I spent a week in Mexico City at a warm, welcoming orphanage helping to beautify the property with painting, landscaping, furniture construction and murals. The work itself was gratifying but it was the children I was surrounded by that made the work worthwhile. This was their home and it was in need of a serious face lift. As the week went by the shy, hesitant children opened up and became playful, full of smiles and impossible to keep from giggling. When I left I was proud of the work I did and I'll always remember it. But I'll most definitely never forget the smile of those kids.
When in Mexico city, a must is Coyoacán. A magical and bohemian neighborhood, filled with colorful facades, great restaurants, markets, cultural performances, museums and amazing people. Some of its famous residents were Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Go to the main square, plaza Hidalgo. You can wander around the streets, go inside the mercado de artesanías, the food markets or just sit around the plaza, relax and enjoy the view. You could swear you’re not in this big city!
I'm not a big spa person, but I've never seen anything like this. The men's spa in the Emerald Bay Resort is one of the most beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing rooms I've ever been in. There are several different kinds of showers to clean you from every different angle, two pools of different temperatures, plush robes, and one of the most relaxing ambiences I've experienced.
El Meson de Los Laureandos is a restaurant located in the rural historic town of El Quelite about 20 miles from Mazatlan. It's a large establishment in a historic building with seating both indoors and outdoors in the garden. The food is traditional Mexican fare and, if you show up at the right time, you'll get to see some very unique performances. We saw traditional Mexican dancing done my men and women in old west garb as well as a Maya fire ceremony and dance by performers in elaborate costumes.
I was told to visit the "Venice of Mexico City" by the friendly staff of my hotel. I hopped on a bus and found myself on the most brightly decorated canal system you could possibly envision. Each of the gondola type vessels has a name like Ana, Rosita or Diana Isabel. My friends and I boarded "Veronica" and made our way through the lazy canals. Floating vendors pull up beside you with jewelry, mariachi bands and a spicy grilled corn snack that I highly recommend.
The restaurant and bar, called El Balcon del Zocalo, on the roof top of the Holiday Inn located along the Zocalo, or central square, of Mexico City is worth the inflated prices in order to get a bird's eye view of Mexico's largest and most important square. I recommend coming for drinks and snapping some photographs from the exceptional vantage point this restaurant and bar provides. I would skip the food here and go find some street food that is much more authentic and easy on the wallet. In addition to the rooftop bar, there is an amazing shop sharing the same building, called Arte Mexicano para el Mundo, which sells Mexican folk art from all over Mexico. The prices for the art are more expensive than they would be locally, but the quality is excellent and the variety and regions represented make it worthwhile just for a look around. It's almost like a museum.
The Santo Domingo Church is absolutely the most beautiful church I've seen yet in Mexico. The walls and ceiling are covered with paintings and murals, much like the Sistine Chapel. Next door is an ex-convento, a monastery, that is now the Regional Museum of Oaxaca. It was also a beautiful building with displays of the treasures found in Tomb 7 at Monte Alban, old paintings that came across the Atlantic with the early Spanish settlers, furniture, religious icons, and loads of history. Plus history is being made right out in front of the church. An artist named Alejandro Santiago has created 2501 statues of human beings, all sizes and shapes, and placed them in groups around the church. They represent people who have left their homes, villages, and even their country in search of work and a better life. The statues were produced by people in Santiago's village as part of this effort to...
For a chill and young atmosphere, indulge yourself with a few well made martinis from the bar at Felix. By the end of the night I had more than two drinks and almost forgot that I was in Mexico city. If the check wasn't tallied in pesos I would have thought that we were at a hip new bar in the West Village, NYC.
If you're looking for good art, food and company then you should head over to the best Saturday market in town. Grab a quesadilla, minus the spicy hot jalapeño, and stroll the market in search of a deal. If your Spanish is good, you will have an easy time haggling down the prices. If not, then just enjoy your newly acquired pieces of art/craft. It will be well worth the trip!
I had a great time relaxing at the beautiful resort at the tip of the Baja. The rooms are really nice, and the people who work here are great. They also have some really amazing food. We ate at La Cava, and had variations off of some traditional, but unfamiliar, Mexican dishes from various regions of the country.
Sunset on the Malecon can be a powerful experience even in black and white.
The Condesa neighborhood has to be one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico city. If you want a really good mezcal, cilantro margarita while sitting at a very chic, cool bar then head to Condesa DF. Avenida Veracruz 102 | Colonia Condesa, Mexico City 06700, Mexico
Campeche is a small city located, in the southwestern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula, along the Gulf of Mexico. After Spanish occupation, pirates and marauders terrorized Campeche until 1686 when a wall was built around the city to protect it. Those walls as well as other fortifications are still around today.
When I arrived in to Campeche, it was a dreary summer afternoon and maybe it was the weather that dampened my spirits but for some reason I did not have high expectations for Campeche. I expected so-so. Instead, I got fabulous! Campeche oozes Spanish colonial charm! You can tell that a lot of loving care has gone into preserving the colorful buildings, the parks and even the cobblestone streets. Everything was just so picture perfect, Spanish colonial cute. Unlike Puebla and Oaxaca, the streets of Campeche were not at all crowded either with people or with cars. It was...
Food is how I connect to a place when I travel. And few meals have been closer or more authentic than this little shell fish shack on the outskirts of Bahia Kino. Follow the locals and fund the out of the way places. It's worth the effort.
Mérida is the capital and largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula. It retains an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings and is a vibrant cultural center with music and dancing playing an important part in day-to-day life.
Deep in the jungles of Chiapas turquoise rivers emerge from deep springs. Agua Azul is a series of cascades and pools found just off the road between Ocosingo and Palenque. Closer to Palenque, and equally accessible, is Misol Ha, a dramatic waterfall from great heights into a deep pool.
At Agua Azul there are vendors selling swimming attire, food, clothing, and trinkets, plus a few excellent restaurants. Helicopter rides are available for a sweeping vista of the region where turquoise ribbons of water course through deep green jungle.
You can swim in the pools, but the water is quite cold. It's a great place to spend an afternoon or longer, as there are many hiking trails into the jungle.
Before my trip, people had told me about the light in San Miguel de Allende. That it was somehow different, softer, better for painting, in this city. I didn't believe them until I was walking toward downtown from the Jardin Botanico and noticed the way the setting sun was reflecting on the pinks, oranges, and reds of the adobe-style haciendas. Beyond the shops and Americanized restaurants, San Miguel is a city for walking, preferably up in the hills. It's there that you'll discover the color, architecture, and rays of light that have attracted so many artists.
My friend Nena was giving me a tour of Morelia upon my first time there (I loved it so much I have been back four times!). Morelia has a beautiful cathedral in the heart of downtown.
Once inside, we marveled at how grand and beautiful it is. I noticed a spiral staircase near the main door, and followed it up with my eye. I said to Nena, "Hey, let's climb that and see where it goes!" She said, "No, we'll get in trouble!" Well, I convinced her, and up we went. It took us to the balcony where the organ player would sit to play the huge pipe organ inside.
Then I noticed a ladder that went up even further. I said, "C'mon, let's keep going!" And so we ventured up the ladder, and after a bit of a climb, we find ourselves in the bell tower!
The bells were huge--and I'm glad they weren't clanging. After a few minutes, we...
Los Osuna is an award-winning blue agave distillery that's more than 100 years old. It's located in the hills outside of Mazatlan. It has old wooden buildings, displays of traditional tequila-making processes, and has a quaint little bar under the canopy of an enormous tree. The tour shows both traditional and modern tequila-making techniques and, of course, ends with a drink of the distillery's finest in the shade. Definitely a pleasant way to pass an afternoon.
I'm not totally sure about the name for this place, but it's at the 70km mark on highway 19, heading north towards Pescadero from Cabo.
After passing a long stretch of an industrial looking area, I finally spotted this modest restaurant with a mini-market next to it. There were some trucks in front of it, so I thought I would get something very casual and quick. But we sat down in front of the place, and there was a whole family of grandparents, the parents, and a little toddler cooking and hanging out in the kitchen behind a screen door, and the food was one of the best we've had during our whole stay. There are many great restaurants in nearby Todos Santos, but be sure to mark this low key place too!
When down in Cabo San Lucas, I always try to avoid the normal "tourist" destinations, but make a point to take a boat taxi to El Arco, Land's End and Lover's Beach. There is something so special about this view.
The Classic Maya site of Bonampak, located deep in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico, holds one of the most unlikely and important discoveries in the history of Maya archaeological investigation. The story of the wall murals is a story of an unlikely survival in the harsh jungle conditions of Chiapas. It was widely believed that the structures of the Maya were covered in brightly painted murals and designs, but due to the climatic conditions of the rainforest the organic paint materials employed by the Maya could not survive. However, due to a unique set of circumstances at Bonampak, three rooms in the Temple of the Murals remained sealed to the environment over the centuries and saved the paintings from certain destruction. Until the discovery and analysis of these painted depictions of Maya ritual and social life were discovered in the 1940's, many archaeologists believed the Maya were...
On a whim, I bought a groupon for a cooking vacation in the interior of Mexico. Little did I know what a fantastic trip it would be!! 3 hours of cooking every morning, followed by a delicious lunch that we cooked. Afternoons were spent exploring ancient ruins and nearby towns. Then back to the hacienda for dinner and margaritas. The hacienda is gorgeous, with beautiful rooms and views of the volcanoes. And the cooking instruction is top notch and very authentic.
We love this little island... It's only the 12th time we visit and it does not get old. It's laid back, friendly, authentic, relaxing, yummie. Just a boat ride from Cancun, but don't come just for the day trip and buffet on the beach. Come to stay for a few days and get to know tis little jewel. You won't find the chain bars and restaurants and the night scene from Cancun, and that is one reason we love it. But on Sunday nights on the main town plaza you will get to experience a bit of real Mexico with many families leaving church service to gather around the taco and dessert stands and enjoy their friends, surrounded by beautiful children playing. Rent a bycicle and go around the island in a little over an hr, but it could be longer if you stop to enjoy beaches abd the beautiful sculpture garden in the sourthern tip of the island. And don't miss a stop at Playa Lancheros to have a...
Tulum is one place that is truly unique. It's eco-chic off the grid style and location while simple by nature is truly a magical experience.
a 10km strip with jungle on one side and beach cabanas on the other all with a different flair, flavor and style is truly one of a kind. The Mayan Ruins are great for sightseeing but the best part is waking up in the morning to the most incredible sand and dynamic blue water.
At nighttime the vibrant stars light your way down the path and you can pop in to any one of the number of outdoor, beach front bars/restaurants for incredible authentic food and drinks.