chiapas photo tour

San Cristóbal de las Casas

We just returned from one of our favorite places in Mexico, San Cristóbal de las Casas in the beautiful mountains of Chiapas. This will be More »

riviera maya wedding photographer

Best Wedding Photographers Riviera Maya

  Here is the thousand(s) dollar question that brides who demand quality are asking: “Who is the best wedding photographer in the Riviera Maya?” The More »

Fes, Morocco

We wanted to go to Morocco for three reasons: architecture, art and food. We didn’t expect more and we weren’t disappointed. But, first, you gotta More »

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We were looking forward to our time in Spain for two reasons: the food and the architecture. Let’s face it, those two things are the More »

Italy in the Summer

All of my previous trips to Italy have been in the off-season, usually April or October. I love that time of year since there are More »

Category Archives: Mexico

Chiapas Photo Tour

day of the dead photos

There are many options for great photo tours and workshops in Mexico. The reason we offer the Chiapas Photo Tour is simple. We think Chiapas is one of the most interesting places in Mexico. Our Day of the Dead photo tour will not only be a great opportunity to improve your photography skills, but it will also be an unforgettable cultural experience – one for both amateur and advanced photographers.

Why do we love San Cristóbal de las Casas and Chiapas? In the southernmost state in Mexico, you will find amazing scenery, wonderful people, interesting cultural events, a mild climate, and markets loaded with fresh produce, crafts, art and coffee. Chiapas is a destination that you won’t soon forget and one that you, like us, will find yourself returning to frequently.

chiapas photo tour

day of the dead photo tour

day of the dead

Why should you attend our Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) photo tour? First of all, it will be a real experience, not one that is created for tourists. Even more importantly, the observances in small neighboring towns have not become crowded with tourists unlike the Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca or Michoacan. We are going to visit small villages where people take great pride in bringing food and flowers to the graves of their departed family and celebrating their lives.

chiapas photo tour

Here is another good reason why travel is good for you. It’s good for your health. Click here to read why. After working for more than 35 years, visiting more than 45 countries, all of the Canadian provinces and all 50 U.S. states as a professional photographer, I can affirm that travel is good for you mentally and physically. I’m still excited to pack my bags and cameras and leave for the next adventure.

Growing up in a small town, I remember devouring every National Geographic magazine that arrived in the mail. Like many photographers, I always dreamed of working for National Geographic. The real dream began in 1995 when I got the call from NatGeo. Eventually, I would photograph five books for National Geographic in the U.S., Canada and in eight African countries.

day of the dead photo tour

On our travel tours, we will introduce you to the people and places that excite us and keep us returning.

We are offering a discount on early booking for the Day of the Dead photo tour in Chiapas, Mexico. Book by July 1 and get $200 off the regular price. You can see details at: Magical Light Adventures

Magical Light Adventures

We have been working on Magical Light Adventures for more than a month and are excited to share it with you. Our new business will feature photo tours and workshops, initially to our favorite spot in Mexico – Chiapas. We’ll add new tours in 2017 and 2018 in the Yucatan, Guatemala and Cuba. Our dream would be to add tours in Cartegeña, Colombia, the cities and mountains of Ecuador and, of course, the Galapagos.

chiapas photo tour

We love travel and we are passionate about photography and want to share our experiences with a select group of people. We’ll offer three types of trips: tours, workshops and research trips.

Photo workshops will be a more intensive photography experience with field trips and daily classroom sessions featuring critiques and editing. Each workshop will produce a travel book from the week’s photos. Participants will not only learn how to improve their photography skills, but will also learn workflow, book layout and printing techniques.

Photo tours will feature the same hands on photo instruction as a workshop, but will not have the classroom sessions or formal critique sessions. Each participant will receive a photo book containing photos from the group’s photos.

A Photo research tour is offered when we travel to a new place to set up the details for a formal tour or workshop. Group size is limited to four people, will offer photo tips as we work on location, informal photo discussions during dinner or drinks and will be priced lower than a tour or workshop. Our first research trip to Guatemala is already full!

The first opportunity to improve your photography skills is March 2017. You can discover one of the most amazing parts of Mexico – Chiapas. We’ll stay in the colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, visit vibrant indigenous villages, tour stunning Mayan ruins (Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan), and explore the lush mountains and exotic rivers of Chiapas.

Future tours and workshops will be held in the fall of 2017 in Chiapas, with one week featuring Dia de los Muertos, and Semana Santa in Guatemala in March of 2018.

Enjoy the photos below from some of our previous trips to Chiapas and Cuba and click on over to Magical Light Adventures for details.


San Cristóbal, Chiapas








San Cristóbal de las Casas

chiapas photo tour

We just returned from one of our favorite places in Mexico, San Cristóbal de las Casas in the beautiful mountains of Chiapas. This will be the headquarters for our new Chiapas Photo Tour. We’ll announce details on Latin Journeys and in social media within a few days.

chiapas photo tour

In front of the cathedral

Founded in 1528, this magical colonial town features cobblestone streets, colorful architecture, a church for every taste, a vibrant art scene and wonderful people. Plus, with an elevation of 7,200 feet, a great climate most of the year.

chiapas photo tour

chiapas photo tour

It had been a few years since we were here (you can read previous blog posts from October and December 2010 and November 2011 by searching the Archives on the right side of the page), so we discovered several new restaurants. More importantly, we came for a month and rented an apartment, so we visited the local markets as much as visited the local restaurants. There are small, but well-attended organic markets on Wednesday and Saturday where local growers have fresh vegetables (fava beans, greens, squash blossoms, new potatoes, strawberries, etc.), European-style cheeses, and fresh chicken and rabbit. The larger daily market has just about anything you could want, both locally grown and from other parts of Mexico.

chiapas photo tour

Our home for a month was Kukurutz Residencias, centrally located, peaceful, very comfortable with bright apartments, nice terraces and spectacular gardens (perfect for our dog, Yoda). We parked our car in the secured parking area and rarely drove unless we ventured out to the Chedraui (grocery store) or to one of the nearby villages.

chiapas photo tour

chiapas photo tour

chiapas photo tour

Let’s get to the restaurants. There were old favorites, like Oh la la French patisserie (great croissants and apple turnovers) and Pizzeria Napoli (loved the grilled vegetables). New places since our last visit were El Cau (outstanding Spanish tapas and wine), Carajillo Cafe (featuring locally sourced beans from specific farms and blending different bean varieties – all fair trade and all shade grown), Hotel Bo’s Restaurant Lum (upscale and creative at resasonable prices), Bangcook (terrific Thai), Achiote (cochinita pibil) and Casa Lum. Here are a few photos from our eating and shopping while we were in this amazing city.

chiapas photo tour

Duck pate at El Cau

chiapas photo tour

Tortilla soup at Cafe Lum

chiapas photo tour

Spring rolls at Bankcook

chiapas photo tour

Carajillo Cafe

Best Wedding Photographers Riviera Maya

riviera maya wedding photographer


Here is the thousand(s) dollar question that brides who demand quality are asking:

“Who is the best wedding photographer in the Riviera Maya?”

el dorado royale wedding

The easy answer – it’s M & J Photography! M & J is Michael and Jennifer Lewis, professional photographers who moved to the area in 2010, had a destination wedding, then fell in love with photographing destination weddings.

riviera maya wedding

Here is where we come clean, we (the writers) are M & J! This is why we think we are the best:

  • We meet every couple before we book the wedding and make sure that we have a connection with them. We are passionate about what we do and we want to help make the wedding day the best day ever. That is nearly impossible to do without an honest connection.
  • We bust our butts to make photos that tug your heart strings, bring tears to your parent’s eyes and make your friends envious.
  • With more than 30 years of experience as professional photographers and with photo assignments all over the world (including National Geographic), we are calm and flexible on your wedding day.
  • We photograph every wedding together, which means we miss nothing, we capture different angles of the same moment, and you’ll have a collaboration of two pros with different styles, but with one goal. To capture amazing images for you!
  • We love what we do and we love meeting new people. Don’t just take our word for it. Read what our past couples have said here.
  • We have searched for the best photo lab and the best album company in the world, which means you will have beautiful prints (giclee, canvas, metal, acrylic, etc) at reasonable prices and an album hand made in Italy.
  • We work from a place of honesty. For us to produce brilliant work, we must like you and you must like us. It’s not enough to simply like our images and think they are cool. We don’t want to be hired hands, we want to become your friends. It’s the only way that “amazing” happens.

riviera maya wedding phtoographer


The Riviera Maya is home to talented photographers with many styles, different personalities and different ways to approach and document the wedding day.

How do you determine who is right for you? Meet the photographers who interest you and see if you connect.

Contact us, schedule a video call and see if we are right for you.


Holbox Dream Hotel

We recently spent a few nights at one of the newest hotels on the sleepy island of Holbox, off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.


Holbox Dream is a project by successful Playa del Carmen-based hotel group, Xperience Hotels. Their comfortable properties in Playa include Hacienda Paradise, Aqua Luna and Illusions Boutique Hotel.

The Holbox property involved a complete remodel of existing rooms, and the addition of a restaurant, pool and new rooms. The two-story units are on the beach and feature a great Italian restaurant, two pools, hammocks or chairs on each balcony, bicycles to rent and a friendly, accommodating staff. Another big plus is that it’s pet friendly.

Rather than carry on about it, check out the photos and see for yourself.


Shells used for faucets and natural soaps and shampoos in all of the bathrooms.


The rooms are stylish and comfortable.









Why We Love Cozumel


After four years of living on the island of Cozumel, and working in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico, we’ve finally made a firm decision: We love Cozumel and we don’t intend to move!

Sure, Playa del Carmen entices us with great restaurants, and Tulum intrigues us with it’s hip vibe and more great restaurants, and Isla Mujeres tempts us with small town charm. But, we have decided to put away those temptations. Here is why.

Everyone has their own reasons about why they choose to live where they do. We live here because of the water: the access to it, the quality of it and the variety of it. While those other towns are on the water, or are surrounded by it, none of them can offer the experience of Cozumel.


Nobody has the quality of snorkeling and diving on reefs that we have here. The visibility and health of the mainland reef system simply does not compare to our reefs on the west side of the island (and many Playa del Carmen dive masters will privately agree). Reefs on the mainland that are close to shore such as Xpu-ha and Akumal are murky with little to see. They may have been good before Wilma and other hurricanes, but no longer.


On Cozumel, there are several spots on the west and south side of the island for good snorkeling, boat dives, shore dives and just plain swimming. Check out this video recently shot during a shore dive from one of the best dive resorts on the island, Blue Angel. We didn’t travel much more than 100 yards from the resort, we were diving in less than 30 feet of water and saw spotted eagle rays, tons of lobster, eels, and more.


Secondly, the incredible east side of the island, virtually undeveloped, has got to be one of the best-kept secrets in Mexico. With no large resorts to block access, the rugged coastline is dotted with stretches of sand, perfect for a relaxing afternoon, swimming in the surf, or kite boarding. Even on a busy Sunday, there is usually only one spot in the entire 12 mile stretch of beach (accessible by paved road) that is crowded. Try to find that on the mainland. Another 12-15 miles of the coastline is only accessible by 4-wheel drive for those who really want to get away.



I’m not sure when you last went to the beach along the Riviera Maya, or in the U.S., for that matter, but unspoiled, public accessible, white sand beaches with warm Caribbean water are in short supply.

The best part of living on an island is designing your day on the water based on your activity for the day. Is the wind blowing hard from the east? No problem, the ocean on the west side will be nice and calm. Got a norte blowing and the west side is choppy? We go to Punta Sur and enjoy a nice long white sandy beach and a terrific snorkeling reef. Sitting on the mainland with a strong wind blowing from the east or north? Sorry, you’ve got nowhere to hide.

Sure, we have good restaurants, especially those with sunset views, something you won’t get on the mainland.


We have one of the oldest and most popular Carneval parades in Mexico. In the days before Lent, the island reaches a fever pitch with days of parades with creative floats, dance competitions, performances by Mexico’s top entertainers – and it’s a local celebration. Visitors are welcome to join in and have fun, but it’s definitely not put on for tourists.




I could go on with other small things that make living here comfortable and interesting, but, for us, it’s the water, the Caribbean and the beaches. If those things matter to you, I can’t imagine why anyone would vacation, get married, or even live on the mainland.

We won’t!