Ac­tress shares un­tapped places

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - TRAVEL - By Jae-Ha Kim For more from the re­porter, visit www.jae­hakim.com.

Born and raised in Mex­ico, ac­tress Martha Higareda (“Al­tered Car­bon,” “No Manches Frida”) cur­rently is based out of Ma­rina del Rey, Calif., though she notes, “I live (out of ) a suit­case most of the time.”

When she’s at home, she en­joys tak­ing week­end get­aways to Napa, for food and wine. “But since I love ad­ven­ture too, I love jump­ing on a plane and go­ing to Bryce Canyon or Zion in Utah,” she says.

An edited ver­sion of our con­ver­sa­tion follows.

Q. Where have your trav­els taken you?

A. So many places. It’s al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to me to be in a dif­fer­ent part of the planet. We were pro­mot­ing “Al­tered Car­bon” (in Seoul, South Korea) and it was so dif­fer­ent than any other city I’ve ever been in. The high-rises are in­cred­i­ble. Imag­ine New York, but mul­ti­ply it by 10, but with no ads and wide streets, very clean and or­ga­nized. And in be­tween this mas­sive mod­ern city rests th­ese beau­ti­ful palaces, like Gyeong­bok, which lit­er­ally trans­ports you in time.

Q. What is your fa­vorite va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion?

A. That is prob­a­bly one of the hard­est ques­tions some­one could ask me, as I love trav­el­ing so much to many dif­fer­ent places. I love Tu­lum, Mex­ico, for the beaches, the ru­ins, the peo­ple and the food. It’s a good combo be­tween re­lax­ing on the white sand beach, eat­ing the best seafood and ex­plor­ing the Mayan ru­ins and cenotes. It re­ally is par­adise on Earth. The con­trast be­tween the ru­ins and the bright blue ocean can bring tears to your eyes. Then also go­ing to the cenotes, they are sa­cred places for the Mayans, with crys­talline wa­ter caves with tree roots growing from above to touch the wa­ter. You feel a bit like In­di­ana Jones while you’re there. For ad­ven­tur­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, I love Hawaii, the Big Is­land. You can dive at night with the gi­ant manta rays or take a he­li­copter ride to watch the glow­ing lava of Ki­lauea.

Q. What un­tapped des­ti­na­tion should peo­ple know about?

A. In my coun­try? Taxco. It’s a lit­tle town nes­tled in the mid­dle of the moun­tains, with cob­ble­stone streets and amaz­ing food. When you ar­rive there, it feels like time stopped for a while. Get lost in the lo­cal mar­kets and buy amaz­ing sil­ver. If we talk about a dif­fer­ent coun­try, I’d say Sapa in Viet­nam. You take a night train to the moun­tains. The ad­ven­ture starts on a night train and then you ar­rive to this mag­i­cal town nes­tled in the moun­tains and the clouds, where miles and miles of rice fields are planted, and def­i­nitely Ba­gan in Myan­mar. If you are the In­di­ana Jones type, this is the place. You hop on your elec­tric scooter with a map and wa­ter, and off you go to ex­plore the tem­ples with se­cret pas­sages. It’s truly a won­der!

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. As a child we took many trips, but the one I remembered the most was Dis­ney­land, and I loved it for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

Q. What’s the most im­por­tant thing you’ve learned from your trav­els?

A. Plan for it and then for­get the plan. You gotta be ready to im­pro­vise and just go with the flow. I took a trip to Thai­land and we were stay­ing in a beau­ti­ful five-star ho­tel, and one night we said, “Let’s just im­pro­vise!” and we ended up sleep­ing aboard a boat, watch­ing the stars in the mid­dle of the night and swim­ming with the glow­ing plank­ton. I don’t think that would’ve hap­pened if we’d stayed at our fancy ho­tel, not that I don’t like fancy.

ASH­LEY BAR­RETT PHOTO

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