Meet the People Who Are Changing Mexico's Culture!
Mexico is a federation of 31 states that spans from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, resulting in a culture that is vastly diverse and multi-faceted. Mexico was home to several advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Olmec, Toltec, Zapotec, Mayan, and Aztec, and its Pre-Colombian history stretches back to 8,000 B.C. Many communities have kept their ancient customs and ways of life, and visits to historical places are not the only way to appreciate the cultures of Mexico's indigenous people.
Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan are the three Mexican states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. The isthmus that connects the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea is nearly entirely formed of limestone, resulting in a geological environment with over 6,000 cenotes. The ancient Maya held spiritual importance for these fascinating azure lakes, which acquire their name from the Yucatec Maya term ts'onot, which means "any area with accessible groundwater."
Chiapas is a state in Mexico's southwest that borders Guatemala and is home to Mayan ruins as well as one of the country's largest indigenous populations. Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in the state's Central Highlands region, served as the state capital until 1892 and is now regarded as Chiapas' cultural center.
The cuisine and handicrafts of Oaxaca's indigenous people, the Zapotecs being the largest group, are known across the world. Oaxaca, in Mexico's southwest, is also home to two notable archaeological ruins: Monte Alban, a large site, and Mitla, a smaller but remarkable monument.
The capital city, Oaxaca, boasts a gorgeous historic center with a tree-lined zolcala and several exquisite colonial churches that have gained the site UNESCO status as having "great universal value." Hierve el Agua (Spanish meaning "the water boils") is located 45 miles east of Oaxaca in the Sierra Madres, where clifftop springs rich with calcium carbonate have created petrified waterfalls.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, approximately four hours northwest of Mexico City. The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1542 sparked a century of conflict with the indigenous people. The colonists brought Catholicism with them, and the settlement was named after Juan de San Miguel, a Franciscan monk. The fortunes of San Miguel have ebbed and flowed. It had been a commercial center for silver discovered in the vicinity by the mid-16th century. A thriving textile industry fuelled the development of magnificent houses and castles. In a 106-acre portion of San Miguel declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, 17th and 18th century Colonial buildings are intact.