Discover Mexico A-to-Z
Palenque to Pyramids
In the jungle of Chiapas, nestled on a thickly wooded ridge, is the ancient Maya city of Palenque (pah-LEN-keh), perhaps Mexico’s most breath-taking archaeological park. During the Mayan period, it was believed to be one of the most important cities of its day. The architecture and setting is impressive: surrounded by lush tropical jungle, this site has a serene, mystical, atmosphere that is apparent from the moment you enter the site.
See Also: Archaeology
Pátzcuaro (“Pahtz-Kuah-Ro”) is a charming town with a mixed colonial and indigenous heritage, located just 45 minutes from Morelia, the State Capital of Michoacán. During the last decade, an increasing number of foreign visitors have discovered the town’s charm and ambiance and are returning here not only during the holidays, but also for extended stays—even retirement in Mexico. About two miles southeast of the town’s center are the shores of Lago de Pátzcuaro, Lake Pátzcuaro, which also hosts the charming island of Janítzio.
See Also: Colonial Cities
See: Mexican Peso
Dogs and cats are relatively easy to import to Mexico (temporarily or for the long term): you can import two pets per person provided that each animal’s zoo-sanitary paperwork is in order. Importing any other animal to Mexico—for example, birds, reptiles—requires considerably more effort.
Be mindful of people you photograph and, if possible, ask their permission first – especially in small provincial communities and in the State of Chiapas, and particularly in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas. A small few places (mostly small rural towns and villages) have restrictions on photography, and signs will be posted to advise you in such cases. You can photograph museums and archaeological sites (restrictions on the use of flash may be in force), although if you want to film professionally or use a tripod at any public museum or archaeological park, you will need to apply for a permit, which can be sought from your nearest Mexican Consulate.
See Also: Media
PLAYA DEL CARMEN
Playa del Carmen (often referred to as just “Playa” locally) was a little, unknown fishing village that was discovered by travelers visiting Cancún and Cozumel and is now one of the fastest growing coastal towns in Mexico. Playa del Carmen offers you the enjoyment of a beach holiday without all the trappings and characteristics of a modern-day mass-market resort like Cancún. The tourist developments here are low-rise, with consideration for the local environment, and thus giving Playa a more charismatic and authentic Mexican feel.
Mexperience: Playa del Carmen
See Also: Beaches
See: Law & Order
POLITICS, POLITICAL PARTIES
Mexico has a multi-party political system, although national politics is dominated by the “big three”: PRI, PAN and PRD. Political parties must be recognized by the Federal Electoral Institute to be deemed official.
Mexperience: Government in Mexico
Online: Mexico’s Political Parties (Wikipedia)
You’ll find a post office (Oficina de Correos) in almost every town and in every city in Mexico. Stamps can be bought from post offices or stamp machines located outside the post offices, and some commercial establishments (but not many). Airmail letters must be weighed at the post office and stamps to the postage value bought. For urgent items and packages of high value, it’s best to use a courier instead, e.g. DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc.
See Also: Telephones
November 12 is Día del Cartero—Postman’s Day—in Mexico. It’s the day of the year when everyone remembers their local postman and gives a small gift in appreciation of the work they carry out.
Mexperience: Postman’s Day
The acronym for Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor, this is a government organization established to protect consumers against abuses or fraud by companies operating in Mexico.
PROPERTY: BUYING, SELLING, RENTING, TAXES, ETC.
See: Real Estate
Mexico celebrates several public holidays each year. Statutory holidays are legislated at a Federal level and dates given as a holiday by statute are termed locally as Dias Feriados. There are currently ten statutory holidays in Mexico.
Mexperience: Public Holidays
Puebla is one of Mexico’s most charismatic colonial cities. Nowhere in Mexico is Spain’s influence more prominent: from the moment you drive into the city, you see the dome shaped roofs of churches and buildings, suggesting Spanish and Moor influences which arrived centuries ago and which have remained in Puebla ever since. Puebla is famous for its cuisine – some of Mexico’s most popular national dishes, including Mole and Chile Poblano were created here.
Online: Puebla State (Wikipedia)
See Also: Colonial Cities, Mexican Food
Translated, this name means “Hidden Port”, and it’s an apt name. This Pacific gem is best known by surfers from all over the world. The “break” here is terrific, and surfers knew Puerto Escondido long before the local authorities in the State of Oaxaca invested in proper roads to draw more tourism to the location. However, Puerto Escondido is much more than a hippy camp full of trendy surfers waiting for the next big break. Located just over 200 miles south of Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coastline, Puerto Escondido is not a manufactured resort; it’s a real Mexican coastal town with an old-world feel that offers great value and a great opportunity to experience a wide variety of ocean-side activities and pastimes.
Mexperience: Puerto Escondido
See Also: Beaches
Puerto Vallarta was made famous by the film “Night of the Iguana,” (starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) which was filmed here. The media attention this generated at the time opened the world’s eyes to what Puerto Vallarta had to offer. Puerto Vallarta – a town that served as a port to ship the silver being mined from the Sierra Madre mountains that lay just behind this city – has all the character of traditional Mexican town interwoven with modern comforts of 21st century living. Its cobbled streets and cathedral set the scene in the town, which has a traditional, easy-going feel to it. There are hotels to suit every taste and budget. The activity list is extensive – and this area provides the ideal backdrop for all kinds of eco tours – which is why these tours are growing here at the fastest pace of any other leisure activity. It’s also one of the most popular places for foreign residents to live in Mexico: part-time to overwinter, or year-round.
Mexperience: Puerto Vallarta
See Also: Beaches
Pulque is a low-alcohol beverage made using the fermented sap of Agave plants which are about 10 years old. The sap is extracted by cutting a cavity into the heart of the plant—this liquid is known as aguamiel (honey water) as it’s very sweet. Once extracted, the sap is fermented to create a milky-colored, viscous, beverage which creates a slight foam when it’s poured.
Mexperience: Pulque, The Difference Between Tequila, Mezcal and Pulque
See Also: Mexican Bar
PUNTA DE MITA
Punta de Mita is one of Mexico’s ultra-exclusive resort areas, not dissimilar to the Costalegre, although closer to Puerto Vallarta and the international airport that services both destinations. Punta de Mita is an ideal location to consider if you are looking for a very special get-away vacation, or if you are looking for an exclusive location for ocean-front property investment in Mexico.
Mexperience: Punta de Mita
See Also: Beaches