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Spicy Dawn in Mexico

Mexico is a vibrant blend of pre-Columbian ruins, sandy beaches and varied landscapes. Explore beyond vibrant Mexico City’s hustle and bustle to find ancient Mayan ruins and elegant colonial buildings. Northwest of the capital is Guadalajara, the heart and soul of Mexican national identity, with its ornate baroque cathedral; while Monterrey is the face of modern Mexico, a booming economic powerhouse in the country’s northeast.

Surf the waves off Baja California, scuba dive in the waters of Cozumel and plumb the depths of Copper Canyon. Central Mexico is defined by volcanic peaks while the rainforests of Chiapas are prime territory for exploring. Work up a thirst in the desert of the Sierra Madre. Take home a unique piece of silver jewellery from Taxco, a bottle of fiery mezcal or tequila from Oaxaca or some folk medicine from Mexico City’s Mercado Sonora. Puebla is famed for its ornately decorated Talavera pottery while you’ll find beautiful hand-woven, brightly coloured Mayan cloth in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Take in the misty grandeur of the Cascada de Basaseachi, at 246 metres Mexico’s highest waterfall, or find something to hide behind at Morelia’s Museo de la Mascara, or Mask Museum.

Eat & Drink

Mexican food involves intense, spicy flavours, many of them pre-Hispanic in origin. Based on beans and corn, the untold regional variations are a world away from the Tex Mex food visitors may have tried at home. Try especially tamales (corn meal stuffed with meat or cheese), meat served with mole poblano (a spicy sauce made with chocolate) and tostadas (toasted tortillas with meat, beans and salad).

Home of the Descending God

Tulum, or the "City of Dawn", is the Yucatán Peninsula’s most popular Mayan archaeological site. Clamber through the narrow stone arch entrance and the ruins of an entire city greet you. Objects excavated on the site have shown that the city was a prosperous centre of trade from the 13th century up until the beginning of the 16th. During this time it was also a ceremonial ground dedicated to the worship of the Descending God, whose image is carved on most of the city’s temples. For reasons of defence, the city was built on a cliff and looks out to sea. Although warring neighbours have long disappeared, the combination of commandeering stone ruins and the oceanic landscape is magnificent. Behind El Castillo, Tulum’s main temple, you can scramble down to the cove below and cool off with a quick dip in the Caribbean.

Avenue of the Dead

Teotihuacan is the largest-known pre-Columbian city in the Americas, pre-dating the Aztec empire, the city’s population peaked at around 200,000 in around 200-400 AD. All that remains of the city is the famous ‘Avenue of the Dead’ which lay in its ceremonial heart. The extensive ruins feature the third largest pyramid in the world, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and other minor temples. The site is an awe-inspiring monument to the ingenuity and invention of the ancient people of the Americas.

Fire up in Acapulco

Acapulco was christened as “Santa Lucia”, is one of the principal tourist destinies on the world and it is the mayor Mexican sea port located in the state of Guerrero, southwest from Mexico, but its official name is “Acapulco de Juárez”. You can admire in Acapulco a natural beauty environs; mountains give the access to the town, though not difficult to access particularly since the construction of a 2-km-long tunnel to the waterfront from the remote areas in the 1990s. An earlier effort to get the cooling sea breezes by cutting through the mountains a passage called the Abra de San Nicolas had some beneficial and comforting effect.

Two Tips

The Temple of Kukulkan (for the Feathered Serpent God, also known as Quetzalcoatl) is the largest and most important ceremonial structure of the Mayan civilisation. This 90-foot-high pyramid is a storehouse of information on the Mayan calendar and is positioned to mark the solstices and equinoxes. At sunset on both the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, an interplay between the sun’s light and the edges of the stepped terraces on the pyramid creates a fascinating – and very brief – shadow display upon the sides of the northern stairway. A serrated line of seven interlocking triangles gives the impression of a long tail leading downward to the stone head of the serpent Kukulkan, at the base of the stairway. The best time to experience the phenomena is in the afternoons, five days before and five days after the equinox (22 September).

15th of October 2008, the third edition of the international short film festival Riviera Maya takes place in Cancun, Mexico’s leading tourist resort – beautiful beaches, modern hotels and underground short-films. Experimental, animation, fiction and documentary make up the categories of national and international shorts at the yearly Riviera Maya Underground Film Festival. Screenings take place in Playa del Carmen’s city hall, Plaza 28 de julio and Plaza Pelicanos’ Hollywood Cinemas.

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