I’m so very excited to share this bit of news with all of you, as I can finally announce something really big for myself, Ambergris Today and Belize. I am traveling to Cancun, Mexico, next week for the TBEX Travel Bloggers Conference. However, I am not only going to the largest blogger’s conference as an attendee. I have been honored by the organization to represent Belize and participate as a panelist speaker.
I’m nervous, scared, but most of all, excited for this amazing opportunity that no other Belizean has been given. I know that other Belizeans have attended TBEX before, but I will be the first Belizean to have been invited to speak at the conference. I am humbled by the fact that more popular and accomplished travel bloggers apply for this opportunity, and their proposals are rejected. For this conference, I was asked by Mary Jo, the head of TBEX, to participate in a panel discussion on “Blogging in Latin America”.
What? Me? Yeah? WOW!
I will be joined by a great friend and colleague of mine, Erin de Santiago, an amazing travel/food blogger and advocate of everything Belize (Belize Travel Examiner & Our Tasty Travels), Cancun based Kelly McLaughlin from A Canuck in Cancun and co-founder of #MexChat, and David Lee, co-founder of Travel Blog Success and publisher of successful sites like Go Backpacking and Medellin Living. Together we will be discussing the advantages and challenges of blogging in, and about, Latin America.
What is even more exciting is that both Erin and I have been sponsored in part by Belize’s national airline, Tropic Air, who will fly us directly from Belize to Cancun. We are going to explore some of Cancun’s best activities – and food of course – to help promote tourism between Belize and Cancun. This is a great opportunity to further open the doors of tourism now that Tropic Air has provided an even more convenient and faster means of connecting both countries.
This is amazing for Belize as I have been working hard in promoting my country through featured articles on Ambergris Today’s travel section called iTravel Belize. My goal has always been to open up the beauty of my home country to the world and showcase how amazingly blessed we are to have such a diverse place to call home. Sharing my Belizean experiences and inviting others to come see for themselves brings me immense satisfaction, because I know that each and every one of my fellow Belizeans will benefit from it.
As I expand my horizons to do more writing, blogging and promotion of my Belize, I see this opportunity opening more doors for myself, my business and my country. I plan on expanding my business, work more with Erin de Santiago, and write for other publications.
While some details and activities are still being worked out, here is some of what Erin and I will be up to next week. Please follow the hashtag #TBEX as well as our special hashtag #TropicCancun for social media updates on what we are doing!
Moon Palace Resorts Cancun
Moon Palace Resorts is sponsoring our stay and is the host of the conference itself. We will do our best to partake in such rough activities as eating at the restaurants, sampling signature drinks, lounging by the pool, and maybe making time for a spa session to ease my nerves before speaking!
This is such an exciting aspect of our trip. We will be on an evening tour of Xibalbá, the Mayan underworld. We will be swimming in an underground river and then enjoying a traditional Mexican dinner afterwards. This is our speakers’ dinner and welcome reception. The TBEX opening party is at Xcaret Park. This is an archeological park that offers Mayan jungles and Mexican culture infused into over 40 attractions.
Expedia “Selfie” Party
One of the highlights of any TBEX conference is the Expedia-sponsored party. For Cancun, look for “More Selfies in More Places” with lots of margaritas and Mexican eats from the Moonlight Terrace of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. Special hashtag for the party is #ExpediaTBEX.
Maya Culture Press Trip – Mayan Experience
After the conference, Erin and I have been invited on a multi-day trip to experience the local Maya culture in Mexico. With Mayan history playing such an important role in Belize’s own history, we are very excited to learn more about the region’s cultural roots. The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun will be providing our lodging as we explore this part of Mexico.
Here’s a look at some of the sights and activities we will be experiencing:
Tulum – pre-Columbian Maya walled city
Cancun Maya Museum
Dinner cooked on hot stones, eaten under a palapa on the beach
Coba – Nohoch Muul pyramid (not sure I’m brave enough to climb the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan)
Meet with a Maya family in Laguna Chabela
Visit Tres Reyes, an authentic Maya village
Swim in a Cenote
Eat a traditional Mayan meal
Learn about Yucatecan cuisine
Experience an authentic Temazcal — traditional Mexican steam bath that takes place in a round or domed structure made of stone or mud.
See why I am so exited? I feel so blessed, and will make the most of this opportunity to better myself, and my country. It is not only FUN, but there is a lot of work ahead, which I am prepared to take on with great stride and pride. We are still trying to put together a couple more activities while we are in Cancun, so please follow our various social media accounts for updates!