Circus on the Playa

The title of this blog sounds like something from Burning Man, when in fact, it’s about another “sleepy little Mexican town” turned into a rockin’ tourist enclave. Wow! How the Playa has changed!

Playa del Carmen’s only claim to fame used to be the ferry that connects Cozumel to the mainland. Now, it has become a vacation destination in of its own. And at the heart and center of that destination is a full blown circus, complete with costumed Mayan warriors, aerial acts, jugglers and junk food. Continue reading

Has Cozumel Sold its Soul?

I first visited of Cozumel in 1979. Fact is, I’d never even heard of this island before my then boyfriend, Steve Sisco, suggested we go for vacation. Steve, having been the son of an offshore oilman, had spent most of his youth growing up in Cartagena, Colombia. He talked of diving off city walls into water so clear, so blue, that one could easily think they were in a swimming pool were it not for the colorful, vibrant tropical fish beneath the surface. In search of a similar place a bit closer to home, Steve had Cozumel on his radar. Living in Corpus Christ at the time, Cozumel was practically in our back yard. Continue reading

Bacalar, Mexico’s “Lake of Seven Colors”

After spending a week on the island of Caye Caulker in a near-vegetative state, I am eager to get back on the trail.  Having spent a good bit of time exploring Belize “pre-blog” days, my reason for returning this time around was solely to visit the island. So I head back across the border to mainland Mexico to continue up the Yucatan Peninsula.  The plan is to fit a couple more stops in before my flight from Cancun to Ecuador.  One of those spots Continue reading

Picking Up Where I Left Off: Yaxchilán and Bonampok

I’m back. Slowly but surely reassembling my techno-arsenal. It’s not easy, especially when you are one who views yesterday’s technology as an improvement over what is available for purchase today. The iphones have gotten bigger, the sole remaining ipod option will no longer fit into Steve Jobs’ tiny watch pocket, and Windows 10’s darkness is seeping through the cracks of my browser despite my brother Don’s valiant efforts to Continue reading

Mayans and the Mayabell

In my last post, I mentioned the jungle lodge my brother visited a few years ago, sending back photos that have lured me ever since. He talked about the refreshing pool in the lush jungle surroundings, and listening to howler monkeys at night. I’ve wanted to visit since I first saw his photos. So when I called for my reservation, I asked for a more Continue reading

From the Mountains to the Jungle: Palenque

I have to admit, as much as I enjoy world history, I have always struggled to embrace ancient Mayan culture. So a couple of years ago when my brother Don sent back photos of Mayabell, the jungle lodge in Palenque, complete with stories of hearing howler monkeys and photos of floating in the refreshing pool, it was the jungle that intrigued me. Two years later, I hadn’t stopped thinking about that jungle lodge. I had to go there. One of the most significant architectural sites in Mayan history, Palenque, was just a sideline. Continue reading

Reason Enough to Return to San Cristobal de las Casas

As much as I dearly love Colonial Mexico; the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende, the brilliantly painted houses on the hillsides of Guanajuato, when it comes to nature, ”it’s a bit dry.” Particularly at the time of year I typically visit, which is the dry season. Getting out into nature means lots of dry scrubby shrubs, cactus, and crunchy brown grass beneath my boots. If one is longing for misty cloud-shrowded mountains, Continue reading

I Stooped to a Group Tour!

I typically steer clear of group tours at all costs when traveling, preferring instead to go at my own pace. The “hurry up and wait” of the group dynamic is tiresome, as is spending time in places where I have no interest (e.g. shopping.) I love learning about the history of a place, but not while standing in a circle in the baking sun with other impatient people whispering, shuffling their feet, etc. And then there’s the dreaded tourist buffet for lunch, which reminds me of dorm food. No, best to go it alone. Continue reading

Walkabout Oaxaca

Like the whole world these days, Mexico is changing rapidly. I notice more and more modern touches year after year. There are improvements in technology and infrastructure. Travel is getting easier, as I can now go online and book my bus ticket, make my seat selection, and pay via PayPal for my electronic ticket to be presented on my iphone. This is a huge new convenience as before, I had to wait to purchase at the bus station. And the first class buses all have charging ports beneath the seats now. Continue reading

Mineral de Pozos

I’ve written many times before about Mexico’s “Pueblos Magicos” program which translates to “Magic Towns.” This program established by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR) is a way to recognize certain towns for their historic or cultural ambiance that lends itself to a “magical experience.” I think of it as the urban version of the National Park Service. Just as you can be assured when a park has achieved official “National Park” status, there will be something there worthy of a visit, the same can be said for Mexico’s Magic Towns. There will, in all likelihood, be something Continue reading