“Are you crazy? People are warned to stay at home, don’t go!” When I messaged Oxanna that morning that I’m on my way to Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, she panicked. Millions of pilgrims were expected to visit the basilica on December 12th, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, to see the venerated image of La Morenita (The Brown Lady, as Virgin Mary is called here), and ask for her blessing. Reassuring Oxanna as best as I could, I left the taxi in Tepeyac, in northern Mexico City, and made my way towards the basilica. According to tradition Virgin Mary appeared here before a native Mexican peasant Juan Diego. A story that changed Mexico forever.Continue reading “The Brown Lady of Mexico and her Devotees – Meeting Pilgrims on the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe”
If someone would tell me a few years ago that I would travel for 2 years with my wife and our preschooler in Latin America, all the way from Mexico to Patagonia, I wouldn’t believe them. That’s just not something we planned, or even dreamed about.Continue reading “How We Traveled as a Family for 2 Years in Latin America, While Working 8 to 5”
So you have been in Mexico City for a while now, the weekend is getting closer, and you fancy a day trip out of the capital? Puebla is your answer. The fourth largest city in Mexico and the capital of the namesake state, Puebla is known throughout Mexico as the birthplace of mole, the ubiquitous Mexican sauce. Even If you aren’t moved by gastronomic discoveries, Puebla’s historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is well worth a visit. Continue reading “Puebla, The Birthplace of Mole”
Mexico City offers urban explorers an astonishing assortment of Aztec temples, cathedrals, Marxist murals and some of the best museums on the continent. So it’s easy to miss that the city also boasts some great examples of modern architecture – you just have to know where to look. So how about a quick tour? Continue reading “Modern Architecture in Mexico City – 5 Buildings Not to Miss”
After a week or two in Mexico City, you notice something unique about the city. It’s not the colonial architecture, which is monumental, but still similar to what you can see in Mérida or Guanajuato. It’s not the Aztec temples, which are spectacular, but the Maya temples of Yucatán already prepared you for the splendor of Mesoamerica. Rather it’s the number of seemingly mundane public and government buildings covered with intricate works of art. Continue reading “Must See of Mexican Muralism: Tracking Mexico City’s Best Murals”
If an alien anthropologist would have landed on Earth and could visit only one city to learn about us, he would probably go to Mexico City. Walking its streets is traversing our story as humanity. The magnitude and scope of what it is here is breathtaking. So where do you start? You start by walking the Tacuba avenue – the oldest street in the city… and the entire continent. Continue reading “From Aztec Pyramids to Mexican Rock On the Oldest Street of Mexico City”
In Peter Greenaway’s recent movie “Eisenstein in Guanajuato”, the famous Soviet film director arrives to Guanajuato to shoot a movie. After spending a few days in the city, he has a severe diarrhea, on which he comments: “In Russia you are always constipated, but here it’s the opposite…”.
Having spent my childhood in Russia, and having traveled enough time in Mexico, I can attest to some truth in Eisenstein’s character’s words.Continue reading “Guanajuato, Maybe The Most Abundant City in Mexico”
The town of Atotonilco, just 20 minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende is mostly known for its church complex, declared UNESCO World Heritage. Called the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico” due to the mural work that adorns it, Sanctuary of Atotonilco is probably the best half-day trip you can make from San Miguel. Since it lies on the main road to Dolores Hidalgo, you can see both sites on the same day, tracing the Mexican independence movement and its religious underpinnings. Continue reading “Sanctuary of Atotonilco, the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico””
On one of the weekends during our stay in San Miguel de Allende we took a bus to the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo. Considered the cradle of Mexican Independence, it’s a great day trip for anyone even marginally interested in Mexican history. And chances are, you’ll see here more visitors from other parts of Mexico than foreigners.Continue reading “Dolores Hidalgo, The Birthplace of Mexican Independence”
Having spent a month and a half in San Miguel de Allende, I’m still not sure what to make of it. A beautifully preserved monument of history and architecture? A seductive refuge for artists? Or an overhyped expat colonia? Probably a little bit of each.
Becoming almost a ghost town in the beginning of 20th century, the town began to attract artists and writers in the 30’s and 40’s. After the WWII many U.S. veterans came to study in San Miguel’s art schools. Over the years, the city has become a sort of art colony in the heart of Mexico.Continue reading “San Miguel de Allende – A Beautiful Baroque City That Lacks Only One Thing”
After almost 2 months in Yucatan, we were ready to get back to central Mexico. Landing in Mexico City airport, the plan was to take a bus to San Miguel de Allende, and stay there for a month as the next anchor in our slow traveling drift. But the bus takes almost 5 hours to get there, so instead we decided to make a weekend stop in Queretaro, a city that lies right on the way to San Miguel de Allende. For some reason travel guides don’t mention it among Mexico’s highlights, but this one-time capital turned out to be one of the most stunningly beautiful cities we have visited in Mexico. Continue reading “Queretaro, Probably The Most Underrated City in Mexico”
Life in Latin America is easy, if you are an expat. The people are nice and friendly, the culture is rich and vibrant and living is usually cheap and with higher standards than those you are used to. But there are also grim sides to the Latin American story, that no one is talking about. Well it’s time someone broke the silence and told the truth.
On our last weekend before leaving Yucatan, we took a bus from Merida to Celestun, to visit the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, where flocks of pink flamingos come for the winter. While every hostel and tour agency offers a tour to Celestun, there is really no reason to take them. These tours are usually pricey, and don’t offer anything of extra value. Instead, we took a regular bus from the Noreste bus station in the center of Merida, where the buses leave every hour. Continue reading “Celestun – Flamingos and Mangroves on the coast of Yucatan”
“I can show you a little bit of my Yucatan. Where do you stay?” This was the message I received from Luis Fernando, a young yucateco that replied me on Couchsurfing, where I was looking for locals to meet and befriend. A few days later we were speeding in his car outside of Merida on our way to Izamal, a pre-hispanic city, known today for its yellow buildings. Continue reading “Yucatan Less Traveled: Yellow Izamal and Cenotes of Homun”
White sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, ancient Maya city of Tulum, underground rivers, and freshwater caves of Sac Actun. It’s all here, on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan, a result of an astonishing collaboration of circumstances, nature, and pre-hispanic Maya culture. Continue reading “White Sands, Mayan Ruins and Underground Rivers: One Day on the Caribbean in Yucatan”