The history of the Valley of Oaxaca extends from the Olmec influence that reached Monte Albán in the 7th century BC to the world-renowned generation of painters and craftsmen led by Francisco Toledo.
Geographically speaking, the valley, bisected to the south and west by the Río Atoyac, lies in the central region of the state, 1158 meters above sea level, with average temperatures of 18ºC and four and a half hours’ drive from Mexico City.
This is the site of Oaxaca City with its 200,000 inhabitants, a hill flattened at a height of 400 m by the Zapotecs-meaning “the cloud people” in their language, to build a sacred city.
Monte Albán has preserved testimonies of one thousand five hundred years of this empire, which reached its peak in approximately 800 AD. Two centuries later, the area was occupied by the Mixtecs who left traces of their magnificent craftsmanship in precious metals and subsequently founded Mitla that was still flourishing in the far east of the Valley at the time of the Spaniards’ arrival.
The colonial city, called Antequera, built in 1529, was for some time the second largest in New Spain, as shown by the age and magnificence of its churches and monasteries. Two of its 19th century governors became presidents who changed the country: Juárez and Díaz.
In 1987, UNESCO declared Oaxaca and Monte Albán a World Heritage Site, which gives some idea of what visitors can find here; at the foot of the archaeological zone, a city preserved for centuries in which the Colonial era shines through the altarpieces and green stone of its buildings. It also contains the legacy of these two cultures that emerges in the work of its goldsmiths, potters and painters, its cuisines, music and the colorful, exuberant fiestas, streets and markets.
Stroll along the walkways that will take you to Santo Domingo past the Museum of Contemporary Art; climb up Monte Albán, watch the sunset in its enormous plaza and imagine the time when its buildings were painted red.
In the evening, round off a wonderful dinner with a traditional mezcal. Make sure you remember two important fiestas: the Guelaguetza and the Noche de Rábanos or Night of Radishes.
Culiacán Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
Culiacán (Culiacán Rosales) is a city in Sinaloa, Mexico. It is rarely visited by foreign tourists and is heavily underrated as a tourism destination. Almost no guide books on Mexico cover Culiacán, or if they do, they give very brief one-paragraph descriptions at most. However, Culiacán is very well-known by Mexicans for its distinct sinaloense culture.
Culiacan is a large city located almost in the geographic center of the state of Sinaloa, about 900 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Locals of Culiacán are known as culichis (Similarly, natives of Guadalajara are known as tapatios.).
Culiacán is famous for producing some of the best-known norteño and banda musical groups in Mexico, including Los Buitres de Culiacán, Los Bukanas de Culiacán, Larry Hernandez, Los Buchones de Culiacán.
Culiacán is dry for most of the year, except for the wet season which lasts from July to September.
Volaris offers three daily flights from Tijuana to Culiacán. A one-way ticket costs about $100 USD. There are also Volaris flights to Culiacán from Guadalajara and Mexico City.
Travel by train to Culiacán
Mexican Federal Highway 15 (Carretera Federal 15) connects Culiacán to cities in Sonora state such as Nogales, Hermosillo, Guaymas, Ciudad Obregón, and Navojoa (from north to south), as well as Los Mochis, Guasave, Guamúchil, Mazatlan, Tepic, and Guadalajara. Toll booths and checkpoints are stationed throughout the highway.
The Culiacán bus station is a major hub offering connections to various small towns around the state of Sinaloa. There are regular buses to Culiacán from Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Hermosillo, and Guadalajara.
The port of Altata is a tourist beach town directly to the west of Culiacán. By car, it is about 50 km or 1 hour from Culiacán.
Taxis are plentiful in the Centro.
- AGA Rent a Car, Av. Camaron Sabalo #312-A, Zona Dorada, . AGA Rent-A-Car has been renting vehicles to travelers and local renters since 1989. Its first location opened in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and it has since expanded to serve Los Mochis and Culiacán, with locations both at the airport and in town.
What to see and do
- Plazuela Alvaro Obregón — The city’s main square, the Plazuela has many acrobats, artists, and musicians entertaining passersbys.
- Catedral Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Av Dr. Ruperto Paliza (Directly south of the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón). The city’s main cathedral
- La Lomita (Temple of Our Lady of Guadalupe). This church is situated on the top of a hill directly to the south of the Zona Centro. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Culiacán, and the sierras surrounding it. From the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón, take a bus that with a placard saying “Lomita” on its front window, and tell the bus driver to stop at La Lomita. It should take you south along Bulevar Alvaro Obregón.
- Capilla de Jesús Malverde. This is the most well-known site in Culiacán. This chapel is dedicated to Jesús Malverde, a bandit who was executed in 1909 who has since become venerated as a folk saint by locals. Narcotraffickers and migrants alike visit this shrine to pay homage to Malverde, hoping for a successful journey up north. Malverde is often called “El Santo de los Narcotraficantes,” although the chapel operators will say that he is far more than that. Plaques thanking Malverde adorn the chapel. The owner and operator of the shrine is Jesús (“Chuy”) Manuel González, son of Eligio González (d. 2020), the shrine’s founder. Ironically, the Palacio Estatal (State Government of Sinaloa) lies almost directly in front of the chapel, on the other side of the street. A biographical booklet on Malverde is available for M$50 (pesos).
- Malecón — Playgrounds and picnic tables abound on this beautiful and carefully maintained greenbelt which runs along the banks of the Río Tamazula.
- Museo de Arte de Sinaloa (MASIN), Calle Gral. Rafael Buelna. This museum has many impressionist and modern abstract art pieces produced by artists from all over the state of Sinaloa. Admission M$5.
- DIFOCUR. The cultural center of Culiacán. The complex includes various exhibits and small museums. Events take place often at DIFOCUR.
- Ayuntamiento de Culiacán, Calle Carl. Mariano Escobedo. Many beautiful murals featuring street scenes in Culiacán and motifs glorifying the sinaloense spirit.
- Parque Revolución. This park has very beautiful fountains. Just to the north of it is a newly erected statue dedicated to the 75th anniversary of XEBL (710 AM, 91.9 FM), one of Sinaloa’s olest radio stations, which has been running since 1936. Live music also plays from the statue.
- Puente Negro. This bridge is an iconic symbol of Culiacán, and is located at the confluence of the Humaya and Tamazula Rivers, which join together to form the Río Culiacán. This is comparable to the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh (forming the Ohio River).
- Culiacán Zoo
- Botanical Garden
- Presa Sanalona
What to do in Culiacán
There are casinos, discos and theaters.
- Musicians, consisting of norteño, banda, and mariachi bands, can be found on Bulevar Francisco I. Madero (the Mazatlán-Culiacán highway, or the 15) between General Aquilines Serdán and Venustiano Carranza. There are Pemex gas stations at both intersections. Many musicians have rented out buildings, and some of the bandas have their own trailers. The norteño bands tend to congregate around the Madero & Carranza intersection, which is easily recognizable because of the 135-degree bend that Venustiano Carranza makes at the intersection. Norteño bands can also be found at the Mercado Garmendia playing for tips.
- Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa (UAS)
- Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán (ITC) http://www.itculiacan.edu.mx/
In the centre are many little stores where you can buy anything. There are also malls.
- Mercado Garmendia
- Restaurant Huy Fong 匯豐餐館 (Rosales #5, Col. Centro; Tel. 715-78-17; 8:30AM – 8PM) is a Chinese restaurant offering very affordable meals for around M$50 or less. It is located just north of the catedral at the intersection of Alvaro Obregon (the main street that runs north-south) and General Antonio Rosales; to the left of Subway. Located in the Centro. The restaurant owners and employees are from the town of Enping in Guangdong province, China.
- Restaurant China-loa, Donato Guerra 160. Comida China & Sushi, offers an all-you-can-eat buffet for 90 pesos. Located in the Centro.
Where to stay in Culiacán
- Hotel Sevilla, Jose Maria Morelos 170 Nte.. Located on Morelos Street (which runs north-south) between Escobedo and Colón, in the Zona Centro. It is in the 170’s block, located on the east side of the sidewalk. The lobby room has a guest computer with Internet, free of charge. Filtered water is also free. Rooms from M$300 per night.
- Microtel Inn & Suites. A 113-room hotel located in a new developed zone of the city adjacent to the Modern Hospital Angels of Culiacan.
- Hotel La Quinta Posada Real. Located near the intersection of Francisco I. Madero & Venustiano Carranza Boulevards. From M$500 per night.
Downtown Culiacán is safe to walk around during the daytime and evenings (before midnight). Traveling around the outskits (“colonias”) of Culiacán at night is not recommended.
Traffic in Culiacán can be extremely aggressive, much more so than in many other parts of Mexico. Locals will attribute this to the “sinaloense” attitude, which is stereo-typically aggressive, proud, and boisterous.
Culiacán (along with the town of Badiraguato) is notorious for being the birthplaces and residences of many drug lords and narcotraffickers. Mexicans from other states will often point out that Culiacán is very dangerous to visit. However, overall Culiacán is still much safer than Juarez and many Central American cities. Most deaths occur only among drug cartels and federal armed forces.
Mahahual Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
Mahahual (also spelled Majahual) is a city in the municipality of Othón P. Blancothe, state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, a short distance northeast of Belize.
Mahahual used to be a quiet and friendly small fishing town off the beaten track. However a large cruise ship docking jetty dubbed “Puerto Costa Maya” has been constructed just up the beach. Every day a couple of cruise ships dock and the occupants are disgorged onto the town to drink, shop, swim and ride jet skis and quad bikes. However the further south away from the cruise ship dock you go the quieter the town becomes, so it’s still possible to have a quiet time of it, especially at some of the hotels south of town.
In August 2007, Hurricane Dean landed just north of Mahahual. It heavily damaged the cruise ship dock and destroyed much of the small village. The village was rebuilt, cruise ships returned, and many nice hotels opened.
A new seaside Malecon runs from the main road to the southern end of Mahahual Pueblo. The Malecon is a pedestrian walkway with the beach to the east and businesses to the west. Many nice restaurants and shops line the Malecon. The town has several ATMs: one is in the “Casitas”, a subdivision adjoining the port, at the Mobius internet/DVD rental store; another is located at Luna De Plata, a kilometer south of the pueblo; a third is an HSBC bank ATM within the town’s only Pemex station, 4 kilometers west on the main access road. Cash is still the best option as many times the ATM machines do not work or are out of cash.
If you are looking for quiet tranquil beaches, away from the crowds, drive through Mahahual and continue 4 kilometers along the coastal road. After passing the small bridge of Rio Bermejo (hardly a river, more a small stream connecting the mangrove waters with the ocean) you will find small ecological hotels, restaurants and rental houses, all beachfront. Electricity is generated with solar panels, wind mills and most of the businesses use a generator as a back up. Rain water is captured on roof decks and collected in systerns used tio shower and flushing toilets.
When you arrive at km 15, there is a turn off to the right, take it to either return to Mahahual or continue to Xcalak. If you continue on the beach road, you will find lots of empty bays,only a few rental houses on the road side.
From the port: Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies. You will not necessarily be over run with the tourists from the cruise ships, when they leave you have this sleepy town to yourself. Things switch quickly from bustle to mellow.
From the airport: ADO bus service is now available to and from Mahahual from either the airport, central station Cancun or the stations in Playa del Carmen. Staying just a few km outside of town will keep you from the majority of the cruise traffic.
Your best bet is to rent a car. Most travelers land in Cancun. It will take over four hours but do not confuse this area with Cancun. Four hours gets you to an entirely different world.
What to see and do
- Puerto Angel Beach –
There are several sites of Classical Period Mayan ruins close enough for a day-visit. Mexican law requires a fee of about US$5 for the use of video cameras at these sites.
- Chacchoben – Dates to the 3rd-8th centuries. The tallest pyramid rises above the trees and for those physically and psychologically equipped to climb it, offers a view of the countryside. Several smaller ruins at the site may have been the houses of nobles.
- Kohunlich – A ceremonial center and the capital of a powerful dynasty. The Temple of Masks features five stucco masks with the features of the Sun God, along the its stairs. It also contains the ruins of residences and a ceremonial ball field.
- Dzibanché – An important city, featuring stone plazas bordered by temple pyramids, including the Temple of the Owl and the Temple of the Cormorants.
- Ichkabal – Under excavation by INAH since 1995, this vast and important preclassic city, located 30km from Bacalar, will open to the public within the next two years. A “lost” city of gigantic proportions, Ichkabal may be one of the most important discoveries in Mayan archeology in decades.
What to do
There are many tours offered from Costa Maya port and the town of Mahahual to meet all kinds of demands. Enjoy the many resturants and shopping along the sandy beaches located in town. Venture out onto the water with unlimiited water excursions. Enjoy the culture and charm of this small and diverse village.
The barrier reef, which is part of the Meso American Reef, just off shore offers opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving, and keeps the waters of the Caribbean safe for kayaking. This reef is the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world being just over 900 km long, starting at Puerto Morelos in Mexico, stretching down past to Belize to terminate at Honduras.
- Nomad Divers. Scuba Diving in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico
- Gypsea Divers, Malecon (Infront of Nacional Beach Club). Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Dreamtime, South Malecon. Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Amigos Del Mar, ✉ email@example.com. Official Cressi Dive Center with top of the line dive equipment. Their customized dive boat fits 14 divers and has racks for 32 tanks. They also have the required official government permits in order to take divers to the Banco Chinchorro Protected National Reserve.
- Doctor Dive, Calle Coronado con Calle Huachinango s/n, Centro, 77976 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dive trips, PADI courses, snorkeling
You can find many water excursions from town, including snorkel and dive tours, catamarans, paddleboards, fishing, jet skis, flyboard, and kayaks.
The beaches of Mahahual are often restaurant concessions that provide many services to you. You can find great food and drinks and massages on the beach. The nice sandy beaches provide great swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
- Yaya Beach (Yaya), Av. Huachinango con Calle Coronado. 09:00-23:59. Bar, restaurant and beach service.
- Almaplena Restaurant, km 12,5. Facing directly on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The restaurant menu offers mainly Mediterranean cuisine with local influences that incorporate and enhance the best ingredients and regional flavors.
- Casa del Mar Serves excellent shrimp tacos.
- El Grito, inside Matan Ka´an hotel. real Mexican food
- Pizza Papi Pasta, avenida paseo del puerto 1095 , ✉ email@example.com. 5:30 pm. Pizza Papi Pasta is located at Puerto Costa Maya, really Italian food with brick owen wood. Cool service and nice night ambient
- Tapas Bar, Capitan Mono, El Delfin are a few of the bars/Restaurants on the Malecon.
- Travel In’ (Travel Inn), 6km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Fantastic and varied international food from a Dutch couple who transplanted to Mahahual some years ago.
- Restaurant Maya Luna, km 5.2. Beachfront restaurant south of town. Mix of European and Mexican kitchen with an Indonesian touch. Famous for their stuffed pineapple.
- Maya Chan Beach, Km. 6.5 Carretera Mahahual – Xcalak. 7:00. Maya Chan Beach Resort is located minutes south of Puerto Costa Maya. Discover the underwater world through the glass bottom of a Costa Maya kayak tour or the mask of your snorkeling gear. All included. 5.
- Maramao Resturante, Calle Robalo (Just on the southern part of Mahahual at the side of the local school). Nice place to eat fresh seafood. Mix of Mexican and Italian dishes with the possibility to eat right on the beach.
- La Bodeguita, Center of Mahahual. 13.00-01.00. Sports bar and meeting place for locals who gather here after work to watch their favourite sports game, often a soccer or boxing game. Or to play some pool or darts
Where to stay in Mahahual
- Almaplena Eco Beach Resort.
- Arenas Hotel. Boutique hotel
- Mahahual Hotel.
- Cabanas del Tio Phil Carretera Antigua a Xcalak
- Dreamtime Diving.
- Margarita del Sol Oceanfront Suites.
- Maya Luna Hotel.
- Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center.
- Mayan Beach Garden B&B, KM 21.5 N Camino Costera Rio Indio-Uvero, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11PM.
- Casa del Cielo de las Estrellas (vacation rental house), km 8.5 Coastal Road Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. see website for rates.
- Travel In’ (Travel Inn), 6 km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Quiet and isolated if you want to get away from the noise of Mahahual. Guest house and camping palapa. M$200.
- Casita Dragonfly, Km 11 S Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Charming 2 bd., 2 ba. beach house: internet, caretaker, gardens, kayaks, privacy.
- Hotel Caballo Blanco, Malecon lote 1 manzana 12 , ✉ email@example.com. Beachfront boutique hotel with rooftop pool.
- Xcalak – Remote village for Great fishing and diving
El Tajin Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
El Tajin (El Tajín) is in the state of Veracruz in Mexico. It is a UNESCO World Heritage List.
El Tajin, Totonac for ‘thunder’ or ‘lightning’, is a group of sacred buildings where ceremonies and religious sporting events were held. First begun around AD 100, it was occupied and developed mainly around AD 600 to 900, and later abandoned. El Tajin was rediscovered by the Spanish in 1785.
The 10 km square site is located near the small cities of Poza Rica and Papantla, located on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, directly east of Mexico City. There is a direct road and the site can be reached by car or by frequent buses.
What to see and do
There are a large number of remaining edifices to be seen, some include multilingual information stands. Voladores (flyers), who ascend a tall pole and spin slowly to the ground while attached to ropes while meditating, can be seen outside the complex.
Wearing a hat is a good idea as the jungle temperatures and sunshine can be draining.
Cheesy souvenir stands surround the complex, along with a few restaurants. There are no hotels but the site is near Poza Rica, Papantla, or the small beach resort of Tecolutla. The site is popular with tourists and can be crowded on some weekends.
There is a small charge for entering the grounds. Voladores performances are free but it’s always good to aid the performers with a donation.
Culiacán Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
Culiacán (Culiacán Rosales) is a city in Sinaloa, Mexico. It is rarely visited by foreign tourists and is heavily underrated as a tourism...
Mahahual Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
Mahahual (also spelled Majahual) is a city in the municipality of Othón P. Blancothe, state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, a short distance...
El Tajin Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Report
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