Mexico 2016: Mexico City, El Oro, Puerto Vallarta

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Last year at this time we were heading to Mexico for some relaxation and sunshine. This year, we are days away from boarding another flight to Mexico once again and exploring an entirely different part of the country!

Mexico City

The streets of Mexico City are some of the most colorful and gorgeous that I have ever seen. The materials and architectural style are those that you don’t commonly see here in the States. The buildings and streets keep changing over time – aging, shifting, crumbling, and built new as the city grows older and more and more populated. With its ever increasing rate of growth and culture, more styles are added to the streets of the city and, again, the style shifts. Mexico City is so immensely eclectic in it’s built environment and it’s living, that it has become this melting pot of beautiful classic traditions and new architecture. There is no way to visit this city and not be blown away by it’s enormity and beauty.

While in Mexico City, the first place Zack’s family and I explored was the ruins of Templo Mayor, one of the main temples of the Aztecs. These ruins are in the middle of the city center. They provide a fascinating juxtaposition between the existing buildings, the ever growing population, and those fallen historical structures.

The next day we bused to the ancient city of Teotihuacan where the ruins date back to as early as 200 B.C. There, we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon along the Avenue of the Dead.  As a designer and an Architect (in training) ruins have always fascinated me. This city, constructed over 2,000 years ago, contains structures that are still standing and open for exploration today. If you are ever in Mexico City, I highly recommend taking a trip out to this ancient city and climbing the temples! The drive alone is gorgeous. Hills, covered in colorful houses, roll along the streets leading to Teotihuacan and the dessert plants line the drive transporting you to another world.

El Oro, Estado de Mexico

El Oro is a tiny Mexican mining town about an hour northwest of Mexico City. Zack’s sister was teaching English there at the local school, so she wanted to show us around her town! Exploring this little town gave us the opportunity to be completely submerged in the Mexican culture. One of the families that Zack’s sister worked with at the school threw all of us a Mexican feast with carne asada, fish, sangria, and so many beautiful desserts. 

While walking through the streets of the beautiful and vibrant El Oro, we noticed that a telenovela was being filmed in the city center. As we were walking by, the director stopped us and asked Zack’s sister if we would all be willing to be extras in the telenovela! We were even able to meet the actress and actors after the scene was wrapped. That’s one more thing to check off our bucket lists.. Soap opera stars! (*check*) ;) 

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta was the last stop on our small journey through Mexico. This is where we got some much needed beach time and margaritas! The highlight of Puerto Vallarta was visiting Islas Marietas National Park. We took a bus from Puerto Vallarta to Punta de Mita and chartered a local boat. From there the boat took us to the outskirts of the “Hidden Beach”. At this point, we had to put on life jackets and jump out of the boat to swim to the beach!

The “Hidden Beach” was formed by military testing in the 1900’s. Today, it is a protected National Park and is visited by people from all over the world!  We needed to swim through the cave entry with the current to get to the sunken beach. These islands are some of the most amazing places I have ever seen! 

In a few days we will be boarding a plane for Mexico part 2! This time around we will be stopping in Mexico City once again for a couple days, then flying down to San Cristobal in Chiapas where Zack’s sister is teaching this year. I am looking forward to some much needed down time and vitamin D! Seattle has been SO gray lately so I can’t wait to chase the sunshine!!

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