Noël, Naomi and Dorian - standing where our grandmother was photographed with a student named Martha more that 30 years earlier). © 2022 Noel Carmichael.

Visiting Lake Chapala, my grandparents’ winter home decades ago

In April, my two sisters and I traveled to the Lake Chapala area for an opportunity to celebrate the future, specifically the upcoming nuptials of our youngest sister, Dorian. Our trip also allowed us an opportunity to connect to our past, retracing the footsteps of our grandparents, Jean and Ralph Carmichael, who had wintered in […]

Continue Reading
Passenger Train (Wikipedia)

Railroad Ride Through the Jungle Fifty Years Ago

Who would have dreamed a train from hell could slice through pristine jungle for two days? We’d have gotten off, escaped, even tried to walk out, except for two problems. We didn’t know where we were, and most of the Mexicans spoke Indian languages, not Spanish. The preceding weeks of restful, carefree travel hadn’t prepared […]

Continue Reading
Author at Cenote Xlacah. © 2022 Jane Simon Ammeson

Visiting Dzibilchaltún: an ancient city in an ancient land

Once a vast city of 40,000 spread across 8 square miles or so of jungle and meadows, Dzibilchaltún was a long-lived Mayan city, a major player in the salt trade, and the ultimate survivor. Founded around 300 B.C., Dzibilchaltún lasted until the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. An architectural marvel even now, as it […]

Continue Reading
Fishing boats sit idle on the beach, Isla Holbox, Mexico © Ryan Biller, 2021

Whale shark ecotourism brings new hope to fishing communities in Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo

Each year, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo is swarmed by foreign tourists. Even in 2020, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Cancún alone saw upwards of two million tourists. Being that the region was one of the few permitting entry to foreigners, I decided to make the journey from […]

Continue Reading
Viñedos Aztecas © 2021 Jane Simon Ammeson

Sampling fine wines on the Querétaro Wine Trail

In a land of smokey mezcals, rompopes, single-distilled raicillas, cervezas, tequilas, and Kahlua—that thick, sweet coffee liqueur made in Veracruz whose name in Nahuatl means the house of the Acolhua people—wine would seem to scarcely merit a mention. But in the 30 miles stretching between San Juan del Río and Bernal, known as the Querétaro […]

Continue Reading
Piña colada time at Isla de Ixtapa © 2020 Jane Simon Ammeson

Pangas and piña coladas: a laid-back lunch on Isla de Ixtapa, Guerrero

Greg knows the old way—or so he says—but all I can see is an empty stretch of sand and water where the southern tip of Playa Quieta ends at a rocky outcropping of rocks jutting out into the Bahia de Palmar. When I lived here, he explains, this is where we caught the pangas going […]

Continue Reading