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Mexico

Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
A trip around the world has always been on my bucket list. I still can’t believe that Jeff and I finally did it. We’ve just returned home to our sunny island home of Phuket, Thailand and finally have a moment to look back on our amazing journey around the world.
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Before we started this trip, I knew that we wouldn’t have the space in our luggage for souvenirs as we were going to nearly 30 different countries. Even though we have been told we packed light, I can assure you that our bags were anything but light. This inspired me to think a little outside the box for souvenir ideas.
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My favorite part about traveling is looking back on my photos long after the trip. It is a great way to put you right back to where you were and bring back memories you had long forgotten about. I wanted to do something fun and different with my photos. So I thought, “Why not bring a chalkboard?” I decided to have a photo taken of myself  holding a chalkboard with the name of the country I was in. I wanted a way to visually see each country while having a reminder of myself in that place during that time. Even if I may have been up all night, had not showered in days or was only in a country for a few hours, I wanted to remember all of it.
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Now, 28 images later, I have a fun collection of pictures that for me, sums up our 159 day, 32,281 mile trip around the world!
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
CANADA:
Even though Canada isn’t too far from my home county, it was still really exciting to go visit! Two days in Vancouver and I was in love! Canada is a great country and Vancouver is a beautiful city!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ENGLAND:
Since we only had two rainy days in London, and as it was my first time to England I knew I wanted the cliché photo with a red phone booth!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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BELGIUM:
Brussels was a beautiful city and I was surprised at how modern of a city it was. We had one of our favorite meals of the entire trip in Brussels, an absolutely amazing beef stew. This photo was taken at the bus station before we boarded to Amsterdam.
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Chalkboard around the world
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ISRAEL:
With so much history in Israel, I had a hard time deciding where would be best to take a photo here. While we were driving with a guide through the desert we went to this cliff where you could see a beautiful monastery in the hillside. I thought that this would be a great reflection of this historical importance of Israel.

 

Chalkboard around the world
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IRELAND:
Green! I knew I wanted this photo to be green, but I struck it rich when we just happened to get some sunshine since it was gloomy and raining during most of our stay. Ireland may have been our first stop, but it was also one of our favorites. Read our “Complete Guide to Ireland” for our best recommendations!
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Chalkboard around the world

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MOROCCO:
Oh Morocco! We were here for just a few hours while stopping during a cruise we took early in the year. I had always imaged Morocco as a colorful place, however Casablanca was not what I imaged. This is at the Hassan II Mosque which is the 7th largest mosque in the world.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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AUSTRIA:
Innsbruck, Austria is a beautiful little ski town nestled in the mountains. We were lucky enough to stay with some wonderful friends here for 2 weeks!
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Chalkboard around the world

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SPAIN:
We were lucky enough to be in Barcelona on my birthday in January! Once again, this was a quick stop during our cruise so I can’t wait to get back to explore more!
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Chalkboard around the world

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CZECH REPUBLIC:
We met some great friends in Prague and had an amazing time exploring this beautiful old city. While Europe has some of the best beer in the world, I’d bet most of it can be found in Prague, and at a cheap price too!
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Chalkboard around the world

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EGYPT:
Egypt just may have been my favorite place on this trip! Not only did I fulfill a childhood dream of visiting the pyramids, but we also got to spend great time with some new friends!
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Chalkboard around the world

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HUNGARY:
Budapest is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. It is a great city where history meets a modern twist. I would live here in a heartbeat! This was the first time we have used AirBNB and found ourselves in this old apartment complex trying to find which apartment was ours!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Even though we spent most of our time in Dubai, we were still able to get out and see the beautiful desert! Jeff and I were both really impressed with Dubai and can’t wait to get back to explore more.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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ESTONIA:
Tallinn, Estonia is a quant little old city and has so much culture and lots to see. We were only here for one night but enjoyed walking around the old town watching the snow fall.
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Chalkboard around the world

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FINLAND:
Finland is also on the top of my favorite places we’ve been to this year! Helsinki is a great design oriented town that is hip and embraces its rich history, although I had to take this photo while up in Lapland exploring the arctic circle and seeing snow fall for the first time in my life!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ITALY:
We went to many places in Italy, but it was in Venice during Carnival that I wanted to take this photo. Carnival was such a unique and beautiful way to explore all that Venice has to offer.
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Chalkboard around the world
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NORTHERN IRELAND:
While in Dublin, we decided why not take the 3 hour drive with some friends up to Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway and while we got there right after sunset we were able to catch some light for this photo!
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Chalkboard around the world
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GERMANY:
Germany has always been on the top of my list of places to visit in Europe and this year it finally happened! Although we only had 2 days in Berlin, it was great to learn more about Germany’s vast history and how the city has transformed to a modern city with tons of artistic expression.
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Chalkboard around the world
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HOLLAND:
I didn’t know if I should write Holland or The Netherlands but in the end it didn’t matter since we had such a great time in Amsterdam exploring the canals!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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PORTUGAL:
This photo is in Lisbon near the port while it was pouring rain. We had to be quick since the rain just kept washing the chalk off the board, but it made for a fun experience!
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Chalkboard around the world

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TURKEY:
Although Istanbul has so much history and culture, it was this pop of color while walking around that caught my eye. I wanted to show a different side to such an old city.
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Chalkboard around the world

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SWEDEN:
Since we spent an entire night at the airport in Stockholm we though it would be fun to take photos in the nearly abandoned airport at 2 in the morning.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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VATICAN:
The Vatican is such a beautiful place and it was very surreal to see all the paintings and murals in the museum, but it was here that meant the most to me. It really is amazing to stand here and thing about all the people that come here to see the pope.
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Chalkboard around the world

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MALDIVES:
Holy blue ocean! The Maldives are such a beautiful place. There are 1,190 different islands so it is hard to pick just one. We stayed in Maafushi which is a local island, but as you can see we still had a resort like beach to spend our time.
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Chalkboard around the world
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FRANCE:
Paris is a place that every girl longs to go to at least once in her life and I was no exception, I absolutely fell in love with Paris. We had an amazing 5 days here with a good friend who was kind enough to show us around this memorizing city. I can’t wait to get back and eat some more macaroons!

Chalkboard around the world

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SINGAPORE:
While it was not my first time in Singapore, it was great to be back and see how much this city has grown. Singapore is a beautiful city which great people and beautiful architecture.
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Thailand
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THAILAND:
Phuket will always be a second home to me and it is where we began and ended our around the world trip. Living here has really opened my eyes and taking this photo was really important. This photo was taken in a little lagoon in Koh Phi Phi Ley near where the majestic beach from the movie The Beach was filmed. You can see another hidden beach in the background that we could swim to. Taking a long tail boat out to this preserved island and spending the day snorkeling and soaking up the sun is my favorite thing to do in Thailand.
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MEXICO:
Growing up, my family always spent at least once if not twice a year in Mexico. This year I was fortunate enough to get the change to travel to a new place in Baja called Loreto. It is a great little fishing town located right on the Sea of Cortez.
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SRI LANKA:
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located just southeast of India and visiting was a great treat for me. There are many elephants, beautiful landscapes and beaches. If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful country, take it!
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Bio Photo Marina 150x150 My First Time: Taking a Cruise Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

Of all the travel articles to immerse yourself in, one involving dental care is about as must-read as the new terms and conditions on your smart phone’s latest software update.

But, if you’ve ever suffered the misery of oral pain, you’ll know dental problems don’t wait, striking anytime, anyplace, anywhere – demanding you take action. Irritating as it may be, this is when you used to book an appointment to see your local dentist. But times, they are a-changin’, and for many varied reasons this isn’t always an option.

Apart from the odd blip-or-two caused by the recession in the late 2000’s, international tourism continues to grow. No longer satisfied by just an annual 2 weeks’ jolly in the sun, most of us think nothing of going abroad numerous times a year, cramming in a winter ski-ing trip and several weekend city breaks into our holiday entitlement.

 

Who wants dental care overseas?

However, travel is not just about holiday visitors: people travel for business, during gap years and the trend for upping sticks and living overseas seems set to continue as supporting ourselves by working remotely requires little more than a decent internet connection and a laptop.

Notwithstanding all these groups of international travelers who may get caught up in a dental emergency and require the services of a decent dentist, there is another section who travel abroad specifically for dental treatments, who actively plan their holiday around their oral health needs. You may wonder why, but the simple fact is that dental care for populations from English-speaking countries is just too darned expensive, and faced with a huge dental bill they can’t afford, pain and possibly tooth loss, jetting off for cheaper dental care elsewhere in the world is by far the lesser of two evils.

So, where are the top destinations for cheaper dental care?

You’ll be surprised just where you can find top quality dental care overseas, in clinics that are generally well-equipped and in some cases far superior to some you’d find at home.

The Americas

Mexico is one of the most popular destinations in terms of dental travel. It is, of course, a vast country with plenty to offer visitors, attracting sun-worshippers, culture vultures, day-trippers and party-animals to a myriad of appealing locations.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

From the glorious coastal white sands and turquoise water of resorts such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo san Lucas, to the off-the-beaten-track Pueblos Magicos offering unique history, culture or natural beauty; and from the exceptional biodiversity of its flora and fauna, to the relics of ancient civilizations found throughout the country, Mexico is a smorgasbord of inimitable experiences just waiting to be explored by regular visitors and dental tourists alike.

Americans from the southern states have long taken advantage of the cheaper prices south of Border, with many regularly making the trip to see a Mexico dentist where they generally make savings of around 70%.

Europe

Hungary’s land-locked borders and its position practically in the center of Europe has made it a convenient destination for near neighbors. However, the sleepy town of Mosonmagyaróvár, on the Austrian border, is a surprising hot-spot for dentistry, with the highest number of dentists in relation to population in the world. Traditionally popular with Austrians, it now welcomes visitors from much further afield, including America and Greenland.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

The Capital, Budapest, is also another favorite destination. Said to be one of the prettiest cities in the world, its stunning historic architecture nestling along the banks of the River Danube and hot, open-air springs offer a relaxing experience to soothe away dental woes, at a fraction of the cost of its more expensive European neighbors.

 

 

Asia

Thailand remains the most popular modern medical and dental tourism destination, providing contemporary, world-class facilities that cater exactly for foreign visitors’ expectations and budgets.

Top Destinations for Cheaper Dental Care Around the World

From the excitement of Bangkok to the calm of Chiang Mai and the rowdiness of Pattaya to the relative tranquility of uninhabited island’s in Phuket’s Phang Nga Bay, you’ll find a Thailand dentist nearby who’ll cater for all your dental needs – from a simple check-up to a full mouth makeover – and all for around 60% less than you’d pay at home – and in some cases as much as 90%.

So – next time you’re having a business lunch in Poland, or negotiating white-water rapids in Costa Rica, or even sitting at home planning your next jaunt, bear in mind there are top destinations for cheaper dental care around the world where your money will go much further, leaving more in your pocket to spend on seeing the world.


 

Header photo by Charles Clegg


 

Amanda DuffyAmanda Duffy is an expert in the field of dental tourism and has been writing on the subject for a number of years. She is currently a key figure in the editorial team at Dental Departures, a company specializing in dental tourism that help patients save money on their dental care by matching them up with the right clinic.

 

Loreto Mexico Banner

Loreto, Mexico – The Undiscovered Gem of Mexico

Loreto, Mexico
View from our room at The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto.

 Growing up travel wasn’t something my family did, in fact no one in my family had a passport. We grew up just trying to get by, but since my grandfather grew up in Cuba and came to live in the United States when he was 17, he always took my dad and his siblings to Baja Mexico for family vacations. They always went down to San Felipe to camp on the beach and the tradition lived on. My dad’s family took our cousins and us down to the same little beach once or twice a year throughout our whole childhood. I know I said we didn’t travel, but when you live in Southern California, Mexico doesn’t feel like a new place. It was our weekend trips that we looked forward to all year.

Loreto, Mexico
Intersection in the downtown area of Loreto.

Because Baja was like a second home, I never felt the need to experience more of Mexico and to be honest; Mexico isn’t a place California’s prefer to go. As Americans, we seem to think that Mexico isn’t safe, however Mexico is a large country and there are so many beautiful and safe places to visit. So when I got the opportunity to go this year I was delighted. I was finally able to go experience a new side of Mexico and rediscover this stigmatized country and have the oppertunity to show you a beautiful place full of wonderful people. Once again I’d be traveling to Baja, but this time to Loreto, a small town in Baja California Sur.

Since I had always driven to Mexico as a kid, it was exciting to fly. Alaskan Airlines has a direct flight from LAX to Loreto, which was great. It was such a short flight, but the airline was so kind and efficient. Plus they had really taste craft beer on board from Portland, Oregon. The flight was only a few hours and we were there in no time! The tiny airport, which was clean and looked like it had a brand new terminal, was simple and everyone was friendly.

Loreto, Mexico
This is the small beach we spent the afternoon on to snorkel and enjoy the sun!

I was looking forward to this trip for a while, after traveling with Jeff for six months straight, I was excited to have a girls weekend in Mexico so I invited my friend Cris to come along with me. We didn’t want the summer to end so going down to Baja was perfect!

Loreto, Mexico
The Capital building.

Cris and I were so excited when we arrived. The weather was perfect and the water was so blue. As soon as we saw our resort we were both speechless, it was just too beautiful for words! We were staying at The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, which is quite the resort. Our one bedroom villa overlooked the whole resort and ocean. The great thing about The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto is that every room faces the ocean. The buildings of rooms are all arranged to create a cove with the resort on the inside and the ocean as a prefect backdrop. There truly is no bad view. The other great thing is that there are no other resorts in site and you feel as though our on our own private island.

Loreto, Mexico
Just enjoying the view!
Loreto, Mexico
Loreto is a great place to Kayak!

Although we were mainly just at the resort there was so much to do! We could go hiking and do yoga over the beautiful ocean, go to the spa, swim in one of the many pools, go kayaking or paddle boarding and we could even go out and search for the famous chocolate clams! We even spend a day out in the water on a boat to go snorkeling and have lunch on a tiny little beach not too far from the hotel, it was a perfect day! If you’re interested in exploring the city, the hotel has a shuttle to get you into town. There is a lot to walk around and explore even though Loreto is a small city. It has a very small town charm and the people are so friendly and welcoming. There are many mom and pop shops to explore and buy some souvenirs.

There are many places in Baja that are perfect for a getaway, but in my opinion, Loreto was just perfect!  Whether you are looking for a couple’s getaway or a family vacation, The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto is the perfect place to relax and have a great time.

Check out some more photos!

Loreto, Mexico
Beautiful souvenirs!
Loreto, Mexico
Downtown Loreto.
Loreto, Mexico
A Chef at The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, prepares a fiery drink!
Loreto, Mexico
Waterfront in downtown Loreto.
Loreto, Mexico
Out on the boat enjoying to view.

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

Preserving Mexico's Ancient Music

Preserving Mexico’s Ancient Music

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One of the greatest joys of traveling the world for Marina and I is discovering ancient cultures we never have even heard of. While we hope to discover all these great cultures all over the world, we realize this is a somewhat impossible task, and thats when we turn to our friends! Marina and I were very lucky to go to film school with some amazing filmmaking friends and are always excited to see the great projects they are working on all over the world.

Recently, our good friend Cole embarked on a very ambitious project “Sanctuary of Butterflies“, but one well worth the time and energy, to preserve and protect the ancient music of Mexico with Luis Perez, one of the last musicians truly working to preserve this ancient art form. We recently spoke to Cole and Luis to learn more about their project and the amazing history of the music they are dedicated to preserve.

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Preserving Mexico's Ancient Music

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What’s the film about?

Sanctuary of Butterflies is about the need for preservation of cultural traditions throughout Mexico and the impact of such traditions in contemporary urban societies. Music and dance are important forms of expression rooted in thousands of years of traditions, but they are now threatened due to the voracity of modern societies represented by corporate greed and corruption in a globalized world out of balance. Luis Perez-Ixoneztli takes us on a journey across Mexico to experience and learn from a wide variety of unique cultures while they still exist.

Check out the trailer to their amazing project!

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Sanctuary of Butterflies Promo from Gravity Free Productions on Vimeo.

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Help these guys meet their Kickstarter goal so they can make this amazing film – because we really want to watch it!

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Who is Luis Perez-Ixoneztli?

Luis Perez-Ixoneztli has contributed to the world of Mexican music by incorporating native musical instruments into a contemporary musical language, while paving a unique path for new generations of musicians. He believes that the most important part of his musical contribution is bringing back attention to the sheer wealth of native Mexican musical instruments. His first work, En el Ombligo de la Luna, perhaps the ultimate fusion involving Pre-Columbian instruments and electronics, has recently been recognized after 33 years as a pioneering musical work and has been inducted into the National Archives of Mexican Music. In addition, the National Institute of Anthropology and History will be publishing his book next year on the methods involved in constructing instruments native to Mexico, specifically Pre-Columbian clay percussion and winds.

Luis’ vast array of archaeological artifacts, some dating over 3000 years old, and ethnographic instruments, still in use by numerous diverse ethnic communities, have been displayed in various museums in both Mexico and the United States.

In his youth, Luis went on a series of trips very similar to the one we have planned. Over the course of those trips, he traded songs, learned dances, collected ethnographic as well as ancient Pre-Columbian instruments, and was inspired by the cultures he encountered to the point of changing his life’s musical direction.

Instruments

Luis’ collection of native Mexican instruments includes archaeological artifacts representative of the different cultural regions in the area known as Mesoamerica. Some of the instruments date back more than 3000 years and are preserved in excellent condition. Found in archaeological excavations, these instruments were once used in the ancient past by ministers of music as vehicles of communication between the material and the spiritual realms. They were buried to prevent their destruction from invaders and have remained silent for thousands of years until it was time for them to rise and, through the breath of a musician, speak again. Luis regularly uses these instruments in his recordings and lectures.

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Preserving Mexico's Ancient Music

Photos copyright Oscar Colorado Nates and Cole Smothers.

My Failed Trip To Cuba

My Failed Trip To Cuba

 

Traveling to Cuba has always been high up on my list. My grandfather moved to the US when he was 17 from Havana and I have always wanted to go and see what life was like for my family. You could say that I have this unique connection to a county I know very little about. I have this longing to understand the history, politics and more than anything meet the people. Cuba has a long history with the United States and although I still don’t understand everything, I do know that Cuba is calling my name.

As an American, traveling to Cuba isn’t as easy as it is for other nationalities. There is a trade embargo and our government doesn’t want us to contribute to their economy, which makes online booking impossible. I recently looked into what it would take and wanted to share some of what I have figured out.

 

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Cuba – Photo by Doug Wheller

Number 1:  You can’t book online.

If you want to go to Cuba and are American, you will soon realize that you cannot find any flights or hotels in any search engine. In 2009, Obama did try to ease the tension between Americans and Cubans and allowed flights to fly directly to Havana from Chicago and Miami, however you must have family living in Cuba and must go through all the hoops and inform the US Government of your trip. I have also heard that there is a waiting list and you might need a “tour guide” aka “babysitter” with you at all times while in Cuba. So even though you may think you can go from the US it still is much easier to go on your own through another country such as Mexico.

 

Number 2: Going though Mexico.

I recently took a trip to Cancun in hopes of jumping over to Havana to finally visit my family’s homeland. I knew that I would need cash, but didn’t know how much I would need for the flight. Little did I know how expensive Cancun is and how much it would cost to stay there.

There are three airlines that make the hour-long journey: Cubajet, Cubana and Aeromexico.  Once I arrived in Cancun, I tried to check the ticket desks, but soon realized they are rarely open and don’t stick to set hours, making it difficult to get any information.

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Trinidad, Cuba – Andrew Wragg

After talking to several cab drivers, I soon realized that everyone “knows a guy” which really means a middleman. Everyone wanted $400 per person for a round trip ticket. For an hour flight that seemed outrageous. That is like flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for $400! Without being about to book in advance and not being able to get any secure information through the airport, it was difficult to know what to do. In my case, I decided not to go and to save the money and enjoy my time in Cancun, which was also very expensive, but overall had a good trip.

I have also heard that you can to through Tijuana, although TJ right now may not be the best place to visit. You can get packages for around $700 that includes round trip airfare and all your hotels while in Cuba.

 

Number 3: Do what is right for you. 

For me, $400 was too much and I was not prepared for that high of an expense, but I do think it would be worth it to go. I will get there one day and no matter what you do or don’t do it is always important to do what is right for you. I never felt unsafe or that it wouldn’t be safe to go.

Parts of Cancun, some small islands off the coast, looked a lot like what I thought Cuba would be like and made me want to get there even more. Even as an American you can get to Cuba, many have and highly recommend it. You don’t need to worry about “getting in trouble” or that they wont let you in. They will not stamp your passport and as long as you go through another country you’ll be just fine.

 

Safe travels!

 

Images by Doug Wheller , Andrew Wragg & Flippinyank used under creative commons license. All photos have been altered. 

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Is Flying Safe? A Look Into Safety and the Recent Plane CrashesMarina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

 

 

 

Ocean Grill in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico_09

Off the Beaten Path: Ocean Grill in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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It’s a widely known fact: the harder you work out before a meal, the better food tastes. Everyone knows the guilt-free sensation of pigging out after a strenuous session at the gym. With that in mind, the idea of visiting the Ocean Grill, located along the coast of the Bay of Banderas just south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was instantly appealing. You see, there are only 2 ways to get there…by foot or by water taxi. The “by foot” option is a 45 minute hike that starts at the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan and ends at a picturesque, secluded cove complete with a gourmet restaurant. Since we were planning on a decadent lunch with a few adult beverages, the exercise-free water taxi wasn’t an option.

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Ocean Grill in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico_11

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On the morning of our adventure, we parked at the base of the river mouth in Boca that runs down from the Sierra Madres and meets the Pacific Ocean. After locating a small, concrete pedestrian bridge that took us over the river, we just followed the path south and prayed that we were heading the right way.

The first part of the journey took us past some beautiful villas on the coast that are accessible only by boat or foot. Many local residents were hanging out on their front porches, cheering us along with shouts of encouragement or advice us to drink lots of water. We felt like we were running a marathon with our supporters on the sidelines instead of just heading to lunch.

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Ocean Grill in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico_04

 

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Eventually the homes started to peter out and we found ourselves surrounded by lush jungle with the occasional peek-a-boo views to the ocean beyond.

Just around the time when I was starting to daydream about a cool swim and an even colder beer, the path started to descend towards the ocean and opened up to an incredible, golden sand beach at the base of a jungle lined cove which would be the setting for our lunch reservation at Ocean Grill.

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Upon entering the restaurant, we were promptly greeted with cold towels and seated beneath the cool shade of the palapa. Cervezas were quickly ordered so that they would be waiting for us upon our return from the most important task at hand: jumping off the deck into the cool ocean below.

Properly refreshed, it was time to get down to the business at hand: eating. The menu at Ocean Grill is comprised of what you would expect from a tropical grill restaurant on the ocean in Mexico: fish ceviche, grilled oysters, catch of the day, fresh lobster.

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Ocean Grill in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico_06

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We started out with an order of smoked marlin tosadas: a crunchy, round toasted corn tortilla topped shredded, smoked marlin along with fresh avocado, red onion and cilantro and an order of grilled clams in garlic butter and lime. Perfect!

This was followed by grilled octopus with a black olive tapenade, grilled prawns with a tomato and mango salsa, and baby back pork ribs with the chef’s homemade BBQ sauce.

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Everything was super fresh and completely delicious, just as you’d expect from a restaurant where you can dip your toes in the ocean below.

Since we weren’t in much of a hurry to leave and the staff seemed content to let us stay, we decided to spend the afternoon lounging about on their deck, drinking margaritas, exploring the beach below and swimming to the ocean raft (complete with palm tree and sun bed).

When it eventually was decided that perhaps we should get back to reality (and by reality I mean head back to gorgeous Puerto Vallarta), we jumped on the Ocean Grill water taxi and were swiftly returned to our starting point in Boca de Tomatlan.

Great company, good food, unique experience, beautiful scenery…is there any better way to spend a day?

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Larissa Magee lives in Puerto Vallarta and works for Agave Villas Mexico, a luxury villa rental company. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

 

All the photos provided by Mattock Imagery.

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