Whale Watching Season in Los Cabos

If you were a whale, wouldn’t you want to visit the mild waters off the coast of Los Cabos? Of course you would!

Almost every whale species can be found in Mexico’s bays and the Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s coast. Whales migrate from the colder waters up north in the Arctic to visit their annual breeding grounds. Experts calculate some whales to have traveled over 14,000 miles round trip, migrating from Russia to Mexico and back. In Mexico’s warmer waters, whales procreate and raise their calves, staying in the warmer climate for months.

This means whale watching for you!

“Each year in early autumn, one of nature’s most delightful signs of seasonal change occurs—the migration of hundreds of whales from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the warm, calm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. And, from December to March, there is no better place to view such a spectacle than Los Cabos.” VisitMexico.com

Travelers make their own migration to Los Cabos to join in the pleasures of whale watching. But which whale species actually come near Los Cabos? And how can they be identified? Bryde, humpback, gray, blue, sei, minke, and fin whales have all been spotted off the coast of Baja California. When you’re out on a whale watching tour, it’s good to know a little bit about the various species, especially something about their appearance to help you identify them.

Characteristics of Each Whale Species

Bryde whales have a slender body with blue-grey skin. Look for the three ridges on their heads. Humpback whales have lots of bumps on their heads called tubercles. Look for their dark flippers and listen for their long, complex songs sometimes lasting over 30 minutes (actually, you probably need special underwater audio equipment for that). Gray whales have gray skin covered with barnacles. They don’t have a dorsal fin, but their narrow head has baleen (whale teeth) that are a sight to see. If you spot a blue whale, you’re in luck! Blue whales are the largest animals on earth. Look for their long bodies with blue or gray skin. Their heads are so huge that they take up about a quarter of the total body length. Minke whales are smaller. Their heads narrow to a sharp point. Their skin is black or grey. Look for their most distinguishing feature: white bands on their flippers. Fin whales have been nicknamed the “greyhound of the sea.” They have white bellies and dark grey bodies. Look for their small dorsal fin.

What to Bring

When you go whale watching, be sure to bring a few things along to help you maximize your adventure. First, dress appropriately for the weather. Second, get a good pair of binoculars. You’ll be out in the ocean and someone will spot a whale, and if you don’t have binoculars, you might miss the spectacle. If you’re a photographer, think about what gear you need in order to take the best shots: tripod, zoom lens, protective coverings from the weather, etc. Also, think about getting a guide on whale watching. It doesn’t hurt to read a little on vacation. You’ll impress the other onlookers with your knowledge of the deep!

“Los Cabos is a prime location for whale watching,” said Ruben Reachi, Los Cabos Tourism Board Managing Director. “Our region’s ideal climate, shallow waters, salinity and abundant marine life make it the perfect place for whales to birth and rear their young each year.” TheMexicoReport.com

The best time to go to Baja California Sur for whale watching is January and February. The season lasts from December to March, but the most whales are in the area in January and February. Find a tour company which suits your taste. How long do you want to be out on the water? What kind of amenities are you expecting (breakfast, lunch, drinks, etc.)? And, is there an expert on board? Someone who will talk your ear off or someone who can answer your questions? Maybe both? Both Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have plenty of tours to choose from.

Lastly, if you’re still wondering if you should go, consider this: whales are intelligent animals. They communicate through sonar which can be heard for miles. They raise their young much like any good parent. When you see a whale surface, you appreciate the enormity of their size, and you’re reminded of the preciousness of life. Soak in the experience. Capture the moment on film. Los Cabos is just the place to find your whale inspiration.


Where to Stay

Club Regina Los Cabos is located just an easy fifteen-minute drive away from the heart of Cabo San Lucas, right in the middle of the action! The resort rises above the shoreline where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Every unit faces the ocean and you can enjoy colorful sunsets and sunrises from your terrace.


Happy Independence Day, Mexico!

The celebration of independence is not quite like any other celebration. That’s because the feeling of independence is felt so strongly by those who live free. And Mexican Independence Day – Dia de la Independencia – is the day Mexicans join with their fellow countrymen to celebrate their independence from Spain.

It’s one of the biggest celebrations of the year. You can find a festive atmosphere everywhere, all across Mexico, in every city. Mexicans know how to throw a party. Mexican Independence Day – officially recognized every year on September 16 – is filled with fireworks, dancing, and parades. And don’t forget about the food and beer! How can you celebrate any Mexican holiday without some authentic Mexican cuisine and cerveza?


The Cry That Started a Revolution

In the early 1800s, Mexico had already been a Spanish colony for hundreds of years. The Spaniards arrived in 1519, with the intention of conquering the native tribal peoples. After achieving victory, more Spaniards arrived. They began to settle the region, intermarry with the local people, and build a New Spain.

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was born in 1753 in Guanajuato (north of Mexico City), at a time when New Spain had some growing unrest. The social caste system and the negatives of being ruled by a foreign power made for a tense political situation. Although Hidalgo became a Catholic priest, he had such leadership skills and a passion for the freedom of his people that he could not stay quiet.

In 1810, he and some fellow patriots planned a revolt, but ultimately the plan failed. After forcing the sheriff to release some independence sympathizers from jail, Hidalgo called for an early morning Mass on September 16, 1810. About 300 people attended the Mass, including some Spaniards. Hidalgo feared he could be arrested any moment for his involvement in the revolt. In a moment of desperation, he rallied his countrymen to rebel against the Spanish government.

This call to war is known as the Cry of Dolores (Grito de Dolores). The speech was not preserved with its original words. Historians vary on exactly what Hidalgo said. But most versions agree it had to be something like this:

“Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen 300 years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once.”

Library of Congress

It was Hidalgo’s leadership and this passionate plea that eventually led to Mexico’s independence from Spain. Hidalgo was captured and executed by the Spaniards less than a year after his famous speech. The fight for independence would last almost 11 years. Spain signed the treaty in 1821, and Mexico was finally recognized as a free state.

México, lindo y querido | Beautiful and Beloved Mexico

The Cry Heard All Across Mexico Today

Hidalgo is remembered with reverence. He is included in a 150-foot tall Monument to Independence in Mexico City. Hidalgo’s image appears on the 1000 Pesos bill in Mexican currency. People pay homage to the Father of Mexican Independence on this day by remembering his Grito de Dolores. In town squares all across Mexico, you can hear reenactments of his famous speech on Independence Day.


“Each year on the night of September 15—the eve of Mexican Independence Day—the president of the republic shouts a version of “el Grito” from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City: “Viva México! Viva la Independencia! Vivan los héroes!” The ceremony is broadcast throughout the country and is repeated on a smaller scale in many towns and villages”. Encyclopedia Britannica

The President of Mexico gets in on the action, too. His role begins on the eve of Independence Day, at 11:00 at night. He rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City. Then he shares a Grito Mexicano – based on the original Grito de Dolores. The speech goes like this:


Long live the heroes who gave us our homeland!

Long live Hidalgo!

Long live Morelos!

Long live Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!

Long live Allende!

Long live Aldama and Matamoros!

Long live the independence of our nation!

Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!

The next day, September 16, is set aside for the whole country to celebrate. Visitors to Mexico can enjoy joining in the festivities and the fun spirit of the holiday. There’s plenty to see: parades, marching band competitions, dancing, patriotic programs, concerts, and fireworks. Don’t expect people to go to work. And you might find some streets are shut down to make room for the celebrations. Such is the excitement you’ll find at the fiesta de independencia!

Long Live Mexico!


The Colors of Autumn in Jackson Hole

It doesn’t matter where you spend your summer, Jackson Hole is the place to be in the autumn. The fall colors of orange, gold, and red come out in full force in the months of September and October. Fall in the mountains is an annual beauty not to be missed. Every season has its own charm, but there’s something special about autumn in Jackson Hole.

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“The summer crowds are long gone, the aspens are turning colors, and there’s a familiar crispness in the air. Thin sprinklings of snow have already dusted the mountains, yet ski season is still a month or two away.” Jackson Hole Traveler

The pine trees and other evergreens don’t change colors, but there are plenty of deciduous trees in the Jackson Hole area. Look for the Quaking Aspen, a very tall tree (82 feet), to change its colors from green to yellow. The Dwarf Birch is a shrub (3-4 feet high) whose leaves change from green to red. Another shrub, the Red-Osier Dogwood, has fall leaves that are bright red to purple. Rocky Mountain Maple trees are not particularly tall (30-40 feet), but have beautiful muted red-colored leaves in the fall.

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Photographers, both casual and professional, come to Jackson Hole every year to capture the incredible moments of fall. Tour guides can direct you to some of the best spots and best times to photograph the landscape and wildlife you are in search of. Companies like Jack Bayles Photography and AlpenGlow Tours know the Jackson Hole area, the seasons, and can give tips on photography in general. Or maybe you’re more independent and want to try it on your own. Grand Teton National Park and Snake River Canyon are some of the most popular spots.

But even if you’re not into photography, the season of transition shouldn’t be missed. While you’re appreciating the color change of leaves, you can join in the fun events and activities of Jackson Hole in the fall.

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Jackson Hole Fall Arts

Every September Jackson Hole celebrates art in the Tetons by hosting the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. The first festival was held in 1985. This year is the 32nd annual festival, and will start on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, and end on Sunday, September 18, 2016. The various events take place all over town, including the The Inn at Jackson Hole Conference Center, the Snow King Center, and the town square.

Each festival has a featured artist, one whose art is a reflection of Jackson Hole. This year’s featured artist is Edward Aldrich, a painter of North American wildlife and landscapes. His featured painting is called Greeting the Dawn, an oil painting of an American bison with some mountains in the background.

Festival participants can expect to meet lots of artists and art-lovers. Several artists will paint out on the street in front of live audiences. Galleries will display works of art, giving onlookers a chance to browse and find their favorites. Near the end of the 11 days the Jackson Hole Art Auction will begin at noon on Saturday, September 17. If you’ve done your homework, then you’ll be ready to outbid your competing buyers for that prize piece of artwork.

Throughout the festival there’s an atmosphere of celebration of art, food, wine, and life in Jackson Hole. Visitors appreciate the warm hospitality and charm of the community. The festival brings together people from all walks of life with different perspectives and artistic talents. When you come, not only will you feel welcome, but you’ll have the chance to learn something and see the Old West through others’ eyes.

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Other Fall Fun

If you miss the Fall Arts Festival, there are other events in the fall you might consider, like the LoToJa Bicycle Classic (Logan, Utah To Jackson Hole, Wyoming). This is a 210-mile bicycle race, all completed in one day (September 10). There is also the Jackson Hole Marathon and Old Bill’s Fun Run. Hunting and fishing are available throughout the fall for those with the proper licenses. A unique natural phenomenon you have to hear for yourself is the annual elk mating call. Also called “bugling,” this is one of nature’s songs you can find in Grand Teton National Park.

Where To Stay

Teton Club combines unparalleled luxury with rustic Western aesthetics to create an unforgettable vacation experience. The resort is located in Teton Village in the valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, widely considered one of the best skiing destinations in North America. Teton Club offers a wide range of amenities you can enjoy during your time in Jackson Hole, including ski-in/ski-out access, an underground parking garage with valet service, a private lounge, library, and a Great Room ideal for relaxing after a long day on the slopes.

Exploring the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs

Palm Springs might be known for its golf courses and hot springs, but there are some not-to-be-missed natural landmarks that require a little more effort than just hopping in your car. I’m talking about hiking. Hiking is exercise, but depending where you hike, the amount of incline or decline of the terrain, and how fast you go will all determine how much exercise you get. But when the destination is as awesome as the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs, you’re not worried about the workout. You just want to experience nature’s best in the southern California desert.

And you won’t be disappointed.

There are two main canyons which are under the supervision of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Tahquitz Canyon is located just north of the Indian Canyons Golf Resort on the western side of Palm Springs. Indian Canyons includes Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. The entrance for all three canyons is south of Indian Canyons Golf Resort.

“As early as the 1890’s, Palm Springs and the surrounding area have been described as a recreation oasis. Tahquitz Canyon and three southern canyons are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Palm Canyon is considered the world’s largest California Fan Palm Oasis.” indian-canyons.com

Tahquitz Canyon

The Tahquitz Canyon Trail follows the Tahquitz Creek, forming a two-mile loop trail to Tahquitz Falls and back. Along the trail you can find Sacred Rock, marked by rock art and bedrock mortars dating back over 1,000 years. About halfway down the trail you will encounter the mouth of Tahquitz Canyon, or Lookout Rock of Kak wa wit. The Tahquitz Falls were originally called Pal hani kalet by the Indian leader of the Fox Tribe. It is believed by many that this is a sacred place of power, and will rejuvenate your body. Beavertail Cactus, with a beautiful pink bloom, thrives in this area. Also found here are Desert Mistletoe, Trixis (a lovely yellow flower), and Desert Apricot.

Photo by: KateEditor

Photo by: KateEditor

Indian Canyons

The Indian Canyons offer multiple trails in three different canyons. After passing through the toll booth, if you turn right you will come to the parking area for Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon. There are at least 5 trails that begin from this spot. The Andreas Canyon has fan palms, unusual rock formations, and the Andreas Creek to keep the palm trees green. Less visited is Murray Canyon. Among the many palm trees, some of the wildlife you may see are the Peninsula Big Horned Sheep and mule deer.

The third canyon, Palm Canyon, can be accessed by driving 2.3 miles straight from the toll booth. Just follow the road. Palm trees line Palm Canyon Creek and West Fork Palm Canyon Creek. There are some warm springs just a short distance from the Trading Post. The California Fan Palm can be found wherever you find a source of water.

Take advantage of the trail maps, which mark the difficulty levels and give you a good idea of distances. There are lots of hiking tips on the Indian Canyons website that will help you stay hydrated and safe. My favorite tip: When half of your water is gone, turn around and head back.

Photo by: Larry Ehl

Hiking vs. Horseback Riding

Did you ever consider how beautiful the desert is? When you hike on these canyon trails, you travel at a pace that affords you the time to stop and actually look at nature. You’re not in a motorized vehicle just getting a quick glance as you fly by. You’re more connected with the places you visit when you’re on foot. You might take pictures or a video. You sit down and rest in the shade. You might encounter some wildlife to liven up your day! Hiking gives you freedom to explore what interests you. Sure, it takes a little more work, but nature will reward you with its beautiful waterfalls, vistas, and flowers.

Listen to one hiker’s experience:

“The hike was easy to moderate through the section I explored.  There were picnic tables scattered about under the shade of the palm trees. Along the trail there were interesting rock formations and native plants.  Cottonwoods, reeds, brittle bush, lavender, globe mallow and sage were also present in or near the oasis.” Desertusa.com

Hiking is just one way to see the diversity of plants and landscape in the desert canyons. Horseback riding is also available on many of the trails. Smoke Tree Stables offers guided horseback rides on the Indian Canyons Trails. They are closed for the hottest part of the year (July and August), but will reopen on September 3, 2016. Smoke Tree Stables has two rides available: a 1-hour trail ride along the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains or the Murray Canyon Haul Ride from Andreas Canyon to Murray Canyon and back.

Or you can bring your own horse.

Either way, come to Palm Springs and inspect the stark beauty of Indian Canyons for yourself. Give yourself a chance to walk in the footsteps of Indian tribes of long ago.

Where to Stay

Cimarron Golf Resort offers two championship golf courses, the Boulder Course and the Pebble Course, both spectacular fairways under the skyline of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Summer in Park City

Summer means sun, sand, and waves. But it also means activity! What better place to enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities than in the mountains of Park City, Utah!

Park City is the home of two major ski resorts — Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort — and the Utah Olympic Park. It was a host city for the 2002 Winter Olympics. What does any of this have to do with summer? Plenty! Although Park City is a much-loved winter city, it morphs into a hive of summer activity in the warmer months.


“Of course Park City is known as a winter ski destination but the summer months offer its residents and visitors more recreational activities than one could ever dream of. Each mountain resort hosts a wide variety of activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, lift rides and alpine slides. But, there are other activities such as concerts, golf, horseback riding, stream fishing, you get the idea.” ParkCityInformation.org

If you’re the outdoors type, then coming to Park City will give you a chance to do some of your favorite activities in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Think extreme ziplining, mountain biking, horseback riding, and alpine disc golf. Ready to try something new? Take a ski lift to the top and experience extreme tubing. Check out the First-Timers’ Video of some teenage boys getting the thrills of the fast descent down the ski jump.

Mountain Biking

Or if you prefer something a little a more restricted, then the Park City Alpine Mountain Coaster might be a better choice for you. Single riders or a parent with a small child ride “through more than a mile of loops, curves, and hair-pin” turns. The rider controls the speed of his coaster. You get the rush of a theme-park roller coaster with the beautiful natural scenery of Park City. Check out the first-person video here.

Another option, minus the rails, is the Park City Alpine Slide. Similar to a bobsled, riders on the Alpine Slide have a handbrake to adjust their speed as they travel through the turns and dips to the bottom. There are 4 tracks to choose from, so you can race a friend or ride along casually. The Alpine Slide has over 3,000 feet of track for your enjoyment.

For the non-thrill seekers, those who like to keep their feet on the ground, there’s hiking, golf, fishing, and lots of kids’ activities. In 2016, the Park City Base area will be opening 3 new kids’ activities:

  • Kids’ Zip Line
  • Kids’ Rope Course
  • Kids’ Tubing

Every activity is offered with your kids’ safety in mind. Kids wear helmets and have appropriate harnesses and guides to help maximize their fun.

In Canyons Village, there is a family putting course, scenic gondola rides, summer zip tours, and the Canyons golf course. Kids won’t want to miss the summer adventure camp put on by Little Adventures Children’s Center. Kids from 6 weeks to 12 years of age are welcome. Camp leaders will guide your kids through nature hikes, arts and crafts, Zip Tours, field trips, swimming, and gondola rides.

Park City is also host to a number of concerts and festivals. The St. Regis Big Stars Bright Nights Concert Series is celebrating its 8th year. The concerts are scheduled from July to September 3. Some of the artists featured in this year’s lineup are Lyle Lovett, Andy Garcia, Jewel, Trace Adkins, Chris Botti, and Lucia Micarelli. The Deer Valley Music Festival is celebrating its 13th year. This festival’s flavor of music is chamber music, classical, and pops. Some of the concerts during this year’s festival are Rock on! Hits from the 70s & 80s, The B-52s, Matthew Morrison, and McDuffie.

“Your options for things to do in Park City are limitless, no matter your age. Try your hand at fly-fishing, soar above the mountains in a hot air balloon, explore the mountain on foot, a bike, or horseback, test your balance with stand up paddle board yoga, or tackle one of our golfcourses.” VisitParkCity.com

Whether you choose Park City Town, Park City Base, or Canyons Village, you can’t go wrong. Think about spending your next summer vacation where you can do all things alpine (extreme tubing, alpine slide, alpine mountain coaster), enjoy breathtaking vistas, rock it out at a concert series, or relax in hot air balloon.



Park Plaza offers cozy studios, juniors, and one- and two-bedroom condominiums that feature all the amenities of home, including flat-screen TVs, wireless internet access, refrigerators, and coffee makers. During your stay, you’ll relax in Park Plaza’s indoor swimming pool and hot tub, lounge in the recreation room that has three flat-screen TVs, and work up a sweat at the on-site fitness gym.

Park Plaza’s exceptional comfort and convenient location makes it a fantastic place to stay during your next sojourn to Park City. And this month, it’s never been more affordable to do just that.

Park Plaza

Park Plaza

The Miners Club is a cozy upscale resort perfect for your next vacation in Park City. Its spacious units feature fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens with granite countertops and top-of-the-line GE appliances, jetted tubs, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players for your entertainment. An on-site heated swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, club room, and theater room are great places to spend your time at The Miners Club.

Simply walk out The Miners Club’s front door and you’ll be just steps away from the Waldorf Gondola, which you can ride to Canyons Resort, the largest single ski and snowboard resort in Utah.

The Miners Club, Park City

The Miners Club, Park City

Puerto Vallarta Flying Ritual

Puerto Vallarta is full of attractions, history, and beauty. But there is nothing quite like the Voladores de Papantla — “The Flyers” of Papantla. Every day in Puerto Vallarta you can see the flying ritual performed by the men in their beautifully-adorned costumes.

The flying ritual dates back to prehispanic times. It is an ancient ceremony passed down through the generations from various peoples of Mexico. Some of the peoples associated with this religious tradition are the Nahua, Huastec, Otomi, and Totonac peoples.

A Traditional Ceremony Still Performed Today

According to tradition, there was a severe drought and the elders believed they needed to appease the gods. They decided to develop an elaborate ceremony as a way of asking the gods to bring back the rain. They sent their young men in search of the tallest, straightest tree they could find. They cut down the tree, stripped it of all its branches, and placed it firmly in the ground for the ceremony.

After blessing the site and performing various rituals and prayers, the five voladores (“flyers”) or hombres pájaro (“bird men”) climbed the tree-pole (30 meters high) to get in position to “fly.” The caporal (“priest” who leads the voladores) sat on top of the pole, while the four others sat on the four sides of a frame, each attached to a rope wrapped around the pole. After the caporal played the reed flute (“puscol”) and the small drum (“litlagni”), the voladores leaned backwards head first to begin their descent. With arms outstretched, they look a bit like birds circling overhead, slowly coming down to earth in wide circles. The caporal continued to play his flute, daring to stay on top of the pole with no rope tied to his body. As the voladores “flew” down, they spun around the tree-pole exactly 13 times. 4 Voladores x 13 spins = 52. The number 52 is significant for two reasons. First, it is the number of weeks in a year. Second, and more importantly to the ancient Mayan people, 52 years is one solar cycle, according to the Mayan calendar.

Photos: Daniel Pantaleon

Symbolism and Costumes

There is much symbolism in the ritual. The four voladores who descend represent the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west). They also represent the four elements: earth, water, wind (or air), and sun (or fire). The caporal, who performs on top of the pole, represents the fifth direction — vertical. Their performance is to honor the sun god, springtime or fertility god, and the rain god.

“This important religious ceremony dates back 1500 years ago. The ritual started in central Mexico in honor of the God of Sun, for the purpose of boosting that year’s harvest and improving fertility. The ‘flyers’ represent fire, earth, water, and air.”
Puerto Vallarta Official Website

The modern-day flyers are dressed like brightly colored birds. Their costumes include a white shirt, red pants, yellow fringe, and a beautiful sash around their torso. Their shoes are black leather boots. The flyers wear a bandana under a round, ornate hat with a tuft on top that looks much like feathers of a bird. This costume is an important link to the past, honoring this tradition that has been handed down over the past two centuries.

Why You Shouldn’t Miss the Voladores

In case anyone is asking, “Why should I see this flying ritual?” it should be pointed out first that this ceremony is not a circus act. Although acrobatics are involved, it is not the intent of the performers to entertain, as much as it is to carry on an important tradition. The ceremony has deep religious meaning, and even today some of the performers claim to feel a spiritual connection during the ceremony (Check out this video of an American participating. Hear his comments about the spiritual experience starting at 4:14).

The reason you shouldn’t miss this ceremony is because it is so important culturally. In fact, the Ceremony of the Voladores was selected in October 2009 by UNESCO “as an element of intangible cultural heritage of humanity” (gomexico.about.com). So, even though it is a tourist attraction of Puerto Vallarta, and tips might be expected, it is all about preserving the historical traditions of the ancient peoples who have lived in Mexico for thousands of years.

Where to Find the Voladores in Puerto Vallarta

The general location is right on the Puerto Vallarta Malecon. According to one TripAdvisor user’s post, “Their pole is on the beach between Pipila and L. Vicario, . . . They perform every day right now, at least once about 6pm, but if there’s a cruise boat in town, multiple times in the day.”

Where to Stay

Club Regina Puerto Vallarta is located between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay. It is within walking distance of the marina. Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.30.26 AM

Villa Vera Puerto Vallarta is located in Marina Vallarta.  All units in the Mediterranean style resort offer pool views and some offer marina views as well.


Discovering La Guelaguetza

Music festivals in many places around the world focus on popular bands and professional recording artists. The event is not so much about experiencing a culture, but partying with your favorite music and fellow fans. Those festivals have their place, but they are no comparison to the atmosphere and cultural enlightenment you can experience at La Guelaguetza!

Every year, performers from seven different regions of the Mexican state of Oaxaca (pronounced WA’HAKA) gather to dance, sing, and display their cultures to thousands of onlookers in Oaxaca City. Oaxaca is a diverse part of Mexico, where 16 people groups make their home. During La Guelaguetza, this diversity is celebrated as everyone cheers on the many indigenous cultures represented.

The Guelaguetza is a celebration in which representatives from the many communities of Oaxaca come together and celebrate the diversity of their traditions and cultures. Suzanne Barbezat, Mexico Travel Expert

Origins of a Grand Festival

The word “Guelaguetza” comes from the Zapotec language. It means gift, sympathy, affection, cooperation, offering, and includes the concept of exchange or reciprocity. Traditionally, villagers would come together for a public event like a wedding, and everyone would contribute something to the festivities. The food, decorations, entertainment and more were a shared responsibility between everyone who attended. This cooperation lightened the burden on the “host” family and deepened the bond between family and friends alike.

Guelaguetza began well before the Spanish colonial times of the 1500s. The Mixtec peoples developed rituals to worship the corn goddess, Centeotl, concluding the celebration with the sacrifice of a virgin slave girl. After the Spaniards moved in and formed colonies, the Catholic missionaries persuaded the people to adopt a new tradition: a feast day dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel). The modern Guelaguetza festival vividly shows this morphing of the festival over time — through storytelling, folklore, dancing, and music.

Guelaguetza in 2016

Guelaguetza will be held July 25 – August 1, 2016. The festival always takes place from Monday to Monday, usually the first Monday after July 16. A huge amphitheater, with seats for 11,400 spectators, sits up on the hill above the city of Oaxaca and plays host to the festivities. Part of the amphitheater has a roof, but most of the audience will be exposed to direct sunlight. When you come, be sure to wear a large hat and put on some sunscreen.

Each of the seven regions represented in the festival come with their best dancers decked out in brightly colored costumes. After each performance of song and dance, the performers toss out gifts to the crowd. These gifts are always some small token representing their culture: fruit, handicrafts, or other trinkets from their region.

Some of the dances you should watch for are:

The Dance of the Pineapple Flower (Flor de Piña)
The Dance of the Bull vs. the Bullfighters (Torito Serrano)
The Dance of the Bottle (Jarabe de la Botella)
The Dance of the Feather (Danza de la Pluma)

The whole festival includes parades, arts, crafts, and food. “Oaxaca is internationally known amongst food connoisseurs as having exceptionally delicious cuisine. Tantalizing Oaxacan dishes typically feature exotic mole sauces accompanied by fragrant aromas.” Textiles, ceramics, and other handicrafts show off the amazing talents and beauty of these indigenous peoples of Mexico. Much of their art plays an active role in the processions, as seen in the monos de calenda. These are the huge puppets made out of paper mâché on top of a clothed frame.

Guelaguetza has become a major tourist attraction, and is the most famous indigenous celebration in Mexico. Come check it out! If you’re looking for a cultural experience, you won’t be disappointed!


More about Oaxaca: Cooking classes & Must do’s

Where to Stay

Casa Divina Oaxaca is a charming and intimate resort located four blocks from the many fascinating historic sites and wonderful restaurants of downtown Oaxaca. The resort, located within a lovingly restored 19th-century Oaxacan home, reflects the culture of this fascinating city. Authentic Oaxacan art hangs from sun-dried clay walls, making Casa Divina Oaxaca truly feel like a home away from home. Oaxaca is a historic and cultural marvel famous for its spectacular architecture and delicious food. Immerse yourself in this magical place at Casa Divina Oaxaca.