Vacation season is back and that means so are Excellent Adventures, our travel series that follows the adventures of photographers, bloggers, travel enthusiasts and friends of Bather as they travel the world.
To kick off the season, we sat down with Toronto-based photographer and creative producer, John Molina, to learn more about his recent trip to Tulum, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Escondido.
Bather: Tell us a bit about yourself?
John: My name is John Molina and I’m a photographer and creative producer based in Toronto, Canada.
Bather: What influenced your decision to travel to these destinations?
John: I’ve never been to Mexico before and have always wanted to visit. The vibrant culture, food, and beautiful landscape drew me in. In March I had family and friends with the same interest to go and it all just worked out!
Bather: Where did you stay and how was your experience?
John: First I flew to Tulum, Mexico with my two sisters Regina and Corinne and our friend Shelise. Tulum is a stunning place full of life with pockets of mindful and spiritual experiences. Next I flew to Mexico City with my friends Jeff, Marshall and Jordan, an energetic city with the perfect blend of nature at every corner. Then we flew to Puerto Escondido, a magical beach town with gorgeous sunsets about an hour south of Mexico City. Lastly, I flew to Puerto Vallarta to meet another group of friends for a more upbeat and celebratory experience.
Bather: Did you find yourself immersed in the local culture, and if so, in what way?
John: Of course, especially in Mexico City and Puerto Escondido. We found ourselves looking to locals for recommendations and planning our experiences around what we learned everyday. We were able to visit a number of places including hole-in-the-wall restaurants, well known museums, local cafes, and secret beaches. Being guided by locals was was a very fulfilling way to experience the cities!
Bather: How did you navigate around Tulum? Did you follow an itinerary or were you freely wandering?
John: For the most part we were freely wandering Tulum. We’d drive down to the strip, explore local shops, restaurants and beaches.
Bather: What is one must-do activity you would recommend to those thinking of heading to Tulum, Mexico City or Puerto Escondido?
John: In Tulum I recommend doing an excursions to explore one of the many cenotes located in the city. In Mexico City we watched a football game at the Aztec Stadium which was a surreal experience. In Puerto Escondido I recommend taking a boat ride out to see the bioluminescent algae.
Bather: How would you describe the atmosphere of Mexico City compared to other urban centers such as (Toronto/New York/etc)?
John: It feels extremely different being in Mexico City vs other urban centers because of the history in its architecture. Mexico City is a place very proud of its culture and you see that sprinkled throughout its streets.
Bather: Was being surrounded by nature and greenery a therapeutic experience? How did you directly interact with the natural world?
John: It was an extremely therapeutic experience! Something about being surrounded by nature seems to reset your mindset and the way you view life and what’s important. I had a very relaxed way of looking at things after my trip to Mexico.
Bather: What were some of the best local foods you had the chance to try?
John: I don’t remember the name of the place but it was a hole-in-the-wall spot on Av. Chapultepec and Calle Amberes in Mexico City - the best tacos I’ve ever had.
Bather: If you had to choose, what was the most memorable attraction from your trip?
John: Taking the boat out to see the bioluminescent algae was my most memorable experience from the whole trip. Being in the darkness with bright stars above speeding through the water was such an incredible experience.
Bather: Where next?
John: I’m not too sure yet but I’ve really been wanting to visit either Italy or France!
Photographed by John Molina