Culture

20 Facts About San Diego You Have To See To Believe

@price_one_ / Instagram

San Diego’s history is truly cray. It has traded hands from its original peoples and been conquered by Spain, then reinstated as Mexico, then stolen by the U.S. and really truly given its life breath by the Mexican-Americans who inhabit it today. It’s seriously Disney for Latinos: taco festivals, Goya establishments, and city laws that only our abuelitas could dream up.

Here’s why we think San Diego is a hub for Latinos:

1. Almost 30 percent of San Diego’s population is Latino.

CREDIT: @alx.sf_ / Instagram

And of that population, 86 percent of them are Mexican, making for a culturally rich, artistic and hard-working community. Plus, it got skyscrapers, ayy!

2. San Diego produces more avocados than any other place in the country.

CREDIT: @lexberlin1 / Instagram

I’m sold, nos vamos! This is the fruit and weather of my people, so it’s no wonder there are so many happy Mexicanos in San Diego.

3. Oh, and it’s only an hour away from Tijuana, Mexico.

CREDIT: @bajabordertours / Instagram

Which is a better explanation for the Latino population. You can drive down to the homeland whenever you want, and get yourself some truly bomb pastelitos and a tan.

4. Like any very Mexican city, it has murals galore.

CREDIT: @sixdioz / Instagram

They’re honestly an afterthought once you’ve spent some time walking around San Diego. Frida Kahlo is with you always on the streets of SD.

5. You must check out Barrio Logan.

CREDIT: @price_one_ / Instagram

And try to find a car made after 1989. The Mexican Revolution and it’s refugees are responsible for making this neighborhood the culturally rich, art-centric neighborhood it is today.

6. Barrio Logan is home to the public artscape, Chicano Park.

CREDIT: @artfulfuego / Instagram

Caption: “One of the biggest reasons I became an artist I think is how influential my neighborhood was.I was a product of my environment. I grew up like most people in Barrio Logan in the 90s, we didn’t have much but we didn’t worry about what we didn’t have. The things we did have had a lot more value, we had each other. We were strong as a community and as people. Growing up in a place where the biggest collection of murals was my back yard and the streets were my playground. I would always stop and look up☝and stare in wonder and ask questions about the paintings. These paintings truly tell a story about where I’m from, im also very fortunate to have the pleasure of being part of some of these murals as a child and a teenager, an experience I wont ever forget, everytime I pass by i still stop and look up ?and remember my family my friends and all the wonderful memories I had.”

7. Some of the city laws sound like they were made up by our abuelitas.

CREDIT: @museinteriorsolutions / Instagram

Hypnotism is forbidden from being taught in San Diego Public Schools. The superstition is contagious, I guess?

8. It’s illegal to swim in any of San Diego’s lakes.

CREDIT: @photomack1 / Instagram

NO SWIMMING! I mean, the government has good reason: they’re man made lakes. Ask your mother what her reason is? Soy tu madre. K, thanks.

9. Residents will be fined for leaving Christmas lights up after February 2nd.

CREDIT: @mikebmcd1 / Instagram

You know this law isn’t your abuela’s because it would be January 6th, after Three King’s Day has passed.

10. Beware, though, SD has the #1 flea problem in the country.

CREDIT: @nika.balamut / Instagram

Stock up on flea meds for your pupper, and then let him roam the streets como es Día de los Muertos cada día.

11. Another place to check out is Old Town’s State Historic Park.

CREDIT: @grilledjournies / Instagram

Here’s some SD history: San Diego was the first European settlement in California, and it’s lack of access to water actually made the population flux so low that it lost it’s pueblo status. You can now visit the protected relics of the very first citizens in the 1820s and see people in traditional colonial garb.

12. Go on Cinco de Mayo.

CREDIT: @casadereyesrestaurant / Instagram

There’s still time, amigos! They host a massive Cinco de Mayo Fiesta complete with a car show, lucha libre matches and dance groups from age 7 and beyond!

13. Or don’t, there will still be Day of the Dead people everywhere.

CREDIT: @bucket_list56 / Instagram

Caption: “Waiting for him to propose marriage… day of the dead…”

14. Just outside the Old Town Historic State Park proper, you can do some good shopping…

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And yes, I mean both ornamental and pimiento peppers. You know why you can’t make your picadillo like your mom taught you? You’ve got to get the adobo from the right market, flaca!

15. Terra Cotta Ware is the definition of good shopping.

CREDIT: @ladyjaque_line / Instagram

I don’t care who you talk to, a good strawberry pot is the key to a happy and successful life. Plus, many of these are hand painted, artisan goods. Did I mention the artist community that you’re out there to support? Treat yo’self, mija.

16. You don’t actually have to go to Tijuana to get authentic Mexican goods.

CREDIT: @healingwave / Instagram

You just have to be smart enough to tell what’s quality, because don’t think some gringas aren’t trying to rip the culture off. OK, I’m being dramatic, but it’s only because Los Angeles has me wound up. Let’s move to San Diego.

17. P.S. Cameron Diaz is from San Diego!

CREDIT: @camerondiaz / Instagram

I don’t know how Cubana Cameron got all the way to San Diego from Cuba, but we’re glad to see her jet off into stardom. She’s been promoting her new book about how to age gracefully and love every wrinkle and I’m already thanking each gray hair on my head.

18. Plus, the annual Tacotopia is the event of the year.

CREDIT: @chef_lawless / Instagram

Hundreds of incredible Mexican chefs compete for the “Best Taco in San Diego,” which is effectively the best taco in the whole country. I’m hungry.

19. THERE’S A GOYA TENT.

CREDIT: @neosolmarketing / Instagram

OK, now I’m actually crying. Pack your bags, fam, we’re going to Tacotopia 2018. Whose going to be there? Comment below!

20. San Diego has the tacos, the art, and the beaches to make it worthy of so many Latino’s homes.

CREDIT: @earthmobs / Instagram

Whether you’re looking to never swim in a lake again, or just find a home away from home, San Diego is the place for you. What other incredible places did we miss in our list? Comment below!

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

Culture

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Puerto Vallarta is one of the favorite Mexican tourist destinations of the LGBT community. There are hotels, bars, nightclubs, beaches, and even drinks specifically for LGBT travelers, and due to the safety and welcoming environment for these guests, it is the first city in Mexico to receive the Gay Travel Approved distinction by GayTravel.com.

But why PV? What made Vallarta Mexico’s top gay destination?

Let’s start back at the beginning.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

In the south of Puerto Vallarta you will find the “Old Town,” also called “The Romantic Zone,” the tourist area favored by expats and foreigners who want to soak up local traditions. The Old Puerto Vallarta is also considered the gay neighborhood since 1980, when the gay community and retired Canadians and Americans bought land and properties in order to create gay-friendly businesses. Today there’s a wide variety of attractions with this focus, including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and both budget and boutique hotels.

In this zone is nestled the popular beach Playa de los Muertos, which, although not exclusively gay, for the last 20 years has been known as a gay-friendly beach (also called Blue Chairs, because of the many blue chairs placed by a gay resort which bears the same name), mainly in the high season, from November to March.

Why is this pristine beach the LBGT meeting point? Because the gay-friendly beachfront hotels in the area causes—and guarantees—a concentration of LGBT tourists, bringing a multicultural ambience where members of this community will be respected without discrimination. In the morning they can socialize and enjoy the party atmosphere, and in the afternoon walk holding hands under the dazzling sunset, in a romantic atmosphere free of hostility. Such is the high demand for LGBT-friendly vacation spots that the area has been extended to include the green chairs and as far as the north coast, in the elegant Oceano Sapphire Beach Club, owned by gays.

But it’s about more than just the beach.

Credit: David Stanley / Flickr

Unlike certain countries, laws against homosexuality never existed in Mexico. There is, however, a strong macho culture and religious influence which disapproves it—nonetheless the locals show respect. Under these circumstances, the growing community has led LGBT organizations to work to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality. Their work has gotten results: they have achieved recognition of gay rights, and implemented laws against the provocation and incitement of hate or violence against LGBTs, and also to guarantee equality in employment and public accomodation and services. Even more, in 2013 Puerto Vallarta legalized civil union between LGBT couples, followed by same-sex marriage in 2016.

This city organized its first Gay Pride March, and has hosted the Pink & Proud Women’s Party—the equivalent lesbian celebration—for the last four years, with assistance from the local Canadian and American communities. The multiple events in support of the LGBT community have marked out Puerto Vallarta as the “Mexican San Francisco.”

Now, there’s a giant and flourishing LGBTQ tourism industry that welcomes people from around the world.

Credit: Kristopher Roller / Unsplash

For the last 10 years, the number of LGBT visitors has increased in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco, and in order to meet demand, the number of LGBT-friendly resorts and touristic attractions has also increased. Now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly, and most also offer weddings and other symbolic ceremonies.

Bars, nightclubs and other amenities are already focused on this market, and there are also tours—like the Gay VIP Bars Tour—and even drinks—like the Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink—to make these guests feel extra welcome. As a result, Puerto Vallarta now hosts International LGBT Business Expos, with important conferences and events, including fashions shows, beach parties and music festivals to celebrate this booming market.

Puerto Vallarta remains the gateway to Mexico for many LGBTQ travelers.

Credit: kwhigam / Flickr

Some other cities have recognized the demand, and are now attempting to attract LGBT tourism to their destinations. Puerto Vallarta is not letting it happen: diverse businesses—no matter the sexual preference—are joining forces to create organizations to promote this targeted brand of tourism. The market gives consumers what they want, and they have identified this growing target and will not let it go.

Beyond the marketing, Puerto Vallarta became a platform to support gay rights, and the LGBT community knows it and feels welcome here. What really keeps the LGBT community hitting Puerto Vallarta is the activism, respect, and freedom they find in this beautiful paradise.

These Are Mexico’s Top Cenotes And These Photos Of The Swimming Holes Are So Stunning You’ll Want To Visit Them ASAP

Culture

These Are Mexico’s Top Cenotes And These Photos Of The Swimming Holes Are So Stunning You’ll Want To Visit Them ASAP

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Mexico is home to incredible natural landscapes and beautiful places to swim. But few are as other worldly nor as beautiful as the country’s thousands of cenotes – or underground swimming holes.

Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that expose groundwater and trap rain as a result of collapsed limestone. They are beautiful caves that will light your spirit adventure and will transport you to an underwater world. 

The word cenote derives from the Mayan word Dzonot, which means “well.” Many of the cenotes found in Mexico are located in the Yucatán Peninsula due to the flat limestone that makes up the area. 

For Mayans, cenotes were considered to be entrances to the underworld. Cenotes are a source of great energy and some were used in rituals. 

Here are the best cenotes to visit next time you find yourself in Mexico.

Dos Ojos

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Located in Tulum, Mexico, the Dos Ojos cenote  is one of the most popular cenotes in the area. The term Dos Ojos mean ‘two eyes’ and was named that due to the passage way  that connects two sinkholes. The deepness of the cenote is perfect for those who want try snorkeling. 

The cenote is open from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily. The entrance fee is 200 pesos and snorkeling gear can be rented near by. 

Ik Kil

Credit: Sectur_MX / Instagram

The Ik Kil cenote is located in Yucatan, Mexico and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The cenote is located almost 1.5 miles away from the famous Chichén Itzá. This cenote is perfect for divers. 

The cenote is open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and there is an entrance fee of 80 pesos.

Choo-Ha

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Choo-Ha is located near the Coba ruins in the Yucatán Peninsula. This cenote is covered with naturally forming stalagmites. To enter, you will have to go through a staircase leading to a small hole above ground. The cenote also provides access to both Tamcach-Ha and Multún-Ha. 

The cenote is open 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily and there is an entrance fee of 100 pesos for each cenote.

Suytun

Credit: Jared Rice / Unsplash

The beautiful Suytun Cenote is located in Valladolid, Mexico. The word Suytun means ‘center stone,’ which references the platform that is located at the center of this cenote. This cenote is one of the most popular cenote’s and it’s with good reason. 

The cenote is open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and there is an entrance fee of 120 pesos.

Dream Gate

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The Dream Gate cenote is just that, a dream. The cenote is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico and is incredibly popular among scuba divers. It has been featured in a number of documentaries. It’s a cenote that is recommended for experienced divers. 

The cenote is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily and there is an entrance fee of $15 (USD)

Gran Cenote

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Gran Cenote is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. There are plenty of fish, turtles, and bats that are unafraid of visitors. Since this a pretty popular cenote, plan ahead and arrive early to beat the crowds. 

The cenote is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily and there is an entrance fee of 180 pesos.

Calavera

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The Calavera cenote, located in Tulum, Mexico, gets its name because the opening to the cenote makes it appear like a skull. You can cliff jump from the opening of this cenote into the cool clear water below. 

The cenote is open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily and there is an entrance fee of 100 pesos.

Tajma Ha

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Located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, this cenote is recommended for divers who are a little bit more experienced than average. Your dive into Tajma Ha will take you to a cave named Sugar Bowl. The dive will take about an hour each way, but the views will be worth it. 

The cenote is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily and there is an entrance fee of 232 pesos.

Cenote’s are wonderful because they occur naturally, are beautiful, and they have a lot of meaning behind them. If you plan on visiting one of these cenotes, plan accordingly and go when the weather is good such as from December to April.

If you visit one of these cenotes, please do not wear sunscreen or other lotions as they can damage the marine ecosystems located there. If you do use these products, make sure the cenote you are visiting has showers so you don’t contaminate the water. 

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