Welcome to my home. Mi casa es tu casa.
At a bed and breakfast, the people make the difference... people such as the host, the staff and the guests. The mix of people and the resulting interaction in a b'n'b is more like the interactions of an extended family. A bed and breakfast is, by nature, much more intimate, more homey than is a hotel. Easier for a guest to ask a question or look for a suggestion. Easier to sit down and talk with someone... be it the host, one of the staff members or a fellow guest. Easier to feel like a houseguest rather than just another number.
Denis Larsen is the owner and on-site manager.
Denis has been traveling to Valladolid and other parts of the Yucatan since 1996...always fascinated with Valladolid and its environs. In 2005 he purchased a beautiful casa in the historic district he wishes to share with you. He likes to talk and to listen. He likes to meet new people and spend time chatting with them and getting to know them. He likes to cook as well.
He was born in the USA in the state of North Dakota and raised in Montana. He has since lived in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Madrid (Spain), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Isla Mujeres (México). He was educated at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), the School of Visual Arts (NYC), the Parsons School of Design/New School (NYC) and Healing Hands Institute for Massage Therapy (Westwood, NJ). Denis has a background of Industrial Design and New Consumer Product Development. He has lectured at Parsons School of Design (NY), Ramapo University (NJ) and the Halifax College of Art and Design (NS) and taught Elderhostel courses on Japanese woodblocks prints and the history of printing for a number of years. Denis has volunteered with the Mayan Research Program in both Belize and in the Yucatán on archaeological and anthropological projects. Denis was a nationally certified (USA) and licensed (Connecticut) massage therapist and bodyworker and is still Executive Director of the aNeed2Heal Bodywork Centers. aNeed2Heal Bodywork Centers were approved providers of continuing education for massage therapists and bodyworkers by the National Certification Board for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers (NCBTMB). We have chosen not to renew our certification for a variety of reasons. Denis has provided massage services in the USA, Mexico, Greece (at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens), Ecuador and Peru. He recently completed a "Técnicas de Spa" workshop for students of the Institito Tecnológico Superior de Valladolid (ITSVA) as well as one for the Universidad de Valladolid Yucatán (UVY). In 2011 he delivered lectures of the importance of English in the world of globalization at the Universidad de Oriente (UNO) and at Universidad de Valladolid Yucatán (UVY).
The Academia AMI is on the grounds of Casa Hamaca. The academia provides tutorial and remedial educational services in mathematics and English for secondary, preparatory and university-level students. Classes in Spanish for foreigners are also available.
Casa Hamaca's restaurant and bar, Xoco Loco, is open in the palapa from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. The breakfast menu includes over 12 interesting and delicious meals. The afternoon and evening menu features botanas and lighter fare and is priced for local university students as well as Casa Hamaca guests and other tourists.
In November of 2011, the Valladolid English Library was officially opened on the grounds of Casa Hamaca. Denis is a founding member and is currently president of the library.
He is attempting to learn some Yucatec Mayan since all of the Casa Hamaca staff speak Mayan. The few words Denis already knows always bring at least a smile if not an outright laugh, when he uses them in a Mayan village or at the lunch table.
In addition to his other acitivities, Denis also volunteered with Mano Amiga in various parts of Mexico. In the states of Yucatán and Quintana Roo in Mexico, he helped with roof construction, food distribution, reading glasses distribution, medical missions and substance-abuse rehabilitation.
Some links to recent articles about Casa Hamaca and/or Valladolid include:
The Last Supper/Ultima Cena: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2012/12/the-last-supper-la-ultima-cena/
San Francisco Cronicle article: http://www.sfgate.com/mexico/article/Colonial-Valladolid-blooms-with-artisans-history-4735582.php#page-1
Trailer for PBS documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1bHVK0CKyY
Promotional ad for the Mexican Tourist Board: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQYP9rETshA
Radio Interview: http://www.sabrams.com/showNotes/shownotes.php?showID=000344#1137
eMaya Promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PukHMdRTAKI
Links to guests who do interesting stuff
Travel blog of a British couple riding bicycles from Cancun to Denver