Yucatan, Mexico: Chocolate and Surf Mud

As a California Native, I’ve traveled frequently to various places in Mexico. I even stayed once (when I was 19) for an unplanned year teaching horseback riding at a Club Med. That was because I visited for a holiday and didn’t want to leave. The property managers said I could stay beyond the 2 week holiday for free if I could make myself useful to other guests. And so I did. 

I taught horseback riding by day and took guests scuba diving by night. I fell in love with Mexico, especially the Baja Peninsula region. Riding out on horseback everyday, we became intimately familiar with the land and healing properties of plants. Jojoba, for example, is native to that region. We would pick and crush the seeds to make healing skin ointments for riders whose skin became abraded on our outings. 

As my life progressed I continued to travel regularly to South America  – especially from Belize out to the Yucatan Peninsula – for scuba diving trips and skincare ingredient reconnaissance.  When it comes to being out in the sun and ocean for extended periods, the best sunscreen ever is EiR NYC Surf Mud, inspired by none other than the Mayan chocolate mask.

As my obsession with ingredients imbued with a rich ethnobotanical heritage evolved, I worked more and more closely with a medical aromatherapist named Rodney Schwan. The course of Rodney’s life led him to immerse in the Mayan heritage of the family he married into, and to create a Maya Healing Balm made of mango butter, payaya, hibiscus extracts, and calendula along with other healing ingredients grown on his Abuela’s land outside of Mérida, Yucatan. Rodney makes the Maya Healing Balm to order. The only way to get it is to email him and request it. Then you’ll have to wait a long time while he works his magic, and pay a small fortune. The Maya Healing Balm is worth every penny of the $585 price tag for a 6oz jar.

When I use the Maya Healing Balm and Mayan inspired Surf Mud, I’m sitting right back on the balcony of our villa in Tulum watching lightning slash feverishly across the Caribbean Sea.

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