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Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians May 23, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Guadalajara, Historical preservation, Indigenous culture, Latin America, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment

This week Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians had its world premiere – fittingly in the remote mountain enclave of Real de Catorce, the picturesque colonial capital of Wirikuta – followed by a second showing after a rugged two-day journey into Wixarika territory in the even more remote Sierra Madre.

The most important movie to date about the Wixarika (Huichol) people and their struggle to save the center of their cosmos, the Birthplace of the Sun, this movie weaves the dramatic story of that battle around the pilgrimage of Marakame José Luis Ramírez and his family to the desert of Wirikuta.
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Behind the Scenes: What Wirikuta Fest fans bought with their tickets April 5, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Indigenous culture, Mexico, Mexico City , 3comments

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“Wirikuta is not for sale!” Wixarika leaders and activists take the stage at Wirikuta Fest to the chants of 60,000 fans.

Story and photos by Tracy L. Barnett

It was a long time coming – but it was worth the wait.

Nearly two years ago, more than a dozen of Mexico’s biggest performing artists came together in a mega-event aimed at saving Wirikuta, one of the country’s most sacred sites, from devastation at the hands of Canadian gold and silver mining operations.

It was a triumphant moment for the indigenous Wixarika people and for indigenous movements in general when, as the daylong festival came to a close, they were invited to come up on stage. A massive screen flashed images of traditional Wixarika beadwork behind them as 60,000 fans chanted, in unison, “Wirikuta no se vende! Wirikuta se defende!” (Wirikuta is not for sale! Wirikuta will be defended!)

Leaders of the indigenous Wixarika people and the Wirikuta Defense Front, the civil society coalition that is supporting them, came forward in a Mexico City press conference recently to give an accounting of how the money was spent – an example of innovation in the face of daunting challenges.
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The Rolling Cameras of Guadalajara January 29, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Biking, ecotourism, Guadalajara, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability , add a comment

Camara Rodante
Last week I had the chance to visit with Carlos Ibarra, news photographer for El Mural and one of the founders of Camara Rodante (literally, “rolling camera”.)

Carlos with his collection of miniature bicycles and a photo of his father, an avid bicyclist.

This intrepid group of biking photographers is dedicated to promoting biking in a variety of ways. Besides their weekly outings, which traverse a variety of rural terrains around Guadalajara and further afield, they’ve organized get-out-the-vote campaigns, children’s outings, first aid workshops, bicycle repair workshops, and a fundraiser for Haiti – all aboard the seat of a bicycle.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Puerto Vallarta January 16, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Mexico, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

PV1

Part 6 of a series

PV2Driving up from the south in the golden light before sunset, we were entranced with the undulating highway hugging the cliffs and opening out to spectacular views of rocky, dramatic seashore. We passed Mismaloya, where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s steamy romance was captured for posterity in Night of the Iguana; past the little seaside villages where fishermen still cast their nets from wooden boats; plunged into the crowded cobbled streets of Old Puerto Vallarta with its jumbled mix of modernity and antiquity – Starbucks-meets-Maria the Taco Lady, on a grand scale. Later we’d immerse ourselves in the heart of this, but tonight we were headed straight through the city to the hotel zone on the other side, to a soaring white all-inclusive resort on the Marina called Vamar Vallarta.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Costa Careyes January 2, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Mexico, Nature tourism, Uncategorized , add a comment

Copa 1
Part 5 of a series

From the land, the cryptic entrance sign says it all: a question mark, followed by an exclamation point.

From the sea, the first thing I noticed was a strange inverted dome perched atop a narrow tongue of land, a crystal-studded cup opening skyward upon a bridge of wave-pounded cliffs. La Copa del Sol, it’s called, and it’s the brainchild of the same visionary who created the lavish dwellings tucked along this 22-kilometer stretch of coast known as Costa Careyes.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Cuixmala, the Soul’s Resting Place December 26, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : ecotourism, Healing retreats, Latin America, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability, Uncategorized , add a comment

La Loma

Part 4 of a series

This fairyland of Moorish-style villas scattered about on a 25,000-acre nature preserve was once the private hideaway of British multimillionaire-turned-conservationist Sir James Goldsmith. The late Goldsmith’s family decided to open the estate to guests and the low-profile, exclusive resort has been visited by the likes of Madonna and Tom Cruise.

I’d received an invitation to visit this off-the-map retreat center, or I’d never have known about it. Had we seen nothing else on our journey along the Costalegre, our escape to Cuixmala would have been well worth the trip.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Manzanilla and Tenacatita December 20, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, Mexico, Nature tourism , add a comment

laguna

Part 3 of a series

We awoke early this morning and went to the wildlife refuge at the backside of Barra de Navidad, a place seldom frequented by tourists but a hotspot for migratory waterfowl. A beautiful place to watch the sunrise and the sometimes extraordinary birds that appear there; once I saw several very large waterfowl that I didn’t recognize, over a meter in height. Today there were a pair of graceful blue herons fishing for breakfast; we observed them quietly before hitting the road north.

Today was the day we’d arrive in Cuixmala, the mysterious coastal refuge that was the high point of our trip. But first, we had a bit more coast to explore.

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Coasting along the Costalegre: Cuastecomates to Boca de Iguanas December 18, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

Cuastecomates

Part 2 of a series

A tunnel of green arched overhead as we made our way along the wild and winding stretch of road leading toward the coast from the main highway. The tiny town finally emerged into view; it was the same precious village we’d seen from the sea when we went snorkeling. Like many of the towns along the Costalegre, there’s not a lot here, aside from a lineup of palapa-covered restaurants, a single hotel and a spectacular beach, enclosed by two imposing, granite outcroppings. But what more could a vacationer want?

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Coasting along the Costalegre: Barra/Melaque December 17, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, Mexico, Nature tourism , add a comment
Sunset from the deck of Lydia's on Isla de Navidad

Sunset from the deck of Lydia's on Isla de Navidad

Part 1 of a series

CUIXMALA, Costalegre, Mexico – A precious undeveloped remnant of coastline along the Pacific Ocean revealed a few of her secrets to me over a few days this autumn, secrets I will never forget.

The sight of a protective mother brown booby protecting her downy white baby from raiding iguanas on an island off the coast; a sea turtle laying her glistening round eggs on the beach by the light of the moon; the soft feel of a baby in my hand as I place it on the sand and watch it make its way toward the waves; the crashing sound of a crocodile in the darkness of the mangrove, and the lurking form of another alongside our small boat; the forms of two white sharks far below me as I peer out from an airplane soaring over the coastline.
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Call of Quetzalcoatl: Materializing the Vision November 23, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Ecovillages, Healing retreats, Indigenous culture, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability , 12comments

Closing circle

TEMICTLA, Mexico – If there were ever any doubt that Quetzalcoatl lives, that doubt was dispelled in one moist, glistening, luminous week in the heart of Mexico.

Here in Temictla, a sacred valley, a tiny ecovillage and spiritual retreat center on the edge of Chalmita, a pilgrimage destination to millions of people of diverse traditions, a far-flung family reunited under the light of a waxing moon in November of 2013. It’s a family of many nations and many traditions, a family whose multitudinous members have dedicated themselves heart and soul to the survival of humanity and of life on Earth.

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