Archive for July, 2013

Best Places to Visit in Canada

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Sometimes we forget about our northern neighbor. But that doesn’t mean we should. This North American country contains towering cities and surreal landscapes, from the larger-than-life waterfalls of Niagara to the snowcapped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Many Canadian cities also put their rich cultural heritage on display for visitors. Saveene has compiled a list of the best destinations in Canada, so fly (or drive) north to check them out.

 

Vancouver

 

Vancouver Planetarium and Museum picture in Vancouver

 

Even by North American standards, Vancouver is a young city. But what it lacks in history it compensates for in scenery. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, Vancouver is both an urban and a natural playground: Its chic atmosphere, high-fashion boutiques and fondness for health-conscious eating have earned it the nickname “North Hollywood.” Sitting about 1,300 miles north of its nickname namesake, Vancouver’s breathtaking backdrop has been the setting for several popular television shows and major motion pictures, such as Battlestar Galactica and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, so don’t be surprised if recognize landmarks from your favorite scenes.

But this mitten-shaped city on Canada’s western edge draws in more than pop culture junkies. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, white-water rafting and skiing will beckon to your adventurous side. Looking for a little R&R? Then try lounging along the 11 miles of beaches or in one of the numerous parks. During the cold weather, you can duck inside one of top-notch museums, or swing your young kids by one of the family-friendly attractions. When you add excellent shopping, dining and nightlife scenes to the mix, you see why many praise Vancouver as a go-to getaway for the multi-faceted traveler.

 

Banff

 

Banff Hoodoos picture in Banff

 

To experience the lifestyle of a Swiss skiing village, all you have to do is head north to Banff. As it’s lodged in the heart of the Canadian Rockies near the southeastern border of Banff National Park, taking trips here will decrease not only your flight time but also your expenses (although only marginally). Banff caters to intrepid explorers who prefer to end the day in a nice hotel rather than roughing it at the campgrounds. Opportunities for adventure abound, so pick your sport: Ski down Mount Norquay, hike to the massive, free-standing limestone pillars known as the Hoodoos, “scramble” up the face of the Stoney Squaw Mountain or bike along Healy Creek. When you are exhausted, retreat to your cozy (and warm) resort, and replenish yourself with a hefty helping of bison meat. It’s easy to see why this regularly ranks as one of TripAdvisor‘s Top Outdoor and Adventure Destinations.

 

Montreal

 

Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral picture in Montreal

 

There is only one word which really captures the essence of Montreal: multifaceted. This city represents the melding of the Old and New Worlds, with 18th-century structures blending into a 21st-century skyline. Old-fashioned houses are now home to funky fusion restaurants, and the familiar sound of English is juxtaposed against the rolled “r”s of French. Rainbow flags fly alongside cloth emblems from India, Portugal and France, and traditional French pastries are sold alongside the distinctly sweet sesame seed, Montreal-style bagel. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, a short elevator ride exposes you to another city located several stories below ground level.

This versatile city’s top attractions include world-class museums and bustling marketplaces. Start your tour along the ancient cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montréal. Here, you can explore historic cathedrals or grab a cappuccino at one of the traditional French cafés along boulevard Saint-Laurent. If history doesn’t excite you, head to the bustling downtown area for an afternoon of shopping or to Parc du Mont-Royal for a hike. Just make sure to save some energy for when the sun sets; Montreal — especially rue St-Denis — is known for a nightlife scene that continues until the small hours of the morning.

 

Toronto

 

Toronto

 

Sprawling Toronto is awe-inspiring, and record-breaking. Flip through the Guinness Book of World Records, and you’re bound to see this city mentioned several times, either as the home of the (now second) tallest free-standing tower in the world; as the site of the largest underground shopping mall; or as the place where you’ll find the longest street in Canada. In other words, “big” is a big deal here — original city boundaries were forgotten by the mid-20th century, nearby suburbs were engulfed, and Toronto became North America’s fifth largest city. Take a trip to the top of the CN Tower to see what we’re talking about — you’ll see a host of shops, restaurants and nightlife sprawled out before you.

And it’s not just expanse that draws visitors — it’s also the Torontonians. According to theToronto Tourism Board, more than half of this metropolis’ 2.5 million residents are immigrants. Dive deeper into the city and you’ll practically be able to call yourself a world traveler. Greektown, Little Italy, Koreatown, Roncesvalles Village, Little India, Chinatown are all Toronto neighborhoods worth exploring. And thanks to the city’s extensive public transportation system, getting from Europe to Asia is a breeze!

 

Ottawa

 

Ottawa

 

Located in northeast Ontario near the Quebec border, Ottawa may seem an unlikely choice for Canada’s capital when compared to larger cities like Toronto andMontreal. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Lonely Planetcompares Ottawa to a personal ad: “… young, vibrant, clean, bilingual, likes kids, long walks on the river.” Visit for yourself, and you’ll see this city doesn’t fall short. It’s small yet lively, family-friendly yet nightlife-ready, somewhat chilly yet undeniably cool.

Ottawa is a political and cultural hub that particularly caters to the out-of-towner. Its downtown overflows with jaw-dropping architecture, state-of-the-art museums, funky boutiques and fantastic snack joints that are all easy for you to explore on foot. Plus, this is a city that loves to celebrate, hosting dozens of festivals throughout the year. And while cold weather may seem like a deterrent, a few hours ice-skating (or sipping cocoa) along the Rideau Canal will transform even the most stubborn summer-lover into a winter buff.

 

Victoria & Vancouver Island

 

Victoria & Vancouver Island

 

Although it’s only a 90-minute ferry ride from bustling Vancouver, British Columbia’s capital city may as well be a world away. Taking the opposite approach from its youthful neighbor, Victoria exudes a quainter atmosphere. Resting on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, This relatively small city remains deeply rooted in its Colonial past, relishing distinctively British traditions like afternoon tea at the Empress and a pint at the pub. But that doesn’t mean this destination is strictly reserved for Anglophiles. Despite its nostalgic tendencies, this city attracts a variety of travelers with  excellent museums, charming architecture and fantastic harbor views (often interrupted by the surfacing of a whale).

But don’t limit yourself to the (admittedly kitschy) Inner Harbour — there’s much more to this region than manicured gardens and high tea. Vancouver Island is also known for its stretching beaches and verdant wineries. From downtown Victoria, hop a ferry to Sooke — a vibrant boating and fishing town — or make your way out to the Cowichan Valley, where you’ll find rows of vines laden with grapes. Just make sure to bring your camera, as the scenery is sure to delight even the most jaded traveler.

 

Québec City

 

Old Quebec Rooftops picture in Québec City

 

The sight of winding cobblestone streets and towering cathedrals; the sound of French pleasantries and tourists’ “Oohs;” the smell of fresh-baked bread and pungent cheese; the taste of creamy café lattes and buttery croissants. All your senses agree: You’re in France. But they’re wrong: You’re in Québec.

Québec City—the capital of the Canadian province, Québec—dwelled in the shadow of its neighbor, Montreal, for a long time, but the 2008 celebration of its 400th birthday catapulted Québec City back into the spotlight. Since then, travelers have flocked here to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s charm for themselves. As the birthplace of New France, Québec City continues to uphold the culture of its motherland. Upon passing through the fortified walls of the old city, you’ll discover a world straight out of a European painting: 17th- and 18th-century buildings house bakers, bistros, and boutiques, while cobbled squares are drowned by a sea of café tables. And around every corner, a piece of Québec City’s rich heritage awaits discovery.

 

Halifax

 

Halifax

 

The capital of Nova Scotia is any historian’s dream: This harbor town has been a British stronghold and a pirate haven. The city was also the starting point for more than a million immigrants’ new lives and the final resting place for hundreds who died at sea as the “unsinkable” Titanic drowned in the icy Atlantic. And with so many of Halifax’s top attractions devoted to the preservation of its rich history, you might think that this city is stuck in the past. But you’d be wrong.

Halifax has emerged as the commercial capital of Canada’s Maritime Provinces thanks to its natural harbor. This status has helped Halifax come into its own as a cultural hub as well. For visitors, that means an abundance of festivals, art galleries and live performances. This is also a great place to kick off an outdoorsy getaway — Halifax is home to several notable public parks and is an easy drive from some small-yet-notable ski areas. And did we mention the seafood? Salmon and lobster are staple ingredients in Nova Scotian cuisine and can be savored alongside stunning views of the harbor at many downtown restaurants. So whether you’re looking to sample the past or the present, Halifax provides an ideal backdrop.

 

Niagara Falls

 

Rainbow over Niagara Falls picture in Niagara Falls

 

It’s not hard to understand why many consider Niagara Falls a top natural wonder of the world. Or why it has been the location of some incredible (and now illegal) daredevil antics over the years. The second you see the mammoth Niagara River rumbling toward a 170-foot waterfall at about 20 to 30 (and up to 68) miles an hour, your mouth will drop. The speed at which the river falls creates a misty fog and an unmistakable roar heard from miles away. From the top, crowds flock to the railings to feel the mist on their faces. As you follow the water’s path downward, boats, platforms and observation decks support colorful poncho-clad visitors.

Over the years Niagara has gone from classic honeymoon spot to cheesy honeymoon spot, and, now, an odd mix of the two. In addition to the stunning waterfalls, there is a large concentration of quickie wedding chapels and hotels backlit in blaring neon. But strolling through the icewine vineyards of the nearby Inniskillin Winery is truly romantic, as is enjoying the lush landscape at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. If you have the kiddos, you can bring them to theAquarium of Niagara or MarineLand. So hop in the two-seater with your special someone or pack your family in the minivan and take a spectacular daytrip to the majestic Niagara Falls.

 

Saint John, New Brunswick

 

Saint John, New Brunswick

 

Saint John, New Brunswick may not give the best first impression: The city’s skyline is dominated by shipping terminals and oil tanks, while decades of industrialization have left behind a somewhat gritty appearance. But don’t be too quick to dismiss New Brunswick’s largest city. Beyond the factories lies a vibrant downtown area where remnants of the Victorian era enhance the scenery. History lives on in the heart of Saint John with sites like the Loyalist House, which pays tribute to the city’s former allegiance to the British. You can still feel Great Britain’s presence by grabbing a stool and a stout at one of the city’s many Irish pubs, a cultural marker set by the many Irish immigrants who made their home here in the mid-1800s.

But perhaps the primary reason to visit Saint John is its access to the Bay of Fundy. This large inlet separating New Brunswick from Nova Scotia is an ideal backdrop for outdoor excursions. You can get a feel for Fundy’s powerful tides in the heart of Saint John with a visit toReversing Falls. But to truly experience the bay’s beauty, head out of town to one of New Brunswick’s natural parks where Fundy views beckon to hikers. Just keep your eyes peeled: You’re bound to catch a glimpse of a whale or two.

 

 

A family destination – Playa Flamenca, Costa Blanca

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Looking for a destination suitable for the whole family this year?  Then pack your bucket and spade and head for the Costa Blanca.  Spain’s sunny south-east coastline has beaches to brag about by the bucket-load, and Playa Flamenca makes a super spot to park your parasol. There are miles of sandy beaches and lively attractions to keep the whole family amused, so grab the sun lotion and get packing – you’re off to the white coast of sunny Spain, specifically Playa Flamenca!

 

Costa Blanca - some of the best beaches in Spain

Costa Blanca – some of the best beaches in Spain

 

Plenty of flights

 

A choice of airports is always good and normally ensures a bargain break.  Take your choice from Alicante or Murcia San Javier airports for this sunny destination, and head for theOrihuela Coast, right at the bottom of the Costa Blanca. Alicante is approximately 40 kilometres away, and Murcia 25 kilometres – so neither are going to land you with a long drive after the arrivals hall – so important if you’re travelling with young, tired children.

A taxi will set you back about 35€, if you don’t want to wander too far whilst here, or just don’t fancy driving on the other side of the road,  then it’s sometimes the best option.

 

Flying in, an aerial view

Flying in, an aerial view

 

A place in the sun

 

Apartments, town-houses villas and bungalows are all available to rent, so you can pick the perfect place in the sun.   Playa Flamenca is an ideal destination for all ages, why not bring along the whole family and share the cost – you may find it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than booking a hotel – and so much nicer!

Beach life

 

A resort that has the word beach in it’s name?  It’s got to be good! There are three main beaches in the immediate area.  These are:

  • Playa Flamenca
  • Punta Prima
  • La Zenia

Playa Flamenca comprises three smaller beaches, Cala Peñas, Cala Mosca and Cala Estaca.  You will have a choice of large sandy stretches and smaller, more private coves. All are fully serviced and graded daily.   The promenade that flanks the beaches holds a Summer Arts and Crafts fair during the peak months of July and August – just right for picking up those souvenirs!  Saturday mornings, wander down and you’ll find the street market in full swing.  Pick up anything from some new clothes to food, odds and ends and hardware.

Playa Flamenca is also framed by a promenade, perfect for that evening stroll before choosing dinner in one of the many restaurants that face the Mediterranean sea .

Punta Prima is a large expanse of curved bay, sandy and safe.  The promenade here is decoratively tiled in blue and white, with plenty of seating areas, shaded by the majestic palm trees.  There’s a commercial centre close to Punta Prima if you feel like doing a  bit of shopping to break up the day on the beach.

La Zenia boasts Blue Flag, a paved easy to access promenade, wooden decking and wooden steps leading onto the beach itself, which is a blanket of white sand and clear blue water. Beach bars and shacks selling ice cream and bottled water in the Summer help to keep your temperature down – and the beach is fully serviced as you would expect.

 

Costa Blanca beach

Costa Blanca beach

 

Tee off

 

Getting your round in doesn’t just mean going to the local bar!  Golf features heavily on the Costa Blanca.  A round or two in the sunshine makes for a better golfer – or at least a much happier one! Compare it to dragging your clubs around a wet UK course! – and for some, a holiday in Spain is not complete without several hours spent playing golf.  This area is no stranger to quality courses, which are:

  • Las Ramblas
  • Villamartin
  • Campoamor

All three are fairly close together alongside the A37, and Villamartin has played host more than once during the Mediterranean Open, which gives you a good idea of the quality and standard.

 

Get a round in

Get a round in

 

Get back to nature

 

If you fancy going back to nature while you are holidaying in Playa Flamenca, then take a walk on the wild side at Parque Natural de las Lagunas de la Mata y de Torrevieja .  Here you’ll find salt flats where you can spot the flamingoes, and if you bring along your binoculars and a sandwich then you can while away a happy afternoon in one of the hides provided.  What can you expect to see?  Well, depending on the time of year, but the following feathered friends have all been spotted here:

  • Black winged stilts
  • Osprey
  • Tern
  • Grebe
  • Curlew
  • Dunlin
  • Montagues Harrier 

 

  • Explore the wetlands

Explore the wetlands

Other activities

 

Take a trip to Torrevieja, actually only 10 minutes or so by car – you could walk it – and explore the sights and sounds.  There’s the water park there too – Aquopolis –  a great way to amuse the kids for a whole or a half day.  Explore Murcia, and the places around it, go as far as Benidorm to try out the beaches there, you might even bump into a famous comedian or two!  Terra Natura is the Zoo in Benidorm, a well kept affair that has a host of other activities on at any time of the year.  Click on the website prior to your trip and you can avail of the discount coupons and codes.

 

Eating out

Eating out

 

Eating and drinking

 

That’s an easy one here on the Costa Blanca.  What do you like?  You will have a choice of international food everywhere you go.  So whether you like to go native and eat Spanish, or prefer to pick pizza over paella, you won’t be disappointed with the food choices at Playa Flamenca.  But to be perfectly honest, you could do a lot worse than to stick with the fish dishes on offer, they don’t really come much fresher!

Remember too that this area has been awarded the status of the healthiest and best climate in the world.  

 

Eco Parks – Nature theme parks and adventure parks, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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Nature Theme Parks in the Riviera Maya are great daytime adventures

 

Cenotes – Natural jungle oasis freshwater pools

 

 

Cenotes are one of the most unique features of the Yucatan’s geology. The cenotes are literally the liquid life of Quintana Roo. Cenotes are natural oasis pools in the jungle, fed freshwater by the submerged caves, or underground riviers, which honeycomb the underground. Many of these cenotes can be visited on organized snorkel-swim tours while others with signs along the road simply require a small fee to enter.

 

Hidden Worlds Cenote Park – Cenote snorkeling, zip-line, Avatar, sky cycle & caves

 

 

Situated on the most extensive system of underwater caves and caverns on Earth, Hidden Worlds park is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, as featured in the critically acclaimed 2001 IMAX movie,Journey Into Amazing Caves, the 2005 Hollywood movie The Cave and the award winning 2007 BBC series Planet Earth. Attractions include: SkyCycle, zip-line, Avatar thrill ride, Rappel, and cavern snorkeling tours.

 

Indiana Joe’s in Aktun Chen – Dry Cave, Canopy Zipline, Ecological Park

 

 

You won’t want to miss this adventure, the sign is just south of Bahia Principe, south of Akumal, along the highway. A walk through Aktun Chen is as close to “dry cave diving” as you’ll get. A great example of the extensive caves in the area. The variety and number of stalactites is staggering! Great canopy ziplines from tree to tree and zipline splash down into a jungle cenote.

 

Río Secreto – Nature reserve & eco-tours, cenotes & caves

 

 

Walk and float your way through spectacular caves encrusted with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, and cool crystal clear freshwater cave pools (cenotes) all while being escorted by expert guides every step of the way. This is a rare and exotic opportunity to admire the unequaled beauty of our beloved Mexico and Mother Earth. Dedicated to conserving cherished natural assets and the region’s biodiversity, natural resources, and people.

 

Selvatica – Zip-lines, cenote swim and jungle tour

 

 

Selvatica Aventure jungle tour 19K west of Puerto Morelos on the road to Central Vallarta (west side of highway 307). Enjoy a combination zip line (tyrolean traverse) jungle canopy tour, biking and cenote swim. Prices $40-60 usd depending on package purchased. Food and beverage, souveniers are available at the main lodge/outfitting center. Certified guides.

 

Xaman Ha Aviary – Tropical birds

 

 

Xaman Ha Aviary is a wonderful natural habitat for some 60 species of tropical birds who populate the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula. Here you can see roughly 200 individual birds living in harmony with one another, all within an open-air sanctuary that has paths and trails leading to the birds’ preferred nesting areas. Xaman Ha Aviary is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya in Playacar, Playa del Carmen.

 

Xcaret – Nature park

 

 

Xcaret is one of the largest and arguably the best eco-park on the coast. Make it an all day affair to get your best value. Xcaret is loaded with amusements including: snorkel the underground river, an aquarium, butterfly exhibit, jaguars and pumas, sea turtles, ruins, Mayan village, beach, dolphin swim and more. Then experience Xcaret at Night. A firelight Mayan ceremonial dance, Indiana Jones style dry cave, and fantastic amphitheater for regional music and dancing from around Mexico. Located just south of Playa Del Carmen.

 

Xel-Ha – Natural lagoon

 

 

Xel-Ha Explore a Natural Wonder and the most magical lagoon on the Riviera Maya coast. The waters of Xel-Ha are a combination of salt water from the seas and freshwater from the underground rivers. There is also a collection of Mayan ruins in the Xel-ha archaeological park This provides a habitat for a variety of fish, birds and other wild life. You can enjoy snorkeling, tubing, biking and just walking around this beautiful area.

 

Yaax Che Jardin Botanico – Botanical gardens and cultural showcase

 

 

This is a great half day trip to see tropical plants and trees native to the Yucatan peninsula, identified with tags in a natural setting. The gardens have paths which lead to varied environmental zones, a senic overlook, small Mayan ruins and an example of a traditional Maya “palapa home” and Chiclero camp. Monkeys and birds are not uncommon to see. Located on hwy 307 just south of the entrance to Puerto Morelos.

 

 

 

Most Popular Cultural Landmarks in Mexico

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Most Popular Cultural Landmarks in Mexico

 

Mexico is among the beautiful countries from the world having rich Mayan culture. It’s the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Mexico includes a large number of cultural attractions to provide, and it is therefore extremely popular among tourists. Things you can do in Mexico are all around.can help you get the best items to see in Mexico. Here we listed the very best sights and museums in Mexico.

 

Cultural Attractions in Mexico City

 

Museo Nacional de la Historia

 

Mexico’s National History Museum is housed inside the Chapultepec Castle, the making of which began in 1785. The castle includes a fascinating history on its own, being the palatial home of ruler Maximiliano within the 1860s, and transformed into a museum by presidential decree in 1939. The gathering of historical artifacts and ephemera housed here today is stunning both in its scope and it is quality: jewelry, furniture, religious objects and fine arts are only a some of the numerous categories define the permanent collection.

 

 

Even when you’re unable to begin to see the entire collection, the castle is a national historical treasure; make sure to take a look at its stained glass windows and murals, and don’t miss the chance to have a photo outside-the standpoint offered in the castle’s hilltop position is unrivaled. Since the museum is found in the nearly 1,800 acre Chapultepec Park, you may enjoy a stroll through this urban green space, containing a zoo and also the perimeter which is dotted having a number of other museums.

 

The pyramids of Teotihuacan

 

When considering pyramids, Egypt may be the first destination that appears within the mind, although not lots of people realize that the world’s second and third largest pyramids are in fact in Mexico City. They’re located 1 1 / 2 hour away from city and can include the Pyramid of Sun and Pyramid of Moon. Both pyramids offer excellent views previously mentioned as well as an understanding of the cultures from the Aztecs who constructed them almost 2000 years back.

 

Modern Art Museum

 

Modern Art Museum- Situated in Chapultepec Park, the current Art Museum houses Mexico City’s permanent art collection featuring a remarkable assortment of artwork by Mexico’s greatest contemporary artists including Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Frida Kahlo. Museum exhibits include Mexican painting, sculpture, lithography and photography. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 5:00.

 

National Art Museum

 

National Art Museum – The nation’s Art Museum features a comprehensive assortment of Mexican art which range from the 16th towards the first 1 / 2 of the twentieth centuries. The museum features revolving exhibits of recent painters, sculptors, lithographers, and photographers from round the world. The nation’s Art Museum displays paintings by Juan Correa, Miguel Cabrera, Eugenio Landesio and also the largest assortment of paintings through the outstanding Mexican landscaper, Jose Maria Velasco. One room is dedicated to the plasticarts of Mexico in the 1930s towards the 1960s. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. Sundays have the freedom.

 

The Natural Beauty and Culture of Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Central America.Well-known for that many exciting possibilities to explore its ecosystem and natural beauty, Costa Rica can also be a perfect spot for culture tourism. Costa Rica is really a beautiful Central American country with breathtaking sceneries, abundant wildlife, stunning beaches, and peaceful national parks. One of the main attractions of Costa Rica, must appoint a great beach, probably the most visited is found in Guanacaste and Nice Peninsula.

Also in the Caribbean Coast there are lots of beaches where lots of tourists are searching for fun and adrenaline is really a quiet beach South Puntarenas. Costa Rica can also be recognized for their forests since they’re well-maintained and preserved, there may also find countless types of plants and exotic pets. Another from the main

ark are also major attractions in order to Costa Rica, has a lot more than 60 parks, reserves, ecological zones, shelters, etc One of the better known parks can highlight the Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park and Nature Reserve Monteverdi.

 

Culture:

 

Costa Rican culture is within many different ways an expression of their racial diversity. The predominant influence is definitely European, that is reflected in from the state language Spanish towards the architecture from the country’s churches along with other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less visible, but could be located in from the tortillas which make a part of an average Costa Rican meal, towards the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands.

Various events and festivals throughout every season brings the interested visitor nearer to Costa Rica’s people and cultures. Worth visiting are as an example the San Jose Carnaval in December, the Barva Feria Nacional de la Mascarada in March or even the Dia de Nuestra Senora de la Virgen de Los Angeles in August , but there’s a lot more.

 

Beaches:

 

There aren’t any limits separating Costa Rica in the sea. Within this small section of firm land, you will find 762 miles of coastlines, distributed around the Pacific and the Caribbean. Costa Rican beaches permit you to sun-tan with the extra bonus to be a part of an intricate pro-nature system referred to as Ecological Blue Flag, award provided to 56 of Costa Rica’s beaches, distributed through the territory. The program is implemented because of Costa Rica’s commitment with sustainability and environmental protection. This guarantees tourists that beaches they visit have sufficient safety and cleanliness to invest well their holidays.

Costa Rica’s beaches are encompassed by forests, and also have great natural diversity. In lots of of these you will find beautiful coral reefs, in which you may dive and explore. Additionally, with respect to the place visited, you’ve got a number of complementary activities, for example: hikes to mangroves, diving, surfing, sport fishing, hiking on trails or horseback rides. Because of the quick access to a lot of beaches, you may make the most from both coasts. Many of them have tepid to warm water throughout every season, to come and relish the country any season you want. Whether it’s diversity you have in mind, each coast offers different shades and textures of sand, white, yellow, gray and black, product from the constant crashing of seashells on coral reefs.

 

National parks:

 

The nation’s natural attractions, wildlife and track record of enlightened conservation draw tourists all within the world, and also the ticos realize it. Successive governments make a genuine effort to preserve the nation’s image being an ecotourism heaven, making Costa Rica among the best places to see the tropics naturally with minimal impact. 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, along with a number of protected areas that captivate ecotourism lovers are available through the country. All of the activities includes horse riding, hiking mountainous paths within the cloud forests, and guided bird-watching tours. Costa Rica’s forests could be lumped into three general groups: rain, cloud and dry forests. Rainforests, using their massive trees, high canopies and little growing around the candle lit forest floor, are available in the Atlantic lowlands and southwest.

The northwest contains a few of the last remnants from the tropical dry forest, a less exuberant life zone that shares a lot of the diversity from the rainforests. Cloud forests, that go over top of the slopes on most mountains and volcanoes, would be the most luxuriant from the tropical forests, with mosses along with other small plants since the trunks and branches of trees. They all are beautiful, as well as in many different ways similar, but they all have animals and plants that will not be located within the remainder of them. Tortuguero National Park is particularly famous for sea turtle nesting that can take place each year, and also the natural canals that abound with protected species for example crocodiles, manatees, and otters.

Other well-known National parks with diverse plants and creatures are: Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio, Barra Honda, Chirripo and also the Corcovado National Park. During Costa Rica, explore the gorgeous countryside to understand why it’s among the top holiday destinations in the world. That you can do a hike with the rainforest at Guayabo National Monument, an archaeological site built by an old civilization dating back to over 3000 years. Be also certain to visit Golden Bean Coffee Farm where one can witness a ripe cherry (beans) from the tree transform right into a fresh mug of coffee. A pioneer in ecotourism using its many national parks and guarded environment, Costa Rica is among the few places of real uncut ecotourism. Among the safest places within the world and among probably the most stable economies, there’s been no standing army in here because it was disbanded in 1948.

Costa Ricans usually make reference to the inherent great thing about their country. They are fully aware why tourists arrive through the thousands, plus they appreciate the wonder themselves. Within Costa Rica, nature is culture and Costa Rica includes a lot of history with nature.

 

Curious About Costa Rican Food Culture

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Curious About Costa Rican Food Culture

If you are planning travel to Costa Rica for the first time, you’re interested in Costa Rica food. Costa Rican food is simple but heavy on oil plus some species.

 

The Food delights offered in Costa Rica are often as vibrant and diverse because the history and culture of Costa Rica’s people.
The relatively affluent urban and suburban classes in Costa Rica eat various kinds of food that are almost generic one of the industrialized nations of the world, and also have shown a keen – and growing rapidly – hunger for junk food from large global chains like McDonald’s. For those who have a craving for fast food in Costa Rica, then your capital city and likely the smaller cities too can satisfy your culinary wishes.

Costa Rican food incorporates several staples of Latin American cuisine yet differentiates itself when you are much healthier with the inclusion of the array of fresh fruits and vegetables. The caliber of the following dishes when they are homemade is unbeatable, so attempt to get yourself invited over for supper or dinner.

 

Costa Rican Food Culture

 

Costa Rican Traditional Food

 

For any typical lunch or dinner, visit among the country’s many sodas – small, family-run restaurants with some tables and big portions – and order a casado. Here, $4 will purchase white rice, black beans, a little cabbage salad, choice of chicken, beef, pork, fish or fried egg, fried plantains along with a natural fruit drink. To have an afternoon snack, take a gamble on tamales (meat, vegetable, and cornmeal patties boiled or steamed in banana leaf), empanadas (selection of meat or cheese, covered in cornmeal and fried perfectly), gallos (corn or flour tortillas stacked with meat, cheese or beans) or arreglados (small meat-filled sandwiches). For people who crave a little added spice, try encurtido, a vinegar brine created using vegetables and chili peppers, or chilero, a homemade chili sauce made from peppers, onion and other secret ingredients.

Fresh tropical fruits permit a large number of drinks, known as “refrescos,” in addition to concoctions that vary throughout the country, based on local availability. Pineapple, papaya, mango along with other tropical classics are most frequently utilized in drinks, but exotic flavors, for example tamarind, sour guava and soursop can also be found. Other traditional drinks include “horchata” (created using rice), “chan” (a mushy seed drink), “agua dulce” (a brown sugar and water or milk warm concoction) and occasional.

Guaro is a drink made from sugarcane which is widely drunk by the locals. It is extremely potent and you might want to be careful. Eight various kinds of beers are available throughout the country. Heineken will come in the country and it is made locally by a few distillery under license. But this is comparatively more expensive than a local beer. Water in bottles is available in most restaurants and shacks. You don’t have to worry about drinking tap water in Costa Rica. The majority of the cocktails and mock tails in the area are made with fresh fruit. They are a healthy and tasty option. Costa Rica is renowned for is coffee and these are accessible. Even the ready to drink varieties are very tasty in Costa Rica.

 

 

Taste of Costa Rica

Taste of Costa Rica

 

 

The food around the Caribbean coast tells a rather different story. The construction of the railroad brought many African slaves in the Caribbean islands, and with them came their culture and food traditions. Food in Limón meals are by far some of the most remarkable in the united states: a blend of spices and ideas throughout the world, honoring African roots. Coconuts are popular in cakes, soups, sweets as well as their version of “gallo pinto”: rice and beans spiced with thyme, scotch bonnet peppers and coconut milk.

 

Where you can Eat & What you’ll pay

 

Costa Rica meals are pricier than that of other nations in Guatemala. However, it’s really just a matter of context, since many Costa Rican meals generally range from $4-8 USD and therefore are far cheaper if you dine local. Costa Rica’s comida tipica, or native cuisine, is straightforward but tasty – just walk as much as the counter in any corner cafe, or soda.

 

Culture

 

Costa Rica is among the most tolerant and culturally adaptable cities in the area. The country has a large Christian population and individuals stick to their beliefs. However, they’re peaceful and open minded and welcome all kinds of visitors.Costa Rican culture is a mixture of old school and new influences. The elderly is mode laid back as the younger ones are outgoing and energetic.

 

 

Get the Most out of a Travel to Spain: Land of Magnificent Culture

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Traveling to Spain will definitely be considered a great experience for the travelers. The country’s the culture of the nation and the a variety of tourist attractions in country of Spain.

 

Leisurely dinners on the terrace overlooking a bustling street, the skill of bullfighting and the hypnotic allure of the Flamenco are only a hint of the cultural experiences it’s possible to enjoy on a visit to Spain. For that first-time visitor to Spain, the nation can seem overwhelming. It is a magnificently diverse culture with long-standing ties to the past in cities like Pamplona and keep an eye toward the future in additional modern cities like Barcelona and Madrid.

It is a country teeming with cultural significance. Having a rich heritage full of stories and lore, Spain never does not impress whether it’s your first trip or perhaps your tenth. However, in order to get the most from a vacation to Spain, you should know a bit about the culture before you arrive.

 

Culture of Spain

 

The culture of Spain is renowned for its folklores in different regions of Spain. An assorted culture has emerged within the recent time in Spain using the increasing migration of Europeans to Spain. The primitive traditions of times of medieval age are matters of pride for that culture of Spain .

The Andalusian genre of music, flamenco fills the environment of Spain with a rhythmic tune.

The culture of Spain is acknowledged because of its festivals during New Year and Easter weeks. There’s a fine blend of spiritual and cheerful characteristics in the Spanish culture. Children enjoy throughout the procession of ‘Three Magi’ where they receive gifts from Father christmas.

Besides the general festivities there are specific traditions in Spain which are unique towards the Spanish land. Each region of Spain, all towns, cities, neighborhood, as well as professions have their own saints whose feast is an extremely important event and it is religiously celebrated. Apart from these feast of the patron saints there are several traditions that are distinct and different of Spain.

 

Bullfighting

 

Bullfighting of Spain

Bullfighting of Spain

 

Bullfighting is one of the more prominent customs vacation. This bloody sport developed being an evolution of ancient Roman gladiator games, pitting human matadors against bulls. Embraced by older generations like a quintessential element of Spanish culture, bullfighting continues to be protested by younger generations and animal-rights activists who decry it as being brutal and immoral. In either case, it remains an iconic area of the country. Bullfights take place in many Spanish cities and towns, although the most famous bullrings can be found in Madrid, Seville, Ronda, Valencia, Barcelona and Pamplona.

 

Dining Traditions

 

Spanish dining traditions concentrate on lunch as the primary meal during the day. Breakfast and dinner often are small affairs, giving method to a big family lunch. This is also true on Sundays, when families often convene for an afternoon of food and socializing. Dinner could happen as late as 9 or 10 p.m., although a lot of Spaniards opt to go out for tapas. Tapas essentially are little bits of bread topped with ingredients for example meats, cheese and olives. They create a nice snack when coupled with a glass of wine or sherry.

 

Nightlife

 

Spanish nightlife includes a reputation for flair. Bars and clubs often stay open before the wee hours of the morning, allowing energetic youths to consume and dance the night away. Most Spaniards don’t even venture out until 11 p.m. or midnight, plus they often stay out until dawn. Obviously, this only holds true in big cities and party locales for example Ibiza and Malaga. Smaller towns tend to be more reserved and low-key. Tourists in southern Spain may also enjoy the region’s flamenco bars. Spawned by gypsies, this traditional dance music is continuing to grow into one of the nation’s most recognizable artistic representations.

 

Fiestas

 

Galicians celebrate their distinct cultural heritage with festivals all year round. Traditional Galician celebrations are heavily affected by the region’s Celtic past, and it’s present with hear bagpipe music and Celtic garb during festivals. Most Galician fiestas are religious in origin, for example patron saint celebrations. The region also hosts various gastronomic festivals, where local chefs offer variations of Galician favorites. Some standout food fests in the area center around empanadas (crescent-shaped meat pies) and cocido, a savory meat and veggie stew. Whatever the theme, most fiestas include Celtic or brass band music, dancing, fireworks, parades and snacks, for example fried octopus or caramelized almonds.

 

Music

 

Music vacation is varied in form and elegance, although for many citizens, it’s synonymous to Flamenco,an Andalusian genre of music. But here’s also existence of rock music, folks, pop, and hip hops in Spanish lands.

In early Renaissance period, instrumental music vacation was influenced by Arabic music. Mateo Flecha el viejo and Castillian dramatist Juan del Encina were a few of the famous composers; Renaissance songbooks also exist. In early 16th century, polyphonic vocal style grew vacation that had similarities with the Franco-Flemish composing styles. The truly amazing Spanish composers of the Renaissance period are Francisco Guerrero and Cristóbal de Morales.

18th to 20th centuries resulted in the conclusion of the “classical” musical culture of Spain and resulted in the new venture of guitar compositions by renowned Spanish musicians like Fernando Sor, Francisco Tárrega and Miguel Llobet.

 

Spanish Dance

 

Spanish Dance

Spanish Dance

 

Spanish Dance can be explained as a complicated dance movement that arises from the native country of Spain and isn’t predominately influenced by other communities or culture. It’s mainly performed by talented experts who had formal training in the categories of Spanish dance or attained a degree in it.

However, if a person does not have a formal guidance, expertise may also be acquired through many years experience. There are many Dance Academy who teach typical Spanish dances, Choreographies and organize yearly/ monthly/weekly Workshops.

The 6 types of Spanish Dance are:,Flamenco, Classical Spanish Dance or Estilización, Folklore, 18th century Dances, Classical Ballet Dance, Castanets

 

Spanish Fashion

 

The Spanish fashion industry has had the entire world by a storm. The area is inhabited by some from the world’s most attractive and stylish individuals who carry themselves with poise and elan. Consequently, several leading designers have set up their base within the Mediterranean country.

Spain fashion is an essential part of the culture Spain.Whether it is the formal suits and elegantly cut tuxedos or perhaps be it the slightly unconventional and experimental rainproof ponchos, balloon silhouettes and also the fashionable checked and striped sweaters, Spanish guys have a plethora of options when it comes to smart dressing. Women too, don’t have to be disappointed. They can collect a haute-couture of some very stylish clothes in bold and dashing prints which are well cut with wrinkles and silhouettes that accentuate the figure. Besides sleek jewelry, elegant footwear and accessories can also be found aplenty in the country.

 

 

Learn About the Costa Rica Culture

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Learn About the Costa Rica Culture

 

The richness of Costa Rica comes from the cultural diversity of their people. Costa Rica Art and Culture as The Ticos, Religion, Music, Dance with Cultural Life of Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica has become a true cultural melting pot. With more than 4 million inhabitants, the country’s ethnic pool is mainly conformed by mestizos, castizos and criollos, in addition to expats from all over the world, including the USA, Canada, Europe and South American countries like Colombia. Whether or not the country’s official language is Spanish, several native languages like Bribri are spoken by a number of indigenous groups.

 

Costa Rica Art and Culture

 

Costa Rican culture is within many ways a reflection of its racial diversity. The predominant influence is definitely European, which is reflected in from the official language (Spanish) towards the architecture of the country’s churches along with other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less visible, but could be found in everything from the tortillas which make part of a typical Costa Rican meal, towards the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands.An essential aspect of Costa Rica’s cultural legacy is the love for peace and democracy. The Ticos prefer to stand out that their nation may be the exception in Latin America, where military dictatorships have long dominated politics. They are proud of having more than one hundred years of democratic tradition, and nearly half a century without an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and also the money the country saves by not expending in military issues is committed to improving the Costa Ricans’ standard of living, which has fostered a culture of social peace which makes it such a pleasant place to visit.

 

The Ticos

 

The Ticos, as Costa Ricans are generally known, are famous for their hospitality, and therefore are quite happy to live up to their reputation. They’re well-educated and hard working people, who are quick having a handshake and a smile. They are comfortable with the special land they’ve, and most likely they will help foreigners once they get lost, even explaining stuff that might seem bizarre to foreigners, and making their stay as enjoyable as you possibly can.

People say the Ticos are their nation’s greatest asset, and when you’ve experienced their friendliness and spontaneity, you will have no doubt to that regard .

The figure from the sabanero, the Spanish cowboy, is normal of Guanacaste, and nearly 2 percent from the national population come from indigenous groups, including Cabecar, Bribri, Boruca or Brunca, Teribe, Guaymi or Ngabe, Huetar, Chorotega and Maleku. These cultures provide a spectacular array of traditions, customs, celebrations, cuisine and art.

 

Religion

 

The Roman Catholic faith has dominated Costa Rica since the arrival of Spanish missionaries throughout the colonial era.The majority of the population (89 percent) remain Catholic, 8 % are Protestant and three percent stick to other religions and sects.

Ticos are, however, less dependent on traditional religion his or her Mexican neighbors. Their long democratic tradition as well as their disinclination to tolerate dictators and demagogues may take into account the difference.

With the exception of a brief interlude in the 1800s, the Church has steadily lost influence in Costa Rica because the 18th century.Protestant religious observance is hardly noticeable in daily life. About onehalf of Costa Rica’s 40,000 Protestants are black and survive the Atlantic coast. Their beliefs often combine aspects of Afro-Caribbean religion.

 

Music

 

The National Symphonic Orchestra of Costa Rica, founded a lot more than six years ago, is one of the most recognized in the usa. The cultural project continued using the creation of the Youthful Symphonic Orchestra, both based on the intervention of well-known masters, as the Japanese Chosei Komatzu and also the American Gerald Brown.

Within the frame of classic music, you should mention the National Symphonic Chorus, the nation’s Lyric Company and the General Direction of Bands, along with the Castella Conservatory, a secondary institution that’s unique in Central America.

Besides this, tropical music includes a privileged place in the taste of Costa Ricans, fitting their enthusiasm for dancing. The rhythms of salsa, meringue and also the reggae are appreciated in many public and commercial places round the country.

 

Dance

 

In the field from the scenic arts, the theatrical activity of the nation is very dynamic. There is the National Theater Company and also the professional career is taught in 2 state universities, in several private institutions and in the National Theater Workshop. You will find 14 independent houses (salas), 3 state auditoriums plus some of them are in charge of a specific region.

 

Cultural Life

 

El Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes (Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry) of Costa Ricais responsible for the cultural life. It’s supported by the contributions of other public institutions, like the Costa Rica University, National University and Technological Institute, and many prestigious private academic organizations.

They already know their country is unique, and they’re generally willing to offer assistance to those visitors that are lost, sometimes even explaining cultural aspects that the foreigner might find strange, making their stay as pleasant as you possibly can. It is said that “Ticos” are the best asset the nation has, and once you’ve experienced their friendliness and spontaneity, you’ll be convinced.

 

 

Curious About Costa Rican Food Culture

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Curious About Costa Rican Food Culture

 

If you are planning travel to Costa Rica for the first time, you’re interested in Costa Rica food. Costa Rican food is simple but heavy on oil plus some species.

The Food delights offered in Costa Rica are often as vibrant and diverse because the history and culture of Costa Rica’s people.
The relatively affluent urban and suburban classes in Costa Rica eat various kinds of food that are almost generic one of the industrialized nations of the world, and also have shown a keen – and growing rapidly – hunger for junk food from large global chains like McDonald’s. For those who have a craving for fast food in Costa Rica, then your capital city and likely the smaller cities too can satisfy your culinary wishes.

Costa Rican food incorporates several staples of Latin American cuisine yet differentiates itself when you are much healthier with the inclusion of the array of fresh fruits and vegetables. The caliber of the following dishes when they are homemade is unbeatable, so attempt to get yourself invited over for supper or dinner.

 

Costa Rican Food Culture

Costa Rican Food Culture

 

Costa Rican Traditional Food

 

For any typical lunch or dinner, visit among the country’s many sodas – small, family-run restaurants with some tables and big portions – and order a casado. Here, $4 will purchase white rice, black beans, a little cabbage salad, choice of chicken, beef, pork, fish or fried egg, fried plantains along with a natural fruit drink. To have an afternoon snack, take a gamble on tamales (meat, vegetable, and cornmeal patties boiled or steamed in banana leaf), empanadas (selection of meat or cheese, covered in cornmeal and fried perfectly), gallos (corn or flour tortillas stacked with meat, cheese or beans) or arreglados (small meat-filled sandwiches). For people who crave a little added spice, try encurtido, a vinegar brine created using vegetables and chili peppers, or chilero, a homemade chili sauce made from peppers, onion and other secret ingredients.

Fresh tropical fruits permit a large number of drinks, known as “refrescos,” in addition to concoctions that vary throughout the country, based on local availability. Pineapple, papaya, mango along with other tropical classics are most frequently utilized in drinks, but exotic flavors, for example tamarind, sour guava and soursop can also be found. Other traditional drinks include “horchata” (created using rice), “chan” (a mushy seed drink), “agua dulce” (a brown sugar and water or milk warm concoction) and occasional.

Guaro is a drink made from sugarcane which is widely drunk by the locals. It is extremely potent and you might want to be careful. Eight various kinds of beers are available throughout the country. Heineken will come in the country and it is made locally by a few distillery under license. But this is comparatively more expensive than a local beer. Water in bottles is available in most restaurants and shacks. You don’t have to worry about drinking tap water in Costa Rica. The majority of the cocktails and mock tails in the area are made with fresh fruit. They are a healthy and tasty option. Costa Rica is renowned for is coffee and these are accessible. Even the ready to drink varieties are very tasty in Costa Rica.

 

Taste of Costa Rica

Taste of Costa Rica

 

The food around the Caribbean coast tells a rather different story. The construction of the railroad brought many African slaves in the Caribbean islands, and with them came their culture and food traditions. Food in Limón meals are by far some of the most remarkable in the united states: a blend of spices and ideas throughout the world, honoring African roots. Coconuts are popular in cakes, soups, sweets as well as their version of “gallo pinto”: rice and beans spiced with thyme, scotch bonnet peppers and coconut milk.

 

Where you can Eat & What you’ll pay

 

Costa Rica meals are pricier than that of other nations in Guatemala. However, it’s really just a matter of context, since many Costa Rican meals generally range from $4-8 USD and therefore are far cheaper if you dine local. Costa Rica’s comida tipica, or native cuisine, is straightforward but tasty – just walk as much as the counter in any corner cafe, or soda.

 

Culture

 

Costa Rica is among the most tolerant and culturally adaptable cities in the area. The country has a large Christian population and individuals stick to their beliefs. However, they’re peaceful and open minded and welcome all kinds of visitors. Costa Rican culture is a mixture of old school and new influences. The elderly is mode laid back as the younger ones are outgoing and energetic.

 

Things That You Never Knew About Mexican Food Culture And History

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Things That You Never Knew About Mexican Food Culture And History

 

Among the most versatile and varied cuisines, the cultural facet of Mexican cuisine takes on a personality of its own.

 

Mexico, food, music and different cultural experiences, rich history full of a variety of colorful nation. Mexico typically strong men as family values, religion, social hierarchy and provide great importance to. They are very sociable and friendly culture of resolve for exceptional living. Mexico-Spain Spanish-speaking of effort, they will use the language of foreign tourists. Among the most versatile and varied cuisines, the cultural facet of Mexican cuisine takes on a personality of its very own. Mexican cuisine has a good reputation for incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables with local wild game. Within the centuries, traditional Mexican cuisine was subject towards the influence of other nations. While ingredients and cooking methods have changed during the period of history, the traditions of Mexican cooking have proven resilient, reflecting outside influences yet retaining distinct cultural characteristics.

 

Mexican Food History

 

White corn, beans, squash, tomatoes and chiles would be the staples that have formed the building blocks of Mexican cooking. The Mexican Indians trusted the combination of corn and beans for his or her protein, and they included small game, birds and fish whenever available. They either simmered or smoked the meals. They did not have bread, but invented tortillas made from corn.When the Spainards arrived in Mexico, they brought influences in the Romans: wheat, bread, olives and essential olive oil, the Germanic tribes: pork and lard, and also the North African Moors: sheep, chickens and spices, for example cinnamon and cumin, ruit, rices and nuts. The Mexican Indians incorporated these components into tacos, stews and tamales which we currently consider typical Mexican cuisine.

 

Food Culture of Mexican Mayans

 

Southeast Mexico was inhabited by the Mayan Indians many years ago, and their basic eating habits were based on the fact that they were primarily nomadic hunters by nature. As a result, they lived off the land and regularly consumed animals that roamed those lands in that time. Mexican culture food at the time simply consisted of the meat of rabbits, deer, raccoons and armadillos. Birds were considered a delicacy and pigeons, turkeys and quail were regularly devoured. Sometimes even frogs, snakes and turtles would not be spared.

 

Pre-Columbian Staples

 

The indigenous peoples of Mexico used corn, beans and chilies for thousands of years before the invasion of the Spanish. These remain as three of the most important and ubiquitous ingredients in Mexican food. Corn sas many uses; Mexicans eat it on the cob, in individual kernels or steamed inside a husk. In addition, corn tortillas form the basis for many Mexican dishes, such as tacos and enchiladas. Mexicans soak the corn kernels in water and lime and ground them into a thin dough. The people of Mexico have always had a taste for spices, incorporating over 100 types of chilies into their pantries.

 

Spanish Additions

 

The Spanish added an entirely new dimension to the indigenous Mexican diet. When they invaded in the 16th century, Spaniards found the indigenous cuisine favorable, and imported many of their own goods and cultivation preferences. For example, the Spanish introduced many new culinary ideas and ingredients based on livestock. Chicken and beef became common staples, as well as milk, cream, cheeses and other animal byproducts. Exotic ingredients like wines and imported spices, as well as sugar, onions and garlic, also helped to revolutionize Mexican cuisine.

 

Traditional Mexican Foods

 

Mole Sauce: Mole is a thick, sweet, spicy sauce served over meat dishes and in casseroles. Mole poblano is the most widely known variety and is made with numerous ingredients including dried chili peppers, ground nuts and seeds, spices, Mexican chocolate, salt and dried herbs.

Tacos: Tacos are a staple in Mexico, but how they are made can differ greatly. Most start with a corn tortilla, either deep fried or warmed. Stuffings typically include fish, thin cut steak, pork or potatoes. In Mexico, you rarely find tacos with ground beef, cheese or sour cream.

Chile Relleno: Chile relleno is a large poblano pepper stuffed with meat or cheese (or both) then dipped in a batter and deep fried. It is often covered in a tomato sauce or salsa.

Tamales: Tamales are made with masa, a corn dough, and are typically stuffed with cheese, shredded beef or pork. The tamales are wrapped in a corn husk and steamed to cook through. Tamales are a traditional Christmas dish.