Mexican Dreams


by Ilona Kauremszky

Mexico - Snug on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, Jennifer Aniston sans Brad Pitt is lapping up a spa treatment before jetting from her luxury resort to rendezvous with her latest paramour Vince Vaughn.

Meanwhile Hollywood’s other newest celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are feverishly preparing the final touches for their big beach bash wedding scheduled this winter along the powdery beaches of Cancun.

Sounds like a dream destination where you can fluff off your woes and start brand new.

Today, tour companies are actively creating wedding packages and many Caribbean countries are eager to address this bulging market. Last May, Mexico released details on the upswing in weddings in a release aptly titled, “Savvy Couples head south for nuptials.” To boot, the Caribbean Wedding Association predicts the exotic marital phenomenon is now on the rise and will continue to grow.

Mexico is a hot spot this winter among celebrities. It’s one of their favorite destinations where they can de-stress, unwind and relax and many are opting for the beachfront instead of the ballroom for their special wedding date. While most of us don’t carry a million-dollar pocketbook, we do share a love of glam resorts, tropical sun and azure seas. So here’s a quick list of favorite spots to tie the knot:

Mayan Riviera
The Mayan kings were so enchanted with this stretch of sun-kissed shores, hot dry climate and tropical jungle they built their empires along the low-lying peninsula. Today, the Yucatan Peninsula, besides possessing the largest number of resorts in Mexico, houses some important Mayan ruins and boasts the second largest coral reef barrier in the world.

Near the resort hubs of Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Cancun, city buses and group tours whisk visitors to the ruins of Tulum, Chichén-Itzá, Uxmal and Palenque.

For sun worshippers, the ancient city of Tulum perched on the edge of limestone cliffs overlooks the azure waters of the Caribbean. Ever since the 1840s, this abandoned port city which translates as “City of the Dawn” has spell-bounded visitors.

Considered Tulum's first tourist, American author and adventurer John Lloyd Stephens penned, "We had found this one of the most interesting places we had seen in our whole exploration of ruins."

Glittering like a jewel high atop a 40-foot bluff, El Castillo served as a temple and a lighthouse, navigating Mayans to this once important trading hub. Today, busloads of tourists arrive and dip in the warm clear waters. When I ventured here, our bus drove to Tulum and made a quick stop at el crucero "the crossroads" where colorful handcrafts culled from local craftsmen are neatly displayed.

Mexico’s Mecca for romance Cancun is part of the exotic Mayan Riviera. This well-healed resort destination has all the amenities in place and remains Mexico’s most important tourist town.

When John Trigiani and Teresa Batista married in the Mayan Riviera last August the Toronto couple never dreamed of getting hitched during hurricane season, but did. Luckily they managed to avoid a big storm and have no regrets. For the two busy urban professionals, John, a photographer and dot-com owner, and Teresa, a graphic designer, the place was paradise.

“We wanted a place that specialized in weddings. Our first choice was completely booked,” explains Trigiani. “Yet it worked out for the best.” During the first week, the couple spent time bonding with their small wedding party of nine. For week two, the couple changed resorts for their “honeymoon” and went on a shopping spree purchasing lots of silver and handcrafts along Playa del Carmen’s mini “Fifth Avenue.”

Acapulco
Blessed with perfect sunsets and flanked by the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains, Acapulco is known as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” A ribbon of four and five-star seaside resorts over the years has been a magnet for celebrity couples like Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd who wed here and the Camelot couple, John F. Kennedy and Jackie who honeymooned here in 1953. The resort destination has been a favorite nuptial destination ever since.

Even the King of Rock’n’Roll Elvis Presley sprinkled his star dust when he filmed “Fun in Acapulco” back in 1963 which transformed the sheer rocky cliff outcroppings into a cliff-diving hub not to mention the place where his on-screen character snagged the heart of his leading lady Ursula Andress.

Puerto Vallarta
This former sleepy fishing village caught the eye of Richard Burton when he starred in the “Night of the Iguana.” Ever since, the mini-paradise immortalized by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has evolved into one of the world’s top resort towns. Today, the waterfront is dotted with art galleries and crafts shops and the small alleyways are open to quaint shops. For film buffs, drop by "Gringo Gulch" in the heart of the old town where Taylor and Burton nestled in their love nest at Casa Kimberley. The three-story castle-like getaway now houses a museum of mementos.

Sunwing Vacations provides group rates that can help you plan your Mexican dream wedding. Check the latest Sunwing brochure for weddings and honeymoon packages or visit www.sunwing.ca.


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