Offer to Residents of the Costa Alegre area- YOGA and QIGONG

Learning on Vacation invites residents of the Costa Alegre to join our classes. Pre-Registration is encouraged so we are prepared to host you well.

For Yoginis- Nov 20-24, 2018

Dawn and Noel at beach

We are pleased that Noel Wright R.AC, acupuncturist, Acupuncture and Yoga teacher, will be leading a course in Meridian Flow Yoga in Melaque from November 19th-26th, 2018. Dawn Aarons (Didi) will be hosting the week and teaching evening Qigong classes.

We have participants coming  for a package deal that includes hotel stay, meals and excursions. We invite locals to join us for classes.

If you will be in the area and would like to join for the classes, Yoga classes will be held on the Viva Maria dance floor from 8-9am on Tuesday November 20th, Wednesday Nov 21st, Friday Nov 23rd, and Sat Nov 24th. Qigong classes will be held at the Vayor Hotel from 6-7pm on Wed Nov 21st, Thurs  Nov 22nd, and Sat Nov 24th.

Noel teaches “Meridian Flow Yoga” – it is a gentle style which incorporates an understanding of the energy flow through the Meridians and their correspondences. It’s  yoga meets Chinese Medicine energetics – a combination that works. The class is open to all abilities. These classes could be of interest to Yoga Instructors who are interested in picking up a new approach/modality. Beginners are also welcome.

Qigong classes will expand on themes introduced in the yoga classes as well as emphasizing relaxation in movement, deep breathing, and universal connections.

Drop in fees will be 100p per class or 300 pesos for 4 classes (prepurchased).

Local participants will also have the option of joining for meals at a fee if this is arranged in advance.

ad- meridian flow yoga and qigong.jpg

For more information about Noel and the activities planned that week  visit:

Yoga and Qigong Adventure


Offer to Locals- Residents of the Costa Alegre area- Ukulele

Learning on Vacation invites residents of the Costa Alegre to join our classes. Pre-Registration is encouraged so we are prepared to host you well.

For Ukulele Fans- Nov 13-18


We are pleased that Ben Hassinger, founder of Mighty Uke Day and an esteemed Ukulele teacher, will be leading a week long course in Melaque from November 13-18th, 2018. Participants are coming from across Canada and the USA (a small group) for a package deal that includes hotel stay and meals.


If you will be in the area and would like to join for the classes (and strums/jam’s) only, you are welcome. Register for the whole package (4 2hr classes and at least 4 evening jams for 1000pesos). A single drop in class is 300p and the jams are free and open to all – participants and listeners. Our jam schedule will be posted in November.


Local participants will also have the option of joining for meals if this is arranged in advance.


Classes will be held from 10am-noon on the Tuesday Nov 13, Wednesday Nov 14, Friday Nov 16, Saturday Nov 17. There will be an informal performance on the Saturday night.

Evening Jam schedule TBA (we will likely go for dinner at 7pm and jam around 8).

Ukulele Vacations, Yoga Vacations

Activities with Learning on Vacation

For a small town, Melaque and surrounding areas offer a lot of activity options.

The activities listed below are just some of the fun things you may want to do.The first section explains more about the activities that are offered as part of the package. The second section is a  list of other activity options.


Activities recommended in the package:

(all activities are optional of course)

Morning Activities include:


Hiking with Lola (Dawn’s dog) to the Mirador – a lookout approx. 30 minutes from the hotel. This hike is on a dirt road with an easy slope. Some community members chose to jog or cycle up the road.


Biking – bikes are available for under $2/day (and are included in the one group bike trip). There is a beautiful lagoon on he other side of town. Or you can bike anywhere!


Yoga – a local yoga teacher offers a class from 8-9am. Participants might chose to walk or bike to yoga. 90 pesos (approx. $6 CAN) per class.


The beach –  walk, sit, meditate, enjoy a coffee…

Birdwatching – up the mountain, by the lagoon, or just outside your window.

Sleeping In – always a good option!


Planned Excursions


Bike trip to Jaluco – This morning ride will take us out of town and onto the back roads where you will see farmer’s fields and small communities. We will stop at a Fonda – small restaurant, owned by a fabulous cook named Rufina. Rufina will prepare us breakfast, fresh squeezed orange juice and special coffee. Fortified, we will return to the hotel on a shorter, more direct route. The bikes we rent are not new, but are all in good working order.


Lunch in Colimilla – This outing includes taking the local bus in Melaque (you can think of it as a tour bus as it will take us all over town) to a nearby town, Barra de Navidad. From Barra we will take a short boat ride to a restaurant in a village called Colimilla.
We will enjoy a leisurely lunch there, and then return to Barra. Barra has excellent shopping, a small museum and some great café’s and restaurants. People will have free time to roam in Barra for a few hours until we meet at the rooftop of the Alondra Hotel for sunset. After sunset, there is the option to dine in Barra. The return to the hotel will need to be by taxi at the cost of 90 pesos ( approx.. $6 CAN )for up to 4 people.


Other recommended destinations/excursions/activities:


Cuastacomates, a nearby beach town, has a lovely beach and snorkeling. There are reastaurants along the beachfront with umbrellas. All are welcome to relax and enjoy time unrushed, even just with the purchase of a drink. A nice option for a beach afternoon.  Early morning, it is a great walk to Cuastacomates (approx.. 45 minutes each way).

La Manzanilla is a nearby town that is reachable by public transport (12 pesos/$1 CAN) or by taxi (180pesos, approx. $13). La Marsnzanilla is known for it’s crocodiles, arts community, and excellent long beach.

A Sunset Mangrove Crocodile and bird watching tour in La Manzanilla will be offered to the group (optional) for 400p (approx $30) per person.

Boca de Iguanas  is at the far end of the La Manzanilla beach. There is a boutique hotel/restaurant there (not much else) accessible by car or by a long walk on the beach. A beautiful spot with good food.



Horseback Riding

Skim Boarding


Paddle Boating


Yoga Classes



ask Didi for more information and to help arrange any activities you are interested in.


Ukulele Vacations, Yoga Vacations

Recommended Flight from Toronto

Learning on Vacation events in 2018 runs from Monday to Monday.

If you are able to fly out from Toronto, you can fly together with the teacher, Ben, Noel  or Yuxiang, and other group members. We recommend flying with Aeromexico with 1 stop over in Mexico City. (easy to book at aeromexico.com)

These are the details for this flight.

Flight 1-

Airline: Aeromexico

Departure Time: 9:15am

Flight Number: AM693

Duration: 5 hours to Mexico City

Arrival Time: 1:20pm


Flight 2 –

Airline: Aeromexico

Departure Time: 6:05pm

Flight Number: AM2568

Duration: 1.5 hours to Manzanillo

Arrival Time: 7:29pm

You will be picked up at the airport and driven to the hotel. A late dinner will be served at the hotel.



Returning to Toronto, we recommend:


Flight 1

Airline: Aeromexico

Departure Time: 11:35am

Flight Number: AM2565

Duration: 1 hour 20 min to Mexico City

Arrival Time: 1:05pm


Flight 2

Airline: Aeromexico

Departure Time: 5:25pm

Flight Number: AM616

Duration: 5 hours to Toronto

Arrival Time: 11:25pm


As of April 24th, 2018 this flight is advertised for $504 CAN. This is an excellent price. We can offer no guarantee on price nor availability. Book soon to avoid disappointment.

If you are coming from somewhere else and it is easy to make your way to Mexico City, try to join the second flight (AM 2568 departing Mexico City at 6:05pm). People joining from other flights will likely need to taxi to the hotel. Please discuss your plans with Dawn.




Mike Kane 13

We hope that these Q and A’s will answer questions you have had too. Contact Dawn at learningvacationsmexico@gmail.com if you have a question that isn’t answered here.

  1. Do I need to bring my own Ukulele/Yoga Mat?

Yes please. We do not have spare ones for you, and they are not available to buy.

2. What about sheets and towels?

Sheets, pillows, blankets, and hotel towels are provided. Please bring your own beach towel/sheet if you like to lie on the sand. Most commonly people sit in plastic chairs at the beach. It’s popular to use a “pareo” as a wrap around, towel, beach cover – they are made of light cotton and large enough to lie on comfortably. They are for sale all over (for about $10) or maybe you have one?

3. Is there WIFI in the hotel?

Yes. Please note that internet access is sometimes sporadic here,  but it should work most of the time.

4. What can we expect regarding the food?

You are in for a treat. Mexican food is delicious. Some put lime and chili on everything. We will leave it on the side for those who want to take the right amount for them. The food is fresh and tastes more delicious in Mexico. Our chef will use only the finest ingredients and introduce you (if you haven’t enjoyed them already) to local dishes including and not limited to….tacos, tostadas, tamales, pozole…. We will also respond to the specific preferences of each person (one of the benefits of being a small group). We guarantee the food will be generous in quantity, fresh and delicious.

5. Should I bring cash/ get pesos ahead of time?

If it makes you comfortable to have some Mexican currency from the get-go, by all means change a small amount; however, the best exchange rate available is at bank machines. There are a couple in town. Most venders prefer pesos. We can make a visit to the bank on the first evening so you are comfortable with how to find it (and how to switch the machine to English if your Spanish isn’t strong).

6. What about tipping?

This is a personal choice and depends on the quality of service. I would personally recommend 30 pesos (approx. $2CAN) per day for the hotel room cleaning- either daily or as a lump sum at the end of the week.

At restaurants, similar to home, I leave 15-20% based on service. For inexpensive bills I often leave more than 20%. Tips are not expected but they are very appreciated. Especially in November (the end of the low season) workers have very little money and it makes a huge difference to them and their families.

The one service that I do not tip for is taxi service. It felt strange at first but I often find the driver raises the fare anyway, so I figure their tip is included. Once again, a personal choice.

7. Is it dangerous?

I feel very safe here (even safer than Toronto and I feel safe in Toronto too). The same basic safety rules apply. I believe you will feel very comfortable here and be surprised at how friendly and warm the local people are. Melaque is very family oriented. You will see many children out (even until 10-11pm) and children are welcome everywhere. If you have any specific safety questions, please let me know.

8. What about the water?

It is recommended not to drink water directly from the tap. Even the local people use filtered water and definitely all restaurants use only filtered water and wash fruits and vegetables carefully.

Filtered water will be made easily available to you. Almost everyone here uses water from s “garafon” – a large plastic container. Full containers are sold from trucks that drive around the neighbourhood. The hotel will provide all the water you need. Feel free to fill up water bottles at the hotel.

It is fine to shower in the tap water.

9. What gets flushed down the toilets?

Because of different plumbing – only pees and poos get flushed. Toilet paper is to be thrown into the garbage beside the toilet. This can be strange at first. Please make an effort to remember as paper down the toilet will clog the system. Having said that, I have forgotten on occasion.

10. Do the local people speak English?

Some do, but the majority do not. If you make an effort (even just using “Por favor”- Please and “Gracias”- Thank you) you will notice how friendly and patient most people are. It’s is easy to get around without Spanish- those in the service industries at least know to help you get what you want and need.

11. How much spending money should I budget for?

You will need money for 1 lunch (we are going to a seafood restaurant – I would recommend budgeting on spending $20 though it could be much less depending on what you want), and for 6 dinners. How much you spend on dinner depends on where you go (given a variety of choices I would estimate dinner costing between $5-$20 each night).

You will also want money for drinks and snacks between meals. If you like to drink at night, keep that in mind too. Alcoholic drinks are cheaper here.

You might also want to buy gifts. There are many beautiful things. I personally love the textiles. There is also jewelry, ceramics, carvings, ….

For someone who chooses less expensive meals, buys a few small gifts and a moderate number of drinks I’d say that $200-300CAN will cover the week.







Ukulele Vacations

Ukulele Party

Join us for a great party! Enjoy a week in a tropical paradise. Play in group classes, prepare new material to share at open mic performances, and enjoy the company of like minded musicians.

The Ukulele Party week will include lots of time for rest and relaxation. Enjoy the surf and sand on Melaque Bay just one block from your hotel.

For active types, there are opportunities to hike, take yoga classes, swimming and water sports, bike riding, horseback riding and more.

Breakfasts and lunches are included in the package. Delight in delicious Mexican meals prepared with the freshest ingredients with love. For dinner, venture into town for a variety of delectable options at local restaurants and food stands.


Learn Here!

Combine a beach vacation with a learning opportunity!

Have a fabulous time on the Pacific Coast of Mexico while also learning new skills.

Be it playing the Ukulele, practicing Yoga and Qigong,  or completing continuing education requirements while learning skills that will improve your professional excellence as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner…

Enjoy learning in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with delicious meals and interesting company.

Visit our main page for more information.


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton