Monthly Archives: January 2009

Our Week in Tulum

Our Week in Tulum

Tulum, the southernmost (so far) of the Yucatan coast’s prime tourist spots, has long been famous among backpackers for its white sand beaches and (formerly) supercheap beach cabanas to stay in. These days, the cabanas have mostly been replaced by high-end, low-rise “eco-hotels,” and the few that are still cheap aren’t very secure. But the… Read More

Gifts from the Sea?

Gifts from the Sea?

As a splurge, Melissa and I recently spent two days at an eco-friendly beach-front place (Boca Paila Camp) in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum, Mexico. With the sea too rough for snorkeling, we spent a lot of time walking on the beach. The off-shore currents in that area bring a lot of… Read More

Our Journey Into the Underworld

Our Journey Into the Underworld

Riding across the Yucatan Peninsula on the bus, you’re struck by the flat landscape and dense, low forest in many different shades of green. There are few farms in sight, and villages are widely separated. Colorful flowering trees and vines abound. But what makes the Yucatan unique is its water. The peninsula has only a… Read More

Watching the rain

Watching the rain

Our next stop after bustling Merida was Valladolid, another inland colonial town but much smaller. It’s a good base for visiting several nearby Mayan sites and also supposedly a pretty little town for strolling around. That last bit may be true at other times, but right now, Valladolid is undertaking a massive repaving projects. Nearly… Read More

Food in the Yucatan Peninsula

Food in the Yucatan Peninsula

Being foodies, we always pay a lot of attention (maybe too much attention?) to the cuisine of places we visit. What do local people eat, and when and how do they eat it? What do the local specialties taste like? Although you can find staples such as tacos, quesadillas, salsas, and guacamole just about anywhere… Read More

I Don’t Understand Other People

I Don’t Understand Other People

Why, when tourists come to a site (such as a Mayan ruin), do they spend more time taking photos of each other in front of the site than looking at it? That seems to be especially true with scenic views. People rush up, and without even really looking at the view, they start snapping photos… Read More

Dancing in the Streets

Dancing in the Streets

After two nights on the coast we headed inland to the colonial city and regional capital of Merida. Our visit was timed for the weekend, when Merida was celebrating its birthday with a festival of music and dance. The first night featured folk dance and folk music in a pretty little park. We knew we… Read More

Hola from Mexico!

Hola from Mexico!

We decided to start our travels in Central America in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, famous for Cancun and the nearby beaches of the Riviera Maya. We planned to skip Cancun entirely, but we were still worried that the whole area would be overly touristed. But since flights to Cancun from the United States are… Read More

Plans for 2009

After an enjoyable break seeing our friends again, helping to elect Barak Obama (yea!), and spending the holidays with our families, we’re ready to start wandering again. On January 8, we leave for three and half months in Central America. We’re going to start in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and then head south to Belize, Guatemala,… Read More

Reflections on 2008

Our first year as vagabonds was even better than we’d hoped for: 285 days (nine and a half months) spent discovering and savoring five countries: southern Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Ireland, and France. It was a privilege to be able to spend the year that way. What made it especially memorable were the generous, genuine, interesting,… Read More