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November 2016 Travels in Review

bundled up in chilly San Cristobal de Casas

bundled up in chilly San Cristobal de Casas

November 2016 Travels in Review

In November I continued my solo travels in eastern Mexico. To be specific, I explored Chiapas State and then returned to amazing Yucatan Peninsula, where I re-visited several favorite cities and finally got to Isla Holbox, a tiny off-the-track island at the northern tip of Yucatan. I completed the month back in my old stomping grounds of Playa del Carmen and Tulum on Mexico’s Caribbean coast before flying out of Cancun in early December.

In Chiapas State I explored the charming highland city of San Cristobal De Casas and the lowlands jungle area of Palenque, famous for its Mayan ruins and lush waterfalls. In Yucatan I re-visited Campeche (my favorite city in Mexico), Merida and Valladolid as well as the spots just mentioned above. Details on these explorations below.

Lash a Misol Ha Cascade - Palenque - Chiapas

Lash a Misol Ha Cascade – Palenque – Chiapas

November held some pretty major news for me. The month marked one full year of travels in Latin America, which I summarized in this article. It also was my last month in Mexico since my 6-month visa expired on Dec. 3 and I was forced to leave.

Finally, I got a fantastic new job on the side that kept me quite busy most of November while traveling around Yucatan. I’m not disclosing the work yet, but it involves travel, visiting many wonderful places and will help me continue my long-term world trip. Yippie!

Because of my new work I didn’t have time to write as many new articles on LashWorldTour as usual. Instead, since I was re-visiting many of my favorite places in Yucatan, I featured many articles and photo galleries that I had published during my first explorations of the peninsula earlier this year. Hopefully, these articles and photos will reach people who haven’t previously seen them and also help inspire other travelers to visit amazing Mexico.

Without further ado, here are the featured articles on Yucatan that I promoted in November as well as two new articles I wrote on LashWorldTour. Following these article links are a series of FB posts I wrote in November about my ongoing travels.

NEW AND FEATURED ARTICLES ON LASHWORLDTOUR IN NOVEMBER

 

new post* One Year of Travel in Latin America!

Hey everyone – Yesterday, Nov. 1 marks my one year anniversary of traveling around Latin America!

Ummm, I didn’t get very far – I only explored 4 countries! But I explored them in depth and did a shit-load of fun, interesting, cool stuff…

Check out the highlights of my travels through Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as my biggest ‘take aways’ -observations about this amazing region of the world.

READ POST

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*new post* October 2016 Travels in Review

Here’s my monthly re-cap of adventurous travels around central Mexico as well as a round-up of new articles & photo galleries I published in October on LashWorldTour.

If you missed anything last month – especially if you’re thinking of traveling in Mexico – check out this article to learn all about Mexico’s amazing Pacific coast beaches, the charming colonial city of Oaxaca and a surprising canyon boat trip in Chiapas state.

READ ARTICLE

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TRAVEL PERSPECTIVES: 34 Things I Love About Yucatan – Mexico

So I’m back touring around my beloved Yucatan, re-visiting favorite places and finally getting to a couple fab spots that slipped by me previously…

I thought it the perfect time to bring back my article about why I love this peninsula so very much…

Find out what makes Yucatan so magical, diverse and fun to travel around…

READ ARTICLE

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PHOTO GALLERY: Stunning Yucatan Peninsula – Mexico

Since I’m touring around fabulous Yucatan again, here’s the photo gallery I made earlier this year highlighting the amazing diversity of this beautiful, historical and wonderful slice of Mexico.

Maybe they’ll inspire you to come visit too!

SEE PHOTOS OF YUCATAN

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TRAVEL PERSPECTIVES – My 1st Impressions of Mexico

Amazingly, I’ve spent 9 entire months in Mexico this year! Wow, that’s a lot of time in one country…

…yet I’ve only seen about 1/3 of this fantastic country so far. (I might have to return!)

But now…duh, duh, duh, duh…I have to leave! On Sat, Dec. 3 my visa expires, DAG, so off I go.

This makes the perfect time to bring back this article about my 1st impressions of Mexico, which I wrote a few weeks after my arrival in late January.

Reading through it again, I see that my initial impressions still hold up after 9 months of in-depth travels.

If you’re wondering what Mexico is like, check out this post…

READ POST

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PHOTO GALLERY: Beautiful Historic Campeche City

In honor of returning to my favorite city in Mexico, I’m bringing back my photo gallery of Campeche.

A UNESCO World Heritage City, Campeche contains streets full of gorgeously renovated 16th century buildings, churches and the stone cathedral.

The entire historic district (original Campeche city) is enclosed by a massively thick 8ft stone wall – like a fort – built in the 17th century to protect Campech against pirate attacks. The city sits on the Gulf of Mexico.

Come see how pretty this city is!

SEE PHOTOS OF CAMPECHE

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PHOTO GALLERY: Gorgeous Tulum Beach, Mexico

I am currently spending my very last week in Mexico back at beloved Tulum Beach.

It’s the most apt place for me to end my huge Mexican journeys – This is where all the BIG things happened for me here in Mexico!

Tulum is where I fell in love back in March, where I left Mexico from last time, where I returned to in June, where I lived for nearly 4 months… and now where I’m making my final good-byes.

Yep, it’s a pretty emotionally-packed final week…But Sat, Dec. 3rd my Mx visa expires, so onward ho!

In the meantime, I’ve brought back my photos of Tulum for you for the great occasion. Enjoy!

SEE PHOTOS OF TULUM

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NOVEMBER TRAVELS VIA FB UPDATES

SAN CRISTOBAL DE CASAS

San Cristobal de Casas - Mexico

San Cristobal de Casas – Mexico

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: So here’s what San Cristobal de Casas looks like…

A colorful, well-preserved colonial city, like so many others in Mexico.

As you can see, the stone streets & sidewalks are super-clean. The buildings beautifully renovated.

And, of course, there are several gorgeous churches and the main cathedral.

All in all, a very pleasant city to wander around and hang out in for a while.

crowded road in San C de C TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: I feel like I’m in an entirely different country!

Here in San Cristobal de Casas city in Chiapas state…

Why’s it so different you might ask. Good question. Well…

1. It’s cold! The city sits at 2160 M / 7128 ft, surrounded by pine-clad mountains. Most of the time I look like this, all bundled up in warm clothes…

2. The city feels ‘miniature’. Instead of Mexico’s usual wide roads and huge, spacious buildings with high ceilings and massive rooms, in San Cristobal de Chiapas the roads are narrow, the sidewalks barely walk-able they’re so narrow.

Buildings are much smaller in proportion and just 1-2 stories high. This city feels a lot more like Antique, Guatemala than any city in Mexico!

3. It’s crowded! Wowie, this is the most crowded place I’ve been in Mexico. One thing I’ve become accustomed to (and really like) in Mexico is the low population density. It’s weird to walk down streets crammed with people.

4. There’s a lot of traffic! Along with the high population are lots of cars, even daily traffic jams on the narrow stone roads!

5. A lot of indigenous tribal people, wearing traditional costumes, are present in the city. They walk around selling handicrafts and have fresh produce stalls in the markets. Again, this feels more like Antique, Guatemala than a Mexican city.

indigenous woman in San Cristobal de CasasTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Several lesser-known Mayan tribes live in this region of Chiapas state…

They each have their own villages, clothing styles, traditions, medicines and other cultural distinctions.

The Tzotzil and Tzeltal tribes are especially prominent in San Cristobal. I see them most days – at the main market, the cathedral plaza and sometimes walking around town.

These people do not like to be photgraphed. So I haven’t been able to capture any images of them in their unusual traditional clothing…

Until these 2 Tzotzil ladies just happened to wander through my street scene yesterday! So at long last I can show you their distinctive clothing – They wear very furry black skirts with very shiny, bright Tafetta blouses.

The men wear that same long black fur as long tunics. Men with special religious/ceremonial positions wear white fur tunics.

Their main village of Chomula is only 15 km from San Cristobal. I went there to visit their unique church and gigantic Sunday market. Here’s their brightly decorated church. NO photos are allowed inside!

hot chocolate in San Cristobal de CasasTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Hot chocolate from cacao trees in Chiapas!

Chiapas state is famous for its coffee, cacao (chocolate), corn & other fresh veggies.

One of the very first things I did when I arrived in San Cristobal last week was order a nice big hot chocolate at a cafe along the main plaza.

See that foam? It was 2 inches thick! I kid you not. Very tasty, chocolate foam!

Price – 24 ps / $1.30 US…. with my more than generous tip it cost $1.60 Yum!

Museum of Mayan MedicineTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: I visited the Museum of Mayan Medicine.

The local Mayan tribes in Chiapas state practice very unique medical traditions!

They incorporate plants, minerals and animal parts into their medicine.

Candles, incense, crosses (pre-Christian), prayers and local moonshine are important in their ceremonies.

There are 5 types of medical practitioners – Midwives, Bone Healers, Blood Readers, Herbalists and Mountain Top Medical Men. Obviously they each take care of specific illnesses, both physical and mental.

Clearly, it’s all a lot more involved than I’m getting into here. But the upshot is that the Mayan Medicine Museum is really interesting and informative.. And the Mayan medical practices really unusual.

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: treats time! Espresso and gourmet French cake…

hostel in San Cristobal de CasasTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Check out my cute & artsy hostel/hotel in San Cristobal!

Rooms are set around 2 courtyards – one full of art and colorful little tables, the other a leafy garden.

Great views of rooftops, trees and distant mountains from the roof. A huge kitchen.

…and lots of artsy, groovy people working and staying here. Great place !

OH- and my bed costs only 80 ps / $4.50 US per night! The cheapset yet!

Private rooms cost only 150 ps / $8 US – in Yucatan, you’ll be lucky to find a dorm bed for that price!

PALENQUE

Palenque Mayan ruins - Mexico

Palenque Mayan ruins – Mexico

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: I finally made it to Palenque Mayan ruins…

Very nice, but not nearly as great as Tikal in Guatemala… Still a nice day in Chiapas. 

Palenque Mayan ruins also has some beautiful waterfalls in the Jungle.

hostel in PalenqueTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Check out my cool & Jungly hostel/hotel in PALENQUE…

Very cool tunnel entryway leads to a big open reception, kitchen area…

Nice gardens and a Mayan sauna, called temexcal

And great restaraunt /cafe … Lots of wonderful sitting spaces.

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Visit to Misol Ha Waterfalls near Palenque

Best is going behind the falls!

CAMPECHE

Campeche cathedral & plaza - Mexico - Yucatan

Campeche cathedral & plaza

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Yippie! I’m back in Campeche, my favorite city in Mexico!

I loved it the 1st time I visited back in March…

but when preparing to return, I started wondering what I could do here since I already spent 1 week here last time…

Well! As soon as I arrived in Campeche’s historic district and saw the rows of beautiful, colored buildings I fell in love all over again!

So happy to be in such a pretty city, and one full of art & performances. Yippie!

LashWorldTour at boutique hotel in CampecheTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Double Yippie!! I’m staying at my favorite boutique hotel – in Campeche.

It’s located right on the main plaza, with a great balcony overlooking the leafy trees, cathedral, gorgeous buildings and performance stage… (and even better views from the roof!)

And, wow, what beautiful interiors in this little hotel!

…when I’m here I just stay in the hotel the entire time, so as to enjoy its great atmosphere, furnishings and panoramic views…

MERIDA

live band in MeridaTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

I’m back in Merida for a few days…Just in time for Sunday festivities!

Every Sunday Merida’s luxurious Montenejo Blvd is closed to traffic to allow residents & visitors to enjoy cycling, strolling, walking their dogs and listening to free outdoor music!

Several bands, singers and other performers line up along Montenejo Blvd to entertain the crowds.

Saturday nights the performances actually begin…

So this morning and last night I was out enjoying all the festivities. Great cultural aspect of Merida!

Nomadas Hostel - Merida - MexicoTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Honestly, one reason I returned to Merida is to enjoy this amazing hostel!

Seriously- check out THIS for a budget hotel! ..one of the best I’ve found – in the whole world!

I’ve been lounging pool-side, reading, watching DVDs, suntanning, sipping mojitos…

Ah, budget travel life at its best!

Any guesses at to the cost of a dorm bed here, with use of pool, gardens, wifi, free breakfast & drinking water and free salsa lessons?

horse & cart in Merida - MexicoTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Back in Merida, somehow I’d completely forgotten about the charming horse & cart ‘taxis’ in this colonial city.

But I was quickly reminded on my first day here by several trotting horses passing by as I walked the streets.

Beautiful aren’t they?!

gourmet meal at Rosas&Xocolate - MeridaTRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

Hey, hey…Here’s a sample of the many gourmet meals I’ve been treated to recently, due to a new project of mine. (he he he)

Not so bad, eh?!

Looks like I’m going to have to start watching my calorie intake if I keep this up!

ISLA HOLBOX

Isla Holbox - Mexico TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

I FINALLY made it to Isla Holbox!

…a small less-developed island off the very tip of Yucatan Peninsula.

Friends have been ranting and raving about it ever since I arrived in Mexico…and I’ve been dying to get here for months. Finally!

So… Holbox has miles and miles of lovely undeveloped beach, backed by nothing but trees, bushes and mangroves. Very peaceful and relaxing. Total nature immersion!

…unfortunately, Holbox is definitely ON the radar now. Huge amounts of construction going on in town…and I fear in a short time it will be nearly as popular and over-visited as Isla Mujeres. Boo hoo!

Luckily, most of the island cannot be developed as it’s all dense mangroves…with crocodiles to boot!

At the moment, it’s still a great place to escape into nature.

yoga sign - Isla Holbox - Mexico TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

I‘m a resident yoga instructor at Holbox Island!

Yes, indeed, yours truly is teaching daily yoga classes – on the roof of Tribu Hostel at sunset.

But, wait…. I know some of you are going to ask… No, I am not actually a certified yoga instructor. But I do teach classes. With over 750 hours of yoga under my belt, daily yoga classes for 5 years running, and a half-a-lifetime of ballet dance, I can hold a decent yoga class I think…

…and it’s really fun too!

seagulls at  Isla Holbox - Mexico TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Holbox Island is full of birds!

…especially flocks of seagulls, who make all kinds of silly spectacles on boats, piers and posts…

…but lots of pelicans, cormorants, birds of prey and other sea birds are abundant too.

In fact, all the birds life helps make Holbox seem such a healthy, natural environment..and fill the air with lovely bird songs.

hostel at  Isla Holbox - Mexico TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO: Check out my cool hostel on Holbox!

Tribu Hostel has great architecture, cool interiors, lots of art and daily free activities

(one of the activities is the daily yoga classes I’m teaching on the roof at sunsets!)

I keep finding the BEST hostels in Mexico! Which is amazing since I rarely like hostels.

FINAL TRAVELS…

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

OMG! I have to leave Mexico this Saturday! Noooo…

DRATS! Time’s up!

My Mexican 6-month visa expires on Dec. 3rd. I have no choice but to leave. Sigh.

Of course I can always return! …and I’ve already planned a 3-4 month journey in central MX/Pacific coast, which I may undertake in February.

Meanwhile, on Sat. I fly back to Florida to spend December, Xmas, NYE with family in St Pete. Should be fun!

exploring Isla Mujeres

exploring Isla Mujeres

TRAVEL UPDATE MEXICO:

OMG! Today I have to leave Mexico! Eeek…

Sigh, my visa expires, so I must be on my way…for the time being at least.

I’ve been spending my final days back in beloved Tulum on its gorgeous white-sand beaches and turquoise sea waters. I’ve even been visiting with my beloved ex. Sigh.

It’s been an emotion-packed week. But sometimes that’s how life goes. And I like intense emotions, so all good.

Next reports from St Petersburg, Florida, USA! (Thank God DT isn’t in office yet! Eeek!)

SUMMARY AND A LOOK TO THE FUTURE

enjoying espresso & French cake in San Cristobal de Casas

enjoying espresso & French cake in San Cristobal de Casas

Once again, I enjoyed many great travel adventures and a huge diversity of places and activities while traveling around wonderful Mexico in November. On top of that, my great new job kept me quite busy all month.

In early December I was sad to leave Mexico again, even having spent 9 months and explored about 1/3 of the country in 2016. That just goes to show how much I love Mexico! In fact, I will quite likely return in February to explore central Mexico and the vast Pacific coast. I estimate those explorations will take another four months. From there I’ll head south into Central America, traveling through six of seven C.A. Countries.

In the meantime, I’m spending December and January with family in St Petersburg, Florida. I’m already busy cycling, gardening, strolling gorgeous beaches, attending performances and joining events, all while marveling at Florida’s fabulous warm sunny weather.

Visit LashWorldTour and my FB page to find out all about St Pete and Florida while I’m here then follow my ongoing travel adventures through Mexico and Central America next year.

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