South America on a Shoestring: Nine Tips for the Adventure Traveler

editor’s note: I’m happy to announce a new addition to our team, New Orleans-based writer and traveler extraordinaire, Holly Devon. Initially plan your trip around which places you’d like to go, rather than what is realistic given your financial constraints. Only start budget planning once you’ve arrived in South America, and necessity will quickly mother invention. Forgo youth hostels whenever possible, and try instead to find a local willing to put you up. The friend of a friend is your […]

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Letter from a Reader: Retire in Baja?

editor’s note: A reader named Sarah wrote us with the subject line “retire to baja.” Of course I passed this on to our resident retirement/baja expert El Codo, who demanded to know more about Sarah’s needs/situation. Sarah: I plan to go to Mexico this summer.  I have limited funds so will need inexpensive housing.  Would a long term older hotel be a good choice?  I have  few belongings to bring.  Having a place furnished would needed.  I am 71 and […]

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Birding Hikes in the Copper Canyon?

Michael Huckaby hikes the Copper Canyon.

Erin writes: I’m a gal traveling solo (with dog) and plan on spending 1.5 weeks in the Barrancas del Cobre region and am looking for advice. I have a truck and a safe place to keep it in Baltopilas and Creel. I am an avid birder and naturalist and am looking for some birdy multiday and day hikes. Do you have any insight as to good spots for eared quetzal or military macaws? I just finished reading the PG and […]

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The Palapa Files: Home Sweet Tilapia Pond

Chito's campground, Tenacatita

And then we went from partying on the piazza of a pseudo-Moorish palace to camping in the dirt in a defunct tilapia farm. The tilapia farm in question is located behind Chito’s restaurant, about a kilometer from Tenacatita beach, on the coast of Jalisco. Since the failure of the tilapia venture, Chito has been busy building a campground on the site, replete with palapas, a volleyball court, and supposedly showers, though we never exactly saw that dream materialize. I shouldn’t […]

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Exploring Oaxaca's Pueblos Mancomunados

Couple stands in front of agave on hike in Oaxaca mountains.

editor’s note: the following post is from Billy and Kaki Burruss, who have kindly capitulated to my request for chronicles of their Oaxaca adventures. If you are interested in arranging a trip in the Pueblos Mancomunados, Billy and Kaki recommend Expediciones Sierra Norte. Kaki writes: Pueblos Mancomunados are seven towns that have united to form an ecological preserve. They manage their forests for conservation and firewood, they bottle water, and provide cabins and guides for hikers. At nearly 10,000 feet, […]

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Back in the Big Enchilada: I Try a New Hotel

editor’s note: This post is by Tina Rosa, a veteran travel writer and adventurer who now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Gto. She is the co-author of “22 Days in Mexico” and “The Shopper’s Guide to Mexico.” She blogs at Open Salon. Since my beloved Hotel Isabel Catolica upped its prices, I decided to give another abode a try. I like the historic district so cruised the net and settled upon Hotel El Salvador on Republica del Salvador, a […]

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Nogales or Agua Prieta? Which is Safer?

  A reader writes: Hello, This year my fiance will be released from prison and deported back to Mexico (6yrs in). He has been in the US since he was 5. All of his family is here, but he doesn’t want to chance coming back (he just served 6 for crossing twice) so he left me with the task of finding where is safer: Nogales or Agua Prieta. Here is a little about me: I’m white , green eyes, super […]

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The Fine Art of Packing Light

A hamper, a thermos, a pith helmet, and two tigers.

As I recently noted, it’s been awhile since I was forced to pack light. Last year we drove the van to Mexico, and I was able to tote my vintage Samsonite suitcases, overflowing with all manner of impractical items, including multiple pairs of heels, and, yes, two stuffed tigers and a pith helmet. This trip, I’m spending five weeks on the coast of Jalisco and Nayarit, including (hopefully) a few weeks camping, and I’m limited to whatever I can stuff […]

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Flashback Mexico Travel Journals 1992-2013

Dec 31-Jan 10, 1992  Tenacatita, Jalisco (age 13) We traveled through the dessert (which was kind of boring) and then we crossed the border. We then drove down to visit our friends the Huichols. Guillermo had just left for the sierra! Too bad. We had an OK time with the Huichols and I once again tried tortilla making and failed. I can do it with a press, but patting it out by hand is beyond me. (Mine always are full […]

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Back to the Basics: One Camper's Fall from Grace

The first time I set up camp in Mexico sans parents, I had just turned 20. Kamari and Sam and I flew into Puerto Vallarta and arrived at playa Tenacatita with tents, a hammock, a one burner stove, a precious cooler, and little else. Our camp furniture consisted of crates salvaged from a local tienda. For two months, we ate crouched in the sand like heathens. We had to keep the beer and the food in (gasp!) the same cooler. […]

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