My love affair with Mexico City’ part II

Mexico City – one of the biggest, most crowded and busiest places on the face of the Earth. Just imagine the anthill of 22 million people building lives together in the 1485 square meters.

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Deep into Jalisco state: Guadalajara & Tequila town

It was an early Monday morning. After admiring yet another stunning sunrise over the mountains of Chihuahua and home made burrito breakfast in the airport, the 19 of us found ourselves in the dry heat of Guadalajara. We were in the middle of Mexico’s west.

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Puerto Vallarta: the beach, the town & around

So May was crazy… I came back after 5 weeks in Spain, repacked my suitcase and was off to Mexico. This time we did not go alone, but took a bunch of Lithuanians and decided to show them the best that Mexico has to offer. We started in the crazy Mexico city, then continued to Chihuahua, later moved to Jalisco and visited Guadalajara and the actual town of Tequila and ended up in Puerto Vallarta.

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Tijuana – 2 km inside Mexico

 Tijuana, according to some sources, the most crossed border in the world, for some others probably the one and only Mexico they’ve seen.

When starting our California experience down in San Diego, we decided to have a sneak peak into the Baja California, the Mexico’s appendix. This is what we found 2 km down the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

So this is how we got into Mexico:

After pleasant Mexico’s (no queue!) border control officers welcomed us to the country, we strolled all the way down to Avenida Revolución.

It was a warm Sunday afternoon, but the morning rain has washed away the crowds from the busiest tourists attraction. This is what we found:

We also found one particularly interesting Cumbia’s (a COLOMBIAN, not Mexican) place. Check out these local dancing moves:

It was a beautiful sunset when it was time to leave Tijuana. Even Avenida Revolution has lost its shine and glitter and seen more bad things than good in the recent past, it is only more than worth to go abajo. They say the lobster on the cost of the ocean is yummy!

 

Chihuahua (the city, not a dog)

Chihuahua is mostly known for being the capital of the largest and richest Mexico’s state, Jaime’s hometown and one of key towns during the Mexico revolution. Located 365 km away from the US border, Chihuahua offers a unique, non-touristic and just different Mexico experience.

Chihuahua is very special

because it is home for my big Mexican family!

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Chihuahua is also home for Tarahumara people

Tarahumara are the indigenous people of northwestern Mexico and the second largest native indigenous group in Mexico with between 50,000 & 70,000 people. They are often seen on the streets of Chihuahua selling handmade traditional souvenirs.

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In Mexico, 15% of the population identifies itself as indigenous.

Click here for more info about their rights and troubles in Mexico. 

Chihuahua was home for Pancho Villa

Francisco “Pancho” Villa was one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution.

During the Mexican Revolution, Chihuahua was a central battleground. Peasant revolutionary leader Francisco “Pancho” Villa fought throughout Chihuahua, demanding that the peasants be apportioned land and be recognized as legitimate participants in Mexican politics.

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To better understand the Mexican revolution and how it is affecting contemporary politics I recommend to watch this documentary:

To-visit-list for my next time in Chihuahua

La frontera

Starting the trip in Cancun, Mexico’s South, we ended it up in the North with a 4 hours drive to the border of the US. The closer we were getting to Juarez, the landscape was changing from semi-desert nature to complete desert.

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This drive, mostly through the farm fields, has one must stop – Villa Ahumada – a small town known for its local restaurants and burrito stands for the border crossers from both directions.

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Finally, the Mexico – US border. Somehow it looked too simple for what it actually represents…

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Pueblos Magicos & Acapulco – checked!

After 3 days in crazy Mexico City, we decided to get away from the crowds and to dive into the little pueblos around the capital. Tepotztlan, Acapulco (not a pueblo!) and Taxco are only a hand-reach away (in Mexican sizes) from DF and are an often escape destinations for the wealthy DFians.

I. Tepoztlán: green mountains & Temazcal

This pueblo magico is just an hour away from the busy DF streets. Many come here to enjoy the nature and pleasures of Temazcal – an ancient Maya sweat house. But before you go into the hands of a local shaman:

Enjoy the cuisine from the local market:

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Then work it out by climbing up to El Tepozteco pyramide

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And then lock yourself out in the surroundings of the mountains and when the sun goes down follow a well deserved (mystical) Temazcal…

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II. The 60’s shine in Acapulco

Acapulco is the closest beach escape for chilangos. Just 4 hours on the toll road and you are on the Pacific coast. Once a n°1 destination for the Hollywood stars, now Acapulco is a hub of the local tourism. Recent hurricanes and instabilities in the area has washed off its 60s glitter but the footprints of once the capital of tourism are still here.

Playa Caletilla in the morning and in the afternoon:

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A try to find a virgin spot on the Pacific:

However the Pacific Ocean was not so Pacific that day at Pie de la Cuesta:

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Other than that it was just a regular day in the city that have seen it all:

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III. The silvery Taxco

This little beautiful Pueblo Mágico is spread around the hills – just 3 hours drive from DF. We came here for a quick stop, but after the first glimpse, stayed for as long as we could.

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Known for its old days silver resources today the city reflects the past via stunningly beautiful architecture thus becoming a trendy escape for DFians and other random passers like us.

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On top of all the architectural surprises around every corner, here you will also find street vendors offering beautiful hand made pieces, never seen anywhere else before or after. However, the density of the local plata shops have made me not too keen in buying the silver here…

After the sun goes down Taxco offers a wide list of restaurants and bars, but stays pretty calm and locky. This is how we found MeZcalería Xoco a recently open house of Mezcal and an artesania in one with a very nice owner. Here I finally got my Agave shaped silver earnings. If you happen to pass by send my warmest greetings.

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Latest in Mariachi fashion: 3 days in DF

3 days in Mexico City: only a glimpse to a sinking (literally!) megapolis with a fascinating history, culture and much more. It is hard to imagine how so many people fit in here but they do so by creating contrasts everywhere you look!

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I. The sinking city

Built by Aztecs in the middle of the Lago Texcoco, enlarged on the built canals and expanded by Spaniards to the banks of the lake today this megalopolis is sinking! To understand the size, beauty and importance of this 700 year old city visit Tenochtitlan and see Diego Riviera’s murals in the Palacio Nacional.

II. Murals & Frida Kahlo

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When in DF use the opportunity to follow the works of the greatest Mexico’s muralists: Palacio Nacional; Palacio Bellas Artes, Anahuacalli Museum, squares and parks around the city.

Frida’s blue casa is a must. Personally for me the best museum ever visited. One can only admire how well everything is preserved, not to mention the beauty of lives and stories that took place there…

III. Where to stay – Life in colonias

We got an airbnb in Roma Norte. You will not get wrong with staying here or in Roma or Condesa. Cool vibe, loads of places to go out for food/drinks. Also Coyoacán, the neighbourgood around Frida’s musem, might be worthy your attention. It’s like a village (well it was one before it got absorbed by the DF) inside the megapolis with its own villagers. The center park during days serves as a market or salsa dancing floor and during nights locals just get out here for a walk, sit on the bench or to enjoy one of many fancy neighborhood’s restaurants or local food market.

Strangely on Sundays restaurants are closing around 22:00. Surprise surprise for late eaters in the big city!

Salsa dancing at Mama Rumba! Recomened by our airbnb host, tried by us! Live salsa band, good margaritas, amazing dancers.

To get around DF we used metro/buses and Uber. All worked well, especially Uber! Get this app! Taxis do not have the best reputation here.

If travelling to Mexico I sincerely recommend to read “Los años con Laura Díaz”/ “The years with Laura Diaz” by Carlos Fuentes about this country, their culture, love, live, family, lovers, revolution, DF and many more aspects of life.

IV. Food in DF

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You will recognize a Mexican by how proud he or she will be about their food! They will tell you tales about the spiciness and the mixture of tastes. Food is a big part of the family life and Mexican culture. In DF you can find it all: the top 3 Mexican restaurants from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list to the best street elotes.

Drink: if you like beer it is a country for you. From Coronitas, el Sol to less exported and even better one like Pacifico, Modelo, Tecate and many many more!

Not to mention Margaritas! I did not try a bad Margarita in Mexico and trust me I tried a few…

V. The latest in Mariachi fashion: Garibaldi square

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Mariachi in white  latest from mariachi fashion

Mexico Lindo – Riviera Maya

Mexico lindo   A must picture

In August’15 we did a 3 week odyssey to Mexico: starting in Playa del Carmen in the South – finishing in Juarez in the North. With 13 GB of pictures it would impossible to put everything in one post. Therefore I will work on my Mexico series to archive my biggest memories from this beautiful beautiful country.

Part I – Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Caribbean cost stretching through the states of Yucatán & Quintana Roo. This part of Mexico is populated by Mayans – beautiful people with most beautiful babies in the world!

7 days spent : we saw a lot, but much more remains to be seen!

Palm tree   Guapa

Where to stay: as a base location we chose a beautiful village of Playa del Carmen. Over the years the place has become very popular among tourists and has so many restaurants/ bars/ nighclubs that it is hard to call it a village. However just leave the centre’s streets and you will find yourself in the real Mexico with local cantinas and taquerias. Traditional Mexican for almost no money.

For my next trip to this region I would also choose to stay in
Tulumup & coming location for many Europeans, plenty of small hotels & restaurants with corresponding European prices.
Isla Mujeres – for it being an island, staying here would make it hard to travel in Riviera. But if you want to lock yourself out in an island with beautiful and still untouched beaches – that’s a place to go!
Punta Allen – a small village reachable by car, bumping 50 km for 1,5 hour on an unpaved road going through Reserva de la Biósfera de Sian Ka´an ( a-must see place).

A small Mayan fishing village with a 2010 census population of 469 inhabitants. Punta Allen has 1 generator that runs electricity to the village during two periods daily; 11am – 2pm and from 7pm – midnight.

Not convinced? It gets even better! No connectivity here! Perfect small village with local restaurants surrounded by emerald blue beaches. Once in Punta Allen hiring a boat is a must! Just go into the wild to follow free lives of turtles, dolphins, variuos species of birds, do some snorkelling and just escape the busy modern live! My most favourite place from my 3 weeks in Mexico!

IMHO avoid Cancun – unless you are looking to spend your holidays in one of the most beautiful nature spots in the world in the hotels strip.

Dream office   Captain oh captain

Punto Alen   Mayan girl

Must see & do:
Tulum pyramides – not the biggest pyramids in Mexico, but probably one out of few standing on the coast. The mix of colours blue/white/green is just breathtaking!
Cenotes – South Mexico is a hot place to be in August. Forget sun tanning on virgin beaches with 40 degrees heat! But nature is offering another way to cool off. Cenotes – cold water lakes in the middle of the palm forests or underground caves. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear and dive in to observe a complete new water world. It is an impressive nature’s piece of work typical for this part of Mexico and Belize.
Chichén Itzá – one of the largest Maya cities and one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. We run out of time to see it – but I am definitely coming back for it!

Stange Mexicans   Zero people beach

Note to myself


Panama Meksika labai graži

I dalis

Meksija puikiai pažįstama šalis tiems kas savo televizorius mėgsta įsijungti šiek tiek po 15 valandos. Mari Mar, Maria la del Barrio, Maria Mercedes bei vergė Izaura puikiai pristato savo šalį ir supažindina su pirmąją taisykle – Meksikoje kontrastų netrūksta.
Lietuvoje ši Centrinės Amerikos šalis taip pat turi gana prieštaringa reputacija. Prieš mažiau nei dešimtmetį šalyje vykę narko grupuočių karai dar ilgai temdys Meksikos saulę jų egzotiškuose paplūdimiuose. Tačiau sostinėje sparčiai populiarėjantys meksikietiško maisto restoranai vis labiau vilioja į šią tolimą ir paslaptingą šalį.

Man Meksika tai spalvota, besišypsanti, dainuojanti ir begalo turtinga šalis. Savo meksikietišką odisėją pradėjau jos karibiškuose pietuose, o užbaigiau po 3 savaičių kirsdama Meksikos JAV sieną šalies šiaurėje. Beje ten šiaurė tai dykumos. Kontrastai… ar ne?

Bet apie viską nuo pradžių…

Savaite Maju Ilankoje

Riviera Maya tai Meksikos karibų jūros pakrantė su visais nuo to neatsiejamais atributais: žydra jūra, palmėmis, baltu smėliu, karšta saule, na ir su šiek tiek mums mažiau pažįstamais reiškiniais kaip požieminiai ežerai – senotės, paplūdimiuose perintys vėžliai, Majų žmonės bei jų kultūra, na ir be abejo visas knibžtantis šnibždantis palmių miškų gyvenimas.

Jeigu į Majų Įlanka jus atgabens lėktuvas pirmieji jūsų žingsiai bus populiariajame Kankune. Neužsibūkite čia, kuo greičiau išsinuomokite mašiną bei leiskitęs žemyn žydrąja pakrante. Pamatyti čia devynios galybės.

_Karmen paplūdimys (Playa del Carmen) tai vietinis Majų kaimelis, beje gana išpopuliarėjęs tarp čia atvykstančių poilsiautoju. Vakarėjant turistai ūžia kaimelio centre bei paplūdimyje įsikūrusiuose vakarietiško stilaus restoranuose, baruose bei klubuose. Tačiau ženkite žingsnį už centro ribų ir jūs jau tikrojoje Meksikos su vietinėmis valgyklomis bei taquerias, kuriuose liežuvius pakutensite aštriai saldžiais skoniais ir už meksikietišką kainą.

_Tulum – apie 50 kilometrų nuo Karmen Paplūdimio įsikūręs miestelis garsėjantis Majų piramidėmis ant jūros kranto. Įspūdiga vieta. Šis miestelis dabar yra ypač pamėgtas europiečių tad kainos čia didesnės, bet jei jūs ieškote šiek tiek kitokios poilsio nei nei 50iaukščiai viešbučiai su baseinais atveriančiais jums vaizdą į jūrą – tai vieta Jums.

_Moterų sala (Isla mujeres) – taip tai sala, bet ši vieta puiki, ypač jei norite pabėgti nuo turistinio šurmulio bei pasimėgauti autentiška atmosfera. Paplūdimiaičia gražūs, gamta dar gražesnė. Tereikės susidraugauti (o tai sunku nebus) su vietiniais, kad parodytų kur tą vakarą gros salsos grupės, Beje, žarijose kepta žuvis čia fantastiška.

_Punta Allen – o va į čia tai norėjau imigruoti. Kaip jums skamba: elektros tiekimas vyksta du kartus per dieną… Nulis ryšio padalų jūsų telefone… Čia pateksite tik po pusantros valandos kratimosi negrįstu keliu einančių palmių mišku viename iš pietinių Meksikos gamtos rezervatų Reserva de la Biósfera de Sian Ka´an. Manau, kad tie kas mielai šveistų savo nenutylančius išmanuosius per langą, įvertins šios vietos tylą ir grožį.

_Chichén Itzá pyramidės, priklausančios UNESCO paveldo sąrašui, yra lankomiausias Meksikos architektūrinis paminklas. Tai kvapą gniaužianti vieta, o naktinis šviesų šou yra kažkas nepaprasto.

_Senotės – požeminiai ežerai – tai unikalus gamtos reiškinys būdingas šiai pasaulio daliai, taip pat dar sutinkamas Australijoje bei keliose Afrikos regionuose. Rugpjūtį Meksikoje liūčių sezonas tik įsibėgėja, tačiau 40 laipsnių karštis neleis ramiai vartytis paplūdimiuose. Tad senotės savo vėsiu ir įspųdingu povandeniniu pasauliu vilioja visus. Jų čia apstu palmių miškuose, uoluose. Pasiimkite akvalangą, lastus ir pirmyn.