BOLT in Oaxaca!

Our week’s stay in Oaxaca has been wonderful! This city, located in southwestern Mexico, is known for its architecture, delicious foods and Zapotec culture. It did not disappoint!

What we liked best: Temazcal Ceremony.

One of the most unforgettable things to do in Oaxaca City is to experience a traditional sweat-lodge or temazcal ceremony. This ritual is intended to purify your mind, body and spirit. It was a truly amazing experience led by a woman well versed in her Zapotec heritage. She had so many words of wisdom to share. The heat was not oppressive but we did sweat a lot and felt much lighter at the end of the ceremony. https://m.facebook.com/ceviarem.temazcal/

What We Recommend: Walking Tour

There is so much history to learn, amazing architecture to see and interesting cultural facts in Oaxaca City. I think the best way to experience your first day in Oaxaca is with a walking tour. The tours are free, except for a tip for your tour guide. Ours was excellent! https://oaxacanexperiences.com/

Not For Us: Market or Food Tours

Oaxaca has many, many fabulous markets, full of food, colorful clothing, souvenirs and more. We did go on a few paid market tours and a food tour. Personally, we prefer just exploring local markets on our own. They are great places for food tastings, shopping and just enjoying the sights and sounds.

Always a BOLT Must: Serendipity

We don’t like travel that is too heavily scheduled. We love just walking up on random events and things to see and do! There was lots happening this week because of the yearly Guglegatza Festival.

Enjoy Something New!

The food in Oaxaca is varied and delicious. I tried grasshoppers which I found crunchy and delicious!

Any Questions or Comments?

Want to know more about travel in Mexico or anything about the BOLT travel model. Please share with us below. Thank you so much for visiting our blog.

A BOLT MUST: A HOME WITH A POOL

Our old home in Da Nang, Vietnam

Water is my happy place and because of me, we choose to live in smaller apartments that have pools. I came to accept this about myself after our first 6 months here in Merida. We had a lovely 2 bedroom home but no pool. I became a “pool beggar”, visiting friends with pools frequently. Now we are in a much smaller place and I love my daily time in the pool.

Our Shared Pool here in Merida

There are so many benefits to swimming and exercising in the water. Including:

  • Water supports the body, putting less stress on your joints and muscles.
  • Working out in water helps build strength.
  • Water pressure helps put less strain on the heart by moving blood around the body.
  • The impact of gravity is less in the water allowing a greater range of motion.
  • It keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body.
  • It builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • It helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs.
  • It tones muscles and builds strength.
  • It provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.
  • Swimming or water exercise are relaxing and peaceful, alleviating stress
    improving coordination, balance and posture,
    improving flexibility, and
    providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.
  • Especially here in very hot Merida having time in the water provids a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day.
Pools are great for spending time with friends.

For more information about the value of water exercise visit https://pin.it/5bVVSOE

I’d love to hear about your “must haves” in finding the home that is right for you. Please feel free to share in the comments section. If you have any questions please contact us at boltraveling@gmail.com

5 Fun Things to do While Living in Merida

Having fun and finding beauty, even during a pandemic, is easy and affordable to do in and around Merida. Here are five suggestions.

1. Take a Walk
Merida is a great city for walking especially in the Centro or Paseo Montejo áreas.

2. Explore Mayan History and Culture
Chichen Itza is just one of many ancient Mayan heritage sites in the area. Get a good guide and learn more about this beautiful culture.

3. Visit a Cenote
If you do nothing else, visit at least one of these magical and sacred natural water filled sink holes.

4. Go Looking for Iguanas
These dragon like creatures are all over the city, especially in parks. I love trying to spot them as they are shy and blend in well with their surroundings.

5. Cool Off with a Day at the Beach or a Pool!
Merida is 🔥 HOT! There are lovely beaches less than 30 minutes away and many local hotels allow you to come swim, better yet…get an apartment with a pool!

BOLT Top 7! Reasons why we love Merida.

Merida is a great, vibrant city in the south of Mexico, it’s  the capital Yucatan state. According to the 2020 census, the population of Mérida was 1,161,000.  Mérida is a cultural center, featuring multiple museums, art galleries, restaurants, movie theatres, and shops. Sadly, with Covid many of these are closed or have limited access.  There is much to love about Merida, these are our top 7 reasons (in no particular order).

Community!

Community!

There is a wonderful and growing community of black folks where in Merida. We especially appreciate the diversity of ages, there are lots of families and we’ve made lots of friends with women in our age group as well.

Parks and Green Spaces!

Parks and Green Spaces!


Merida is a lovely and lively city with an abundance of parks. These are great for two of our favorite activities, walking and people watching.

The Beaches!

The Beaches!  

While not technically a beach city there are plenty of sweet little beach towns less than 30 minutes away.

Biciruta!

Lots to See and Do!

From beautiful monuments, majestic mansions on Paseó Montejo, magical cenotes and ancient Chichen Itza, there is a wide variety of activities and sightseeing trips in and around Merida. Biciruta is a favorite activity of ours, it’s made me love Merida even more.

Safety, Language and the People!

Safety, Language and the People!

Merida is consistently rated as one of the safest cities in the world. We have found it to be so. We are learning Spanish and find communication fairly easy. Most importantly, we have found the people here to be helpful, friendly and kind.

Modern Comforts!

Modern Comforts!

Merida is modern city with a range of shopping malls, auto dealerships, hotels, restaurants, and leisure facilities. Medical care is good and affordable.

The Food!

If you are expecting “traditional” Mexican food like you’d find in your favorite U.S. spot, you’re gonna be disappointed. The flavors of this region are quite different. I’m growing to like several dishes and am willing to try more. Also, there are plenty of non Yucatecan restaurants in town, including vegetarian spots, top of the line steak houses and even U.S. chains like Fridays, Chilli’s and IHOP.

!Biciruta!

There’s a great Sunday morning tradition here in Merida. Paseó Montejo, a beautiful street filled with old world mansions, is closed off to car traffic. Bicyclers, skaters and walkers take over the street from 8am to noon. It was a lovely experience!

We especially enjoyed seeing all the cute kids and dogs. There were several bands playing a variety of music and of course, vendors selling their wares. BOLT will definitely be returning for many Sundays to come.

!Iguanas!

I have come to love iguanas! On my daily walks I’m always on the lookout for them. They are very shy and you can’t get too close. They also blend in very well with the topography. Have fun trying to spot the iguanas in these pictures from my recent walk.

If you want to learn more about iguanas this Wikipedia page is a good place to start. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguana

BOLT Reviews: Cenote Santa Barbara

Words and pictures can not fully express the magic I experienced on our recent trip to the little town of Homun and the Cenote Santa Barbara.

A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The regional term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where we are currently living.

The Maya believed cenotes to be a gateway to Xibalba, the underworld, and the god of rain, Chaac, was believed to live at the bottom of these sacred wells. The Maya performed rituals and ceremonies at sacred cenotes to ask for rain and good crops.

Cenote Santa Barbara has three really beautiful and accessable cenotes. We were able to explore and swim in all three. The stairs down to the cenotes were well designed and very stable they all had hand rails. This was not true for the cenote we visited in Valladolid and I chose not to risk going down.

To get to the first cenote you could ride a bike or the horse drawn cart. It’s a fun less than 10 minute ride, whichever you choose.

Our friends and we swam in all 3 cenotes. The water was cool but not cold. For me it was a relaxing and healing experience.

We ended our day at the restaurant on the premises. We were able to choose from many delicious options of Yuccatecan style food. Admission to the cenote, including lunch was 290 pesos, less than $15 USD!

For more information about these amazing gifts of nature visit https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/mexico-s-cenotes-hidden-gems-of-the-yucatan/

We Are Vaccinated!

Two trips to Los Angeles, two 4 day hotel stays… getting the Covid vaccine wasn’t cheap for us. We believe that being vaccinated will make our future travels safer and easier.

Get your family and friends vaccinated! Appointments are AVAILABLE NOW at MyTurn.ca.gov. Vaccines are FREE and for anyone 16 and older.

Adventures with BOLT: My $800 Piece of Paper

There is a little piece of red, white and green paper that non-residents get upon entering mainland Mexico. It is the visitors permit. Not having this piece of paper was a costly mistake for Kathy and I. The paper is just handed to you when you exit the airport. It is not stapled into your passport or otherwise secured. It is easily lost or misplaced.

Kathy and I were on our way from Merida to Los Angeles for a quick trip to get the Covid vaccine. It is not available to non-residents here in Mexico. Reservations had been made, negative covid tests obtained and passports were in hand. I vaguely noticed I didn’t have the same paper Kathy had but was not very worried about it.

We flew from Merida to Mexico City without this permit. However, when I checked in for our Mexico City to Los Angeles flight, I was told I must have it to fly.

This seems to happen to a lot of people. I was sent downstairs to immigration where I was told “no problem”. I paid 600 Pesos (about $30 USD), signed a form saying I lost the paper and voila! I was on my way back to the American Airlines check in counter.

But…there was a problem, a big one! I was like five minutes past the check in time. Despite Kathy standing right there, boarding pass in hand, despite the plane still boarding with at least 30 minutes before takeoff, depsite my pleas and begs…I was not allowed to board.

Kathy went ahead as there was no sense in both of us missing our flight. Distraught I began to look for other flights. There was nothing left flying out that evening. It was only 8 pm and I was not comfortable spending the night in the airport terminal.

There are no actual hotels in the Mexico City airport but I found a moderately priced sleep pod.

I was unable to truly sleep but with Kathy’s help I got a flight our in the morning. I made it to Los Angeles, we got our first vaccination and are safely back in Merida.

Some expensive lessons were learned!

Check, double check and triple check that you have all necessary documents, no matter where you are traveling.

Allow yourself plenty of time between flights, especially if traveling to large international airports. In Mexico City we had to wait for and take trains between the terminals which was another reason I was late.

If at all possible, when you have missed a flight, allow the airline to rebook your travel. I booked on another airline which is not reimbursable and they cancel your round trip when you don’t allow the original airline to rebook you.

Sleep pods are nice clean places to rest, take care of business, etc. but NOT to sleep.

Missing a flight is not the end of the world. Stay calm, patient and focused and all shall be well.