the Yucatan & Casa Hamaca
We recently had an architect as a guest at Casa Hamaca. He was on the original surveying and planning team for Cancun in the early 1970's. They camped in tents on the bare beach where the hotel zone now sits. This was a planned tourist development, from scratch, by the Mexican government. The original plan for the non-hotel zone was for no more than 30,000 people. Population in 2005 was estimated at 563,000. The word Cancun is probably of Mayan origin and can be translated as Nest of Vipers... an apt name, I think.

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Help Wanted: Archaeology or Art Conservation/Restoration student, professional or interested Amateur 
Three years ago I had the following mural painted in the grand salon of Casa Hamaca Guesthouse. It is based on a roll-out of a Mayan vase.

I really liked it but various people told me it was too much! So I had it pained over with another mural of Palenque after an original by Catherwood. This morning I came across the above photo and remembered just how much I like the original mural. So I am offering room and board at Casa Hamaca to someone who can "strip" the new mural, exposing the old one.
Not sure if they were done with oil-based or water-based paints. Not sure of the period of time between paintings. Not sure of many of the details. However, if you (or someone you know) might be interested in this project, contact me at or at Thanks for any leads.

The same place I found the photo of the old mural, I found a photo of the gardens taken in July 2007. From the same vantage point, now you cannot see the main building of Casa Hamaca... that's how much the garden has grown. Here's the "Then" photo.

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Harvesting Wild Vanilla in the Yucatan 
How to harvest wild vanilla plants in the Yucatan. The plants (a type of orchid) will be transplanted to the gardens of Casa Hamaca where they will climb avocado trees. The flowers will be very beautiful, however, I hope to actually harvest vanilla beans in the future if the local species of Melipona bee is around to pollinate the flowers.

Wikipedia says "Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, due to the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. Despite the expense, it is highly valued for its flavor, which author Frederic Rosengarten, Jr. described in The Book of Spices as "pure, spicy, and delicate" and its complex floral aroma depicted as a "peculiar bouquet." Despite its high cost, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture and aromatherapy." See:
for the full article.
YouTube video of the harvest

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Reading Glasses Distribution on Three Small Mayan Villages 
The women of Christ Lutheran Church, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA, donated a large number of new reading glasses to give away in the Yucatan of Mexico. Some of the staff of Casa Hamaca Guesthouse ( and I gave out over 120 pair of reading glasses on April 23, 2010 in three small villages in the Yucatan: Dzitox, Chan X-cail and San Pedro. We spent about two hours in each of the villages letting the people try on varying-strength reading glasses and attempt to read the paper. Many of the people also needed distance lenses but for distance we only had some used (donated) glasses without any idea of what strengths they were. However, some worked and the recipients went away very happy. Especially happy were the young kids who were having trouble learning to read because they needed corrective lens to help them. They went away with very big smiles. If you are interested in philanthropic, volunteer or cultural opportunities in the Yucatan, please contact or See a video at:

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the Apocalypse or just another day in Paradise? 

Deal of Your Lifetime
End of the World at the Center of the World
10,000 per night per person for December 21, 2012

the Apocalypse or just another day in Paradise?

Where will you and your loved ones be on December 21, 2012?
Will it be the end of the world as we know it?
A time of transition from one World Age into another.
A shift in consciousness?
Or simply the end of one cycle of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of another?
A time of rebirth? or a time of destruction?

Why Here?
Valladolid is near the "bellybutton" of the universe according to ancient Mayan tradition, so it might be the rebirth. Valladolid is near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and of Ek Balam, both of which are regarded as cosmic energy centers, so it might be a time of transition or a shift of consciousness. But Valladolid is also near the site where the great meteror of about 65,000,000 years ago slammed into Earth at Chichilub, Yucatan, and wiped out the dinosaurs, so it could be the end of the world as we know it.
Casa Hamaca Guesthouse is rated #1 Bed and Breakfast in Valladolid as reviewed by guests on Trip Advisor. And, reading between the lines, it is the best lodging of any kind for 100 miles around, in any direction. So, if you have to be somewhere for the end of the world, it might as well be here... at the epicenter of events... or just another day in paradise.

End of the World at the Center of the World Special:
10,000 per night per person for December 21, 2012, perhaps the last Winter Solstice of our lifetime.

Reservations now being accepted for the End of the World. This date is the end of a 25,000 year cycle of the Mayan calendar. And according to the film 2012, it also might be the end of the world as we know it.

Cost per person per night from Dec.15 to Dec. 20, 2012: 100. Full breakfast included.

Cost per person for the night of Dec. 21, 2012: 10,000. A special Last Supper included.
Cost per person for the night of Dec. 22, 2012: no charge for survivors who were paid guests on Dec. 21, 2012. Gala Brunch included on the 22nd. Full breakfast included on the morning of the 23rd.

Cost per person per night from Dec. 23, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2012: 100. Full breakfast included

All king suites and twin suites: two person minimum
Triple suite: three person minimum
Queen double suites: four person minimum
Dormitory accommodations in hammocks: Take 15% off above rates. Maximum 15 persons.

All reservations must be prepaid IN FULL (just in case).
No refunds.
Email Denis for details: or

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