Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mexico’s Powerful Energy Reforms

Mexico is poised to become Latin America’s economic star in the coming decade. The government’s recent reform of the energy sector will contribute directly to economic performance by reducing the cost of manufacturing. In the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the resulting increase in manufacturing competitiveness promises to boost Mexico’s growth substantially.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Know Nayarit

 Small state offers a different world of beauty, adventure and culture


Know Nayarit

Visitors can enjoy the beach in San Blas and explore the nearby mangroves and hilly rainforest where a multitude of birds, both local and migratory, fill the air with song. The beach is long and wide in San Blas.

Sitting at a bright-red table overlooking an estuary in the fabled village of Mexcaltitan in the Riviera Nayarit, we threw bits of tortillas in the air to acrobatic sea birds to catch mid-flight.

Dozens of great white pelicans floated by on the green water, while a family lustily sang Las Mananitas, Mexico’s birthday song, nearby.

Nayarit’s beloved “pescado zarandeado” — a whole snapper, caught that morning, grilled on aromatic mangrove wood and served with homemade corn tortillas, grilled scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes — plus a delectable shrimp paté with crackers were available. Icy cold Pacifica beers in hand, we marvelled that such a place still exists.

Never heard of Nayarit? It is Mexico’s 10th smallest state (out of 31) and incredibly diverse — birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking the authentic, unsullied-by-tourism Mexico are drawn to it.

On a recent weeklong visit, we travelled through green rolling hills, endless sugarcane fields with fronds blowing in the breeze — and mango, banana, papaya and tobacco farms.

We were just a few yards from enormous crocodiles, inches from an exquisitely beautiful jaguar, viewed thousands of migratory birds in the emerald-green rainforest. We were also eating succulent dishes we had never heard of, and meeting fascinating people from all walks of life, such as elaborately adorned Huichol Indians still living their traditional lifestyle.

It’s easy to travel from one fascinating part of Nayarit to another. Nayarit’s southern border is just 10 minutes north from the Puerto Vallarta airport. The modern, intercoastal highway is serviced by comfortable, air-conditioned buses that stop in each town — with very reasonable fares.

If you want the mega all-inclusives overlooking the Pacific, luxury spas, fabulous surfing, world-class golfing and lie-on-the-beach vacations, it’s all in the Riviera Nayarit; but if you yearn for adventure, colonial architecture and art and a heady dip into other cultures, venture into the rest of the state and “know Nayarit.”
The Nayarit Colonial zone offers Spanish colonial architecture, history and museums of the capital city of Tepic (founded in 1542) as well as the delightful cobblestoned villages of Jala, Ixtlan del Rio and Bellavista. Tepic is a bustling, lively city perfect as a base for exploration of nearby Huichol Indian villages and other areas.

We enjoyed walking the lively Plaza de Armas with its enormous cathedral and beautiful Municipal Palace, as well as the Amado Nervo, Museo de las Cuatro Culturas (Museum of Four Cultures) and Juan Escutia museums, and gazed for a long while at a father and small son cutting, trimming and bagging sugar cane stalks at their street stand.

Nayarit has several spectacular “enchanted lagoons” such as San Pedro, Tepetiltic and Santa Maria del Oro, where we spent the night in a rather swank, modern boutique 20-room hotel called Lago Encantado.
The morning there was breathtaking — with mist rising over the lake and layers of multi-hued mountains rising beyond. People come to these towns to fish, bike, water ski, boat, rest and to enjoy the area’s famous delicacies.

We started our Riviera Nayarit exploration in the large town of San Blas (founded in the 17th century,) renowned as one of the world’s most important natural bird refuges.
While birdwatching here is wonderful all year, its rich migratory display every winter season (November-April) brings an estimated 80 per cent of the migratory North American bird species to interact with local species, about 2½ hours north of the Puerto Vallarta airport. Caution — you will need insect repellent in this area!

In San Blas, we stayed at the very pretty Garza Canela, a garden-filled inn run by the four very friendly Vazquez sisters (one of whom is Betty Vazquez, an acclaimed Paris-educated chef, and the Culinary Ambassador for the Riviera Nayarit) and their brother.

This property caters to bird watching groups, provides very early breakfasts to birders, and is just a 15-minute walk from the town’s long sandy beach. The Delfin restaurant, with Chef Betty’s gastronomic marvels (written up in Bon Appétit and Gourmet) is well worth the trip. The Garza Canela sisters will help you book the services of a very reliable and knowledgeable taxi driver, Juan Martinez Velez, who regularly attends to international visitors and can be booked in advance for private trips in the area.

But there’s much more to San Blas — the nearby dense mangroves and hilly rainforest’s microclimate attract thousands of birds to mate, nest and feed in the nutrient-rich estuary. One morning, we arose before sunrise to climb up through the rocky paths at Tecuitata, through impossibly dense mango, jackfruit, banana and papaya trees, and as the first rays of sunlight hit us, so did the cacophony of sound — birds calling, singing, and cawing all around us, along with crickets and woodpeckers. Our bilingual guide, expert birdwatcher Francisco Garcia, called in excitement to us when he spotted a squirrel cuckoo.

The next morning, we skimmed the glasslike surface of the estuary in a small panga boat to enter the peaceful and beautiful La Tovara, a mangrove refuge filled with about 60 crocodiles, a multitude of turtles, lizards and herons, storks, hawks, eagles, egrets, ducks, falcons and more.

About a 45-minute drive from San Blas, small boats take visitors to the fascinating village of Mexcaltitan, mentioned above. This no-vehicle village of 1,800 residents is only reachable by boat; inside the estuary, this delightful town is completely walkable (after dining on that fabulous fish mentioned above — try La Alberca, about $25 per couple for enormous fish and shrimp lunch with beer). Everyone’s doors are open, children are outside playing, the church has an exceptionally bloody Jesus Christ statue, and there is a surprisingly well executed small historical museum (Museo del Origen).

Stroll the paths into yesteryear and slow down — what would it be like to live here, we wondered. In fact, we learned that some locals have never left — afraid to experience cars, noise and big city life.
As our magical day in Mexcaltitan drew to a close, we embarked onto the little boat alongside some 25 great white pelicans. It was a day like no other we’ve ever had.

For our time of sun and surf, we headed back to Riviera Nayarit. We chose picturesque San Pancho (formally called San Francisco), where we stayed at the lovely Cielo Rojo boutique hotel, perfectly decorated with Mexican folk art. In San Pancho, we visited the fabulous Entreamigos Community Center — a utopia-like non-profit established and run by a former Californian. It is well worth an hour of your time.

Moving on to Bucerias, we stayed in an outstanding ecoproperty. Los Arroyos Verdes is a botanical garden built around 36 private casitas, a restored Airstream trailer and small RV, with 26 staffers attending to the organic chef’s garden, nursery, authentic Temazcal sweat lodge, maintenance, activities (yoga, tai chi, salsa dancing, etc.). We explored the surrounding countryside on the cute vintage bicycles, and swam in the huge azure swimming pool.

Knowing Nayarit is a joy, one that takes much more than one trip there — this gloriously beautiful, lush, authentically Mexican destination will happily fill your minds, hearts and stomachs.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Popocatépetl volcano (Mexico): pictures of crater, lava dome #52 destroyed

Activity at the volcano has remained low, with small occasional steam, gas and sometimes ash emissions. Incandescence was observed over the crater during the night.

During an overflight on 14 Oct "it was observed that the inner crater, formed in July 2013, has increased its diameter, probably due to the destruction of the dome and walls collapsing, reaching an estimated 350 m diameter. The bottom of the inner crater is about 100 m below the floor of the main crater. No residues were observed of the 52nd dome, which was emplaced in the bottom of the inner crater early last August. Instead, the bottom of the inner crater is cup-shaped and is covered with tephra (fragmented material) Most emissions of steam are coming from a crack in the north wall of the inner crater, while ash emissions, originate in the bottom of the crater, in the area covered by tephra.

The video shows in detail the internal cráter, that is 350 m in diameter and 100 deep (VIDEO) The emission of an intermittent small plume of brown ash can be seen originating from the tephra-covered bottom of the crater, which lasted under one minute. This plume corresponds to the signal detected by teams CENAPRED at 11:38. Some white fumaroles are also observed in the crater wall. These observations confirmed that the explosions occurred in late September and early October destroyed the 52nd dome, and that the activity that the volcano has recently presented continues the cycle of construction and destruction of domes that has characterized the Popocatépetl in the last 20 years." (Source: CENAPRED)

Mexico: What is the best Mexican food dish?

Diego Noriega Mendoza 
Diego Noriega Mendoza, Filmmaker with a passion for everything and anything, writes in Quora:
"What are you looking for? Is it a fancy dish, which will make your palate feel like it is being handled by a tiny and very graceful masseuse? Is it something homely, like mama used to make, something that will evoke memories of playing in street corners and coming home to a warm bed? Or is it something from the street, the real taste of Mexico?

"As far as fancy dishes go, there is nothing fancier in Mexico than Chiles en Nogada. 

"A green pepper, filled with especially seasoned minced meat, covered with walnut cream, and garnished with pomegranate pulp. The combination of flavors is marvelous. It is a plate that requires time, patience, and knowledge. Even if you were to prepare it in your house and tasted good, I can assure you, the taste would be wrong. The plate is now prepared in many restaurants, but the really good ones are extremely hard to find. It is Mexico's national dish (yeah, not tacos) because of its worldwide recognition and the fact that it incorporates all three colors of the flag in it (Green, White, Red).
(Note: This is a traditional dish. Although many restaurants will serve dishes that many would consider fancier than Chile en Nogada, most of these dishes are author creations, or rethinkings of traditional dishes)"

RETURN TO POZOS - JohnScherber's Blog

RETURN TO POZOS - JohnScherber's Blog 

"I last visited Pozos two years ago. It’s only about an hour’s drive
northeast of San Miguel, and at 7,500 feet elevation, it’s a thousand
feet higher than San Miguel and somewhat cooler. At that time I was
doing some conversations that ended up as part of a book called, Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves off the Beaten Path.
Pozos was a good choice for this book because by the best calculation I could make, there are only about two dozen expats living there."

Read the rest at John Scherber's site, 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

6.2 Quake Strikes in Sea of Cortez


M 6.2 - 121km WSW of El Dorado, Mexico

23.817°N 108.423°W

There were no immediate reports of damages.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10 Signs You’ve Never Been to Mexico City

A reprint of the article by Susannah Rigg in Matador Network.

1. You imagine it to be all dirt tracks and donkeys…
Whenever Hollywood portrays Mexico it seems to show dusty roads with beat-up cars and the occasional donkey. It’s not surprising, then, that if you’ve never been to Mexico’s capital, you might be expecting something similar. However, Mexico City is a bustling urban centre with over 20 million inhabitants, real roads, and lots of new cars.
2. …or an urban jungle.
Mexico City is big and urban, but there are so many green spaces and huge parks in all different corners of the city. In addition, beautiful, tree-filled plazas are everywhere.
3. You think Mexico City is poor and third world.
Mexico City is one of the most important economic centres of the Americas and one of the top 25 urban economies in the world. In fact, the country of Mexico is the world’s 14th-largest economy. Like in many large cities, there are very rich residents and very poor residents, but head to Polanco, Pedregal, and Lomas de Chapultepec and you might be very surprised by the extraordinary wealth in those parts of the city.
4. You think it’s really dangerous and that you’ll get kidnapped.
Mexico City got a nasty reputation in the ’90s for being dangerous and a hot spot for kidnappings. However, a lot’s changed since then, and most tourists are surprised by just how safe they feel. Of course, crimes do occur — it’s a big city — but it’s not the crime-infested place many seem to believe.
5. You get confused when people in Mexico simply call Mexico City “Mexico.”
For new travelers to Mexico (the country) this can be a confusing one. Are people saying they’re from Mexico the city or Mexico the country? You can imagine some of the interesting (read: ridiculously confusing) conversations that can result from this.
Note: You may also hear Mexico City referred to as D.F., Mexico D.F., the Federal District of Mexico, Chilangolandia, El Defectuoso, or La Capirucha. Now “Mexico” seems much better, right?
6. You don’t know it’s built on a lake and is in fact sinking.
When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they found the huge, important city of the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan, built on an island on Lake Texcoco. The Spaniards constructed Mexico City over Tenochtitlan, draining the water off the lake to extend the city. Imagine, a city of 20 million built on a lake. No wonder it’s sinking at a rate of between 6 – 35cm per year.
7. You’re unaware of its elevation.
Many people arrive in Mexico City wondering why they run out of breath so quickly or sometimes feel slightly lightheaded for a day or two. The reason is that Mexico’s capital is 7,350ft (2,240m) above sea level, making it the eighth-highest capital city in the world and the highest in North America. Oh, and that’s another thing: Mexico is part of North America, not South America or Central America as many people think.
8. You haven’t heard of the floating gardens of the Aztecs.
South of Mexico City there are canals in an area called Xochimilco. Here, the Aztecs built fertile banks on the lake, in which they grew one-third of the produce needed to feed the city. These canals stood the test of time and still exist today. Nowadays, you can rent a colourful boat called a trajinera and float down the canal with friends, enjoying the music of mariachis and a cold beer or two.
9. You’re unaware that it’s the city with the most museums in the world.
According to the National Council for Culture and Arts, Mexico’s capital has more museums than any other city. Whatever your interest, be it archaeology, art, toys, or even chocolate, you’ll find a museum or two or three for you.
10. You didn’t know there’s an Aztec pyramid right in the heart of the city.
Right in the main square next to the cathedral is the Templo Mayor — huei teocalli in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs (or Mexica, as they were known). The Spanish built their cathedral on top of the temple, but years later parts of the temple were excavated by archaeologists. Still, much of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan remains buried, often discovered as new metro lines are built underground.