TRAVEL INSPIRATION: MEXICO
I can’t think of a better way to kick of the week than with this dreamy Mexican travel inspiration from photographer Sarah Hannam. When she gets behind the camera something magical happens, and these beautiful images show the warmth, vibrancy and atmosphere of this intriguing country perfectly. Mexico has featured on my wish list for a while now, but I think it just moved up a few slots. And absolutely nothing to do with the Lost Frequencies…
Destination: Guadalajara in Jalisco region, Mexico
Travel time: Flight about 17 hours including a 3 hour layover in Atlanta
Time of year: November
I travelled to Mexico for one week last November to attend a photography workshop hosted by the wonderful US wedding film photographer Jose Villa.
Where to stay? I stayed at the Hacienda del Carmen on the edge of the village of El Carmen right in the middle of tequila country. The workshop was held at 18th century hacienda and it is utterly stunning and has a fantastic spa too. I arrived a few days early for the workshop so I could get over the journey and I headed straight for the spa for a hot stone massage that lasted several hours and was absolute bliss. The best jet lag cure ever and if I’d been there longer I would have definitely indulged in one of their wine therapy treatments!
What to do? The town of Tequila itself is about half an hour by car from the hacienda, which is worth a visit. It’s a small town with distilleries producing the drink from the agave plant and you’ll see many fields of the spiky pale green plant all over the area. Tequila runs short open bus tours around the town and there are plenty of places to eat lunch for very low prices. It is touristy, but not in an overwhelming way and so feels very authentically Mexican too.
One of the most memorable experiences and one that I’ll treasure forever was on the last afternoon of the workshop when my group walked through the village taking photographs of local people. Everyone was so open to being photographed, generous with some even inviting us into their houses and offering us food and drink. Children played outside on their bikes and when asked to take their photograph they seemed to attach an importance in the whole experience of being photographed, that I think we have kind of lost here to a degree.
I think my favourite image is of the two young boys together – after I asked to photograph them, the boy on the left got off his bike and went over to his friend and put his hand on his shoulder and looked into the camera so seriously like this was such a profound moment for him.
What to eat? Apart from the day in Tequila I ate all my meals at the hacienda and they were delicious home cooked and real regional Mexican food like birria, a spicy meat stew, pozole a type of corn soup and horchata, a refreshing cinnamon rice milk drink. Frozen fruit is also really popular on hot days from street vendors – I know all the guide books say stay away from street food, but I’ve never had a problem and it’s such a great way to really immerse yourself in Mexican cuisine.
How to get around? If you’re staying out at one of the rural haciendas I would definitely recommend a car or taking cabs, which are pretty good value for day trips if you don’t fancy driving.
What to pack? The weather can be changeable with hot days and cooler nights, but there were also a couple of days when it was murky and wet, so best pack layers.
Anything else you think we need to know? Being so far away, it is easy to build up an impression from the media of Mexico being a dangerous and lawless place, but as long as you’re sensible and don’t flash your wealth about (this is where shooting on an old film camera really helps!), you will find a beautiful, wild country where the people are warm and welcoming, plus they seem to have real time for each other, plus the haciendas are stunning and provide a perfect setting for a more unusual destination wedding.
Would you visit again? Absolutely! It’s my fourth time to Mexico and hopefully not my last.