The colorful Xilitla city sign, located in the centro.

The Death Defying Road to Xilitla

We almost turned around. There were a few miles that we were on a dirt road on the way to Xilitla. I think it was due to road construction.*

The Sierra Gorda mountains are beautiful. They are also huge. I thought maybe my perception was off because I haven’t driven through mountains in awhile. However, I just read on wiki that “[t]he area is extremely rugged with high steep mountains and deep canyons.” This describes it exactly. Many of the straightaways don’t have guardrails and you are only about 4 feet from death.

However, even that wasn’t the scariest part of the trip.

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Don’t Fear The Bathrooms (What You Need to Know)

It’s about the bathrooms, folks. If you are going to explore off the beaten-tourist-path in Mexico (and I recommend you do), you will need to know a few things about bathrooms here. They aren’t scary (mostly)! They are just bathrooms, like anywhere else. However, as a traveler, here are some things no one will think to tell you in advance.

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Santa Brígida Mine is Minecraft in Real Life

In another surprise day trip, planned two hours before leaving, we visited a place called Mineral de Pozos. Mineral de Pozos is a Pueblo Mágico (magical town or village) and the second place we’ve visited with that designation. The town itself is a clean little place with some lovely cafes and shops. While it may be awesome, our destination was one of the mines in Pozos: the Santa Brígida Mine.

What is so special about this place?

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The Sad Story of the Not-So-Touristy Crater La Alberca

When I learned about Las Siete Luminarias, I only knew one of the seven craters was a tourist attraction. I did not know if any other were accessible. As we arrived at our second crater visit, Crater La Alberca, my husband turned to me and said, “Please don’t make it a goal to visit all seven craters.”

I assured him it was not on my “list” (bucket or otherwise), but damn him, he sparked a desire. I now (kind of) want to visit all of them, especially after hearing the sad story of the Crater La Alberca and seeing the place for myself. La Alberca is located in Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, Mexico.

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Are Las Siete Luminarias Worth Visiting (and What Are They, Anyway)?

“Instead of climbing over the mountain, they blasted a tunnel right through it, but they didn’t run electricity,” our friend told us about Las Siete Luminarias.  Bring flashlights stuck in mind.

One place that I really wanted to visit ever since learning of its existence was Las Siete Luminarias. The best known is called El Rincón del Parangueo. This is located near Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, Mexico.

This begs the question, what are Las Siete Luminarias?

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What is the Peña de Bernal and Why Should You Visit?

Ever heard of San Sebstian Bernal and the Peña de Bernal ? I hadn’t! I didn’t even know exactly what we were doing. Was it a crater? A mountain hike? Or some other natural phenomenon?

“I think we are going to go hike through a crater or climb a pyramid tomorrow,” I texted to a friend. Yeah, I didn’t know anything about Bernal. I sure had it together, huh?

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Mexico Earthquake 2017: The Strongest in (nearly) a Century

UPDATE: This link answers questions about the best ways to donate to disaster relief agencies. CharityWatch is listed on the previously mentioned website and they provide ratings that may help you with your decision of where to donate to disaster relief. In the days following major disasters, monetary donations will go much further than material donations (many of which end up being unusable). Clicking here will take you directly to Charity Watch’s top rated charities. Scroll down to International Relief & Development to find the organization that most appeals to you. Please consider donating to help people around the world who are victims of natural disasters. We are all humans. Today, Mexicans and Americans need your help. Tomorrow, however, it’ll be another part of the world. Thank you!

UPDATE 2: 11 days later on September 19, another strong earthquake rocked Mexico City. We are much closer to Mexico City and indeed we felt it. Thankfully, our area has no damage. Again, if it is within your heart and means, please consider donating to help the victims of both of Mexico’s earthquakes this year. Many people already live in poverty and your donations will go far to help them.

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Why You Should Play in Parque Bicentenario in Queretero

Though in the Midwest USA, amusement park season is winding down, autumn is a wonderful time to visit! In August, we finally had the opportunity to visit Parque Bicentenario, located in Queretaro, Mexico. While I knew it was an amusement park, I actually had no idea what to expect. Would it be like our big parks in Ohio, Cedar Point and Kings Island? Would it be fun?

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When Culture Shock Sends You Running for Cover

Right away, it starts. Only you don’t realize you’re in the midst of culture shock because it starts with a honeymoon phase. It truly feels like being a newlywed. Everything is fascinating, new, and exciting! You’ve taken the plunge. You’ve moved to a different country from your home country and it is pretty wonderful. Even the annoying things can be overlooked because you are wearing the blinders of true love. Your love is real and you will not be experiencing culture shock, because you’re different, right? You are open-minded or well-traveled or both. You’re the sickening brand new couple in the corner who can’t stop making out, sitting on the other’s lap, and making smoochy eyes at each other.

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Exploring Michin Aquarium (Acuario Michin) in Guadalajara, Jalisco

We drove to Guadalajara from our home in Central Mexico. It served as our day 1 stopping point between our town and Puerto Vallarta. My husband’s coworker is from there, offered to show us around, and take us to Michin Aquarium (Acuario Michin). It was an offer we were unwilling to refuse! We booked the hotel he recommended, which was in the centro. Finding it took an hour and involved getting stopped by the police…

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