Hotel Las Hadas – Fairyland – Manzanillo, Colima MEXICO © John Lamkin
It was in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico and I was staying at a five-star hotel on the beach called Las Hadas (meaning the fairies). (“Bo Derek slept here” while filming 10.) I heard that in the morning there was a van leaving on a trip to the Magic Town (Pueblo Magico) of Comala, Colima so I signed up. In this case “magic” has nothing to do with Harry Potter, but is the designation Mexico has given several towns around the country that offer visitors a “magical” experience–by reason of their natural beauty, cultural riches or historical relevance.
The van left in the morning with me, an attractive actress from Hollywood, a PR woman from Miami and a reporter from Chicago. We toured the Manzanillo Bay, then headed out to the Magic Town. On the way we came to a small hill, la Loma de Fatima, where more “magic” had occurred. It seems that Volcan de Fuego (Fire Volcano), the active volcano that overlooks the town of Colima had once erupted, threatening to inundate the town and surrounds with lava. The people went to the top of this hill and prayed to Fatima. The lava miraculously stopped just short of the town, so the people erected a shrine to Fatima here. Read more at Global Writes.
I’m in Cartagena right now, getting ready to leave today by boat to Punto Faro on Múcura Island in the Caribbean. Was in Bogota a few days ago. Here are a few photos:
Hotel Aviá93 Brownies Bogota, Colombia
Day’s End – Cartagena, Colombia ©John Lamkin
Woman from Village of Palenque – Cartagena, Colombia ©John Lamkin
On to Múcura Island
“Boys, thumbs up-everything’s cool” Santa Cruz del Islote Island, Colombia-The worlds most densely populated island – 2 hours boat ride from Cartagena, 20 minutes from Múcura Island ©John Lamkin
Sunset – Punta Faro, Múcura Island, Colombia ©John Lamkin
“Family shelling crabs” Santa Cruz del Islote Island, Colombia-The worlds most densely populated island – 2 hours boat ride from Cartagena, 20 minutes from Múcura Island ©John Lamkin
Sunset dinner for two on the beach, Las Terrazas ©John Lamkin
A short boat ride from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye’s only town, Las Terrazas is a 37-room Caribbean getaway with townhouse-style accommodations, tropical landscaping, a 70 foot pool surrounded by comfy loungers and a long stretch of white sand beach. Lovers, adventurers and serious divers–the world’s second largest barrier reefs is a few minutes away—hang out with spa goers and occasional families. Read more at Luxury Latin America.
Capt. Nigel – Boat ride to Las Terrazas © John Lamkin
The Belize island of Ambergris Caye (pronounced key) and the Northern Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef lie just off the tip of the southernmost part of Mexico.
I was in the south of the Mexican Caribbean—the state of Quintana Roo—in the small port city of Chetumal (the state’s capital). The more popular Cancun and the Riviera Maya are in the north of the state. Driving along the Bahia (bay) Drive, I spotted two small buildings near the municipal pier with colorful signs announcing “Chetumal to San Pedro (Ambergris) Water Taxi.” Somewhere I’d never been! Between the two I negotiated a good price and bought two tickets.
I went back to where I was staying on the stunning Laguna Bacalar, got on the Internet and made reservations for Las Terrazas Resort on Ambergris.
In a little more than an hour and a half after leaving Chetumal I arrived at the dock in San Pedro, a lively island town with people on the beach playing volleyball, venders selling handicrafts, music, dive shops and a row of small shops and restaurants. Read more at Examiner.
Austrian Pinzgauer high-mobility all-terrain military vehicle ©John Lamkin
“Mild to Wild Jeep Trail Tours – Animas Forks Ghost Town”
This was an amazing trip following the Animas River out of Silverton, Colorado. Our guide, Frank Miller, has lived in the area most of his life and knew the trail, the mines and history, and the ghost town as no one else could. To find out how these miners lived and worked in the heyday of the silver and gold mining was truly an education. The starting point for the trip, Silverton, would be worth devoting a day to exploring. AND, riding in the old Austrian Pinzgauer high-mobility all-terrain military vehicle was a trip in itself.
Sunrise, Phoenix Resort ©John Lamkin
We arrived at the dock and were warmly welcomed by a member of The Phoenix resort’s staff. As we experienced throughout this trip these island people are friendly, caring and very proud of their island. We had come to Belize’s Ambergris Caye (pronounced key) by water taxi from Chetumal, in the southern end of the Mexican Caribbean, a ride of about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Continue reading on Examiner
Basket Dance, Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, Phoenix ARIZONA
Northern Arizona is a wonderful place to escape the chill of the northern climes. Among the many interesting and fun activities in the area is hot air ballooning. Outside of Phoenix you can take a sunrise you (or sunset) flight, soaring over the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert, watching the sun rise over the towering mountain ranges. A photographer will be in heaven with an unobstructed view from the balloon’s hand-crafted wicker basket. “Captain” Mike piloted our balloon, smoothly gliding over the desert scenery below, finally coming to a perfect three-point (I guess in a balloon it’s a one-point) landing. Back on earth, we were treated to the over 100-year-old ritual of flutes of champagne. It seems that when ballooning first started in France, the balloonists would carry along bottles of champagne so that when they landed in farmer’s fields, the drink would be quickly offered, proving that the strange fliers were not from another planet. Read more and view slideshow at Examiner.
Wine Seminar- Pairing Wine with Food - Jo Ann Carolla-Polt ©John Lamkin
It may come as a surprise to learn that the first wine production in the United States started in what now is called New Mexico by Spanish monks in 1633. The New Mexico wine country is home to over forty wineries, several in the vicinity of the art colony, Taos, high up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
In August, 2011 the toast of taos arts & wine festival took place under the new and enthusiastic management of Jan Mellor, gallery owner; Jillian Smothers, Food & Beverage Director for Taos Country Club; and sculptor Steven Gootgeld. This year the festival consisted of three main events. Several art, food and music partnering events ran concurrent with the festival.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Art, Food & Wine – Taos, New Mexico Traditions – Albuquerque Travel
By John Lamkin
As the whole Caribbean coast of Mexico goes steadily more upscale in its real estate offerings, the ex-backpacker enclave of Tulum and regions to the south are heating up in anticipation of a new international airport.
Tulum Beach - Mexican Caribbean - photo © John Lamkin
A few years ago the image one had of Tulum, Mexico was a unique Maya archaeological site, backpackers, pseudo-Maya huts and bare-breasted Italian women on sparkling white powder sand Caribbean beaches.
Now that image has changed considerably to include luxury homes and luxury resorts. Plus ecology has crept into the picture – Read more at Luxury Latin America.