The Phoenix resort – luxury on Belize’s Ambergris Caye

Sunrise, PHOENIX Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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

Ballooning getaway in Northern Arizona

Ballooning getaway in Northern 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.

Art, Food & Wine – Taos, New Mexico Traditions

Wine Seminar- Pairing Wine with Food - Jo Ann Carolla-Polt ©John Lamkin

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 Art, Food & Wine – Taos, New Mexico Traditions – Albuquerque Travel

Tulum & Sian Ka’an Real Estate: From Backpacking to Luxe

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

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.

360 degree Panorama — Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort, Laguna Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Dock at Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort on Laguna Bacalar, Mexican Caribbean

The Dock at Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort on Laguna Bacalar, Mexican Caribbean

Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort, Laguna Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico —  December 2010

I ‘discovered’ Rancho Encantado about 14 years ago – not that it was lost. It had been languishing on the shore of Laguna Bacalar, the Lake of Seven Colors, in the southern Yucatan Peninsula for 10 years before that discovery. I try to get to that magical place at least once a year. The Rancho exists in the midst of the Zona Maya, the home of the old Maya civilization. Archaeological sites abound. I met my querida there and we have been together for 13 years.

You can find Rancho Encantado at

Click on the image or here to view in 360 degrees.

Manatee Hormones

words + photos by John Lamkin

Dani has a face that only a mother could love, but he doesn’t have a mother – he’s an orphan. Dani is a manatee, sometimes referred to as a sea cow. I guess if he had a mother she would think he was beautiful. The horny seafarers of earlier times thought manatees were beautiful. When seen in the ocean from a distance, they were mistaken for mermaids or sirens.

Dani was found by a couple of boys, four days old with an injured flipper – caught in the mangrove roots. He was left an orphan, unable to leave this annual birthing lagoon with the other manatees. The lagoon lies just off the Caribbean Bay of Chetumal in the south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The villagers took him to Chetumal to have his wounds attended. Once treated, the state wildlife department decided to return Dani to the lagoon and put him in the care of the village until he recuperated. Well enough to swim, he was released to return to his manatee family, but he didn’t want to go. Read more at Your Life is a Trip.

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