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Mexico's Diversity

March 1, 2008 By: Joe Pike Home-Based Travel Agent
 

What to do and where to stay


Although lying on the beach soaking in the sun is grand, Mexico has much, much more to offer. If you're interested in doing something a little different south of the border, consider these options. Cave diving among the 3,000 cenotes off the Yucatan Peninsula

Cave Diving, Kayaking and Coffee

For a true adventure, look into cave diving in the Yucatan Peninsula. Besides the sandy beaches of the Riviera Maya, a stretch of Mexican coastline just South of Cancun, travelers to Mexico should enjoy the cenotes, which are large geologic sinkholes, or quite simply underwater caves. There are more than 3,000 cenotes in the Yucatan.

After speaking with representatives of the Mexico Tourism Board, Home-Based Travel Agent learned that one of the best places to experience the cenotes is at the private Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park, about 87 miles south of Cancun, where guests can enjoy a trip to two cenotes. It includes a 15-minute ride through the forest, and wetsuits and snorkel or dive equipment are provided. Travelers can dive in the popular Dreamgate cenote, one of the most well-known due to its rock formations and natural lighting.

Thought Mexico's only popular drink was tequila? Well, in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, on the southeast side of the country, you'll find The Route of the Coffee.

The Route is formed by 13 plantations, including Argovia, Chiripa, Hamburgo, Irlanda, La Granja, La Lucha, Lindavista, Peru-Paris, Rancho Alegre, San Antonio Chicharras, San Francisco, Santa Rita and Violetas.

The current owners have inherited the plantations from their ancestors and some are the seventh generation of coffee growers, who have preserved names, traditions, parts of the original plantations and most importantly, family pride and love for the coffee culture. The plantations Hamburgo, Argovia and Irlanda offer travelers a complete program that includes not only the educational aspect of the coffee but an array of outdoor activities combining culture, adventure and ecotourism. A tour along the Coffee Route (this picture) teaches visitors all about coffee Mangrove swamps are part of the eco-system along the Coffee Route (below)

A number of companies operate kayaking trips on the Sea of Cortez and Magdalena Bay on Baja's Pacific Coast from Loreto. Sea Kayak Adventures and Gabriola Island Cycle & Kayaks go out on six- to eight-day trips that allow visitors to kayak, camp out, eat in the fresh outdoors and benefit from the expertise of professional guides.

There's one other thing that you might enjoy. In the state of Monterrey, the capital city of the northeastern Mexico state of Nuevo León, is one of the country's lesser known attractions, the Museo del Vidrio or the "Museum of Glass." On the first floor of this facility, you will learn about European glass from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the arrival of glass to the U.S. and its differences with glass production in Mexico. The second floor is mostly home to artisan glass pieces. In addition, a traditional drugstore from the 19th century is exhibited, which includes samples of pharmaceutical glass. The drugstore is on the second floor.

Finally, the tour is topped off in the attic, which hosts the museum's permanent collection of contemporary glass art. This collection is composed by the work of local, national and international artists.


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