Viva La Mexico: Adventures Just South of The Border
Posted on 29 March 2017
Ahhhh, Mexico..... How I miss you already! If you couldn't tell based on my underwear designs like this one and this one, I'm kinda in love with Mexican culture. Maybe it's my Hispanic heritage or my time spent in the Caribbean growing up, but I feel welcome there and find inspiration in everything from the food to the wildlife to the colors. It's as if I have salt water and tequila in my veins, which is why when the opportunity to explore the Mexican Riviera came to me earlier this month I jumped on it. And wow, what an experience it was.
Pretty much any visitor to this tropical paradise will rave about the beach with its powder soft sand and turquoise waters but what made this trip extra unique was all the nature and wildlife that this region had to offer. I've been obsessed with rain forests since I was little and never met a palm or leopard print I didn't like. So not only did I get to revel in the fronds and meet lots of new animals, but I had some of the best dining experiences to date. The town of Tulum fulfilled all my tropical fantasies where, across from the tiny beachfront yoga studios and boutique hotels, sits an oasis where bars and restaurants cook up local cuisines and blend tasty cocktails under a canopy of foliage and twinkling lights. It's easy to fall in love here with the sounds of mariachi music in the background lulling you into a blissful tropical buzz.
But in addition to the serene beaches and jungle paradises there are a number of excursions you can take to explore the unique scenery. My favorite happened to be driving inland to experience swimming in my first cenote. A cenote is a deep natural well inside a sinkhole where the water is usually fresh, crystal clear and untouched. This area of Mexico is filled with cenotes and underground rivers, making for some excellent swimming, hiking and spelunking for the adventurous types. The hole on the ground level allows the sunlight to warm the fresh water below, turning it into an ideal swimming pool. And with the waterfalls and vines raining down on me there in the 180 foot deep tropical well, it was hard to believe I had just braved a blizzard a few days earlier in NYC.
Next, I got a little outside my comfort zone with a caving tour of the natural underground river system. Pitch black and inhabited by fruit bats, I was a little hesitant at first but after a few minutes navigating around the stalagmites and stalactites with my trusty headlamp, the trepidation soon turned into all-out wonder. This was such a unique experience as my group and I climbed, waded and swam our way through the never-ending cavernous halls with nothing but a guide and some curious catfish to keep us going. There's nothing like a vast expanse of emptiness to make you feel so small and I couldn't help but marvel at this mind-blowing wonder of nature.
But nature wasn't the only thing I indulged in this trip... The shopping was surprisingly extensive and while I initially didn't plan on buying much, I was impressed with the options from both ends of the spectrum. On one end there was a wonderland of hand-made crafts from local artisans that not only are unique to the region, but also more ethical than mass produced souvenirs and super quirky and colorful! On the other end were the more upscale boutiques including many European stores that haven't made their way to the states yet. I went a little nuts in Oysho (the trendy lingerie shop from Zara) and had some fun in Women's Secret (basically the VS of Europe), resulting in some new additions to my ever growing collection.
And can we talk about Frida please? Like many of us, I've looked up to Frida Khalo and her work since I learned about her life in college. But lately with the newfound rise of feminism she seems to be more popular than ever and I can only imagine it's due to her talent, her defiance and her ability to give no fucks in the face of patriarchy. The art she created was raw, vulnerable and powerful and I found her likeness all over the place during my trip. In galleries, on notebooks, on jewelry and of course, on underwear! Because what better way to honor this influential power woman than on your skivvies?
After finishing up my trip with a historical tour of Chichen Itza and a rain forest massage to the sounds of chattering monkeys, I returned home feeling invigorated and inspired. It's now a week later and even with my grey commute this morning, my head is filled with neon pom-poms and mosaic sugar skulls. There's something about traveling that nourishes the soul and opens up your mind. I'm still coasting on that energy I brought back to New York with me and while I've found that you can take the designer out of the lingerie life, you can't ever take the lingerie life out of the designer (as evident from my shopping swag). I guess that's why my wanderlust grows after each trip and continues to influence WonderLust every time.
Have you been to Mexico before? What was your favorite part?