If you travel to Merida or through the Yucatan Peninsula, you learn quickly about the role of haciendas and their contributions to the world. The architecture of Mexican haciendas, along with the Mayan culture and Yucatan’s natural resources, is both captivating and wondrous. Their historical past in the early 1900s and restored beauty are unquestionably intriguing and worthy of a visit. Here’s why….
I arrived in Merida for the first time for a 10-day visit to connect with a friend and to venture on my own. Driving from the airport to my destination, you get to experience a hidden gem of an old colonial city that has been through its fair share of economic struggles and is slowly becoming a place that is timeless and exceptionally gifted. This is a seven-storytelling series on the magic of Merida, Mexico rated as one of the best cities to travel to in 2022.
In Merida, there are tours to reach many of the Yucatán cenotes within an hour’s drive. I had planned to go to at least two cenotes, although I only managed to get to one. My friend highly recommended the Hacienda Mucuyche Cenote, which did not disappoint. Mucuyche is one of the most developed cenotes for tourism, having everything from a gift shop to a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool with lockers and many other amenities. Frankly, done of that matters once you climb down and you come face to face with the mystery, magic and beauty of this natural pit or sinkhole formed from the collapse of limestone bedrocks. Once you are in the water, you are dazzled, even spellbound, by the colors and the sparkles of the cave and the water. Doing this one time is just not enough….
There are over 200 archaeological ruins throughout the Yucatán peninsula. In close proximity to the city of Merida, there are at least four Mayan ruins that you can do a day trip. The Mayapán ruins are less than an hour from Merida and are pretty impressive, as it was once considered the capital center of Mayan civilization in all of Yucatan. The ruins are quite extraordinary, allowing you to visualize what this community looked like in its heyday and to experience how Mayan culture persists to this day….
I recently came across an article about the Lakota Sioux tribe and immediately experienced a flashback of a group project that took us to a reservation in the Badlands National Park near Rapid City, South Dakota in 2019. Driving through the Badlands was a photographer’s dream, especially for an urban dweller. Meeting and learning so much from this American Native tribe was a phenomenal experience and one I would love to repeat. Here’s why….
Good news for Cuba, President Joe Biden on June 1 of this year has finally gotten around to revoking a series of restrictions on flights to Cuba that were imposed by Donald Trump allowing US airlines to fly to all of Cuba’s airports. Unfortunately, this falls short of fully reinstating the Obama administration policies towards Cuba. A bit disappointing for folks who would like to travel freely to the island. I was fortunate to visit Havana, Cuba in 2017 when President Obama had lifted US restrictions, allowing travelers to independently travel to Cuba without being part of an authorized travel program….
Back then, before we knew what the word COVID meant and the disruption that it caused the world, I had taken a 12-day road trip through La Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun or Sun Coast) a region in the south of Spain comprising of coastal towns and communities along the coastline. We visited eight cities….loving its people, its culture, and its history. I plan to go back to Spain and travel to the northern side of this awe-inspiring country in the near future. If you are interested in traveling to Spain, here are my favorite places with tips and photos to hopefully inspire you to GO soon….
Now that Omicron it’s on its way out, countries are loosening their travel restrictions as they gradually recover from the pandemic. For some countries, tourism represents over 30% of their gross domestic product. Commercial ads are working overtime to incite you to book something soon. How about Greece? In 2018, I went island-hopping to four of Greece’s majestic islands. Frankly, I yearn to go back and visit the ones I missed. Are you itching to travel this spring and summer? If so, here are my picks with tips and photos to hopefully inspire you to GO (this year or any year).
Last leg of a 10-day road trip through California coastline arriving at the state’s most quintessential city.
Next and final stop is the quintessential city of San Francisco. A city where the contrast between the rich and the poor is exacerbated by the growing housing crisis and, more recently, the pandemic. Yet it is a romantically alluring city with so many distinctive iconic landmarks to revel in. There is so much to see when visiting this city, beginning with the Golden Gate Bridge to the popular Alcatraz Island. The architecture of the city is just truly exquisite, stylish and diverse. It represents a combination of Victorian homes of every type from gorgeous Queen Anne styles to Gothic and Tudor Rival structures, including some very cool contemporary modern architecture.
Third leg of a 10-day road trip through the California coastline exploring this country’s most beautiful wine scenery from Mendocino to Sonoma to Napa Valley, known worldwide as US premier wine-growing region. Leaving Fort Bragg away from the coastline, going south, the landscape drastically changes from that of just miles of astonishing redwoods to thousands of acres of vineyards on rolling hills. These vineyards are nicely organized in rows spread out over the mountainous terrain. Once you leave Mendocino County and enter Sonoma County, the landscape intensifies with miles of farms and vineyards adorned with beautiful Spanish and Mediterranean architecture designed for outdoor living and farm-to-table eating.
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