Teotihuacan Treasures on Display in San Francisco Museum

Pyramids of the Sun and Moon on the Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan ancient historic cultural city, old ruins of Aztec civilization, Mexico, North America, world travelThe MesoAmerican ruins of Teotihuacan, located outside of Mexico City, are one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites and among the largest cities in the ancient Americas. Archeologists knew little about this mysterious culture and its people until a chance discovery some 11 years ago. Unusually heavy rains formed a sinkhole, which led scientists to a massive tunnel 60 feet below the temple complex. Over the next decade archeologist Sergio Gómez Chávez and his team unearthed a treasure trove of artifacts dating back more than 1,800 years, some of which are currently on exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young museum.

Treasure trove discovered in Teotihuacan

Among the captivating items discovered were crystals fashioned into eyes, ornate jade statues and necklaces made of human and crocodile teeth. Within the tunnel lay an incredible man-made landscape filled with miniature mountains, walls embedded with fool’s gold (powdered pyrite) and pools of liquid mercury.

This subterranean discovery offered clues about this once populous metropolis, which has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. At its peak, Teotihuacan was home to more than 200,000 residents and covered 21 square miles, making it the biggest city in the western hemisphere.  

The name Teotihuacan translates to “birthplace of the gods,” a title bestowed by the Aztecs who revered the stunning architecture of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.

For those who are unable to visit this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico, the exhibit ‘Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire’ will be on view at San Francisco’s de Young museum until February 11, 2018.

Teotihuacan exhibit in San Francisco

This exhibit marks the first display of Teotihuacan artifacts on the U.S. mainland for more than 20 years. Organized through a joint partnership between San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the exhibit will feature never-before-seen relics, ceramics, paintings, mural fragments, and stone sculptures along with ritual items from the site’s three pyramids. The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for audiences to learn more about the ancient city of Teotihuacan and its role in Mexico’s cultural landscape.

The exhibit contains 200 artifacts crafted from a variety of materials, including jade, marble, obsidian, alabaster, green stone, slate, shells, lime and volcanic rock. Many of these discoveries are thought to have religious significance, perhaps being used for ritual ceremonies and events.

The de Young exhibit will also feature four greenstone statues adorned with garments and beads, believed to be the earliest shamans of Teotihuacan.

While these impressive archaeological discoveries shed light on this once powerful cultural center, many mysteries remain.

Additional Teotihuacan Resources:

  1. The Guardian, Lakes of mercury and human sacrifices – after 1,800 years, Teotihuacan reveals its treasures https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/sep/24/teotihuacan-pyramids-treasures-secret-de-young-museum-san-francisco
  2. KQED.org, Recently Discovered Treasure Trove in ‘Teotihuacan’ https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2017/10/12/de-young-hosts-recently-discovered-treasure-trove-in-teotihuacan/
  3. SmithsonianMag.com, Secret Tunnel Found in Mexico May Finally Solve the Mysteries of Teotihuacán https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/discovery-secret-tunnel-mexico-solve-mysteries-teotihuacan-180959070/
Posted in Blog | No Comments »

Best of San Felipe, Mexico

The sun rises over the Sea of Cortez in San Felipe, Mexico.In search of the perfect destination for sunshine, warm, swimmable waters, and miles of unspoiled beaches? Welcome to San Felipe, a desert-meets-sea resort town just two hours from the U.S. border.  Situated between the Sea of Cortez and the Colorado desert on Baja California, San Felipe lures more than 300,000 visitors each year with its pristine shoreline, leisure sports and striking landscapes that beg to be explored.

Although San Felipe has its fair share of adventure activities, hotels, bars and vacation-worthy attractions, the scene is much quieter and less developed compared to points further south on the Baja Peninsula.

No matter your vacation style and preferences, San Felipe has a lot to offer, whether you want to relax by the lapping waves, play a round of golf, or barrel down rugged roads on an ATV.

Off Road Adventures

Strap in for the ride of a lifetime! All-terrain vehicles are popular in San Felipe for good reason. This town has become one of the world’s premier off-road destinations, and hosts several crossroads races including the prestigious Tecate Score San Felipe 250. There are many places to rent quads in town, or for a more personalized experience, schedule a guided tour that features world-class routes across beautiful desert landscapes.  

Beach Time

There are literally miles of postcard-perfect beaches sprawling north and south of San Felipe. If your holiday plans include plenty of rest and relaxation, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find quaint beach palapas directly in front of the Malecon (the pedestrian boulevard), and the waters are warm enough to swim in (mid 70’s) year-round. Other than beachcombing and swimming, you’ll also see banana boats for rent, and the occasional offer for horseback rides in the soft white sands.

Sport Fishing

Visitors come from far and wide just to go fishing in San Felipe. October through late April are the best months for fishing although local game fish can be caught year-round. Local pangueros (fisherman who own small 20-foot open boats) will take you out to Konsag Island, where halibut, grouper, trigger fish, corvina and mackerel are abundant. Bigger species including dorado, bonito and tuna can be found further offshore.

Championship Golf

El Dorado Ranch in San Felipe is home to one of the top golf courses in Baja California: Las Caras de Mexico. This 18-hole championship golf course features unbridled views of mountains and ocean and boasts a full-service clubhouse and pro shop facilities. Don’t miss an opportunity to play this signature course, designed by Bradford Benz.

Additional “San Felipe Vacation” Resources:

  1. Mexperience, Guide to San Felipe https://www.mexperience.com/travel/beaches/san-felipe/
  2. MySanFelipe, San Felipe Activities and Attractions https://www.mysanfelipevacation.com/local-area-guide.asp?cat=208
  3. SanFelipe.com, Things To Do In San Felipe http://www.sanfelipe.com.mx/about/things.html  
Posted in San Felipe | No Comments »

4 Great Eco-Tourism Adventures in Mexico

Man zipline flight in jungleEcotourism combines the best of environmental conservation and responsible tourism, offering travelers a unique cultural experience. Mexico, like many Latin American countries, has become one of the top destinations for eco-minded travelers who want to explore the great outdoors and marvel at Mother Nature’s wonders, with minimal impact on local communities.

Mexico’s eco-tourism industry has grown considerably over the past decade, offering visitors a slew of outdoor adventures and wildlife tours that showcase the country’s spectacular natural sites. Here are 4 amazing eco-adventures in Mexico to add to your bucket list!

Monarch Butterfly Migration in Michoacán

Journey to the rural forests of Michoacan, where millions (and perhaps billions) of monarch butterflies converge to spend the winter. Learn more about these phenomenal butterfly gatherings while visiting butterfly biosphere reserves in the charming towns of Patzcuaro and Morelia –a  UNESCO World Heritage City.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Conservation

Witness another natural marvel on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, where thousands of Olive Ridley turtles storm the beaches to nest. The World Wildlife Foundation offers a backstage conservation tour that includes beach patrols, chances to watch female turtles dig their nests and lay eggs, plus the opportunity to help new hatchlings make their way to the sea. Most of the excursions center around Puerto Escondido and La Escobilla beach.

Chiapas Zipline Adventure

Some of Mexico’s most popular eco-tours also include hair-raising adventure. Chiapas is home to the exquisite Mayan ruins of Palenque, where stone temples rise hundreds of feet above dense jungle. Tour operators offer a combo adventure that includes a guided walk through the ruins, followed by a zip-line canopy tour and a hike to a 100-foot waterfall with inviting swimming hole.

Tulum Jungle Tour

The Tulum Jungle Maya excursion is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping, and boasts not one but three different adventure activities! After exploring the impressive archeological site of Tulum, which overlooks one of the world’s most gorgeous beaches (according to National Geographic), you’ll snorkel among rock formations in the world’s longest underground river. An all-terrain vehicle takes you deeper into the jungle where two more activities await: rappelling down into underwater caves and flying high over the rainforest via zipline. This half-day eco-adventure ends with a Mayan purification ceremony attended by a local shaman. If you’re staying in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or anywhere along the Riviera Maya, this tour is a must!

Additional Mexico Eco Tourism Resources:

  1. Journey Mexico, MORELIA AND THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY MIGRATION https://www.journeymexico.com/itinerary/morelia-and-the-monarch-butterfly-migration
  2. Viator, Mexico Eco Tours https://www.viator.com/Mexico-tours/Eco-Tours/d76-g9-c119
  3. TripAdvisor, Top Eco Tours in Mexico https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g150768-Activities-c61-t216-Mexico.html
Posted in Blog | No Comments »

Best Things to Do at Cancun’s Nichupte Lagoon

Vacation on tropical lake Nichupte lagoon, CancunDiscover the amazing natural treasures of Nichupte Lagoon, which plays a starring role in many of today’s Cancun vacations. Featuring seven different lakes and a winding network of beautiful canals, this impressive lagoon spans over 3,000 acres, and offers the perfect backdrop for a wide array of water sports, mangrove excursions and chances to catch big fish on light tackle. Nichupte Lagoon, one of the most spectacular natural attractions on the Mexican Caribbean, is visited by thousands of travelers each year. Here, you can revel in the stunning landscapes, clear waters and lush estuaries brimming with colorful birds, frogs, turtles, iguanas, caiman, and tree-dwelling mammals.

Looking for some vacation inspiration? Check out some of the best-rated tours and things to do at Nichupte Lagoon.

Jungle Tour – Speed Boat & Snorkeling Combo

The Jungle Tour Adventure promises adrenaline from the moment you step aboard a custom, two-person speed boat that whisks you through a series of mangrove-lined canals. The 45-minute journey takes you through verdant estuaries at full-throttle to the warm waters of the Caribbean’s Punta Nizuc—home to one of the planet’s largest coral reef systems. Plunge overboard and explore one of the richest marine habitats as you snorkel among huge schools of tropical fish. This jungle tour is great fun for the whole family!

Skyrider Parasailing

For many intrepid travelers, parasailing is on their “bucket list” of Cancun adventure tours. One of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Nichupte Lagoon and surrounding areas is from hundreds of feet in the air, on a parasailing tour featuring the latest Skyrider seat. Using this revolutionary harness system, you are gently and safely lifted up from the boat’s platform, offering unbridled vistas as you soar into the sky. Don’t miss this thrilling adventure, perfect for kids and adults alike.

Light tackle & fly fishing

Ensure a complete blast on your Cancun holiday by booking a fishing trip on Nichupte Lagoon.  This isn’t your typical deep-sea charter for veteran fishermen. This is fishing for small kids and the non-angler who doesn’t care about landing a sea monster, and would rather have fun catching fat snook, snapper, sea trout and baby tarpon on light tackle (10 pound test line). Some outfits will even teach you how to catch small-sized tarpon (under 30 pounds) on the fly! Besides tarpon, snapper and snook, the Nichupte Lagoon is home to bonefish, barracuda, permit and jack crevalle.

Kayak explorations

Nichupte Lagoon is a veritable paradise for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Here, the mangrove forests and briny lagoons provide a safe haven for all manners of flora and fauna, and kayaking is one of the best (and most affordable) ways to experience Mother Nature’s glory. Kayak rentals allow you to explore the lagoon at your own pace, while guided tours offer extra insight into the diverse landscapes and animal life.

Additional Resources on “Nichupte Lagoon Activities”:

  1. Mexican Caribbean, Nichupte Lagoon Cancun http://www.mexicancaribbean.com/cancun/nichupte-lagoon/
  2. AquaWorld, BEST WATER ACTIVITIES IN NICHUPTE LAGOON https://aquaworld.com.mx/en/the-best-water-activities-in-nichupte-lagoon-at-aquaworld/
  3. Visit Mexico, Enjoy the magic of the lagoon Nichupté https://www.visitmexico.com/en/main-activities/cancun/enjoy-the-magic-of-the-lagoon-nichupte
  4. CancunTarponFishing, Cancun Fly Fishing – Cancun Fly Fishing Species http://www.cancuntarponfishing.com/cancun-fly-fishing-species.php
Posted in Cancun | No Comments »

7 Reasons to Visit Mexico in the Fall

Sunrise in Tangolunda Bay in Huatulco, Mexico.When you think “Mexico” and “vacation,” you may also think “winter” or even “Spring break.” After all, the last two are the most popular times to enjoy the sun and fun south of the border.

But Fall is a fantastic time to enjoy Mexico, for a number of reasons.

1. No crowds

If you’ve visited Mexico only at the popular times, you’ve seen crowds, especially in the beach resorts. Well, welcome to the Fall. Crowds have disappeared, leaving beautiful beaches, honey-colored sand, and warm, warm sun. It can be an idyllic vacation for you and your family.

2. Plenty of opportunities to use beach and ocean equipment

If you like to use the resort equipment, such as kayaks or paragliders, there’s often a waiting list for them in the high season. In the Fall? They’re yours for the asking.

3. Deals, deals, deals on vacation costs

If you’re on a budget or just like a deal, autumn is a great time to travel to Mexico. Prices for hotels and airfare can be steeply discounted. You can get a vacation to remember for an unbeatable price.

4. Deals, deals, deals on shopping

For many people, shopping is a vacation activity ranking up there with lazing on the beach. Jewelry, clothing, and decorative textiles are coveted shopping items in Mexico. In the Fall, their prices are likely to be lower than at peak vacation times. Plus, shop owners are very willing to negotiate. The lower number of tourists in the Fall translate to the lower number of sales for them, so they are quite willing to prompt a sale by giving a lower price.

5. Attentive service

You won’t have to compete with tons of other vacationers for the attention of your server, hotel staff, vacation area staff, or shop owners.

6. Good weather

Fall is in the end of the rainy season, so you won’t be dealing with tons of rain. It is hot in Mexico during the autumn, but can grow cool in higher elevations. There is a risk of hurricanes toward eastern Mexico, as the hurricane season ends in November. Be sure to check weather averages for your area and pack accordingly.

7. Festivals

Many Mexican festivals take place in the Fall, so if you’re looking for cultural riches in addition to warm and scenic beaches, it’s one of the best times to go. One of the most famous Mexican holidays, Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos), happens over several days in late October to early November. On Dia de Muertos, Mexicans celebrate loved ones who have died with processionals, celebration, and decoration.

Another popular seasonal holiday is Mexico’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16. Independence is celebrated with parades, festivals, and food.

These seven reasons add up to plenty of great excuses to visit Mexico now before winter comes and the crowds become huge again.

More info on vacationing in Mexico in the Fall:

  1. Trip Savvy, Fall Travel in Mexico, https://www.tripsavvy.com/fall-travel-in-mexico-1589152
  2. Traveling Mom, Mexico in the Fall: Pros and Cons, https://www.travelingmom.com/destinations-international/mexico-in-the-fall-pros-a-cons/
Posted in Mexico Travel | No Comments »

3 Best Cycling Routes in Mexico

Mountain biking rider with bike looking at inspiring sea and mountains landscape. Man cycling MTB on enduro rocky trail path at sea side. Summer sport, training fitness motivation and inspiration.At some point, most serious cyclists start dreaming of hitting the trails in Mexico. Much of the highways in Mexico aren’t necessarily ideal for cycling—very narrow shoulders—but most cyclists flock to Mexico for the backcountry views anyway. If you plan to hit the trails with a mountain bike, be sure to bring extra tubes and a well-stocked repair kit.

Punta Venado Mountain Bike Park

Mountain bike enthusiasts can’t leave Mexico without a visit to the Punta Venado Mountain Bike Park, which is located in Riviera Maya. It’s a relatively recent recreational endeavor, with miles of well-maintained trails for novice, intermediate, and advanced cyclists. At the end of 2014, the bike park reported having 16 miles of trails through jungle, and along mangroves, cenotes, and of course, the beach. Try not to bike too fast, as you might miss the wildlife. Bring a durable camera and get some shots of the spider monkeys.

The bike park is just a quick drive away from Cancun. If you’re coming from Cozumel, take the ferry. In addition to riding the well-groomed trails, this eco-adventure destination features plenty to do for those who love snorkeling, horseback riding, kite-surfing, and more.

Peto to Piste in the Yucatan

The Yucatan is a much-beloved destination of serious cyclists. The route from Peto to Piste is 96 kilometers. It’s a fairly easy route with predominantly flat terrain that passes through sleepy towns, some of which operate on the Mayan language, not Spanish. The route from Peto to Piste is a great choice for beginner to intermediate cyclists who are interested in experiencing Mayan culture first-hand.

Merida to Chichen Itza in the Yucatan

The colonial capital of Merida is about a four hour drive from Cancun. Arrange transportation for you and your bike to this drop-off point, but don’t get started cycling right away. Take some time to tour the market—a must-see for every new visitor. Then, head out on paved roads and enjoy views of the jungle as you head toward Izamal. It’s known as the Yellow City. As you might expect, the buildings are all painted a cheerful shade of yellow. Take a rest here and check out the Mayan pyramid of Kinich Kak Moo.

Continue on through the jungle and small villages until you reach Chichen Itza. This revered pyramid is far more heavily visited than Kinich Kak Moo. You could end your trek here, or, if you’re interested in extending your stay, continue on to the Mayan village of Uayma. It’s not far from the Cenote Samula, a sinkhole with a natural underground pool. Celebrate your journey with a swim to cool off.

Whether you’re interested in a cycling day trip or you plan a long-haul trek across Mexico’s beautiful countryside, you can find the accommodations you need with Sea Side Reservations. We are an industry leader in arranging safe, fully vetted accommodations for visitors throughout Mexico. Just let us know your check in and check out dates, and your destination(s), and let our travel experts handle the rest.

Posted in Eco Tourism | No Comments »

Is Mexico’s Iconic Cactus the Secret to Combating Climate Change?

Close-up of Opuntia ficus-indica is a species of cactus. Tenerife, Canary Islands. SpainFew plants are as versatile as the prickly pear cactus, known as nopal in Spanish. Its delicious fruits are roasted, grilled, broiled, eaten raw, pureed, and juiced, and it’s the starring ingredient in a range of consumer products—from shampoo to medications. The humble cactus was revered by the ancient Aztecs—there’s even a cacti legend associated with the ruins of Tenochtitlan (a must-see sight for any visitor to Mexico City). But recently, it was discovered that the prickly pear cactus might have yet another use—a renewable energy source of the future.

Turning green cacti into green energy

On the south side of Mexico City, a neighborhood called Milpa Alta features an impressive expanse of 7,000 acres of prickly pear cactus, not far from a dormant volcano called Teuhtli. The land has been farmed for more than 20 years. Each year, it produces about 200,000 tons of cacti, and about 10 tons of that is waste. Every morning, workers who arrive at the busy cactus market spend some time cleaning up the waste left there the previous day.

Energy and Environmental Sustainability, known locally as Suema, is a green energy startup that got the bright idea to invent a biogas generator capable of turning cactus waste into renewable energy. The generator processes the waste with the addition of a bacterial blend. The mix is heated to 131 degrees Fahrenheit, and biogas is the result.

Cactus farmers and vendors have eagerly embraced the concept. The generator will soon be capable of producing 45,000 gallons of biogas each day. The Mexico City government hopes to expand the project to house a generator at each of the area’s 300-plus cactus markets.

Legends of Tenochtitlan

The prickly pear cactus has been vital to the way of life for Mexico’s communities, from the ancient Aztecs to today. Legend has it that the first prickly pear cactus sprang from the heart of Copil, who was the son of the moon, Malinalxochitl. Copil attempted to kill his uncle, the sun, called Huitzilopochtli. The sun triumphed over Copil, and took out his nephew’s heart and buried it. The next day, the heart grew the first cactus. The thorns are symbolic of Copil’s warrior spirit, and the beautiful red flowers are reflective of Copil’s love for his mother, whom he had been defending when he attacked his uncle.

Today, visitors to Mexico flock to the ancient ruins at Tenochtitlan. Archaeologists have dated this thriving Aztec city to between 1325 and 1521 A.D. Hundreds of thousands of people lived there, surviving thanks to the advanced system of canals and causeways. The city was destroyed by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1521, and it now rests beneath modern-day Mexico City.

Visitors to Mexico City should stop by the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses the famed Aztec sun stone, before heading over to the Templo Mayor, which is a massive Aztec site. Most recently, in the summer of 2017, archaeologists have discovered a major Aztec temple in downtown Mexico City. You can see the excavation project just behind the Roman Catholic cathedral.

Book your next trip to Mexico City with Sea Side Reservations. We connect travelers to reputable and luxurious accommodations throughout the country.

More info on the prickly pear cactus:

  1. Mexico’s prickly pear cactus: energy source of the future? https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/sci-tech/2017-08-17-mexicos-prickly-pear-cactus-energy-source-of-the-future/
  2. Prickly Pear Cactus, https://www.desertusa.com/cactus/prickly-pear-cactus.html
Posted in Mexico Travel | No Comments »

Top 5 Things to Do in La Paz

Young Woman Scuba Dives on a Coral ReefThere are dozens of stunning beach destinations in Mexico, but few that promise the natural beauty and provincial charms of La Paz. Boasting a privileged location on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, this cosmopolitan city lures travelers with a perpetual Spring-like climate and an endless array of eco-tourism activities.

If you want to experience the best that Mexico has to offer, without the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds, La Paz offers the perfect backdrop for adventure, romance and cultural exploration. If La Paz is on your Bucket List, be sure to check out our top 5 things to do in this colorful city! 

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving at Espíritu Santo

La Paz sits between the Gulf of California and the Sea of Cortez, making it a word-class destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Explore surreal underwater seascapes at more than 25 diving spots flanking La Paz Bay, where you’ll have opportunities to swim alongside sea lions, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, endangered sea turtles and other marine life. Tour operators feature half and full-day snorkeling or diving excursions to Espíritu Santo and other islands that include a professional guide, boxed lunch, gear, beverages and a relaxing catamaran tour.

A stroll down El Malecon

El Malecon is one of the most popular attractions in La Paz for good reason. This lively oceanfront boardwalk, built in 2004, is a great place to grab a drink or a meal, pick up souvenirs, enjoy the sunset, or do some people watching. This breezy promenade stretches more than five kilometers along the beach and is brimming with bars, restaurants and shops.

Desert Horseback Ride

About 30 minutes north of La Paz, you’ll find an authentic ranch that offers horseback tours through the surrounding desert. These spirited excursions take guests through cacti-laden landscapes down to small fishing hamlets on the sea, where you’re free to let loose and gallop on the soft sands.

Angling for Big Game Fish

Are you ready for the fishing adventure of a lifetime? La Paz sportfishing is legendary, and the variety of big game fish is astounding. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran angler, local charters will hook you up with some hard-fighting fish. Most of the action happens close to shore in the Sea of Cortez, where the waters are so clear, you can actually see schools of tuna, dorado and sailfish. Local operators will tailor a fishing package that suits your timeline and interests, whether you want to try spear fishing, fly fishing or trolling the open waters.

Experience amazing cuisine

The cuisine in La Paz goes far beyond fresh seafood and chocolate clams. The restaurant scene is eclectic, thanks to a large international expat population. In La Paz, you can sample just about every style of fare imaginable, from Swiss, Italian and French to Japanese. Of course, there are plenty of trendy cafes and eateries that serve up traditional Mexican food, including octopus ceviche with cilantro and lime and grilled tampiquena arrechera (flank steak). 

More Resources for Things to Do in La Paz:

  1. CrazySexyFunTraveler, 6 Things to do in La Paz Baja California Sur https://www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com/things-to-do-in-la-paz-baja-california-sur/
  2. Panterra Expeditions, Espiritu Santo Island Tour http://panterra.com/espiritu-santo-island-tour/
  3. Ze Wandering Frogs, Top 10 Things to Do in La Paz Mexico http://www.zewanderingfrogs.com/top-10-things-to-do-in-la-paz-mexico/
Posted in Mexico Travel | 1 Comment »

Mexico Native Dolores del Rio Honored by Google

Durango city at night with Urkiola mountainsMexico is a top destination for people looking for world-class entertainment. The country has a long, rich history of producing notable stars in entertainment, including Ricardo Montalban, Carlos Santana, and Dolores del Rio. In fact, Dolores del Rio was widely regarded as being the first Latino woman to make it in Hollywood. Google Doodle honored her recently by showcasing an illustration of del Rio surrounded by flowers on Google’s homepage. If you’re a film buff, consider visiting del Rio’s birthplace during your visit to Mexico. Durango City is impressive any time of the year, but consider planning your trip during mid-to late-July to early August for the annual festival, and be sure to check out other exciting festivals happening around the country.

Explore Dolores del Rio’s birthplace: Durango City

Durango City, also known as Victoria de Durango and Ciudad de Durango, is the capital of the Mexican state of Durango. This historic city of about half a million people was founded in 1563 by explorer Francisco de Ibarra. It’s a beautiful area to stroll through, with historic architecture that speaks to the city’s Barcelona, Florence, Madrid, and Paris influences. The richly styled Catedral Basilica de Durango (cathedral), which dates back to 1695, is widely considered to be among the most impressive architectural wonders in northern Mexico.

National Festival of Durango

Each summer, Durango City’s population swells to about 1.5 million, as visitors flock here for the renowned Feria Nacional de Durango (National Festival of Durango). This month-long event has been held here every year since 1929, which means it’s extremely likely that Dolores del Rio would have enjoyed the festivities. The schedule of events is subject to change each year, but generally includes music concerts, equestrian events, and other cultural attractions.

Mexican Film Festival

Earlier in the summer, from late June to the beginning of July, Durango City holds its annual Mexican Film Festival. Shorts, documentaries, and feature-length films compete for top honors. There’s also a category exclusively for short films produced within the state of Durango, called “Made in Durango.”

Popular events in the surrounding areas

Anxious for more exciting festival options? Take a short, three-hour trip from Durango and head south to Zacatecas in central Mexico. Zacatecas is an enchanting, historic town with roots as a 16th century silver mining town. It’s also famed for its lovely pink quarry stone, and it’s been designated as a World Heritage Site.

If you visit in April, check out the Festival Cultural de Zacatecas. It’s an exuberant celebration of Mexico’s cultural heritage, featuring music, dance, films, art exhibits, theatrical performances, and much more. If you visit in August, you can attend the international folklore festival—the Festival Zacatecas del Folclor Internacional, which features traditional dance, cuisine, and crafts from various states in Mexico and countries around the world.

Plan your trip with Sea Side Reservations

Sea Side Reservations invites Mexican culture aficionados, festival enthusiasts, and sun lovers alike to plan the trip of a lifetime with our luxury accommodation services. We connect vacationers to top resorts, hotels, and villa rentals around the country, and our onsite property managers are always available to support the comfort and safety of our guests.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Archaeological Mysteries at the Ruins of Teotihuacan

Pyramids of the Sun and Moon on the Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan ancient historic cultural city, old ruins of Aztec civilization, Mexico, North America, world travelTorrential rains saturated the grounds at Teotihuacan (pronounce it tay-oh-tee-wah-KAHN) on an autumn day in 2003. The pre-Aztec ruins, located just 30 miles from Mexico City, became so waterlogged that a gapping sinkhole opened up at the dig site at the base of the Temple of the Plumed Serpent—a large pyramid at the southeast sector of Teotihuacan. Sergio Gomez, the archaeologist who discovered the mess, later recalled thinking, “How exactly are we going to fix this?” After lowering himself down into the hole via rope, Gomez realized that the “mess” he’d been fretting over was actually one of the most significant discoveries at Teotihuacan. The painstaking explorations that would follow yielded a few puzzles that have yet to be solved—namely, the existence of liquid mercury and the formation of hundreds of mysterious yellow orbs.

Why liquid mercury is significant

Gomez and his team of archaeologists found traces of liquid mercury in the main tunnel underneath the Temple of the Plumed Serpent. The odds are strongly against that being a natural phenomenon. In nature, mercury exists in cinnabar rock, aka mercury ore. The mercury has to be extracted from the rock and purified to eliminate the sulfur. The easiest way to accomplish this is to heat the cinnabar to 674 degrees Fahrenheit—the boiling point of mercury—and collect the mercury vapors. The vapors are then condensed and what’s left is liquid mercury.

This is significant because in nature, mercury exists primarily in the cinnabar rock, and rarely as a native metal. This means the ancient civilization who built Teotihuacan had to have gone through the laborious process of creating liquid mercury. Archaeologists have theorized that the mercury served some symbolic or ritualistic purpose, but it’s likely that we’ll never know for sure exactly why the ancients made it and kept it under a temple.

What purpose could the orbs have had?

The hundreds of small, metallic orbs—which researchers have named “disco balls”—have been equally puzzling. In an unusual turn of events worthy of an Indiana Jones movie, the archaeologists working under the temple used two robotic probes to poke around some of the rooms. These probes found the orbs, which range from four to 12 centimeters in diameter. Researchers found the orbs were made from clay, and then were covered with pyrite, or fool’s gold. Over the millennia, the pyrite oxidized and became jarosite—a crusty amber mineral. It’s been suggested that the orbs served some sort of religious or ritualistic purpose, but this is only speculation.

Sheets of mica

Teotihuacan is puzzling for another reason. On top of the Pyramid of the Sun, researchers found a thick sheet of mica. Mica was also present on the floors of subterranean chambers at that pyramid. No other archaeological sites in the country or, for that matter, the continent, are known to have been built with mica. What makes this feature curious is that the mica appears to have originated in Brazil. How it found its way to present-day Mexico City and why it was used are questions that may never be answered.

Experience the mystery of the ancient past for yourself. Sea Side Reservations makes it easy to book comfortable, safe accommodations throughout Mexico. Since 2001, we’ve been rated #1 for owner and guest satisfaction. Our professional property managers validate all properties with our certified 5 star rating system. Get started planning your next adventure today!

More on the mysteries of Teotihuacan:

  1. Smithsonian, A Secret Tunnel Found in Mexico May Finally Solve the Mysteries of Teotihuacán, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/discovery-secret-tunnel-mexico-solve-mysteries-teotihuacan-180959070/
  2. Archaeology, Mythological Mercury Pool, http://www.archaeology.org/issues/200-1601/features/3958-mexico-teotihuacan-mercury
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »