Saint Good Adventure

San Judas de Tadeo

  As usual on a border crossing day, I woke up with a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement at the thought of Mexico and dread at the thought of dealing with customs agents and paperwork. From my late father I inherited a phobia of police officers and other government officials, which means that I work myself up into a state every time we need to cross an international border. As it turned out, my sense of foreboding was not […]

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Book Review: Narcocorrido by Elijah Wald

note: Click on links for music. Would you rather listen to gangster rap, country music, or polka?  If you cringed in horror at any of the three options, well, brace yourself. If you answered, “All three!” then you probably already know your Tigres from your Tucanes. Whatever your musical tastes, the blood-splattered accordion-happy world of the Mexican narcocorrido is a fascinating place to visit. In Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerillas, folklorist and musician Elijah Wald explains […]

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From the Archives: An Eight-Year-Old’s Travel Journal, 1987

Map of baja drawing

Churpa writes: While researching for a memoir of my childhood on the road, I’ve been digging through old family photographs and journals, and I found this very detailed illustrated travel journal that I started when I was eight, in 1987. The journal is canvas-bound with a sweet splatter paint design on the cover, and spans from November 1987 to the spring of ’89. It covers two long trips, from Oregon to Baja to Guatemala and back again. At the time, […]

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Traveling with Children and Water Quality

hippie family in van

A reader writes: This summer, my wife and I wish to travel and stay for a month or so to San Miguel or Guanajuato with our children ages 4 and 1 (right around 12-13 months). Our itinerary will be light:  just stay in a city and get to know it intimately. However, we’re concerned about issues like water: brushing teeth, when washing food, etc, especially with our younger child. Wondering if there’s a risk of him becoming ill even if […]

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A Major Victory at Tenacatita: Update

  For over twenty years, the people of Rebalsito have endured fires, rampant destruction of property, the loss of home and livelihood, threats, endless meetings, and expensive legal battles. Five years ago, armed guards hired by the Rodenas corporation wrongfully took over on of my favorite places on earth. The community has been fighting back ever since, tooth and nail.  We have endured so many setbacks. And for once, things are looking up. In a time when so much news […]

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The Real Deal With the Dollar/Peso Exchange Rate

A Mexican peso coin from 1982.

With the Mexican peso over 15 to 1, the U.S. dollar purchases 18% more pesos today than it did a year and a half ago. In theory, this means a person should be able to purchase 18% more today than they did back then. In the sixties and the seventies that would have been true, but not today. Today merchants and hotel owners have cellular phones with WiFi access, and in a matter of minutes they can access the official […]

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Cost of Living Update: Baja

A Mexican peso coin from 1982.

How much will it cost me to live/travel in Mexico? This query has been making our top 10 FAQ for over forty years. Sadly, the answer has changed significantly since 1972, when the first edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico hit the shelves. But take heart! We can’t complain too much with a peso/dollar exchange rate of 15.  Keep in mind that the prices below are for Baja. The mainland, barring major tourist traps, should be a little cheaper. […]

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Dancing with the Devil: Climbing Baja’s High Point

Picacho del Diablo

The attempt of Picacho Del Diablo is not a summit to be undertaken lightly. The map shows a 13 km trail, so you practically have to figure thirteen hours of route finding. But first, after just thirty minutes or so of hiking from the east side trailhead, you come to the most ingenious cow-excluding device known to geologic engineering. There is a little two foot waterfall into a turquoise blue pool about three feet deep. Yes, it’s only five feet, […]

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Where’s My Tacos?

A man cuts meat at a Mexico City taqueria.

Just stumbled across “36 Hours in Mexico City” from The New York Times. I enjoy this series and this installment is not half bad. The suggestions are predictably heavy on Colonia Roma and Condesa, but props to the grey lady for at least suggesting that visitors eat at a market, in this case Mercado de Medellín. That said, this is the only market on the itinerary, which seems crazy to me. Also, there’s no mention of The National Museum of […]

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Shopping Oaxaca Markets: Beyond the Tame

Chiles at Oaxaca market.

editor’s note: Our friends Billy and Kaki Burruss sent this dispatch from their annual trip to Oaxaca. For a little taste of Mexican shopping, venture beyond the tourist shops and head south of the Zocolo into the heart of commercial Oaxaca. In just a few blocks you”ll find the excitement and busy bustle of the Mexican shopper. Unlike our department store shopping, here the shops are squeezed together, each offering a different product. You´ll find shoe shops, fragrance shops (where […]

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