When the Fairmont Mayakoba invited me down to Mexico to learn all about the Melipona honeybee, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been lucky to travel to Mexico a lot this year, but was particularly excited for this trip because as you may or may not know, I am a HUGE NERD. Whenever a trip promises to teach me something new (that I can ideally pass along to you), I geek out. The Melipona bees are these super rare bees that don’t sting. As a part of their sustainability project, the Fairmont actually cultivates these bees on site and uses the honey in their restaurant + spa. Over the course of three days, we dined at the property’s many restaurants, experienced the spa, and even spent a day in the rainforest at the home of a Mayan family. Pretty cool, right?
So, let’s dive in – I have a lot to tell you! First of all, let’s get our bearings! The Fairmont Mayakoba is located in Playa del Carmen which is more or less halfway between Tulum and Cancun. (To get there, you fly into Cancun and drive about an hour). You know by now how much I love Tulum, so it was fun getting to see another part of the Yukatan Peninsula. There are about 400 rooms in the hotel – all very spread out. (The property has complimentary bikes and golf carts that run back and forth between the main lobby all the way down to the beach). I stayed in a deluxe casita room which felt (by New York standards) like a private home. I had a little deck overlooking the jungle and the canal… a mini tropical oasis. There are monkeys that live in the jungle… they’ll come out and visit if you’re lucky!
On our first night, we were treated to a private cooking demonstration, where we saw firsthand how the hotel incorporates honey into their menu offering. We first made a rum based cocktail that was sweetened with honey (so delicious!). From there we glazed a black cod in honey and coriander (my personal favorite) and also made made a honey salad dressing using passion fruit (passion fruit acts like a vinaigrette, for the record!), onion, and garlic.
Hanging out with Katie… she is the cutest and I really loved getting to know her better on this trip. Especially now that I know she loves passionfruit margaritas as much as I do. You can tell a lot about a person based on their cocktail of choice, am I right? Read her post from the trip here.
I absolutely love this kaftan from my friend Mara’s collection with Morning Lavender. It’s easy and breezy and I love the blue & white pattern. Also I get asked about my gold Birkenstocks quite a bit. I got mine ages ago at J.Crew – they always sell out! Luckily they are back this year – at Barney’s, though!
I included a detail shot of my bag as yes, the bag is great, but it’s sort of a hot mess when you put a lot of stuff in it. I used it as my main bag for the trip so it had my camera, itinerary, and a map of the resort inside of it. It looks pretty messy. When I’m at home I use a blush pink dust bag inside of it… it keeps things from falling out, and hides your stuff!
Here is the Fairmont’s hive. It’s worth noting that the Melipona bee (one of 16 indigenous bee species to the Yukatan) has been an important part of the Mayan culture + religion for over a thousand years!! Back then, the honey and wax were used as a rom of trade and in modern times the honey is used in medicine – as a natural antibiotic, to eliminate cataracts, to prevent throat infections, and to soften mothers’ muscles during childbirth.
This was a favorite outfit from the trip. This dress is really fun (and it’s on sale). If you get it, size down as it runs very big. I am wearing a small and it’s pretty loose. I paired it (again) with my Cult Gaia Bag, these BaubleBar earrings (my fav right now), and these Splendid ankle-tie sandals (which are SO comfy).
Also, this is what my hair looks like when I dry it naturally (no blowout or Beachwaver). Most of the trip it was in a ponytail, but at dinner I’d spray in a hefty dose of this salt spray, scrunch it, and hope for the best. Mexico is very humid and with our packed itinerary there was definitely no time for heat styling!!!
One of the real highlights of the trip was spending a day with a Mayan family in Chabela, Coba. They welcomed us into their home, showed us the property and how they harvest honey, and even cooked us a traditional Mayan meal. It was one of those things I’ll never forget – the true stuff of “bucket lists.”
But let’s talk about honey and bee politics, because this is where things get really fascinating.
The bees get their pollen from 13 different trees. All of the bees in the hive were female. The male bees are drones. They only come during the honey season… once they serve their purpose, the queen kills them. Each hive has a queen and a princess and guards. If a bee tries to come intot he hive wihtout pollen, they will actually get turned away. Also, the bees sleep thirteen hours every night!!
We extracted (yes, I did this with my own hands!) honey from the hive using a syringe and then tasted it (so yummy)… it was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve done!
No but seriously how do I get one of these hammocks for my apartment?!
A big thank you to Fairmont Mayakoba for a fun filled trip!
Spending a day with the Mayan family sounds awesome. It’s the perfect way to look into a local’s life, much more fulfilling than just going to the tourist spots! (though those are great too)
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
thanks charmaine – it was a really special day – definitely something I will always remember!!!
I had no idea that those bees existed! I have a really big fear of bees even though I also respect them a lot but every time I see one I run away so being that close to bees knowing they don’t sting would still make me really anxious haha I’m glad you had fun on your trip, it did seem really great.
haha that’s totally understandable… for me, once i knew they wouldn’t sting me, I got really curious and wanted to see them close up! It was really awesome!
Charming outfit! Lovely photo diary!
thanks, natali! xo
What an incredible trip! I loved learning more about the bees and how they are sustainably harvesting their honey. So cool!!
aw thanks emily! it was a really cool experience! xx
Mexico looks good on you girl!!
thanks, friend! xo
This is amazing! Looks like a beautiful trip.
Briana | youngsophisticate.com
Thanks Briana! Have a great weekend. 🙂
This sounds like a really fun trip! I stayed at Mayakoba a few years ago and absolutely loved it, everything there is beautiful! But those bees… I know you said that they don’t sting but I think it would be hard to stick my hand in there and get the honey! ha, I’m can be a scardy-cat sometimes! Did you get nervous/ scared at all?
You know, I wasn’t scared! I think because I knew they couldn’t hurt me? I’m terrified of regular bees, though!!!
Wow! Mexico and a chance to learn something and visit with locals? I’m in. Not my favorite time of year to travel there, as I’m not a fan of humidity. Love your kaftan. Was really hoping it came in other colors. I’ll have to try that salt spray. I still think the John Frieda is still my fav. I bought the bumble and bumble mousse hybrid and it doesn’t work as well for me as the spray. Also, I’m going to be in Brooklyn visiting my sissy at the end of June, 30,31 st. Hoping you are in town, so we can finally have that ice coffee! Great post. Jealous!
It was such an incredible trip!!! I love the John Frieda spray as well – it’s a good one.
Yay for Brooklyn. Right now I will be here those days so would be great to meet! xx
What a fantastic trip!!! Honey is definitely one of those items I take for granted, especially when I’m freaking out about a bee possibly stinging me!
The link for your awesome white sundress was bringing me to the beach waver. Any chance you’d mind posting it here?
Sorry about that! Was having issues with the linking tool I use – here you go!! http://shopstyle.it/l/jRp (it’s fixed in the post too!)
Hi! I sent a question on Instagram, but I’m not really sure how that works honestly. I LOVE the kaftan, it is so pretty. I was wondering if it is too sheer to wear as a dress and not just a swimsuit coverup? I love the blue.
Mmmmm… I’d probably stick to it as a coverup, unless you maybe wear a nude slip underneath? The fabric is pretty thin! x
I have the same love for the Yucatan and Tulum – but this experience looks absolutely fascinating. Natural hair is sometimes the best feeling, right?! With all your Mexico travel you need to add Mexico City to your bucket list. It’s vastly different from the coast obviously but i feel like you’d be into it 🙂
okay, you look so pretty and glowy! love that caftan!
Thanks so much Brittany! Hope you had a great weekend. xx
Your hair in its natural state looks amazing, I’m jealous.
You are so sweet – thank you!!!