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 […]

Read more »

Overlanders

hippie family in van

My dad and I were not allowed to touch the van during the packing process. My mother was in charge, and we were the heavy lifters, hauling plastic tubs of spices, boxes of books, boxes of wine, tool boxes. Tina instructed us to set everything by the back doors of the van. She would crawl underneath the plywood bed, on her hands and knees, visible only by the bottoms of her sneakers. It was my job to stand waiting while […]

Read more »

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 […]

Read more »

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 […]

Read more »

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 […]

Read more »

Historical Photo of the Week: On the Road with Steve Rogers

family in van

Our friend Tia just sent me this stellar photo. This pretty much sums up my childhood growing up in a van down by the river. This particular van was named Zebu, after the white humped back cows you sometimes see along Mexican roadsides. I (the toothy child) am sitting on my bed, an oblong plywood box that doubled as a storage compartment. Note the sweet roof rack, the sacred cooler in the foreground, the lucky “God’s eye” hanging from the […]

Read more »

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 […]

Read more »

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 […]

Read more »

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. […]

Read more »

Cinco Años!

Just returned from celebrating my fifth year wedding anniversary. Rich and I were joined by a passel of friends, including Roberto and Bettina of Tenacatita fame. Bob made a gallon or two of killer salsa, and my friends Rohan and Greg grilled up 25 pounds of skirt steak for tacos. Much to my chagrin, our local tortilleria was out of commission and we were forced to eat this delectable meat on leathery store bought tortillas. Steve was rolling in his […]

Read more »