Exploring Northern Baja [vid]

HOW MANY OF US would be ready and willing to give up a steady job to connect more deeply with our passions? It’s a tough decision that perhaps many of us contemplate on a daily basis, but few find the courage to make.

Meet Elisabeth Brentano, a visual storyteller, who left her city job to pursue a freelance career doing something she loves. It wasn’t an easy choice, as she admits — she was “terrified.” But her creative self thrives with the freedom to experience new things every day, like a recent exploration of the northern Baja Peninsula, Mexico.

Her takeaway message? “Embrace the adventure.”


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This video is proudly produced in partnership with Toad&Co clothing, dedicated to helping people live their fullest lives.


World’s best surf spots for beginner

Surfing spots for beginners

Photo by Frank McKenna

IN AN INCREASINGLY BUSY world, going for a surf is a chance to get back to nature, test yourself against the ocean, have fun and get some exercise. And these days learning to surf doesn’t have to be the fearful, difficult proposition it once was. Forgiving foam surfboards and qualified surf instructors mean standing up and riding a wave in your first session is very likely — and then you’re hooked.

Read on for Matador’s list of the best surf spots to start your new addiction…

Byron Bay, Australia

This one-time sleepy dairy town turned hippie-surfer-stockbroker enclave is quite possibly the best place in the country, maybe the world, to learn to surf. There’s a variety of waves to suit different levels, from gentle rollers off Watego Beach to the beach breaks of Tallows and The Wreck (in small swells).

Byron Bay Surf School offers both lessons and accommodation. Or stay at the Byron Bay YHA (formerly J’s Bay), complete with pool.

Best time to go: March to May for warm weather and consistent swell .

Kuta, Bali

On an island famous for its grinding left-hand reef breaks, Bali still offers great options for learners. The long sandy stretch of beach in front of the famous Kuta and Legian tourist strip can turn on fun waves for beginners in small swells — but watch the currents when it’s bigger.

Various beach huts rent old surfboards for about 20,000 rupiah per hour. When the wind picks up in the afternoon there’s a bunch of options to keep you busy, from practising yoga in Ubud to partying late at Ku De Ta in Seminyak.

Best time to go: May to September for offshore winds and a party atmosphere.

Lagos, Portugal

While there are rarely waves in Lagos itself, this picturesque Algarve town is the base for many surf schools in the region, and it’s not hard to see why. A variety of great waves are within a 30-minute drive, including the protected break at Arrifana — a favourite for learners at low tide.

Among the surf schools based in Lagos, Surf Experience is the longest established and one of the best.

After a day spent learning to surf, refuel at one of Lagos’ cheap but delicious restaurants. After 10 PM, the clubs come alive, the clientèle spurred on by cheap cocktails and refreshing bottles of Sagres beer for just €2.

Best time to go: Northern hemisphere spring and autumn to avoid the summer crowds and higher prices.

Surfing spots for beginners

Photo by Trevor Cleveland

Surfer’s Point, Barbados

Located on Barbados’s more protected southern coast, Surfer’s Point in Inch Marlowe is the perfect location to learn to surf in an idyllic, tropical setting. Former competitive surfer and Barbadian local Zed Layson runs the popular Zed’s Surfing Adventures. Zed offers two-hour lessons on easy-to-ride foam surfboards, plus a range of accommodation options near the point.

Best time to go: Anytime, although the rainy season from June to October may limit your tanning time.

Waikiki, Hawaii

What better place to learn to surf than the home of surfing itself? Hawaii’s ancient kings rode the surf on crude wooden boards before missionaries in the 19th century frowned on the sport for being a godless activity.

Thankfully, surfing is back bigger than ever. The gentle rolling waves of Waikiki are perfect for beginners, offering long rides and a (mostly) fun, easy going atmosphere. Canoe’s is the most popular, and consequently most crowded, break but you’ll be among beginners so catching waves is relatively easy.

Boards can be rented from the shacks on the beach by the hour or take a lesson from one of the many surf schools in the area.

Best time to go: There are waves year round although the Hawaiian summer from June to August sees consistent south swells.

Taghazoute, Morocco

Thanks to its long, righthand point breaks, Morocco has been a popular winter destination for European surfers since the 1970s, with convoys of VW campervans parked beside the various breaks.

These days, you don’t need to be a hardcore surfer to enjoy the waves, with a variety of surf schools to choose from.

In the south, Taghazoute almost has more surf camps than surf spots, so you’re bound to find one that suits your budget. Hash Point and the beaches around Agadir can throw up an easy wave for learners. If it’s flat, the chilled port town of Essaouira is just three hours north by bus and makes a great day trip.

Best time to go: The big swells roll in from November to February, but early autumn has smaller waves and warmer weather.

Newquay, UK

For a country known for its crap weather, the British sure love their surfing. Newquay’s Fistral Beach is surfing ground zero in Britain, with a variety of backpacker hostels, surf cafes, and surf schools in and around the town.

Newquay’s headlands mean there are surfable waves in most conditions, from the swell-exposed Fistral to the protected Watergate Bay just around the corner. If you have access to a car, the crystal clear peaks at Sennen Cove an hour south are worth the drive in clean swells.

Best time to go: September to October are the most consistent months. You’ll need a 4/3 or even a thick 5/4 wetsuit to brave the chilly water in winter and spring.

Bundoran, Ireland

Ireland is the new surfing hot spot in Europe; its world class, uncrowded waves now lure surfers from around the world.

Bundoran in County Donegal on Ireland’s west coast is a great place to learn the basics, with a variety of beach breaks on offer. If the swell is small, try Tullan Beach in town. If it’s too big, head 10 km north to the more mellow Rossnowlagh Beach. The respected Bundoran Surf Co. offers lessons as well surf-and-stay packages.

And five places to avoid

  • North Shore, Hawaii: With waves regularly reaching above 10 feet in winter, this coast is no place for the novice. Hell, even experienced surfers regularly come to grief here.
  • Coolangatta, Australia: Home of the Superbank. When it’s on it’s so crowded you can almost walk out to the surf on the back of paddling surfers.
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa: Would you surf in the same waters where tourists flock to go swimming in shark-proof cages?
  • Fuerte Ventura, Canary Islands: Sharp lava reefs, sea urchins, strong winds, localism and thumping Atlantic swells. Experienced surfers only.
  • Puerto Escondido, Mexico: Has a reputation as one of the heaviest beach breaks in the world. The waves here are consistently above head high and routinely snap surfboards like twigs.

Awesome video of Mexico

DON’T MAKE an effort to find an obvious narrative in this short film, Oliver Astrologo and Simone Sampó have captured whatever passed by their eyes without any other consideration.
They have not captured the typical places, they have lived and absorbed a unique blend of native and Spanish cultures. The blend that makes Mexico a country of courageous and kind people who put a strong emphasis on unity and love for each other.

More like this: 36 hours in Oaxaca, Mexico

A perfect weekend in Mexico City

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Mexico City is a fascinating metropolis, packed with museums, historical sites, restaurants, bars and every kind of entertainment you can imagine. This super cool destination is huge and if you only have a couple of days to visit it, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by its tremendous cultural offer. There will never be enough time to visit all the amazing sites Mexico’s capital has to offer, but here are some tips if you want to get the most out of your weekend in this amazing place.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Day 1

Start your day early in Centro Histórico, visiting three of the most interesting sites in the heart of the city:

Murales en Palacio Nacional

 Murales en Palacio NacionalCiudad de México, MexicoAt National Palace you can admire some amazing murals from renowned and very famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. “Epopeya del Pueblo Mexicano” painted on one of the main staircases is simply extraordinary.

Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral

 Mexico City Metropolitan CathedralCiudad de México, MexicoThe Metropolitan Cathedral was built in the mid-16th century and is the largest cathedral in Latin America. It’s considered one of the most beautiful religious complexes on the continent, both for the beauty and originality of its architectural design, and for the artistic treasures that it houses.

Templo Mayor Museum

 Templo Mayor MuseumEjido del Centro, MexicoIn this place was situated the main temple of the Aztecs. Today we can still observe some vestiges and the museum houses an important collection of pre-Hispanic art.

Don’t leave Centro Histórico just yet. Take your time to walk and explore everything that surrounds Madero Street.

Calle Madero

 Calle MaderoCiudad de México, MexicoTo walk through this pedestrian street is a must in Mexico City’s downtown. Full of shops, historic buildings and a couple of beautiful temples, it’s a great promenade that connects the Palace of Fine Arts with the Zócalo (main square).

And have a midday snack in El Moro, one of the most traditional restaurants around. Try some hot chocolate and don’t forget to order some churros.

El Moro

 El MoroCiudad de México, MexicoYou have to eat a churro and drink a cup of hot chocolate in this place, the most famous in the city. It’s simply delicious!

Just a couple blocks north from El Moro, you’ll find a couple examples of Mexico’s most amazing architecture.

National Art Museum

 National Art MuseumCentro, MexicoThis amazing museum has over 3,000 pieces of art, mainly paintings made from the 16th century to the first half of the 20th century. It is located in one of the most beautiful buildings in Mexico City’s downtown.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

 Palacio de Bellas ArtesEjido del Centro, MexicoThe Palace of Fine Arts is the maximum house of art in Mexico. In its interior we can admire spectacular murals of artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo and Siqueiros. It houses some of the best temporary exhibitions that come to the country, as well as great music, dance and theater shows.

Finish this first day dining and watching the sunset from a rooftop restaurant.

La Azotea

 La AzoteaCiudad de México, MexicoEnjoy the beautiful view to the Alameda Central from this restaurant-bar terrace.

Day 2

There’s no better place to start a Sunday stroll in Mexico City than Paseo de la Reforma and its surrounding avenues. All of them are closed to traffic on Sunday mornings.

Paseo de la Reforma

 Paseo de la ReformaCiudad de México, MexicoThis is one of the most emblematic streets in the city. I recommend to walk it from Avenida Insurgentes to the Estela de Luz. Here you will find restaurants, hotels, shops, bookshops and one of the most important icons of the city: the Angel of Independence. The “Sunday bike ride” is amazing and the street is closed from 8am to 2pm, so hundreds of persons can enjoy the avenue without cars and ride their bicycles with friends, family and pets.

Paseo de la Reforma will lead you directly to the city’s main urban forest. Take your time to wander around the multiple paths and museums of Chapultepec.

Chapultepec Forest

 Wander around Chapultepec ForestCiudad de México, MexicoThis is an amazing place to visit and the entrance is free. You can wander around and see the old baths of Moctezuma, attend a free cultural activity at Casa de Lago or just admire and take pictures if the beautiful view with the lake.

Chapultepec Castle

 Chapultepec CastleCiudad de México, MexicoThis beautiful palace houses the National Museum of History which exhibits different collections of treasures that have seen the history of Mexico, such as furniture, paintings, clothing, coins, etc. The castle is located on top of a hill so the panoramic views from its gardens and terraces are amazing.

Museo de Arte Moderno

 Museo de Arte ModernoCiudad de México, MexicoThis museum houses extraordinary temporary exhibitions of modern art, both by Mexican and international artists. If you’re around Bosque de Chapultepec, is a good site to visit.

Museo Nacional de Antropología

 Museo Nacional de AntropologíaCiudad de México, MexicoThis museum has the most important collection of anthropological and ethnographic pieces of pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico. Its exhibition is so large that it can be overwhelming, so take a good time to visit it or focus on the areas of the most popular cultures like Mayan, Aztec (or Mexica) and Teotihuacan. It’s better to come on weekdays.

Once you’re done with Chapultepec, grab a taxi and finish the day relaxing in the beautiful Colonia Roma.

Orizaba Street

 Orizaba streetCiudad de México, MexicoStreet full of options to eat, drink, see art and have a wonderful time in trendy Colonia Roma.