Culture and History Travel Tour to Mexico
Mexico is a very diverse land, their live ostentatious resorts with magnificent ancient cities, volcanoes and snow-covered ground give way to pine forests, deserts and beaches, tropical paradise. The buzz of the industrial megalopolis of Mexico City is an hour by plane from Chiapas, a state rich in natural resources on which indigenous people are faced with the paramilitary forces of the government . On the northern border, the Mexican heritage cultures converge with California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The landscape and people of Mexico reflect the country's extraordinary history, in part Indian and part Spanish. The traveler will just take a quick look at this nation to remember that the so-called New World was not anything new. Despite the considerable colonial legacy and rampant modernization, some fifty lives of indigenous people who still retain their own language and some vestiges of their traditional way of life.
General Information about Mexico
|Area||1,972,000 km ²|
|Capital||Mexico City (22,000,000)|
|Language||Spanish and more than 50 indigenous languages|
|Religion||Catholic 90%, 6% Protestant|
|government||presidential republic in federal court|
|Tourism||6.5 million visitors a year|
Best Time to travel Mexico
The best time to visit the country is between October and May because the weather is predominantly dry, with pleasant temperatures. Usually, the period between December and February is the coldest, when the northern winds may cause very low temperatures, almost glacial in the northern lands. The dates with the highest number of domestic trips are Easter and Christmas, times when the hotels are usually full.
Mexico's climate varies with the topography. In the plains on both coasts, the prevailing hot and humerus, but inland, at higher elevations such as Guadalajara or Mexico City, is much drier and more temperate. The warm and wet runs between May and October, but almost everywhere in the country this band is reduced from June to September. Coastal areas receive higher rainfall regions of high interior. In general, the coldest period is between December and February, in recent months, the northern winds can cause the lands to the north is very cold, reaching temperatures almost glacial.
Mean festivals and Holidays in Mexico
The festivals celebrated in Mexico are very lively and generally last several days. Each month is usually the case of a major national event, which must be added the local festivities in honor of saints. Carnival in late February or early March, a week before Ash Wednesday, is presented as the great Jolgorio before the 40 days of Lent. The Day of the Dead on November 2 (when it says that the souls of the dead returned to earth) is perhaps the most characteristic celebration of the country. Families build altars in their homes and visit cemeteries with flowers and garlands. In almost all markets are sold candy shaped skeleton.
January 1 - New Year
February 5 - Constitution Day
February 24 - Flag Day
March 21 - Anniversary of the birth of Benito Juarez
March / April - Good Friday-Easter Sunday
May 1 - Labor Day
May 5 - celebration of victory of 1862
September 16 - Independence Day
October 12 - Day of Race
November 20 - Day of Revolution
December 25 - Christmas Day
Most Attraction Places to Travel in Mexico
This huge city Mexico City It has everything you would expect from the biggest metropolis in the world. The best and the worst in the country are concentrated in the highlands where it extends from Mexico City. The result is a noisy and polluted cities, where a mix of music and noise, foul air and green parks, colonial palaces, museums of international renown and the endless suburban slums.
The historic center of Mexico City, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987, is the Plaza de la Constitution, commonly known as the Zocalo. Was paved for the first time in 1520, by order of Hernán Cortés, with stones from the ruins of the temples and palaces of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which was built in Mexico City. Tenochtitlan was built in the middle of a lagoon, so that most of the old buildings and churches of the city are sinking into the marshy ground on which they were raised. The National Palace occupies the entire eastern side of the Zocalo, was built on the former site of an Aztec palace and formerly was the residence of the viceroys of New Spain. Today houses the presidential offices, a museum and dramatic murals painted by Diego Rivera that narrate the history of the country.
The Metropolitan Cathedral, on the north side of the Zocalo, was built around 1520 by the Spaniards in the place where they erected the Tzompantli of the Aztecs, or wall of Calaveras (a kind of altar was placed where the skulls of people killed) . Just east of the cathedral are the ruins of the Temple Mayor, the Aztec main sanctuary and a museum with objects discovered at the site.
Alameda, once an Aztec market, is now a pleasant park. The streets around it, incorporating a mix of colonial mansions, skyscrapers, bustling cafes and restaurants, shops and markets. Other highlights include the Chapultepec Park, the largest park in Mexico City, which houses several museums, amusement parks and the presidential residence, "the Basilica of Guadalupe, the church built right on the spot where tradition has it appeared the pattern of Mexico, the colonial houses of San Angel, the pyramid Cuicuilco and canals of Xochimilco.
Garibaldi Square is the place where mariachi bands gather in the evenings, and the Zona Rosa, the neighborhood where the supply of nightlife. The best moderately priced hotels are located west of the Zócalo and south of Alameda. Practically the whole city can enjoy delicious food at very inexpensive prices.
Outskirts of Mexico City
Only 50 km northeast of downtown Mexico City, lies the ancient city's most remarkable country, Teotihuacan. It is believed that during the sixth century, at the time of its heyday, came to house two hundred thousand inhabitants. Teotihuacán was the capital of the Mexican first great civilization, and its ruins are testimony to its enormous importance. Travelers can visit the Avenue of the Dead, the Pyramid of the Sun (70 meters), the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. This sacred city was the designation of World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987.
probably the ancient capital of the Toltec civilization, lies 65 km north of Mexico City. The place is famous for its imposing stone warriors, 4 meters high.
About 85 km south of the capital is Cuernavaca, a city whose mild climate has attracted, from the colonial era, the wealthy people in Mexico City in search of tranquility. Much of the beauty of the city are hidden behind high walls and patios, but several of the residences have been transformed into galleries, hotels and restaurants. A metropolis is not recommended for those travelers who have a limited budget, and its attractions have become the favorite spot for foreigners who wish to receive Spanish courses.
ancient city of Taxco
located 180 km southwest of Mexico City and whose mines were mined silver is a beautiful town of colonial architecture and one of the most picturesque and pleasant country. Perched on a hillside, is a maze of cobbled streets, old buildings and delightful places. The city has been declared a historic monument.
Despite its attractive coastline with beaches of fine white sand, calm bays and imposing cliffs, the interior of Baja California is isolated and underdeveloped, it has always been a good place to hide. The Peninsula has served as a refuge for revolutionaries Magona, mercenaries and even those who drink during the era of Prohibition in the United States. At present, there are tourists who go to Baja. Among the highlights include San Borja, a remote town founded by Jesuit missionaries, the Sierra de San Francisco, near San Ignacio, a volcanic plateau that is home to extraordinary rock formations and in 1993 was declared World Heritage by UNESCO, and the Sierra de la Laguna, a botanical paradise at the southern tip of the peninsula, where aspen grow, cactus, palms and oaks, and where the mountain streams flowing between canyons of granite, a perfect place for walkers.
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico (Chihuahua-Pacific Railway)
The journey between Los Mochis and Chihuahua is one of the most spectacular in Mexico. The train crosses 88 bridges and 38 tunnels through the narrow canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara and perched on the side of imposing cliffs. This is a remarkable piece of engineering, not surprising that 90 years were needed for its construction. The trip consists of landscapes, the most prominent is the Copper Canyon, more and deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The more intrepid hikers can descend the 2,300 m with guides or Creel Divisadero.
Caula along the river, rocked the mountains covered with palm trees and emerald green waters of the Bay of Banderas, lies the picturesque town of Puerto Vallarta, with its cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses, is one of the favorite places for both the Budget travelers with comfortable and for the more independent. The city boasts white sand beaches and palm trees, bustling bars and restaurants, as well as a large number of galleries and craft shops. The city has gone so quickly from being a quiet seaside village into an international tourist center that is easy to criticize those who have suffered damage, but it is almost impossible not to enjoy the beaches of the south, the vast bay and its marine life. Throughout the year there are dolphins in the bay as well, between February and April could be whales. The locals insist that in April you can see streaks coming to the surface during their processions.
Many of the traditions and characteristics considered typical of the Mexican from Guadalajara, the second largest city in the country. Among these traditions include mariachis, dancing hat, tequila, wide-brimmed hats and the Mexican rodeo. Part of the appeal lies in Guadalajara, which has many of the virtues of Mexico City-a vibrant culture, beautiful museums and galleries, exciting nightlife and good places to eat and sleep, but few of the flaws of the capital. Guadalajara is a modern, well organized and less polluted, holds many attractions and activities that visitors can not get bored. Among the main attractions include its massive cathedral, with its twin towers and beautiful places nearby, the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, the square of the Mariachis, where groups play at all hours of day and night, and the Sauza bottling plant, which offers tequila tastings to visitors.
In the past, the first and most famous resort on the Pacific Coast was one of the doors of the New World to the East, but today is a city with rapid growth, over a million inhabitants and with a crazy mix skyscrapers, designer shops and restaurants that protect a trilingual city hidden parking lots, polluted rivers and large apartment buildings. Acapulco is not consistent with the idea of fun that many people, but most of those who visit enjoy resting on its many beaches, with facilities for almost any sport that can be carried in the water.
Since the thirties, the celebrated jumping from the cliff of La Quebrada, known as divers, visitors have marveled at the grace with which they dive into water from a height of 45 m suicidal, by a narrow crack that appears to contain only enough water to cover feet. Not surprisingly, before moving to pray in a small empty house. From the El Mirador hotel, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the divers. Who seek less crowded beaches, you can go to Pie de la Cuesta (8 miles northwest of downtown), a good alternative to the apparatus of the city. The road to Puerto Marqués (18 km southeast) offers stunning views of Acapulco Bay. Just south of the Peninsula de las Playas, is called the sunken temple, a bronze statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe under water.
Oaxaca was built by the Spaniards, is a town of narrow streets where there is a special atmosphere, both relaxing and dynamics, remote and cosmopolitan. Located in the rugged southern state of the same name, the city has a large indigenous population, Indian markets are based in the beautiful colonial architecture. Among the attractions of Oaxaca, also contains plenty of local craft shops and good atmosphere of its cafes. Town received the nomination of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. From there, you can be a large number of day trips to the ruins of Monte Alban (also declared a World Heritage in the same year), Mitla, and Yagul Cuilapa, and markets and handicraft centers.
After crossing the river Usumacinta into Yucatán, the traveler enters Mayan territory. Heirs to a glorious past and often violent, the Maya live today in the same place where they did their ancestors a thousand years ago. Yucatán has surprising diversity: rich archaeological sites, colonial cities, coastal resorts and quiet villages, mostly by tropical birds. It also houses the impressive
ruins of Uxmal (World Heritage Site since 1996) and Chichén Itzá (1988), near Merida. The coastal state of Quintana Roo, with its islands and white sandy beaches, attracts tourists who are looking for sun.
The beaches of the Yucatan coast between Cancun and Tulum, are among the finest in the world. Xcaret has some Mayan ruins and an attractive bay which houses a fascinating marine life. It is worth carrying some diving goggles. Some meters inland, is the cenote, a pool of clean water in a limestone cave, the perfect place to swim. The Yal-Ku Lagoon, once a paradise unknown, has recently become an area exploited. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent place to make snorkelling
The industrial archeology buffs will enjoy visiting Santa Rosalia, the old town of a French company located in the central desert of Baja California, about 50 miles east of San Ignacio. Highlights, in particular, the ruins of the large complex of copper smelter. It also has amazing homes and a church designed by the famous architect Eiffel. In principle, the church was prefabricated to West Africa but ended up being transported by boat to Mexico. The French left as a legacy baguettes largest Baja California.
Creel Jump Basaseachic
With its 298 m tall, is the highest waterfall in Mexico. Located 140 km northwest of , jump Basaseachic well worth the three hour drive and almost three hours on foot to admire. Creel is also a good reference point from which to move to another smaller waterfall, waterfall Cusárare, located 22 km south.
Surrounded by a forest of emerald tones, the location of the Palenque ruins, World Heritage listed in 1987, is magnificent, its Mayan architecture and decoration are exquisite. Some fragments of pottery have revealed that the site was inhabited for more than fifteen hundred years and lived its heyday between 600 and 800 BC, when they were constructed many buildings and plazas, including the elaborate Temple of Inscriptions pyramid crypt and . The best time to visit this complex and avoid the sweltering heat is early morning when a mist rises caused by moisture, which joins the ancient temples in a mysterious atmosphere. Only 34 of the nearly five hundred buildings have been excavated, all of which were built without metal tools or draft animals, when not yet invented the wheel.
The new city, where are located most of the hotels and restaurants, is about 7 km from the ruins, and there are buses that travel the route every 15 minutes. Palenque can be reached by bus, depending on the military situation in Chiapas. Also bus and ferry from Tikal (in Guatemala), via the border town of La Palma, passing for two of the most impressive Mayan sites in Central America.
Activities in Mexico
The tours of the Copper Canyon and Baja California are among the most popular routes where you can go mountain hiking. Sport fishing is plentiful along the Pacific coast and the Gulf of California. You can go snorkelling and diving in the Yucatan Peninsula in Baja California and in some tourist resorts on the Pacific coast. Inland, many spas, usually located next to hot springs are located in a picturesque landscape. Surfing is popular on the Pacific coast. Some of the best places to practice this sport are Mesquite and Punta Santa Rosalia (Baja California); Matanchén Bay near San Blas (where they say that there is world's longest wave), Ixtapa, and Puerto Escondido (with the pipeline Mexican). Several companies based in Mexico City and climbing trips to Mexican volcanos, Popocatepetl and the Iztaccihuatl, Pico de Orizaba, Nevado de Toluca and La Malinche
It is estimated that the first settlers arrived from Mexico about twenty thousand years before Columbus. Their descendants, including the Mayans and Aztecs built highly developed civilizations that flourished between the years 1200 BC and 1521 A.D.
Hernán Cortés landed near the city of Veracruz on April 21 1519. It is said that the Aztecs received it with open arms because, according to its timetable, the same year the god Quetzalcoatl had to reach the East. The Spaniards found their first allies in towns that Indians were under the Aztec yoke. Accompanied by six thousand Indians, came to the Aztec capital, a city bigger than any of those existing in Spain, which was located on an island. King Moctezuma II invited the palace and the Spaniards took it hostage. On August 13 of 1521 Aztec resistance was suppressed. The status of the conquered peoples deteriorated rapidly, not only because of the cruel treatment inflicted by the colonizers, but also to diseases introduced. The indigenous population declined from about twenty-five million by the time of conquest to one million in 1605.
Between the XVI and XIX, Mexico experienced a kind of segregation. The colonists born in Spain represented a tiny fraction of the population but were considered nobility in New Spain (as Mexico was then called), however humble his condition had been earlier in the motherland. By the eighteenth century, the Creoles (born in New Spain of Spanish parents), have amassed huge fortunes through mining, commerce, ranching and agriculture, and holds political power. Below the criollos were the mestizos (born of mixed Spanish and Indian descendants of African slaves), the lowest level, Indians and Africans. The trigger for the revolution came in 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied most of Spain: all of a sudden, direct control over New Spain ceased and rivalry between Spaniards and criollos intensified. On September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest Creole launched his call to rebellion, the Grito de Dolores. In 1821, Spain granted independence to Mexico.
The independence was followed by 22 years of chronic instability, the presidency changed hands 36 times. In 1845, the U.S. Congress approved the annexation of Texas, and sparked a war between two countries during which U.S. troops occupied Mexico City. With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexico lost the current states of Texas, California, Utah, Colorado and much of New Mexico and Arizona. In 1862, Mexico was indebted to Great Britain, France and Spain. They sent a joint force to collect. France decided to go further and colonize the country, which led to a new war. In 1864, this country gave the Austrian Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg to become emperor of Mexico, but his administration was short.
Under the motto "order and progress', dictator Porfirio Díaz (1878-1911) kept the nation away from war that had consumed more than sixty years. But peace has a price: the political opposition, free elections and free press were banned, and a relentless army controlled the country. Growing discontent with the government of Díaz led to strikes that preceded the Mexican Revolution.
The Revolution was not a struggle between freedom and oppression, but a period of ten years during which numerous changes of alliances between a galaxy of leaders, during this time, successive attempts to create stable governments collapsed due to renewed fighting . Broadly speaking, the country was divided between liberal reformers and radical leaders such as Emiliano Zapata, who fought for the land of wealth distribution among farmers. It is estimated that ten years of violent civil war led to between one million and a half and two million deaths, approximately one eighth of the population. After the Revolution, the efforts of politicians focused on rebuilding the country's infrastructure. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) took power in 1934 and introduced a program of reform and land distribution.
Social unrest reappeared in 1966, when university students in Mexico City expressed their outrage against the conservative government of Diaz Ordaz. Discontent against the single party system, the restriction of freedom of speech and excessive government spending peaked in 1968 (just before the holding of the Olympic Games in Mexico City), and demonstrators were killed by the army.
At the end of the seventies oil boom increased the revenues of the country and allowed for investment in industry and agriculture, but in the mid-eighties, the excess caused the price drop and Mexico entered into the worst recession in recent decades. Economic decline led to an increase in protests on the country's political organization, both on the left and the right. In September 1985, an earthquake of 8 degrees on the Richter scale caused damage worth over four billion dollars. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed in Mexico City, thousands of people left homeless, and at least eight thousand died.
The president Carlos Salinas de Gortari took office in 1988 after winning a very controversial elections. Gained popular support in renegotiating the crippling national debt and controlling inflation. A major program of privatization and expansion of international financial markets contributed to Mexico and was introduced by the international press as a paradigm of the free market. The highlight of Salinas's economic reform was the creation of the Free Trade Area of the North Atlantic (NAFTA) which entered into force on January 1, 1994.
The fear that NAFTA would seriously marginalization of indigenous Mexicans led to the Zapatista uprising in the southern state of Chiapas. The day that NAFTA came into force, an army of unarmed peasants surprised the country by taking San Cristóbal de las Casas, the capital of that state. Demanding greater economic and social justice. The uprising led to a great upheaval in society throughout the country, hundreds of peasants occupied ranches, farms and ranches. At present, the Zapatista movement (as well as low-intensity warfare launched by the U.S. government) is still active, the rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos is.
In March 1994, Luis Donaldo Colosio, Salinas's successor named, was killed. His replacement, Ernesto Zedillo, 43, was elected with 49 percent of the vote. Within days of assuming office, the value of the peso plummeted so suddenly, causing a rapid and deep economic recession. Among other consequences, this led to an increase in crime, a deep dissatisfaction toward the PRI and a large flow of Mexican immigration to the United States. Policy measures Zedillo recession eased gradually. Despite the difficulties caused by the boom in 1998, at the end of his mandate in 2000, the purchasing power of Mexicans is closer to 1994.
In the general elections in 2000, Vicente Fox, presidential candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), managed to outperform the successor Zedillo, the PRI candidate Francisco Labastida. On July 2, 2000 ended 71 years of the reign of the PRI. The question of Chiapas, crime and economic problems are worrisome, and the naked eye, without easy solution. President Fox has tried to enhance the role of Mexico in the world and has given its unconditional support to the United States from September 11, security measures at the border with China have intensified. While increasing the rumors of corruption in government, the activities of the major cartels still best known in the press and crime rates are tarnishing the image of the country as a holiday destination.
Mexico people and Culture
the Mexicans have shown a great talent for art and feel a preference for the colors. In Mexico there are many murals and art galleries, antique and contemporary, for many visitors, this is one of the main attractions of the country. Creativity is expressed through vibrant Mexican folk tradition. The art is mainly represented by prehistoric stone sculptures, frescoes, murals and ceramics.
After the revolution, art was considered an important part of the National Renaissance, the main Mexican artists like Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco, were commissioned to decorate public buildings with important and huge colorful murals of historical and social themes. The works of Frida Kahlo, wife of Diego Rivera, is characterized by self-reflecting an enormous anguish, as well as images that blend the surreal and the grotesque, his creations gained tremendous popularity in the eighties, decades after its death. Among the highlights include Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes, Jorge Ibargüengoitia and Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize winner in 1990. In Mexico, Juan Rulfo is considered the most important writer in the country. His novel Pedro Páramo has been described as a "Wuthering Heights (Cumbres storms) that takes place in Mexico" and written by Kafka.
Spanish is the language most widely used, but differs from that spoken in Spain in two aspects: the Castilian Cece has practically disappeared and have taken many Indian words. Some five million people are reported in about fifty languages, and 15 percent of indigenous people known in Spanish.
Although since the revolution, successive governments have become separated from religion, more than 95 percent of the population is Catholic. The majority of Indians are Christians, but religion often host syncretic elements. At times, many pagan gods live with the Holy Trinity and the Christian saints. Since 1531, the unifying symbol of the Church is the Virgin of Guadalupe (dark-skinned) that is considered the bridge between the old Catholic and indigenous traditions.
Mexican cuisine is based on three dishes: tortillas, beans and chili. Tortillas are a thin round masses kneaded wheat or corn that are cooked in an iron. The beans are prepared in soup, boiled or fried, with tortillas or anything else. Apart from its incredible variety of fruit juice (juice) which are sold in stalls, Mexico is also famous for its spirits, especially tequila and mezcal. Pulque is a slightly alcoholic drink derived from the agave juice.
Click to inlarge
map of mexico