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Travels in the Yucatan: Uxmal Pt. 2

October 2019 In this second part of the post on Uxmal I'll focus on the archeological site itself, which is the second most visited site in Yucatan after Chichen Itza and with good reason.  It's immensely impressive and gave me for the first time a clear sense of just how much places like Uxmal deserve to be called cities.  When one considers that the excavated structures at Uxmal represent only a fraction of the [...]

2019-10-25T05:16:56+00:00By |Mexico|Comments Off on Travels in the Yucatan: Uxmal Pt. 2

Travels in the Yucatan: Uxmal Pt. 1

October 2019 Uxmal, together with Chichen Itza, is one of the major Mayan archeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula.  It also has in its vicinity two other major attractions, the Museo del Chocolate (Chocolate Museum) and the three principal Mayan sites of the Ruta Puuc: Kabah, Sayil and Labnah.  I was so entranced by the Puuc region that I visited one full day and then went back for two more days.  As a result [...]

2019-10-20T00:45:57+00:00By |Mexico|Comments Off on Travels in the Yucatan: Uxmal Pt. 1

Travels in the Yucatan: Cenote de San Ignacio

October 2019 What, you may ask, is a cenote?  Since it's an object of primary interest to us in this post, allow me to explain. Here's the dope from the Wikipedia page (here): Cenotes are surface connections to subterranean water bodies. While the best-known cenotes are large open water pools measuring tens of meters in diameter, such as those at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the greatest number of cenotes are smaller sheltered sites and do not necessarily have [...]

2019-10-12T14:13:46+00:00By |Mexico|Comments Off on Travels in the Yucatan: Cenote de San Ignacio

Travels in the Yucatan: Sotuta de Peon and Mayapan

October 2019 With a base in Merida you have any number of easy day trips available to sites in the vicinity.  That's the reason I based myself in Merida for the first five days of my two-week trip to the Yucatan Peninsula.  I had wheels the whole trip so I was free to go in any direction I chose.  After going north to Dzibilchaltun I decided on a lark it was time to go [...]

2019-10-14T13:00:17+00:00By |Mexico|Comments Off on Travels in the Yucatan: Sotuta de Peon and Mayapan

Travels in the Yucatan: Merida and Dzibilchaltun

September 2019 I've been in Merida less than a week but I already feel like an expert.  There's a good reason for that: there's not much there there.  That may seem to some a summary dismissal of The White City, but after driving through it from one end to the other for nearly a week I have the evidence of my own eyes as corroboration.  My experience leads me to wonder what controlled substance [...]

2019-10-01T02:20:30+00:00By |Mexico|Comments Off on Travels in the Yucatan: Merida and Dzibilchaltun

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Post-Trip Debriefing

August 2019 I can't say the time passed quickly during my two months in Colombia -- not because it dragged along like it had gone limp in one foot, quite the contrary. It's because there was so much experience and awareness packed into the time that it seemed much longer.  That's a good thing when you're my age -- every extension of the chronological path into the future helps. :-) My purpose in this post [...]

2019-08-18T08:06:26+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Post-Trip Debriefing

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: The Belalcázar Loop

August 2019 Belalcázar has a single claim to fame: a HUGE statue of Christ the King.  The English Wikipedia page on the town is a pathetic one-sentence affair enough to make any encyclopedist worth his or her salt hang his or her head in shame.  Peeshaw.  So we turn once again to the Spanish Wikipedia page (here) and do a bit of translation: Conocido como "El Balcón del Paisaje" es un destino para cualquier [...]

2019-08-10T11:58:43+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: The Belalcázar Loop

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: A Ramble Through Quindío – Pt 2

July 2019 In this second part of our ramble through Quindío Department we're going a bit further afield to the southeastern edge of the area.  I'll also give you the lowdown on my coffee farm hotel experience so you get an idea about that accommodation option here in the Coffee Triangle -- it's all the rage and has everything to recommend it as long as you choose strategically.  The towns involved are Córdoba and [...]

2019-08-04T12:11:13+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: A Ramble Through Quindío – Pt 2

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: A Ramble Through Quindío – Pt 1

July 2019 Quindío is south of Risaralda, where my base here in the Eje Cafetero is located.  It has most of the major tourist hotspots of the Triangle -- the Parque del Café outside Montenegro, Panaca outside Quimbaya, Salento/Valle de Cocora to name the biggies.  It's a transitional zone from Coffee Country to the very different landscape and life of Valle del Cauca, the department of which Cali is the capital.  People here divide [...]

2019-07-31T12:24:00+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: A Ramble Through Quindío – Pt 1

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Pereira Botanical Garden

July 2019 If you're a city in the second most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil, having a botanical garden is kind of a duuh moment.  You just gotta do it.  Fortunately nature in its luxuriousness here makes putting one together a cinch.  You fence off a piece of native forest, stick some cuttings in the ground and BINGO!  You've got yourself a botanical garden. The one in Pereira is part of the [...]

2019-07-21T11:54:08+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Pereira Botanical Garden

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Santa Rosa de Cabal

July 2019 Santa Rosa de Cabal -- hereafter simply Santa Rosa -- is a stone's throw away from Pereira as the crow flies but there's considerable upthrust involved.  You have to go over the top of the mountain chain that encircles Pereira to get there.  Such opportunities for expansive vistas of the Coffee Triangle's sumptuous countryside do not go unappreciated by Yours Truly, so when a friend with a motorcycle offered to take me [...]

2019-07-22T12:10:48+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Santa Rosa de Cabal

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Salento/Valle de Cocora

July 2019 If you were given the task of picking the most famous tourist spot of the Coffee Triangle, the choice would likely fall on Salento and the Valle de Cocora.  I've read information on the Internet that claims it's one of the top tourist spots (for Colombians) in the entire country.  Obviously you can get loads of info on the web and pictures of the wax palms in the Valle de Cocora are [...]

2019-08-05T20:39:39+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Salento/Valle de Cocora

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Manizales

July 2019 Manizales is the capital of Caldas Department, to the north of Risaralda of which my current hangout, Pereira, is the capital.  It's only about an hour by bus or car and the road between Pereira and Manizales takes you right through the mountains.  The scenery is amazing and kept my face glued to the window as the bus wound its way toward our destination.  I regretted the inability to stop and take [...]

2019-07-12T10:17:28+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Manizales

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Marsella

July 2019 Marsella is only about an hour northwest of Pereira but it's a world away in atmosphere.  The trip takes you through the heart of Coffee Country and you end up in a charming town that seems from a bygone era, although all the comings and goings of modern life are amply evident, as well.  Before coming to the Coffee Triangle I had come across some YouTube videos of Marsella -- the municipality [...]

2019-07-06T11:08:51+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Marsella

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Filandia

July 2019 One of the tourist hotspots in the Coffee Triangle is the town of Filandia, situated about 30 km (19 miles) from Pereira and nearly equidistant from Armenia, the capital of Quindío, the department in which Filandia lies.  It's an easy get from either city.  If you search the Internet for information on Filandia you'll get the impression that it's a traditional coffee town holding on to its traditions and its past as [...]

2019-07-13T11:03:30+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Filandia

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Tourist Lowdown on Pereira

June 2019 Pereira, the capital of Colombia's Coffee Triangle, doesn't hit rockstar level in any tourist information I've come across.  It gets very good reviews from a small subset of the expat retirement crowd because of its temperate climate, wide range of good services and lower cost of living than Medellin, which is both the retirement and the tourist hotspot of the country.  The impressions to be garnered from the web are, however, spotty [...]

2019-06-25T14:01:14+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: Tourist Lowdown on Pereira

Travels in the Coffee Triangle: La Florida

June 2019 At long last I'm in Colombia's Coffee Triangle, the Eje Cafetero, for a couple months of exploring.  My base for the trip is the capital of the region, Pereira.  I made it easy on myself for the first few days by holing up in a fancy hotel in what is the equivalent of NYC's Central Park area, called here Circunvalar.  It's surprising to find such a discrepancy between text and reality in [...]

2019-07-13T10:33:54+00:00By |Colombia|Comments Off on Travels in the Coffee Triangle: La Florida