Through the Maze

In be­tween col­or­ful walls and re­fined sier­ras, Mex­ico’s Me­soamer­i­can legacy lives on

Red Magazine - - Explored - WORDS GABRIELLE ABRAHAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TRA­CIE AN­GLO- DI­ZON

“Mex­ico is a visual feast, with in­cred­i­ble history, cul­ture, and peo­ple,” shares A2A Jour­neys cre­ative di­rec­tor Tra­cie An­glo Di­zon. From pyra­mids of the an­cient civ­i­liza­tions to mu­se­ums with pieces by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Mex­ico of­fers more than a mari­achi band wel­come. From Di­zon’s own ad­ven­tures, which in­clude jump­ing into a 20-me­ter deep cenote, three lesser known places pro­vide trav­el­ers new rea­sons to visit.

Gua­na­ju­ato

Founded in 1559, the UNESCO World Her­itage site with its sil­ver and gold mines re­calls the past with its colo­nial-era ar­chi­tec­ture. Sur­rounded by the Sierra de Gua­na­ju­ato Moun­tains, Gua­na­ju­ato is in­fa­mous for be­ing what they call “the place of frogs,” with its frog-like ter­rain. Long walks bring trav­el­ers to col­or­ful houses and baroque build­ings, cob­ble­stone streets lined with mu­se­ums, the­aters, and cafés evok­ing Europe’s old-world air. There’s also the Al­hóndiga de Grana­di­tas, a mon­u­ment re­call­ing the coun­try’s first vic­tory over Spain in 1810, the Calle­jón del Beso, a nar­row al­ley­way where cou­ples are close enough to kiss from op­po­site bal­conies, and the Museo Icono­grá­fico del Qui­jote, a mu­seum ded­i­cated to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Trav­el­ers can then take their fill of Baijo cui­sine, known for the lo­cal dish pa­cholas gua­na­ju­atenses (ground beef with spices).

Oax­aca

It has the lay­out of a tra­di­tional colo­nial town: there’s a town square or zocalo sur­rounded by cathe­drals, gov­ern­ment build­ings, houses, and schools. Ac­cord­ing to Di­zon, “Oax­aca has a strong artis­tic tra­di­tion, with a large va­ri­ety of hand­i­crafts pro­duced around the state.” Aside from its black pot­tery and wo­ven tex­tiles like the tapetes, re­bo­zos, and huip­iles, among many oth­ers, which are made into shawls and hand­bags, Oax­aca city is known for their

ale­bri­jes or fig­urines of myth­i­cal crea­tures carved from the wood of the co­pal tree. Hand painted with nat­u­ral dyes, each fig­urine fea­tures tra­di­tional za­potec de­signs with vary­ing pat­terns of dots, stripes, and geo­met­ric shapes.

Yu­catán

Dur­ing the days of the Mayans, one of the in­dige­nous civ­i­liza­tions of the Amer­i­cas, Chichén Itzá and Ux­mal, two of the great­est an­cient cities, were es­tab­lished. A visit to the Yu­catán penin­sula will put any trav­eler at ease as the ru­ins, the scenic views of the forests that still stand as sa­cred des­ti­na­tions for their re­li­gious history, and the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites all em­body the coun­try’s Me­soamer­i­can past. The yel­low town of Iza­mal, on the other hand, is one of the coun­try’s two Pue­b­los Magi­cos or Magic Towns. For a town to be con­sid­ered mag­i­cal, it must have a rich his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tion and in­ter­est­ing sites; the yel­low-col­ored town is noth­ing short of magic es­pe­cially when toured in a calesa.

As for travel ad­vice, Di­zon says, “Go with an empty stom­ach and suit­case, and a cu­ri­ous mind. The food is un­like any Mex­i­can food you’ll have any­where else in the world, the history is mind-bog­gling, and the cul­ture is rich, var­ied, and col­or­ful. And don’t even get me started on the shop­ping.”

Four Sea­sons Ho­tel, Jakarta

Tak­ing the place of the old Four Sea­sons ho­tel, its new­est in­car­na­tion fea­tures romantic French in­te­ri­ors and suites that present a panoramic view of the Jakarta sky­line. The new Four Sea­sons Ho­tel is de­signed with the tra­di­tional In­done­sian style of in­cor­po­rat­ing the out­doors with in­door ar­eas, proof of how one dy­namic space can stand as an art piece all on its own.

Ch­ablé, Mex­ico

In Mex­ico’s fa­mous Yu­catán penin­sula, Ch­ablé takes inspiration from the an­cient cul­ture of the Mayans, its au­then­tic ha­cienda

style in­te­rior and spa ther­a­pies draw­ing en­ergy from a nearby cenote. Lo­cated near the ru­ins of Chichen Itza and Ux­mal, in a sort of un­der­world within the caves, Ch­ablé’s pri­vate cenote of­fers the first ethe­real spa of its kind.

Amanemu, Ja­pan

Its name is derived from the San­skrit word aman, which means peace, and nemu, which means shar­ing joy in Japanese. The first hot spring ho­tel by the Aman group, de­signed with au­then­tic

ryokan ar­chi­tec­ture, is built on the edge of the Osaki Penin­sula and com­ple­ments the sur­round­ing Japanese gar­dens of Ise-Shima Na­tional Park.

Ex­plora Valle Sa­grado, Peru

In the mid­dle of an old corn plan­ta­tion, Valle Sa­grado sits sur­rounded by moun­tains that were for­merly home to the In­can em­pire. Even the ho­tel’s walls tell a history lec­ture on their own. Hav­ing opened this July, Valle Sa­grado’s in­te­ri­ors are lay­ered in tra­di­tional adobe and Jahua­col­lay hawthorn, while sal­vaged walls re­veal the an­cient crafts­man­ship of the Inca ma­sons.

Four Sea­sons Ho­tel, Jakarta

Tak­ing the place of the old Four Sea­sons ho­tel, its new­est in­car­na­tion fea­tures romantic French in­te­ri­ors and suites that present a panoramic view of the Jakarta sky­line. The new Four Sea­sons Ho­tel is de­signed with the tra­di­tional In­done­sian style of in­cor­po­rat­ing the out­doors with in­door ar­eas, proof of how one dy­namic space can stand as an art piece all on its own.

Ch­ablé, Mex­ico

In Mex­ico’s fa­mous Yu­catán penin­sula, Ch­ablé takes inspiration from the an­cient cul­ture of the Mayans, its au­then­tic ha­cien­dastyle in­te­rior and spa ther­a­pies draw­ing en­ergy from a nearby cenote. Lo­cated near the ru­ins of Chichen Itza and Ux­mal, in a sort of un­der­world within the caves, Ch­ablé’s pri­vate cenote of­fers the first ethe­real spa of its kind.

Amanemu, Ja­pan

Its name is derived from the San­skrit word “aman,” which means peace, and “nemu,” which means shar­ing joy in Japanese. The first hot spring ho­tel by the Aman group, de­signed with au­then­tic

ryokan ar­chi­tec­ture, is built on the edge of the Osaki Penin­sula and com­ple­ments the sur­round­ing Japanese gar­dens of Ise-Shima Na­tional Park.

Ex­plora Valle Sa­grado, Peru

In the mid­dle of an old corn plan­ta­tion, Valle Sa­grado sits sur­rounded by moun­tains that were for­merly home to the In­can em­pire. Even the ho­tel’s walls tell a history lec­ture on their own. Hav­ing opened this July, Valle Sa­grado’s in­te­ri­ors are lay­ered in tra­di­tional adobe and Jahua­col­lay hawthorn, while sal­vaged walls re­veal the an­cient crafts­man­ship of the Inca ma­sons.

This page, clock­wise from top: Col­or­ful pot­tery from Hi­dalgo, found at a shop in San Miguel de Al­lende; a home con­verted into a bou­tique ho­tel in the Yu­catan; a Za­potec woman weav­ing in Oax­aca. Op­po­site page: Af­ter a day of ex­plor­ing, trav­el­ers can lounge in the hot pink pools at Merida in the Yu­catan.

Clock­wise from top left: Four Sea­son’s suite, The Pres­i­dent’s café, Amanemu’s spa treat­ment room, Ch­ablé’s king villa.

Clock­wise from top left: Four Sea­son’s suite, The Pres­i­dent’s café, Amanemu’s spa treat­ment room, Ch­ablé’s king villa.

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