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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Riding the cart to the train, near Ixhuatan, Oaxaca © Tony Burton 1985

Did you know? Mexico has many “Est”raordinary railway places

An earlier column, “Microwaves (with a view)”, examined the scenic delights to be found by following the “Microondas” road signs that puzzle many first-time visitors. That column probably didn’t appeal to any passing historians, but another road-sign abbreviation, “EST”, could easily have been invented just for them. EST stands for Estación. In some contexts, this would […]

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The Battle of Calderon Bridge (Tony Burton)

Did you know? Independence battle map is upside down

The battle in question is the Battle of Calderon Bridge (Batalla del Puente de Calderon), fought just outside Guadalajara in January 1811 as part of Mexico’s fight for Independence. The decisive battle was waged on the morning of Thursday, January 17. Imagine the scene. One side, led by Ignacio Allende, had some eighty thousand ill-equipped […]

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Cancun beach © Elisa Velazquez, 2008

Culinary festival on Mexico’s Maya Riviera: A feast of a fest

Start with an endless array of fabulous dishes from the greatest chefs in the Americas. Add a lavish serving of wines born in regions from Napa Valley to the fields of Chile. Sprinkle with warm, sun-splashed days, beckoning beaches and spirited nightlife. The result: The tempting event called the Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, staged in […]

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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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Paul Carrigan's car

North to Nogales from Puerto Vallarta (and back)

Two years ago, I would’ve been leery about driving out of Mexico alone. Well, “everyone says” that the drive to Nogales (from Puerto Vallarta) is a drag: long, flat, boring, and nothing to see – something like, “straight roads and lots of desert.” As is the usual case with “the CV” (the Conventional Wisdom), it […]

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