Mexico City, It's a Big Place

Mexico City is a big place. We all know this, but unless you're right in it, a scale is just a fact that you can agree with and not much more. When you approach by plane, you get the overview and you begin to have a better impression of that fact. A city that stretches as far as you can see into the mountains in every direction.

When you land and take that taxi to your apartment, that impression may fade a bit as it becomes less apparent when you're on ground level, only going block by block. Maybe you hop neighbourhoods here and there, still only covering a small portion of the city. Roma to Condesa, San Miguel Chapultepec to downtown D.F.

Yesterday I had a day that gave me a bigger impression than flying over the city ever has. After a group breakfast, I was taken by a brewery we work with at Casa Barriles in a transport van out from the downtown area, through the city, to its outskirts and hours beyond to San Juan del Río.

The van was filled with Mexico's craft beer distributors, heading out to Cerveceria Primus for a brewery tour, some sensory training and a discussion on the state and potential of the craft beer industry in Mexico.

Thank you beer for letting us see new places and meet new people.

Driving through more of the city than we had done previously, passing out of the main district and into the countryside gave me more of an impression and made its scale more real than it seems from above. 

Heading in one direction for hours and still being surrounded by city is an overwhelming thought when you imagine zooming out. You can fit the entire city of Vancouver 14 times into one Mexico City. Going from north to south would be like getting in the car and driving straight from Vancouver to Whistler and being surrounded by buildings, intersections, traffic, pedestrians the entire time. City block after city block for 100km. Then, you realize that is just one road around Mexico City, and maybe even just cutting around the outskirts.

Mexico City is a big place, and if you want to feel small while having an adventure, put it high up on the list.

On the Road With Lifetime Collective: Holbox, Mexico Part Two


While swimming on a trip off the Caribbean coast, I asked myself, “Do I mention the two, large, shiny grey sharks directly below me in case chaos ensues… or keep it to myself so I don’t ruin the moment for the mothers and children swimming around us? Nah, don’t say anything. We’re fine.”

But that's another story, click here for the rest of that Holbox story on Medium.

Below is a quick recap of some of the other highlights and the rest of some of the images that didn't make it into the Medium post. 

Where We Stayed, What We Ate, Things We Did

Hotel Puerto Holbox — There are plenty of boutique hotels on the island that sit with beachfront access. We found staying to the west of town was quieter since the central area and east of it has more main streets, which means more pedestrian and diesel golf cart action. It seems slightly more peaceful on this side of town. Plus, Freddy's your boy when you stay here. He'll take care of anything — including chopping up some fresh coconuts for your rum.

Check them out on Trip Advisor here or their own site here

Los Peleones — This second storey spot is currently #1 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Holbox, with a certificate of excellence for 2013. While it's not the cheapest place to find food on the island, it's by no means expensive for the service and food you get. Our plates were somewhere between $120-150pesos each. Beers are $30 while mix drinks are the standard $60-80pesos. We had some quality, homemade pasta and as attentive service as you'd ever want.

Follow them on Twitter or Facebook (personal page, not a brand page).

Cariocas Pizza — This was the first dinner we had on Isla Holbox. The place was packed, but they seemed to manage the rush well, even after a misstep with our order. The owner is from Napoli and must've brought over his mama's Italian recipes, because what they were serving on those pies was a damned fine marinara sauce. If you like pizza, which you do, go here.

Raices — We ate here two lunches in a row. It's a small palapa bar on a quiet part of the beach just out of town. Their fish ceviche could just be the best ceviche I've ever had. I'm not going to pretend I'm some kind of culinary expert or anything, but I eat a lot of ceviche. A lot. You get huge chunks of freshly caught fish, a great mix of lime, onions and peppers. Ask for the fresh chopped habanero for an added bonus.

I'd go back to the island just to eat here, but don't expect anything fancy, just good ceviche, a run-down palapa, cold beer and a view of the ocean.

The view at Raices Restaurant and Bar. Holbox, Mexico.

Golf Cart Rentals —  We rented ours from a spot next to Hotel Casa Barbara. The owners were mellow, just hanging outside with their friends on some plastic chairs. We didn't have ID and only half of what we needed to rent up front. When we suggested we'd go to a bank machine first to get the balance, they waved us off and just said, "See you in four hours. It's okay."

So basically, without ID, any proof of having funds or even so much as taking our names, we got to roll out for about $8 an hour. Not like you can really take off anywhere with their cart on this mini island. Good people, there are dozens of places to get carts, but go on and rent from them.

Vroom, Vroom. Golf Cart rentals on Holbox, heading out to Punta Mosquito.

 Pedro Rodriguez — This guy was the only person who ripped us off over the whole trip. At first he explained it was because we were late at night taking a taxi "after 11pm" that caused this higher-than-normal tariff. Taxis are about $30 pesos anywhere on the island unless you roll with our boy Pedro. Expect to pay more.

The next day he was the taxi that showed up at our hotel to take us to town and didn't even recognize us. This made for a good laugh when he again overcharged us, making up a different excuse that this side of the island is more expensive. Watch out for the sharply dressed, older cabbie with a moustache and gentleman's fedora. He's anything but. Pedro Rodriguez, we will meet again in this life or the next!

Punta Mosquito —  This is about as far east on the island you can go without getting wet first. There's a river that connects to another part of the island that's easy to cross by a short swim. Head out here on bike or with your golf cart. Bring a blanket and some cold drinks, it's a beauty for sunset — but bring some repellent too, once the witching hour hits you're going to be dealing with insects. 

 Tortas, Tacos and Late Night Gambling — I don't know how frequently the evening fair happens around Holbox, but it was on every night we were there. We grabbed street food to walk around with that was pesos on the dollar and delicious.


There was an arcade set up, foosball tournament and your other typical fair games: Test your pitching aim, shoot at targets with a wildly inaccurate bb gun, attempt to pop under-inflated balloons with dull darts. You know the scam, but you pay to play anyhow, because maybe tonight is your night for that big pink bunny. It's not.

However, there's one glimmer of hope within the usual cash grabs. A modified version of La Loteria (Mexican bingo) that involves the dealer rolling a set of oversized dice with Loteria symbols on each side. You place your bets on Loteria cards laid on the table, much like roulette. Shake, and read. If your symbol is called, it pays 6:1.

We took our first roll and we won big. $60 pesos big. Katy and I rode that high until the devil played us out. It was a hell of a ride, and there are two valuable lessons I learned that night: Never bet on the devil and always bring more change.


Take a look below at some more pictures and hit us up through the contact page if you have any questions or are thinking of heading to Holbox. If I remember some more items, or feel so inclined, I may update this page as a little Holbox resource.

More Photos of Holbox

The Streets of San Miguel de Allende & Guanajuato, Mexico

Taryn Baxter is an old friend who I know originally from Whineo's, my most cherished and long since shuttered bar in Vancouver. Taryn is a Vancouver based photographer whose focus is primarily wedding and engagement shoots, although as you scroll through this post you'll see that she's not limited to either. Diversify!

Travel Photography... With Real Film?

Last fall, Taryn grabbed a flight from Vancouver to San Miguel de Allende and hit the streets with her Hasselblad. Below are images from what came of it, and what she had to say.

My favourite way to explore a new place is to walk the streets alone with my camera. Because I shoot film on a completely manual camera, I’m forced to slow down and really observe what’s going on around me. I believe it’s an essential part of street photography, as it opens your eyes to the beauty and intricacies of where you are and the people who live there.

Click any image to enlarge and use your left/right arrow keys to navigate.

San Miguel is a quaint but vibrant town with a thriving arts community. The colours are magnificent and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve met. It’s been said that San Miguel is the most beautiful town in Mexico, and I wouldn’t disagree.
A two hour car ride away is Guanajuato, an old silver mining town in a picturesque valley. Between the cobblestone alleyways, museums, markets and cafes, it feels distinctly European, yet the town is full of Mexican culture.

If you're thinking of traveling to Mexico and would prefer cobblestone streets and cafés over the usual choice of beaches and bars, you should know that as well as looking beautiful, San Miguel de Allende and its surrounding area is one of the safest and friendliest in the country.


Taryn shot all of these beauties on her Hasselblad 500cm with Portra 160 and 400 film. You should check out Taryn Baxter's photography website and then follow her on Facebook to add some colour and life to your newsfeed.

Take Me Back to Bacalar

Bacalar Lagoon, Costa Maya in Mexico

Powering down after a work week switches back and forth from doing nothing but laying around having drinks in our pool to getting out the door and heading somewhere. Usually south. South brings finer beaches, beautiful landscapes, smaller towns and less humans. North brings tourism, mega resorts and house music.

Go South by Southwest

About three and a half hours south southwest from Playa del Carmen is a sleepy little lagoon town called Bacalar. We made it in two and a half. A German was behind the wheel and turned the Federal 307 into the Autobahn. He is a good man and I appreciated his enthusiasm to get the commute over with. The girls slept in the back, unaware of pace.

Now in Bacalar, we grabbed a quick lunch in the small town square, had a few beers and jumped on a boat. It was an independently owned charter, pitched to us by the young Romanian proprietor, Mihail. At first we considered he might just be The Tallest Man on Earth in hiding.

Mihail does all of the map and poster artwork for their little pirate operation, Piratas Bacalar. He has a sort of charm and a salesmanship we had to say yes to. That, and your other option for getting on the water in Bacalar is throwing on a neon life vest and choking on fumes from the little sardine boats tour groups pack visitors into. Instead, find the Piratas and take a private sailing trip on a daysailer with shark teeth painted on the bow. It just makes sense.

The sail lasts six hours from daylight through sunset and into the dark. It follows the routes in the image below with a guided history of the pirate and Spanish raids in the region.

At the time of writing this there are four different price points:

  • 2 Passengers: $1200 pesos
  • 3 Passengers: $1600 pesos
  • 4 Passengers: $1800 pesos
  • 6 Passengers: $2200 pesos

There were four of us, so it worked out to $1800 pesos ($140usd) for the full six hour private tour. The sail comes with fresh fruit and a dinner plate of meat, veggies and rice for all. When you run it down, you're talking about $75 pesos ($6usd) an hour, per person. Who says no to a $6/hr private sailing trip? Not you, that's for damned sure!

Pack enough beer, rum and wine for the whole trip. If you've been to Mexico or live in the area, you know that beer at the corner store is only about $0.50usd a can while a 750ml bottle of rum can be $10-12usd. Liquor here is practically free.

You'll start with beer in the sun, and switch to wine or rum as the sun sets with the boat anchored in the crystal clear shallows of the lagoon. El Capitan sails in right next to a tiny homebase island for what seems like every species of bird on the planet. They fly with their wings almost skimming the lagoon on their way around the boat to the island, sun setting in the background.

We got back to land, had some beers and cigars on our patio at Amigos Hotel until it was time to pass out. Rooms at Amigos run at about $700 pesos ($50usd). Below is a photo of our patio during the day, before sailing. The top photo in this post is the pier at Amigos Hotel. At a glance through the images on their site, Amigos may not appear to be much, but that's the town. A place less concerned with luxury property rentals and more focused on relaxing in a relatively untouched region of the Costa Maya, Mexico.

Bacalar is a quaint place of beauty, pot holes, dirt roads, street dogs, independently owned restaurants and hotels, all sitting on the Lagoon of Seven Colours. The next morning we left for Mahahual and already missed Bacalar. We'll be back soon, little town.

Follow more of this kinda stuff on Instagram if you'd like.