Feliz Navidad! Christmas in Mexico

Photo by Doug Knuth

The night may or may not be holy, depending on your belief system, but it will definitely not be silent. I’ve learned from my time in Mexico to expect Christmas Eve, Noche Buena, to be the noisiest night of the year. In that peculiarly Latino mix, religion is zealously celebrated in a militant manner. Groups […]

Traveling Roots

Making myself at home in  my hotel room...

According to Hodding Carder, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.” Is it a Really a Bequest? One of the more intelligent assessments I’ve heard about parenting, but it gave me pause. Is wanderlust a hereditary trait? Will scientists soon report that they’ve discovered the […]

Copper Canyon: Into the Deep

Wm Leler's photo of Copper Canyon.

“There’s a canyon in northern Mexico, bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon…” I’d heard this years before I came to live in Mexico. So when some American friends said they wanted to visit Copper Canyon, we decided to rendezvous in Los Mochis and make the trip together. Copper Canyon Copper Canyon is actually the […]

Weekend in San Francisco

Pedro Szekely's photo of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Party in San Francisco! I follow sports just about as closely as I follow the weather conditions on Pluto. Yet it did vaguely seep into my consciousness that the San Francisco baseball team was playing in the World Series. “Hope that’s all over before I get there,” I thought. The Series itself did end before […]

Best of the Maya Part VI: What Happened?

Carlos Adampol Galindo's photo of Palenque.

What Went Wrong? The 64,000 cocoa question (for a time the Maya used chocolate as currency!) is what went wrong? What caused this highly developed, safisticated and scientific culture to collapse? Scholars have proposed various theories all of which cluster around themes strikingly familiar to contempary times; overpopulation, war, overtaxing of the environment, drought. Its […]

Chichén Itzá: Best of the Maya Part V

Frank Kovalchek's photo of Chichen Itza.

Entering Chichén Itzá, the visitor is immediately confronted with a pyramid so striking it encapsulates what most of us think of when we think of Mesoamerican ruins. But El Castillo is more than just a perfect pyramid, it is actually a giant representation of the Mayan calendar. The sprawling site of Chichén Itzá is so […]

Uxmal: Best of the Maya Part IV

Laurent de Walick's photo of carvings at Uxmal.

Less likely to appear in one of those cable channel documentaries, or on the cover of a guidebook or the travel agency poster, Uxmal is the least well known of the Mayan sites mentioned in this series. That does not mean that you will be in any way disappointed in the ruins. Only that you’ll be […]

Palenque: Best of the Maya Part III

An en Alain's photo of Palenque

Palenque If you are only going to see one Mayan site in your life, I would recommend Palenque. With its gleaming white lime stone buildings, intact roof combs, intricately carved stele and lively jungle atmosphere, Palenque has it all. It’s not nearly as large (a lot of promising mounds in the jungle have not yet […]

Copán: Best of the Maya Part II

Photo by Adalberto.H.Vega.

  Michael Angelo’s ancient Mayan cousin must have lived here. Seriously. Copán, which lies in the northwestern part of Honduras not far from Guatemala, is covered with spectacularly carved stele and sculptures. History written in stone. You can see Mayan carvings at other sites, but nothing compares to those at Copán. Copán was occupied for over […]

Tikal: Best of the Maya, Part I

kangotraveler's photo of Tikal

Builders of monuments, creators of calendars and discoverers of chocolate, the Maya easily hold their own as one of the most fascinating civilizations to have left their mark on the world. Mayan sites are some of the primary attractions which bring travelers to the American isthmus.   Today we’ll begin a tour of the some of […]