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Antonio Hernandez – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mexico has a very ancient history that is much older than the history of any town in the US or Canada. This provides a very rich cultural travel experience for visitors to Mexico.
 
Many people know only of the border towns in the northern part of Mexico, but if people start discovering the real northern Mexico, they will discover that it is very rich in culture.
 
 Two cultures that I like are those of the Seri Indians and the Yaqui. They live on the coastal areas west of Sonora nearby Ciudad Obregón and Guaymas.
 
The northern mainland of Mexico on the eastern side of the Sea of Cortez is a very nice area to visit and is usually visited by Americans from Arizona. This area has a combination of beautiful scenery of beaches and coasts and of the desert. There is Isla Tiburón (Shark Island) right in front that you can reach by kayak from Guaymas, which I find very appealing.
 
The railroad route from Mochis, Sinaloa to the town of Creel in Chihuahua is very scenic. The train ride through this area is a well-known tourist activity and is a very enjoyable experience because the route goes through a very scenic mountainous area and passes by the Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon). Barrancas del Cobre is bigger than the Grand Canyon. You can catch the train from Mochis, which is north of Mazatlán, and then you end up in the town of Creel. Creel used to be a small town, but has now grown into a very nice town with interesting things to see.
 
A little further south are very interesting colonial cities. There are two important mining towns in Mexico, Zacatecas and Guanajuato. Both are very beautiful towns to visit for tourists and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 
Zacatecas and Guanajuato are colonial towns, so the colonial history of Mexico can be traced back to these towns. Both towns played important roles during the fight for Mexico's independence and during the Mexican revolution.
 
Guanajuato is beautiful with very narrow and crooked streets. This town is four hours from Lake Chapala and makes for a beautiful, cultural weekend trip from Lake Chapala.
 
Nearby Guanajuato is probably one of the more popular towns for Americans outside of the coastal areas and Ajijic, a town called San Miguel de Allende. Both Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende are part of the independence route of Mexico. You can learn more about the culture of the race of "criollos" and "mestizos" in these towns. A "mestizo" is a mix between an indigenous Mexican and a Spaniard, while a "criollo" is someone who has pure Spanish origins, but is born in Mexico.
 
Zacatecas is around four and a half hours from Guadalajara. In Zacatecas, there is a "cantera" (quarry) containing pink rocks used for building churches and homes. A trip to this town would also be very nice.
 
The Ajijic area is very relevant because there is an airport where you can access Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico with large hospitals, within half an hour. At the same time, there are also plenty of opportunities for cultural activities.
 
San Cristóbal de las Casas and Mexico City have so much to offer.
 
Mexico City is a very nice city. People from big cities like New York love Mexico City when they visit because Mexico City offers such a rich cultural life and fits every type of budget, taste, and desire. It is beautiful in itself because it has a lot of history. It was built on top of a lagoon system such that in the center of the city, the buildings are a bit tilted, so restoration works are ongoing.
 
The center of Mexico City is built on what used to be a pyramidal structure. During underground works for the city, they discovered a pyramidal system where they found many artifacts, so instead of continuing underground works, they decided to keep the place intact and convert it into a museum. This museum contains important pieces of art from the times of the last Aztecs.
 
From this larger city perspective, let us now move over to the smaller towns in the state of Jalisco. Those who plan to retire in this area would be interested to know that within the frame of San Miguel de Allende and Ajijic, there is a whole range of smaller towns that people usually just pass by without noticing, but these towns offer so many opportunities for cultural visits.
 
In these small towns, there are small churches built in the 16th century with a very particular mixture of indigenous Mexican art and Spanish architecture. These churches have beautiful sculptures and other art forms.
 
There is a small town 45 minutes from Guadalajara and one hour and a half from Ajijic called Etzatlán. On the way to this town is another town where they found a circular stepped pyramidal structure called Guachimontones showing a whole different western culture at the time of the Romans, built during the second century after the birth of Christ.
 
Guachimontones is a recent discovery by an American archeologist named Phil Weigand. Phil is a wonderful guy who married a Mexican woman and they live in Etzatlán. He dedicates his life's work to the excavation of Guachimontones. A lot of work is being done on this site and is definitely worthwhile to visit.
 
The site has a lagoon and dam system for agriculture and is called Presa de La Vega (La Vega Dam).
 
It is interesting to see the particular way of life back then. The history is very ancient and is believed to be pre-Hispanic and even before the existence of the Aztecs and Mayas.
 
They have a small, interactive museum to international standards. Visitors will have a great time in the museum.
 
Also in the town of Etzatlán is a Franciscan monastery built in the 16th century.
 
It is important to know that the Spanish came not only for political and military conquests, but also for religious reasons. The Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians were the three Catholic orders that came to what they called the border towns of Mexico. The town of Etzatlán was considered a border town so they built a fortress monastery in this town.
 
Most of the little rural towns in the state of Jalisco would have a main plaza in the middle, a church, a place where the mayor lives, and straight roads and zoning, which is typical of a Spanish designed town.
 
The government of Mexico categorizes towns of Mexico as "Magical Towns" (Pueblo Mágico) when they have fulfilled certain criteria such as ability to regulate advertisements, electrical structures are underground, and so on. Being recognized as a Magical Town gives the town access to federal funding.
 
Tapalpa and Mazamitla towns in the state of Jalisco are very typical Mexican towns and are both called Magical Towns. Both towns are very popular with Mexicans living in Guadalajara for weekend outdoor trips.
 
Mazamitla is also one of the many places in Mexico that you would not think you would normally find because Mazamitla has pine trees up in the mountains. It is a mountain town in Mexico that has overtones of a Swiss mountain village, Mexican style. 
Vanessa Kerr of Peters & Romero – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ultra marathan participants in Copper Canyon of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMexico has thirty-two states. The north part that extends from Baja California is very diverse. There are areas with mountains. In Chihuahua, you will find Copper Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. It has wonderful ride on a train that goes from Chihuahua City to the coast. There are also forests, and some desert areas with dunes. Both Chihuahua and Sonora have lots of cattle and they are the main producers of meat in Mexico. In the north you will also find Monterey, which is the largest city in Monterey. It is a very industrial city and is hone to many international corporate head offices.
 
If you go a little south, you will find Guadalajara, which is the second largest city in Mexico with more than 7 million people. Jalisco is also an industrial area. In that same region, you will also find Veracruz on the coast.  Veracruz is one of the richest states of Mexico because of its resources and a lot of agricultural land. 
 
If you go further south, you will get to some of the areas of Mexico that are more poor such as the state of Guerrero where you will find Acapulco, and the state of Oaxaca, which is one of the poorest in the country.  To the east, you will find Yucatan. Those areas are very important from a tourism point of view. To west, you will find Acapulco and to the south, Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca.  To the east, will find Cancun and Playa del Carmen, which are two of the most important beach resorts in Mexico.
 
(Ultra marathon participants in Copper Canyon of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico, pictured.)

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