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Ultimate Mexico

Chichen-Itza-bu-Raul-Lopez---Flickr-Creative-Commons

For over 4000 years, Mexico has been the home of huge and complex civilizations and today it’s one of the most colourful cultures in the world. In this ultimate guide to Mexico, Ian Wright, Justine Shapiro and Zay Harding explore the country’s many different facets.

In search of the history of Mexico, Justine and Ian trek into the mountains and the jungles, climbing the mighty pyramids and seek out the remains of Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, Palenque, Tulum and Tenochtitlan to find out how the Mayans, Aztecs and other pre-colonial Mexicans lived, died, and worshipped.

Ian then heads to the coast to investigate the arrival of Cortez and his conquistadores near Acapulco in 1519. Between them, Ian and Justine see how the arrival of Christianity and the oppression by the Spanish transformed the culture of Mexico right up to the present day. Cortez brought the horse to America and Ian’s attempts to join in a Mexican rodeo demonstrate the brilliance of Mexican horsemanship and the bullriding abilities of Ian! Justine visits a bullfight, more popular these days in Mexico than in Spain, and she joins the annual pilgrimage to the Basilica de Guadeloupe. Ian finds Christian and pre-Christian beliefs blending in the mysterious Day of The Dead festival.

Mexican artistry, food and drink also show a blend of indigenous and Spanish flavours, from the silversmiths of Taxco and the tile makers of Talavera, to the global influence of Mexican ingredients and cuisine. Justine finds the origins of tomatoes, maize, peppers, tequila, chilli and chocolate and Ian finds that a tortilla can make a pretty good Frisbee.

But away from the cities, Mexico offers adventure, from cliff diving and surfing near Acapulco, to desert treks in search of prehistory. Ian comes nose to nose with whales in Baja. Zay Harding sweats it out with the Tarahumara Indians in the spectacular Copper Canyon and rafts the jungle white-water of Veracruz.

And finally, Ian goes back deep into Mexican history, living in the jungle with the last descendants of the Mayan people of Palenque, the Lancandon Indians and taking a spiritual journey into the overgrown jungle home of their ancestors.

Places Mentioned - Guadeloupe, Mexico

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