whale shark

Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun: An underwater safari

About 25 miles off Cancún’s northeastern coast, past Isla Mujeres and far into the Caribbean waters, some of the largest known sea creatures loll their summers away. They are whale sharks, a gray-and-white spotted fish that can measure up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 15 tons. That’s bigger than many dinosaurs.

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Monarch butterflies in a Michoacan sanctuary © Tony Burton, 1997

Butterflies by the million : the Monarchs of Michoacán

Every winter, more than one hundred million monarch butterflies fly into Mexico from the U.S. and Canada. On arrival they congregate in a dozen localities high in the temperate pine and fir forests of the state of Michoacán. As a species, monarchs are native to North America, but they subsequently island-hopped their way around the […]

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Did you know? Mexico has over thirty UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves

A surprising percentage of Mexico’s land area is protected in one form or another. A very large number of sites of archaeological or historical importance are managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, more commonly known by its acronym INAH. In theory, all buildings more than 100 years old have some degree of […]

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Geo-Mexico: The Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico

Sombrero Books, 2010; Available from Amazon.com (Paperback) Did you ever wonder why rain usually falls in the late afternoon or night during the summer in western Mexico? Can you figure out why the death rate for Mexicans is four times higher than for US-born workers in the southeastern USA? Do you know why “harmless” organic […]

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Small Oaxaca villages along the road to Sierra Guacamaya © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Ecotourism in Mexico: Arroyo Guacamaya, Ixtlan and the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca

Arroyo Guacamaya is one of the closest ecotourism sites to the City of Oaxaca, accessible by private vehicle in about an hour, or via public transportation. La Guacamaya has most if not all of the features and attractions of the more distant ecotourism locales in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, including mountain biking, nature trails […]

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Water Safety

If you are concerned with the quality of the water at your beach, we recommend you contact the tourism department for updated reports and avoid swimming in questionable waters. Due to industrial contamination, sewage and unfavorable ocean currents, coastal seawater often contains high concentrations of unhealthy bacteria, known as enterococci. This bacteria is found in […]

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Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury, 4th edition

Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury, 4th edition By Tony Burton Sombrero Books, 2013 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback For anyone who lives or travels in western Mexico, Tony Burton’s Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury is a “must have.” I own a well travelled copy of the third edition (2001) but I was delighted to see a fourth edition […]

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Did you know? Sheep and environmental damage in Mexico

After the Conquest, Spanish settlers introduced numerous Old World species into the New World. The most pernicious introductions were human-borne diseases, which led to the rapid and tragic decimation of the indigenous population. However, most of the introductions were deliberate, made with the intention of increasing the diversity of available food and resources. Among the […]

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Fishing boat in the Sea of Cortez

Overfishing in the Sea of Cortez: Are sustainable fish farms the solution?

It is occurring at an alarming rate — native populations of fish, mammals and other Sea of Cortez (or Gulf of California) inhabitants are declining, some to the point of near-extinction. Most people familiar with the issue agree on the reasons: commercial overfishing; bycatch victims of all species in commercial and local fishermen’s nets; environmental […]

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