Enticing Mexican Festivities

Mexico is a destination that never disappoints and remains a top pick for Incentive Travel programs at all levels. With a range of hotel, resort and all-inclusive choices and ample activities, this destination has a charm that appeals to every demographic.

We create an authentic, luxury experience for our participants by offering a list of little known Mexican festivities that you may want to consider when booking your next Incentive trip in Mexico.


Although you may tend to think of Rio for Carnival, Mexico has it’s own version of Carnival celebrations that take place the last week of February every year. If you want to see an authentic Mexican Carnival event head to Mazitlan where you will find thousands taking to the streets in elaborate costumes.  The weeklong fête includes parades, balls and merriment going well into the early morning hours.

Dia de la Candelaria

The Dia de la Candelaria is celebrated each February 2nd across the county.  This gorgeous celebration is festooned with thousands candles and flowers of every color.  Families bring a dressed up baby Jesus as an offering of thanks for a blessed year.  In pre-Hispanic times, villagers would bring corn through the streets on February 2nd according to the Mayan calendar in exchange for a healthy harvest.

If you are lucky enough to be in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz at this time, you will see this festival complete, parades and delicious tamales.

Fiesta de Santa Cecilia

An entire festival centered on the patron saint of music is bound to be a great time! Every November in Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi is transformed into an open-air party with various music styles playing throughout the day.  This party culminates with more than 500 musicians from all backgrounds singing Las Mañantas to the patroness of mariachis.  While in Mexico City, we recommend staying at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico, D.F. , The St. Regis Mexico City or any of the luxury resorts where you will experience the finest accommodations and service.

BPM Festival

And speaking of music, the BPM festival in Playa del Carmen kicks off each New Year with the largest dance music festival in the world.  Thousands of visitors travel to the area every year to take part in dance parties on one of the countries most beautiful Caribbean shorelines.  For a span of 10 days, festivalgoers enjoy 400 artists all while taking in the splendor of Riviera Maya.

From Cancun to Los Cabos, Mexico is a country of great heritage and an endless source of fascination for travelers.  Whether you’ve been once or several times, there is always something new to discover. JNR will incorporate authentic touches into your next Incentive program in Mexico or anywhere in the world you would like to go.

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Information based on A calendar of less-familiar festivities by Meagan Drillinger which was published in Travel Weekly in September 2016.


Written by Barbara Williamson


JNR is a full service, globally recognized leader in the incentive industry offering solutions for Meetings and Conferences, Incentive Travel, Special Events and Entertainment, Prepaid Card Services and AXS Contact Center Solutions. We have over 36 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies across many industries. Our clients trust our comprehensive suite of solutions that offer a better way to reach performance, productivity and loyalty objectives. JNR tends to every detail of your program to ensure an extraordinary experience for your customers, employees and participants and a favorable return on your investment. We allow you to step away from the logistical details and let you focus on what you do best.

Mexican Travel Spotlight: Mexican Sugar Skull Recipe

JNR stays close to home this month, with a journey through the heritage and culture of Mexico. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, falls on the first and second of November and honors those who have passed. During these days, it is said that the spirits of the dead visit their families and loved ones. It is common for Mexican households to prepare altars with offerings for the deceased and to visit gravesites with gifts and decorations.

Rituals include making the deceased’s favorite food and serving it as an Ofrenda (Offering). These items may include tamales, Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread) and sugar skulls.

Sugar was first introduced to Mexico by the Italian missionaries in the 17th century and often used for decorations in churches as it was a cheaper alternative to the expensive European imports. Sugar skulls were incorporated in the Dia de los Meurtos rituals in the 18th century and have since been used to represent the souls of the departed. It is common for the skulls to bear the name of the deceased across the forehead and they are characterized by big happy smiles and colorful icing.

Today we are sharing a recipe for this vibrant tradition below.

Sugar Skull Recipe 

Total Time:     35 min

Prep:     10 min

Cook:    25 min (additional time for icing to dry)

Yield:   2

Level:    Moderate



  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4” plastic skull mold


Icing Ingredients (additional required for decorating)

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Desired food color



Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and egg white in a bowl. Blend mixture together with your fingers.

Pack sugar firmly into the front and the back sections of the plastic skull mold. Using a spoon create a shell that is ½” thick in the mold. Place baking pan behind the mold and invert the mold onto the pan. Tap the mold gently to release the sugar skull as you lift the mold off. If the mixture crumbles add more egg whites. Repeat the process to make the second sugar skull.

Bake the sugar skulls for 25 minutes or until the surface feels hard and solid when lightly touched. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Using an electric beater on high, whip the egg white and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar.

Join the front and the back sections of the sugar skull using the icing sugar as glue. Let stand for 1 hour or until the icing is firm.

Repeat directions above to make additional icing sugar to decorate sugar skulls. Add the desired color and amount of food die. Using a pastry bag with a plain tip, pipe icing onto the sugar skulls in desired decoration. Let stand for 1 hour or until icing is firm.

To store, wrap airtight.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a magical incentive trip to Mexico, where participants can taste the delights of traditional Mexican food first hand, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.


Other recipes to check out:

Indian Spotlight: Indian Vegetable Biryani Recipe

German Spotlight: German Honey Cookies

South African Spotlight: Bobotie Recipe

United Kingdom Spotlight: Yorkshire Parkin Recipe


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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Sugar Skulls” by Alex Alonso is licensed under CC By 2.0

JNR Program Participants Revamp a Mexican School

Thank you for all your help, the new chairs, the curtains, teacher’s desks and their chairs, everything is so pretty!”

Everyone likes to know that their actions are appreciated and valued, so it is quite rewarding to hear the preceding words thrown your way, regardless of context. When you find out that they were said by a 5th grader, it makes them downright heartwarming.

Feedback like this is what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are all about. Volunteering your time, resources and efforts to better the lives of those less fortunate than you is the foundation for many CSR programs. Aside from the warm feelings created, these programs are very effective in improving the performance of companies by encouraging customer loyalty, attracting top talent and engaging employees. A 2013 study by Reputation Institute on Reputation and Corporate Social Responsibility found that 73% of consumers across the 15 largest markets are willing to recommend a company based on their CSR activities.

CSR initiatives that cover ethical issues relating to environment, human rights, supply-chain sustainability, consumers and transparency with corporate governance are so important that a 2013 survey found that 97% of companies surveyed had an operating budget for them in place. This was up 16% from the study in 2010 and a sign that these programs are not going away. Two other interesting statistics from the same article note that 80% of the 250 most profitable companies globally filed CSR reports in 2008 and 72% stated that they would pick a job at an “eco-friendly company” over others if they had the choice.

With all of this in mind, JNR is consistently working with clients to create CSR programs that operate in conjunction with our incentive travel, meeting and event programs. There is no better time to give back to a community than when all of your top team members are gathered in another part of the world and presented with the chance to better the lives of locals. Participants will leave the destination with everlasting memories of not only the fun they had, but also of their worthwhile contributions to their hosting community.

On a recent sales incentive program that we implemented for a large client in Punta Mita, Mexico, we gave the participants a chance to help make some much needed renovations to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla elementary school in Nuevo Corral del Risco.

While luxuriating in a trip to paradise, our client’s program participants came to the school and carried out a complete overhaul to reinvigorate the campus. Always with a smile, the attendees repainted the school, planted trees, fixed damaged restrooms, set up brand new chairs and completed other miscellaneous activities.

One student exclaimed:  “I would like to be like you when I grow up and help the kids in my hometown ‘Corral del Risco’, and all those I can help.”

This six-grader also said that he had always dreamed of a nicer school like he had seen in popular movies and that it was now a reality due to the efforts of the program participants. Even more importantly, this child appears inspired to give back in the future and continue the cycle of kindness.

All financial and business objectives aside, being a responsible corporation, is a beautiful thing because lives are directly improved through selfless acts. These program participants will likely never forget the amazing days and nights they spent on the pristine beaches of Punta Mita, but the words of thanks from the children that they inspired and helped may be even more strongly engrained.

We leave you with a few more quotes from children who were impacted by this program.

6th Grader: Thank you for the new students chairs.

3rd Grade: You are the best, thank you!

4th Grader: Wish you were here to say hi and thank you!

2nd Grader: Thank you for choosing my school from all of the rest!

6th Grader: Thank you for your support.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Yahoo Employee Volunteers” by Alex Pearson is licensed under CC BY 2.0