Letter from a Reader: 40 Years in Mexico

David writes: Hello Felisa Churpa Rosa Rogers, At the People’s Guide website I found your name with the invitation to share Mexico stories et cetera.  I mainly just wanted to thank Carl Franz and his companions for opening up a world to which I probably would never have had to courage to visit without first getting familiar with The People’s Guide to Mexico.  In Dec. 1974, I was in Ocean Beach San Diego CA and stumbled into a bookstore where […]

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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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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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Hail Mexico, Full of Grace

Virgin mary with fish and seal

Hail Mexico, full of grace. Even though I’ve spent many years in this country, all told, I’m still in awe of the Mexico’s grace: the magic of small moments, the smile that redeems a weary journey; the stroke of strange luck that saves the day. Take today, for instance. I am homeward bound to Oregon, leaving the beach, leaving Mexico, which always makes me heartsick. We arrived in Melaque this morning to discover that (for some odd and no doubt […]

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More on the Hidden Perks of the Mexican Bus System

I found myself alone around noon on a 1st class bus just north of Mazatlan. I watched with curiosity as the “ayudante,” the driver’s helper, worked his way back to my seat midway down the length of the vehicle. “¿You speak Spanish?” I replied to the affirmative. “¿Do you like pollo al carbon estilo Sinaloense?” Yes of course I love charcoal grilled chicken. Why the questions, I wondered? “Si!” Me gusta pollo al carbon estilo Sinaloense.” Without another word the […]

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Can I Take My Cat on a Mexican Bus or Train?

A large black tom cat

A reader writes: Hola! We are doing a West Coast RV trip with our rambunctious 8-month-old kitten in January. Would he be allowed on the Copper Canyon train if in a carry kennel? Can he ride on first class buses? Churpa replies: I have never tried to take a cat on a Mexican bus (though, to be fair, it sounds like something I might attempt). I hear it’s possible to take a pet on the Primera Plus line, but the […]

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Books about the Mayans

After reading Mayan Backroads, and John Doran’s recommended books, I was inspired to go back into The People’s Guide to Mexico’s original website and update some of the books that Carl and others had reviewed there.  For these and other books and articles about the Maya, see The Maya: Recommended Reading While poking around amazon.com, I also found some interesting books that I hadn’t seen before, such as The True history of Chocolate and Maya Achi Marimba Music In Guatemala. If you have read […]

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Mayan Backroads

Hello Carl and Lorena; Your book (The People’s Guide to Mexico) helped me on my very first trip through Mexico almost 30 years ago as a very naive young man.  Later, I passed it amongst my family and friends who read it like a novel (and all enjoyed it thoroughly).  I still have that original copy in surprisingly good condition.  My cousin had it for eight months and didn’t want tot return it to me.  In the end her sense of justice […]

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Getting Around: Mexico by Bus

First class Mexican bus.

My backpack was vintage, and not in a stylish way. A leftover from my mom’s backpacking trips through South America in the seventies, the bag had an exterior frame as large and graceless as an old lawn chair. I was happy to free my aching back from this aluminum exoskeleton, but I was having a hard time shoving the giant pack into the overhead rack of the bus.  The behemoth bulged with supplies: everything from high heels to a percolator to […]

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Taking the Bus in Mexico City

I’m a big fan of the Mexico City subway system, which is super cheap, super fast, and super easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. It’s also remarkably comprehensive. This trip we managed to avoid paying for a cab, and only took the bus once—when we traveled from our van (which we left parked on the far outskirts of the city) to a metro that would take us to our hotel. However, from the sound of it, […]

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