These photos capture an arresting journey to the heart of Guatemala

It was 1524 when Pedro de Alvarado arrived in Guatemala. Driven by the desire for conquest, he traveled the territory leaving behind him violence and wars that lasted until 1821, the year of the country’s independence. Almost 500 years later, Juan Brenner, a photographer and art director based in Guatemala City, decided to embark on the same journey as the Spanish conquistador. Photos of places and inhabitants thus become the medium through which Brenner portrays a nation in a phase of profound transformation, but at the same time anchored to traditions and customs of the past.

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We met Juan to tell us about the project, from how it was born to how it developed, resulting in his first published book: Tonatiuh.


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Why did you choose the tilte Tonatiuh for your first book?

Tonatiuh is the nickname the inhabitants of Mexico gave Pedro de Alvarado: his blond hair, pale skin and blue eyes fascinated the natives of the New World. Tonatiuh is the Sun God of the Aztec mythology, there’s a claim that Pre-Columbian people mistook the newly arrived conquistadors for supernatural beings. I’m fascinated with the idea that native morale or will to resist was undermined by awe at the Spaniards’ divine powers.


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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a self-taught Guatemalan photographer, I started photographing in the late 1990s, mainly street portraits. As a teenager I just wanted to be an artist. Both my parents and my three brothers are professionals and were very successful in school. I just needed to get away from that. I tried to write, draw and even sing. I came across photography by chance, I never thought of it as a means of communicating, but it came at a very critical moment in my life and just opened the doors of a world of creation and destruction that I had never experienced before.


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This project is the result of years of research, how did you develop it?

The idea first came to me in 2015, while traveling through Peru and Ecuador. It matured in my mind for almost two years, until I started investigating and doing research. From there everything just snowballed. In the beginning I wanted to work around the topic of indigenous power in Guatemala, but reality hit me very fast after I started talking to indigenous leaders. I understood that power is still controlled by the white man, by the coloniser.

So I went all the way back to the moment I believe was the turning point of our history, and that was the conquest of the Americas by the Spanish Crown. I also had to minimise the geographical coverage of the idea, as trying to do something about the whole continent felt like an impossible task.

I had to read a lot, I didn’t want to pretend to be a historian, but I knew that I needed to be very keen on facts to be taken seriously. Also, talking to historians and anthropologists gave me a more realistic context on how the invasion went down — after that it was just a matter of being able to map Alvarado’s steps and start a journey.


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How has the relationship with your homeland changed through this work?

When I was in my early 20s and was defining my conceptual pillars, I swore I was never going to shoot in Guatemala. I really didn’t want to be a part of a “tourist porn” machine and felt that shooting volcanoes, landscapes and smiling indigenous people was the tackiest thing ever. Fast-forward almost 20 years and here I am, finding myself and dealing with my own reality. Life really taught me to accept my Guatemalan-ness with a major slap in the face.

This project was very important on a personal level. I connected with a bunch of realities and ideas I was just putting away and trying to ignore: ideas of origins, heritage and racism were things that didn’t matter as much before.


When you started working on the project, did you already know what it would look like in the end?

It’s really strange. I had so many images in mind, so many situations that I knew I would encounter. And it happened! It was magical. I didn’t have a “planned aesthetic”, which was later defined by the content, and I think it is one of the reasons why the project resonates in so many different niches. I think I was driven by a sort of sense of democracy in the choice of shots. I knew I wanted to create a book, and from a design standpoint I had a structure in mind even before I started taking pictures, for example the colour of the book. I felt in my veins that orange was my way to go, I wanted to talk about the sun and how his figure had played such an important role in the narrative that I was about to start.


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One of the main objectives of the Spanish colonisers was to collect gold and, from the photographs of this project, one can perceive how this material still has a significant importance in Guatemala. Have you portrayed hands full of rings, mouths of people of all ages with grills and gold teeth, where do you think this aesthetic comes from?

Gold was the reason why the conquest was so successful, but what happened in Guatemala is that there was no gold. Pedro de Alvarado was so obsessed with the idea of becoming rich and powerful that he didn’t investigate enough to understand that the stories he heard about the riches of this region were about Quetzal feathers and Jade.

Nowadays the Guatemalan highlands are evolving into very powerful and rich communities. Knowing that, I grabbed my camera and ventured into the mountains to shoot all these rich indigenous people wearing fancy gold chains and jewellery – but I didn’t find any of that.

Instead I found people wearing gold on their mouths, everywhere! They get grills done even on the street; but the most amazing thing is that the Mayan royalty embellished their teeth 2000 years ago with bone and jade as a symbol of power; modern Mayan descendants are doing it again with gold, not as homage to their inheritance, but again as a symbol of power.


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Your book has already received a lot of attention, such as the inclusion in the Aperture‘s First Photobook Award shortlist. What are your plans for the future?

It has been so crazy! I still can’t believe all the press the book has gotten, so many people were exposed to the project; it’s surreal. I think about all the platforms that featured the project, online and printed publications that talked about it and gave it life, and made it part of a collective unconscious in the contemporary photo world; that for me was the biggest achievement.

I’m actively working on putting Tonatiuh on walls, I feel like the gallery ecosystem is the natural next step for the project. I know 2020 will be of a lot of traveling, putting up shows and talking about the project.

I’m working on three different new project as we speak. I tend to do that: work on many things and suddenly it clicks, I feel it; one of them will become my main thing and I will just blast it.


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In Residence: Casa Gilardi



Casa Gilardi is the last house built entirely by legendary Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Now the home of Martin Luque and his family, the house was constructed after Barragán had formally retired. Martin Luque and his advertising agency partner Pancho Gilardi approached Barragán, who originally didn’t want to take on the project, until he found himself inspired by the astonishing jacaranda tree around which the house is built.


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“He found himself inspired by the astonishing jacaranda tree around which the house is built”



The building, situated in Mexico City, is a classic example of the influential architect’s work—from the combination of the Mexican vernacular with European high modernism to his vivid, inspired use of primary colour—and is as much an abstract expressionist mood piece as it is a much-loved residence.

Link to Video: https://www.nowness.com/series/in-residence/casa-gilardi-luis-barragan-martin-luque


Proyecto República hosts a pop-up store for Mozhdeh Matin

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Proyecto República, the multi-brand platform that shares and promote Latin American brands will host a pop-up store for Mozhdeh Matin from February 6th to the 13th. 

Proyecto República was created by Catalina Maurette, to help small Latin American brands increase their visibility, it also promotes slow fashion and conscious consumption. During Art Week 2023, this pop-up store will be hosting Mozhdeh Matin’s pieces, created by the Peruvian-Iranian designer in Pasaje Parián Roma.


About Proyecto República

Created in 2019 by Catalina Maurette, this platform recommends brands from all over Latin American (Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru, among other countries) that are also sustainable either in their manufacturing process or with the materials they choose. Promoting local consumption, artisanal pieces and unique clothing and accessories is also one of the purposes of Proyecto República, which is run by women who want to help other woman find timeless and functional clothes that have the best of qualities. 


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About Mozhdeh Matin

Mozhdeh was born in Peru but her parents are Iranian, allowing her to combine the best of both cultures and getting inspired by them during her creative process. Matin’s garments are created through different Peruvian knitting techniques, Mozhdeh Matin started in 2015 and has had many transformations in order to become the incredible brand it is now a days. 



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Architect Freddy Mamani Has Transformed El Alto, Bolivia, Into a Mecca of Modern Architecture

Many of architect Freddy Mamani Silvestre’s buildings in Bolivia feature a similar setup—there’s commercial space on the first floor, a ballroom on the second, and apartments above that, and all of it is crowned by the owner’s living space. They also happen to be designed with the most vividly colorful façades and interiors that, before Mamani came along, had never before been seen in the world of architecture, let alone in his predominantly brick and adobe hometown of El Alto, Bolivia.

During that time, Vava Ribeiro, the esteemed Brazilian photographer, was present. “As a Brazilian, this is a part of my culture and history, and a subject that I really felt compelled to photograph,” he says. “I’ve been following the ATL demonstrations in Brasília for the past couple of years but had never been in Brazil at the same time, and it also didn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 due the pandemic. Given the current environmental and political scenario of the country, attending this year became a priority for me.”

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Architect Freddy Mamani, creator of the New Andean architectural style, poses after receiving an award. Photo: Getty Images/Aizar Raldes


A quick history lesson: Conquered first by the Incan empire and then by the Spanish, the region now known as Bolivia established its independence in 1825. Then 180 years later, in 2005, the country elected its first-ever president of indigenous descent, Evo Morales. That same year, Freddy Mamani designed his first building. Though not a formally trained architect—he was a bricklayer turned civil engineer—Mamani, in his mid-40s, has established the distinctive New Andean architectural style, which is characterized by a design vernacular that both reclaims cultural motifs and sends them hurtling into the future on buildings that have been likened to spaceships.



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These neo-futuristic buildings are rooted in deep cultural motifs. Photo: Getty Images/Noah Friedman-Rudovsky

Mamani (and coincidentally, President Morales) is an Aymara, one of the nations of people native to the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America. His inspirations include Aymaran aguayos, a traditional textile whose bright colors and animal motifs have perhaps the clearest influence on his designs, as well as the chakana, or Andean cross, Incan ruins, ceramics, and sci-fi movies. He’s designed dozens of buildings for the wealthiest inhabitants of El Alto (population of roughly one million), usually featuring an exterior that displays a strong geometric statement, and an interior that doubles down on what the outside introduced. Inside you’ll find dizzying shapes formed with plaster and rendered in Technicolor with oil paints, adorned with LED lights and chandeliers, and visually multiplied with mirrors. What’s even more head-spinning is that Mamani doesn’t design his structures on a computer, preferring to either sketch on a wall or simply verbally explain ideas to his employees.

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His buildings are so distinctive that they’ve got their own nickname: “cholets,” a portmanteau of the ethnic slur “cholo” and the Alpine architectural style “chalet.” That name also happens to be the title of a documentary about his work that debuted at the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam last year. And if a film isn’t evidence enough of Mamani’s cultural impact, there are multiple photo essays and monographs, not to mention the work of other architects like Santos Churata, who designs buildings in El Alto in Mamani’s style, but with explicit references to the Transformers movies, like a façade with a robot’s face.


El Alto, in addition to being one of the highest cities in the world, overlooks the administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz. It’s there that Morales worked to pass a new constitution in 2009 that legally affirmed the rights of the country’s indigenous cultures. Changes like that have helped transform Bolivia’s economy, sharply increasing the GDP and creating a burgeoning middle class with the money to—proudly—commission one of Mamani’s designs.


Brazil’s Indigenous activists on their fight for the planet’s survival

Over ten days in April, members of Indigenous communities from across Brazil descended upon Brasília, the nation’s capital, for Acampamento Terra Livre (ATL) – the largest mobilization of Indigenous peoples that the country had ever seen. Comprising representatives of the 305 Indigenous peoples that live in Brazil, they had come together to protest the grave, existential threats posed to both their lives and the environments they inhabit – and protect – by laws instilled and proposed by the incumbent government, led by Jair Bolsonaro.

During that time, Vava Ribeiro, the esteemed Brazilian photographer, was present. “As a Brazilian, this is a part of my culture and history, and a subject that I really felt compelled to photograph,” he says. “I’ve been following the ATL demonstrations in Brasília for the past couple of years but had never been in Brazil at the same time, and it also didn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 due the pandemic. Given the current environmental and political scenario of the country, attending this year became a priority for me.”

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While there, he documented both the events that took place and a selection of the protesters – some of whom had “travelled for weeks by canoe, boat, truck, bus and then by foot, all to come together and fight for their rights,” he explains. Capturing “both the experience of participating in a moment and also a glimpse of connection with the individuals” he photographed, an edit of the resulting images was published in the latest issue of i-D, The Earthrise Issue, alongside a poignant call to action by Indigenous journalist Erisvan Guajajara, the coordinating founder of Mídia Índia, a collective formed by Indigenous people from across different communities and regions. Bringing together images of the marches that took place during the ATL – pictures Vava describes as “very sensorial, more about feeling the energy of that moment, like you are there marching with them” – and powerful portraits of the participating protesters, the ensemble paints a textured, earnest impression those ten days.

Below, accompanying a selection of the images are interviews conducted with three attendees of the protests. Their testaments are a crucial reminder of the urgency of the plight faced by Brazil’s Indigenous peoples, and the need for us all to take action – for their sakes, yes, but also for our own. “It’s a survival case, a cause that we must unite behind,” Vava says.


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Zaya Ribeiro @thezaya__

What brought you to the protests in Brasília? And tell us about the experience of being there and taking part in them?

My main motivation for joining these demonstrations was to bring my energy, voice and power of representation to this important fight for Mother Nature that concerns every single human on this planet. And this implies reaffirming our rights as Indigenous people, defenders and stewards of territories which will play a crucial role in the survival of humanity in the coming decades.

It brought me considerable honour and pride to be among so many Indigenous leaders whom I consider as my guides and mentors. Through their blessing, they are giving me the strength to be a voice for our cause in Brazil and abroad.

Meeting so many people coming from outside Brazil to defend the Indigenous cause also gave me hope, because this shows the rest of the planet the importance of being united in these critical times and why the entire world should join us in this struggle.

What is your hope for the outcome of these protests?

That people inside and outside Brazil understand the two main things that are at stake here:

Firstly, the right for territorial governance and Indigenous self-determination. These are necessary actions to ensure Indigenous territorial defence, recognition of collective and territorial rights and the construction of life plans to legitimise Indigenous governance.

Secondly, that tremendous actions are urgently needed for a just transition from a socio-economic model based on the extraction of natural resources to a regenerative model that puts the reproduction of life at the centre of its concern.

What actions do you want to see taken, both from the Brazilian government and the global community?

The Brazilian government needs to stop its current actions that are focussed on opening Indigenous land for commercial use and preventing the demarcation of Indigenous lands. Doing so puts the interest of a few industrial groups over the survival of our planet. Leading scientists believe the tipping point will come at 20 to 25 per cent deforestation, causing a large amount of the lush rainforest to turn into dry savanna, risking profound implications for biodiversity, carbon storage and climate change on a global scale.

Foreign governments need to put pressure on the Brazilian government to stop waging war against the Amazon and its people, as they have done in the context of other conflicts around the globe.

At an individual and corporate level, we must encourage the boycott of every company even slightly involved in extracting resources and hit them where it will hurt the most: their financial results.

How would you describe the current threats to the lives of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples?

Indigenous livelihoods and territories are under tremendous pressure, threatened by forest depredation, mining, agribusiness, infrastructure projects and extremist missionaries.

In the little more than three years since Bolsonaro has been in office, there has been a proliferation of invasions, conflicts, illegal mining, and the burning and deforestation of lands with the presence of isolated Indigenous groups. The mass invasion of “garimpeiros” (gold prospectors) onto the Yanomami territory, the timber exploration in the Araribóia territory, and the increased deforestation and land grabbing in the Piripkura, Ituna-Itatá and Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau territories are just some of the most critical situations right now.

Another threat seems to me to be the relative indifference encountered in Brazilian society around these issues. None of the Brazilian mainstream media outlets (whose economic models rely on some of the big companies involved in the exploitation of the land) have covered these protests, which contributes to the lack of awareness of the Brazilian population.

How can people support your cause?

By bringing visibility to our fight, if only through social media, and of course by giving money, resources or time to Indigenous organisations and NGOs operating in these territories in order to reverse the current dynamic.

What is your message to the world?

If you can, please support the Indigenous leaders fighting for the survival of our planet:

Beyond our own destiny as a people, we speak for Mother Nature and for every human on this planet!


Kurato Waura @kuratu_w.y

What brought you to the protests in Brasília?

Well, what brought me was PL191, a proposed law that poses a great threat to us. It would dramatically harm the natural environments we live in: the rivers that provide us food, the forests that allow us to breathe and where we hunt.

What is your hope for the outcome of these protests?

I hope that our fight yields tangible results and that the nation’s deputies and our current President show us respect.

What actions do you want to see taken, both from the Brazilian government and the global community?

I want the current government to take action to withdraw this needless bill. I want the world to see how extensive our knowledge is when it comes to living in tune with nature, and that Brazil is an Indigenous land.

How would you describe the current threats to the lives of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples?

The government we currently have in place is murderous and genocidal. This incumbent president does not represent me.

What is your message to the world?

I am deeply worried about the future that lies in store for my children. How they will live from without land, a home, or even food? Without Indigenous people, there is no life for any of us. Everything will die: the planet will warm, rivers will dry up, and ice will melt. Save Indigenous people – save nature!


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Dayana Molina @molina.ela

What brought you to the protests in Brasília? And tell us about the experience of being there and taking part in them?

Brasília brings together the ministries of Brazil, and it is there that almost everything in our country is decided. Here, historically, there have been political protests in opposition to the government; stage of struggles and processes of resistance. It was a way of demarcating and expressing the strength of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples.

What is your hope for the outcome of these protests?

That we can make civil society aware of the emerging problems we face. That we can pressure the Brazilian government, the primary enemy of Indigenous peoples today. That we can seize media attention and give visibility to our agendas. Through protests like these, we can get more support for our activism.

What actions do you want to see taken, both from the Brazilian government and the global community?

We want our different ways of life to be respected: our culture, our bodies, our sacred territories and our worldviews. The world’s Indigenous population is vital for the protection of the planet. Without our existence, the world cannot sustain itself in a healthy way.

How can people support your cause?

There are many ways to support us. We exist in many different places and facets of society. In my case, I’m a stylist and I use fashion as a fighting tool – when we create conscious, sustainable and political fashion, we are decolonizing people’s minds. The same is true with Indigenous artists who use their music as a form of protest. You can read Indigenous authors that discuss culture and intellectual traditions. There are so many ways to support us. It’s not just limited to going to protests or setting agendas, but there are practical steps people can take to strengthen what we are doing on a daily basis. It improves our lives in every way.

What is your message to the world?

We are the smallest group of people in the world, and yet, we are the ones who play the greatest role in protecting nature. Even if you don’t understand our strength, respect us. Respect our different ways of living and existing. When we sing, we heal the earth. When we pray we embrace nature and she embraces us. We are part of the life that pulsates on this planet. Our love and care are expressed in many ways, but mainly in the act of seeing life as something sacred. To fight together with the Indigenous peoples of this continent is to be part of the most beautiful and important fight of our time.


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How the Day of the Dead Is Celebrated in Oaxaca, Mexico

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The Day of the Dead is an ancient tradition. It extends throughout Mexico and various Latin American countries. It’s a festivity listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage with different influences—including European ones— that has one purpose: During one or several days, we remember those who are no longer with us.


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The origin of the Day of the Dead cannot be located in a single place in Mexico. The consensus among historians is that the traditions dedicated to the deceased date back to pre-Hispanic times. More than two thousand years ago, various cultures ranging from the Mexica to the Zapotec worshipped death, sending off those who passed to Mictlán, the Aztec underworld containing the nine circles of Hell that souls must go through until they reach peace.


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The pre-Hispanic ritual of sending off the dead included sacrifices and offerings for them to carry during their journey. Specialists have also discovered that in Europe tributes were offered to anonymous martyrs as well. The Conquest of Mexico generated an interesting cultural fusion: Catholic images mixed with pre-Hispanic elements, such as skulls, copal, marigold flowers, or traditional food that varies based on the region where the altar is placed.


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Among the elements that distinguish the Day of the Dead is the classic bread of the dead, which highlights the ancestral gastronomic knowledge of countless regions, with the flavor and style of a piece varying according to the place where it’s made. The traditional design, with sugary bones and a circular shape at the center, also has a colonial origin—it symbolizes the human sacrifices that were made in pre-Hispanic cultures. The bone-like figures represent the extremities, and the circumference represents the head or heart, depending on the legend.

Why is death celebrated with folklore in Mexico? It is the end of one cycle and, within the ancestral worldview, the beginning of another. Those who leave want to be remembered with joy, as a traditional song from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, “La Martiniana,” says, “Don’t cry, no. Because if you cry, I suffer. Whereas, if you sing to me, I always live and never die.” Mexican homes receive their departed loved ones every year with marigold flowers, papel picado, the scent of copal and traditional food such as mole, fruits and bread.


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How is the Day of the Dead celebrated in Oaxaca?

“Cuúl, mam, guquín yuvituu te cop niss wuvadauu naá rivees yúbitu con dunuun,” says Viviana Alavez in her native Zapotec language. It means “Grandfather, grandmother, have a glass of mezcal now that you are with us.” The copal resins, which have already been fused with the incandescent coal, cause a smoky and aromatic effect that announces the arrival of those who have left, but who return every November 1st and 2nd to the homes of those who remember them. Viviana, along with her daughters-in-law, Petra and Guillermina, line up the chairs where relatives and acquaintances will sit and visit the altar built in the main room for worshipping saints, which is located in their house/workshop in Teotitlán del Valle, in the state of Oaxaca, southeast of Mexico. Itzel Bibiana, her granddaughter, sets out the mats on which the souls will rest in order to enjoy the banquet that has been prepared in their honor. Yellow tamales wrapped in corn husks, the traditional bread of the dead, fruits, chocolate-atole, and livers with egg are just some of the foods that are specifically cooked to rejoice the souls that return. Now, on November 1st, we just have to wait for the church bells to chime at 3:00 p.m., for the fireworks, and for that slightly cold wind that announces that it is time to open the doors of the house to let them in.

In Santa María Atzompa, Valles Centrales, the Ruiz López sisters orchestrate a parade of flowers that soon illuminate the family altar with color: Yellow marigold flowers and lush rooster combs in fiery red, “give light to the deceased, illuminating their path,” explains Rufina, a teacher. The white Calla Lilies signifies the purification of the soul and the purple flowers emphasize mournings. Underneath the staircase-shaped structure and behind the yellow petals, there is a rug that captures the deadly image of the feathered dancer’s face, a character from one of the main Oaxacan folk dances. It is outlined by rice seeds and decorated with red corn kernels, beans, lentils, and pumpkin seeds, which also offer a tribute to Mother Earth, who feeds us. Under the pottery tradition that surrounds the Ruiz López space, there are two clay skulls illuminated with candles that join the light and invite the contemplation of life beyond death.


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Inside her house, Esperanza Deyanira Aquino Pineda, La Teca, opens her old trunk. From it she extracts a cap embroidered with white flowers that stand out on her deep black huipil and skirt. The striking outfit is adorned with earrings and a gold necklace worked in the traditional Isthmian filigree technique. She places the last details on the altar––a majestic installation of seven steps, “the phases of life that guide all human beings,” says Deyanira––which is crowned with the Virgin of Guadalupe under an arch of banana leaves. The traditional Isthmian jicalpextles overflow with chips, cheese, and dried shrimp, and rival in color the marquesote decorated with fretwork motifs and the names of the deceased. There, the conversation between the living and the dead is tinted with rich colors and a complexity of aromas and flavors, but always foregrounds worship and devotion, since “it is a moment of reflection for those of us who remain alive,” responds the La Teca.


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Uveira Cruz Soriano is the matriarch of the Ortiz Cruz family, a lineage that comes from the high and low Mixtec region of Oaxaca. In this family, the setting of the altar of the dead strengthens generational ties. Grandparents, children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren make communion in a tradition as deeply embedded as the roots of the Mixtec maguey, and agave plant. Curiously enough, the roots of the maguey are the material in which the image of the Virgin of Juquila (standing out from the family altar honoring Mrs. Uveria’s brother, her daughters-in-law’s aunts and grandmothers, and her parents-in-law) is carved. Her husband’s family is responsible for providing the main dish of the offering: A light stew made of olives, served with a piece of chicken and white rice. This dish starts the party, “like in any Oaxacan home, which reflects who we are in an authentic way,” emphasizes Mrs. Uveira, who uses the memories of her father-in-law to bring back conversations and to give them music with melodies that the honored deceased enjoyed, while awaiting their arrival on November 1st.

Long braids, high-flying skirts, and flower baskets are carried as banners of pride on their heads, which are some of the characteristics that distinguish the Chinas Oaxaqueñas. The particularities of the aesthetics of these hurdlers wouldn’t have been possible without the inspiration of their founder, Doña Genoveva Medina, who dedicated most of her life to carrying on this traditional dance, and the identity of her beloved Chinas. Within the framework of the Day of the Dead festivities, the rainbow of hues in the flowers is replaced by the majestic yellow of the marigold flowers. Simultaneously, the color of the skirts of the Chinas Oaxaqueñas is changed to black, to represent mourning and respect for those who have already left but who continue to enjoy—along with us—the traditional sounds with which the beautiful dancers start off the festivities in the city of Oaxaca de Juárez: The wish that Doña Genoveva, undoubtedly, would have wanted to never be forgotten.


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The temperature of the oven provides a warm environment for the preparation of various doughs and ingredients that produce breads of popular tradition. However, during the Day of the Dead there is one that stands out for its deep meaning on Oaxacan tables and altars: the bread of the dead. Doña Dionicia Aldeco Alejandrez, born in San Juan Tonaltepec, Oaxaca, learned the art of breadmaking through her husband. In her mastery acquired through decades of breadmaking, she keeps that recipe not written in her mind, but actually always present in this holiday through the making. Talking about the bread of the dead in Oaxaca implies a diversity as extensive as its communities, since each one of them makes the bread in different ways according to their traditions. However, for Doña Dioni the recipe translates into a know-how that implies respect for those who buy it and those who prepare it for the family. The elements that are mixed in this baking alchemy are eggs, wheat flour, water, butter, sugar, salt, anise, butter, and her favorite ingredient, cinnamon. The next step is to sprinkle them with sesame seeds––“A lot of sesame, as they like it here in the valley!” blurts out Doña Dioni––crown them with the colorful faces of saints in crumbs, and then put them into the oven, remove them carefully, and enjoy them by dipping them by chunks in hot chocolate, a pleasure that delights both the living and the dead.


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DP: Arturo Lavariega Creative Director: Enrique Torres Meixueiro Vogue Editors: Atenea Morales, Cristina Chamorro
Translated by Paulina Carvajal y Thalia Henao. Edited by Alejandra Cuevas, Chloe Schama.


Photographs of Colombia’s Indigenous Kogi community

The Kogi are an Inidgenous group of people that live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in northern Colombia.

Living in harmony with the land, their belief is based around Aluna ‘The Great Mother’, and an understanding of the Earth as a living being, and humanity as its children. Faced with the rapidly increasing ecological destruction of our planet, they have been playing an active role as ‘Elder Brother’ to warn the world of the modern-day devastation of resources by ‘Younger Brother’.


They voiced these warnings in 1990, with the documentary From the Heart of The World – The Elder Brother’s Warning, and subsequently in 2012, realising that the importance of the message was still not grasped, with the sequel Aluna. In revealing the traditions which have kept them alive all these centuries, they hope to share their planetary sciences and convince the rest of the world to take responsibility for the environmental damage caused by its actions.

Photographer Théo de Gueltzl has spent time with many of the various Indigenous peoples of South America, and most recently with the Kogi. This photo essay gives a unique insight into their society and relationship with nature. Dressed in pure white cotton clothing, we see them pictured in front of the thatched huts in which they live, and on top of the Donama – ancient carved boulders central to their pilgrimages and rituals.


“The Kogi’s cosmogony is linked to their environment,” Théo says. “They feel that the way the Western world wants to impose itself on the rest of the world is terrible: it breaks the balance that exists between nature and us. They see a lot of direct reactions from nature in their environment. After the creation of a dam, or after the building of a big port in places that are sacred to them, they feel the ill effects.”




The Kogi believe that every element of nature has a spirit and the land is connected by ‘threads’. Whether it be the roads that weave through the jungle, or the stories they tell as they walk them. All these threads join the world together on a spiritual plane.


“They spend their life walking up and down the mountain, which is what they call ‘threading’ the land. The women spend their time threading bags and clothes with the cotton they get from the trees in the mountains. And then men thread their stories, while walking up and down the mountain,” Théo explains.

In an effort to spread this message, Kogi brothers Benjamin and Eliseo Gil Gil, are writing a book with the purpose of further strengthening their traditional knowledge. Not only to share the importance of helping Mother Earth with the rest of the world, but also to give other Kogi people in the mountains an opportunity to access and visualise their law of origin. As Benjamin explains, “What happens to the Earth is what happens to us. And what happens to us is what happens to the Earth.”


To find out more about the Kogi we spoke to Santiago Giraldo, who, for the last 22 years has been working as an anthropologist in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the region through research conservation, and community development. He is the CEO of the Fundación ProSierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Director for Latin America of the Global Heritage Fund.

Can you tell us what kind of relationship you have with the Kogi?

I know some of the Kogi population in the State of Magdalena and I have been friends with some of them for the last 22 years. I have initiated multiple community development projects with them, building schools, bridges, health posts, and solar microgrid installation, and we are in frequent communication; especially with the inhabitants of the Buritaca river basin due to my work as an anthropologist and archaeologist in Teyuna-Ciudad Perdida.

What can you tell us about the Donama stones featured in these images?

The first reference and photos of the Donama stones date back to 1921/1922 when John Alden Mason, curator of the Chicago Field Museum, visited the Santa Marta area to do research. The stone is a large petroglyph, associated with a Tairona habitation site near the present-day village of Bonda. What the site meant for these ancient populations is a relative mystery, although there are multiple interpretations.

Can you tell us what challenges the Kogi community are facing today?

The Kogi, like any other Indigenous group today, face multiple challenges. It is not easy to refer to the community as a whole since they inhabit a fairly large area and have internal political divisions, as in any society. This makes the different leaders think in diverse ways about what the priorities are. From an external point of view, I consider that the most difficult challenges are poverty, and the lack of access to decent education and health services.



The Kogi are interacting more often with the modern world, how do you see that affecting them?

The Indigenous population of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has been in contact with the non-Indigenous population since the beginning of the 16th century, and before that with many other Indigenous groups that surrounded them, so they do not live, nor have they ever lived isolated from other societies. Their lifestyle reflects the time we live in and they have autonomy over the level of interaction – or lack thereof – that they want to have with the non-Indigenous world and with other Indigenous people who are different to them, so there is a wide range of attitudes between young men and women, adults, and seniors. How does that affect them? I think it’s a slightly paternalistic position. I prefer to think that as a society which has managed to survive for so many years, it has enough tools to decide upon and manage its interaction with the rest of the Colombian society autonomously.

What do you think about the preservation of ancestral communities and cultures? And how can we ensure its preservation in the case of the Kogi?

The Kogi should be the ones who decide what to do with their future. They can decide what – or indeed whether – they wish to change. My role has been to focus on developing joint projects with them, aimed at improving healthcare, education and family income. These projects are designed when requested by the authorities in each village, so, in general, the work is based on what each village specifically wants. On the other hand, I think that it is normally impossible to preserve ancestral cultures from the outside: all societies change, either a lot or a little, slowly or quickly, but they change due to historical events and situations they must face up to. Therefore, trying to “preserve” a society and attempting to prevent change is futile, and pretending that a person, institution or the government can do so reinforces that paternalism and assumes a position of unbearable pedantry. i.e. thinking that some foreign or local white guys are going to ensure that an “ancestral” society maintains its norms and customs without fail and that they know what is best or worst for the Indigenous population.


Latin American Foto Festival sheds light on the connection between memory and the present day

The fifth Annual Latin American Foto Festival (LAFF), organized by The Bronx Documentary Center (BDC), features large-scale photographs by both emerging and established, award-winning photographers from Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador and more. Displayed throughout the South Bronx’s Melrose neighborhood, the long-term works portray themes of family, memory, culture, and other social issues. The festival will run until July 31, 2022.

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Yael Martínez & Sergio Ortiz Borbolla, Looking For Hope At The End Of The Road
Honduras and Mexico

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flee violence and insecurity in Central and South Americas, traveling by train, bus, and foot to reach the United States. Many end up expelled or blocked at the USA-Mexico border, stranded in some of the most dangerous areas of Mexico where they become targets for kidnapping, assault, and extortion. Over the past two years, Mexican photographer Yael Martínez and filmmaker Sergio Ortiz Borbolla have spent time along the migration route between Honduras, Mexico, and the United States to meet with people who are taking extreme risks to achieve their dream of a better life in a safe place. The culmination is their project Looking for Hope at the End of the Road.

Jose Cabezas, Danzantes De La Historia
El Salvador


Jose Cabezas has been researching and creating a visual representation of the tradition of the Los Historiantes dance in El Salvador for several years. Los Historiantes is a tradition more than 300 years old, born from the hybridization of two cultures; the encounter of these two worlds generated new traditions that reflected the ability of the conqueror to subdue the conquered through art and religion. The resistance of the conquered was expressed by overturning these imposed traditions through creativity and pragmatism, thus continuing to pray to the old gods camouflaged in the wooden carcasses of the Catholic saints. The tradition is deeply rooted in the rituals of the people who practice it, their families and relatives. Despite dictatorships, wars, natural phenomena and plagues, the El Salvadorian people have kept the tradition alive and have adapted it to the present day to ensure it survives.

Héctor Guerrero, Volcano Land

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Mexico is home to more than 3,000 volcanoes, 14 of which are regularly active. Two of these, the 12,500-meter-high Colima volcano and the 17,800-meter-high Popocatépetl volcano, are located along the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, a mountainous expanse in the south-central part of the country that stretches more than 600 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. In recent years, eruptions have forced the evacuation of thousands of people to nearby cities. But local people will not move as they were born in these communities and have lived their entire lives with the volcanoes nearby. Héctor Guerrero has photographically documented the Mexican volcanoes, the dangers they pose, and the diversity of the land and culture that surrounds them. The culmination of these images, titled Volcano Land, not only takes us to tropical beaches, lush forests, and glacial streams, but also captures the poverty and violence that threaten some local populations more than lava or ash.

Tamara Merino, Isolated Soul


Chilean photographer Tamara Merino’s project Isolated Soul evokes a deep emotional state of nostalgia and profound melancholy, known In Portuguese/Brazilian as “saudade.” The term translates as the longing for something that is absent or someone who one loves. The word was became part of the everyday language of the four million African people who were captured and forced into slavery, the very same who today shape the Afro-Brazilian community. This constant feeling of saudade is a poetic way to describe missing one’s homeland. It is the very same propelling sentiment that kept that community alive for so many centuries, during sadness and torture. The feeling was so strong, it marked the identity of complete generations. It has been transmitted almost as if it were genetic, generation after generation, into the present day.

Alejandro Olivares, Living Periphery

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For more than 10 years Alejandro Olivares lived with and photographed the life of adolescents on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile—her hometown. This intimate documentary-type essay showcases the hidden reality of young people suffering through the early stages of their contact with violence, drugs, loneliness, and social exclusion. This project is immersed in a neglected, forgotten world, where postal and other basic service employees are banned from entering. It goes beyond poverty and consists of vast ghettos in the farthest corners of Santiago. Olivares’ photos represent a personal puzzle about fragmented social imagery—the images reflect the beauty of a hostile and shocking world seen through the eyes of those who look at it from the other side of the street. It is here where photography moves from the personal to the public realm, creating evidence of a disputed territory.

Paola Paredes, Skin Deep

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Skin Deep is an interactive photographic experience. It presents fifteen stories, representing diverse sexualities and gender identities of the queer community in Ecuador. Merging tactile interaction with digital platforms/technology, the images not only break with the traditional dynamics of museum exhibitions and visual arts, but also aim to tear aside social stereotypes, and show a community that is ethnically, economically, generationally and emotionally diverse. The images also reject the limited definition of gender or sexuality as static or innate and instead recognizes gender and sexuality as something fluid, built by each individual throughout their lifetime as they understand and consolidate their own identity. Within the experience the viewer becomes a participant who, through the act of touching and ‘tearing open’ the image, uncovers the depth of each story. Skin Deep transgresses and questions how we interact with art; its innovative narrative creates a unique, playful, and individual experience.

Sofía Torres Prida, Dreams And Glory
Dominican Republic

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Dreams and Glory documents the Dominican Republic’s top baseball athletes. It visually represents the lives of these players as part of the sport’s history, but it is chronicled through an unconventional perspective. Prida documented 34 of the most historically important athletes,from Osvaldo Virgil, the first to play in the Major League Baseball in 1956; to retired players like David Ortiz; and still active potential Hall of Famers like Albert Pujols. The series portrays the players’ experiences from a young age while immersed in Dominican culture during training, hardships of migration, and challenges to form a family in a multicultural environment. It also depicts how they navigated the integration of teams with colleagues from all over the world and marks the importance of playing a sport that overcomes language barriers and political borders.

Annie Y. Saldaña, Casitas
Puerto Rico

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Casitas is a long-term photography project that documents Puerto Ricans who live in wooden homes in the mountainous areas of the island. The series aims to give viewers a look into the current living conditions of these citizens, by collecting oral histories and learning about the residents, their families, and the challenges they have to overcome in the face of climate change, unstable power service, limited economic support, and government inefficiency.

Collective Project produced by Jorge Panchoaga, Imaginar EL Fuego De La Memoria
Colombia, Panamá, Guatemala, Bolivia, Uruguay

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“Imagining the fire of memory” is a teaching method derived from Kalabongo, a photography project conducted in San Basilio de Palenque, with the goal to share narrative and visual skills with Afro communities in different parts of Latin America. Additionally, it also seeks to align more closely with the relationship between memory, oral tradition and imagination. For a long time writing was considered the only valid way to record any kind of knowledge, but many cultures have preserved their knowledge and traditions through memory and oral tradition. It’s important to recognize that difference and nurture and promote it because every time a story is told our imagination is activated, and the telling and retelling of stories constantly evolves.

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Get to know the most beautiful passage in Roma CDMX to buy local design

Among the best qualities of large cities is the possibility of constant discovery, since they usually host countless cultural and gastronomic venues worth knowing. CDMX is no exception, with beautiful hidden corners abundant in architectural beauty, offering a meeting point between different emerging projects. The Parían is one of them, recently restored in a contemporary design space, but maintaining the historical and local atmosphere that has always characterized it. You will love to rediscover it!

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The Parían is one of the most emblematic commercial passages in Roma, holding a history as rich as its architectural beauty. Its space was founded in 1926 as a passage dedicated to local commerce, owned by Don Manuel Echevería and with the distinctive European influence of the colony. Over the decades, it has worked as a strident meeting point, headquarters for independent businesses and residential housing.

At the end of 2020, El Parián reinvented its space within a more modern concept, but maintaining the Renaissance spirit and historical façade that characterizes it. Its restoration was a co-development between ‘Estructura Desarrollo Inmobiliario y Construcción’ and ‘Alpha Desarrollo y Estructura’, resulting in a neighborhood center of contemporary intervention, with beautiful climbing vegetation on the walls, trees in the middle of its large corridor, floors of exposed brick and concrete finishes.

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The new Pasaje Parián divides its three floors into a variety of independent projects. Its ground floor houses gastronomic and local design establishments – there is a floral studio, a fine jewelry store and a physical sales space for Instagram brands -; On its second floor, offices and art galleries are planned, while on the third floor a covered terrace is anticipated.

Among its variety of venues you will also find different gastronomic proposals. We recommend you visit La Vitrine, a French-Mexican pastry shop led by chef Sofía Cortina, with a distinctive menu for its traditional techniques and pastry innovation. If you want a more complete experience, then go to Polpo – in charge of chef Marco Carboni -, you will enjoy international tapas, artisan charchuteria and an exquisite selection of wines; We recommend you try their sticky baby squid rice, or their beef tartare with black garlic sauce and pickles.

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Looking At Locations For Your Next Summer Vacation? Try Todos Santos, Mexico

There are a lot of unmarked roads in Mexico’s Baja California Sur. You see them from the smooth highway that connects the sleepy town of Todos Santos to the glossy resorts of Los Cabos an hour south, their dusty trails carving mysterious paths through fields dotted with tall saguaro cacti. They look a little intimidating, but as one local told me during a recent visit, “when you see a dirt road in Baja, you should take it. There’s always something interesting at the other end.”

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There are a lot of unmarked roads in Mexico’s Baja California Sur. You see them from the smooth highway that connects the sleepy town of Todos Santos to the glossy resorts of Los Cabos an hour south, their dusty trails carving mysterious paths through fields dotted with tall saguaro cacti. They look a little intimidating, but as one local told me during a recent visit, “when you see a dirt road in Baja, you should take it. There’s always something interesting at the other end.”

And, as the saying goes, fortune favors the bold—and those who’ve rented a car with four-wheel drive. For the slow exploration of these roads yields a trove of discoveries: An oasis where the mouth of an underground spring feeds a grove of palm trees with fronds as green as a desert mirage. Or, a secluded beach where cerulean waves crash between a craggy, mermaid cove.

This wild sense of possibility has drawn a small stream of travelers to Todos Santos for decades. Some come to surf the nearby breaks, widely regarded as among the country’s best. Others, to wander the cobblestone streets lined with tiny artisan shops and refurbished haciendas in the old part of town. Still others come to while away the hours at the iconic Hotel California’s long wooden bar, which, contrary to local lore, is not the same lovely place named in the Eagles song. The area is so enchanting that in 2006, the Mexican government designated Todos Santos a Pueblo Mágico—one of just 100 or so small towns honored for its natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance.


Now, a whole new set of travelers is setting their sights on another treasure at the end of a dirt road: the just-opened Hotel San Cristóbal.

The hotel, located on a previously undeveloped fishing beach called Punta Lobos about 15 minutes south of town, is the first international project from famed Texas hotelier Liz Lambert. Her Bunkhouse Group is known for its highly photogenic boutique properties in Austin and Marfa—hotels that helped put those places on the map for a certain style-conscious, nomadic set. And, now, just one month after opening its doors, the Hotel San Cristóbal is topping that same set of travelers’ must-visit lists—and generating a healthy amount of buzz elsewhere, too. Last year, the New York Times named Todos Santos one of its top 50 travel destinations thanks, in part, to the impending opening of the hotel, and more recently the retailer Madewell launched a partnership with the property. On the weekend I visited, all 32 rooms were fully booked with blissed-out couples in their 20s and 30s wearing colorful serape kimonos and sipping mezcal margaritas by the long, turquoise-tiled pool.

If all this sounds too cool, don’t worry—it totally is. The San Cristóbal—with its swirly tiled floors, brightly woven blankets, terra-cotta-potted cacti, and bubble gum–pink pool floats—is an Instagrammer’s nirvana, an aesthete’s wet dream. And that is precisely part of what makes it so fun. It is clear that every single element of the hotel has been painstakingly executed for maximum sensory enjoyment, and there’s a specifically modern delight that comes from noticing all the small details that make up the sum: The candlesticks in the library with their artfully dripped wax, the three large fireplaces tucked into different nooks, the curtains in the guest rooms with their pretty bamboo pulls, and the woodsy smoke of copal incense that trails you wherever you go. Even the setting of the sun—which is marked each evening with the ringing of a giant gong—feels perfectly orchestrated; it dips below the horizon in exact alignment with the pool, allowing for unobstructed views of the glowing Pacific from wherever you choose to lounge.


Of course, the addition of this type of gleaming tourist draw in an underdeveloped slice of paradise doesn’t come without its share of controversy. The Hotel San Cristóbal is tied to Tres Santos, a large development company that angered residents when it announced ambitious plans to build up to 4,500 residences in a town with a population that currently hovers around just 7,000. Tres Santos was accused of bogarting the small town’s water supply and displacing the local fishermen, who had been using the beach at Punta Lobos for generations. And more generally, many residents see this all as a sign of the impending destruction of their once relatively undiscovered desert utopia. “We don’t want this to be the next Cabo, or even the next Tulum,” is the oft-repeated refrain.

But others—residents who live in the area all year and whose livelihoods depend on tourism—see the arrival of Tres Santos and San Cristóbal less negatively. “Todos Santos has so much to offer—beaches, farming, culture—that development is going to happen here anyway. It is just a matter of time,” one local surf instructor explained. “Most of the people who are angry about it are the ones who come for the winter and leave as soon as the slow season starts. If they were here the whole time and had to make a living, they might feel differently.”

And, anyway, the San Cristóbal is a far cry from the massive, all-inclusives that dominate many of the country’s better-known resort towns. As with Lambert’s other properties, a sense of community permeates the property; the staff is made up almost entirely of locals who are quick to point out the region’s many treasures and the activities on offer to guests include several volunteer opportunities, like shepherding baby sea turtles back to the sea or fostering a local pup or helping out on one of the region’s farms. The hotel’s restaurant is helmed by Mexican chef Edgar Palau, who—in addition to his focus on local ingredients—makes a point of inviting guests to accompany him to select the day’s fresh catch from the fishermen who share the beach with the hotel.

Here, a look at some of the area’s other highlights should you decide to go.


What to Do:

Surfing has a long history in Baja culture, and Playa Cerritos, located about 20 minutes south of town, is no doubt the most popular beach for newbies and experts alike; it’s relatively easy to get to (down another dirt road) and offers both a gentle beach break and a more adventurous rocky point break. Boards, wetsuits, and lessons are available from Mario Surf School, which is located in a tent on the north end of the beach near the Hacienda.

For those who prefer to dry land adventures, the surrounding Sierra de la Laguna mountain range is ideal for hiking and mountain biking. One popular hike is to the top of Punta Lobos, which affords breathtaking views of an abandoned fishing port where a sea lion colony has made its home.

Where to Eat:

For some of the best Baja-style fish tacos—battered, deep-fried white fish heaped with mango salsa and crisp cabbage—visit La Copa Cocina, the intimate restaurant on the shaded terrace behind The Todos Santos Inn. Cafe Santa Fe, which offers upscale Italian, is widely regarded as the town’s best restaurant and is a good option when you’re craving a break from ceviche and moles. Outside of town, take advantage of the area’s stellar agriculture by dining on wood-fired pizza and super fresh salads at Hierbabuena, a sweet alfresco restaurant located within an organic farm. Nearby, Baja Beans is a must for coffee and baked goods; on the weekends during high season it is also the sight of a bustling farmers’ market and excellent people watching.

Where to Stay:

If you prefer to stay in town, there are plenty of lovely alternatives to the beachside San Cristóbal. One favorite is La Bohemia, a collection of six whitewashed adobe rooms tucked into an oasis of palm trees and cacti just a few blocks from the historic town center. Owned by a pair of Cali transplants who decided to put down roots in Baja after taking a road trip to the area several years ago, the sweet hotelito incorporates many traditional elements in its design: Otomi embroidered headboards, hand-painted Talavera tiles, and hand-woven textiles. Up the street at Hotel Casa Tota the aesthetic is more minimalist, though no less comfortable. Housed in a historic brick building that was once a general store, the hotel’s 15 pared down rooms face a welcoming central courtyard with a deep blue pool. The views of the surrounding palm-studded hills and quiet streets from the rooftop make you feel as if you’re looking down on a vintage postcard of L.A.


But perhaps the most romantic place to stay in town is Todos Santos Inn, set in a former hacienda that was built by a sugar baron in the 1800s. With its faded murals, arched walkways, and antique furniture, it looks straight out of another era.