This post was last updated on June 13th, 2016
It’s no secret that I have a terrible memory. Casey even lovingly calls me “goldfish” sometimes. In fact, one of the reasons we’ve kept blogging all these years is to have a diary of sorts to remember our travels. And it has become one heck of a journal.
From our honeymoon road trip to cycling 1,000 miles across Vietnam to celebrating the World Cup in soccer-crazy Brazil, there are certain moments on our travels that we’ll remember forever. But there are smaller details, destinations and encounters that likely would have faded into the background if it hadn’t been for the photos that we took and the stories we wrote here.
The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” gets tossed around a lot. I find this is especially true when referring to travel. That’s not to say that words aren’t important, of course. They certainly help put you on the right path and give you the information you need to see a destination. But for me personally, photographs are where true travel inspiration starts.
When I look at a photo from a trip I took years ago, it’s almost like traveling back in time. I can close my eyes and feel myself back in that crowded smelly market with the dangling pig heads. I can feel the enormous cathedral in all of its stained glass glory. Photos allow me to relive that wonderous feeling of our travels every day.
That said, on our most recent trip to Mexico, I hardly took any photos at all. Not because I wasn’t inspired—we visited some of the most beautiful regions of Mexico I’ve ever seen. It also wasn’t because I didn’t have my camera with me. In fact, it was around my neck the entire time.
I hardly took any photos because Bernie of Cantimplora Travel captured every moment of our time in Oaxaca in beautiful detail. Cantimplora Travel is a small group tour company run by residents Samantha and Bernie. Their dream is to help more travelers have memorable, off-the-beaten-path travel experiences and the photos to remember them for the rest of their life.
As a travel photographer myself, it wasn’t intuitive to trust someone else behind the lens. But now that I’ve seen the photographic proof, I couldn’t love the idea of Cantimplora Travel more. Leave the camera behind. Enjoy and immerse yourself in your vacation while your professional photographer captures all of your memorable moments for you to take home. Then, relive your travel memories for the rest of your life.
The past few weeks, we’ve written extensively about our road trip through Oaxaca. By now, we’ve had the chance to fully ruminate on the ultimate highlights of the adventure.
Here are a few of our favorite photos taken during our tour with Cantimplora Travel…and why I will always remember them:
It was our first night in Oaxaca City, and we were just starting to get a feel for the small, artistic city. While walking along the pedestrian street, we suddenly began to hear loud music coming from further up the road near the city’s cathedral. As we walked closer, we realized this was no ordinary street performance, but a marriage procession where the newlyweds were being paraded through the street, dancing and singing all the while in celebration. We had only been in town for a few hours, but already we could feel Oaxaca’s powerful connection to tradition and the culture’s deep love of color, life and joy.
I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do know we laughed a lot. Sitting out under the stars with the fire roaring, this photo will always remind me that travel isn’t always about seeing new destinations, but the friendships and bonds we make along the way that makes the world a smaller and more loving place.
Don is a small batch organic mezcal farmer who Bernie and Samantha have been helping to support. During our visit to his farm and production facility, which consisted of a giant earth oven and a few distillery barrels, Don’s passion and commitment to quality mezcal were evident. It showed not only in his enthusiasm but his product as well. We ended up buying a white and an aged bottle of mezcal, of which Bernie and Samantha had donated the very first round of bottles and labels. It was the perfect souveneir.Amazing images from our favorite memories in Oaxaca, MexicoClick To Tweet
Hierve el Agua
Usually, when we visit a spot this gorgeous, it ends up being me taking a photo of Casey. I look back through our many albums and almost every single time I am behind the camera. That being said, this candid picture never would have been possible unless we had a photographer. Sure we could have tried to set up a tripod and taken 20 shots until we got one we liked, but instead all we had to do was enjoy the view and let Cantimplora Travel do the rest.
Mexican food is our absolute favorite. During our trip, we ate everything from street tacos to gourmet meals. This particular feast at La Providencia in Zipolite was during our farewell dinner the last night of our trip. My mouth still salivates every time I look at it and remember that meal.
Punta Cometa Sunset
Since growing up on the East Coast of the US, watching sunsets over the ocean has always been a special treat. The sunset at Punta Cometa rivaled that of Santorini with its sweeping view and dramatic landscape. This is another moment where I would have been fiddling with my camera, testing multiple exposures, focusing on capturing that perfect moment instead of taking it all in. Instead, Casey and I got to relax and enjoy the sensational sunset while our personal photographer captured a candid moment for us.
Bahia de la Luna
Sometimes you’ll take a photo on vacation, only to come home and find that your picture just doesn’t capture the glory that you felt while you were there. This is not one of those times. This photo of paradise accurately represents just how gorgeous Bahia de la Luna is. We arrived at Bahia de la Luna just as the sun was coming over the cliffs and lighting up the water in a flurry of color. Oh yea, there were dolphins, too! Every time I look at this photo, I’m instantly transported back to that intimate white sand beach with the picture-perfect cerulean water.
At the beginning of our trip through Oaxaca, I honestly struggled to keep my camera in my bag and enjoy just being in the moment. But once I started to let go of the compelling urge to take pictures around every bend and instead trust that my photographer had me covered, I found myself enjoying our travel experience in a whole new way.
And let’s face it — in our culture where selfie deaths now outnumber shark attacks, we clearly have an addiction to staring at our phones when we should be staring at our surroundings.
Traveling with a professional photographer in tow isn’t in the budget for most people. However, when you split the cost between a small group, the luxury becomes much more accessible.
Typically we’re not big into group travel. Lucky for us, adventuring with Cantimplora Travel feels more like hanging out with a group of friends than joining a tour group. There’s plenty of time built into the itinerary for solo exploring. (We had a few romantic meals just the two of us.) When we were participating in group activities, the tours were carefully curated to ensure a perfect amount of time was allocated to each attraction. No rushing around from site to site. No wasted time dawdling, wondering what exactly we were waiting around for. Add to that the fact that Sam and Bernie prefer authentic encounters with locals to cookie-cutter tourist attractions, and it’s no wonder a road trip with Cantimplora Travel feels far removed from the lackluster tour groups we’ve joined in the past.
If you’ve always wanted to experience an off-the-beaten-track side of Mexico and take home professional, candid photographs of your travels, then you can’t go wrong with a trip with Cantimplora Travel. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their upcoming trips throughout the country.
Exclusive to A Cruising Couple readers, receive $100 off your next trip with Cantimplora Travel!
All photos by Cantimplora Travel
We were guests of Cantimplora Travel. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.