Win The Ultimate Travelers Backpack And Help Passports With Purpose

I’m kicking myself for not buying the Mindshift Gear rotation180 Travel Away backpack before my last trip to Europe. Why? Because this backpack combines organization with easy access to your traveling vitals; passports, money, camera. I’m sure there are other essential items, but those are the ones I Continue Reading →

Guest Post: Overland Journey Through Canada’s Western National Parks

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a first for me. This post is a guest post from my friend Genevieve Hathaway. I  write regularly for the G Adventure’s Looptail blog and was offered a chance to explore Canada on one of G Adventure’s trips. The timing wasn’t right for me Continue Reading →

Riviera Maya Caves And Cenotes Worth Returning To

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The place was called Indiana Joe’s and yes, they used the same font at the Indiana Jones franchise, so I knew there was a good chance of cheesiness involved. Joe’s was made up around two central, natural features, a pretty cool cave system and a cenote, which is a naturally occurring underground pool.

My daughter and I were visiting Indiana Joe’s along the Riviera Maya coast of Mexico on a press trip and dang it was hot. Melting-my-brain hot. Or at least, frying-my-patience-for-a-heat-weary-kid hot. We were luxuriated with an air conditioned van, a driver and a local guide, so it seems odd to complain, but we’re from the Pacific Northwest and this kind of heat saps our strength.

Once outside of the van at Joe’s the temperature could be felt and we were eager for the caves, knowing they would be naturally air conditioned. Later we would find the cenote to be frigid, but in a good way. I have no pictures of the cenote and that is a shame, because it is a cool swim-around cave.

The funny thing about tourist attractions in this part of Mexico is they often have to make stuff up to gain tourists and Indiana Joe’s is no different. We not only visited the cave and cenote, but also the ‘zoo’ they have there. We passed on the ziplines, opting to do those another day at another place. It’s a little cheesy, but understandable since most tourists in this area want to sit on the beach and maybe see some Mayan ruins at Tulum. Maybe.

The cave system was a leisurely 50 minute walk as I remember it and quite fascinating. In places they have to chisel new paths, but 80% of the cave is natural formations and passages. It’s not a ‘true’ caving experience as there are lights-a-plenty, but it is pretty cool to look at all the same. Kids will love it and if they don’t, just mention, “Where do you think the dragons sleep?” and you will have them hooked. It’s that kind of awesome.

I love places like this, honestly. The fact that thousands of people have been through the caves and they have been blasted in places to make passage does not take away from the awe and childish wonder in me. I love the formations and marveling at what time and water can do.

Take a look for yourself at the images above. (If you can’t see the images, click here to see the post online)

Oh wait! Obligatory, but useful, links to our hosts: Indiana Joe’s & Riviera Maya.

This is one place I would visit again on my own. It was cool (and refreshing!) and I love caves. If anyone else wants me to take pictures of their caves, drop me a line.

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Show Me Something New And Honest, Like Garbage

I am a positive guy and that often makes me guilty of one of the softer crimes in travel writing and photography; only showing the good stuff. The happy stuff. The pretty stuff. You know, like this: Ahhhh…Mt. Hood reflected in Trillium Lake, just 45 minutes from downtown Continue Reading →

View On The Forest Floor In An Alaska Rainforest

What’s lurking on the floor of an Alaskan rainforest? Plenty! For my daughter, girlfriend and I, cruising with InnerSea Discoveries in Alaska’s Inside Passage this last summer allowed more than one opportunity to take a small skiff ashore and wander in pristine temperate rainforest. Not only that, I Continue Reading →

Top 10 Photos Of 2012

My friend and fellow photographer Jim Goldstein is not only a great photographer, he invites people to share their work through his annual round-up of everyone’s best images from the previous year. I’m not one to participate in many “Best of…” lists, but it’s an honor for me Continue Reading →

California Adventure Minus The Cars

We had high expectation upon entering Disney’s California Adventure. I had first seen the theme park during our last visit to Disneyland when Sabrina was four, but that was just from the outside. What lay on the other side of the sprawling Disney property, away from the Castle Continue Reading →

Experiencing The Mujib Biosphere Reserve In Jordan

I was saddened when we were told Sabrina would not be allowed in the slot canyon of the Mujib Biosphere Reserve in Jordan. She’s 10 (nearly 11!) but they said it was too dangerous, even if she wore the required personal floatation device (PFD). Our guide had already Continue Reading →

Rafting The Roaring Fork River In Colorado

The raft shot up the wall of a wave four feet high just 30 feet after leaving shore with the five seemingly drunk clients flailing paddles into last night’s snow melt waters with no more precision nor coordination than an elephant on a three week heroin bender trying Continue Reading →

The Simple Math Explaining Why That Airline Seat Is In Your Face

I am on a flight from Seattle to Denver on Alaska Airlines and typing on a laptop that is tipped on my lap with my elbows pulled back. Cramped. Because the guy in front of me has reclined his seat (and I don’t blame him if he got Continue Reading →

A Block Of Puerto Vallarta As Seen In License Plates

Wandering Puerto Vallarta, I was struck with how international areas of the town were. Up from the water, the homes become modest and comfortable. A place I would like to live. Near the beach, the highrises and hotels crowd the sun and beckon travelers to the water’s edge. Continue Reading →

Photo Of The Day – Spinning Trails

Title: Spinning Trails Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, California, USA, North America Description: The condensation trails of a 747 bound for Asia intertwine as the jumbo jet climbs away from the Bay area. Shot with a Canon 7D and Sigma 50-500mm lens with settings of ISO 800, 500mm, Continue Reading →

Playing Around With Time Lapse In San Francisco

My last visit to San Francisco afforded me a few moments to shoot some time-lapse videos. These shots are comprised of between 70 and 240 images each and were aided with the help of a tripod and patience. Behind the scenes:  The 747 landing was one of about Continue Reading →

Photo Of The Day – Lima Cityscape Panorama Exploration

The detail in this Lima image is amazing. I love quality optics. Be sure to zoom in on the coast and explore the colorful, compact city. The overall image is 26535 x 4486 = 119 megapixels To use this image, simply click and drag to move around. Use Continue Reading →

Photo Of The Day – Colorado River Panorama Exploration

To use this image, simple click and drag to move around. Use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out, or use [Shift] to zoom in and [CTRL] to zoom out.  And if you want to turn things up a notch, right click and choose “Fullscreen”. Have fun! Continue Reading →

Around Town: Los Angeles – The Griffith Observatory

When I recently visited Los Angeles I was happy that I could actually see Orion in the night sky for two reasons: #1 It was winter and I live near Seattle, so seeing stars in winter doesn’t happen that often and #2 LA is a massive sprawl of Continue Reading →

Dealing With Loud Kids On Airplanes – Some Tips You Might Not Like

Throughout the 4+ hour flight from LAX to Miami the two year old in seat 34E barely stopped letting the plane know her disgust. She didn’t have her own seat and was sitting on one parent’s lap or another. It’s not for lack of the parents trying that Continue Reading →

Wandering The Himalayas With A Camera

“Where are you heading?” This is probably the most asked question when travelers meet each other along the trekking trails of the Himalayas. “Everest Basecamp” “Ranjo La Pass” “Island Peak” “Climbing Ama Dablam” The likely answers swirl through the teahouse dining room air in a mix of heavily Continue Reading →

Similarities and Differences: Nepal and USA

Travel shows how different and how similar the world outside of our hometown can be. Whether it is travel to another state or another country, travel typically brings about a better understanding of how fellow humans live and relate. My limited experience in both the USA and Nepal Continue Reading →

Photos From Hawaii’s Fish Market

The forecast for the day says “Highs In The 80s” as I grab my Polartech fleece jacket and wander down the hall of the Ohana Wikiki Beachcomber at 4:30am. My eyes are not fully open, even with the aid of a shower. How did I let the Nerd Continue Reading →