Monday, May 5, 2014

A Love Affair with Mexico: My 6 favorite things

Happy Cinco de Mayo! While this isn't a holiday really celebrated in Mexico, it is the one time of year most Americans celebrate Mexico, so I figured what better time than now to breakdown my love obsession with this country and show you why it's more than just tacos and tequila. Having grown up around the world, I've traveled far and wide and Mexico still stays at the top of my list of all-time favorite places. I spent most of my youth living in Puerto Rico and then Italy, and to me, Mexico embodies what I loved most about those two places: the natural beauty of the jungle and the ocean (reminiscent of Puerto Rico) and the amazing hospitality and generosity of its people (very similar to Italy). To me, that's all you can ask for out of a place - inspiring landscape and kind people - which is what keeps bringing me back. In the past 3 years, I've organized 5 yoga retreats to different parts of Mexico and am always dreaming up the next ones! This year alone, in the first 4 months of 2014, I've spent four weeks in Mexico and hope to one day spend a big portion of my year there, teaching yoga, leading adventures and exposing more people to the magical energy of this country. Here are some of my favorite things of magical Mexico:

1) Natural Beauty
From the deserts of Baja to the jungles of Mainland Mexico to the peaceful Caribbean side, there is so much natural, almost untouched beauty to immerse yourself in. This photo was taken on the last day of 2012 on the crystal clear Caribbean waters near Tulum. I'll never forget how peaceful I felt in this moment....

2) YOGA!
Everywhere I've traveled in Mexico, I've always been able to find good quality yoga classes. Which is not always the case for everywhere in the world! There is an overarching sense of spirituality, connection to nature and a welcoming of seekers that makes yoga such a powerful experience in Mexico. Here we are at my last retreat at Hotelito los Suenos in Sayulita, January 2014.

.... and a throwback to my first retreat in Sayulita in December 2010 with local teacher Melissa.

3) Wine Country - Valle de Guadalupe
Most people only associate Mexico with margaritas but there is, in fact an amazing wine country just two hours south of San Diego that rivals Tuscany. The Guadalupe Valley has been producing top quality wines since the 1920s when families from Europe brought over grapes. The region is famous for its reds, mainly delicious tempranillo, petit syrah, nebbiolo and merlot. In addition to the vino, there's a big farm-to-table scene developing down there called Baja Med, led by famous chef Javier Plascencia. This photo is from his adorable restaurant Finca Altozano, where we had lunch yesterday, enjoying our vino and fresh octopus ceviche among the vines.

4) World Class Waves
The wine makes me happy. The waves make my husband happy. And this pretty much sums up our relationship with Mexico :) All kidding aside, there are some amazing, almost-always empty waves all along Baja California and the Pacific Coast. And where there are waves, there is surf culture, meaning mostly laid-back, chill people, usually also lots of yogis, and good vibes all around. Here he is on one of his favorite little waves in southern Baja....

When the surf is small, I'll play around in it. Otherwise, this is how 
keep myself busy on the beaches of Mex. Anclote, Punta de Mita, April 2013.

5) Mezcal
For all my tequila lovers out there, meet Mezcal. Tequila's crazy cousin with a bit of a wild streak. On my last trip to Sayulita two weeks ago to visit my girl Jenny (the barefoot bohemian), we got nice and friendly with mezcal and enjoyed its unique, smoky flavor. Mezcal is only harvested in certain parts of Mexico by curators who have been highly educated, trained and initiated into the craft of harvesting mezcal, so its a super special treat to sip on and know how much love and dedication went into its creation. Curious to know more? Here's a fun "tequila vs. mezcal" breakdown and a delicious Avocado Mezcal Cocktail recipe.

6) Dia de los Muertos
Only in Mexico can they take a topic so heavy such as death and turn it into fiesta! Day of the Dead falls every year on the day after Halloween and is a time to pray for, remember and then celebrate those who have passed. The epicenter of the celebrations is in the southern state of Oaxaca, where there are giant parades and all-night masquerades. On my bucket list for 2014 is to be in Oaxaca for Dia de los Muertos on November 1st and 2nd!

Who wants to join me? :)

Stay tuned for my next retreat to Mexico: January 15, 2015!
Details coming soon :)

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! I'm putting all 6 of these things on my list to try with you next time we're in SD :p


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