<![CDATA[SouthernPortal - Blog]]>Wed, 02 Dec 2015 20:37:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The best of Mexico, are it's people.]]>Sun, 09 Aug 2015 02:19:17 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/the-best-of-mexico-its-people
The best of Mexico is not it's beaches, its colonial towns or ancient Mayan ruins, but instead it is the people of Mexico. Mexican people are considered some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you will meet in the world. I want to devote this article to talk a little about what makes Mexican people so great.

Mexican people are considered the hardest working people in the world. Did you know that according to several independent studies in the United States and Internationally, Mexican people not only retire from work at much later years in their life but also work the most amount of hours per year than any other country in the world. So the stereotype of a Mexican guy with a big sombrero sleeping under a cactus is no more than just a myth. This fact of Mexican's being extremely hard working people sometimes goes unnoticed because of fact that their income is one fifth of that of their counterparts in North America, the United States and Canada. While Mexico is growing it has taken a long time to fix many mistakes of the past like the devaluation of the peso and corruption within the high level of government. Mexicans are up to the task though and the country is under major transformation.    

Mexican people have very very strong family bonds. The family is considered sacred for all Mexicans. There is no such thing as once you turn 18 you are on your own. Actually it is not unusual for a families to stay together and live in the same household for a longer period of time and for the parents to live with their children in their retirement years. It is considered "in-human" to leave parents to struggle on their own or for them to go to retirement home. However, the Mexican family goes beyond the immediate family, get togethers involve getting together with all the relatives, including second and third cousins and very quickly turning into a fiesta, where there is games played, music, story telling and yes probably some dancing. Be careful though because when visiting a Mexican family they may adopt you and make you one of their own regardless of your ethnicity or color of skin. The more diverse the merrier!

Holidays like the "Day of the Dead" have strong family meanings. We highly recommend you visit Mexico to celebrate this wonderful holiday. You will learn that the Day of the Dead marks the return of the Dead. The very basic idea is that this holiday which last several days and all starts with the first day being devoted to the day of the "little angels." This is the day when first the children and babies that may have died at birth or in the early years come back home to visit their family. After this, the rest of the famiily come back to visit their immediate relatives. For this you will see many homes desginate an area in their home where they will put pictures of their deceased family members such as a son, daughter or parent and next to their picture they will place things that that relative really enjoyed like candy or fruit or anything else that you remember. You decorate your home with many flowers and make it very cheerful including lighting of candles. Then when the day arrives, many claim they have seen changes or the dead leave little clues that they were there to visit them. During these days you also go visit the cemetery to leave flowers for other non-immediate family members and immediate family members. It is a big celebration for the dead and a way to remember them and welcome them back with the living. You can say it is almost like spiritual window where you can spend time with your lost ones. An amaxzing holiday and one that truely shows the love and strong family bonds that Mexican people hold.
Mexican people are very spiritual people. Mexican people believe that you are on earth and when you die you normally go to heaven, however Mexican people also believe in many spirits on Earth. It might be that because approx. 80% of Mexican people are of mixed ancestry of Europen Spanish decent and Meso American decents such as the Aztecs and Mayan that many people still have beliefs towards spirits that include earth's natural spirits from animals, plants, wind, sun and fire among other forms.

When traveling Mexico you will see many displays of Mexican spirits in homes, paintings and murals and even in holy sites and churches. The diversity of spirit, cultures, religion, food, etc is also what makes Mexican people so fascinating.

Music is about love and always a reason to dance.  A real pass time for Mexican people is listening to music and dancing. As the saying goes "if you are Mexican, then you know how to dance because its in your blood." Go to any Mexican event and it is only a matter of time before the music comes on and eveyone starts dancing. It does not matter whether the party is in a hall, beach, back yard, cement or dirt picnic area, that is no excuse to not dance and listen to music. Mexican people are happy people and things like laughing, dancing and listening to music is more important than material things. Due to their Catholic nature, they strongly believe that you are here on earth for a short duration and when you leave you cannot take anything with you besides your soul so they make sure to have a soul full of happy family moments.

Food is part of the culture. Ok, there is no denying that Mexican food is extremely good! However, what makes food part of the Mexican people is how they use food to bond family. Have you ever visited a Mexican family and not been fed? It is hard to leave a Mexican family's house without being offered delicious home cooking regardless if they are poor or rich. Food is part of a bonding moment and they make sure that your tummy leaves very happy. A time to laugh, enjoy and tell stories. The Mexican family table is sacred, with most familes doing a small prayer before their meal and they enjoying more than one or two hours laughing, drinking, including hearing some stories (good tales).

Love for God. Nearly 80% of Mexican people are Christian and mostly Roman Catholic. This does not mean you have to be religious to visit Mexico, but know that most of their values come from their strong belief in God and Jesus's mother which is the Virgin Mary. So when you visit Mexico not only will you see amazing and well perserved cathedrals but you will see Saints and imagery of Jesus and Mary almost everywhere. Litterally everywhere! People will pray in private or in churches or homes at least once per day. 

What Mexican people are NOT is drug dealers or crimminals. Mexico for the longest time had some of the lowest homicide rates in the world and still does in many regions of the country. Mexico city considered one of the biggest and most poplulated cities in the world was and still today is considered one of the safest mega cities in the world. A few incidents that media explodes into headlines does not represent the reality of everyday life. We can name many cities in developed countries that have a much higher crime rate but prefer not to get into enter into this type of sterotyping. Did you know that Mexico has only one (1uno, yes one gun shop in the whole country! This one gun shop is located in Mexico city and at an Army facility. Although access to guns in Mexico is very hard, guns unfortunately are making their way to crimminal groups from outside the country for the purpose of protecting drug trafficing trade routes through Mexico. These crimminal groups in the thousands DO NOT represent the 130,000,000 (130 million) citizens of people but unfortunately the crimminal groups are the ones that make the news headlines, which regrettifully distorts the perception of the Mexican people and the country.

We hope you enjoyed this brief post of the Mexican people and you will meet them in your travel to Mexico. Make yourself at home when visiting Mexico.  As the saying goes by Mexican people of Mexico, "Mi Casa es Tu Casa" (My home is your home).
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<![CDATA[Things to do in Puerto Vallarta]]>Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:17:50 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/things-to-do-in-puerto-vallarta
There are plenty of popular destinations that people like to visit when they are in Mexico, but there is no question that Puerto Vallarta is amongst one of the most recommended and mentioned destinations by travel agencies and travel blogs that provide tourist spot information to their clients. In this article we are going to mention some of the things you can do in this gorgeous port and the many reasons why so many people find it to be one of the best place to visit for their vacations.

First let us start by telling you about Puerto Vallarta and its location.  Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific Ocean and about a 3 hour flight south of Los Angeles, CA. What once used to be a sleepy fishing town has turned into a popular visited resort by people from all around the world. Puerto Vallarta’s primary visitors though are from Canada and the United States given its proximity, they also have given it the nickname of “PV” for short. Due to its location it enjoys warm to hot tropical weather and has many attractive venues to enjoy from full service resorts, to jungles and beaches, including an old Spanish colonial charm and appeal.
So below are just a few things to do while visiting Puerto Vallarta:

Guided City Tours

If you are new to PV and want to get the most of your first day, a great way to start might be via a guided tour of the city.  This will allow you to get to know the beautiful city in of Puerto Vallarta, with a trained professional that will point out all the relevant places and also let you know about the best shops, restaurants and bars in the zone. Doing this will allow you to plan the rest of your days in PV knowing what you want to explore in more detail and with time. 

Tequila

No, we are not saying that you should spend your whole trip drinking Tequila, although you may choose to do so. We are talking about the small town of Tequila which is actually the birthplace of this famous drink and yes while visiting you should enjoy some Tequila. You will be able to visit the oldest distillery in the Americas and also the headquarters for Jose Cuervo, among many other fine Tequila drinks. Tequila will require a short drive of 4 hours from Puerto Vallarta and well worth the visit. Tequila has a world famous patent in that you can only make the Tequila drink and call it Tequila if it actually comes from this town, so take advantage of the fact that you were able to visit the birth and home town of Tequila! 

Zipline Adventure

If you happen to enjoy a more action packed type of activity than just sun bathe on the beach, we certainly suggest that you take the time to venture into the tropical forest for a zipline adventure.  Doing this will allow you to enjoy the incredible views while you navigate through all kinds of aerial obstacles, waterslides and even some off road action to finish up your adventure. This is certainly the kind of activity that you want to do if you are a big fan of adrenaline rushes. 

Sea Safari

There is an incredibly gorgeous coastline that is waiting for you to discover in Puerto Vallarta. The guided sea safari is certainly one of the best water adventures you can have when you are in Puerto Vallarta and we strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a full day of fun. Then you can finish up with horseback riding to have a different view of the tour.

Las Marietas

If you like to go off the beaten path, Las Marietas is one of the best places to discover. This beautiful and very romantic hidden beach is ideal for you to spend the afternoon with your significant other. You can go kayaking and you can also scuba dive or snorkel with a large variety of tropical fish. 

Luxury sailing and whale watching

This is one of the most popular tourist activities while in Puerto Vallarta. The options are many, you can go on a small boat, to a large ship or a romantic sailboats equipped with beverages and food to experience the incredible sight of humpback whales that will be swimming right next to your boat. This can be a very humbling experience as you get close to these gigantic kings of the sea and puts things into perspective when you see just how small you are when you compare yourself with these beautiful creatures. 

Conclusion

I think it would be safe to say that everything you could ever need from your coastal vacations is offered in Puerto Vallarta. There are activities at the beach, offshore and in the city.  There is something for everyone, including folks wanting to let loose with a booming nightlife. There plenty of breathtaking locations to see and restaurants to go to. For all these reasons this is why Puerto Vallarta has become such a favorite spot for millions of people all over the world.  

Make sure that you check for availability of your favorite resorts if you are planning to visit any major holiday season, as you can expect everything to be booked unless you plan a few months prior.

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<![CDATA[Things To Do While In Playa Del Carmen]]>Wed, 24 Dec 2014 05:22:13 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/top-ten-things-to-do-in-playa-del-carmen
There are many beaches in Mexico that are worth visiting, but to some people the beauty of Playa del Carmen has been unmatched and that is the reason why we decided to dedicate this article to the a few things you can do when you visit Playa del Carmen. 

Playa del Carmen is located on the Carribbean coast otherwise also known as the Maya Rivera. A short 60 minute drive south from tourist-megaoplis Cancun, you will find this boutique town. If you are looking to get away from the big resorts this is by far one of the best Mexican beach destinations you can visit. I've personally fell an immediate connection when visiting this town and I have visited many other beach locations in Mexico and abroad.  However, you better hurry because this gem may not be small for very long as it is becoming extremely popular.

There is a lot to do when you visit Playa del Carmen, both in town and near by.  Playa del Carmen is actually very central to many places along the coastline and in the greater Yucatan area. Below are just a few things to consider doing when you visit this destination, of course sitting/sun bathing on the beach is a must and worth it in itself.  Ok let's get started.

Clear water diving or snorkeling 

Go diving in some of the most incredible spots that can be found in this area of the world. There are many breathtaking underwater paradises in this region such as just offshore from Isla Cozumel or Puerto Morales that are waiting for you to discover it and of course right in Playa de Carmen itself. You can dedicate an entire day to diving in this waters and then once the sun comes down, you can enjoy a nice dinner in one of the any restaurants nearby.

Xcaret

This is one of the most beautiful locations in the area. Xcaret has many special locations such as the dolphin aquarium, the turtle sanctuary and plenty of great evening events that are prepared for its visitors. You can’t visit playa Del Carmen and not go to Xcaret. It’s one of those “must see” places and part of your trip that you are never going to forget.

La Quinta Avenida

It you are looking for a night out, we suggest that you go on "La Quinta Avenida" or 5th Avenue in English. This pedistrian friendly street has a large number of restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels and all kinds of events that will keep you busy in this area for as long as you stay. The food is great and the night clubs are full of life. Definitely an area for partying and enjoying yourself all night long.

Xel-Ha

This is a natural aquarium that is located in a incredibly beautiful lagoon that visitors can swim in and also snorkel. The biggest differentiator between this and Xcaret is that everything in Xel-Ha is 100% natural. While one is natural and the other has more human made elements, they are both very well visiting. Both locations are different and a must see! 

Blue Parrot

This is the most happening night club in the area and if you are a night owl and like the nighlife then this place is for your. The Blue Parrot is open all night and you will be strolling back to your hotel room at around 6 or 7am. The Party never stops at the Blue Parrot and there are usually plenty of events and shows to entertain its visitors. We don’t suggest this place if you don’t enjoy dancing, loud music and a party atmosphere. However, if you like to let loose a little and are ready to do some level of partying, dancing and sparking or having great conversations with people this is a great place to visit.

Playa Del Carmen Beach

This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area with clear blue turquoise water, white powder sand and breathtaking views that provides the perfect setting for anyone who wants to enjoy a good time at the beach. Sunbathing and enjoying beach sports and activities has never been as pleasurable as it is in this area at Playa del Carmen. You will never want to leave when you sit down with a cold beverage and enjoy the breathtaking views in the afternoon.

Conclusion

In summary, Playa del Carmen offers a little bit of everything for anyone who is looking to have all kinds of fun. If you like clubs and nightlife, you will find great options. If you like family oriented events and activities, you will also find more than enough options in this area. Just make sure that you come for a whole week or longer so that you can experience all the fun attractions and activities that Playa del Carmen has to offer. 
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<![CDATA[Dia de los muertos]]>Mon, 03 Nov 2014 01:39:33 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/dia-de-los-muertosPicture
On November 1st and 2nd Mexico celebrates Dia De Los Muertos (day of the dead).   According to tradition this is when dead relatives both young and old are allowed to return to the mortal world for two days to visit loved ones.  Spirits come down and walk along the living, sampling treats and join in the festival.  The people in Mexico welcome the spirits with open arms.  They cook delicious foods that were the favorites of the people who have passed away, decorate with sugar skulls, make tasty sweats and light candles to guide the spirits home again.  Gravestones are decorated and the whole family will gather in the graveyard to await and pay respects for the deceased.  In very early October, all over the country, bakeries start offering Pan de Muerto, a Day of the Dead bread, made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange peel, anise and yeast.  The bread is adorned with strips of dough simulating bones and at the top a small round piece of dough that symbolizes teardrops.  These breads are placed on the alters and are also taken to the tombs in the graveyard.  Another tradition is to bake Calabaza en Tacha, Sweet Pumpkin, a desert prepared with pumpkin, cinnamon, and piloncillo, dark sugar cones. 
In the town of Patzcuaro on the Lago de Patzcuaro in Michocan, the tradition is different if the deceased is a child rather than an adult.  On November 1st of the year after a child's death, the godparents set a table in the parents home with sweets, fruits, pan de muerto, a cross, a rosary and candles.  This is meant to celebrate the child's life, in respect and appreciation for the parents.  There is also dancing and colorful costumes, often with skull shaped masks and devil masks in the plaza or garden of the town.  At midnight on November 2nd, the people light candles and ride winged boats to Janitzio, an island in the middle of the lake where there is a cemetery, to honor and celebrate the lives of the dead there.
The town of Ocotepec opens it's doors to visitors in exchange for veladoras which are small wax candles.  These show respect for the recently deceased.  In return the visitors receive tamales and atole.  This is only done by the owners of the house where someone in the household had died the previous year.  Many people in surrounding areas arrive early to eat for free and enjoy the elaborate altars. 
As you can tell traditions can vary on how people celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, but the significance behind this holiday is felt all over Mexico.  The importance of honoring the dead is something that will never be forgotten and this holiday will be celebrated for centuries. 

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<![CDATA[Halloween in mexico]]>Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:59:21 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/halloween-in-mexicoPicture
Halloween (Dia de las Brujas)  has been celebrated in Mexico for the last 40 years.  It is mainly known as a children's holiday.  Bread is baked and candy is made in the shape of skull and crossbones, a casket or a skeleton.  The children run through the streets with lanters and ask for coins.  When the children go to houses to ask for candy instead of saying trick or treat they say "queremos Halloween" which means we want Halloween.  Many stores manufacture and sell scary masks, plastic jack o lantern buckets, makeup, spider webs, witch hats and costumes.  The costumes and masks that the children wear on Halloween are fairly lighthearted.  One of the most popular masks sold is the face of a ghost similar to the movie Scream.  Some of the other popular items that are bought are Frankenstein costumes and fake blood.  La Catrina which is a female skeleton dressed in formal clothing is a common decoration that is used.    If you ever visit Mexico during this time you will be enchanted with the magic that surrounds this holiday.  Even though it is just one day the impression that it will make will last much longer then that. 

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<![CDATA[Looking for deals while planning your trip to Mexico]]>Wed, 06 Aug 2014 04:44:34 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/looking-for-deals-while-planning-your-trip-to-mexicoPicture
When you are starting to think about planning a trip to Mexico there are a lot of things to consider.  First, look at the time of the year it is.  The coasts of Mexico have hurricane seasons, so if you are planning on traveling during this time this is something to be aware of.  While this can mean some great travel deals it can also mean that you might have times during your trip where the weather is less then perfect and there is always a small chance that you will get to experience a hurricane.  

The second thing that you will want to look at is the time of the week that you are traveling.  Travel seems to be less expensive if you fly during the week.  I have found some of the best deals leaving late at night on a Wednesday, there are many red eye flights to choose from.  This is a good option for many reasons.  The first is that you typically arrive mid morning or very early afternoon and you get to enjoy the rest of that first day and the second is that you save money on one night of a hotel.  

The third thing to remember to look into when you are planning your trip is where you are going to stay.  All inclusive hotels are appealing for many reasons.  While staying at a resort that is all inclusive does have it perks it also has some drawbacks.   You are paying for the all inclusive which means that your meals and drinks are included in the total price that you had previously paid. This may leave you not wanting to look at options for dining and fun away from your hotel and you might miss some great experiences.  You should look at the smaller boutique hotels in the town that you are traveling to.  These smaller hotels offer great deals especially when you book them through travel sites like Expedia and bundle with your flight and many offer also offer free breakfast.  Staying at a smaller non inclusive hotel allows you to save the money that is added into the all inclusive cost for food and drinks and explore the area that you are staying.  From the research that I have done you can typically save about 200.00 by staying in a non inclusive hotel.  

Regardless of where you are traveling or what type of trip you are going to go on there are always deals to look for and options that you can select that will make your trip very memorable.  Just remember to look at all of the options before booking and keep an open mind when making selections for your trip. 

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<![CDATA[Traveling to central Mexico]]>Thu, 19 Jun 2014 03:28:11 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/traveling-to-central-mexicoPicture
I recently had the once in a lifetime experience of traveling to central Mexico.  For this trip we flew into Mexico city and then took a bus to the city of Huajuapan.   This trip was unlike anything that I have ever experienced and has left impressions on me that will last a lifetime.  I am sure that everyone who has traveled to the beach cities in Mexico looks around at the beautiful water, nice hotels and stores and thinks, "this is Mexico".  But in all reality although that is a little part of Mexico it isn't all that it is.  When we had finished our trip I kept saying that I was glad that I had seen the "real Mexico".  I want to take some time to explain what I mean by that. 

Yes I know that the beautiful beach cities in Mexico are also a part of the "real Mexico" and they are every bit as special as all of the other areas.  But with that being said central Mexico is very different in so many ways.  The first is that in the small towns you don't have the sprawling beautiful hotels with first class service. Instead what you have are homes and small hotels that are staffed with the friendly local people.  When you go to do shopping you go to the Mercado just like everyone else in town.  You will of course find trinkets and items to take back from you trip but instead of it being somewhat of a souvenir shop it is a store that many people who live in the town might go to when they need a pair of shoes or a shirt.  Of course in every town you might find one or two small shops that are for the tourists but the majority of the shops in the small towns are built for the locals.  Shopping and walking around town leaves you with a feeling that you are really experiencing the town and the location that you are in. 

The other thing that was very different is the scenery.  Instead of the ocean you see small streams that are sometimes dried up if it's not the rainy season, fruit trees and flowers.  It is just as beautiful as the ocean and you really get a sense of what the land provides for people. The fruit trees have fruits that you have never tasted before.  It is so fresh, you can pick it, wash it off and eat it.  The trees provide shade from the hot sun and after a few days of rain the streams fill with water.   You see school children on their way to classes, men on their way to work and people at home working in their yards.  This trip allowed me to see the day to day life of the people who lived there.  When I walked down the street and said hello to someone I felt at times like I almost was a part of their community. 

This trip changed me in ways and left lasting impressions on me.  I saw a different way of life, in ways a much simpler way of life and this was not a bad thing.  People weren't worried about what someone was wearing, if they were going to make it to the movie on time and going to the mall.  They instead were going about their day, doing the grocery shopping and at the end of their day spending time with their family and friends.  They made meals and ate together, sat around and talked.  No one had to get dressed up, there wasn't a fancy restaurant waiting, instead it was everyone sitting outside or around a table in one of their homes and enjoying each other.  I wonder how different it would be where we all live today if we took some time to make our lives simpler, if we took the time to look around us at our family and friends and spent the time that we should with them, really appreciate them.  I can't wait to go back and visit more places like this and really gain even a better understanding of traditions and values that I admire so much. 


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<![CDATA[Mexico's food is so good]]>Thu, 15 May 2014 05:36:58 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/mexicos-food-is-so-goodPicture
In the tiny town of Malinalco which is seventy miles southwest of Mexico City you will find what most call the best mango's that you have ever tasted.  The tiny town hosts a farmers market and at this farmers market not only will you find the mango's you will also find other delicious food such as enchiladas, quesadillas, tamales and pancita which is a delicious beef soup with fresh squeezed lime juice.  Everything that you taste is not only some of the freshest food that you will ever find it is also some of the best food that you will ever find.  In fact, regardless of where you travel in Mexico there are options everywhere that you look, tasting that amazing food that this country has to offer is just another way to imerss yourself in the culture and really experience what Mexico has to offer.  

The state of Morelos is well known for the unlimited combinations of pork and chillies.  In the town of La Marquesa there is a taco stand has some of the best taco's that you will ever taste, the corn tortillas are made fresh daily, the pork is roasted at the stand and the salsa will burn your tongue.  You can also find tamales in every flavor imagineable.  The town of Atlixco is just a few hours east of Malinalco is famous for their dried beef rum that is cut into thin strips and folded like linen.  

In the resort town of Las Mañanitas their menus feature dishes such as lamb chops with a dollop of mint jelly, brains in black butter sauce, tortilla soup, pigs knuckle, bone marrow tacos and liver and onions.  While some of these items may seem a little strange to most people they are eaten everyday in this part of Mexico and are just another way to engulf yourself in the culture.  If you ask the waiter what food he or she would suggest don't be surprised if they say ant eggs, which are known as escamoles or maguey worms.  These are considered a delicousey and one of the most exotic foods that you will find.   

When you explore Cuernavaca you will find the restaurant Gaia.  This property once belonged to the prominent Mexican comic actor names Cantinflas.  This restaurant features one of the nations best and few female chegs.  The menu's "magic" item is the chicharron (pork rind) soup.  The Mercado de Atlixco is a permament event that is a humming haven of bubbling beverages, outrageous food and items to buy on every corner.  All of your senses will be delighted more and more with each step that you take. From the sight of the bright colors of fresh fruits and vegetables to the smells of the fresh food being cooked all around you.  This will leave you with your stomach rumbeling and your mouth watering. The only problems that you will have is trying to find room in your stomach to try all of the different foods and deciding what you are going to start with. 

Mexico is a country whose geography consists of tropical beaches, rich forests, dry deserts, abundant valleys, and snow-capped mountains, is a perfect dwelling to an amazing range of ingredients. This allows you to experience some of the most diverse and delicious cuisine. 

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<![CDATA[Cancun, Mexico's underwater museum]]>Fri, 09 May 2014 05:09:30 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/cancun-mexicos-underwater-museum
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Credit: Jason deCaires Taylor
Cancun, Mexico one of the country's most popular holiday destination is recognized for its stunning beaches and aqua blue waters. The Cancun Underwater Museum which was founded in 2009 is one of the biggest in the planet.  The underwater Museum offers divers and snorkelers an opportunity to see works of art beneath sea level and has included a visitor centre that displays replicas of the museum’s most well-known underwater artworks. According to Jason deCaires Taylor, snorkelers and divers are privileged to view 500 artworks, which include eleven new sculptures that were added earlier this month.

The museum was designed to help protect the area's natural coral reefs; artworks serve as a dwelling for fish and other underwater creatures and also attract visitors faraway from Cancun’s fragile natural coral reefs. The visitor center will highlight replicas of the facility’s most well-known underwater art forms.

Amongst the submerged artworks are several life-size human statues cast from Cancun local people. According to artist deCaires Taylor, additionally there is a VW Beetle that's particularly created so lobsters can make their home on the inside of the vehicle. Each statue is built with materials that are harmless for underwater life and promote the development of a coral reef. He also said that his most recent pieces use a type of stainless steel structure and depend on live planted corals to create the narrative and composition of the works. Underwater marine life is progressively going into the museum, providing life to “The Silent Evolution” which is his first underwater gallery. 

Having an average of 87,000 visitors yearly, Tourisim authorities say the museum is one of Cancun’s most in-demand tourist attractions, according to Jesus Almaguer, the chief executive of the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau.  He also mentioned that the addition of the visitor center will offer visitors a way to greatly enhance their diving encounter and to genuinely value the creative and environmental influence of the museum
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<![CDATA[Mexico, US's next door neighbor]]>Sun, 20 Apr 2014 22:51:56 GMThttp://www.southernportal.com/blog/mexico-uss-next-door-neighborPicture
It wasn't very long ago that Mexico was thought of as poor, dangerous and violent.  In the year 2009 over 60% of all reports about Mexico in the US newspapers were unfavorable.  In 2012 a survey that was done showed that only 14% of people in the US said that Mexico was known as a, "good neighbor". 

In 2012 Mexico's economy increased by 3.9& and they were given the nickname the "Aztec tiger" by the Financial Times. Mexico's overall appearance started making a impressive shift from the previous years.  The government elected new leaders who boosted the spirits of the country as well as made other countries around the world take notice.  Thomas Friedman wrote two different articles about Mexico.  These were both about Mexico being an international policy favorite and identified Mexico to be the next country to dominate economic power.  

Mexico continues to be foreign to a lot of Americans who have for a very long time been interested in other continents around the world.  But what they are quickly realizing is that the connection between the United States and Mexico is one of the most important that there is.  It has been twenty years since the signing of (NAFTA) North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico the US and Canada.  This helped to eliminate the barriers with trading and investment.  This brought the immediate elimination of tax.  Mexico imports more U.S. products than any other country other than Canada in the world and is the third major supplier of oil to the United States.  The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development now identifies Mexico as having the 14th largest economy in the World.  

For a long time Mexico has been almost like a sleeping giant.  The people that live in Mexico know what is so great about their country and the benefits that Mexico offers to their neighbors and now other countries are starting to see this as well.  They are seeing the strong economic, cultural and agricultural benefits that Mexico has.  They see the strength in the economy and that it continues to get stronger year after year.  Mexico is taking steps all the time to advance in every way possible while still maintaining their ethical values.  When you visit Mexico you see with every turn that family is very important and that the values that are being instilled in the children are going to be the values that the future leaders of the country have. 

Mexico is now building a new reputation. One that is based off of their economic status as well as other things.  Mexico is starting to become known as a country where people move to teach their children a slower way of life.  A way of life that helps teach family values.  A place where people move after retirement to relax.  They are known for their friendly people, beautiful landscapes and booming economy.  The U.S. now has a neighbor that they are taking notice of in new and positive ways.  



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