Culture

Mexico’s Cañón Del Sumidero Should Be On Any Adventure-Loving Traveler’s Itinerary And Here’s Why

Sumidero Canyon, situated just outside of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, is a  breathtaking site to be seen if you ever find yourself in the southern region of the country. This inexplicable testament to the power of water will blow your mind with it’s flowing river and kilometer-high rock walls. 

A visit to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of the state of Chiapas, would never be complete  without a boat trip through el Cañon del Sumidero.

If you ever find yourself exploring the wonderful state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, no visit would be complete without a stop by Tuxtla Gutierrez’s nearby Cañon del Sumidero. The canyon’s vertical walls tower up to 1,000 meters above the rather narrow Grijalva river. And it’s a site to be seen!

Never heard of Chiapas?

Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas. If you’re not quite sure where Chiapas is, it’s no wonder.  It is the southernmost state in Mexico. It borders the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by Guatemala to the east and southeast. Chiapas also has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Visiting Tuxtla Gutierrez

Tuxtla (as it is commonly called) has had one of the fastest growing rates in Mexico in the last 40 years. Unlike many other areas in Chiapas, it isn’t a big tourist attraction, but a transportation hub for tourists coming into the state, with a major airport and a bus terminal. Tuxtla is definitely a comfortable, worthwhile and welcoming place to spend a day or two, and it’s near the famous canyon.

This canyon was one of the favorite haunts of the founder of the Tuxtla zoo.

Dubbed, “The Best Zoo in Latin America,” back in 1979, Tuxtla Gutierrez‘s zoo was far ahead of its time in respect to treating animals decently. Biologist Miguel Álvarez del Toro, Mexico’s most famous conservationist, loved this place, and it’s not hard to see why. 

The canyon’s near vertical, kilometer–high rock walls and numerous wild animals are worth the trip.

Near-vertical walls rise more than 2,500 feet (800 meters) overhead. A wide river slowly snakes along the valley below. Monkeys, crocodiles, and birds of all sorts can be spotted in the numerous jungle patches along the shoreline. If you enjoy witnessing amazing natural wonders, you’ll love taking a Sumidero Canyon boat trip.

But first, a stop in Chiapa de Corzo.

Trips down the river are organized from several docks alongside the little town of Chiapa de Corzo which,  for a brief time had been the state capital. The word chiapa, by the way, appears to be a short form of the word tepechiapan, which means “water below the hill,” a fitting description of the Grijalva river flowing through kilometer-high walls of rock.

There is much more to this canyon than high walls.

The farther you go downriver, the more obvious it becomes that there is something wonderful and magical about this place. One moment you are overwhelmed by majesty and grandeur and the next you’re seduced by a spray of wildflowers and then your heart is touched by the cute and silly antics of child-like spider monkeys who are obviously fast friends with the boatmen who ferry tourists up and down the river. You‘ll be mesmerized by rocky crags high, high above you, but when you glance back down at the river you see an elegant white egret posing on a slender wand protruding from the water or suddenly discover a big brown pelican floating right next to you. Another glance and you spot a huge, lazy crocodile sprawled over a rocky outcrop, taking the sun.

The canyon is the second most popular attraction in the state, only to the Mayan ruins of Palenque.

Around 300,000 people take the boat ride down the Grijalvo river every year, making the Cañon del Sumidero the second most popular site in Chiapas, after Palenque.

The easiest, cheapest, and quickest way to do the Sumidero Canyon boat tour from San Cristobal de las Casas is to go with a tour group

For around $300 pesos (about $15 USD), you’ll get round-trip transportation, a boat tour, and an hour or so to explore the lovely town of Chiapa de Corzo – where the Sumidero Canyon boat trips launch from. Tack on another $150-200 pesos and they’ll also take you to the viewpoints (miradores) on the canyon’s edge, sometimes at the expense of spending time in the town. These tours can be purchased at any of the many tour agencies along the Andador Guadalupe in San Cristobal.

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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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