Tag Archives: travel

Woman at San Miguel de Allende

Street photography I shot at San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

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Outside the Museum of Anthropology

Street photography I shot with my J7 mobile phone, outside the National Museum of Anthropology and History. 

The Museum is not only a great visit because of the treasures it houses — literal treasured pieces, monuments like the Aztec Calendar stone, unique statues, glyphs listing kings, and gold craftsmanship — but for its location.

It is a huge and ancient forest designed by Nezahualcoyotl.

At the heart of an upscale area of Mexico City, the National Museum of Anthropology and History rises amongst a forest of trees. On one side of the museum, you have the Chapultepec Forest (or Bosque de Chapultepec). The equivalent of Mexico City’s Central Park, it is a huge and ancient forest — designed by King Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco for his Aztec Mexica cousin King Motecuhzoma I — which recieves tourists and locals from all walks of life. You can find Mexican families flocking with their improvised picnic a la mexicana, or you can stumble upon elegant couples who march with haste towards some classical music concert. If you like being surrounded with people — and most of all seeing all kinds of them — this is a great spot.

Dotted with posh bars.

On the other side of the museum you have the Polanco district (or colonia Polanco), where you can find not only embassies, high-class hotels, or offices, but also a lot of cafe places, and international cuisine restaurants from around the world. Nightlife may be even more interesting in Polanco, since it is dotted with posh bars and exclusive restaurants.

Our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately).

The location of the museum is quite interesting not only because of its peaceful trees in the heart of Mexico City’s chaos, but because of its proximity to power. You see, quite near, just blocks away, you have the official Presidential house — sort of our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately for the Mexican people). We call it Los Pinos, or The Pinetrees (for real). And between Los Pinos complex and the Museum we have the National Auditorium, which is like our Madison Square Garden — all things concerts happen there (as well as quinceañera limos hanging cruising around Reforma Avenue).

Tortas are like burgers, but bigger and with way more ingredients.

Curiously enough, at the immediate surroundings of the museum we can find a lot of snack vendors, selling esquites (corn in a cup), tortas (like burgers but bigger and with way more ingredients), raspas (sno-balls), chicharrones (pork skin), and more. If you’re lucky you may see native dancers — you can’t miss them with all their feathery display.

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Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

One of the many churches that stand since colonial times — many made with cantera stone, which create the delicate soft color. Also, tiles and other artistic expressions were used to decorate the facade of Mexican churches.

A town populated by talavera ceramic artisans.

While visiting Dolores, I always love to stroll at the local market, where fresh produce and prepared food is available. The outskirts of the town are populated with artisans who work 24/7 on the creation of pottery and home decor based on talavera ceramic. Although tourism is what nowadays is making Dolores stand, talavera ceramic is still by far the main reason Dolores thrive.

Located in Central Mexico, in Guanajuato state. 10 hour drive from the US-Mexico border — give or take.

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8 ancient ruins in Mexico City you should visit

Mexico is worldwide known for its ancient cities that once stood tall and magnificent. Built by masterful native architects and artists today lie in ruins – awaiting for our eyes to see their grandeur of times past.

Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world but Mexico City has wonders worth of sightseeing and marvel upon. Here’s a list I’ve compiled of ancient ruins if you’re ever at the Mexican capital and wish to delve into the experience of indigenous cities.

If you don’t mind walking, a bit of sun, and wandering amongst millenia-old buildings then this is for you!

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Teotihuacan
Location: Northeastern Mexico City metro area.
Walking: *****
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Built not by Aztecs but by a multicultural population of Huuastec and Otomi people, it became the most powerful city of its time, much more than Mayan cities. Two major pyramid-temples and dozens of smaller ones await you. Plus, the exquisite palaces that still stand are a delight. It is a huge place, after all it is the actual downtown of one of the most massive cities in the world.

Cuicuilco
Location: Southern Mexico City’s Pedregal area.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Yes.
There is a spirited debate concerning its antiquity, some say 8000 years old but mainstream scholars have it at 3000 years old. Famous for its round pyramid, one of the oldest structure in the Americas. No texts survive so we don’t have any info on Cuicuilco’s history. Nowadays surrounded by shopping malls, expect traffic.

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Tenayuca
Location: northern Mexico City, in Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Partly.
Founded by Xolotl the Great, it was once the capital of the Chichimec Domain. Part of it is enclosed by government, but the other part you can literally walk into it. Main structures are the towering pyramids and a palace complex. Mainly local tourists know of this place.

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Santa Cecilia Acatitla
Location: Northern Mexico City, Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Firsthand, it is hard to reach it, located in a maze of streets but nothing Waze or Google Maps can’t handle (I’ve been to places that aren’t in the satellites yet!). Once you get there the reward is the ONLY native pyramid temple intact. Lots of photo-ops. A small museum houses the artifacts found there. Don’t go late, locals say it can be dangerous during the night.

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Tlatelolco
Location: Near downtown area and Reforma Avenue.
Walking: ***
Native food: No
Touristy: Partly
The ancient ruins share its place with a colonial church and mid-20th century apartment buildings. Thus known as the Three Cultures Plaza. The place is well organized but there is literally no parking area or usual tourist-trap vendors. Local tourists and couples do hang in there. In Tlatelolco Hernan Cortes fought the definitive battle that meant the defeat of the Triple Alliance, aka wrongly-named Aztec Empire.

Pino Suarez subway station
Location: Downtown southern area.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Inside this station of Mexico City’s subway is a drum-like temple built by the Mexica Aztecs in honor of the spirit of the wind, Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl. It is definitely not touristy, as this subway station is used by local commuters. The ancient city of Tenochtitlan is under modern Mexico City, this means most buildings remain down there, but not visible, except a few like this one.

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Calmecac
Location: Downtown
Walking: *
Native food: No
Touristy: Yes
When the Spanish Centre was digging to build an underground parking garage of their own they stumbled with the Mexica Aztec university, known as Calmecac. This ancient school was where people studied priesthood, sciences, and military. Not only the ruins are down there but artwork that was found as well. Once done, you can check for contemporary art upstairs.

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Tenochtitlan
Location: Downtown
Walking: ***
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Last but not least the proper capital of the Mexica Azteca. Decimated by the Hispanics, they never imagined countless pyramids would survive under the main temple, since they were built like Russian dolls. One can walk around them seeing each period. The walk culminates with the museum. Outside there are restaurants, yes, but if you want authentic Aztec food try crickets with chilli.

If you’re interested in Ancient Mexico history check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Mexico City metro area — what is it?

Photo I shot at Cuautitlan, Mexico.

Mexico City metro area is gigantic. Not only it spans over a large area but it’s also over-populated. There is a Federal District, locally known as DF — Mexico City proper. Surrounding it is the other metropolitan area in the State of Mexico.

Outside the DF limits there are 22 municipalities, to explain each one is a hard task (perhaps for another post). Each has its goodies and its bad sides, as with any place.

The northern municipalities of Mexico City’s metro area is the more vast, it encompass Teotihuacan pyramids for instance. We could divide it in Northeastern and Northwestern, all beyonf the Guadalupe Sierra mountains. Tepotzotlan and Cuautitlan are here. Before the mountains there are other municipalities as well.

Then you have the western municipalities, more posh and upscale. They’re best attractions are the pine forests. Yes, in Mexico we have forests, sorry to dissappoint Hollywood.

On the East, behind the airport we have small towns that also have ancient ruins and yearly fairs.

Finally there’s the Chalco region and volcanoes, where the main attractions are obvious although there are also beautiful colonial towns and breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re interested in Mexico, check out my novel set in Ancient Mexico. Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, a romance and political thriller based on true events.

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When the past lives around us.

Photo I shot at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

There are places, especially here in Mexico, where the past live side by side with today. It is after all a place filled with millenia-long history.

Sometimes museums are more valuable for what they are than for what they contain. Streets are wortht to walk to follow the steps of past people than to where you are actually going. It is surreal to smell the same kind of flowers the ancient indigenous poets smelled than the sight of it. With it’s huge problems Mexico has many wonderful things that not even we Mexicans could cope with its magnificence.


If you’re interested in Mexican history and the lives of who inhabited it, check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, based on a true story in ancient Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.
San Miguel de Allende. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.

Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.

A few minutes away from the bustling San Miguel de Allende town is Dolores, in the center of Guanajuato state and in the hearts of many Mexicans. It is after all the birthplace of modern Mexico.

Today is a calm town, but already heading to be a touristy place like its neighbors San Miguel, Leon, or Guanajuato city.

Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City’s main avenue

Photo I shot at Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue.

I did this long exposure photography while I was lying near where the cars passed in order to obtain this light effect.

Once an imperial boulevard during the times of the Second Mexican Empire led by Emperors Maximilian of Hapsburg and Carlotta of Belgium, today it is a financial and posh street. It has become the most important street in all of Mexico.

The independence column houses the remains of men and women who led the Mexican Independence War.

Commonly called the angel by Mexicans in general, in reality it’s the semi-nude Greek goddess of Victory.

Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.