Final Up to date on December 29, 2022 by Nellie Huang
Phew I can’t imagine how briskly this yr glided by! 2022 has been the yr of Mexico for me. I traveled to 9 totally different states in Mexico, exploring varied states and discovering simply how numerous and culturally-rich our adopted house is. Traversing the Copper Canyon by practice was a spotlight of the yr for me, weaving via among the most spectacular landscapes I’ve seen in Mexico.
This yr marked a serious milestone in my profession — I used to be commissioned to put in writing the brand new Lonely Planet Mexico information and I’ve been spending the final three months doing on-the-ground analysis and writing up a storm. I additionally began the Mexico Journey Weblog to carve a distinct segment and share extra sensible, on-the-ground suggestions from our newly adopted house.
Past Mexico, I solely traveled to 6 nations (in distinction to the standard 15-20 nations/yr) however I used to be ecstatic to return to Asia after being away for 3 years. Right here’s a have a look at the place I traveled and what I bought as much as in 2022. I want you a implausible new yr forward!
2022: My 12 months in Pictures
January: New York & California
We spent the Christmas holidays in New York and rang within the new yr there. New York is such an ideal spot for the festive season — with its atmospheric iceskating rinks, Christmas decorations, and glitzy lights. Alberto and I really spent Christmas in New York round 15 years in the past, and this time it was much more particular as we had Kaleya with us.
From New York, we flew over to San Jose, California, to see my household. My sister has simply moved there from Fresno, and my dad and mom additionally come to go to from Singapore! It’d been two years since I final noticed my household (no because of covid), so it was a long-awaited reunion.
February: Merida, Mexico
After returning to Mexico, we scooted off on a weekend journey to the tradition capital of Yucatan: Merida. The historic metropolis is only a 3.5-hour drive from Playa del Carmen, however it’s a world away. An interesting mixture of small-town really feel and Maya cultural enclave, Merida is a vacationer city that truly feels surprisingly real. Each day of the week, town runs free occasions for the general public – from dance performances to stay live shows. We had been actually impressed by the reenactment of the Maya ball sport held on Saturday nights and the carnival-like environment within the metropolis middle on weekend evenings.
March: Guanajuato, Mexico
To have a good time Kaleya’s birthday, we went on a street journey round Guanajuato. The extraordinary Unesco World Heritage metropolis of Guanajuato is essentially the most colourful and vigorous metropolis I’ve been in Mexico, with opulent colonial buildings, gorgeous tree-filled plazas and ochre-and-red coloured homes.
Apart from Guanajuato metropolis, we additionally explored the gorgeous historic core of San Miguel de Allende, the wineries and archaeological websites value visiting within the outskirts, and the spectacular Grutas Tolantongo scorching springs. I used to be positively smitten with Grutas Tolantongo, the place scorching spring water tumbled over calcified travertine swimming pools, cascading down waterfalls and swinging bridges on the mountaintop of Hidalgo.
We first backpacked round Peru 15 years in the past, earlier than we had children. This time spherical, we watched Kaleya fall in love with Peru, simply as we did. Touring Peru with Kaleya was an journey of a lifetime: the nation is a treasure trove of historical websites and indigenous villages, full of a lot dramatic mountainscapes and immersive experiences for curious children! Kaleya completely liked wandering the historical ruins of Machu Picchu, mountain climbing up the close by Huchuy Picchu, swooshing down sand dunes at Huacachina, studying about Pachamama and mingling with alpacas within the Sacred Valley.
Could – June: Chiapas, Mexico
In Could, I traveled solo round Chiapas, the state I’d heard a lot about and badly wished to discover. The southern Mexican state is thought for its indigenous tradition, artisanal work, and luscious nature. However it’s additionally one of many poorest and most conflicted states within the nation. An armed insurgency by the Zapatistas ( a socialist militant group) within the ’90s that went on till just lately, made the Mexican military a fixture within the area.
My journey began on the Palenque ruins, one of the crucial spectacular archaeology websites I’ve been in Mexico. From there, I traveled to San Cristobal de las Casas by bus, stopping at lots of the spectacular waterfalls alongside the best way. There’s a lot to see round San Cris too, from the indigenous villages of San Juan Chamula to the spectacular Sumidero Canyon and turquoise El Chiflon cascades.
July – August: Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
In summer season, we lastly went on our much-anticipated journey again to Asia! The final time I used to be house was three years in the past, so you may simply think about how excited I used to be to go house and see my family and friends . We first spent two weeks in Singapore revisiting locations I like with my household, consuming all of the superb Singaporean meals, and hanging out with our family members. Then we flew over to Chiangmai and went on a street journey via the rice paddies and misty highlands of Pai. From there, we headed to Bangkok and spent our days floating on the Chao Phraya River, exploring the Royal Palace, and seeing all of the spectacular temples.
I used to be stoked to return to Vietnam, considered one of my favourite nations on this planet. We spent our time between the capital metropolis of Hanoi and the charming colonial city of Hoi An — slurping scrumptious phos and bun cha, dodging bicycles and paddling previous pagodas and rice fields. Ninh Binh turned out to be spotlight, with its dramatic karst mountains, jade inexperienced river, and huge lotus ponds. Simply 2hours from Hanoi, this rural area is brimming with pure sights and but it’s not fairly as widespread and touristy as Halong Bay.
September: Isla Mujeres, Mexico
By the top of August, we had been again in Mexico. To have a good time my fortieth birthday, I booked us a weekend journey to Isla Mujeres, an island off Cancun. I’d been wanting to remain on the iconic Seashell Home for years, however it was at all times totally booked for months prematurely. Surprisingly, it was accessible on my birthday weekend so I splurged on the $400/night time keep!
So was it definitely worth the $400 price ticket? Actually, NO. The home has been round for a number of many years now, and actually wants some upgrades and upkeep. The cracked home windows appear to have simply been bolstered moderately than changed, the sliding doorways are coated in rust, and the pool has positively seen higher days. Regardless, we had a pleasant and quiet time on Isla Mujeres, snorkeling off the seashores and spending numerous down time chilling.
October: Oaxaca, Mexico
After the extraordinary celebrations in Oaxaca metropolis, we drove up the zigzagging roads into the Sierra Madre mountains and stayed in a ridiculously cute and comfy cabin, earlier than arriving within the tropical Pacific Coast to splash within the waves on the rustic seashore cities of Huatulco and Zipolite. We even bought to launch child turtles in Puerto Escondido and eat our weight in recent seafood!
November: Veracruz, Monterrey, Chihuahua, and Copper Canyon
From Oaxaca, I continued onto Veracruz solo on task for Lonely Planet. I hit the bottom operating in Veracruz metropolis, assembly native expats, strolling alongside the waterfront malecon, and popping into naval museums. Then I headed inland to Xalapa, a vibrant metropolis within the highlands dripping with character, earlier than exploring Orizaba, which actually impressed me with its European-style historic middle and hilltop ecoparks providing glimpses of Mexico’s highest peak, Pico de Orizaba.
Thereafter, I flew over to Monterrey, the wealthiest metropolis in Mexico. The cosmopolitan metropolis had the proper mixture of previous and new, conventional and modern, metropolis and mountains. The world-class museums had been spectacular and vary of eating places superb, however most of all, I liked that mountain trails and spectacular mountain climbing spots had been only a leap away from town middle.
My subsequent cease was Chihuahua, the start line of my journey on the Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacifico – nicknamed “El Chepe” – thought of one of many world’s biggest rail journeys. The practice traverses the Chihuahua highlands proper to the rim of the Copper Canyon, revealing some mindblowing views of the rugged space. Unknown to many, the Copper Canyon covers an space 4 instances the scale of Arizona’s Grand Canyon!
December has been a reasonably stress-free month, as I spent a lot of the month writing and hanging out with my household. We had a very enjoyable Christmas social gathering with all our associates right here! One of many the explanation why we love dwelling right here in Playa del Carmen is due to our neighborhood of associates who’ve change into like household to us.
In a number of days’ time, we’ll be driving to Belize for a street journey, hitting up locations new to us and revisiting islands we’ve been and liked. On our first journey there, we had been charmed by the laidback, reggae vibes of Caye Caulker. Can’t wait to go crusing, swinging on hammocks, and snorkeling with nurse sharks!
In 2023, we have already got plans for a ski journey to Alberta, Canada, in February, and Hawaii in April for Kaleya’s birthday. My purpose for the brand new yr is to journey extra of the Americas, particularly locations I’ve by no means been, like Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay, and Paraguay. We’re nonetheless loving life in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and it seems like we’ll be on this a part of the world for a bit extra.
I hope 2023 shall be a yr of journey for all of us! Don’t cease exploring!
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