11 Spanish Words That Don’t Transalate to English

Mexican bingo cards on wall

My daily thoughts are peppered with Spanish words because sometimes Spanish just says it better. You can translate these words to English but they end up as phrases or weakened by qualifications. Andale pues! Cabron—Literally means a male goat and is sometimes translated as “cuckold.” That said, this word is widely used and can range from a playful greeting among friends “Hey Cabron!,” (like “Hey Fucker!”) to an insult akin to “asshole.” Chingar—Typically translating as “fuck” but meaning much more […]

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Solidarity through Mezcal

The news from Guerrero has not been good of late, what with the abduction and probable murder of 43 students at a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa, and the subsequent riots. But real life can’t be reduced to one storyline, and so I was happy to get some better news from our friend, tequila and mezcal expert Clayton Szczech, who wrote to tell me about a kickass organization of indigenous peasants  in the Río de Balsas region of Guerrero. Sanzekan Tinemi  […]

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Improved Mezcal Norms in the Works

Maguey field in guerrero

I consider myself more knowledgeable about tequila and mezcal than your average gringa, but I felt out of my depth during today’s fascinating interview with mezcal expert Clayton Szczech. Szczech is the owner of Experience Tequila and Experience Mezcal  and has published a series of well-written and extremely informative articles on potential changes in the norm for mezcal labeling, a process “that would take major steps toward elevating the status of artisanal mezcal and its producers by means of some […]

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Slow Travel, Mexican Style

  Every day we ride out to the beach. We bring a cooler bag filled with ice, water, tangerines, and six whorehouse coronas*. We bring our books.We bring sarongs and floppy hats and sunglasses and sunscreen.  The road to the beach is hot, even in morning, and we wobble over potholes, past tangled bougainvillaea that trails along the guardrail. We pass abandoned houses, shady in the palm grove. At the beach, we walk two miles to the very end. There, […]

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Camping in Latin America: Resources for the Overlander

A picture of a child running from a hut on the coast of Mexico.

We can see it now: an idyllic beach with an empty palapa, replete with a full pila full of clean water and good hammock spots. The bay is perfect for swimming, a big tree provides extra shade and a windbreak, and the spot is within an easy walk to a village with a few tiendas. A few other vans are camped down the beach, providing a sense of security and possible entertainment. The fishing is great an there’s not a […]

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Stone Soup? Sarah Borealis on Oaxacan Cuisine

Oaxacan stone soup

Visual historian Sarah Borealis talks about culinary tradition, eating in Oaxacan markets, and her new documentary “The Path of Stone Soup,” which explores the culinary heritage of Oaxaca’s Chinantla region. As Borealis explains,Chinantla’s specialty is a freshwater seafood soup “cooked to perfection using red hot stones.” I was interested to learn that the dish is traditionally prepared by men. The 24-minute documentary is the work of an international team that includes Borealis, director Arturo Juarez Aguilar, and César Gachupin de […]

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Improve Your Mexico Adventure: Eight Tips

Girl walks down Mexican street.

1. Get off the beaten path. Even if you plan on spending your entire vacation in a tourist hot spot like Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan, it’s easy enough to step off the tourist trail and experience authentic Mexico. Ask a cab driver to take you to his favorite taqueria, or just keep walking until Señor Frog recedes into the distance. 2. Pack a few nicer items of clothing. Mexico is a dressy country. When you’re invited to a fiesta or […]

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Twelve Days from the Tutuaca

I met some crazy people the other day. They looked normal, but when they said let’s go to Mexico and run practically unknown rivers, I knew  they weren’t that in touch with the real world. Sure enough. They live in a world of their own. I’m glad they shared a bit of their “separate reality” with me. The thrust of the undertaking was to start on the Rio Tutuaca near the Dolores mine, and by raft and inflatable kayak navigate […]

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Food Tourism in Mexico?

A bin of Mole Negro mix in a Oaxaca market

I recently received the following note from a reader who is planning a week-long trip to Mexico for his dad’s 70th birthday. Daniel writes: My brothers and I want to take our Dad to Mexico this December or January–Oaxaca and Mexico City maybe. My Dad is a chef and so we were thinking there might be a guide that could show us the best food experiences with the most appropriate accommodations etc. My Dad has been cooking Mexican for years […]

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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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