Discover Mexico A-to-Z
Cabo San Lucas to Cycling
CABO SAN LUCAS
Cabo San Lucas – Cabo means cape – is at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, the land immediately south of California in the United States; it is cut-off from mainland Mexico by the Sea of Cortés, also known as the Gulf of California. This region of Mexico is a real paradise with its hot deserts, breezy oceans, and cool waters reflecting several different shades of blues and greens. The region is a favorite destination for divers, golfers and people looking to take part in sports fishing excursions. It’s also a popular region with foreign residents in Mexico.
Mexperience: Cabo San Lucas
See Also: Beaches, Fishing
An old Mayan trading port, Campeche is the capital city of the State which bears its name. Although the Spaniards first discovered this place in 1517, the opposition they were greeted with kept them from settling here until 1540, when Francisco de Montejo (who founded nearby Mérida) gained sufficient control to establish a settlement in the area. With its exports to Europe of local timber, silver, and gold, the port prospered and became the primary trading port in the Yucatán.
See Also: Colonial Cities
Over two million people flock to the shores of Cancún annually, and there is good reason for this. The local environment is stunning; the beaches along the Riviera Maya are pristine and the sea around here is ideal for swimming and water activities. Added to this, within a short traveling distance, visitors can find themselves at the heart of some of the most breathtaking archaeological wonders of the world.
See Also: Beaches, Archaeology
It is traditional to celebrate the presentation of the Christ child in the temple on February 2, Día de la Candelaria. The event is closely associated with Epiphany (January 6th) and the Rosca de Reyes (King’s Loaf) into which is baked a plastic doll. It’s tradition that whomever receives the slice of loaf with the plastic doll, hosts a party at their home, where tamales are served.
Online: Candlemas in Mexico (Wikipedia)
See Also: Christmas, Tamales
In the event of a car accident in Mexico, insurance assessors will attend the scene to evaluate the situation, assess the damage and represent the parties involved. In the event of a serious car accident where someone is injured or killed, the police will arrest all parties pending an investigation.
Mexperience: Driving in Mexico, Mexico Auto Insurance
See Also: Insurance
Renting a car in Mexico used to be more expensive than renting in a car in the USA, but the Mexican market has become a lot more competitive in recent years, and prices have fallen, making car rental surprisingly affordable. As in all countries, rental costs can inflate with the high cost of insurances which, although optional, are advisable to buy if you’re not covered by your credit/charge card or other policy, in case of an incident on your journey.
Mexperience: Car Rental
See Also: Transport
CARLOS SLIM HELÚ
Depending upon who you speak with here in Mexico, Carlos Slim is cast either a master entrepreneur who has modernized some of Mexico’s key industries—in particular, communications—or he is a ruthless monopolist, stamping out competitors and keeping tight grips on markets that should be more competitive…
Mexperience: Carlos Slim
Online: Carlos Slim (Wikipedia)
See Also: Communications
Many Mexican towns and cities hosts their annual Carnaval. Carnivals typically occur between February and March, during the period known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). Carnivals involve a range of activities, including parades, public street parties, special markets, fairs, fireworks, dancing, live music, and the wearing of traditional costumes and masks.
See Also: Public Holidays
See: Mexican Peso
The Festival Internacional Cervantino has been celebrated in the colonial city of Guanajuato since 1972 and is the result of the outstanding quality and tradition of its University’s Theater Group, especially its repertoire of plays from Spain’s Gold Era, and Don Quijote de la Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, from whom the festival takes its name.
Mexperience: Cervantino Festival
See Also: Guanajuato, Colonial Cities
Chapala is situated on the shoreline of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. The town and local area is a popular weekend get-away destination with people who live in the city of Guadalajara. Chapala and adjacent Ajijic have one of the highest concentrations of foreign residents living in Mexico, particularly retirees from Canada and the United States who are attracted to the area by the year-round temperate climate, and the area’s proximity to the city of Guadalajara with its urban amenities and international airport.
See Also: Colonial Cities, Retirement
CHIAPA DE CORZO
Just 12km (7 miles) from the busy capital city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the peaceful colonial town of Chiapa de Corzo, on the banks of Rio Grijalva. The town is a main starting point for trips into the impressive Cañon del Sumidero boat trip, although there are various interesting things to see and do here, making it a worthwhile visit.
Mexperience: Chiapa de Corzo, Canyon Sumidero
See Also: Outdoors Activities, Chiapas
The Mexican State of Chiapas is situated in southwestern Mexico and is a fertile and humid land, also host to the important ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, and Chinkultic. Chiapas is known for its breath-taking natural scenery, and offers tourists a wide variety of choices in adventure travel, archaeology, and cultural tours.
Online: Chiapas State (Wikipedia)
See Also: Outdoors Activities, Archaeology
Chichen Itzá is Mexico’s most extensively restored archaeological park, and has always been the best attended; and since it was voted as one of the New Wonders of The World in 2007, the publicity which surrounded this anointment served to attract even more visitors. The ancient city of Chichen Itzá — which means “the mouth of the well of the Itzás” — is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico.
Mexperience: Chichen Izta
See Also: Archaeology
Chihuahua City (“chi-WAH’-wah”) is the capital city of Chihuahua State – Mexico’s largest state in the union. It also shares a long land border with the USA. The state capital of Chihuahua City provides the eastern terminus of the Copper Canyon train journey, but it has not really been part of the Mexican ‘tourist trail’; perhaps due to its distance from the cluster of cities in Mexico’s colonial heartland. It’s nevertheless an important city in Mexico: its wealth built on agriculture and industry which still thrive here. It’s also one of Mexico’s most important historical centers.
Online: Chihuahua State (Wikipedia)
See Also: Copper Canyon
If you spend some time in Mexico, sooner or later you’ll come across the word chilango, probably in some derogatory way, such as “¡típico chilango!” or “¡tenía que ser chilango!” Chilango is the name given to inhabitants of Mexico City, who are notorious in the provinces for being obnoxious when they venture out of town. The expression chilango initially referred to people from the provinces who migrated to Mexico City, although it later came to be applied to those born and bred in the capital, and that is now the commonly and universally accepted usage. The opposite of chilango could be provinciano.
See Also: Mexico City
Mexico welcomes children with open arms. Restaurants, attractions, coffee shops and – in deed – most public places, will gladly accept children and make them and their parents feel welcome. Restaurants and diners in Mexico have children’s menus on the table. Many chain restaurants and diners also offer children’s play areas. Children are loved and adored in Mexico, something that is reflected in the fact that children have their very own day in Mexico on April 30th, Día del Niño; it is customary to give children presents on this day.
Mexperience: Children in Mexico
See Also: Lone Parents
The ancient Maya ruins of Chinkultic, situated on the western edge of the Lakes of Montebello National Park, offer interesting temples and ancient buildings to explore and dramatic views across the area’s landscape and jungle. The site is within easy reach of Comitán and a great stop-over on the way to or back from Lakes of Montebello.
Mexperience: Chinkultic, Lakes of Montebello
See Also: Archaeology
Hernán Cortés was one of the first Europeans to taste xocolatl: the strong, bitter drink taken with prodigious gravitas by the high priests and elite of the Aztec order; they offered it to Cortés believing that he was a god. Despite having been the ‘birthplace’ of chocolate, Mexico’s cacao production now makes up just a small fraction the world’s total. Mexico’s cacao trees grow primarily in the Gulf-coast state of Tabasco, where the esteemed plant has been thriving for thousands of years.
See Also: Tabasco, Chiapas, Mexican Food
Just six miles west of the colonial city of Puebla is one of Mexico’s historically important colonial towns: Cholula. Cholula is best known for its archaeology park, which is host to Mexico’s largest pyramid—Piramide Tepanapa. It’s also the world’s largest pyramid by volume; bigger in that sense than the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. At its zenith, Cholula was the second largest city in the land after Tenochtitlán. It is thought to have been an important religious and cultural center at the time. The city fell to the Olmecs sometime around 600 AD, and again to the Toltecs about three hundred years later. By the time Hernán Cortés arrived during the early part of the 16th century, the city was under heavy influence of the Aztecs.
See Also: Colonial Cities, Archaeology
Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico. The month of December is characterized by color, spectacle, music, dancing and general merry-making. Local markets in towns and villages bustle with activity and you cannot go anywhere without seeing Christmas trees, singing Santa dolls, and other Christmas-festive paraphernalia on sale.
Mexperience: Christmas in Mexico
See Also: Public Holidays
CINCO DE MAYO
Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French invaders. The following year the Napoleonic troops, with reinforcements, were successful in retaking Puebla and later installed Austrian archduke Maximilian of Habsburg as emperor.
Mexperience: Cinco de Mayo
See Also: History
Some foreign residents staying in Mexico for the long-term choose to take their residency status to the next level: naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which you apply for and, if successful, subsequently acquire a country’s Citizenship.
Mexperience: Mexican Citizenship
See Also: Immigration
CLIMATES AND WEATHER
Mexico’s geographical territory is composed of a diverse topography including coastal plains, temperate highlands, and extensive mountain ranges which climb to heights of over 10,000 feet above sea level. This diversity gives rise to a range of different climate zones. If you’re planning to visit Mexico, and especially if you plan to live here full time or part-time, it’s worth getting acquainted with the different geographical areas which make up the country’s terrain. The local climate will influence a location’s characteristics and attractions, and so choosing the right terrain is an important part of your decision-making, especially if you’re planning to live, retire or buy property here.
Mexperience: Climates & Weather
The Mexican State of Coahuila is situated in northeastern Mexico, where it shares a c.320-mile stretch of border with the United States, adjacent to Texas, running along the edge of the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo). Coahuila is Mexico’s top mining state, which contains colossal reserves of coal, as well as gold and silver.
Online: Coahuila State (Wikipedia)
Less visited than neighboring Tulum 31 miles (50 km) away, the archeological site of Cobá almost feels undiscovered. Although this is one of the largest cities from the Mayan age, most of the site remains largely unexcavated, and like other Mayan history – questions and mystery still surround this area. Cobá was thought to be an important trading center between Chichen Itzá and the Caribbean (near modern-day Guatemala).
See Also: Archaeology
COFFEE, COFFEE SHOPS
Coffee is among Mexico’s important crops, with the country producing around 240,000 metric tons a year of the beans, of which it exports about three quarters and consumes the rest. Along with its wide variety of coffees, Mexico has an ample choice of places to drink them in.
See Also: Chocolate
See: Mexican Peso
The Mexican State of Colima is situated on the west-central Pacific coast of Mexico. The State is home to the under-appreciated port city of Manzanillo, which has excellent beaches and is the southern gateway to the ‘Costalegre’ – the stretch of Pacific coastland between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta dotted with quaint fishing villages and exclusive homes and resorts quietly tucked away inside this coastline’s coves.
Online: Colima State (Wikipedia)
See Also: Manzanillo, Costalegre, Beaches
Mexico’s colonial heritage is a rich and diverse tapestry composed of European and indigenous roots, combining old traditions with modern practices, and which offers foreign travelers an opportunity to experience the unusual among the familiar. Mexican colonial cities evoke images of streets paved in cobble or flag stones, meandering alleyways which break out into sun-drenched courtyards, copious varieties of bright-colored bougainvillea, majestic cathedrals, restored haciendas with magnificent landscaped gardens and beautiful architecture, elegant fountains, and shaded nooks where one may rest and take quiet contemplation in the late afternoon…
Mexperience: Colonial Mexico
When you fancy something to eat that’s traditionally Mexican, seek out a local comedor (they are sometimes also referred to as fondas). In Spanish, comedor means dining room or dining table, and in Mexico the word is also lent to describe places where you can sit down in an informal atmosphere and order from a set menu of the day’s dishes which feature delicious home-cooked meals prepared using fresh, local, produce.
Mexperience: In Praise of the Humble Comedor
See Also: Mexican Food
COMITÁN DE DOMINGUEZ
Comitán de Dominguez is its full name, although it’s most often referred to as just Comitán (koh-mee-TAN’), was first settled around 1527 by the Spanish, and is still largely undiscovered by most foreign visitors to Mexico’s Chiapas region, who traditionally arrive and explore the region from San Cristóbal de las Casas, 88km (55 miles) north of here.
Mexperience: Comitan de Domiguez
See Also: Chiapas, Colonial Cities
Mexico has an extensive telecommunications network that includes land-lines, high speed internet, cell phones, and mobile data networks. Mexico’s communications network is one of the best developed and robust in Latin America. While telephone prices have been high for many years, laws passed in 2014 and enacted fully in January 2015 have dramatically reduced the cost of telephone calls from residential land-lines. Calls to Mexican mobile telephones from landlines as well international calls to the USA, Canada, and many other destinations world-wide are now free within the price of the monthly package.
February 4th is a national holiday in Mexico that marks the enactment of its Constitution, Día de la Constitución. Mexico’s Constitution was drafted in the colonial city of Queretaro, north of Mexico City. It was legalized on February 5th, 1917, by the country’s Constitutional Congress. Venustiano Carranza was the first President to serve under the terms of the new constitution.
Mexperience: Mexico’s Constitution
See Also: History, Public Holidays
Many countries have an embassy and/or consulate based in Mexico. Embassies are set up principally to facilitate trade and diplomatic relations in a foreign territory, and their Consular sections also provide a range of services to support their citizens abroad. Although foreign Consulates offer several useful services to their citizens, the assistance they provide also has limitations. The exact services and limitations vary from country to country, but the ones listed in the article cited below are the principal services offered by most consulates.
Mexperience: Obtaining Consular Assistance in Mexico
See Also: Embassies & Consulates
See: Embassies & Consulates
Franchise convenience stores have come a long way in Mexico, proliferating over the years to the extent that there are now thousands of them across the country—from the largest cities to smallest towns. The local small-shops, tienditas, which sell everything from pre-packaged cupcakes to soap, eggs, and other staples, became the secondary source of groceries—things that people unexpectedly ran out of or forgot to pick up at the supermarket.
Mexperience: Just for Your Convenience
See Also: Markets & Shopping
Barrancas del Cobre, Copper Canyon, is a region in the desert of northwest Mexico that hosts some of the most spectacular and breath-taking natural scenery in Mexico. The area known as Copper Canyon is a series of twenty canyons, formed over the years by six rivers. You can experience the Copper Canyon by hiking, biking, trekking, horseback, or four-wheeling; however, by far the most popular way to experience the canyons is to take the Copper Canyon Train Ride, which runs from Los Mochis to Chihuahua City and back again.
Mexperience: Copper Canyon
See Also: Outdoors Activities
COST OF LIVING
The basic cost of living in Mexico is lower than that of the US, Canada and Europe; particularly for items such as fruits, vegetables, food staples, baked goods, and other miscellaneous grocery items. However, actual living costs in Mexico when considering a range of everyday products and services will depend upon your lifestyle, life-stage, and individual choices.
Mexperience: Cost of Living
See Also: Living
The Costalegre is not a singular point on the map; like Italy’s Amalfi coast, it’s a stretch of land 150 miles long between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo featuring picturesque ocean-side towns and villages, magical coves and remarkable views of a seemingly endless ocean horizon. Costalegre also offers highly exclusive travel and luxury experiences within resort hotels that feature privacy and seclusion surrounded by a stunningly beautiful tropical paradise.
See Also: Beaches
Like every country in the world, counterfeit banknotes circulate in Mexico. Notwithstanding the prospect of a twelve-year prison sentence for counterfeiting money, some people still chance their luck by printing rogue notes and attempting to pass them off as genuine. The latest series of banknotes being issued by the Bank of Mexico include some state-of-art anti-counterfeiting measures, most notably, a holographic stripe on the note face, the image of which changes as the note is tilted.
Mexperience: Counterfeit Banknotes
See Also: Mexican Peso
See: Postal Services
Cozumel (“Coh-zoo-mel”) is Mexico’s original “Caribbean” destination; an island about 40 miles (64km) south of Cancún and Mexico’s largest Caribbean island with a total land area of approximately 308 square miles (798 square km). Cruise ships make regular stops at the port, and because of this, the island itself ranks among one of the most visited tourist places in the world.
See Also: Beaches
See: Law & Order
Cuernavaca is one of Mexico’s best-known colonial cities. It was conquered by the Aztecs around 1380 and, after the subsequent conquest by the Spanish, the city became an important agricultural center and popular get-away location for well-heeled Spaniards living in the capital. The city’s original name in Náhuatl, “Cuauhnahuac” (kwow-NAH’-wak) translates into ‘place of great trees’, although the Spanish renamed it to its present-day name, which sounds similar, but literally translated means ‘horn of the cow’.
See Also: Colonial Cities
See: Mexican Peso, Exchange
See: Mexican Food
See: Society & Culture
It’s not common to see many people long-distance cycling on Mexico’s roads and highways. The free highways are poorly lit at night and the road surfaces vary from good to very poor. Cycling in towns and cities is becoming more common. Mexico City has a bicycle rental scheme (“EcoBici”) in operation as well as a network of cycle paths and lanes in various states of repair.
Mexperience: Cycling in Mexico
Online: EcoBici Mexico City (Wikipedia)
See Also: Transport