Atrium of San Antonio de Padua Convent © 2020 Jane Simon Ammeson

A fun afternoon in Izamal, Yucatan: a Pueblo Magico in Shades of Yellow

I’m traveling along narrow cobblestone streets flanked on both sides by rows of adobe buildings washed with bright yellow and accented with white trim and large ceramic pots brimming with colorful blooms. My mode of transportation is a white “coche Victoria” (or calesa) pulled by a mule named Dolly, garlanded with flowers and a hat […]

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whale shark

Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun: An underwater safari

About 25 miles off Cancún’s northeastern coast, past Isla Mujeres and far into the Caribbean waters, some of the largest known sea creatures loll their summers away. They are whale sharks, a gray-and-white spotted fish that can measure up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 15 tons. That’s bigger than many dinosaurs.

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Photo by David McCollam

The cuisine of the Yucatan: a gastronomical tour of the Maya heartland

The Mexican state of Yucatan, located on the peninsula of the same name, is the home of one of the most distinctive regional cuisines in the country. A long tradition of fine dining, going back to the ancient Maya and incorporating sophisticated European dishes, is very much in evidence in the cities, towns and villages […]

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This unrenovated home on Paseo de Montejo is for sale -- a wonderful opportunity to live in a historic mansion. © John McClelland, 2007

Devil of a good time in Merida, Mexico’s white city

It is pushing midnight on a Thursday, but you’d never know it by the looks of Maternity Park in the central historic district of Merida, Mexico. Cafes on the square are jammed, shops bustling, the streets electric with energetic life. In this open-air setting, young sweethearts sip cocktails and entire families gather for late al […]

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Steamed turkey in Mexican achiote sauce: Pavo al vapor en recado colorado

Achiote paste, a characteristic seasoning of the Yucatan, where it is known as recado rojo, has been discussed before in this column. Made from the seed of the annatto tree ground with cumin, cloves and peppercorns, it is found in the Hispanic food section of supermarkets north of the border, or can be ordered through […]

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Cooking in the Yucatan: bright flavors and unique ingredients

One of the regions of Mexico most indelibly fixed in my mind is the Yucatan, probably because the sights, sounds, flavors and aromas are so sensual that they create truly visceral memories. When my husband and I reminisce about our journeys throughout Mexico, especially the long road trips taken in our trusty old Ford pickup, […]

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Jicama and mandarin orange salad: Ensalada xec

This refreshing Yucatecan-style salad uses winter fruit in season. It comes to us courtesy of Chef David Sterling of Merida’s Los Dos cooking school. Ingredients 1 ½ pounds jicama, peeled and cut into julienne strips 1 lime ¼ cup naranja agria (sour orange) juice or substitute 2 parts lime juice, and 1 part each grapefruit and sweet orange juice 1 […]

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© John McClelland, 2007

Henequen and its role in the Yucatan’s shifting fortunes

There is a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard in Merida, Yucatan called Paseo de Montejo. It provides four lanes for traffic separated by a wide median planted with shrubs and flowers. The sidewalks are wide enough for two further lanes of traffic each way and are interspersed with statuary, benches, conversation chairs and trees. Notwithstanding its charm, […]

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