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Mexico

Mexico

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Stendhal syndrome is real in Mexico. Be enchanted by the unspoiled paradise of Isla Contoy, the virgin island of the Mexican Caribbean where the azure waters are home to an incredible marine ecosystem.

While gently cruising or snorkeling with the tide, this first stop alone is worth the trip. After an unforgettable fish grill you will be ready to enter Mexico's lifestyle. In this country, even the siesta takes on an entirely new meaning, as you swing in a hammock in Valladolid. Everywhere, the motto is ahorita, one of the most widely used words in Mexican Spanish. If you learn how to use it correctly, it can really turn you into a local. Ahorita can mean “right now” but can also mean 
”in a minute, in ten minutes, in an hour, whenever I get around to it”. Funny and fluid definition that refers to the present, or to some vague point in the future, as an invite to live the moment.

Curator: Roberta Mazzone | Editor: Alessandra Busacca

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Quintana Roo and the Island

As soon as you land in Cancún then you can immediately discover the islands, the paradise of Isla Contoy mentioned before and Isla Mujeres, both reachable by boat after 30 minutes of travel.

With no accommodations on-site and a controlled flow of just 200 visitors at a time, Isla Contoy remains beautifully untouched. The island's isolation and exclusive accessibility are its strength, ensuring a memorable experience for those lucky enough to visit. 

On the contrary, Isla Mujeres is the destination for beach hopping, don't miss Playa Norte and Punta Sur, fun and colorful thanks to the creative works of street-art. There are no cars on the island but only bikes, scooters and golf carts. You can really breathe the relaxed vibes typical of Mexico.

Just two hours away from Cancún and accessible by ferry from the port of Chiquila (20 min), Holbox is the island where to disconnect from the world. There are no real roads, but dirt paths, Caribbean-style cottages, and a few washboard bears to play around with.

The most scenic spot on the island is definitely Punta Mosquito, made of huge shoals of the finest white sand within walking distance. If you are lucky you may even see pink flamingos bath their feathers in water. Surprises are not over, because on nights without a full moon, at Punta Cocos, you can experience the bioluminescence phenomenon. Think about the sea surface turning into a sparkling night dress. It might look like something out of a fluorescent dream, because the light is coming from inside the surf itself, courtesy of billions of microorganisms. The best time to see this magic come true is between July and January and it’s better to stay for two nights long in order to have more opportunities to see it. You will easily find several kiosks on the beach to book this experience or the boat tour to swim alongside the Ocean’s gente giants: whale sharks.

Beside nature, there are many artistic houses to visit and stay in Holbox. The best accommodation for sleep is Casa Imox, a luxury villa that offers an absolutely unprecedented experience immersed in the vivid light of the sun. Other options are Nômade or Las Nubes. At Nômade Holbox you can experience a place to reconnect with nature and feel the healing power of water. Here you can sign up for yoga lessons or just lie on the private beach. Las Nubes, instead, is an unusual eco-chic boutique hotel embraced by breathtaking views of the Yum Balam Reserve. Here you can taste delicious recipes or indulge in unforgettable romantic dinners by candlelight.

Other places to find special food offerings are Luuma, a jungle boho restaurant and tropical shopping corner, where you can find the best pieces of Mexican designers and treasures brought from around the world, all while enjoying tropical cocktails to the rhythm of jungle vibes at the Luuma Gathering bar.

Choose comfort with exotic Mediterranean cuisine and funky vibes of Basico, experience the elegant atmospheres of Clandestino_cafe or wait till the morning to awake with a colorful juice at Café del mar, an exceptional location for breakfast, with feet in the water, literally. 

When it’s time to move again on your road trip, going down through the coast in the south of Cancún, along the streets to Tulum, remember to keep an eye on the amazing bridges specially created for monkeys to cross the road from one forest to another!

Arriving in Tulum, consider that there are two luxury azulik that are worth visiting, one is in Tulum and the second one is located in the forest of Uh May. Azulik is a Mexican new concept of environmentally sustainable museums and network of luxury lodges throughout the peninsula. In these sensory sanctuaries you can enter barefoot, but no photography is allowed. 

Other beautiful natural landscapes, merged with jungle, are the Maya Ruins and the Cenote Calavera and Cenote Dos Ojos with typical underground flooded cave systems where to dive into.

To reconnect with social life you can chill out at one of Tulum's many beach clubs (such as Nest Tulum or Nomad) and have a break eating in the sand at Raw Love, an amazing vegan spot and plant based cafè perfect for a healthy brunch or lunch. 

To rest and sleep, you can choose among different solutions such as Kima TulumNest Tulum, Altar Tulum, 16tulum all magic minimalist venues camouflaged in the jungle. 

Added to these oases, also Hotel Panamera is a good chance to gain a meaningful experience. Every week there’s plenty of events where guests become part of a bigger community. 

To mention other restaurants worth trying while in Tulum, you can’t go wrong with Burrito amor, for their handmade coconut tortillas or Arca for open-fire dishes or small plates with explosive flavors. Finally you can try the Greek restaurant of Meze in a gipsy atmosphere, gitano in Mexico, where bohemian, eclectic and free spirits find their home. At Hartwood tulum sustainability comes first. The menu changes daily based on the land offerings and ‍every single ingredient is deeply rooted within Mundo Maya. 

At Kitchen Table Tulum you can find a cool ambiance inside the jungle, where every table has an amazing view over the open kitchen and you can enjoy the preparation of all dishes. For digital nomads or breakfast and brunch, the best idea is to pop into Botanica Garden Café to find an intimate and cozy atmosphere. A place where art meets community, and creative heads come together. 

To all animal lovers, 40 kms around from Tulum, you can reach Akumal beach, the place to be if you want to swim with turtles.

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The Inside Routes of Yucatàn

When reaching the area of Yucatán you will be captivated by ancient culture and history, crossing Mayan ruins like Chichén Itzá alongside lush jungles and colonial towns.

Then it’s warmly suggested to get lost firstly in Merida, then Izamal, the yellow city known as ciudad amarilla, and last but not least, Valladolid's colorful streets with beetles whizzing by with music blaring. You will face a special custom in this city: houses are open and you can find hammocks everywhere as architectural elements, not in the garden only. In this city you will have an imaginary impact with colors, nature and spices. There are so many chiringuitos where they offer you tortillas and quesadillas, typical cheesy Mexican flatbreads. Curtains, furniture, hammocks, macramé: you’ll want to buy everything!

You can’t miss the historical Calzada de los Frailes where to find full streets of artisans shops such as Coqui Coqui Perfumes in Valladolid, or Atelier Frailes selling interior decoration, antiques, textiles and many other objects with beautiful stories to discover.

At a walking distance you can find one of the citizens' references: the Iglesia de San Servicio. Then, during the hottest hours, between a visit to the spiritual center of Convento de San Bernardino de Siena and a walk to Plaza Mayor, cooling off in one of the many cenotes around Valladolid is the wise choice. Of particular scenic beauty are Suytun Cenote and Cenote Xkeken

You can have lunch beside a cenote at the enchanting El jardin de la tia, a very local and hidden place despite the tourist area, or at the national restaurant Agustin gusto to savor true Mexican dishes. If you are vegan or vegetarian, the address to remember is Le kaat, a veggie restaurant that is also a ceramics lab offering workshops and other interesting activities. 

Where to sleep, keeping an eye on sustainability? A comfortable choice is the eco-friendly Hotel Verde Morada, providing energy-efficient amenities and a commitment to reducing environmental footprint.

Otherwise, if Coqui Coqui Valladolid has completely spelled you, you can stop there, at the stunning boutique that provides handmade oils, creams and fragrances beside a fancy café, spa, and also private accommodations with views on the historical convent and an indoor patio to feel at home.

In Merida stay at Casa Puuc, a 1914 property built by the architect Manuel Amabilis and converted into lodging, located in front of the well-known "Parque de la Americas", designed by the same architect with his son Max.

You can't really say you've visited Yucatán unless you visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the famous pyramid of Kukulkan, one of the best-preserved Mayan ruins located at the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá.

The best way to experience the local villages in an authentic way is to stroll around a few lesser-known destinations, stopping while driving, every time your instinct is tickled. That's Yucatán’s simple life. You can encounter, for example, the beautiful village of Uayama where the beautiful Iglesia de Santo Domingo is located. 


Generally speaking,
Riviera Maya is a bit touristy and the Uh May forest is better than the coastline, even if Tulum is full of seaweed archaeological ruins. If you don’t want to stay on the beach, choose to be at Kima, a charming wedding venue but perfect to live a private eco-experience in the jungle.

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Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is out of the ordinary. This place seems frozen in time: the area is super wild and you can walk barefoot or naked and no one would say a thing. An hymn to freedom and self expression. 

Puerto's beaches are immense and the Pacific Ocean is perfect for surfers, but if you search for smaller waves go directly to Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Coral, Playa Bacocho. Here, every day, newly hatched baby turtles are released into the sea and it’s an unforgettable experience. 

The best thing to do in Puerto Escondido is to get carried away by the laid-back vibes and make sure you are on the beach by sunset where the atmosphere is incredible. Head over to Agua Salá Puerto directly on the sand with a huge terrace seaview. For another exceptional seafood spot on the beach check out Fish Shack La Punta providing guests with direct access to the sand and calming sound of the ocean. This beachfront location offers a tranquil and idyllic setting for a relaxing getaway.

If you love architecture, you’ll lose your mind admiring peculiar buildings and private villas all around. Casa VO is one of them, you rent it and choose it as your base in Puerto.

A visit and a bite at Casa Wabi, a contemporary art space and artist residence, is a must. Similar in concept is also Meridiano art residence, set amidst nature.

There’s so many incredible options for your stay, starting from Casa TO, nestled in the heart of Puerto Escondido, a perfect sanctuary where modern design seamlessly harmonizes with historical charm, offering an elegant and immersive escape. Terrestre takes the experience of sustainable tourism into new territory and invites you to embark on a journey of discovery through nature's wonders and the art of sustainable living. Casona Sforza beckons with timeless stories, where every corner resonates with the echoes of history, making it an enchanting destination for those who seek an old elegance. At Bacana Casa you will breathe vibrant colors and an artistic flair that infuse every space with a sense of playfulness and joy, creating an inspiring oasis for creatives around the world. Monte Uzulu, perched on a hillside with beautiful terraces outdoors and amazing views on the ocean, offers a retreat blending luxury with the untamed, where every sunset whispers of untold adventures.

As for restaurants in the area, there’s a special sushi bar with great cocktails at Sommo

Completely different in style and flavors, the Almoraduz by Quetzalcóatl Zurita. His signature cuisine, considered a reference of haute cuisine in the coastal region of the state, is an avant-garde proposal with seasonally changing dishes that privilege ingredients produced organically by local farmers. A very local gastronomic experience could be done at El Coste Puerto inside a palapa, the typical dwelling obtained by drying palm leaves.

To have some local shopping go to Pueblo del sol Concept store and to Greca_home design where you can buy handmade Mexican art and furniture beside local pottery. 

oaxaca

Oaxaca

This region is commonly known for its culture, crafts and gastronomy, and especially for the vast landscape such as immense fields of agave at the horizon. The agave plant is an ingredient necessary to produce the renowned  mezcal, a distillate you find in every village beside a local restaurant. You can sign for a Mezcal tasting at Los Danzantes.

You can also take a seat at Criollo, surrounded by greenery, and order the tasting menu. In the morning, if you decide to sleep here, you can have breakfast in the courtyard of the restaurant with colorful fresh fruit and delicious yeast handmade products. Even rabbits and a rooster, named Claudio, come to browse around. Moreover on weekends you can book brunch in the garden, en el huerto, with a grill and lots of fresh recipes. 

Continue exploring Oaxaca's vibrant culinary scene by dining at Crudo, a contemporary Mexican restaurant. At Alfonsina you’ll discover the true essence of traditional Oaxacan cuisine in a traditional Mexican decor and warm ambiance, outside and inside. Don't forget to pair your meal with a refreshing mezcal or a traditional tejate beverage. Casa Antonieta is a cozy gem and eclectic eatery in the heart of the city adorned with artistic decor. Here you can expect to find innovative dishes that incorporate local ingredients with more international influences, from gourmet tacos to artisanal cocktails. 

Other options for a stay are Grana B&B, a charming bed and breakfast or the Hotel Escondido, a tranquil retreat where to relax. 

Continue the adventures in nature with a trip to Hierve el Agua, a natural wonder with stunning petrified waterfalls, or enjoy a guided tour in the Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca.

Another interesting trip could be focused on local textiles and fabrics starting from visiting the Museo Textil de Oaxaca or focused on food tours and Oaxaca flavors at the principal markets, the Mercado Benito Juarez and Mercado 20 Noviembre. If it’s not enough, local handicraft could be found at the studio rrres or at the cooperative 1050 grados.

All inspiring itineraries offer a perfect balance of cultural immersion, natural beauty, and culinary experiences, providing a comprehensive taste of Oaxaca and its diverse offerings.

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mexico-city

Mexico City

Welcome to Mexico City, a vibrant metropolis with an irresistible energy, from its historic Aztec roots to its modern cosmopolitan charm. The capital is huge and super green, despite its nickname “city of buildings” - it goes naturally there is so much to see and do, so it’s advisable to stay more than four days. 

A hearty breakfast is what it takes to tackle a city as immense and as rich as Mexico City. You can choose to have a fried sweet churro at the ancient Churreria El Moro, the best churros and chocolate since 1935 or at Qūentin Café or with an extra-coffee dose at Constela Café.

But if you prefer bakeries, go to Panaderia Rosetta to taste different sweets and traditional offerings such as the not so light croissant with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.

At Madre_Café you have it all, because it is more than a simple coffee hub. The concept is designed to have a good time at any time of the day, whether you enjoy breakfast in the garden of the house, eat with friends in the fire pits, or have fun at night in the bar with good music. 

Time now of some must-sees sightseeings: go visit the Castillo de Chapultepec, the Palacio de Correos de México, Museo Anahuacalli Diego Rivera, a monumental creation of the artist Diego Rivera, that stands as a testament to his passion for preserving Mexico's indigenous heritage and artistic traditions. If interested in contemporary art there is also the innovative and thought-provoking Masa Galleria or the Museo Tamayo. Moreover there’s the Blue House, known as the Frida Kahlo Museum, located in the charming and artsy Coyoacán neighborhood. This museum offers a glimpse into the life and art of the iconic Mexican artist. The museum, once her personal cobalt-colored home, showcases her personal belongings and works.

Do not miss one of the most ancient and charming bookstores in the world, the Cafebrería El Péndulo means to enter a book jungle full of plants and stairs where also coffee is served. 

At night, admire a perfect sunset at Mirador Torre Latino, the views of the city from above are exceptional. 

Another appointment not to be missed on Sunday mornings is the Mercado de antiguedades Lagunilla and the Mercado San Juan. Otherwise go to the Ciudadela Craft Market in Plaza de la Ciudadela where you can find a wide array of Mexican handicrafts, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry. It's a fantastic place to shop for unique souvenirs and immerse yourself in the country's artisanal traditions. The same shopping vibes could be found visiting Originario where to find furniture and objects of contemporary Mexican design and 180 grados, a concept store embellished from fashion to home decor items.

For architecture lovers, the journey begins with Barragan's Gilardi House, a masterclass in modernist design. Continue to the vivid colors of Luis Barragan House and Studio, where water and waterfalls perfectly kiss the architectural frames. 

Don’t forget to explore the Cuadra de San Cristobal, an equestrian marvel of geometry and light, followed by the awe-inspiring Casa Pedregal, a witness to organic architecture.

Taken from a different era, the Camino Real Polanco is a mid-century modern gem that fuses tradition and innovation. In the heart then of Mexico City, the Centro Nacional de Artes offers a glimpse into the artistic souls of the city that can conclude at the Soumaya Museum, a striking architectural destination, housing an extensive collection of art, including works by famous artists like Rodin, Dali, and Mexican masterpieces. The museum's futuristic, mirrored facade is a work of art in itself.

Outside the city, you can admire the Teotihuacan Sun Pyramid, one of the largest pyramids in the world. Climbing to the top offers breathtaking views of the ancient archaeological site, where you can explore the remains of a once-thriving Mesoamerican city that dates back over a thousand years. 

If you are looking for a place to sleep just outside Mexico City there’s a stunning signature hotel only 30 minutes away from the capital named El nido de Quetzalcoatl, a unique and attractive stay for the senses and comfort, with different outdoor areas to connect with nature and water mirrors, away from the urban chaos. It’s the perfect space to meditate, walk, do yoga, write and develop your creativity.

While in the city center, the best places to sleep are in the colonias Roma and Condesa such as Ignacia, a haven where time slows down, guests savor the art of mindful living, where every detail tells a story of simplicity and authenticity. Octavia Casa unfolds like a cherished novel, each room a page filled with character and charm, inviting travelers to pen their own adventures in a setting where heritage and hospitality intersect.

Casa-lomah's architectural poetry blends seamlessly with the natural world, creating a tranquil retreat where guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of the landscape, fostering a deep connection to the environment and themselves.

As for restaurant suggestions, If you are looking for an informal place head over to Lardo Mexico. The atmosphere is similar at Restaurante Rosetta, a cozy realm of gastronomy, offering authentic recipes. 

The rustic ambience of Itacate del Mar is the perfect hub for seafood lovers, where the aroma of the ocean will meet your senses as you step inside. This charming eatery specializes in fresh and delectable seafood dishes. From the succulent ceviche to the mouthwatering shrimp tacos, each bite is a coastal adventure. Other seafood paradises are Caracol De Mar that perfectly captures the essence of the sea with its nautical decor, and Contramar, where the flavors are as colorful as the decor. This iconic establishment is celebrated for its famous tuna tostadas and perfectly grilled red snapper. The atmosphere is bustling.

Back to traditions but also to experimentations, Pujol Restaurant is a culinary masterpiece that transcends traditional Mexican cuisine. This renowned restaurant elevates indigenous ingredients to create art on a plate.

But creativity is not over. If you want to dine in very special artistic buildings, Blanco Colima is the place to be. The location is outlined by the premise of modernist art, in which the canvas begins white and is gradually painted in colors according to seasonal ingredients and menus. So, for almost a decade, the Blanco Colima restaurant emerged, located in one of the most beautiful Porfirian-style houses in the Roma neighborhood. 

Finally, when you dine at Sanborns de los Azulejos, you're not just eating a meal; you're participating in a tradition that spans over a century. This iconic restaurant has been serving affordable luxury cuisine since 1903, and it's a testament to Mexico's enduring culture. It's also an excellent place to pick up unique gifts for friends.

Food and joy, energy and colors, all intertwined with art and history, and different narrations and stories to discover. At the end, to define Mexico, one would have to talk not only about its general history, but also about the history of its people, their origins, traditions and customs, and the way all this cultural richness melds into a multicolored melting pot, forming a country full of possibilities.

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