adventuraadventureAmericaLifestyleNational Parksphotographyroad triptraveltripsturismoUnited StateutahVacations



I closed my eyes for a couple of minutes. All I could hear was the sound of the water flowing in the river. I was at a higher plane of tranquility, under a spell. The city noise was gone and this time it wasn’t my sleep machine or my YouTube audios for meditation. 

It was real, and as soon I approached the mountains, the sound became more intense, as much as the birds tweeting while they were escorting me in this hiking. What a charming moment! 

My friend and I were alone in the middle of this fascinating environment surrounded by big, red sandstones canyons and creeks. While our way narrowed, the view was becoming more stunning without the sun incandescence. It’s was the best time to recharge those energies. 

This incredible connection with mother nature happened in Kanarra falls, near the Zion National Park, in Utah (Western US). The State is well known for its amazing rock formations resembling the surface of Mars. 

How to get there? 

Kanarra Falls is becoming the new place for adventure seekers because of its short paths, the similarity with Antelope Canyon plus a creek, and the gorgeous and thoroughly photographed waterfalls. It’s the perfect route to add to your itinerary inside Utah National Parks. 

November was ending, and my friend and I were driving cross-country from Los Angeles to New York City. That day, we left Las Vegas at 5am. After 2 hours and a half driving, we made a quick stop in Kanarra Falls, and without planning, took this adventure. And why not? 

Driving from Las Vegas is one of the options to get there. Driving from Salt Lake City takes 4 hours and a half. But the easiest option is staying in St. George (1 hour away) or Cedar City, being the closest towns (15 minutes). 

What to pack?  

Waterproof shoes or waterproof hiking boots with wool socks are highly recommended. Especially in Fall and Spring when the water is frozen, and the last point of the route is through the creek. 

I decided to take this trip on a whim, without considering my outfit. Big mistake! My friend had the proper shoes. Instead, I wore white sneakers (that ended up all muddy.) and as much as I grabbed the riverbanks or skipped from rock to rock, at some points there wasn’t any other option than to cross through the cold river at some spots.  

In any case, the water never got deeper than the ankle height until the first waterfall.

Also, it’s important to pack a drybag, a water bottle, and sunblock. The trekking poles are optional for balance. 

The trail  

Kanarra Falls is a moderate and short walk. Ideal for families. It takes 2 hours –out and back- until the first waterfall (the one with best view) and up to 3 hours to the third one.  

The first part of the trail is flat, then with a little bit of climbing and some jumping between rocks. There are not trail signs but, it’s not complicated to see and follow the path. 

Once we entered the Slot canyon, it just took my breath away. The dramatic natural carvings, the rich and striking colors, as well as the marvelous light beams bouncing and reflecting off the towering stone walls were mesmerizing. 

Inside the canyon, the waterfall, a metal ladder, and a tree trunk were the perfect frame for our first stop in Kanarra Falls. This was my Instagram’s moment. After the climb, comes the way to the other two waterfalls. 

Once again, my inadequate shoes didn’t allow me to go forward. The ladder was too slippery, and the rope was deteriorated, so I didn’t want to take the risk of falling. Lesson learned!  

Nevertheless, I took some time to enjoy, connect and appreciate as much as I could from this amazing sight while my friend went forward first.  

Quick facts:    

·    The ticket cost 12 USD per person with parking included.  

·    Only 150 persons are allowed to enter per day. I recommended you to buy it before on their website  

·    Pets are not allowed on the trail and it’s also not intended for kids under 6 years old. 

·    The best seasons are the Spring and Fall.   

·    There is a restroom just a bit after the trail begins, and at the parking lot. 




Holidays, travel, sightseeing, expeditions, tours, cruises… these the are words that in the times of the pandemic have been taken away from our vocabulary.  Even thinking about them causes frustration, because all those plans to visit another country fell apart during 2020.  

Definitely, in Covid19 times, traveling is not the recommended choice and staying at home is the best guarantee to protect yourself.  

But there are those who spend hours (myself included) checking the cheap flights, hotels with ridiculous low prices and restrictions from each country. And we want to overcome the fear by taking “that” risk. At the same time, there is a business somewhere that needs tourism to survive in the midst of the crisis.  

That’s how in July I arrived at the Riviera Maya in Mexico. After researching what were the safest sites and what protective measures should be taken, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Holbox were the best places to choose from. Days earlier, the area had received the International Seal ‘Safe Travel’, which is awarded by the World Travel & Tourism Council, for complying with high standards of protection.  

The area reopened since June, and until September 6th, has been working with a capacity of 30% to 50% (phase 1), so an agglomeration was unlikely. Its beaches were closed, except Holbox, so I looked for entertainment options with the least danger of contagion.  


We are told repeatedly that the airports are the most insecure places. From my personal experience, it didn’t feel that way. I was stunned as I entered an empty Terminal 4 of John F Kennedy in New York. It was shocking to see it so quiet.  

Checking in online, having carry-on baggage and keeping the ticket on my cell phone helped me avoid the line at the airline counter. At the security gate, officers as well as passengers were required to wear masks. No one comes near you unless the security scanner detects metal and there are wipes in every corner.  

I traveled with Delta airlines. On my flight, 1 or 2 people were seated per line. The crew gave me hands sanitizer when I was boarding, and later, when I got a plastic bag with water and snacks.  

Almost 4 hours with the mask is challenging, but the flight attendants checked regularly to verify that we didn’t take them off. Their key suggestion: wash your hands frequently. 

When I arrived at the Cancun airport, I observed that there were social distance guidelines in place, and everything looked disinfected. On my way back to US, I had to fill out an online form where I confirmed that I had no symptoms and I had not been in contact with an infected person to the best of my knowledge.   


My first destination was Holbox Island. For this trip, I decided to rent a car to the port of Chiquilá and then take the boat. The ferry has limited capacity, and to enter, you have to cross a disinfection tunnel. Even to get on taxis (which are golf carts) the use of masks is mandatory.  

The hotels had a capacity of 30%, so you feel like you’re the only one staying.  The employees shielded their faces with plastic protectors, in addition to their masks, and they also took the temperature of the guests and disinfected their shoes.   

There are activities that do not require grouping. Hotels offer private tours of up to 5 people. The beach is wide, and you may not see another tourist swimming in the sea or tanning at a distance of 10 meters.  


The second destination was Tulum. This time the option was to rent a house on Airbnb. Its owners emphasized that their hygiene standards were rigorous, but they failed to provide disinfectant wipes.  

Restrictions on covid19 and excess seaweed were the reasons why it was forbidden to enter the beaches and their archaeological area, but Riviera Maya has a range of attractions that includes lagoons and “cenotes” (natural freshwater ponds).   

Tulum is one of the most visited Mayan sites in Mexico, but on this trip, I only saw the locals. No matter the size of the crowd, it is very charming. With so many picture-perfect points of interest, it’s worth cycling through them, which is a traditional tourist activity.   

For $8, I rented a bike for the day. Pedaling through the hotel area near the beach was a good option. The area is ideal for taking those perfect social media photos. 

Places that are not be missed: The “Follow that Dream” sign from the Lolita store; Matcha Mama’s swings; the sculpture “Come to the Light” by artist Daniel Popper at the hotel “Ahau”; the entrance of the Selina hotel, and the cenote inside the Clandestino restaurant.  

Another option to enjoy, without any contact with more tourists, was the Kaan Luum lagoon. This giant nature reserve is open from 9am. It is characterized by its watercolor tones, which change as it becomes deeper. In addition, it has hammocks and swings around, making the site very pleasant and relaxing.   

Th entry cost is 50 pesos (3USD). Additional equipment can be rented for kayaking or diving.   

One of the sacred sites of the Maya were the “cenotes”, which are freshwater ponds connected to caves and underground rivers. They are famous along the Yucatan Peninsula.  

In Riviera Maya alone you can dive and swim in about 20 locations.  Near Tulum is Gran Cenote, which is more open and spacious, and makes it easier to follow social distance guidelines. Here, disinfection protocols, our new normality, were applied and employees were diligently avoiding crowds.   


The beaches were closed, but the hotel restaurants in front of the sea were still worth it. It was still allowed to have a margarita and eat some tacos, enjoying the breeze and the view.  

This is how in hotels such as The Mi Amor, in Tulum and Mamitas, in Playa del Carmen, you could even enter the pools without worries. Due to the limited number of allowed visitors, they were practically empty.    

In Playa del Carmen, restaurants were coming back to life. Upon entering, the fully protected servers apply hands sanitizer to each customer and take their temperature. In addition, each table has signs to notify them that they have been cleaned, and the menus were barcodes that are scanned on the cell phone.   

Playa del Carmen


On my last day in the Mexican Caribbean, I decided to take a tour of Isla Mujeres on a catamaran. These trips had their capacity reduced from 50 persons to 12.   

Upon entering the docks in Cancun, our temperature was taken, we were offered antibacterial sanitizer, and once in the catamaran, our shoes stayed in a box, which the crew disinfected.   

The crew never took off their mask, but visitors could, as long as we were apart. We receive disposable equipment for snorkeling. 

During my week in Riviera Maya, I could see that the local tourism industry continues to get ready for this new normal and for the time when the area reopens a 100 percent.   

Tourism is considered an essential job in Mexico, so its community follow every rule and make us visitors be fully compliant with health protocols so that the danger of contagion is minimal, and all travelers feel confident to travel despite the uncertainty that the world is currently experiencing 


  • The parks of the Xcaret group are open to the public, but with reduced schedules. It’s best to check your  
  • As of September 7, the beaches of Riviera Maya (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and other municipalities) have already entered the phase two. Its beaches began to reopen by 60-70%.   
  • Cancun Airport and Cozumel are open.   
  • There is no quarantine required upon arrival to the Riviera Maya, Mexico. But for more information about restrictions and epidemiological risks, you can enter  (Spanish only).





We were getting into the water, in the middle of an absolute darkness. Just following the steps and the voices of Gilmer and Alfonso, our tour guides. Scared? Not even for a minute!

My five friends and I were so excited to be in a such a peaceful place,  around of an extraordinary show of stars and also, we were about to watch the surprise of the night.  

We were walking and the water barely cover our knees. Gilmer told us to move the water as strong as we can. Suddenly the performance started. The sea lighted up with thousands of turquoise lights. They were impregnated in our hands for seconds. 

If that could happen with our hands, why not just try the whole body? So, we dipped and immediately were glowing as star. This was our moment to filled our souls with all the energy that the mother nature was giving us. 

We wanted to keep this moment but it was too dark to recorder our experience with the famous bioluminescence plankton, a tiny marine organism that can sometimes cause the surface of the ocean to sparkle at night.  

Courtesy of the Hotel Association of Holbox

Holbox, Mexico 

To live that experience, it only took us: a plane to Cancun, a car rented at the airport, a ferry taking from the port of Chiquila and a golf cart… That was how Mexico welcomed us. We were at the Yucatan Peninsula and specifically to the island of Holbox. 

Hol-bo-(sh) as pronounced by Mexicans is the best kept secret of the country, although in recent years its paradise beaches and its advertising on social media have made it the new destination for those who visit the Riviera Maya.  

This little island has a green soul, it’s eco-friendly. You won’t find pretentious hotels, a bustling nightlife or luxuries. Also, there are not paved streets or cars, you will see golf carts and bicycles instead. 

That’s its charm. Feel away from the noise, surround yourself with pelicans and flamingos, and enjoy a wide turquoise beach, while having a beer, a margarita or a mojito. 

However, Holbox does have a wide range of accommodation. Its hotels are comfortable and elegant, but maintaining a rustic décor. We arrived at Soho Boutique Holbox. Due to the Pandemic by the Covid19, only days earlier the island had reopened, so its hosting capacity was 30%. 

What to do?  

Here we go! First stop, of course, the beach. Holbox is not a massive destination and due to the global quarantine, we had miles of fine sand, and crystal-clear water with no waves just for us. Can we ask for more?

This was the real paradise, despite the high temperatures and the sun of shimmering. A few months earlier, the hammocks and swings along the water were an attraction but, because of the lock down, they were removed.   

One more time, Gilmer and Alfonso, offered us their almost 4-hour tour. This time would be by boat around three smalls islands. The service was complete: a bottle of Don Julio 70 tequila, grapefruit soda, bottles of water, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and music. We are ready! 

The first excursion  to explore was the  “Isla de los Pájaros”  or the Bird Island, which is home to nearly 100 species. Passion Island or “Isla Pasión”  was the second spot. It was an islet that can be walking by the sea (along the way, the water reaches your ankle).  

And, the third island was the Yalahau cenote, a sacred site for the Mayan Culture. The natives say that their waters are healing and immersing themselves there will rejuvenate you 5 years. So, after one-hour bathing, we were 20 years old.   

Feeling as teenagers, we kept discovering Holbox. It was the time to walk around the downtown. Its sandy streets were with large wells due to a previous rain. Dodging the water, we got to see some of its famous and colorful murals. Alongside them, souvenirs stores and houses with vibrant colors.   

It was almost time for my happy and favorite hour: the sunset. The best place to enjoy it was Punta Cocos. On our way, we found two beach clubs in front of the beach. Coralina and el Chiringuito. Both were the right and more comfortable places to see the mosaic of colors. Of course, with some shrimp tacos and a perfect paloma (drink with tequila, lime and grapefruit soda). 

Holbox has so many more attractions what is worth it to do it. Ride a bike to Punta Mosquito (east side of the island), watch the whale shark (between June and August), dive, fish and swim along the flamingos.  

At the next day and before take the ferry, our last stop was the restaurant Roots, recommended for its the best lobster pizza of town. The pizza was made in a wood-burning oven. A thin dough topped with bits of the crustacean melted in our mouth. Between 5, we ate 4 family size pizzas. Oh! And for a good farewell, it’s worth joining the meal with the Frida Kahlo cocktail (tequila with cucumber, mint and lime) 

Holbox, which in Mayan means “Black Hole”, was our perfect place to get away and disconnect from all the news. Its people also live from tourism so we rigorously observed how all the disinfection and sanitizing protocols were followed at the right way. They gave us the confidence that we were in the best hands. And, the atmosphere, on the best island.  


  • Holbox is located at the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico.   
  • It’s at the Golfo de México and part of Yum Balam Natural Reserve.  
  • The island is 24 miles long. and almost 2 miles wide.   
  • Language: Spanish.   
  • Currency: Mexican pesos. Better to carry cash because there are just few ATMs and by noon are out of money.  
  • Transportation: bikes and golf cars.   
  • How to get there? There is a ferry departing of the port of Chiquila. The price is 200 pesos (9$). You can find also private boat for the same price per person. Other option is taking a private jet for 550 to 1,200 USD, according to the capacity.  

Americabucketlistroad triptraveltripsturismoutahworldwide



Zion National Park was glowing with its reddish, pink, orange, and yellow hues. Its rocky and semi-desert landscape was the gateway to the state of Utah, in the United States. Driving through it felt like being immersed in a nature theme park. 

This is how I began my first road trip journey through the west of the country. After 10 years living in New York, it was about time to explore those spectacular national parks, still inhabited by American Indian communities. Driving from Las Vegas, Nevada, I went through Route 89, visiting 4 sites: Zion, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend and Lake Powell. 

Springdale, the closest town to Zion National Park

Imposing walls, which form the canyon, majestic topography, hills, gorges, high precipices, lookouts, streams, lakes, ponds, swamps, desert… All of it is Zion.  

If you are a lover of camping and nature, it will take you at least 5 days to explore it fully. The park has 15 trails with easy, moderate and intense walks. The free buses take you from the parking lot to the beginning of each journey. In my case I chose ‘Canyon Overlook’. It is the only location where you can park your vehicle at a nearby point. 


The experience is fascinating. Part of the path is carved out of the stone, and there are chasms where you must hold onto the ropes and climb on rocks. The heat of July is intense, but with a water bottle, comfortable clothes and a cap, you will reach the panoramic viewpoint in an hour. This is where the mountains trails meet and shape the canyon.  

Narrows is the most famous and difficult because you walk along the Virgin River and the journey takes 8 hours. Angels Landing is the ideal for beginners, suitable for those who do not suffer from vertigo. Since I was running out of time, I couldn’t complete another trail. I had three hours ahead of me to reach the town of Page by car, near my next point: Antelope.  

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is located within the desert in the state of Arizona. For the Navajo communities, Antelope is a spiritual place, where you can feel in harmony with nature. This canyon, with dramatic curvatures in its walls, is undoubtedly one of the most photographed and visited sites in the country.

Because it’s such a narrow passage, the light that penetrates and bounces of the sandstone rock is reflected in a multitude of orange, yellow and red tones.


Only Navajo guided tours are available, and the best time for its light effect is at 12pm. Get those tickets early. It’s almost mission impossible, so plan to buy them weeks in advance.  

Fortunately, I got them for the 11 am tour. While I waited, the heat, once again, was getting to me. A van took us down a sandy route to the Upper Antelope, where we encountered a flood of tourists already lining up to enter. 

Inside, the atmosphere was more than unique. It was magical. As noon approached, Antelope gave us a display: a fusion of light and shadow. In certain parts, it was like being inside a cave. Taking photos was challenging due to the number of tourists and the confinement of the narrow canyon. The shape of the site is not helpful either. 

After an hour surrounded by this fantastic game of colors, we walked 15 minutes towards the next stop: Horseshoe bend  

Horseshoe bend

My favorite spot. Perhaps, the most spectacular natural view in the US. It is like a canvas: The height of the Glen canyon, and the perfect meander surrounded by the Colorado River (400m high), will take your breath away.

The route from the parking lot to the canyons edge is very short. Only 15 minutes. But this is the desert, and with an average temperature of 104 degrees, you will find dozens of signs advising you to bring plenty of water and sun protection. And believe me, they are right to warn you. After 5 minutes I found it difficult to breathe and walk at the same time.

Once in the observation point, you get to enjoy the view. Fill yourself with energy and photograph every corner. Some daring tourist approached the edge to get the perfect portrait for the hour: The sun falling in the sky. 


Once I finished this adventure, I began my drive back to Las Vegas. But an entrance sign to Lake Powell caught my attention. Dozens of mobile homes were parked along the shores of the artificial lake that is the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States.

Seeing the crystal-clear waters while enduring the sweltering temperature, it was impossible for me not to make a final stop and take a dive before returning to Nevada. 

Lake Powell is in the border of the states of Arizona y Utah.

To know:

  • Entry to Zion is $ 35 per vehicle. The pass lasts up to a week. 
  • There are not many nearby towns. The best options are the towns of Springdale (near Zion) and Page (Antelope). 
  • Antelope has two cannons. High and low. The best view is the first. The entrance is 60 USD for adults and 30 USD for children. You can only pay in cash. 
  • The airports near these sites are the ones serving Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona 



We were 22 meters underground. We turn off the headlights of our helmets, we remain silent and immobile for three minutes. My first time experiencing absolute total silence. Without the sound of ambulances, trains, planes and New York’s loud voices.

Nor was a ray of light reflected in the cave. It was absolutely dark. I couldn’t see the outline of my hands. But I was never afraid, I think nobody felt fear. We only enjoyed that peace and harmony that we went to look for at the place where the Mayan Gods delighted for many centuries: The secret river (Río Secreto).  

The expedition began with a 20-minute walk through the jungle. We wore special clothes and water shoes. Before that, we had to leave our belongings in a locker and take a bath to eliminate all the chemicals that we may have in our body, so we were not going to contaminate the water. 

In a curve we found a shaman, who asked us to make a circle to start the ritual. It was the first interaction with the Mayan culture. With herbs and incenses he repeated his prayer to ask the Gods to bless our almost two-hour journey through the natural reserve of the Mexican Riviera

Nothing would happen to us because we were protected. They had approved our visit. 

Holding hands, because of the rocky path, we descended and entered this almost 12-kilometer cave system. We dive into the water. “Shit, it’s freezing,” Canadian tourists shouted. In my case, I held my breath until my body acclimatized to the water. 

We turned on our flashlights… 


We look around us. It gave us chills, and three of the eight tourists were gasping. This was an ecosystem like none of us has ever seen before. 

It was a river, with no current, hidden below the surface. A turquoise color reflected in our lights. On the sides, we were amazed with the white and yellow rocky walls, rich in stalagmites, stalactites and calcium columns.

All intertwined with each other, as if someone had sculpted them so. We were not allowed to touch them or hold onto them. The big rocks in the water caused us to stumble so our walk was very slow. 

Courtesy by Río Secreto

In certain areas we had to swim in the depth of the river. “Be careful, if you drink from this water, You will surely have a kidney stone later”, the guide, Yonathan explained when talking about the richness in calcium carbonate that are present in this ecosystem. 

However, we were allowed to swim and enjoy the water. Once again, we turned off all the lights and enjoyed the darkness again. It was only two minutes. A little moment to relax completely and enough to be delighted. 


As we continued descending, the guide indicated that for the Mayans, the caves were a place where their gods lived because the water had not been touched by man. Also, when they discovered the area in 2006, they discovered archaeological remains.

Almost an hour had passed, and our journey was still going. In each sector the hue of the walls changed and even the stalagmites were replaced by helictites that looked like corals or popcorn..


We also observed some mangrove roots and were scared to see a scorpion resting on a rock, but we tried not to scream so as not to awaken the bats.

Charged with the energy of the Secret River (Rio Secreto), we saw a light. We were near the exit. “See that hole up there. A fox fell while being chased. This is how they discovered this reserve”, Yonathan told us. 


As we continued walking, the path was getting brighter. We reached the surface and found an archaeological vessel, which probably belonged to the Mayan Culture. It was the end of our expedition.

We felt privileged because Río Secreto opened its doors in 2009. It is an almost unknown place for many tourists, despite being one of the destinations recommended by National Geographic magazine. 

To end this amazing and vibrant expedition, we made a toast with anise. Then we all have a Mexican lunch buffet that was included in the ticket. We had chicken, lime soup and some tostadas.

Río Secreto taught us that Mother Nature is so rich in ecosystems and there is still so much to explore.


  • Río Secreto is located 5 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico.  
  • The caves in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, are underwater. Aquifers like Río Secreto are filled by rain that seeps through the limestone. 
  • Río Secreto is a model of sustainable tourism. They preserve the underground area and the jungle that is above it.  
  • In the jungle they have felines such as the jaguar, puma, ocelot, tigrillo and jaguarundi. There are deer, anteaters, and raccoons.
  • Unique creatures capable of surviving in perpetual darkness also live within the ecosystem. These are the blind shrimp, the white lady (a blind translucent fish), and scorpions. 
  • The ticket costs 79USD.