Coba

     When you hear someone say I’m going to Tulum what comes to mind? Typically people think of the beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts.

    They are not wrong but there is so much history as well! If you didn’t know by now, I love history and traveling to explore the culture and history of places.

     Tulum is just about 30 miles from Coba. So naturally, when I was getting ready for my trip to Tulum one of the reasons, I was excited for was going to Coba. You might ask what is Coba, Coba is an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula, located in northeastern Quintana Roo, Mexico. The site is the nexus of the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world and it contains many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Late Classic Period (AD 600-900) of Mesoamerican civilization. (Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, and within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries where they caused mass genocide of the people there.)

    My journey to Coba started at 8am, I had hired a private driver for the day (since it was a larger group it was better to have a driver take us and wait for us there). The roads are great and we made it in about 20 minutes, just getting onto the road one starts to see all the nature and green that surrounds Tulum. I was so excited to walk through so much history and climb my first pyramid!

    On arrival, I can’t help but be mesmerized by all the jungle and ancient structures. Coba has the largest network of stone causeways in the ancient Mayan world, called sacbes (white roads). Over 50 of these roads have been discovered at the site, with 16 of them open to the public. We make our way to on a sacbes to a ball court used for playing ōllamaliztli, a traditional Mayan ballgame. It is crazy to think that a stone ball was used to play this game and the players used their bodies (not hands) to put the ball through the small hoops. Fun fact; sometimes the captain of the winning team was ritually sacrificed to the gods.

    The jungle is so full that it is hard to see everything around it until you are near it. Walking through the sacbe the next thing I encounter is the Templo de le Iglesia this is the first pyramid you see when at Coba, and the second tallest in the complex, measuring 65m tall (213.26 feet). It was built between the 7th and 10th centuries.

    Walking deeper into the pool of green through the sacbes I see Nohuch Mul ( the pyramid) . Nohuch Mul is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula 41.76m (137 feet). It is also the only pyramid in Yucatan that you can still climb (124 steps). This is one of the main reasons why I was so interested in visiting to climb my first pyramid, it is possible that within the next few years they might stop allowing tourist to climb Nohuch Mul.

    I had an extra special moment climbing Nohuch Mul. I was about to start climbing when I got a facebook message call from my dad in California. I told him to call back using facetime, he did. It blew my mind that the connection was perfect and I was able to share this on real time with my dad thousands of miles away. The steps are very steep, there is a rope in the middle to help climb up but it is really needed on the way down.

    Once I finally got to the top it was more than I expected. The view is incredible, I was just standing there thinking this is why they built the pyramids to oversee the kingdom, now all the jungle but still amazing.

Quick History of Coba

The earliest traces of human settlement at Coba date back to the first century and it supposedly counted 50,000 inhabitants by the 10th century, when a power dispute with Chichen Itza took place, in favor of the latter. The main cause for Coba’s fast development was its thriving agriculture favored by the two lagoons and the trade held with Mayan communities as far as Honduras. Coba was abandoned when the Spaniards came in in 1550. The site at Coba was rediscovered rather late, in the 19th century, and opened for the public in 1973, having its mysteries still fresh and under research.

Advertisements

Viñales, Cuba

When I think of Cuba, cigars is one if not the first thing that comes to mind. So I knew for sure I had to make my way to Viñales while in Cuba. Viñales is 2.5 hours away west from Havana and is where most of the tobacco is grown. 

Getting to Viñales is not hard at all there are so many taxis in Havana that are more than willing to do the day trip there or just drive you there. My friends and I decided to stay there for a night, a night is good but I suggest at least two nights it is beautiful and so much to do! After spending 3 nights in Havana we made our way to Viñales. To be honest I had many mix feelings about traveling in taxi but it only took me about 10 minutes to be completely comfortable and enjoy the scenery. Once on the freeway we got to enjoy all the vegetation there are so many fruit trees along the road and a lot of cows! I think it’s not what I expected but to be honest I did not know what to expect after talking to so many people before going to Cuba.

img_20180602_2316491521238736.jpg20170704_082339928020199.jpg

Once we got to the Valle De Viñales I was mesmerized by all the green and nature. The taxi driver pointed out a few huts that are used to dry the tobacco that is used to make cigars. (The leaves are hung to dry from 4 to 8 weeks) We stayed in a very cute house the lady who we rented the house had her friends give us a tour of the Tobacco fields and coffee fields. (Of course this was the only day it poured!) Rain or shine we were determined to see the fields. We took a 3 hour horse tour of parts of Viñales tobacco and coffee fields. To say the least it was breathtaking I felt like I had just stepped into Jurassic Park. There was so much green and mountains. We came across cows (cows with horns! Yes I hadn’t seen female cows with horns before) and oxen. We got to experience the true beauty of nature. The rain made it even that much more amazing and adventures.

20170704_1319192097025517.jpg

 

20170704_132101977618437.jpg20170704_141954586577903.jpg

Once back in the barn we went inside the tobacco hut. This is where we got to learn about the process of cigar making and for me the first time I realize what it meant for the Cuban people to be Socialist and what laws they have to follow. Our guide told us that the owner of the field have to “sell” (for a very low price) 90% of the tobacco they grow to the government.

20170704_10235860251973.jpg20170704_1224431549240854.jpg20170704_141411390373037.jpg

After our 3 hours of horseback riding, I was so hungry that walking out of the tobacco hut I saw a cow so I joked with our tour guide and told him that I wanted to eat that cow. The response I got, was a response I was not expecting, he said if you eat that cow you will go to jail for 10 years because it is against the law to kill cows, oxen, and bulls. I was in shock since we were on a farm and there were many cows all around. Since cows are seen as government property the farmers have to sell their cows to the government and then buy back the meat at a much higher price. My tour guide asked me if it was the same law in Mexico and I said No! I told him how every time I went to visit my grandparents in Durango, my grandfather would kill a cow to have fresh meat. He was surprised and said, “Claudia me voy a Mexico contigo a comer carne.” (Claudia I am going to Mexico with you to eat meat) This moment was the moment I saw that people do suffer since they don’t have the money to pay for the meat that they are raising!!! With that said our tour guides were amazing so friendly it was an amazing experience.

20170704_150032898266377.jpg

 

20170704_1438301713084004.jpg

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Cuba

Cuba has always been a very interesting place for me. I’ve watched many documentaries on Fidel Castro and on the economics of Cuba. So when Barack Obama made it easy for Americans to travel to Cuba, of course, I was excited and couldn’t wait to go. July 2017 I finally made my way to Cuba. I had talked to many people that had visited and even lived in Cuba. I got so many mix opinions and reviews. The people that lived there explained how the “Cuban people” were not allowed to mix with tourist and how limited they were on food and money. With all the stories I’ve heard, I started to believe that people were starving and unhappy. Another thing that seemed to be strange is that in Cuba there are two currencies, El Peso Cubano (CUP) and The Cuban Convertible Currency (CUC). The CUP is used for the Cuban people in their everyday basic things. The CUC is used mostly for tourist and for “luxury” items. The CUC was made to be equal to the American Dollar $1 = to 1 CUC but the truth is it is not since they charge 10% to change American currency therefor the CUC has a higher value. The CUC is not traded internationally and 1.00 CUC = 25.00 CUP. Therefore I decided to change American money into Canadian money but the truth is it turned out the same.With all of that said I was still very excited and couldn’t wait to get there. Now it was on to planning where I wanted to visit and stay!

20170702_1740211587323493.jpg

I wanted to see everything and do everything but unfortunately with only having 8 day that was impossible. 8 days to see a country is not a lot of time especially when all the commute is by taxi or bus. I researched and narrow it down to 4 cities I had to visit; Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad.

Stay tuned for pictures of all my Amazing adventures in Cuba 💙 I want to go back for at least a month.

Happy Cinco de Mayo; Trejo’s Cantina

In honor of Cinco de Mayo let’s talk about taco’s! Americans are obsessed with tacos and celebrating Cinco de Mayo. I guess we as a culture just need reasons to eat and drink and be justified. Okay enough of my opinion let’s talk about some delicious tacos!

Two weeks ago I was honored to be invited to go taste the new tacos at Trejo’s Cantina and of course no taco is complete without their partner in crime a margarita .

imageIt was my first time at Trejo’s Cantina and for sure not my last. These tacos are so tasty great seasoning. There are two new meat and one vegetarian tacos available.

  • Chicken Tikka Masala Taco; Spanich Rice, Chicken Tikka Masala, Pico de Gallo Escabeche Mint Cream on a flour tortilla.

  • Cheeseburger Taco; Ground beef, Taco seasoning, Nacho cheese sauce, Cheese blend, Red onion, Cilantro, Cherry tomatoes and Bacon.

  • Mexi Falafel Taco; Kale, Cashew Cream and Pickled onions.

My favorite is the Cheeseburger Taco the taco seasoning is the perfect mix and I mean come on bacon makes it extra tasty. Overall it was a great love the ambience and staff. You guys should stop by if you are in Hollywood or Woodland Hills. Who know you might run into the man himself Danny Trejo.

Continue reading “Happy Cinco de Mayo; Trejo’s Cantina”

Who is Justclau 🦄

Oh hi there, I am a true 🦄 for Los Angeles standards. I was born in Hollywood raised in North Hollywood. I am Mexican American and take great pride in being Mexican especially in crazy time we are living ( that’s for another time). Growing up in North Hollywood “The Valley” I always assumed that everyone in Los Angeles was born and raised here (yes I lived in a small bubble I now realize). It wasn’t until I was 21 and moved to Hollywood that I realize I was a rare unicorn. Although Hollywood is literally just over the hill, Hollywood is a whole different world. It did not take long for me to realize that Hollywood was a very interesting place, it is a very fun place but one can definitely get caught up in the “Hollywood Lifestyle”. Living in Hollywood (and being a girl and knowing people) gives me access to Hollywood clubs and events and yes the “lifestyle”. I continue to enjoy that but I also have a passion for travel, food and fashion! Thinking about travel and adventure is what makes me smile and yes helps me deal with work since it pays for my bills! In the future blogs I will share some travels, foodie adventure and events! Follow my blog for updates!

Travel makes the 🖤 strong. The beautiful Durango, Durango Mexico 🇲🇽
Beach time!
Santa Monica where I call home now ❣💕
One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday just relaxing!
At times it’s all about healthy food