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Vaughan Long

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Everything posted by Vaughan Long

  1. I thought I would share what some of our clients have said regarding some of the favorite activities in Playa: Xcaret: Although most people go for the swimming and daily activities, you do not want to miss the special night show that they do each day. Their show encompasses many great highlights of the Mayan culture and also includes a game on their Mayan ball court. As you are allowed to re-enter the park on the same day, go early before it gets super busy and then leave the park for lunch and return for the night show. Xel-Ha: A beautiful park and considered one of the best places to swim with dolphins based on how they configure their dolphin area and their allegiance with veterinary and humane treatment of the dolphins Club Hopping - Cancun vs Playa: Playa has a great night life and it just depends on whether you want to travel as far as Cancun and back one night vs just staying in Playa. Tulum: A great site that is less than an hour from Playa but it quite spread out and also has very little shade so warn your guests to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Because of the walking and the hear, it can be a difficult site to visit with either older guests or little children. Going early when they open or late in the day will help to mitigate those challenges. One other note, you are allowed to climb on the pyramids in Tulum. Chitzen Itza: Another great site but it is farther away than Tulum and is by far the busiest site. If you go anytime around lunch or later, expect the crowds to be heavy. Also, they do not allow you to climb their pyramids anymore. Vallodolid: A small colonial style town about 3 hours from Playa. It has a great central square with an amazing old church. Also has a classic Mexican market that opens in the mornings and is only a few blocks from the square. However, as I recall, the market closes around 1pm or so so you need to visit it in the morning if you want to see it. Ek-Balam: An amazing archeological site that has only been excavated over the last 10 to 15 years. Unlike Chitzen Itza, you can still climb to the top of the largest pyramid and you will be able to see over the canopy of the jungle for miles. It also has an amazing relief that was preserved. Since it is set in the jungle, it is much cooler due to the shade. Also, the crowds are much smaller so you really can enjoy the site in a more relaxing setting. It is located just outside of Vallodolid so it is best to do a overnight trip Vallodolid and stay in one of the nice hotels that are located on the square. Cenotes: These fresh water sink holes are amazing to just go swimming in and do some snorkeling. They are located in the jungle and there are many great ones to explore. There are at least 10 to 15 just in-between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Hope that helps the discussion.
  2. I read your note and wanted to do my best to put your concerns at ease regarding the Riviera Maya. As Americans living in Playa (including two small children ages 5 and 2), I can tell you first hand we have been very fortunate and have not had any of the incidents that has been written about lately in the media. Most of those incidents have focused on Northern Mexico and it is extremely rare to find those incidents in the Riviera Maya (considered to be Cancun to Tulum.) I read the article that you posted and although there were some more recent drug related deaths on the Pacific side of Mexico in Chilpancingo, the incident from the article was from over the summer (the article date was August 29) in Merida. Merida is in the Yucatan but it is about 5 hours by car away from the Riviera Maya. As far as I know this is the only incident of this type in Merida so this may be just a rare and isolated incident. As a side note, we have visited Merida many times and is a wonderful city and we have never felt threatened even though we drive cars with US license plates so we tend to stick out (that and the fact that my children are very blond.) As with any city in the world, there are places throughout the Yucatan that tourists are best not to visit, but this certainly does not include 5th Avenue within Playa or the other well traveled tourist areas here. There is an incredible security presence within Playa del Carmen and my wife has been taken our 2 children home in her stroller as late as 10pm at night and has never felt uncomfortable walking home within downtown Playa. You are all smart to be cautious; however, you have chosen a great place to have your weddings and I think you will all have a great time. I hope my comments help with any concerns you may have and you are always welcome to PM me if you have any specific concerns. Take care, Vaughan
  3. Just got back from the beach and it looks great. In fact, I think they have the most beach in Playa right now. Sorry if I caused you any worry about the condition of the beach. Good luck.
  4. In Playa, throughout the year the tides can take out some of the sand on the beach one month and then return it the next. I have not walked down on the beach in front of the Royal in the last couple of weeks, but we just did a wedding at a nearby beach club and they had lost a lot of sand (and it certainly impacted how we placed the chairs and the altar). That may be impacting the Royal's decision to do a beach reception if they are worried that they do not have enough sand space to accommodate your reception (even for only 30 people.) That also may be why they said no problem before but are being more hesitant right now. I may be down near the Royal tomorrow morning so I will try and drive by there and see how their beach is doing and post an update for you. Good luck.
  5. We do quite a few civil weddings in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and Playa is located in the county of Solidaridad which represents the Riviera Maya. In our county, the only time you need to have your birth certificate apostiled is when you are going to be putting your parents' name on your Mexican wedding certificate. Another note is that although Cancun and Tulum are often linked as part of the Riviera Maya, they are actually in different counties so they may have different requirements regarding the certification of birth certificates. One last thought (and this is purely speculation) it is possible the resorts are being cautious by requiring that birth certificates are apostiled just in case. Hope this helps. Take care and good luck with your weddings.
  6. There are some great smaller ruins within a short walk of the Playa del Carmen ferry pier that you use when you go to Cozumel. The pyramids directly face the ocean and are located at Xaman in the housing community of Playacar Phase 1. They are not large but they are great for doing wedding pictures as we often use them for our clients who are looking for those types of pictures. There is security at the entrance to Playacar but if you walk in, you will have no problem. If you use a taxi, you can try telling the guards that you are looking to take a tour of Playacar Phase 1 to look for villas that you are interested in renting the next time you come down. Security at the gate is more vigilant these days but if you do not want to worry about that, just have your taxi drop you off in front of the McDonalds located right next to Playacar Phase 1 and then walk in (security is more worried about cars then people walking in.) The pyramids are about 2 to 3 city blocks distance from the front gate. Just head for the ocean front and you will walk right into them. Good luck with your pictures.
  7. Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to the forum. We wish you the best of luck with your wedding. Take care, Vaughan
  8. We generally recommend to our clients to avoid September due to the higher average of rain for the month. However, we find that in October that the day to day rain slows considerably although most of the forecasts will call for rain. October is a busy month for weddings so history is in your favor. That being said, if you have the ability to wait a bit longer into the month of October, it can never hurt. Congratulations on your wedding and good luck.
  9. In working with clients that have resort weddings, we have seen a rise in the financial requirements for any outside vendors being used. For example, we had a client ask us to book a DJ at one of the most popular Riviera Maya resorts mentioned on this forum and when we contacted the resort, they emailed us an extensive list of additional charges that would need to be paid. These charges not only included a electricity surcharge (the outside vendor DJ had to pay for the electricity he used), the resort also wanted the client to pay for the resorts' DJ service to come and supervise the outside DJ "due to potential fire hazards." In short, some resorts have set requirements that make it incredibly difficult to bring in outside vendors since they do not receive a financial benefit if outside vendors come on their premises. The best recommendation I can provide is to request from any resort you are considering to provide a written summary of outside vendor rules. This is the best way to avoid surprises later on in your planning. Also, please know that there are many resorts in the Riviera Maya that see the benefits of being flexible in working with outside vendors and are very easy to work with. The resorts that lack flexibility generally do not hide it once you ask them for their rules. Good luck everyone.
  10. Welcome to the forum, it is a great place to pick up advice. The Riu's have a great reputation in the area as many of our clients have chosen to stay at one of their 6 locations in the Playacar Hotel Zone when they had their wedding with us in Playa. Good luck and take care.
  11. I moved my family to Playa del Carmen last August and we have 2 children, our son is almost 5 but our daughter had just turned 1 when we got here 6 months ago. We have used the Mexican LALA brand of milk (all the stores carry it) for both whole milk and lite versions. Both our kids are heavy milk drinkers and neither had any problems adjusting to LALA. Just a heads up, you do not buy it in cartons like in the states, but in small boxes that are vacumn sealed. Thus, they do not need to be refrigerated until they are opened. Take care and good luck.
  12. Thanks Jill. We had a great time working with you and we hope we will see you in Playa again soon. Make sure you stop by the restaurant and say hello the next time you are in town. Take care.
  13. Marcy, Preparing everything for a Catholic ceremony can feel a bit daunting at times, but Ajua Weddings has done many and we would be happy to help. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of service. Also, in regard to the choice of songs, we work with a a great classically trained singer/guitarist who sings Ave Maria (as well as many other songs). His rendetion of Ave Maria was so good that we recently recorded him and hope to have it posted soon on our website. Take care.
  14. Resort weddings with children can be a challenge as many of the resorts in Playa do not cater to them. If your focus is a resort wedding and you want to be within a couple of blocks of 5th avenue in Playa, then the Royal (wedding) and the Portal Real (caters to children) is your best bet. There are other resorts at the level of the Royal that also have sister hotels near to them that cater to children, are a solid 15 to 20 minute walk to 5th Avenue. Also, if you want to have the most flexibility for your ceremony, I would encourage you to look into a wedding on a secluded beach within the Playa del Carmen area. Good luck and take care.
  15. First off, welcome to BDW. This is a great place to get advice. There are defininetly some options in Playa based on the criteria you are looking for as you could do a secluded beach wedding and then move to a reception location near or on the beach. Take care and good luck.
  16. Catherine, Since Jill beat me to the "I heart Catherine," (lol) I will just say WOW! You guys were great and it was such a pleasure to work with you and your family. From all the staff at Ajua Weddings and the Ajua Maya Restaurant, we want to thank you for taking the time to write such great comments about your experience with us. Take care, The Ajua Family
  17. Although you may be running into challenges in finding a hotel that has a day available in June, many brides choose to have their wedding on a secluded beach in or around Playa del Carmen. Although, in most cases, hotels will only offer their wedding coordination services if you have your wedding at the hotel, there are a number of wedding coordination companies in the area who can help you plan a secluded beach wedding. Also, since you are planning a destination wedding, many clients choose to have their wedding day during the week as many of their guests see a destination wedding as an opportunity to combine attending the wedding with a week's vacation as well. Good luck and congratulations!
  18. Wow!! First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for welcoming us to the forum. Hopefully you will find us very respectful of the vendor rules. We are just enjoying the opportunity to share our experience with everyone on this great site. Catherine: Please know that you absolutely made Maartje's day with your response. She told me about your great email so your post was just the icing on the cake. We had a great time working with you and Wilfred and we wish you both the best of luck in your new life together. Take care.
  19. Quote: Originally Posted by nylalany Anyone know if you can find red orchids in the Riviera Maya area? My WC said they only come in white or pink, but there are a zillion varieties of orchids, many of the red, so I wonder if I can help her find red ones for me... If not, does anyone have other red flower suggestions? Thanks! I checked with the WC flower expert in our office and she said she is not sure if she has ever seen red orchids before in the florists in the Riviera Maya. We called our best florist and they do not even offer them for special order. Her best suggestion for an alternative is a red alstroemeria (sp?) but she mentioned those are not as dark red as the red orchid. By the way, I saw that you are doing your wedding at Al Cielo. That is a beautiful location and I think you made a great choice. Take care and good luck.
  20. The Royal is a beautiful site to do a wedding and it is in a great location being so close to 5th avenue. Just keep in mind when you book a December wedding to get ahead on making reservations at any off-site restaurants as high season takes off in December and reservations at top locations fill up fast. Good luck and congratulations!
  21. Hello everyone, My name is Vaughan Long and I am the General Director of Ajua Weddings in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Ajua Weddings has been creating destination weddings with our clients since 2004 and we have a great team in Playa to help anyone in planning their event. Not only to we do wedding planning, but we also own an excellent 5-star restaurant in Playa named Ajua Maya. Also, please know that we do work with any restaurants in Playa when planning your wedding event (receptions, rehearsals, etc.) We are very proud of the testimonials on our websites and would love to share them with you at: Weddings: ajuaweddings.com Restaurant: ajuamaya.com In addition, you are welcome to contact us at coordinator@ajuaweddings.com or through our US phone line of 512-351-4557. Thank you for your time and we look forward to sharing any advice we can regarding destination weddings in the Riviera Maya. Take care, Vaughan
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