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A Quick Overview Of Mexico   by Orson Johnson

A country of great diversity, Mexico is the traveller's paradise. A unique mix of cultures means that Mexico can cater for all tastes. From deserts to volcanoes, ancient ruins to modern resorts, Mexico has something for every tourist.

Mexico is full of history, as befits a country that was once ruled by the passionate and warlike Aztecs, one of the most advanced civilizations in the western hemisphere. Their capital, in Modern-day Mexico City, was full of massive stone pyramids and temples, the remnants of which lay under the modern city. The colonization of Mexico by the Spaniards provided a great deal of colonial architecture, and the violent centuries that followed provided the continent with one of it's strongest independence movements, which can be found by visiting the Centro Historico and Coyoacan.

Although the Aztecs were wiped out as a political group, their descendents still live in Mexico City, and the ancient culture exists in events such as the Day of the Dead, feast-day of dead souls which falls at the beginning of November. Many people are fascinated by this festival, and anyone with an interest in the native culture should certainly visit Mexico in time for this celebration.

As well as ancient history, Mexico also provides some of the most interesting modern resorts. Mexico City itself provides many modern entertainments, which considering its size (it is the third largest city in the world, with a population of 22 million), including art galleries and restaurants.

Baja California can offer some of the most exciting holidays in Mexico, with kayaking, diving, and whale watching in the Sea of Cortez, as well as the possibility of guided RV tours of the area, aerial tours of the Copper Canyon (a canyon four times larger than the Grand Canyon), which can also be accessed by the famous 'train ride in the sky', a mysterious and inspiring place. Even if you wish to do nothing besides go sailing or fishing Baja California can cater for your desires.

Cancun, as well as offering kayaking and diving, also has facilities for golfing. It is here that you can see the famous bullfights once a week, and cockfighting and dancing can also be found at the Plaza de Toros Cancun. Anyone interested in adventure holidays will like to know that Actun Chen, the famous cave system full of stalactites and stalagmites and natural stone formations. Beyond the caves is jungle, 988 acres of wildlife trails and tropical vegetation. Not too far from Cancun is the Tres Rios, which boasts snorkelling in its section of the Great Mayan Reef.

For those who want a more relaxed experience, Guadalajara is noted for its cultural arts, such as the Degallado Theater, and the mural by Jose Clemente Orozco (part of the 1920's Mexican mural movement) which is at the Cabanas Cultural Institute. The city has many interesting museums, as well as a fantastic selection of resorts, all part of a city which has become more business orientated.

If you are looking for beaches, Mexico boasts some world-class white sands, with surfing, fishing and clear waters, plus parts of the Great Mayan Reef just a few feet from the shore. Some of Puerto Vallarta's beaches are only accessible via boat trips, and the Isla Contoy (reached by boat from Isla Mujeres) has a fantastic, almost uninhabited beach, and Los Cabos' rocky beaches are great for laying back and catching the sun. If you want beaches with exclusivity, there are some private beaches at the Costa Alegre, which also boasts exclusive resorts; while Punta Allen's low-cost hotels are some of the best getaway locations in the country.

Of course, Mexico is not just about history and beaches. Mexico City has a fantastic nightlife, as you might imagine from the mix of Latin, Cuban and alternative music clubs in the city. It also boasts trendy nightclubs and an area nicknamed the 'Soho of Mexico City'. Other places, such as Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, also have sophisticated nightlife. Son Cristobal has a music scene that is fun and exciting, while not taking too much out of your budget. It is the ideal place for people who want to spend their nights barhopping, and everything is in walking - or staggering - distance).

It would not be fair to talk about Mexico's nightlife without mentioning Cabo San Lucas; the capital of Baja California for an after-dark scene, casual bars line the main streets, as well as the beach front. A rowdy, lawless feel makes this the nightlife for the adventurous.

Mexico is so full of different aspects that at times it can seem surreal; you can walk the paths of the ancient Americans in the morning, surf or laze on the beach in the afternoons, and go out clubbing at night, and usually all these things are within the same city. Lively and fascinating, this country is a must-see for both the adventurer and the sun worshipper alike.

About the Author

Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing listings for bed and breakfasts, apartments, hotels and villas in Mexico

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