La Paz is one of the most beautiful towns of northwestern Mexico, and tourism now plays a major role in the city's economy. The Gulf of California is home to over 800 species of fish, including giant manta rays, whales, dolphins, and sea lions. In the mountains behind the city the Sierra De La Laguna Biosphere Reserve is home to an incredible abundance and diversity of flora and fauna, including species unique to the area. The city has an aquarium, two marinas, museums, theaters, and an art institute. The Las Californias Library is located within the former Government Palace, and holds the most important manuscript collection on the region's history.
From the Alameda, a leafy center of activity since Aztec times, to the Zona Rosa, a chic shopping neighborhood, Mexico City offers endless options to urban adventurers.
Founded by the Aztecs as Tenochtitlán in 1325, Mexico City is both the oldest and the highest (7,349 ft) metropolis on the North American continent. And with nearly 24 million inhabitants, it is the most populous city in the world. It is Mexico's cultural, political, and financial core -- braving the 21st century but clinging to its deeply entrenched Aztec heritage.
You only need to stand in the center of the Plaza of Three Cultures to visually comprehend the undisputed significance of this city. Here, the remains of an Aztec pyramid, a colonial church, and a towering modern office building face one another, a testament to the city's prominence in ancient and contemporary history. Located at the heart of the Americas, Mexico City has been a center of life and commerce for more than 2,000 years. The Teotihuacán, Toltec, Aztec, and European conquistadors all contributed to the city's fascinating evolution, art, and heritage. Although residents refer to their city as simply México (meh-hee-koh), its multitude of ancient ruins, colonial masterpieces, and modern architecture has prompted others to call it "The City of Palaces."
The central downtown area resembles a European city, dominated by ornate buildings and broad boulevards, and interspersed with public art, parks, and gardens. This sprawling city is thoroughly modern and, in places, unsightly and chaotic, but it never strays far from its historical roots. In the center are the partially excavated ruins of the main Aztec temple; pyramids rise just beyond the city.
As part of Los Cabos—a name bestowed by Mexican tourism officials upon the once-remote Baja California communities—San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas frequently are considered to be the same type of place. However, party-hearty Cabo San Lucas is strictly a resort, while 200-year-old San Jose del Cabo is a bona fide—although small—Mexican town with a shady plaza and pastel pink and blue houses.
Visitors from abroad often find San Jose del Cabo one of the most Americanized resorts in Mexico with English as common as Spanish on signs, many expatriates running businesses, and prices on restaurant menus, in shops and bars, and on tours given in U.S. dollars instead of Mexican pesos. You can get a sense of the natural beauty surrounding Los Cabos, though, from the lookout point above Costa Azul, a popular surfing beach just south of San Jose.
San Jose del Cabo stands apart from other resort destinations in Mexico such as Cancun or Puerto Vallarta because of its climate, geography, terrain and its former life as the last frontier on the Baja Peninsula. Visitors to San Jose del Cabo are lured by its deep-blue sea, coves and beaches, dramatic rock formations and desert landscapes; however, in addition to basking in the temperate climate, they also play golf, go deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling, whale-watch and explore Baja off-road.
Colima is a quiet, leafy town set high in the shadow of an active volcano an hour from the Pacific coast and 136 mi/220 km southeast of Guadalajara. Its three irregular-shaped plazas with their arched porticos and excellent cafes make great spots for idling.
The excellent Museum of Western Culture features a wealth of detailed clay artifacts and ornaments of pre-Hispanic cultures of the region, some of Mexico's most ancient. The city is especially useful as a starting point for trips to villages near the base of the Volcan de Fuego, which at times can be seen spewing red lava into the sky.
Easily reached by bus is the town of Comala, a delightful congregation of whitewashed houses nestled in the jungle and intersected by a river running through a deep canyon. Farther up the mountain is the village of Suchitlan, famous for its mask makers. From Colima itself, you can arrange guided treks of the nearby national park.
Price are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability and change without notice. Prices reflect land only accommodations, airfare is additional. Blackout dates/seasonal supplements may apply.
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