The People's Guide To Mexico

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The People's Guide to Mexico: Articles & Letters, Questions & Answers

August 20, 2000

I dashed out for a copy of the 25th Anniversary Edition as soon as I heard news of it. I'm hooked. I love it. We love it. Whenever the 'omigod-what-are-we-doing's' hit -- which, thank goodness, have been few and short-lived -- we grab the book and are smitten all over again.

Bobi & Scott Wilson

The Perfect RV

Finally... after decades of kicking tires and countless interviews with RV’ers in Mexico, Lorena and I are able to reveal our “Perfect Mexico RV” recommendation.... (more) by Carl Franz

Camping In The Peten Rainforest

...The ‘casa’, turned out to be a hundred and fifty square feet of rotting boards, crumbling adobe, rusting sheet metal and fermenting palm fronds. The parking space was an overgrown foot trail leading from the muddy road. By carefully backing the bus I nudged the pintle hook against the front of the ‘house’. And by backing Nellie Belle against the bus, it gave two or three inches of clearance between the front of her and the muddy trail that led to town. The neighborhood well produced clear water, but I subsequently boiled every drop vigorously or laced it with chlorine....Day two the ants appeared.... (more) by David "El Codo" Eidell

We want to move to Puerto Vallarta

We fell in love w/ PV the first time we vacationed there. Any hints on how to get started & where to find a rental on a month to month basis for 3 month to 1 year would be welcomed. Since we cannot generate an income in Mexico, we will need to stay on a budget. Is renting for $600 to $800 reasonable..... (more) from Lisa & Rick

Robert responds

You will have a wide range of properties to choose from in the $600 to 800 per month area. Obviously, if you sign a year's lease, you may have more negotiating clout. Be wary of month to month deals. They'll shoot up dramatically when high season hits.... (more) by Robert Foster

Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic:
The Insider’s Guide to the Northshore for International Travelers

“Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide to the Northshore for International Travelers” is quite a mouthful, but then so is this book. With contributions from experts in anthropology, natural history, language and culture, author and Ajijic resident Teresa Kendrick presents a description of Lake Chapala and its popular tourist and retirement communities that is broad in scope yet also quite detailed.... (Full Review) by Carl Franz


For several years my wife and I had been talking about wanting to visit Cuba before the end of Castro's regime. She was particularly interested in experiencing Socialist Cuba now -- before the inevitable changes that will follow Castro's demise (he's 73 and won't last forever). However, I was somewhat leery of the idea.... (more) by Peter

Cuba: Links & Books

Popcorn at the Beach

While Carl & Lorena are here, our days fall into an easy pattern. I'm usually the only one up to greet the dawn; they pull themselves out of the tent at a more leisurely rate. I don't think I've ever seen Carl this laid back! We begin to worry about the perhaps permanent woven pattern indenting his back from a severe case of hammockitis, a condition endemic to the beach. His back looks a little like some exotic Tahitian tattoo has been executed in dark pink..... (more) by Tina Rosa

Perfect Popcorn

Over the years, Lorena and I have expended a great deal of time and energy in our restless search for perfection: The Perfect Mexican Beach, The Perfect Camping Spot, The Perfect Hammock, etc. Now, after decades of ceaseless research and no small number of old maids, we are pleased to offer you the recipe for... Perfect Popcorn.... (more) by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens

Tarzan never returned

(Dobie and Sergio are homesteading in a former coconut plantation on Mexico's Pacific Coast.)

We made a deal with El Valiente to cut all the old coconuts from the palm trees. El Valiente didn't climb the trees like Tarzan did - he used a machete blade tied to a long piece of bamboo. Actually he had several of these in different lengths - some of the palms are really tall. Boom, boom, boom, the cocos fell. He only worked until noon, because that's when the wind comes up and sometimes the cocos fall by themselves. You certainly wouldn't want to be under a tree and have one of those puppies fall on your head.... (more) by Dobie

Mexican Time

Once I got up early to be first in line at a laundromat in Oaxaca. I hurried past the Juarez market as vendors set up their shops, sanitation workers swept, swept, swept, and bicycle messengers delivered magazines, ice, bundles of sisal. I ignored the glorious lush cool air and arrived two minutes before the scheduled opening of the laundromat. I was first in line! The only thing was, there was no sign of the owner at opening time.... (more) by P.G. Meier

A Low Toxicity Alternative to DEET Repellent For Jungle Trekkers by Derek Parent

This article in on the Planeta, the Web's premire website for eco-tourism and environmental concerns in Mexico and Latin America

July 4, 2000

Lorena"s Note: We continue to expand our "For More Information" section, with reviews of Our Favorite Mexico Books & Websites. Please send us your recommendations of good websites and must read books to Carl & Lorena

We've also added new section indexes to make it easier to find your way around this website. Recently expanded sections include: Mexico: A to Z: Keeping In Touch; Food: Recipes; Living and Retiring in Mexico and our Letters from Readers.

Our website is growing faster than new corn and we're finally ready to offer advertising to those of you who have asked. And please, support our Sponsors, who are supporting the continued existence of the The People's Guide to Mexico Website.

New Web Pages

Drive a Unimog to Central America?

Dear Carl and Lorena:

We would appreciate your thoughts regarding a trip I my son and uncle are planning. Taking much of the Mayan route in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico.

We are planning to use an old military style vehicle which is converted into a camper, known as a Unimog and are anticipating mostly living in the vehicle while in Guatemala, Belize and Chiapas, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan in Mexico. Opinion varies on the wisdom of using this type of vehicle or camping out in relation to safety because the vehicle is quite conspicuous and we may not be able to find a camping site.... (more) from Matthew Solomon

New Letter Section

Another View: Mexico's Copper Canyon:

Known mainly by prospectors, Tarahumara goatherds, smugglers and a few widely scattered ranchers, this vast territory of forested plateaus and precipitous canyons is both a paradise and a paradox for hikers: without a reliable guide, getting lost in the Sierra Madre's topographic maze isn't just easy, it's almost guaranteed.... (more) by Carl Franz

Tarzan Cuts Our Cocos

So this guy Abel comes to cut the coconuts. I swear he looks like a Mexican version of Tarzan. He's wearing only shorts, and he's barefoot (there are spiny, thorny plants everywhere). He's carrying a coil of rope and a machete that's had the end cut off, so it's square at the tip. His hair looks like it was cut by a little kid who just got his hand on a pair of pruning shears.... (more) by Dobie

Visiting San Miguel de Allende

I finally walked into my boss and said i need a two month leave. i am heading down to San Miguel to take spanish and art and have no place to stay as yet....also, i was thinking i really really need to mellow out and maybe i'd find a yoga retreat somewhere down ....i want to e-mail people at the cyber cafe kind of places.... (more)

Yoga in Mexico

As a travel writer and 55 year-old wilderness guide, I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t continue to do good work without improving my body’s flexibility. Thanks to the recommendations of several chiropractors -- and inspired by the pain of paying their bills -- I finally began to practice yoga with Barbara Luboff.... (more) by Carl Franz

Calling Home

Calling Cards

For those of you who traveled in Mexico in the Good Old Days, you'll have memories (nightmares) of waiting for hours in "Larga Distancia" when you wanted to call farther than across town. Or perhaps you remember trying to locate a local pay phone that worked, and, last but not least, one of the nearly obsolete coins that they'd accept.

Call Back Services

Once you've found a house in Mexico (with a telephone) you'll want to call back to the States or Canada to keep in touch with family and friends, or for business. However, international long distance calls are still quite expensive from Mexico. Although you can work out deals with Telmex (the lowest we've heard of is $ .45 a minute), Call Back services offer better deals.

Rio Purificacion:

Last week Colin got some of his AA buddies from nearby to come over for a meeting here on our beach. So one afternoon I walk down to Colin & Christie's brick bungalow and join three strangers and Colin in fellowship. This circle of men, honest about their addiction, humble in their struggle, brings me to that tearful cracked-open heart space I have been graced to live in so much of the last ten months.... (more) by Tina Rosa

•Blessing the car

Sunday a Mexican family drove up in front of the Parroquia (in San Miguel De Allende) in a brand new big American car, got out leaving all doors open, opened the trunk and hood. A priest came out and shook a stick (for want of Catholic terminology) dipped in what must have been holy water --in every open door and in the trunk and under the hood. Then the family got in and drove off.... (more) by Joan Parker

•¡Que le vaya bien!

Sorry about the corrections to your Spanish had the bad luck to write to a Spanish teacher (and apparently I couldn't resist rudely correcting you)! ... (more) From Flo Ariessohn

A Typical Polite Letter to Mexicans 

While traveling we often meet people we’d like to drop a line to once we return home. The problem is what to say and how to say it, especially if your Spanish is weak. It’s amazing what can be communicated with sign language, facial expressions and other signals, none of which are available when faced with a blank sheet of paper.... (more) From The People's Guide to Mexico

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