If you’re looking for a special, off-the-beaten-path destination in Mexico, then Mérida in the Yucatán might be it. With a beautiful historic town, stunning local art, unique cuisine, and magical caves for swimming, Mérida makes the perfect quiet getaway. You’ll be able to balance cultural exploration with lots of natural scenery, all in an area that feels both safe for foreigners and rich with local stories. This travel guide to Mérida, Mexico will share everything you need to know to plan a fun trip to the region.…Continue Reading
We might have said “Mexico City restaurants are on the rise” ten years ago and not been entirely late to the game. But today, the culinary scene in this global capital is nothing less than a mature, full-blown bonanza. And there’s good news: you’re invited.
The fact is, food in La Ciudad has been excellent for decades, arguably for centuries. It’s just that international tourism to Mexico City has increased significantly over the last decade, thanks in part to the Netflix series Chef’s Table which has no doubt sent people on weekend jaunts to Pujol alone.…Continue Reading
Mountains that thunder, rivers that glow. Creaking glaciers that stretch for miles. Condors, guanacos, and flamingos that fill the sky, the earth, and the water. Patagonia is nothing short of magical.
And many people would be scandalized by a trip as short as 7 days in this massive region covering the most southern portions of Argentina and Chile. So why such a short itinerary? Because not everyone has multiple weeks to spend at the bottom of the world, but everyone should try to make it to Patagonia. At least once.…Continue Reading
Mexico’s wine region, Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, is growing in popularity as it rises to the top of international lists for culinary and wine-tasting adventures.
But first, a story about what brought us there. We were nearing the end of our season in Southern California and preparing to move back east. And it was a sudden revelation: over the four years that we lived in Los Angeles, never did it occur to us to drive down to Baja California. We love Mexico, but going there always meant jumping on a $200 round trip flight from LAX to Mexico City. Obviously, we needed to do at least one border crossing before we left.
But enough about us and why we love Mexico. This is about your upcoming trip to Mexico’s ever-growing wine region. Decorated with farm-to-table restaurants, stunning nebbiolos, and hip new hotels, the Valle de Guadalupe is the perfect weekend getaway for foodies and wine lovers like you.…Continue Reading
“It’s like Europe!”
If you’ve heard someone say this about Buenos Aires, they’re not entirely wrong. There are beautiful buildings modeled after Paris. There are broad avenues, stunning gardens, and as colonial history would have it, many locals who can claim Italian, German and Spanish roots.
But Buenos Aires is decidedly Latin American, despite its relatively young history and tumultuous political past. As our Argentine journalist friend suggested, it’s a country whose identity is still in development.
Identity crisis or not, there’s a ton to enjoy about Buenos Aires. And given all the research we did— and what we learned while there— I wanted to share this little guide with you.…Continue Reading
(Updated in 2020)
This is a guide to Oaxaca City, Mexico. It’s also a bit of a memoir. We spent a week there absorbing its magic, wandering its alleys, and tasting its impeccable food. I want to remember all of it.
And I want you to know about it– where to eat, stay, and play while there.…Continue Reading
I’ve sung the praises of Mexico City and coupled them with detailed travel tips. So this post will be a little different.
Last week, we spent 4 nights in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City– a serene, treelined section with quaint coffeeshops and restaurants galore. But my favorite thing? Strolling through the neighborhood.
There is something deeply relaxing about wandering with no immediate destination in mind. I get to take in little details like stained-glass windows, hanging balcony plants, and children playing millennia-old Mayan games. (To be fair, Aaron does all the navigating and I follow like a puppy…)
What I love most about Mexico– where I’ve visited at least– is the innovation that proliferates on playgrounds and sidewalks and porches. People make beauty all the time, whether it’s decorating a small space, making delicious simple food, or street cleaning with a broom and water from a puddle. It all makes me smile, and realize that creativity is a choice that requires no special processes, environments or tools– simply a desire to make better.
This time, we explored Mexico City with Aaron’s mom and brother, and we found ourselves endlessly commenting on what we saw. There is just so much life; music pours out of taquerias and garbage trucks alike. There’s nothing fabulous in quite the same way as this city of cities. Enjoy these snapshots!
[Updated in 2020!]
This has to be written.
Ever since we visited Mexico City in 2016, we’ve returned every single year. For our first trip, Aaron and I scoured the internet, print magazines, published books, and videos for tips. We found very little akin to what I’ve written here— a summation of favorites organized by neighborhood.
Over the past several years, Mexico City has been increasingly on the radar of savvy travelers. But it is such a complex city to really take the time to understand— and there still aren’t too many people who have written about it in as much detail as I would like to see.
And it deserves to be written about.
I am pretty convinced that Mexico City is a must-see for any foodie, history lover, architectural enthusiast, culture junkie, artist, adventurer, and travel geek. Basically, it’s an awesome destination for anyone with high curiosity and a desire to be surprised, inspired, and entertained.…Continue Reading
You might remember that Aaron and I spent July in Ecuador. We wandered through the lovely streets and plazas of Quito, and made a 3-day jaunt to the Andean town of Cuenca as well.
But the main reason we visited was to volunteer with Casa Victoria. We helped run their summer program for kids in the San Roque neighborhood, and spent time taking photographs, sharing stories and falling in love with their ministry.
See the mint-green house below?
Two dreams came true there.
1) My dream this summer was to interact with children in need and support a ministry doing amazing work. And that’s exactly what happened.
2) Alicia’s dream years ago was to purchase this dilapidated home and turn it into a redemptive force in the community. And that’s what it is now.
There’s a feeling I can’t seem to shake. Coming back from Japan, I was energized by the beauty we explored there. But coming back from Ecuador, I was just nostalgic– crazy nostalgic.
Perhaps this is because we did not simply tour the lovely cities of Quito and Cuenca while we were there. We actually spent most of our time in Quito working with underprivileged youth at Casa Victoria, a ministry that is dear to my heart. I will be sharing more about our time at Casa Victoria next week.
But, without any doubt, Ecuador is absolutely gorgeous. Popular mainly for the Galapagos Islands– which we had neither the time nor budget to visit– Ecuador’s mainland is less recognized among Americans.
But both Quito and Cuenca are gems in Ecuador’s Andean range, 8,000-9,000 feet above sea level. This means the whole area is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and little towns bedeck the hills!
So, in an effort to convince you to add Ecuador to your travel bucket list, I’ve compiled my ten favorite snapshots from our time there. Perhaps this means I’m only indulging the nostalgia more…
10 Best Snapshots From Ecuador
Let me tell you a little secret. Sometimes I don’t plan my travels. At all.
When I decided that we would do a brief excursion to Cuenca during our 3 weeks in Ecuador, I figured we would stroll its quaint streets, people-watch at cafes, window-shop the artisanal alleys and pretend we were in Europe. The only planning I did was to purchase our tickets and reserve a place to sleep. I left the rest up to our whims.
We did do those things, but Cuenca was smaller than I expected. We finished seeing almost everything on foot in one full day (granted we’re fast walkers!).
And so, with 2 days remaining, we had to ask ourselves: what are we going to do? We decided to slow down, take a breath, and see the city all over again.
The best part about having 2 more days “stuck” in Cuenca? We went back to the same sights and saw things we didn’t see before. The detail on the edge of a stairwell. The variation of florals in the balconies.
Because wandering slowly through is exactly what Cuenca is for. Its old-world charm and subtle details take time to see. Not to mention, there’s a bustling life (and smog-breathing buses) to look beyond.
We are back from Ecuador! After spending 3 weeks mostly in historical Quito, I’m ready to share some of our favorite spots. What a special place– Quito has the largest historical center in South America, with some of the most beautiful churches and buildings!
If you find yourself in Quito, I highly recommend spending at least a full day, if not two, in the historic center. The days in Quito are usually exactly 12 hours long, but not without variation! As the sun breaks through the clouds you will see the most glorious light, and the bluest skies! It’s definitely worth it to hang around all day to admire the colorful architecture.
Quito, though it has its problems, feels relatively safe. People tend to mind their own business here, and you likely won’t run into any over-enthusiastic sales people. By keeping a low profile and being smart about our valuables, we didn’t have any issues at all!