Tag Archives: Travel & Tourism

Still Secrets on the Oaxacan Coast

By Leigh Morrow

Sometime last fall the Mexican government declared a small community on the southern Oaxacan coast to be the latest jewel in its tourism tiara. Best known in the history books as a slaughterhouse for turtles, including the famous Oliver Ridley species, Mazunte had already become known in conservation circles for a large turtle sanctuary and museum aimed at preservation of the species, and stopping the illegal turtle egg trade. Yet the Pueblo Magico designation caught many off guard. This kiss of government approval for a tourism mecca was touted as providing a “magical experience” for tourists, by reason of the area’s natural beauty and/or cultural riches. Think Tulum, Palenque, Isla Mujeres. Continue reading Still Secrets on the Oaxacan Coast

Bioluminescent Bucket List

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-17-03-amBy Kary Vannice

I didn’t see a firefly until I was 31 years old. Of course, like any child who had seen them in the movies or depicted in animation, I was captivated by the idea. A bug that lights up! Magic! Continue reading Bioluminescent Bucket List

Out-of-the-Way Archeological Sites

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-17-33-amBy Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

When we first started to explore the major archeological sites of Mexico such as Uxmal, Tulum, Chichen Itza and Palenque, each visit was an adventurous trip to an out-of-the-way destination. Few people were willing to chance the rough roads and limited places to stay. So the ruins were pretty much free of other tourists and we could explore to our hearts’ content. Today tour buses ply splendid highways bringing hundreds of tourists to the many hotels that surround the ruins, and tour guides lead crowds of people hurriedly through well-guarded sites. Continue reading Out-of-the-Way Archeological Sites

A Visit to San Pedro de Tututepec

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-18-09-amBy Geri Anderson with Marcus Wilkinson

When I visited San Pedro Tututepec about 15 years ago, I thought it strange that people would have settled in such a place. Even more puzzling to me back then was why for centuries their descendants remained, making this the longest continuously inhabited town in Mexico, perhaps in all of North America. It has existed since 357 AD, even though it has no oceanfront, lake or river. This village of about 10,000 also has no hotel, major restaurant or bank. However, it IS an important, unique and charming destination. Continue reading A Visit to San Pedro de Tututepec

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-18-27-amBy Brooke Gazer

Most people arrive in Huatulco by air and some by bus or car. A select few choose a slower, less direct approach, walking “El Camino Copalita” (The Copalita Trail). Long hiking trails have gained popularity around the world and two in particular have been the subject of bestselling books. The one in our region is new, virtually unknown and somewhat different from those that are longer and more established. Continue reading Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Ballet, Bucanero, Brisas, Bello ¡ARRIBA, CUBA!

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-18-45-amBy Carole Reedy

As you lift off the tarmac, forget everything you’ve read or heard about the mysterious isla de Cuba. Arrive to the gentle breezes that flow across the island day and night and form your own opinion. This is mine.

I count my Mexican amigos among the friendliest people in the world, but now I have to put the beautiful inhabitants of Cuba at the top of the list. Every person we met–in shops, restaurants, taxis, and on the street–greeted us with joy in their eyes and smiles on their faces. Cautious travelers can toss their worries into the soothing breeze as there isn’t a safer travel destination than Cuba. Crime rates are low and offenders of drug and theft laws are destined for years in prison. Continue reading Ballet, Bucanero, Brisas, Bello ¡ARRIBA, CUBA!

Black Pottery… A Modern Folk Art

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-5-44-41-pmBy Brooke Gazer

If you have been to any Mexican craft market, it is likely that you noticed many examples of Barro Negro (Black Pottery), for which Oaxaca is famous. In spite of its overwhelming popularity, this is a relatively new medium of Mexican folk art. For over 2000 years, the village of San Bartolo Coyotepec produced very basic utilitarian pottery. These sturdy vessels, which were used to carry water, oil, or mescal, were rustic with a matte grey appearance. In the early 1950’s a petite Zapotec woman, named Rosa Real Mateo de Nieto, altered the way her people handled clay, and subsequently the economy of her village. She is now fondly known by the honorific name of Doñs Rosa. Continue reading Black Pottery… A Modern Folk Art

El Maestro de Los Monos

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-5-45-19-pmBy Geri Anderson with photographer/translator Marcus Wilkinson

If you’ve ever wandered through Oaxaca City’s Jalatlaco neighborhood to the corner of Niños Heroes de Chapultepec and Calle Aldama, you’ve probably noticed José Octavio Azcona y Juárez, Mexico’s foremost monero (puppet maker) working in his shop, creating monos de calendas (huge dancing puppets). Until retirement three years ago, he might have been changing a tire on a semi-trailer truck right there on the Pan American highway! That was his life’s work for 30 years, that AND making monos, which are sometimes called gigantes because they truly are gigantic creations. Continue reading El Maestro de Los Monos