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Last week we returned from Morelia, Mexico where we attended the third annual Feria Mundial de Turismo Cultural, the World Cultural Tourism Fair and trade show. There, we met with Mexican tour operators and representatives from all of the states of Mexico as well as representatives of the federal government.
Looking for more unique destinations to offer our California Native guests, we visited several colonial cities which have been designated Pueblos Magicos, magic towns. These towns have been chosen for their natural beauty, cultural riches, and historical relevance and are said to offer visitors a “magical experience.” Among those we visited were Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Pátzcuaro, Cuitzeo and Santa Clara del Cobre.
California Native's Ellen Klein strolls along the street in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Don Quixote greets visitors at the Cervantes Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, addresses attendees at World Travel Fair.
California Native president, Lee Klein, discusses travel with Mexico's Minister of Tourism Gloria Guevara at World Travel Fair in Morelia, Mexico.
Tags: Mexico, morelia, Rutas de Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel
Last week I attended ATMEX, the Adventure Travel Event in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. It was a great opportunity to meet with adventure tour providers in Mexico and lay the groundwork for future partnerships to develop California Native tours to this beautiful region. We joined with Mexico Verde Expeditions and rafted down the Rio Antigua, zip-lined and mountain biked in the rainforest nearby the village of Jolcomulco. The State of Veracruz offers a plethora of historic and cultural destinations in addition to its wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. Please let me know if you are interested in joining us on future tours to the historic and wildly scenic State of Veracruz.
California Native President Lee Klein and Mexico's Minister of Tourism Gloria Guevara at ATMEX.
White water rafting on Mexico's Rio Antigua with Mexico Verde Expeditions. California Native founder Lee Klein is the guy in front wearing sunglasses.
Tags: California Native, Mexico, Tours, Travel, veracruz
We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Jim Whilden, from Bethleham, Pennsylvania, just returned from his Yucatan Adventure and had this to report:
Everything worked exactly as it should have. It is always great to be met at the airport by someone who is expecting you and can speak your language! When that occurs the trip is always great. Our guide even seemed glad to see us.
Guillermo, the guide, was superb! He not only explained the tourist sites but answered every question about Mexico’s government, areas, culture, language, etc. He helped us find things we read about in our guide books.
Uxmal, Valladolid, Campeche were wonderful. I loved clinbing the pyramid steps.
The trip really included everything—even specialty shops (ice cream in Merida). The hotels were wonderful and the food was great, especially in the small restaurants and cafes.
Where else can I travel with The California Native?
It's a long way down from the top of a Mayan pyramid on a California Native adventure in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
The Nunnery Quadrangle, at the ruins of Uxmal, was named by a 16th-century Spanish priest because it reminded him of a convent in Spain. It may have been a military academy, royal school or palace complex.
Tags: mayan, Mexico, the california native, tour, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
California native founder, Lee Klein, at a Mayan ruin in Mexico's Yucatan. What a way to make a living.
This June we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary—30 years of leading fantastic trips to exotic destinations around the world.
This anniversary comes as a proud moment for our company’s founder, Lee Klein, who continues to scout new locations world-wide in search of new destinations for the active traveler. Klein, who holds an MBA in Management and a BS in International Marketing, spent more than two decades as a corporate manager and college professor until, in 1983, while climbing Ayer’s Rock in the Australian Outback, he decided to drop out of the corporate world, take off his suit and tie, and create an adventure travel company based on the lessons he taught his students on how to succeed in business: “keep the quality high, keep it affordable, and treat people the way you would like to be treated.”
Lee and Ellen Klein hiking on Patagonia's Perito Moreno Glacier.
The initial offering from The California Native was a tour billed as “The Other Los Angeles.” This day-long excursion traced the route of the San Andreas Fault from the Mojave Desert to the San Gabriel Mountains without ever leaving Los Angeles County. The tours became so popular that colleges in three California counties offered them as part of their community-education programs. From this, the company expanded its offerings to include tours to the Channel Islands, Death Valley, Yosemite, and other uniquely California destinations, as well as white-water rafting, ballooning, spelunking (caving), sailplane gliding, and other outdoor adventures. “My family has lived in Los Angeles for generations,” writes Klein in the company newsletter, “hence the name The California Native.”
Lee rappelling in Argentina. Hey, this is research.
Satisfying the growing client base led to the development of The California Native’s most popular destination—Mexico’s Copper Canyon. These escorted and independent tours feature the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad (labeled as one of the most spectacular train rides in the western hemisphere) and highlight one of the most primitive indigenous cultures still subsisting in North America—the Tarahumara Indians. The California Native has become a leading source of information on this remote area and the company and it’s guides are known throughout the area for their work with the Tarahumara.
Today, The California Native offers a wide selection of tours to destinations including Costa Rica, Yucatan, Patagonia, Peru, the Galapagos, Ireland, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China, and more destinations are in the planning stages.
Tags: burma, Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, China, Copper Canyon, Costa Rica, galapagos, ireland, Mexico, myanmar, patagonia, Peru, tarahumara, the california native, Tours, Travel
The Tarahumara inhabit the same region they have for centuries—the rugged Sierra Madre of northern Mexico, known as Copper Canyon.
A recent post on the blog “never stop traveling, the source for travelers 50 and beyond,” listed the top tourism destinations in Mexico, as reported by the Mexico Tourism Board.
They noted that although there has been much coverage by the US media of the crime situation in some areas of Mexico, millions of US and Canadian citizens visit Mexico each year, and many live there year-round.
Among the destinations listed as Top Ten are Copper Canyon, Yucatan and Chiapas, all places which The California Native has specialized in for the past thirty years. We would love for you to join us.
Tags: California Native, chiapas, Copper Canyon, Mexico, tarahumara, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
The film, "Mexico: The Royal Tour," premier in Los Angeles.
Last night we attended a VIP Reception and Premiere showing of Mexico: A Royal Tour, a film by Peter Greenberg for PBS.
In the film, President Calderón takes Greenberg on a tour of Mexico—but not your average tour. It’s a spectacular visit to many beautiful and unusual places with lots of adventure, including zip-lining, scuba and more. The President and his family clearly enjoy being the tour guides, and showing off these fabulous and interesting places, well-known and not so well-known. There is also discussion of the current security misconceptions. In the end, you will want to get on the next flight south.
California Native President, Lee Klein, and Mexican President, Felipe Calderon.
We arrived at the JW Marriott at LA Live in downtown LA, were given wrist bands, checked off several security lists, then passed through a metal detector and into a small ballroom. We enjoyed drinks and conversation with other celebrities such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara, other dignitaries associated with both Mexico and the film, and entertainment icons including George Lopez, Russell Brand, Lionel Richie, James Caan, and Cindy Crawford. Then there was a buzz, lots more security, and the arrival of President Felipe Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala. After the camera flashes subsided, we were able chat with the President for a few minutes—our second meeting.
California Native's Lee Klein and Mexico's Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara.
We moved on to the movie theater, and found seats with our names on them directly behind the President, the Mexican dignitaries and Greenberg, and next to the film’s director. After some speeches, the film began and we were entranced.
Afterward, talking to the Director, we learned that Mexico’s Copper Canyon was to have been part of the tour, but there were some weather issues on the days slated for filming so they did not film there. From previous conversations with President Calderón, we know that Copper Canyon is one of his favorite places in Mexico.
California Native's Ellen Klein and singer Lionel Richie.
The movie premieres on Thursday, September 22, 2011 on many local PBS station (check listings for time) and will air several times in the next couple of weeks. Find out more about the film or watch the movie trailer.
After the movie, check out our website and join us for a wonderful adventure in Mexico.
Tags: Copper Canyon, felipe calderon, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
Ricardo Gonzalez, great uncle of Bessie "Crickett" Quijada.
A few weeks ago we received a very interesting comment from Bessie "Crickett" Quijada regarding our article, A Visit With Mrs. Pancho Villa. I contacted her and she agreed to share some of her photos with us.
In her comment Mrs. Quijada told us “My grand mother’s brother, Ricardo Gonzales, rode with The General Pancho Villa. In the Military Classics Illustrated (News Letter) there is a photo of My great uncle Ricardo on horseback along with Pancho Villa and about 5 or 6 other riders. My uncle is to Pancho Villas left. I have a photo of my uncle with Mrs Pancho Villa (Dona Luz) taken at La Quinta Manor where she lived until her death. The Villa’s manor is a museum in Chihuahua, MX. In the Military Classics Illustrated along with the photo of my uncle with Pancho Villa there is an article titled, The Villistas: Soldiers in Sombreros and Suit Coats By Don Fuchik.”
The author she refers to, Don Fuchik, was a very close friend of mine from the time we were 13-years old until his death a few years ago. He was also a consultant for The California Native and led many of our trips through Mexico’s Copper Canyon.
|Pancho Villa and his wife, Luz Corral de Villa, in 1914.
||Dona Luz Corral de Villa with Ricardo Gonzalez in 1967.
Crickett was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Stockton, California. She now lives in Fresno. She describes herself as being 67 going on 12, and never wants to grow up. She has eight children, two which she adopted, and two male pet hooded rats whom she adores (she claims that rats make great pets). Her nickname is Crickett and that is what she prefers to be called.
Tags: Copper Canyon, Mexico, pancho villa, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
Maidens were sacrificed to the Rain God Chac in Chichen-Itza's Sacred Well.
My first introduction to the Mayans was in a grammar school textbook where our fourth grade class read a story titled “The Sacred Well of Chichen Itza.” I was fascinated with the tale of the young maidens being thrown into the well to be sacrificed to the Rain God Chac. This was back in the 1940′s and more than 20 years passed before I first traveled to Chichen Itza and stood before that very same well—too late to rescue a maiden but a wonderful time to conjure up visions of a past when exotic civilizations populated the Americas.
In an inner chamber of Chichen-Itza's largest pyramid sits the jade-eyed jaguar throne of Kukulkan.
The Yucatan Peninsula is the homeland of the Mayan people, whose mighty empire lasted over a thousand years. Throughout the peninsula are the amazing archaeological ruins of their great cities—Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Edzna and many more—a fantastic place to take a time-traveling vacation. In addition, there are lovely colonial cities, forts designed to protect against Caribbean pirates and beautiful beaches.
The El Castillo pyramid dominates the ruins of the Mayan city of Chichen-Itza
After leaving the sacred well, I climbed a passageway cut into the great pyramid called “El Castillo” into an older pyramid covered by “El Castillo.” Here in an inside chamber I gazed upon Kukilkan’s red jaguar throne, its eyes and spots glittering with jade and its fangs glowing with pyrite. After exiting with the tourists I wandered alone in the ruins where I found a little entrance in the side of a pyramid and entered a narrow passage. Gradually the outside light from the entrance grew dimmer and dimmer and then my little pocket flashlight stopped working. I found myself alone in the pitch-black. Very creepy. I felt my way back up the tunnel, imagining the possibility of getting lost in an underground labyrinth and was very happy when I emerged into the sunlight—Indiana Jones would have been proud.
Tags: maya, mayan, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
Olmec head, perhaps representing a chief, wears what is believed to be a ballplayers helmet.
Spring has sprung, Little League players are swinging their bats and baseball is in the air. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer (called football in the rest of the world), these are the games most North Americans think of when the subject of sports comes up. But team sports is not a concept which arrived in the Americas with the landing of Columbus. For almost 3000 years before the coming of the Europeans, teams in Mesoamerica, the region which extends from what is now Mexico south through Nicaragua, were playing ball in a game that was truly was a matter of life or death.
A stone vertical hoop is still prominent in the ruins of a Mesoamerican ballfield.
Today, when visiting the ruins of these ancient cultures, travelers can see the courts where these ballgames, considered to be the world’s oldest team sport, were played. Like modern superdomes, these ball courts were a major part of a city’s infrastructure and came to represent its wealth and power. Two high walls composed an alley with end zones making the court resemble the capital letter ‘I’.
Although not much is known about how the sport was enacted, it is speculated that two opposing teams attempted to have the rubber ball penetrate the defense’s end zone without using their hands. As the sport evolved, giant stone rings in the walls of the alley provided more obstacles to pass the ball through in hope of scoring. The balls varied in size from softball to beachball and could weigh up to eight pounds. Some relics of balls have been found with skulls in the middle and were thought to bounce even higher having a hollow core. The earliest rubber ball was found at the Olmec site of El Manati, in the Mexican state of Vera Cruz. It is estimated to be 3600 years old!
Workers work on restoration of a Mayan ballfield.
The stakes were high for the athletes in these games. Their belief systems were based on a balance of forces. These ancient people wanted to keep their gods happy in order to keep the sun rising in the east and rain pouring on their crops. And to keep this balance level, cities would often sacrifice members of the losing team, making the incentive to win greater than any trophy.
Two cultures that were significant in the development of the Ballgame were the Olmec and the Maya. The Olmec are generally thought to be the mother culture from which all other Mesoamerican cultures were derived. The name Olmec means “people of the land of rubber.” Their huge helmeted stone heads, weighing up to 40 tons, are speculated to be portraits of famous ball players.
Succeeding the Olmecs, the Mayan Civilization thrived from 250 AD to 1400 AD. Their zest for the ballgame is evident from the many ruins of their ball courts including the giant court at Chichen Itza, the largest of all the sites. The game was so popular that aspects of the sport are found in the Mayan Creation Story which tells the story of two hero twins who were players. The ballgame was so rooted in the culture that “ballplayer” is used as a ceremonial title of kings.
Like modern sports, the uniform was an essential part of the game. The athletes entered the court wearing their finest jewels, animal skins, and feathered headdresses. The players did not compete in this garb as the fast-paced nature of the game required agility and the aggressive action required protective equipment. Uniforms consisted mainly of a loincloth, sometimes with leather hip guards, a thick girdle made of wood or wicker covered in leather or fabric, and a decorative stone accessory worn on the girdle. Knee guards and helmets were also worn in some communities. A decorative carved stone was sometimes used to hit the ball like a bat or a stick. The balls were made of rubber, produced from plants indigenous to the area.
The rise of Christianity in the Mesoamerican world led to the end of the ballgame. The Spanish viewed the event as pagan ritual and outlawed the sport. Disease, forced labor and massacre, diminished the native populations, taking with them the world’s first team sport. The modern game of Ulamu, played in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, is thought to be its closest equivalent.
We invite you to come with us on a tour of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and visit these ancient sports stadiums and many other archaeological sites of these unique cultures. Can you hear the whispered call of the ancient Mesoamerican equivalent of “Play ball?”
Tags: maya, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
On February 24, Mexico celebrates Dia de la Bandera, or Flag Day, a civic holiday with parades and festivities to honor the Mexican Flag. On that date in 1821, the Plan de Iguala, which proclaimed Mexico as an independent country, was signed.
The green, white and red flag was adopted at that time and although it has undergone some revisions since, the basic design has remained. Its stripes are green for hope and victory (or Independence), white is for the purity of ideals (or Roman Catholicism), and red for the blood of national heroes (or for the Union).
In the center of the flag is the National Coat of Arms which features an eagle with a snake in it’s claws. According to legend, the Aztecs, who were the original inhabitants of Mexico, were told by their gods to find an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus and holding a snake. At this location they would build their permanent city. The story goes that they saw this eagle on an island in the middle of a lake, and built their city, now known as México City, around the island.
Throughout all of Mexico, you will see that the most respected symbol among the Mexican people, is their national flag. ¡Viva México!
Tags: Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel
No date for Valentine’s Day this year? No problem if you are in Mexico.
Although St. Valentine’s Day probably started as a pre-Christian observance, it later became a minor religious holiday honoring St. Valentine. It was celebrated in Europe privately as a day near the end of winter and the beginning of Spring to express romance. It started to become a more public holiday in the U.S. in the mid 1800′s when a Massachusetts stationer started mass producing Valentine’s Day cards and selling them in her shop. It has grown and grown and is now celebrated in most countries of the world as a day of love and romance (seemingly not at all private!).
In Mexico, the day is called día del amor y la amistad, which means day of love AND friendship. It has evolved as a day to show appreciation for people you care about—and that doesn’t mean it has to be your significant other—it can be anyone you care about, from your teacher, your co-worker or best friend. Flowers, poems, gifts and food are exchanged as much with friends as with lovers. So, think about taking your significant other to enjoy the friendship of Mexico on Valentine’s Day or any time of year. Or join us on one of our tours to Mexico’s Copper Canyon or Yucatan.
Happy Valentine’s day to all our California Native friends!
Tags: Copper Canyon, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
Colors set our mood and add an important dimension to our feelings and memories of the places we visit. I thought it might be fun to group some of the photos from our library of California Native images by their predominant colors. This first collection is based on the color yellow.
“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.“—Vincent Van Gogh
The delightful city of Izamal, located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a magical town whose buildings are all painted yellow.
Built around the 6th century, the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). It’s gilded stupa looks down on the city of Yangon (Rangoon).
A young Tarahumara girl carries her little sister in a yellow shawl, in Mexico’s Copper Canyon.
A smiling yellow buddha looks down at worshipers in one of the thousands of temples in Thailand.
Shining yellow light into the night sky, Buda Castle, in Budapest, Hungary, overlooks the Danube River.
Tags: the california native, Tours, Travel
The beaches at Cancun give the traveler a chance to unwind at the beginning of a trip exploring Mexico
When you travel with us on our Yucatan Explorer Trips, you now have the option of beginning and ending your vacation in either city, Cancun or Merida.
With the large number of airlines flying into Cancun daily, starting your Yucatan adventure in Cancun allows you to take advantage of the competitive airfares and direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.
Cancun is renowned for its beaches, restaurants and nightlife, with all the glitter of an upscale beach resort. Merida, on the other hand, is a cosmopolitan but at the same time tranquil and charming colonial city.
Abandoned for more than ten centuries, the Pyramid of the Magician is the tallest structure at the Mayan ruins of Uxmal.
The Yucatan Peninsula is the homeland of the Mayan people, whose mighty empire lasted over a thousand years. Throughout the peninsula are the amazing archaeological ruins of their great cities. In addition, the Yucatan has lovely colonial cities and beautiful Caribbean beaches.
All of our Yucatan tours visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, El Balam and Edzna, as well as the city of Campeche—its fort was built by the Spaniards as defense against the Caribbean pirates.
The tours which begin in Cancun also visit the ruins of the Mayan port city of Tulum, built alongside a beautiful Caribbean beach. and the archaeological site of Coba.
If you are looking for more an even more extensive trip, you can include Chiapas and/or Copper Canyon in your Mexico vacation.
Tags: cancun, maya, Merida, Mexico, Rutas de Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, vacation, Yucatan and Chiapas
This year in Mexico is a year for celebration. It is the bicentennial of Mexico’s War of Independence as well as the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. Two hundred years ago the first of these events set our neighbor on the path to becoming the 14th largest independent nation on Earth, as well as the world’s largest Hispanic country. It was the inspiration and leadership of one man which led to Mexico’s throwing off the shackles of Spain after almost three centuries.
Father Miguel Hidalgo's speech, known as the Grito de Dolores, the “Cry of Dolores,” set off the Mexican War of Independence.
That man was a 57-year-old priest whose parish was in the city of Dolores, Guanajuato. The date was September 16, 1810. Early that morning Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had the church bells rung to summon the townspeople to the church, where he told his followers that the time had come to expel the Spaniards who had misgoverned Mexico for so long. His speech, known as the Grito de Dolores, the “Cry of Dolores,” set off the Mexican War of Independence, which resulted in Mexico’s becoming an independent country.
Hidalgo was born in 1753 on the hacienda where his father was administrator. At twenty years of age he received his Bachelor of Theology degree and lectured in philosophy and theology at San Nicolás Obispo and, after being ordained as a priest, became rector of the school. His ideas and conduct were extremely liberal, which led to his being dismissed from that post, and twice being investigated by the Inquisition, who accused him of reading prohibited books, advocating doctrines of the French Revolution, doubting the virgin birth of Mary, gambling, and keeping a mistress. His last clerical position was that of parish priest in the little town of Dolores.
Hidalgo worked hard to improve the lives of his parishioners, mastering their Indian language and teaching them crafts and skills to improve their economic condition. He also introduced winemaking and silk culture, two industries which the government declared illegal in the colonies, and one day government officials came to the village and destroyed the vines and mulberry trees.
Late in the eighteenth century it became fashionable among cultured criollos, persons of Spanish descent who were born in Mexico, to form literary societies, which met for tea and cakes and discussed the classics. They also smuggled into the country books which were banned by the Church, such as the works of Rousseau, Voltaire, and Descartes. The literary societies gradually became political societies. Father Hidalgo belonged to one of these societies whose members were plotting a revolution to separate Mexico from Spain.
The group selected Hidalgo to lead the movement, and thus on the morning of September 16th, 1810, Hidalgo, with his “Cry of Dolores” launched the revolution, and the rebel army set forth, armed with machetes, swords, knives, clubs, axes, and a few muskets. As they passed through each town they opened the local jails and recruited the prisoners for their cause. Eventually their numbers grew to sixty thousand.
After six months of fighting, Hidalgo fell into a royalist trap and was captured. Because he was a priest, he was subjected to a lengthy hearing by the Inquisition, after which he was found guilty of heresy and treason, defrocked, and, on July 30, 1811, executed by a firing squad in the city of Chihuahua. His head, along with those of three other revolutionary leaders, was cut off and sent to Guanajuato, where it was put on a pole and displayed for a decade.
After Hidalgo’s death, the revolutionary movement continued until September 28,1821, when Mexico finally became an independent nation.
In Mexico, Hidalgo is credited with arousing the spirit of rebellion against the Spanish oppression. Because of his patriotism, his championing of human rights and his personal courage, he is considered by Mexicans to be the father of their nation and the symbol of Mexican independence.
Each year on September 15, Independence Day is celebrated throughout Mexico, with parades, fireworks, and the cry of “Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!”
Tags: Copper Canyon, mexican revolution, Mexico, miguel hidalgo, Rutas de Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
There is a local legend revolving around Chiapas, Mexico’s, Canyon del Sumidero. Legend states that the local tribes were fanatic about remaining out of bondage. So in order to escape slavery by the Spaniards, they committed mass suicide by diving into the canyon, believing that they would be free in the afterlife if they did so.
In Mexico's Sumidoro Canyon, local Indians thew themselves over the cliffs rather than be enslaved by the Spaniards.
There is some historical fact associated with this legend. When the Spanish first came to Mexico, they conquered the Aztec empire, which was located to the north and west of Chiapas for the most part. Later, when Cortes sent tax collectors to Chiapas, they were met with fierce resistance. Eventually, in a fierce battle between indigenous forces and Spanish conqueror Diego de Mazariegos, many Indian warriors threw themselves into the Canyon del Sumidero, preferring death to slavery.
This canyon is located in extreme southeastern Mexico, in the central state of Chiapas. It was formed by a fault that still runs through the canyon, through which the Grijalva river still runs. The river and canyon are the primary feature of what is now known as Cañón del Sumidero National Park. The Mexican government named the site a National Park in 1980, in order to protect the area around it, as well as the flora and fauna. The canyon is one of Mexico’s most beautiful features, though it is not well known outside the country. It is the central tourist attraction for the state of Chiapas; important enough that it features on the state’s coat of arms.
A crocodile blends in with his surroundings as he waits for his unwary dinner in Mexico's Sumidero Canyon.
The park is formed by two features; the Canyon del Sumidero itself, and the plains that the canyon-forming Grijalva river runs through. A series of tremendous earthquakes thrust the plains in some places more than a kilometer above sea level millions of years ago. Some time after, the Grijalva river cut down through the basalt and granite, creating the canyon seen today.
A speed boat tour down the canyon and the Grijalva river leads to many beautiful sights. Lucky boaters might see some of the native American Crocodiles. One particular sight that any visitor would be lucky to see is what happens to the canyon during the rainy season. Nearby streams and trickles of water all lead down into the canyon and the sides of the canyon cascade with beautiful waterfalls.
California Natives enjoy the tropical scenery and wildlife as they tour Mexico's Sumidero Canyon by speed boat.
The indigenous group modern Chiapans are descended from is the Maya. It is only a small part of the Maya empire that once was, but thanks to the state’s powerful cultural identity and independence, they have never felt really bound to the rest of Mexico.
The California Native’s tours of Chiapas include a speed boat tour through this beautiful canyon.
Tags: chiapas, Mexico, Rutas de Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel
Pancho Villa, so the saying goes, was “hated by thousands and loved by millions.” He was a Robin Hood to many and a cruel, cold-blooded killer to others. But who was this colorful controversial hero of the Mexican Revolution and where did he come from?
Doroteo Arango, for that was Pancho Villa’s real name, was born in the state of Durango in 1878, a share-cropper peasant on a hacienda. According to the legend, one day when he was sixteen, he returned home from the fields to find that his sister had been raped by the owner of the hacienda, Don Agustin López Negrete. Doroteo took up his revolver, shot Don Agustin, and escaped into the mountains on a horse.
He became a cattle rustler and later joined a band of rustlers that was led by a man named Francisco “Pancho” Villa. In one of their many skirmishes with the law, the group was surprised by a group of rurales (mounted police) and Francisco was killed. Doroteo then took command of the gang and also assumed the name of the fallen leader. He may have done this to throw off those who hunted him for the murder of the hacienda owner or he may have done this to insure his authority over the group. Anyway, from that time on it was he who was known as Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
Pancho Villa was a natural leader and was very successful as a bandit, leading raids on towns, killing, and looting. He was also involved in more legitimate ventures, including being a contractor on the Copper Canyon railroad.
In 1910, when the Mexican Revolution broke out, Villa was recruited by the revolutionary leader, Abraham Gonzalez. Villa put together an army of armed cowboys and ruffians and became the revolutionary general who led the war in the northern part of Mexico. His charisma and victories made him an idol of the masses.
In 1916, when an American merchant refused to deliver the arms to Villa’s army which they had paid him for, Villa entered the United States and raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico. He was pursued by General “Black Jack” Pershing through the mountains of the State of Chihuahua. Pershing’s pursuit of Villa ended in failure, causing him to telegraph back to Washington that “Villa is everywhere, but Villa is nowhere.”
The war ended in 1920, and many attempts were made on Villa’s life by relatives of persons he had killed. On July 20, 1923, while driving his car through the town on Parral, Chihuahua, he was assasinated. The men responsible were never identified.
Tags: California Native, Mexico, pancho villa, Tours, Travel
In the United States we honor the Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, the Italians on Columbus Day, and the Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo. But what the heck is Cinco de Mayo?
Most Americans think that Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) celebrates Mexican Independence Day. Not so. Mexican Independence Day is September 16. Then what is Cinco de Mayo?
After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, it went through forty years of internal power struggles and rebellions. By 1861 the country’s finances were so bad that the nation owed 80 million pesos in foreign debts. Mexico’s president, Benito Juarez, pledged to pay off these debts eventually but, as an emergency measure, he suspended all payment for two years.
In France, Napoleon III saw this as an opportunity to establish French colonies in Latin America. He believed that the United States was too involved with the Civil War to try and enforce the Monroe Doctrine, and that if the South won the war—and after the Battle of Bull Run it looked like they might—opposition to his plan would be minimal.
Napoleon enlisted England and Spain to join him in a mission to encourage Mexico to pay off its foreign debts. The mission began with the landing of French, English and Spanish troops at Vera Cruz. The French minister then demanded that Mexico pay 12 million pesos to France, an impossible amount, given the state of the Mexican treasury.
Napoleon then set up a provisional government with his personal emissary as its head, and brought in a much larger French army to enforce it. England and Spain, now realizing Napoleon’s scheme for French domination, protested France’s moves and withdrew their forces.
The French, now alone, marched 6000 dragoons and foot soldiers to occupy Mexico City. On May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), 1862, on their way to the capital, the French soldiers entered the town of Puebla. To stop the French, the Mexicans garrisoned a rag-tag army of 4000 men at Puebla, most of them armed with fifty-year-old antiquated guns. The French general, contemptuous of the Mexicans, ordered his men to charge right into the center of the Mexican defenses.
The handsomely uniformed French cavalry charged through soggy ditches, over crumbling adobe walls, and up the steep slopes of the Cerro de Guadalupe, right into the Mexican guns. When the shooting was over, the French ended up with a thousand dead troops. The Mexicans then counter-attacked and drove the French all the way to the coast.
Now the honor of France was at stake. Napoleon III committed an additional 28,000 men to the struggle. They eventually took over Puebla and Mexico City. Napoleon next arranged for the young archduke Maximilian (photo above), brother of Austria’s Emperor Franz Joseph, to establish himself as emperor of Mexico, as a way to set up a legitimate-seeming government, while insuring French interests in Mexico. Maximilian’s reign lasted just three years. On June 19, 1867, he was executed by a firing squad, four months after the last French troops left the country.
Every 5th of May in Mexico, school children throughout the country celebrate the victory of the Mexican people over the French at the Battle of Puebla, but these celebrations are minor compared to their counterparts in the United States, where millions of Americans drink beer, eat tacos and hold parties to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, even though they have no idea what the holiday is all about.
Tags: cinco de mayo, Copper Canyon, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
We’ve spent an exciting day exploring the remote regions of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, and as sunset repaints the canyon walls, what better way to usher in the evening than with a cool refreshing margarita? Contreau or triple-sec, lime juice, ice, and, most important, tequila. But how much do we really know about this delightfully intoxicating beverage?
Before the arrival of the Spaniards, fermented sap from the Maguey plant was extracted into a beverage known as ‘pulque.’ Pulque holds the esteem of being North America’s first distilled drink. Aside from that, origins of the liquor seem as ethereal as the effects it produces. Tequila branches from this phantom lineage by way of a small town with the same name in the state of Jalisco. In the ancient Nuahatl language, “tequila” translates to “place of the plant harvest” and represents the relationship between the region and the raw material—the Blue Agave.
There are over 130 species of agave. However, only one variety is used in the production of tequila according to standards set by the Mexican government. That variety is the Blue Agave, or Agave Tequilana Weber Azul. A common misconception is that tequila is made from a cactus. The Agave is actually closer in relation to succulents like the Lily or the Amaryllis even though it looks spiky in appearance. Only the hearts of the plant are used in distillation while the thick leaves are processed into fiber. Other varieties may be used in the formulation of tequila’s kindred spirit Mezcal, but only the Blue Agave is used to distill tequila. Mature agave at the time of harvest can grow 5 to 8 feet tall, span 7 to 12 feet across and, although not a cactus, can live up to 15 years!
Another myth infusing the agave spirits of tequila and mezcal turns over the worm. Drinkers and non-drinkers alike recognize the connection. However, like all things Tequila, origins of this curious practice of adding worms to bottles survives mostly as folklore, even though many believe it is more marketing strategy than authentic Mexican Tradition. In fact, only Mezcal carries the worm, this again due to the Mexican standards authority, Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM). The worms are the thoroughly pickled larvae of the moth species Hypopta Agavis and, although not found in higher-priced bottles of Mezcal, are believed to enhance the flavor as well as act as an aphrodisiac. Viewed as a delicacy by many in Mexico, the Gusano Rojo (Red Worm) and the Gusano Blanco (White Worm) are safe to eat, even if their properties and histories are debatable.
Knowing tequila is not cactus and has no worm, it now comes down to the matter of taste. Tequilas divide into three groups agreed upon by aficionados in the industry. Like many beverages, Tequilas are classified according to their age. Blanco (white), also referred to as Plata (silver), is the youngest of the three types. Tequila Blanco is aged less than two months and is distinguished through its abrasive flavor. Also identified in this category is Tequila Oro (gold). This is a blend of the young Tequila Blanco and a more-aged variety, often mixed with coloring to resemble older vintages. Second of the three classes is Tequila Reposado (rested). This mid-aged tequila is known for its peppery aftertaste and has an age greater than two months but less than one year. The third and final variety is Tequila Anejo (aged). Tequila Anejo mellows for a period between one year and three years and finishes smoother on the palate as a result.
Aside from these distinctions, the sky (or the floor) is the limit. From the heart of the agave all the way to expensive, individually-numbered collectable keepsake bottles, the taste of tequila really boils down to the spirit of personal preference. Sipping, shooting, mixing or just plain drinking are all part of the charm bottled in this passionate product from Mexico. Curious connoisseurs searching for the flavor that suits best may even find themselves, suitcase in hand, bouncing across the border for a measure of Mezcal complete with worm. No matter how it’s served, the taste as well as the mystery surrounding this potent potable are sure to leave any traveler thirsting for more of Mexico.
Tags: California Native, Copper Canyon, Mexico, the california native, tour, Tours, Travel
Burrowed into the southeast part of the Yucatan Peninsula stands the walled fortress of Campeche—a city born from warfare and piracy.
Before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, Campeche was the principal town of the Mayas, who called it Ah Kin Pech (serpent tick), which the Spanish interpreted as “Campeche.”
Led by Hernandez de Cordova, Spanish explorers set sail from Cuba in 1517 to search for new lands. Cordova is credited with the discovery of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Their first landing was at the Mayan village of Catoche where the natives greeted the conquistadors with an ambush and drove them back to sea. After fifteen days adrift without adequate supplies or water they ventured ashore again, this time at Campeche. Here, what seemed to begin as a friendly welcome turned into a simple choice—the high priest of the village set fire to a pile of reeds and told the sailors if they were not back to their boats before the blaze burned out, they would be used to rekindle the flames.
Back at sea, the Spanish sailors worked their way down the coast until they arrived at Champotón. Locating food and water, the conquistadors also found themselves surrounded by Mayan warriors whose legions “seemed to multiply” until they outnumbered the Spanish 200 to one. The Mayans paid close attention to Captain Cordova, filling him with ten arrows that would eventually, five agonizing days later, claim his life. The Spaniards afterwards called the site costa de la mala pelea “the coast of the bad fight.”
In 1541, after the Mayans were finally subdued, the Spanish town of Campeche was founded. Once conquered, the harvest of the area’s abundant natural resources began. Before long, Campeche grew to be one of the richest cities in Mexico, second only to Veracruz in its wealth.
One commodity in particular led to this boom, the precious logwood tree, a medium-sized evergreen with yellow flowers. Profiteers quickly learned that the tree was also the source of rich violet and black dyes used by the natives to color their textiles. In Europe, these hues were produced by indigo dyes, exotic and affordable only to royalty and the rich. The introduction of the logwood dye provided a less-expensive alternative.
The export of logwood thrived as ships filled with cut sections sailed back to Spain. It did not take long before the success of this business caught the attention of a particular group of people—pirates.
These pirates, the swashbuckling characters popular in movies and stories, including Henry Morgan and Francis Drake, were privateers holding government commissions backed by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The monarchy understood that fifty tons of logwood in a single trip would fetch more than a year’s worth of other cargo. So, the resources in Campeche became a target for attacks by pirates who beleaguered the town forcing officials to erect giant walls to protect against raids.
Wealth not commandeered by pirates was put toward construction which can still be seen in the splendid colonial architecture. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, the colonial city of Campeche is well worth a visit.
Tags: campeche, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
When you think about the history of wine, it’s easy to picture France, Italy, and Spain as popular destinations for the grape lover. Read MEXICO and WINE in the same sentence and you’re likely to think Tequila?, and rightly so, but did you know that a number of award-winning wines come out of the country as well?
Winemaking in Mexico has its own history and can be traced back to the arrival of the Spanish. Early settlers predicted that Mexico’s tropical climate would not be suitable for growing grapes, but that did not stop the explorer Hernando Cortes who enacted legislation calling for landholders to plant new vines every year. The Catholic Church was on board with this plan as they brought the Mission grape to be grown on land owned by the church. The vines prospered in the hot, dry climate and helped support the economic health of the colony. In fact, it could be said that in some ways, Mexico owes its independence to the grape. One man in particular, Miguel Hidalgo, was instrumental in planting the vines of revolution.
Miguel Hidalgo was born in 1753 and is credited with cultivating the spirit of rebellion against Spanish oppression. Because of his patriotism, his championing of human rights and his personal courage, he is considered by Mexicans to be the father of their nation and a symbol of Mexican independence. At twenty years of age Hidalgo received his Bachelor of Theology degree and lectured in philosophy and theology at San Nicolás Obispo and, after being ordained as a priest, became rector of the school. Hidalgo worked hard to improve the lives of his parishioners, mastering their native languages and teaching them crafts and skills to improve their economic condition. In his parish at Dolores and throughout Mexico, he promoted winemaking and silk culture.
Wine production continued robustly until the mid-to-late 17th century when the Spanish Monarchy saw the New World competition too great a risk to their profits. The cottage industry of winemaking was declared illegal in the colonies. The Spanish crown called for the eradication of vineyards and deployed Franciscan missionaries to ensure that only wine imported from Spain was used in the sacrament. However, this did not stop the Jesuits, who continued fermenting grapes on the sly. Father Hidalgo was a staunch supporter of this rebellious activity because he wanted self sufficiency for the people in his parish and was intolerant to the subjugation of those in a lower economic situation by those acting on behalf of the king. The ceasing of wine production along with other economic hardships imposed by the king led Hidalgo to organize protest and then revolt.
Today, Mexico is gaining recognition as a player on the world wine market. And, rightly so, with Baja wineries such as Monte Xanic earning acclaim with it’s award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon; and Bodegas Santo Tomas, in operation for 120 years, regarded as the oldest continuously producing commercial winery in Mexico, there’s no doubt that Mexican wine is a force to be reckoned with.
Tags: Copper Canyon, Mexico, miguel hidalgo, the california native, wine
Some say the it was the ancient Greeks, some argue that it was indigenous Americans like the Mayans of the Yucatan or the Urarina of the Peruvian Amazon, and while there is some debate over the origins of the hammock and which civilization can claim the rights of ownership, no one can deny the functionality of design. Some of the earliest hammocks developed have been found in the Bahamas. These were made from bark stripped off the hamack tree–the likely origin for the name. Over the years, the bark used in construction was replaced by sisal fibers and today hammocks can be crafted from many materials such as canvas or nylon.
Sisal fiber was instrumental in the fabrication of hammocks giving weavers in the Yucatan an important role. From the mid 19th century all the way to World War I, sisal fiber was considered the major cash crop for this area. In fact, the town of Sisal is located just 53 miles north of the Yucatan’s capital city of Mérida and still contains an abundance of the plants from which the fiber is produced.
The popularity of hammocks spread due to their function in the Royal Navy. Here, hammocks benefited sleeping sailors because they rocked in synchronicity with the pitch and roll of the ship. These sleeping arrangements were preferred because hammocks take up less room than traditional bunk beds and protected sailors from falling out while asleep on rough seas.
The widespread use of the hammock may have come from their utility on the ocean, but their safety benefits evolved from necessities on land. The elevated support of the hammock allowed the ancient Mayans a better alternative to lying on the wet jungle floor filled with biting insects and other vermin.
Hammock: just saying the word causes you to imagine swaying in a breeze on the beach or relaxing in the backyard on your day off. Known for their cocoon-like comfort, there is no disputing the practical design of a hammock. And over the years, artisans have honed their craft and now hammocks are made in a variety of colors and styles. In the capital city of Merida and its surrounding villages, the hammock has become a symbol of the Yucatan. Travelers to this part of Mexico can readily find hammock vendors in the central plazas of towns they visit. Adding to their unique design is the fact that Mayan Hammocks are lightweight and easy to pack, making them great souvenirs from your next trip to the Yucatan peninsula, the Peruvian Amazon, or Costa Rica with The California Native.
Tags: Hammock, mayan, Mayans, Merida, Mexico, Peru, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas
The Summer/Fall 2009 edition of The California Native Newsletter is now in the mail. The newsletter, published by The California Native since 1984, has more than 10,000 readers (not counting those who download from the web). If you are not already a subscriber to this free newsletter you can signup now.
This issues feature stories include:
REVISITING PERU’S NAZCA LINES
The desert markings, believed to have been made thousands of years ago, made little impression on occasional travelers who viewed them from ground level, but when they were spotted by aircraft in the 1930’s they caught the world’s attention. They have since been surveyed, mapped and studied. Only two questions remain—who made them, and why?
RAPID TRANSIT: COSTA RICA STYLE
Costa Rica has long been a favorite destination for both the beginner and the experienced river runner. With ample annual rainfall, mountainous landscapes, and plenty of road-to-river access, the country prides itself on being a whitewater paradise.
GHOSTS OF THE GALAPAGOS
Packing a pearl-handled revolver, a riding crop and three lovers, the Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet disembarked on the Island of Floreana, in 1932, and declared herself “Empress of the Galapagos.”
COPPER CANYON’S LOST TREASURES
In 1880, Alexander “Boss” Shepherd, the last territorial governor of the District of Columbia, packed up his family and, in the remote village of Batopilas, at the bottom of Copper Canyon, developed one of the richest silver mining operations in the world.
THERE’S MORE TO CHINA THAN BEIJING
Because the Olympics were hosted in Beijing, chances are that you learned more about China in 2008 than at any previous time. On the other end of the country, far from bustling Beijing is Yunnan Province—home to the largest variety of ethnic groups in China.
CALIFORNIA NATIVE ADVENTURES
The newsletter also includes schedules, prices and descriptions of California Native’s tours to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Peru, the Galapagos, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Yucatan and Chiapas, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, Bhutan, Yunnan, China, and Ireland.
Tags: China, Copper Canyon, Costa Rica, galapagos, Mexico, Peru, rafting, the california native, tour, Yunnan
The question most frequently asked by guests going on trips with The California Native to Mexico’s Copper Canyon or the Yucatan is, “What weather can I can expect?”
Having an idea of what the weather will be makes it much easier to pack. For those going to the Yucatan, packing is easy. Lightweight clothing (preferably from natural fibers), light-colors (they reflect the sun’s rays), and a wide-brimmed hat (to protect your face and ears from the sun). And, of course, don’t forget your swim-suit!
If you are traveling to Copper Canyon, predicting the weather is a bit more difficult. Mexico has three climate zones, tropical, temperate and cold, and the Copper Canyon tours traverse all three of them.
Upon arrival in the town of El Fuerte (around sea level), you can expect temps in the 70’s even in January. This changes dramatically as you climb high into the Sierra Madre Mountains to the town of Creel where elevations around 6500 feet can cool the air considerably. Expect frost in the early mornings from mid-October through the middle of March. It may even snow. Dress in layers. Avoid taking bulky overcoats—a comfortable jacket on a couple layers of long sleeves or a sweater should suffice. Don’t forget a pair of gloves. In the winter, if the day is sunny, you can expect the air to be mild (highs in the low 60’s). Don’t get too acclimated to the chillier air because from Creel, an excursion to the town of Batopilas in the bottom of the canyon brings you back to the heat of Mexico. It is a fact that the folks who live in Batopilas only acknowledge three seasons; summer, fall, and spring.
As winter approaches, people in the United States and Canada look to Mexico as a top vacation spot to escape the cold. Providing respite from the temperatures in the higher latitudes, Mexico has long been a sun-lover’s paradise. From the splendid heat and humidity of the Yucatan Peninsula, to the coastal climate at the tranquil town of La Paz, Mexico is renown for short sleeves, sandals, and sunscreen. But this time of year is also the perfect time to visit the wonders of Copper Canyon, with its scenery, cultural diversity and wide range of temperatures for everyone to enjoy.
Tags: Add new tag, Copper Canyon, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Yucatan and Chiapas
Nothing can compare to a fresh, hot, homemade tortilla. I remember as a kid, my mom would give us tortillas right off the griddle sprinkled with a little cinnamon, sugar and butter. They were heavenly and simple to make (if you use the prepared flour).
|Mayo Indian lady making
tortillas in Mexico’s Copper
When you order a tortilla in Spain or South America you’ll receive an omelette—layers of eggs, potatoes and seasonings. But in the U.S., we are familiar with the tortillas of Mexico, kind of flat bread or pancakes. Meals are served with, in or on tortillas made of corn or wheat flour. Tortillas are very versatile and can be wrapped around fillings to make burritos and enchiladas, folded and filled to make tacos, served flat like a plate for a tostada, baked into a bowl for salads, or served like bread with a meal. Since 1985, NASA shuttle missions have been using tortillas to solve their food handling problems and eliminate bread crumbs in the instrument panels.
The Tortilla has become a regular food staple in most kitchens and can be found in every local grocery store. They are almost as common as a loaf of bread.
Of course you can’t beat the tortillas made in the traditional way in Mexico, such as the ones we enjoy on our trips to Mexico’s Copper Canyon , the Yucatan and Chiapas, but you can do a pretty good job of making them yourself.
The traditional way of making tortillas includes curing the corn in lime water until the hulls peel off, then grinding it with a stone mano (a cylinder-shaped stone similar to a rolling pin) and metate (a stone with a concave top for holding the corn). I usually skip this step, as it can be very time consuming.
3 cups flour (wheat, all-purpose or maza harina /corn flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
5-6 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups warm water (mas o minos/more or less)
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening or lard using a pastry cutter or criss-cross two knives.
If the mixture crumbles, you do not have enough shortening or it is not mixed. If it is a hard ball then you need to add more flour.
Add the warm water and mix the dough quickly by hand moving it around the sides to pick up any flour remaining in the bowl. Continue to knead the dough until it is soft and no longer sticky.
Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap to let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. Letting the dough set allows the water and flour to mix and will give you a softer tortilla after cooking.
Take your ball of dough and begin forming 1-inch diameter balls. Pat each between your hands, turning and patting until it is shaped like a fat disk. Place it aside and continue to do with the rest of dough.
On a lightly floured surface take one of the dough patties and begin to roll it out until you the dough is about 1/8-inch thick and 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
Heat your comal, or heavy griddle, over medium to medium-high heat. You will have to adjust
the heat after the first couple of tortillas. Heat till brown spots form, usually about 30 seconds each side.
Pull the tortillas off the griddle and lay them inside a folded towel or tortilla warmer until ready to serve. You can use these to make tacos, enchiladas or burritos. Or, butter one up and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for special treat. Can’t get any better!
Makes approximately 2 dozen tortillas
Tags: cooking, Copper Canyon, Mexico, recipe, the california native, tortillas
Tags: Bhutan, burma, chiapas, Copper Canyon, Mexico, myanmar, photo, photographs, the california native, Tours, Travel, weaver, weaving
Have the Copper Canyon and the Yucatan both been on your travel list for years? Now you can visit them together on a grand vacation to both of these wonderful Mexico destinations.
The California Native has been leading small group tours through Mexico’s Copper Canyon for over a quarter of a century. A few years ago we added the Yucatan to our growing list of exciting destinations. Now, at the request of many of our clients we have tied these two destinations together by scheduling tours which explore both Copper Canyon and the Yucatan. Two views of Mexico, both completely different.
Copper Canyon is four times as large as the Grand Canyon and is located in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of Northern Mexico. It is the homeland of the cave-dwelling Tarahumara Indians and is accessed by one of the world’s most spectacular rail rides. On our tours of this fascinating area we travel to remote villages and discover the culture and history of these people who are also considered to be the world’s greatest long distance runners.
In contrast to this, on the tropical Yucatan Peninsula we visit the ancient ruins of the mighty Mayan civilization, as well as charming colonial cities, forts constructed to fend off the Caribbean pirates, and beautiful white sand beaches. Some of the tours also visit the state of Chiapas, with its lovely colonial mountain towns, jungle-draped ruins, and magnificent Canyon de Sumidero.
The combined trips are scheduled to depart on October 18, November 1, and December 28. Our 2009 departures are scheduled for February 14, March 1, May 11, October 5, and November 1. Each destination can also be booked on its own.
Please call us at 1-800-926-1140 for more information on these combined Copper Canyon/Yucatan adventures.
Tags: Copper Canyon, Mexico, the california native, Tours, Travel, Yucatan and Chiapas