Category Archives: Travel
Every corner of Mexico has pretty towns, ancient ruins, and natural areas like sunny beaches, lush jungle, and towering mountains.
Below are some photos from my travels during the past four months.
Next to the town of Xilitla, in a mountainous sub-tropical region called the Huasteca Potosina, the surrealistic garden Las Pozas is a fascinating place to explore. Built (but unfinished) by the eccentric English artist and art patron Edward James between 1949 and 1984, Las Pozas is a series of poured-concrete structures and buildings surrounded by jungle at the foot of mountains, which even has big waterfalls and swimming holes.
You can climb on practically everything, and every path going through deeper jungle leads to more structures, most overgrown by creeping forest. Mysterious and bizarre, it reminded me of visiting ancient ruins, though with a different history and architecture, of course.
The entire Huasteca Potosina region has streams and waterfalls, some for swimming and jumping.
Closer to where I live, the Nevado de Toluca volcano—its native name is Xinantecatl—is a scenic and very high place to do some hiking.
Two lakes are inside the huge crater:
This dry flower grows all over the slopes of the volcano:
Sierra Morelos park is right next to the town of Toluca, about an hour away from the volcano:
Small homes, farms, and even some ancient ruins can be found on the slopes of the mountains.
Below is Calixtlahuaca, the ruins of a Pre-hispanic city:
Far away at the easternmost part of Mexico are the white-sand beaches and turquoise water of the Mayan Riviera on the Mexican Caribbean coast. Below is Puerto Morelos, about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen:
The island of Cozumel:
The virgin in the Cozumel public market:
A little to the south of Playa del Carmen is Punto Venado, which has excellent mountain bike trails through the jungle and along the coast. On my ride I saw crocodiles, lots of iguanas, and a big family of coati—something like a tropical raccoon that lives in the trees in groups, like monkeys.
Flamingos and other birds in the Xaman-Ha Bird Sanctuary near Playa del Carmen, in the Playacar gated community:
And of course the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza:
On the other side of Mexico on the Pacific coast, the beach-lined bay of Acapulco is a five-hour drive from where I live, perfect for a long weekend. You can get a nice, reasonably-priced hotel right on the beach with views like this:
Sunset over the ocean at Acapulco:
Thanks for visiting. Stories to follow for some of these places…
Once again thank you to Transitions Abroad for publishing my article Five Unforgettable Adventures in South Africa.
Sure, this blog is mostly about Mexico. I live here and travel around the country often. But that’s not the only traveling I do—what fun would that be?
Last summer my wife and I spent a month in South Africa. She originally wanted to go for our honeymoon two years ago, but we could only travel for a week and a half—not nearly enough time to do a safari and also see more of the country.
After such a long flight, it would have meant only about a week on the ground. So we decided to wait until we could travel long enough to do more than the obligatory safari, and not only in world-class Cape Town but also everyday Johannesburg. (We ended up honeymooning in Moscow and St. Petersburg, about five days in each and also a long layover in Amsterdam, the perfect quick vacation.)
The article describes how we ultimately spent our trip in South Africa, staying in and around only three places: Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, and Cape Town. Johannesburg was more fun than we though it would be, with top-notch restaurants, friendly people, and neighborhoods rich and poor and everything in between. We took a walking safari in Kruger National Park, easily the highlight of the trip (read about it in the article). And although two weeks was plenty of time to see the city of Cape Town and some surrounding areas, there was so much more on the Cape Peninsula: more vineyards, more beaches, more hiking. Cape Town is a place where you could spend an entire month, six months, a lifetime…
Below are some pictures that didn’t make it in the article (yes I have hundreds, and of every wild animal except the cheetah.)
Johannesburg. This mural of Nelson Mandela was painted by Shepard Fairey (famous for Obama “Hope,” Andre the Giant “Obey”). I took the photo from the Neighborgoods market that goes on every Saturday in Braamfontein, the hip part of downtown, with spicy steaming food, craft beer, and a mellow jazz/hip-hop band.
Alexandra township, where we took a fascinating bike tour. I wrote about it in the article.
An informal settlement in Soweto township, Johannesburg.
Elephant in Kruger National Park.
African Wild Dogs in Kruger National Park.
Lion at night. He had two friends in the bush.
Sunset in Kruger National Park.
Downtown Cape Town. We spent five days downtown and then rented a car and moved to a hotel two blocks from the beach in Camps Bay, the fancy neighborhood on the other side of Table Mountain.
Table Mountain, seen from the Lion’s Head (hike described in the article).
Hiking on Table Mountain. We started this hike from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
African Penguins near Boulders Beach, Cape Peninsula. A large colony lives there, with thousands of penguins swimming, walking, and hanging out.
Our last sunset, from the balcony of our hotel in Camps Bay.
Please check out my article Five Unforgettable Adventures in South Africa.