The colours and churches of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. And thoughts of living there as an Expat.

When planning my trip to Mexico in June my mom had suggested that we visit San Cristobal de las Casas in the Chiapas region. She had good memories from a previous stay and was considering the possibility of making San Cristobal her new base in Mexico.

We flew together (my mom and I – this was our once-a-year-get-together) from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. From there it is about an hour’s drive to San Cristobal de las Casas. Having spent the last 3 weeks travelling around Northern and Central Mexico, Chiapas instantly felt very different: the vegetation is green and lush, the towns are smaller and separated by longer distances, and the temperatures – especially driving up the mountains towards San Cristobal – are much cooler. Everything reminded me of the Eje Cafetero in Colombia, the lush and mountainous region where Colombia’s coffee is grown. The similarities aren’t far off – like Eje Cafetero, Chiapas is one of the best coffee growing regions on earth. [Read more…]

Impressions of Guadalajara, Mexico

I was about 36 hours in Guadalajara, a short stop between the week I spent exploring the Copper Canyon and meeting my mom in San Miguel de Allende.

I’ll admit I didn’t know much about the city. It is Mexico’s 2nd largest city and is famous for being home to both mariachi and tequila. Locals I’ve met like to boast that “Tapatios” (locals of Guadalajara) are good-looking, friendly, and that they like to party. They also say that Guadalajara has “genuine” Mexican food, unlike northern Mexico. Tapatios generally seem to have a pretty high opinion of themselves 🙂 .

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Why riding El Chepe through Copper Canyon is just mind-blowingly amazing

I used to have a co-worker called Pat. He drove me crazy. I worked with him for 20 years and when I quit/was fired one of the best things that came out of it was that I no longer had to work with him. I think that’s added a few years to my life.

But when you work with someone for 20 years some things stick with you. And if there is one thing Pat loved above anything else it was trains. He loved trains and even built himself a huge train set in his basement with trains, a town, hills and tunnels. It was quite impressive. My hobby was planes and at one point I had built myself an airport with all my planes on display. So in a way we shared a passion.

I’ve just completed the famous (but not well-known) El Chepe* train ride from Chihuahua, Northern Mexico to Los Mochis on the Pacific Ocean. And after not thinking of Pat in a very long time I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Because if there is one thing I could tell him it is that he HAS to take this epic train ride. If you are a train aficionado this is the Holy Grail. If you are a train aficionado you can’t die without doing this trip. Period.

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Divisadero – my favorite stopover in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

“Why are you staying over at Divisadero? It’s a train stop, it’s not even a real town”.

The question was posed by the owner of one of those companies that I had contacted about tours through the Copper Canyon.

Spending the night in Divisadero ended up being the highlight of my trip through the Copper Canyon.

It’s true that Divisadero is basically just a train stop. You get off the train and there are some little food and souvenir stalls. Walk through them (it takes about a minute) and you get to a viewpoint overlooking the canyon. The views are incredible. Next to the viewpoint, with its own great views, is the only accommodation in Divisadero – the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas. That’s where I was staying.
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Tips on visiting Creel, Copper Canyon, Mexico. And what you really have to know.

Creel is for many people the base when visiting Mexico’s Copper Canyon. It’s the tourism hub in the region. The thing however is that it is not right at the canyon. Not at all. I’ll get to that soon.

Creel is a Pueblo Magico. It’s a very small town with one main street lined with stores, restaurants, hotels, and tour outfits. It even has a bank (Santander) with a couple of ATMs. The main square is at the end of main street and is quite pretty with a bunch of little churches and a little plaza where locals sit in the park and Tarahumara women sell handicrafts. It’s a pretty enough place (but not as pretty as Patzcuaro, another Pueblo Magico town I’ve had a chance to visit). [Read more…]

Chihuahua, Mexico – a place not to avoid

Chihuahua, Mexico – a place not to avoid

How’s that for a compliment?

I really had no idea what to expect on Chihuahua, the internet being surprisingly void of information on this city in Northern Mexico. But it was the starting point of my Copper Canyon adventures and I left myself a day and a half to explore and get a feel for Chihuahua. [Read more…]

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

A couple of weeks ago I did a wrap-up of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) places visited in 2016. We took so many photos in 2016 that we decided to go through them and choose our favorites from the year.

“Favorite” photos doesn’t necessarily mean “best” photos. “Favorite” can mean a place that holds a special memory (like that dog lying at Lissette’s feet) or a place that was just overall a special place (Cape Town was for me “that special place”).  [Read more…]

Avoiding Europe in the summer…and other places to go instead.

avoiding-europe-in-the-summerand-other-places-to-go-instead

We’ve seen way too many tourists this summer. Europe always has a lot of tourists, there’s a reason it is most people’s favorite continent (including ours). We’ve spent the last 3 summers in Europe. But I think we’ll be taking a break from that over the next few years. It wasn’t just our recent stay in Lisbon – we were in Split (Croatia) in July and it was unbearably packed with tourists. Split is one of the places we love but, as with Lisbon, the character of a place changes when there are too many tourists at one time: prices rise dramatically, locals are suddenly not as friendly, food quality drops. Parts of Europe also get unbearably hot in summer. [Read more…]

A year of Airbnb apartments (July 2014 – July 2015)

A year of Airbnb

We had never used Airbnb before last summer. Move the clock forward and we’ve stayed 196 nights of the past year in a total of 15 Airbnb apartments. I don’t know how we would travel the way we do without Airbnb.

In this post I’ll feature our favorite Airbnb apartment stays over the past year [Read more…]

Changing my mind about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Changing my mind about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico copy

A couple of years ago I visited San Miguel de Allende. I wrote a post on my visit at the time, saying that it was a pretty place, that it was well equipped as a Western retirement spot, but that I had found it overly ‘gringorized’. A few people weren’t happy with me saying that.

Coming back recently to visit my mother I have to admit I really loved my time there. What changed? A couple of things, most not really not having to do with San Miguel itself. [Read more…]

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