Here’s what it’s like diving with whale sharks in La Paz, Mexico

As the boat skimmed across the water, a massive shadow rose from the depths below.

“Shark! Shark!” Cristian yelled, and cut the engine.

Moments later, an ominous, black dorsal fin sliced through the surface. Seated on the edge of the boat, I fumbled for my mouthpiece and adjusted my snorkel mask. Then, taking a final shaky breath, I jumped.

At first, I saw nothing. On an overcast day in La Paz, Mexico, even at the surface the water was as cloudy as the sky above. The murkiness limited my visibility to a mere two feet. 

But suddenly, the light shifted. And then I saw it.

Face to fin with the world's biggest fish

Like something out of a horror flick, in a matter of seconds, I was face to face with the largest fish in the world. Despite my love of the ocean, I have an irrevocable fear of deep water and everything that lurks below.

Growing up and spending my summers in Muskoka, even locking eyes with a large-mouthed bass or a Northern pike was enough to send me flailing wildly back to shore. For that reason alone, I’d never scuba dived or snorkelled. And on rare occasions when I ventured past my hips for a swim, I’d pictured this moment one thousand times; a lone, vicious shark appearing from the deep and ripping me to bloody shreds.

Underwater, time seemed to slow down while my heartbeat sped up. Frozen, I watched through my mask as a whale shark approximately 30 feet in length glided past, close enough that I could touch it. I didn’t scream and fill my breathing tube with saltwater and drown in a watery grave like I always imagined. 

Instead, I silently kicked my flippers and swam side by side with this gentle, polka-dotted giant.

Whale sharks, despite their massive stature and wide mouths, are among the most docile of their species. Filter feeders, their cavernous mouths are lined with about 300 super tiny teeth, allowing for a generous scoop of plankton and small fish, which is their primary diet. They can live anywhere from 80 to 130 years, and have been around since the Jurassic period.

In La Paz, whale shark tours are available from October through May and can be arranged through a certified guide. Just two hours north of Los Cabos, La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, a Mexican state on the Baja California peninsula. Whale shark season in this area typically runs from the winter into early spring, making this an excellent time for a chance encounter.

Just as quickly as it’d appeared, after two minutes of our synchronized swim, the shark picked up speed and continued on its own trajectory into the sea.

Popping up to the surface, I was met with cheers from the rest of my dive group.

“That was amazing! Go again?” Christian yelled.

“I think I’m good,” I yelled back, and started a speedy front crawl back to the boat—because after what I just witnessed, who knows what else might lie beneath?

Adults-only paradise opens in the heart of Tulum’s jungle

Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club, part of World of Hyatt, is now open.

The 300-suite and private villa adults-only resort’s opening marks the expansion of the Inclusive Collection’s presence in Mexico to 44 total resorts and the twelfth Secrets Resort & Spa branded property in the country.

Perfectly situated in the heart of downtown Tulum, just minutes from the beach within the luxury Aldea Zama Complex, Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club pays homage to the surroundings. Minutes away from the property is Secrets Tulum Beach Club, providing a lively atmosphere and pristine beaches, while the nearby city of Tulum fuels exploration to the ancient Mayan sites.

The resort, which also features a beachfront villa at the Secrets Tulum Beach Club, was designed by award winning architect Michael Edmond. With cenote-style architecture, circular buildings and peaceful courtyards, guests are surrounded by serene and modern environment in a romantic setting, with décor elements of water, wood, and endemic lush vegetation.

Luxurious accommodations

Majestic views of the exotic landscape, pools and jungle-inspired areas await guests at Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club, with 300 elegant suites appointed with contemporary organic material with endemic wood elements for the ultimate sanctuary.

Unique bathrooms are featured in each suite, with rock elements and round spa-like soaking tubs on the terraces, while swim out suites offer a secluded, luxurious experience. Upgraded amenities and mini-bar service provide an extra level of luxury, and a private furnished balcony or terrace allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the rich vegetation and natural surroundings of the resort.

For guests looking for an elevated level of luxury, Preferred Club suites offer all standard amenities and services as well as additional amenities and services such as suites in premium locations, a private lounge, privileged location and amenities, upgraded mini-bar service, exclusive rooftop plunge pool and beach style swimming pool, upgraded bathroom amenities, complimentary access to the hydrotherapy circuit once per stay, and more.

Located at Secrets Tulum Beach Club is an extraordinary five-bedroom private villa, which offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. With a capacity of 10 guests, this beachfront villa is decorated with an earthy, barefoot luxury style, featuring Chukum, a tree native to Tulum, finishes, stone and marble touches, and a private elevator. Guests are pampered in luxury with a private chef and 24-hour concierge services, lounge areas, private living space, a private plunge pool, and a rooftop replete with wet bar for relaxation with stunning views of the sunset.

Culinary offerings

Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club offers eight dining options, including three à la carte gourmet restaurants, all without reservations required. Serving regional favorites from around the world, dishes are appointed in a fresh interpretation, featuring Mediterranean, Asian, and multiple international cuisines.

For a more secluded experience, 24-hour dining offers the opportunity to dine from their suite. Special menu options, such as gluten-free and vegetarian, are also available for guests to enjoy.

Culinary adventures await guests at the resort, including gourmet cooking classes, tequila tastings and themed dining nights, while the Chef’s Table tour of the kitchen and appetizers, wine tasting, and romantic dinners are available for an additional cost.

Alongside the eight dining options, four bars and lounges are available for guests to enjoy including a rooftop bar, music lounge and sports bar serving top-shelf spirits and premium domestic and international beverages.

Beach Club

Located in the heart of Tulum’s picturesque Hotel Zone, Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club offers the Secrets Tulum Beach Club just minutes from the main resort. Guests will enjoy a lively atmosphere by the ocean, with two eateries and a bar with magnificent ocean views, allowing guests to savor tropical drinks or grab a bite to eat while relaxing in a Bali bed overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

The Secrets Tulum Beach Club offers private spa cabins and shower rooms, allowing guests to unwind for the day with ease.

For more information, visit hyattinclusivecollection.com

Adults only hotel with 18 bars opens in Costa Mujeres

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has added the TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres to the Registry Collection Hotels brand portfolio.

The hotel, which is operated by Palladium Hotel Group, is located in Quintana Roo, north of the Yucatan peninsula, one of the most recognized areas of the Mexican Caribbean known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, along with its proximity to natural reserves and cultural attractions.

About TRS Coral Hotel

TRS Coral Hotel, a Registry Collection Hotel, is an all-inclusive, adults-only destination with each building equipped with an energy saving system built with sustainability in mind.

The hotel features 469 luxury suites with a furnished balcony or terrace, and offers guests direct access to the beach, an exclusive pool, gym and a private beach club. Guests can also enjoy the Zentropia Palladium Wellness & Spa, a space dedicated to relaxation and wellness. The spa is equipped with service booths, a magnificent thermal area, and therapists specializing in all types of beauty treatments. 

TRS Coral Hotel also offers spectacular cuisine across its 18 bars, five exclusive à la carte restaurants with five-star service, two international buffet restaurants, an Italian Mediterranean restaurant, a steakhouse, and three Asian restaurants, as well as a 24-hour sports bar and the “Chic Cabaret & Restaurant”, a space where gastronomy and entertainment share the stage. 

For sports-lovers, the hotel boasts the first “Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre” in the world, with a museum which holds official replicas of 4 Grand Slam trophies, Masters 1000 Trophies and the Davis Cup that was won in 2008.

The sports complex, listed by fans as “The New Paradise of Tennis”, has 8 tennis courts (4 outdoor and 4 indoor), a football field, a paddle court, a shop with sports products and a bar-cafeteria.

All-inclusive resort in Mexico adds aqua jungle experience

Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit recently unveiled the Aqua Jungle & River experience as well as an additional rooms and suites tower.

The hotel is one of the 31 properties in the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy hotel portfolio in the Caribbean and Latin America. 

Located in the hotel’s own forest canyon, the Aqua Jungle & River experience offers members an all-encompassing immersion in the surrounding jungle landscape with adult and family offerings. With five jacuzzis, a total of seven pools, an elongated lazy river and two kid’s areas with waterslides and splash amenities, visitors of all ages will have plenty of options to enjoy this water experience in addition to convenient food and beverage spots.

Inspired by the Tolantongo caves in the state of Hidalgo, where thermal waters cascade to natural pools, the Aqua Jungle & River experience brings that model to the hotel’s epicentre, allowing guests to relax and rejoice in a paradisiac adventure for themselves. 

More than 200 rooms

With the Delta Riviera Nayarit’s expansion, the resort’s footprint increased from 117 to 212 unparalleled rooms and suites featuring mountain views with King or Queen modalities for adaptable comfort and with a design that resembles the Mexican artistry and natural elements of the locale. 

The hotel has three sit-down restaurants on-site featuring Mexican, Asian, and local cuisines, three main pools to offer a total of seven pools, a dedicated beach club just 15 minutes away from the resort, the renowned Tzicuri Spa, among other offerings.

Infused with the local Huichol culture, visitors will find inspiration in the design, architecture, spa treatments, and food and beverage options on the hotel premises for relaxation and a unique wellness retreat. 

Four of the most unique things to do in Yucatan, Mexico

From exploring sunken ship wrecks, to getting up close and personal with crocodiles, adventure awaits in the Yucatan peninsula

Yucatan, Mexico is loaded with natural and cultural attractions. The region has become a fan favourite among international travellers due to its impressive archaeological remains, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. 

However, there are still plenty of activities that fly under the radar for visitors, making it an ideal destination for families, couples, and friends alike. Here’s a look at some of the lesser-known attractions of the region.

Spend a night with crocodiles

In Celestun and Rio Lagartos, travellers can embark on an unforgettable adventure, ideal for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Expert guides lead visitors on a tour into the natural habitats of the region’s endemic species at nightfall.

As they venture into the mangroves, travellers will be guided under the starry sky as the moon illuminates the way as the group searches for the enigmatic swamp crocodile.

Relive the extinction of dinosaurs on Earth

In Puerto Progreso, located 30 minutes from the state capital of Mérida, travellers can find the new Meteorite Museum.

This unique and interactive museum opened its doors in 2022 and takes visitors of all ages on a journey through our planet’s 14-billion-year history and its interaction with the surrounding universe.

Visitors will also learn about the Earth’s fve mass extinctions, one of which was caused by the impact of a meteor in the Chicxulub area of the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago, and led to the extinction of dinosaurs and marked the beginning of life on earth as we know it today. 

The impact of this meteor played an important role in shaping the geography of the Yucatan, which is home to a vast network of underground rivers and caves that have given rise to the existence of over 3,000 cenotes in the region. 

Explore sunken ships

The charming port of Sisal was once a thriving commercial centre during the colonial era. At its peak, the port served as the primary gateway for ships arriving from Havana. Today the port town stands out as one of the most vibrant and colourful destinations in the Yucatan. 

Travellers can explore this beautiful town during a seafront walk where it’s also possible to embark on an immersive snorkelling sea tour, diving approximately four meters deep to witness the remains of a British steamship that sunk many years ago.

The vessel is a breathtaking sight, perfectly illuminated by the warm Mexican sun on bright days. This unparalleled experience is ideal for history and nature enthusiasts alike.

Dive into the Mayan Underworld

Embark on a journey of natural wonder in the Mayan jungle and discover the magnificent Yucatan cenotes that lie within.

These stunning formations are filled with vibrant colours and long tree roots that seek out the fresh water that gives them life. The Nohmozon Cenote is one of the most renowned cenotes, offering visitors the chance to snorkel, dive, and marvel at the underwater beauty.

Its unique features set it apart from other cenotes in the area, boasting a large dome with stunning stalactite formations that are illuminated by sunlight shining through the crystal-clear blue waters.

Whether swimming, diving or simply observing, the remarkable transparency of the cenote will transport you to a world of fantasy.

A new Hyatt property just opened in the heart of Mexico City

Hyatt Regency Mexico City Insurgentes is a modern, 201-room hotel located in the heart of the southern financial district of Mexico City.

With 24 floors, three curated food and beverage outlets, and contemporary guestrooms, the hotel is an ideal spot for both business and leisure travellers.

Located in one of Mexico City’s main business districts, Colonia del Valle, the opening marks the sixth Hyatt Regency branded hotel in Mexico and the second in Mexico City, alongside Hyatt Regency Mexico City, further demonstrating Hyatt’s intentional strategy for growing its brands in the region.

The hotel is housed within an exclusive mixed-use development complex, offering gourmet dining options, energizing meeting and events spaces for groups of any size and a seamless experience on one of the most important streets in the city with parks, plazas, historical attractions and businesses throughout.

All the hotel’s spaces are designed with productivity in mind conveniently located next to the World Trade Center Mexico City (WTC), which is home to the city’s convention center and Pepsi Center, and near the vibrant Condesa and Coyoacan neighborhoods. Guests are also a short distance away from the main business districts like Reforma and Polanco as well as less than seven miles away from Mexico City International Airport.

“We’re excited to debut Hyatt Regency Mexico City Insurgentes just steps from Mexico City’s World Trade Center on one of the most prominent and longest avenues in the capital city of Mexico”, said General Manager, Carlo Bava. “Our prime location provides guests access to a thriving business hub just outside our doorstep. We look forward to offering guests, customers and World of Hyatt members the tools they need to stay connected and energized for a stress-free experience.”

 

Four Seasons has a new collection of luxury private retreats in Los Cabos

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas is now reservations for its ultra-luxury Private Retreats collection.
 
Located within the exclusive Resort community of Costa Palmas on the less-travelled East Cape of Los Cabos, the new property is spread over 1,500 acres (607 hectares).
Four Seasons Resort and Residences are located on two miles (3.2 kilometres) of swimmable beachfront.
 
It also features Four Seasons’ first-ever private marina on the Sea of Cortez along the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains, providing best-in-class access to national marine park and UNESCO World Heritage Site Cabo Pulmo, along with endless land and sea adventures singular to the East Cape of Baja.
 

About Marina Village

 The Costa Palmas Marina Village, located at the heart of Costa Palmas international marina, adjacent to Four Seasons Resort and Residences, is alive from the earliest morning hours as fishermen set out, until the wee hours of the night as the late-night crowd heads in. 
 
The concept is designed to be a marketplace that works together as retail spaces, open pavilions, restaurants and cafes that open onto a central plaza to create a lively gathering place. 
 
Anchoring the community is Mozza Baja at Costa Palmas in partnership with James Beard Foundation Award winner, author and restauranteur Nancy Silverton. The Marina Village is also home to newly opened nightclub and lounge, Chiki. Designed by interior architecture and designer Martin Brudnizki, Chiki brings together rich Mexican culture with raw authenticity that extends itself into murals and mosaics that elicit an intimate and eclectic cantina vibe.
 
Guests of Four Seasons have direct access to sailing, fishing and cruising yachts up to 250 feet from the convenience of the Resort’s “backyard.”
Ocean View 6 Bedroom Villa
 
The property offers a fleet of boats ranging from a 26-foot centre console to a 65-foot luxury cruising yacht. From direct access to Cabo Pulmo,, to nightly sunset cruises and guided sport and spearfishing adventures, Four Seasons is the only luxury resort in the market with seamless, private marina access.
 

Private retreats

Four Seasons Private Retreats offers more than 750 of the world’s finest luxury vacation homes.

 

The Los Cabos Private Retreats collection offers two to six-bedroom contemporary residences that seamlessly integrate indoor-outdoor living with flowing spaces, elemental design and native landscaping.

The collection offers a wide array of accommodations for up to 18 guests, each with private pools and expansive indoor-outdoor entertainment space.

For more information, click here.  

 

Mexico is getting its first-ever Margaritaville resort

The first ever adults-only Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma in Riviera Maya, Mexico is set to open its doors in early 2023.

With more 13 luxury suite types available, the accommodations are designed to create the ultimate travel experience to meet and exceed the most seasoned traveller’s needs and wants.
 
Guests can choose from spacious King Paradise Suite, exclusive Beachfront Honeymoon Suites, and sumptuous Coral Reefer Suites, complete with more than 1,400 sq. ft. of signature outdoor living space, including a fully furnished terrace, an oversized private infinity pool, a custom-built gaucho style grill, and an outdoor pool table.
 

New food & drink offerings

Guests will have the option to indulge in mouth watering creations at the five Margaritaville-inspired restaurants and a beachside grill offering carefully-curated cuisine, featuring a la carte menus and food displays to delight every palate.
 
In addition to brand staples like Frank and Lola’s, the resort will introduce two newcomers including:

Far Side Of The World – Pacific Rim Cuisine

  • Inspired by the lyrics of the Far Side of the World song, “Far side of the world” is about the pleasure of faraway places, unique culinary selections, surfing paradises, bamboo shacks, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and the bounty it provides. 

Salted Rim – Margarita Bar & Lounge

  • Salted Rim is a celebration of the agave plant in Mexico. Guests can revel in Caribbean elegance with the finest lounge service, authentic and extensive selection of tequilas, mezcals, and bacanoras, to create an array of Margaritas and more adventurous creations.

For more information on Margaritaville Island Reserve, click here.

B&B mansion in Mexico City reopens with gorgeous renovations

Ignacia Guest House, a boutique bed and breakfast located in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma neighborhood, recently completed an extensive renovation and added four new rooms and additional amenities.

Located in the vibrant Colonia Roma neighborhood, Ignacia Guest House is an exclusive bed and breakfast with just nine suites, uniting Mexican artisan tradition, history and contemporary design. The restoration of this 1913 mansion celebrates the personality of Ignacia, the mansion’s housekeeper for more than 40 years. With terraces and a harmonious chromatic palette, each guest room creates environments in balance with the entire complex. 

Utilizing the lockdown over the past two years to renovate and upgrade, Ignacia Guest House has expanded the exclusive bed and breakfast blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and contemporary design with the addition of four new rooms and outdoor spaces. Originally opening its doors in February 2017, the name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 Porfirian mansion for over 40 years, Ignacia. 

Originally occupying half of the Porfirian mansion, Ignacia Guest House contained a master suite, hall, library, dining room, and kitchen in the historic building, and four rooms, each with its own balcony or terrace in the garden area. After acquiring the rest of the property in early 2022, the intimate property expanded its offering with new amenities and four additional rooms.  Two rooms have been restored in the original house, and two rooms have been newly constructed located in the terrace sharing a common outdoor space adorned with fireplaces and a jacuzzi framed by treetops.

For more information, visit www.ignacia.mx.

New 70-acre adults-only hotel opens in Riviera Maya

Nestled in the secluded region of Riviera Maya, Mexico, Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya is a new property that is close to the Cancun International Airport and Playa del Carmen.

This sophisticated, all-inclusive resort is situated on 1.5 acres of pure white sand beach combining state-of-the-art amenities with heartfelt service and inviting accommodations.

Stunning suites

The exclusive adult oasis has 291 sophisticated suites with elegant amenities, modern décor and beautiful views of the resort grounds and sea. All rooms and suites feature spa-like bathrooms with rainfall showers, turndown service, LCD satellite TV’s, Wi-Fi internet access and complimentary minibars with soft drinks and premium beer along with 24-hour in-suite dining featuring chef specialties. Each guestroom offers a furnished balcony or patio, views of the ocean or garden, marble bathrooms and double vanities, all exuding the tranquility and peacefulness of the Riviera Maya region.

Guests of Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya can enjoy adult-oriented amenities, including a sprawling ocean-view pool with an adjacent hot tub, nine globally inspired restaurants, bars and lounges, and unique daily and nightly activities, such as aqua aerobics, water sports, cooking lessons, live performances and more.

Wellness and relaxation

Inspired by the art and architecture of pre-Hispanic Maya culture, Zen Spa provides a serene atmosphere for relaxation and wellness, featuring soothing and restorative treatments with ten indoor treatment rooms. Zen Spa also offers a master suite with a hydrotherapy tub, sauna and steam rooms, a fitness center with group classes, strength zone and cardio area, and a full-service beauty salon.

Ideal for large gatherings, Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya offers the perfect venues for meetings and conferences with more than 6,000 square feet of modern facilities designed for success. Elegant outdoor spaces and gardens allow for dreamy destination weddings with a blissful backdrop.