Bienvenidos

Wedding location Click for Bacalar, Mexico Forecast
We are getting married on December 12, 2012 in a tiny town called Bacalar, located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Bacalar is on the southern Peninsula, about an hour north of the border with Belize. The venue for the wedding is the Hotel Laguna Bacalar, which is a small hotel overlooking the beautiful laguna (lake), after which the town was named. The reception will also be held at the hotel restaurant and bar, "Las Conchas." Guests who make the trip will have a free room for the night at the hotel.
Rooftop view (potential cocktail reception area)
Why Mexico?
We became an item in late 2007, after being friends for around six years. Because we had been friends for so long, not to mention the fact that we worked and lived together, we were naturally a little hesitant about the repercussions if things didn't work out. So we decided to get away from everybody we knew and travel to a country that neither of us had been to before. We reasoned that if we could travel for 10 days in a strange country without hating each other by the end of the trip, we could probably make a relationship work. A couple of cheap tickets to Cancun later, we were on our way! We stayed with friends in Playa del Carmen, slept on the beach in Tulum, spent Christmas Eve in the jungle, had Christmas dinner at an all night diner in Campeche, and climbed every Mayan temple we stumbled across. And somewhere along the way we realized that we probably weren't going to be the same when we got back. The Yucatan is where we fell in love, and so it seemed a like coming full circle to get married there. We can't wait to share our little bit of Mexico with you, and hope to see you there!

General information about the area
The Yucatan Peninsula has the southern Gulf of Mexico to the west and north and the Caribbean to the east.  The eastern (Caribbean) shoreline has become known as the Mayan Riviera, which extends from Cancun in the north to Chetumal (on the Belize border) in the south.  The area from Cancun to Tulum is the most heavily visited by tourists, and you will pay accordingly (most public places will even charge a few pesos for the bathroom).  Along this strip you will find several all inclusive resorts, private beaches, and guided wildlife tours (think Disney-style wildlife).  Cancun is a lively city with tons of night clubs and beach-front hotels.  Playa del Carmen is 45 minutes south of Cancun, and Cozumel island is just offshore of the beach there.  Playa is a very metropolitan city with great night life and beautiful beaches, and Cozumel is famous for diving.  Tulum is a bit more remote, but several hotels and resorts have popped up in the area due to the popularity of the ruins of the same name.  Just south of Tulum, you can follow a pot-holed coastal road south to some very beautiful beach locations, or you can stick to the main highway to make better time.

Sunrise from the main level
Cost
Mexico can be very affordable. The Peso generally hovers around 10:1 to the Dollar, but has gone up recently to 13:1.  As of January 2012, the Pound to the Peso was 21:1.  A typical western-style hotel will cost 450-1000 pesos a night, depending on where you stay and what amenities you choose.  Food is also cheap if you eat like the locals, but you have the choice of paying US prices at some of the bigger resorts.
Water
Don’t drink the tap water.  This is still true, but it is not difficult to avoid drinking tap water. Restaurants will offer filtered or bottled water, hotels as well.  Well-attended restaurants use filtered water for their ice as well, but it is always good to ask.  If you are traveling the area, it is a good idea to have a large bottle of water with you at all times. If you are going for a day trip, best to have a quart or more in your car. Bottled water is usually available at roadside gas stations and convenience stores, even the most remote, but you should probably stock up ahead of time. It is not necessary to use bottled water to brush your teeth, but you may want to do so if you have any underlying health problem that could be exacerbated by illness.

Another thing to note is that the plumbing in most of Mexico is insufficient to take on loads of toilet paper.  There will be a trash can next to most toilets, and it is best to dispose of your paper there. It is difficult to remember for most westerners, but will help to avoid a messy situation.

Language
As you probably know, Spanish is the official language of Mexico.  Those traveling from the UK or Europe will want to keep in mind that Mexican Spanish is a bit different from Spanish Spanish, and you will be more easily understood if you leave vosotros behind and use “say” sounds instead of “thay”.

English is widely spoken in the hospitality industry and around Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The further south you go, however, the less English will be understood.  A Spanish phrase book or Spanish-English dictionary will probably come in handy if you don’t speak any Spanish at all, if nothing else so that you can read road signs and menus.  English menus are generally available, but the pointing method works quite well if you can’t figure out how to say it.

Restaurants and gratuity
When eating a meal at a restaurant, the check will not be brought to you until you ask for it.  Believe us, they will let you sit there for hours after you’ve finished eating.  To ask for the check, say “la cuenta por favor.” (Lah quin ta, por fa voor) Or you can use the universal hand signal of making a check mark.  

Tipping is expected in restaurants at around the same rate as US restaurants (around 15% for good service).  Sometimes the tip is added automatically, so check your receipt before adding your tip.  “IVA” is the added tax, and “propina” is gratuity.

Food
Yucatecan food is somewhat different from what we are used to in Mexican restaurants. The cuisine is influenced by Caribbean, Mayan, and European cultures, with lots of seafood options. 
Fresh corn tortillas and the house salsa picante are served with nearly every meal. Some local food we suggest you try:
  • Guacamole (it will be slightly different everywhere you go)
  • Ceviche, available with shrimp (camarones), conch (concha), and fish (pesco), or mixto (all three) 
  • Pico de gallo (peeko day guy yo), goes very well with the guacamole
  • Fish and/or squid tacos, usually fried with lots of choices for toppings
  • Tamales, wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks
  • Sopa de lima, or lime soup. Usually made with chicken
  • You should also visit a tequilaria and a mescaleria if you have the chance.