He wants to go to Cabo San Lucas so he can drive the Baja Off-Road race route and I can lay on the beach. I’ve given this a lot of thought and research and it actually does sound like fun. Just outside of Cabo, at a 1,500 acre racing facility, there is a company called Wide Open Adventures where you can experience the thrill of the drivers seat. In the heart of the Baja peninsula you get to drive in the safety of custom built race cars, under close supervision of a professional support crew. There is a wide variety of tours to choose from. One day at their lapping facility or all the way up to a 7-day tour across deserts, through river canyons and stopping at deserted beaches to rest, surf or snorkel. You’ll also enjoy Baja bar-b-que during lunch stops on the beach. There’s something for everyone. Now, mind you, this would probably be for the men in your group, but ladies what a better way to get a few days for yourself laying on the beach and being pampered by the resort staff? This is actually a great excursion for anyone who is up to it. I guarantee you a vacation story you can get a lot of mileage out of.
Finding yourself in need of some stress relief? Hop on a plane to Cabo San Lucas International Airport and take a short drive to down town Cabo! Walk through an elegant archway, down a stunning cobblestone pathway and step back in time to the days of the traditional haciendas at Zoetry Casa Del Mar in Los Cabos, Mexico. Located on the Sea of Cortez, this incredible 42 suite beachfront resort is ideal for pampering yourself. The resort offers Endless Privileges which concentrates on wellness, serenity and romance. During the day the ladies can spend time in the world-class spa being pampered or take in a Yoga or dance class and the gentlemen can spend the day on the championship 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr., Cabo Real Golf Course. Afterwards, spend some time together on the lit tennis courts before a romantic dinner at one of their gourmet restaurants. You will have full access to all the Unlimited-Luxury privileges available at the neighboring Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa as well. Also offered is complimentary 24-hour laundry service. Who wants to come home and do laundry from your vacation?
When we think of a vacation we usually think of all the fun things we can experience and we sometimes go home exausted. Make this vacation different…actually come home rested and rejuvenated. Take a virtual tour of the property and see what awaits you, then call us and tell us when you’re going. We’re ready when you are.
This Veteran’s Day, Dream Vacations would like to ask you to join us in the time honored tradition of saluting those who have so bravely served this country.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended WWI. In 1919 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day a holiday saying “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
In 1938 we saw the day become a legal holiday. In 1953 an Emporia, Kansas shoe repair shop owner, Stephan Riod, had the idea to expand the day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in WWI. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce determined that 90% of Emporia merchants supported closing their doors on November 11 to honor all veterans. On May 26, 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the holiday into law. Since that time Americans have observed the day in may different ways. Schools are closed, no mail is delivered and non-essential federal government offices are closed. The holiday has often been celebrated by having a ravioli meal. This tradition dates back to the ending days of WWI when President Woodrow Wilson, aware that the returning soldiers would be longing for home cooked meals, invited 2,000 soldiers to the White House and helped his staff chefs cook them ravioli.
Our nation’s soldiers serve every day to protect our country and its ideals. America was and is founded on the principle of freedom, justice and liberty for all. Let us all take a moment to remember those who sacrifice their lives every moment to achieve peace and democracy. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
May we all endeavor to earn the freedoms and liberty all veterans have purchased.