Mexico’s Famous Soccer Stadiums

mexico soccer futbol fansFor most Mexicans, futbol (soccer in the U.S.) is a way of life. Indeed, soccer is the veritable king of sports south of the border, where passionate fans flock to support their favorite leagues, whether playing in a qualifying match or a friendly. Either way, expect lots of heated cheering, jeering and rapid-fire commentary if you’re lucky enough to be in the stands.

You don’t have to be a die-hard sports fan to appreciate the athletic prowess (and crazed fervor) on display during a soccer match, and there are plenty of impressive stadiums to catch the action. For the uninitiated, the Mexican football league system has four divisions and dozens of clubs, including the ever-popular Club America, Chivas, Cruz Azul and Pachuco.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the best (and biggest) places to see a soccer game in Mexico:

Estadio Azteca

Located in Mexico City. This legendary stadium is home to Club America and the Mexican national team is the first stadium in history to host two FIFA finals. With a seating capacity of more than 100,000, Estadio Azteca is one of the world’s 18 largest stadiums.

Estadio Olimpico Universitario

Famously hosted the 1968 Summer Olympics in addition to several FIFA World Cup games. Olimpico Universitario is the place to watch Pumas de la UNAM and is located about 8 miles from the historic center of Mexico City.

Estadio Jalisco

Seats 54,963 spectators making this the country’s third largest stadium. It is the home stadium for fan favorites Liga MX, Club Atlas, and Ascenso MX.  

Estadio Chivas

Seats nearly 50,000 and is Mexico’s fourth largest stadium. Located in Zapopan, Jalisco, this massive venue is mostly used for home matches for Club Chivas, which boasts dozens of top players and 12 championships.

If you are interested in taking in some local sporting culture during your holidays, here are some helpful tips to know:

  • Tickets sell out fast for big games, plan ahead!
  • Leave extra time to arrive to account for traffic delays
  • Belts, water bottles, lighters and aerosols are not permitted inside
  • Keep some pesos handy for purchasing snacks and beverages
  • Be prepared for some strong language
  • Even if you’re not a soccer fan, enjoy the atmosphere and people!

Additional Mexican Futbol Resources:

  1. TheTopTen, Top Ten Best Mexican Soccer Teams, https://www.thetoptens.com/best-mexican-soccer-teams/
  2. The Stadium Guide, Mexico City Football Guide http://www.stadiumguide.com/city-guides/mexico-city-football-guide/
  3. Northern Lauren, A NON-FOOTBALL FAN’S GUIDE TO WATCHING SOCCER IN MEXICO http://northernlauren.com/guide-to-watching-soccer-mexico/
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Explore Coral Reefs in Mexico

Sergeant Major fishes in caribbean reef Mexico Mayan RivieraCoral reefs are some of the most astounding natural features on Earth. Healthy reefs are teaming with activity, with all sorts of fish and marine life going about their business. But the coral itself is also alive. Corals look like pretty rocks and they act like plants, since they’re attached to the ocean floor, but they’re actually animals. Each coral branch contains thousands of small invertebrates called polyps, and these tiny creatures thrive in warm, tropical waters. Mexico is a favorite destination for snorkelers, divers, and coral reef enthusiasts because it offers the perfect environment for coral to flourish. When you book your next trip to Mexico, consider including some of these top diving spots in your itinerary.

Mesoamerican Reef

Also called the Great Mayan Reef, this is the second largest reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The Great Mayan Reef extends for longer than 600 miles from Quintana Roo to Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. Researchers have documented 65 types of coral, and five hundred species of fish and crustaceans. Some of the best areas to take in the beauty of the Great Mayan Reef are in Cancun, Xcalak, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras, and Punta Maroma.

Tormentos Reef

Also in Cozumel, the Tormentos Reef is an ideal destination for divers who have attained at least an intermediate level. This is because there are some strong currents in this area. The depths range from about 50 to 70 feet. The Tormentos Reef is known for its plethora of brain and whip corals, along with an incredible diversity of sea life, including seahorses, angelfish, groupers, eels, triggerfish, and grunts.

Chunzumbul Reef

Visit the Playa del Carmen dive site to take in the natural wonders of the Chunzumbul Reef. Playa del Carmen is located in the Riviera Maya area in the state of Quintana Roo. Thanks to the relatively shallow water, snorkelers can enjoy the beauty of the reef, and it’s an ideal spot for beginning divers. The reef features a stunning coral cavern and vibrant schools of fish. Look for sea turtles, lovely lavender sea fans, rays, moray eels, and barracuda.

Playa del Carmen is a great choice for other reasons. It’s conveniently close to the international airport in Cancun, and it’s now considered one of the trendiest cities in Mexico. Here, you’ll find high-quality accommodations, along with plenty of shopping, fine dining, and nightlife destinations for when you’re not in the water.

Cerebros Reef

If you do visit Playa del Carmen, check out Cerebros Reef in addition to Chunzumbul. Cerebros has depths ranging from 20 to 50 feet, making it perfect for beginning divers and snorkelers. This reef’s defining characteristic is its stunning array of brain coral. Shrimp, lobster, scorpion fish, and moray eels are some of the marine denizens that make Cerebros their home.

How to get there

For years, savvy nature lovers have been booking accommodations in Mexico through Sea Side Reservations. The safety and comfort of travelers are our highest priorities, which is why we scour the country to find the best accommodations available. Get in touch with us to discuss accommodations near your favorite diving spots in Mexico.

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5 Mexican Dishes You’ve Never Heard Of

Mexican Cochinita pibil with tortillaFine food is as good a reason to visit the Yucatan Peninsula as any! The culinary delights of this region borrow influence from Mayan, Caribbean, Spanish, African, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines. The corn, chocolate, honey, venison, wild turkey, squash, cucumbers, chiles, and tomatoes you see in many Yucatan dishes are remnants of traditional Mayan cooking. Pork and Seville oranges worked their way into the cuisine much later, when Spanish settlers arrived in the 16th century. Edam and Gouda cheese can be owed to trade with the Dutch in the 19th century.

Some restaurant offerings — like ceviche – are common among other Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin American locales, but seasonings like achiote, a peppery red sauce derived from the tropical annatto plant, and Spanish sour orange are unique to the region, and offer a distinctive flavor profile to Yucatan dishes.

Other common seasonings in Yucatan cooking include: pumpkin seed, xcatic chile pepper, habaneros, sweet chili, red onion, tomato, and oregano. Like any coastal environment, seafood is a big part of the cuisine in Baja Mexico and the surrounding area, but turkey, chicken, and pork are prominent proteins.

While in Mexico, you’ll be treated to a multitude of fresh, locally grown spices, fruits, and vegetables that excite the senses. Maybe you’ll taste guacamole and flan like you’ve never tasted before while visiting the Yucatan Peninsula, but here are five local Mexican dishes you’ve never heard of that will be worth trying.

Pibil (pronounced “PEE-beel)

The Yucatan’s most famous local dish translates to “cooked under ground.” In a land of dense jungle and high humidity, the Ancient Mayans had to figure out preservation methods to preserve the wild game they needed to transport home from the hunt. Their version of barbecue involves a spice rub and pit smoke. Modern cooks marinate chicken (Pollo), pork (Puerco), or a whole suckling pig (Cochinita) in achiote paste, onions, and sour orange juice overnight before wrapping the meat in banana leaves and slow-roasting over charcoal. This dish may be served on rolls or tortillas, accompanied by refried beans and pickled red onion relish.

Papadzules (pronounced papa-TSU-les)

Papadzules are simply described as “small egg tacos” smothered in tomato sauce. You can think of it as the Yucatan’s version of the central Mexican taquito, flauta, or enchilada. To make this dish, chefs concoct a sauce by toasting Mayan xt’op or Spanish pepita gruesa pumpkin seeds, grinding them, and extracting the paste. The paste is then blended with epazote, a sharp herb similar to oregano. A fresh corn tortilla is dipped in this sauce and stuffed with chopped hard-boiled egg. The tortilla is deep-fried and simmered in a tomato and habanero chile sauce.

Queso Relleno (pronounced CAY-so re-LAY-nyo)

Hollowed-out Edam cheese is at the heart of this Mexican dish. In the past, “the boss” was fed the soft part of the cheese and left the hard rinds to the servants. They stuffed these cheese rinds with a near-black mixture of caper olives, raisins, Bell peppers, almonds, hardboiled egg, spices, and ground beef or pork – fried until nearly carmelized. The stuffed rinds were then wrapped in cheesecloth and banana leaves, steamed to a molten consistency, and topped with a red tomato sauce and a white gravy called k’ool.

Sopa de Lima (pronounced SOAP-a day LEE-ma)

Lime soup is a broth-based hot soup made with chicken or turkey stock simmered for hours, and combined with shredded chicken, garlic, onion, tomatoes, dried oregano, and (of course) lots of lime juice. This tasty soup is served with fresh garnishes of scallions, cilantro, habanero chiles, and citrus juice – a side known as xnipek, which translates to “dog’s nose” because it’s so spicy, one’s nose starts to run after one taste! Strips of crunchy fried tortilla are often served on top.

Panuchos (pronounced pan-OO-choss)

In America, hotdogs are the traditional “street meat” food cart fare. In the Yucatan Peninsula, Panuchos are the snack of choice, found in food carts, fast food joints, cantinas, and restaurant appetizer menus alike. Handmade corn tortillas are stuffed with refried back beans and shredded chicken marinated in peppery achiote seed paste and dissolved juice of sour orange. Sometimes you’ll see turkey, fish, or pork in place of the chicken, making it a great way to re-use leftovers. Toppings of choice include: pickled red onions and jalapeno pepper, fresh avocados, chopped plum tomato, and chopped lettuce or cabbage. Salbutes are very similar, except that the tortillas are made of corn and flour, not just corn, and are fried until very crispy.

Want to learn more about visiting the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico? Contact Sea Side Reservations to book your local accommodations and gain insights from experienced travel coordinators who have the inside scoop on the region!

More on Yucatan cuisine:

  1. The Yucatan Times – Top 10 Authentic Regional Dishes of Yucatan, http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2016/07/top-10-authentic-regional-dishes-of-yucatan/
  2. Goats on the Road – Eating Our Way Through the Yucatan Peninsula, https://www.goatsontheroad.com/mexican-food-eating-our-way-through-the-yucatan-peninsula/
  3. Chowhound – How To Pronounce Pibil, https://www.chowhound.com/post/pronounce-pibil-cochinita-300052
  4. Bacon Is Magic – Must Try Street Food in the Yucatan Peninsula, http://www.baconismagic.ca/food/must-try-street-food-in-the-yucatan-peninsula/
  5. Food and Wine – A Yucatan Adventure, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/a-yucatan-adventure
  6. Loco Gringo – 10 Iconic Yucatan Foods To Try, https://www.locogringo.com/10-iconic-yucatan-foods
  7. Backyard Nature – Yucatan, http://www.backyardnature.net/m/food/states/yucatan.htm
  8. Eat Your World – What To Eat: Queso Relleno, http://eatyourworld.com/destinations/mexico/general_mexico/coastal_yucatan/what_to_eat/queso_relleno
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Mexico’s Best Mountain Hikes

mexico mountain hikerThere’s good reason why so many outdoor enthusiasts flock to Mexico: the country’s diverse landscapes offer epic hiking opportunities through pine woods, mountain passes and sultry jungles. Even more exciting is the fact that pristine wilderness, snow capped peaks and lush rainforests are all within a three-hour drive from the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City.

While temperatures are moderate year-round, the best time to book a hiking vacation to Mexico is during the dry season months of November-April, when thunderstorms are less likely to dampen your adventure. If you’re itching to stretch your legs and hit some exciting mountain trails, here are some destinations worth checking out!

Paso de Cortes

Situated roughly three hours from Mexico City, between the volcanoes Iztaccihuatl and Popocatépetl, Paso de Cortes offers spectacular vistas from its high-altitude perch. Named after the Spanish conquistador Hernan Córtes, this snowy mountain pass is recommended for the more experienced hiker who wants to get off the tourist trail.

Iztaccíhuatl

Meaning “white woman” in the native Nahuatl, Iztaccíhuatl sits some 17,000 feet above sea level, which is roughly two miles above Mexico City. While this snowy mountain pass isn’t considered technical, it is a challenging two-day hike best reserved for the serious outdoor explorer. Due to weather concerns, this mountain should only be climbed from late October through May, as summer time rains can melt glacier snow, making trails unsafe.  

Friar’s Peak, Nevado de Toluca

Friar’s Peak floats more than a mile (15,354 feet) above sea level and is Mexico’s 4th tallest mountain. This awe-inspiring summit is the centerpiece of Nevado de Toluca — a massive extinct stratovolcano noted for its beautiful but chilling alpine climate and scenery. This is also a popular spot for amateurs, who can tailor a day hike to Nevado de Toluca, which is about a 50 mile drive from Mexico City. You can park your vehicle along any number of spots and climb to the aquamarine waters of the twin lagoons (the Lake of the Sun and Moon).

Tepozteco 

Discover amazing views as you climb to the Aztec pyramid of Tepozteco, situated atop a small peak in Morelos, Mexico. The steep walking path is a combination of natural rocks and man-made stairs, and depending on your fitness level, the uphill journey can take between 1 and 2 hours. By all accounts, the trek is well worth the effort for chances to explore sculpted glyphs in this archeological site and take in the panoramas below. Bring plenty of water, and plan to arrive at 9AM when the park opens, to avoid heavy crowds.

Additional “Mexico Mountain Hikes” Resources:

  1. Outdoor Active, Mountain Hikes in Mexico https://www.outdooractive.com/en/mountain-hikes/mexico/mountain-hikes-in-mexiko/16144861/
  2. Culture Trip, Most Epic Hikes to Take in Mexico https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/the-most-epic-hikes-to-take-in-mexico/
  3. NBC News, 5 Great Day Hikes from Mexico City http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21492191/ns/travel-destination_travel/t/five-great-day-hikes-mexico-city/#.WVPsaWjytPZ
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Off the Beaten Path in Riviera Nayarit

Breakwater at el Anclote beach in Punta MitaRiviera Nayarit itself is an “off-the-beaten-path” destination within Mexico. Scarcely a decade ago, the 190 miles just north of bustling Puerto Vallarta was a hideaway for surfers and Hollywood A-listers looking to stay under the radar. “Travelers seeking a more immersive experience of authentic Mexico will certainly find a trip to northern Nayarit to be a breath of fresh air,” describes Marc Murphy, managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau. Here are some of our travel coordinators’ favorite hidden gems.

Hidden Beach on the Marieta Islands

Marietas Islands National Park is a small group of protected volcanic islands off the coast of Punta Mita. The former government bombing test site was saved by a group of environmentalists that included famed Sea Explorer Jacques Cousteau. Hidden caverns, natural archways, and an abundance of marinelife attract snorkelers and divers. The hidden gem here is appropriately named “Hidden Beach,” as you can only access the warm, turquoise, waters and pristine sandy cavern by swimming through a long tunnel from the Pacific Ocean. Thrillist named Hidden Beach one of the “Top 25 Beaches in the World,” alongside well-known paradises like Brazil’s Ipanema, Jamaica’s 7-Mile Beach, and Miami’s South Beach.

La Tovara Springs in San Blas

If you’ve ever been on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” and longed for the real deal, you’ll find it in San Blas. The town itself consists of not much more than an old fort, a church, and a few restaurants with tasty seafood. A guided boat ride through La Tovara takes you beneath jungle canopy, through an endless maze of mangroves, and past nesting sites for egrets and spoonbills. You may spot crocodiles, turtles, and jaguars if you’re lucky. Guests are transported to a clear swimming spring visited by tropical parrots.

The Petroglyphs at Alta Vista

Alta Vista is one of the most sacred places in Riviera Nayarit. Down a winding dirt road, past farm fields and cow pastures, shaded by Papelillo and Kapok trees, you’ll park your car where the road is washed out and walk down a cobblestone path and dry river beds for 20 minutes to reach the discreet entrance of Alta Vista. Here you can hike the ancient trails of the Huichol Indians at “The King’s Fountain” (La Pila del Rey), a place where local Mestizos and Huichol Indians still worship. The petroglyph carvings imprinted on the slopes of the Copo volcano have been wonderfully preserved, tucked beneath dense forest canopy and surrounded by rich flora. You may spot sacrificial sites as well. Visitors say the best part of hiking Alta Vista is the quiet and ideal picnic sites alongside fresh mountain water pools and small waterfalls.

The Tianguis in La Peñita

La Peñita is one of the three small, friendly towns packed with “real Mexican flavor” in Jaltemba Bay, in the heart of Riviera Nayarit. An open-air market, The Tianguis, is this sleepy town’s main draw. Every Thursday, pickup trucks overflow with watermelons, poblano peppers, and seasonal produce. You can buy everything from just-caught Jumbo shrimp to fresh-baked pastries, Mexican table linens to Oaxacan wool rugs, handmade pottery to Huichol Indian art. If you love to shop artisan goods you won’t find elsewhere, the Tianguis is a must-see!

Monkey Mountain in Sayulita

Monkey Mountain sits high above the horizon as a standout geological feature in the area, promising spectacular views of San Pancho, Punta de Mita, and the Bay of Banderas from its summit — for those who are adventurous enough to make the arduous 1,200-foot trek. We recommend stopping at Painted Ponies, a horseback riding tour operator at the foot of Cerro Mono in Higuera Blanca. Saddle up for a three-hour adventure through the jungle. Unfortunately, the mountain’s resident monkeys were hunted to extinction long ago, so their presence remains in one’s imagination.

Need a place to stay?

Sea Side Reservations has been placing visitors in safe, comfortable, and convenient accommodations in Riviera Nayarit for nearly two decades. We enjoy high satisfaction ratings among guests and property owners alike. You can be rest assured your home-away-from-home will be well-appointed and ready upon your arrival. Contact us to learn more about booking your stay in Riviera Nayarit and about great places to see on your trip.

Additional “Off-The-Beaten Path in Riviera Nayarit” resources:

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4th of July Celebrations in Mexico

Starfish on beach during July fourthFor many Americans, Independence Day conjures up images of backyard barbecues, hot dog eating contests, cookouts with family and friends, and spectacular firework displays. If you happen to find yourself south of the border this 4th of July, you will be in the good company of other vacationers who cherish the time-honored traditions of this national holiday.

Whether you’re vacationing in one of the oceanfront resorts of Cancun or a luxury condo in Los Cabos, there are tons of exciting festivities planned this Fourth of July, including themed pool parties, music concerts, family-friendly games, cookouts and more.  

This July 4th, get ready to enjoy some stars and stripes celebrations in paradise!

Las Vegas Charity Night in Rocky Point, Mexico

This 4th of July, Sonoran Resorts in Puerto Peñasco is gearing up for their annual Las Vegas Night for Charity!  This popular event is a great excuse to brush up on your poker and Black Jack skills as you help raise money for the less privileged children and families in Rocky Point. A $35 ticket includes a delicious buffet, $300 in charity chips and raffle tickets for chances to win cool prizes. This 4th of July event draws hundreds of Rocky Point locals and visitors who want to have fun while helping a good cause.

4th of July Music Weekend at Banditos

Banditos cantina is a popular concert venue in Rocky Point, and each year this beachfront sports bar and outdoor patio hosts a music weekend festival featuring rock, funk, reggae and other genres. The party starts Friday June 30 and runs through Sunday July 2. Past lineups have included headliners like Japhy’s Descent, Sara Robinson, Stone Mary, and Mob versus Ballot Box.

Los Cabos 4th of July Parties

Cabo San Lucas is home to some of the most beautiful ocean view resorts, many of which plan amazing 4th of July activities for guests. If you happen to be staying in Los Cabos over the holiday weekend, you’re in for a treat. Poolside cookouts will be serving up American favorites like hamburgers, ribs and hot dogs. Visitors can even partake in classic games like horseshoes and beer pong! Many hotels will be throwing beach parties into the evening, complete with music, dancing, specialty cocktails and even a fire show.  Some resorts are planning nighttime fireworks displays, so be sure to ask about starting times.

Independence Day in Playa del Carmen

The beautiful community of Playa del Carmen boasts a huge population of American expats who embrace their patriotic spirit every Fourth of July. If you’re looking for some family fun, head to Wah Wah Beach Bar, which prides itself on throwing the biggest party south of the border. There is usually face painting and a bouncy house for the kids, as well as drink specials on margaritas plus a mouthwatering all-American buffet with all the traditional 4th of July eats including hamburgers, chili, hotdogs and onion rings! Dress in your finest red, white and blue outfit for a chance to win a prize!

More on spending the 4th of July in Mexico:

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8 Delicious Ways to Drink Tequila

gold tequila , lime and salt on wooden tableWhether you fancy 100 percent agave añejos or are just fine with Jose Cuervo, there are more ways to enjoy your tequila than the traditional day-glo margarita. While there’s a time and a place for this salt-rimmed cocktail – ubiquitous in every Mexican restaurant and cantina — here are eight new ways to enjoy the wonderful nuances of this underrated liquor while quenching your thirst.

Tequila Neat

A no frills option for a well-aged tequila that can be slowly sipped and savored pre-dinner – much like you would a fine scotch or brandy. Best sipped at room temperature. Look for these premium añejos: Pueblo Viejo Orgullo Añejo Tequila, Tributo, Tequila Añejo and Partida Añejo.

Paloma

This refreshing tequila cocktail is citrusy and full of bright flavors. To make, simply mix:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup quality tequila
  • 1/4 cup club soda
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Gingerita

This heavenly concoction soothes the soul on a hot day. Mix up equal parts of fresh lime juice and silver tequila and add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Stir in a teaspoon of agave syrup or cane sugar.

Cinnamon Tamarind Margarita

Slightly earthy and slightly spicy, this margarita recipe tastes best with a quality reposado or 100 agave tequila. In a mixing glass, add

  • 2 ounces agave tequila
  • 1 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau or orange liquor
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce tamarind juice or concentrate

Fill with ice, shake and strain into a glass. Run wedge of lime over the rim of the glass and dip in a mixture of cayenne pepper, salt and cinnamon.

Tequila-pineapple lemonade

This new twist on an old favorite promises a tangy yet sweet sensation, and it’s a snap to make. In a large pitcher, whisk together a half cup of simple syrup, 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 cup of pineapple juice and 1 cup of your favorite tequila.

Spicy chili margarita

Take the poolside margarita to a whole new level with this piquant recipe. In a shaker, add ½ part simple syrup, ½ part fresh lime juice, ¾ part orange liquor, 2 parts aged tequila and 3 slices of muddled red peppers. Shake well and pour over ice. Add a sprig of cilantro for added flavor!

Tequila Sunrise Mimosa

This brunch-friendly cocktail will dazzle your friends, and may become your go-to drink of choice.  Only five ingredients are needed: 1 part tequila, 1 part dry champagne, 2 parts orange juice (blood oranges are even better!) and a splash of grenadine. Garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

Strawberry & Orange Tequila Fizz

This refreshing drink will transport your senses to the tropical beaches of Mexico and makes for a perfect Cinco de Mayo cocktail!  Muddle four fresh strawberries and a half teaspoon of sugar together in a glass jar. Stir in the juice of a half a lemon, half a lime and one orange. Mix in  half teaspoon of agave syrup and then strain the mixture over a tall glass filled with ice. Add 1 ½ ounces of good tequila and splash of sparkling water.

Additional Tequila Cocktail Resources:

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Best Time to Go Whale Watching in Mexico

whale watchingIf you haven’t yet been whale watching, it’s time to pack a suitcase and fly to Mexico. Whale watching is a truly unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience. Plan a trip for you and your special someone and enjoy a romantic getaway on the waves. Or, bring the kids and make memories that will last a lifetime. Mexico is a particularly popular destination for whale enthusiasts because of the annual migratory patterns of these majestic creatures.

When to schedule your whale watching trip

Off the sunny coast of Mexico, you can see California Gray Whales reaching the end of their 6,000-mile migration from the chilly waters of Alaska. They begin their journey toward the end of each summer and arrive off of Mexico’s Baja peninsula late in the fall. Unmated whales migrate here to form courtship groups. Those who conceived a calf already follow the migration to give birth in the warm waters. In this area, whale watching season is officially from November to April. This season applies to whale watching in the Sea of Cortez, as well.

Other species of whales may be seen all year-round. These include blue whales, fin whales, Bryde’s whales, minke whales, and sperm whales. Humpback whales are spotted in the winter, spring, and summer, and the dwarf sperm whale tends to make an appearance in the fall. But the best time to schedule your trip is during the annual migration, when you’re almost guaranteed to get close to these marine mammals.

Best places to go whale watching in Mexico

If you’re along the coast during peak migrating season, you’re likely to spot a whale or two. But the best places for spotting whales are around Baja, the Sea of Cortez, and Magdalena Bay. The Baja California peninsula extends for more than 1,000 miles, bordered on the east coast by the Sea of Cortez and, of course, on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean. Magdalena Bay is about 800 miles down from the border, and its whale population fluctuates from year to year. The Sea of Cortez has more consistently large populations of many different whale species, including the endangered blue and fin whales. This is thanks to the tides that flow around the islands. As the waters mix, ideal conditions are created for plankton to flourish.

Tips for memorable whale watching excursions

A memorable whale watching experience starts with the right planning and preparation. Be sure to find a captain who has years of experience taking groups out to see the whales. It takes experience to know how to gently guide a boat toward the whales without spooking them.

Dress appropriately for the excursion. Never wear flip flops, sandals, dress shoes, or heels on a boat. Choose rubber soled shoes like sneakers that will help you keep your footing on the water. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and dress in layers. When you’re out on the water, you’ll feel chillier than you would on land, especially when the sea spray hits you. Wear a waterproof jacket to keep you dry. And don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars!

More on Mexico whale watching:

  1. USA Today, Whale Watching in Baja, Mexico, http://traveltips.usatoday.com/whale-watching-baja-mexico-11724.html
  2. Miramar Adventures, Baja Mexico Whale Watch Locations, http://www.miramar-adventures.com/Baja_Whales.html
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5 Great Reasons to Vacation in Puerto Aventuras

Situated in an idyllic bay on Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras’ prime location is perfect for excursions to the region’s most exciting activities and highlights along the Caribbean coast. Whether you are planning an intimate girls’ getaway or a week-long family holiday, there are plenty of compelling reasons to vacation in the resort community of Puerto Aventuras. Here you will discover unspoiled beaches, crystalline waters and activities that cater to thrill-seekers, wildlife enthusiasts and those who love leisure sports.

Significantly less crowded than Spring Break hotspots Cancun and Playa del Carmen, this luxurious resort community is a well-rounded vacation destination. Here are five reasons you should start planning your escape to Puerto Aventuras Mexico today!

Luxurious resort amenities in Puerto Aventuras

Puerto Aventuras is one of Mexico’s first planned communities boasting a deluxe marina, championship golf course and luxury tourist developments, all within a gated subdivision. For the occasional visitor, that means unparalleled access to first-rate resort amenities, boat charters, tennis courts, fairways, clubhouses, fitness centers, day spas and a wide selection of ocean view condos, bungalows and vacation rentals. Imagine having a full-service marina, a golf course designed by Thomas Leman and more than two miles of palm-fringed beaches just steps from your door!

Diverse activities

Thanks to its privileged location on the Riviera Maya, this 340-acre community promises a diverse range of activities and excursions that take advantage of the area’s secluded bays, pristine shoreline and spectacular natural beauty. Avid golfers can improve their game on the challenging 9-hole, par 36 Puerto Aventuras Golf Course. Snorkeling, diving and kayaking opportunities await at the nearby Xel-Ha natural water eco park. Even novice anglers rave about the offshore fishing at Puerto Aventuras, where you can book half and all-day adventures for chances to reel in outsized sailfish, dorado, bonito and wahoo. The Mexican Caribbean also boasts natural sinkholes (cenotes) and numerous jungle adventures just minutes from Puerto Aventuras.

Tulum ruins close by

Did you know that the famous Maya ruins of Tulum are just 30 minutes south of Puerto Aventuras? Open daily from 8AM to 5PM, this archeological wonder is built on a 40-foot bluff overlooking turquoise waters and facing the rising sun. Visiting the Tulum ruins and surrounding white sand beaches are an easy and interesting day trip.

Dolphin Discovery

If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins or getting “hugged” by one, this is your chance to earn some serious bragging rights! Puerto Aventuras Dolphin Discovery is a family-friendly eco-park that caters to visitors of all ages, and also features chances to learn about and interact with playful manatees and sea lions.

Sophisticated Puerto Aventuras cuisine

Foodies can take heart when vacationing in this premier resort community, where talented chefs whip up everything from Italian pastas and fresh sushi to new takes on traditional Mexican favorites. Dig into casual beachside fare, or dress up for an elegant evening of gourmet eats at one of Puerto Aventuras’ top restaurants.

Additional Puerto Aventuras Vacation Resources:

  1. PuertoAventurasGolfCourse.com, Puerto Aventuras Golf Course http://www.puertoaventurasgolfcourse.com/en-home.php
  2. PuertoAventuras.com, Marina http://www.puertoaventuras.com/en/marina
  3. Dolphin Discovery, Dreams Puerto Aventuras, Swim with Dolphins http://www.dolphindiscovery.com/dreams-puerto-aventuras/
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Must See Aztec Ruins in Mexico

Ruins of PalenqueExplore the fascinating history and culture of Mexico’s Aztec civilization, which once held the most powerful Mesoamerican Empire that spanned more than 80,000 square miles through Mexico’s central and southern valleys. The Aztec kingdom rose in the 13th century and by 1519, more than 15 million indigenous people worshipped the Emperor Moctezuma II in the empire’s capital stronghold of Tenochtitlan.

Today, vacationers can take a step back in time by visiting some of Mexico’s spectacular Aztec ruins, renowned for their impressive pyramids and abundance of pre-Columbian artifacts. Discover the advanced scientific and technological skills of this Nahuatl speaking civilization by touring one of these archeological sites.

Teotihuacan

Situated less than 35 miles northeast of Mexico City, the vast ruins of Teotihuacan were thought to have been built around 100 BC. Today, this holy Aztec city contains some of the most architecturally significant pyramids constructed in the pre-Columbian Americas. If you only have time to visit one ancient ruin in Mexico, the massive monuments and richly appointed structures of Teotihuacan will not disappoint. This sprawling complex, which at its peak was the most powerful cultural center in all of Mesoamerica, contains sacred sites including the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon and the Avenue of the Dead – all built according to specific geometric patterns. It is worth noting that the Pyramid of the Sun, which towers more than 75 meters, is the world’s third largest pyramid (following those in Egypt). Several tour operators in Mexico City offer guided day trips to this otherworldly ruin, which can also be explored on your own.

Tenochtitlan

The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built on an island on the western shore of Lake Texcoco. Founded in in 1345 CE, it was the religious center and later became the capital city for the ever-expanding Aztec Empire until its destruction by the Spanish conquistadors in 1521. Today, the remains of Tenochtitlan and the ancient lake bed lie beneath modern-day Mexico City. In the late 1970’s archeologists excavated a gigantic pyramid, named the Temple Mayor, near Zocalo Square. Over the years, some of the most beautiful artifacts and ancient pieces of Aztec art have been unearthed in these ruins, which can be seen at the Templo Mayor museum in Mexico City.

Calixtlahuaca

The Aztec ruins of Calixtlahuaca are modest in size, yet offer wonderful insight into the life and culture of this ancient civilization. Situated about two kilometers from Toluca, just west of Mexico City, this city has a number of well-preserved temples, pyramids and monuments that are dispersed across three small areas. Originally called “Matlatzinco,” this settlement was at one time a powerful capital in the Toluca Valley. Visitors can explore the city’s residential dwellings and housing compounds, a distinctive circular temple, altars and palace remains. Because Calixtlahuaca is off the beaten path, there are fewer tourist crowds.

Aztec Ruins of Mexico Resources: 

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