Makech – Beetles Worn as Living Jewelry

makech

We’ve seen some crazy jewelry over the years: neck rings, lip plates, ear plugs made with empty film canisters. But up to now, none of it has been alive. Makech (also written maquech) just might be the craziest piece of jewelry we’ve ever encountered. These giant bejeweled beetles are traditionally worn by Yucatec Mayan women for a night out on the town.

Thomas was so intrigued that he had to try one on for himself. Honestly, I don’t think it works with Continue…

Caribbean Honeymoon – Fun Ways to Kick Off Married Life on the Riviera Maya

Caribbean honeymoon: Beach in Cancun

When people find out that Tony and I spent our honeymoon in Cancun, they always express surprise. They imagine us trekking or spelunking rather than luxuriating on a perfect Caribbean beach in Mexico. But who’s to say that you can’t do both? Cancun and the coastal area south along the Riviera Maya are incredibly diverse and make the perfect playground for any newlyweds. After all, there’s no inherent contradiction in diving cenotes AND sipping margaritas, as long as it’s done in the right order.

Moreover, Cancun has great flight connections from both Europe and the Americas making it an ideal starting point for that perfect Caribbean honeymoon with a spicy dash of Yucatán culture and adventure. So in the spirit of love and matrimony, here are a few suggestions to make your honeymoon unforgettable. Continue…

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan

At last, after months of pyramid-hopping, we have made it to Mexico’s queen of pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun. At 71.2 m, it is the highest pyramid in Mexico and completely dominates the archaeological site of Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City. It is absolutely massive!

As we approached the hulking structure with its monstrous base, we kept oohing and ahhing. Rather than immediately running up the 248 steps to the top, we headed straight for the Continue…

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City is huge, overwhelming, chaotic, loud, totally insane and absolutely spectacular. The entire city feels like an edgy work of art done by some artist who is destined to be completely misunderstood for life. Perhaps that’s why until our visit, I completely misunderstood one of North America’s greatest destinations.

Yes, it’s polluted and, at times, dangerous. But it is arguably the culturally richest place in the Americas. Mexico City is literally built on the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. One of the oldest colonial cities in the new world, the inhabitants of Mexico City were strolling past Spanish Baroque while the first colonial Americans were patching the holes in their drafty log cabins with mud. Some cities would be content to rest on their historical laurels, but Mexico City is a constantly Continue…

The Tule Tree

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The Tule Tree just outside Oaxaca City is one of the little known wonders of Mexico. A Montezuma cypress roughly estimated to be around 1,400 years old, the Tule Tree has a circumference of 42 meters (138 ft), greater than any known tree in the world. To find a competitor which is even roughly approaches the Tule Tree, skeptics have to play some serious mathematical games. The massive plume of green foliage is so large that it Continue…

Sumidero Canyon

sumidero-1

I have to admit it’s been a while since we featured a purely natural attraction on the blog. Clearly, we’ve been enjoying colonial city life a little too much. To mix it up, we pried ourselves away from cobblestone streets and multi-colored casas and did a boat tour through the spectacular Sumidero Canyon in the state of Chiapas.

Entering through the southern end of the canyon at Chiapa de Corzo, we were quickly swallowed up by vertical walls reaching heights of up to 800 meters or more. Absolutely breathtaking! The two-and-a-half-hour tour travels 35 kilometers through the canyon and across a resevoir to Continue…

Casa Lily – Apartment with a View

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After only a day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we totally fell in love with the town and decided to stay a little longer than we had originally planed. So we moved from our hotel to the lovely Casa Lily Ixim. After our wonderful experience in Merida, this was yet another special find as the casa is truly unique.

Designed and built by Swiss artist and architect Frédéric Burkhard, the apartment boasts lots of light, interesting angles, organic forms and an amazing view of Guadalupe Church. But what really impressed us were the Continue…

San Cristobal Tribal Markets

Chiapas market

Without a doubt, the highlight of any trip to beautiful San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas is a visit to the regional markets full of colorful Tzotzil and Tzeltal people. We explored the local market here in San Cristobal as well as the markets in Tenejapa, San Lorenzo Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula. It’s a feast for the senses and a quick course in the diversity of the region. Each village features unique local garb. Don’t miss the black, rug-like skirts of San Juan Chamula and the elaborately embroidered designs of San Lorenzo Zinacantan.

If you visit, try to get to those markets early to catch stunning processions of locals as they leave the church on market day. This is the best time to see everyone decked out in colorful turbans, heavy ponchos, and ribboned hats. (And don’t miss their very cool traditional footwear.) As in neighboring Guatemala, if you do decide to visit less touristed markets such as Tenejapa, be very careful Continue…

Palenque

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The archaeological site of Palenque has been on our must-see list for over a decade. When we visited Tikal in Guatemala in 2001, we were very close to crossing the border into Mexico, but decided to put off Palenque for a future adventure. And now, here we are.

What makes Palenque even more special to us is that it is our last Mayan site on the Yucatan Peninsula. As we move west, we will be encountering other pre-Columbian civilizations, but in terms of Mayan ruins, this is it. So did Palenque hold up to our expectations and was it a worthy contender as our lasting image of a Mayan site? Continue…