We hope that these Q and A’s will be helpful. Feel free to contact Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question that isn’t answered here.
- What should I bring for my sitting practice?
Please bring everything you need to be comfortable. This may include cushions, a bench, mats. It may not be easy to find what you need in Melaque. Please come well prepared. The meditation area is a multi use area so you will need to set up (and clear your belongings to the side) at least once each day.
2. What else should I pack to bring down?
Please bring comfortable light clothing, toiletries , sandals and walking shoes, a beach towel or two, a bathing suit or two.
Some optional stuff include- camera, snorkelling equipment, school supplies to donate, clothes to give away, bicycle lights (if you are interested in renting a bike and riding at night).
3. What is the climate like in late November?
November is a great time to visit. The rainy season (August-October) leaves a beautiful sheen of green. Warm sunny days, warm nights. Weather in November . Daily high temperatures 86-83°F (30-28 C)- Daily low temperatures 74°F – 70°F (23-21 C)
4. Is there WIFI in the hotel?
Yes. Please note that internet access is sometimes sporadic here, but it should work most of the time.
5. 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?
6. 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 vegetarian ingredients and introduce you (if you haven’t enjoyed them already) to vegetarian versions of local dishes including and not limited to….tacos, tostadas, tamales, …. 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.
For dinners, we will make restaurant recommendations. A few restaurants will offer vegetarian dishes prepared especially for our group. Of course, you are welcome to adventure and find new delicious spots.
7. 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).
8. What about tipping?
This is a personal choice and depends on the quality of service. I would personally recommend 30 pesos (approx. $1.50) 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 a “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.
11. What gets flushed down the toilets?
Because of different plumbing – only organic material (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.
12. 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.
13. How much spending money should I budget for?
You will need money 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. We request that no alcohol be brought into the hotel. Those who wish to drink during free time are asked to do so moderately. Alchohol is less expensive in Mexico.
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 $200-250 will cover the week (plus Dana).