Rich in culture, history and attractions, Veracruz was an obvious filming choice for Hidden Moon.
Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest, largest and historically most significant port since European colonization. It has always acted as a main gate for Mexico, accepting many sea travelers and products since the 16th century. Hernan Cortes first landed in Mexico only 20 km northwest from Veracruz. Because Veracruz is the oldest standing city settled by Europeans, it is overflowing with historical sites. Visitors tour the San Juan de Ulua Castle, the last fortress of the Spanish Empire that was later used as a prison during Porfirio Diaz’s government.
Veracruz is home to a blend of cultures from the indigenous Mexican, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. The mixture is showcased in the city’s food and music, which carries strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences. The traditional vericruzana music is called “Son Jarocho,” which is the perfect example of the city’s blended cultures.
The downtown harbor plazas are teeming with life. The city rarely sleeps, with most of the locals listening to music in the squares late into the night, only to wake up in the early morning to sip coffee at sidewalk cafes. Music and dancing bring light to the city once the sun goes down, and the bustle of everyday activity springs back to life in the morning. Coffeehouses are a social center, the most famous being the Gran Café del Portal and the Café de la Parroquia.
Every year since 1866, the Veracruz Carnaval is celebrated. Veracruz’s Carnaval is the largest in Mexico. It is based in the historic center of the city, and focuses on the Carnaval Parade of Veracruz. The event begins with the “Burning of Bad Humor” and ends with the “Burial of Juan Carnaval.”
The Vochol, a 1990s Volkswagen Beetle that has been decorated with traditional Huichol beadwork from Mexico, will be spending its autumn and… winter touring Europe.
The art-on-wheels took nine thousand hours of work spanned over seven months. There are approximately 2,277,000 glass beads designed into powerful symbols and milestone stories from the spiritual Huichol culture and deities. Eight artisans from two Huichol families began the art in May 2010, and it was inaugurated at the Museo de Arte Popular (MAP) in Mexico City in December 2010.
After touring Mexico and the United States, Vochol has spent September traveling across the Atlantic Ocean from Houston, Teas to Le Havre, France. From October 2 through December, the Vochol will call Paris’s Musee du Quai Branly home.
After Paris, Vochol will continue its voyage to Germany. Between December 5 and January 5, Vochol will be on exhibit at Autostadt, an automotive complex located near Volkswagen’s primary plant in Wolfsburg. Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank’s corporate headquarters – the “Green Towers” – will receive Vochol next, until mid-January.
Brussels, Belgium, is the last place Vochol will visit. The Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts will display Vochol from January 31 through March 3. It will then return back across the Atlantic Ocean.
The work was originally created in order to showcase the ritual nature, skill and culture of the beadwork in a modern art form. The Huichol beadwork began by decorating bullhorns, gourds, masks and figureheads.
At the end of the Vochol world tour, it will be auctioned on an international stage. All funds will benefit the AAMAP.
If you live in Europe – or will be touring it soon – make sure to visit Paris, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt or Brussels. This beetle is one of a kind, and the detail must be seen to be believed. Vochol is absolutely breathtaking.
Le Mexique est une république fédérale composée de 31 états et d’un district fédéral (Mexico). Pays aux nombreuses facettes touristiques, il offre au voyageur curieux un vaste choix d’attractions. Il abrite d’ailleurs 31 sites… classés au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO. La question qui se pose au touriste désireux de découvrir de nouveaux horizons n’est pas tant «Le Mexique vaut-il le détour ?» mais plutôt « Où devrais-je aller au Mexique ? ». Pour tirer le meilleur parti d’un voyage dans ce pays spectaculaire, il est important de cerner au préalable ses motivations: est-ce l’apprentissage de la langue ou le volontariat qui m’intéresse ? Ou encore l’architecture, l’histoire du pays ou les ruines archéologiques ? Ai-je envie de découvrir la cuisine locale ou les plages paradisiaques? De sillonner les canyons ou de nager avec les requins ? D’explorer les villages ou de voir une grande ville coloniale ? Une chose est certaine, la grande variété et l’extrême richesse du Mexique remporteront le cœur de tout un chacun.
During the inauguration of the 18th Adventure Tourism Summit Mexican President Felipe Calderón spoke on Mexico’s potential for… developing its economy in the adventure tourism sector. The event, which was held in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, consisted of a variety of forums hosted by tourism experts from all over the world.
Adventure tourism for Mexico has the ability to create jobs, spread awareness on the beauty of Mexico’s nature and historical sites, and advocate an important role for the indigenous cultures and communities to take part in a growing tourism industry. Indigenous cultures prevalent in Chiapas are an important part of Mexican history, and Mexican tourism officials want to involve them the adventure tourism industry. Mexico’s Tourism Ministry has pegged this year the “year of tourism,” and it has launched an advertising initiative in the U.S. with the slogan, “Mexico, the place you thought you knew.” At the event President Calderón stated, “We need for our natural resources, our enormous cultural wealth, to be able to be preserved with dignity (with) the income that adventure tourism provides, (with) the income that the national and foreign tourist leaves, and which specifically allows these communities to be able to get ahead.”
With the rise of the adventure tourism industry in Mexico, the country is committed to introducing more sustainable practices. At a press conference after the inauguration of the 18th Adventure Tourism Summit, the president of the Adventure Trade Association, Shannon Stowell, spoke about how Mexico hopes to extend the adventure tourism sector economy while remaining aware of the importance of the environment.
Over the past five years, restaurants in Mexico City have gone from mimicking European-style cuisine to embracing all of the diversity and cultural heritage that comes with Mexican fare. A great example of this is Biko, a Mexico City restaurant in the middle of the hip, new Polanco district of Mexico City that was… recently ranked No. 31 on the renowned San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best.
Nowadays, restaurants in Mexico City are celebrating Mexico’s culinary roots, using a wide variety of ingredients in an innovative, highly sophisticated way. Even Europeans like Mikel Alonso and Bruno Oteiza, Basque chefs from Spain, have set up shop in Mexico City in order to take full advantage of Mexico’s edible offerings – adapting their innovative food to befit the ingredients. The fact is, along with the lush natural settings of Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Mexico is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world -- boasting exotic fruits and vegetables as well as wild leaves and herbs that are exclusive to only the best restaurants in Mexico City. Other restaurants in the Polanco district taking a modern spin on traditional Mexican food are Dulce Patria, run by chef Martha Ortiz and, on the very same street, the Mexico City restaurant Pujol, which also made it onto the World’s 50 Best in 2011.
With more and more people traveling to Mexico to explore its culinary treasures and innovative food, including world-renowned chefs such as Pierre Gagnaire, Ferran Adrià and Jason Atherton, it’s no surprise that UNESCO recently added Mexico’s cuisine to its “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list, confirming its status as a leader in world-class cuisine.