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(also see Mexican Railway Journeys)

Pacific Coast Getaway Graces Cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

MEXICO - March 21, 2002 - Long known for its brilliant white beaches bustling with sun-bathing travellers and locals, Mexico's lesser known oceanside havens are quickly gaining popularity among travellers looking to unwind in a more private and serene setting.

One such getaway has recently added a prized accolade to its resume: the cover shot of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue. The cover of this year's Latin American-themed issue features model Yamila Diaz-Rahi at the Hotelito Desconocido located on the Costa Alegre in the state of Jalisco.

Approximately 95 km south of Puerto Vallarta, this very unique property is situated on a wetland estuary between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and is home to one of the most important sea turtle and bird reserves in Mexico. Guests of the Hotelito can explore the area's beaches and enjoy a picnic on a guided hotel tour, or participate in excursions led by local fishermen.

The resort offers a spa, guided horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and romantic bonfires. The traditional Mexican kitchen prepares regional specialties, with an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood. Hotelito is well regarded by travellers seeking to experience a fusion of luxury with nature.

The hotel uses solar energy and at night, hundreds of candles light the rooms and restaurant. For more information, call 1-800-851-1143 or visit

Peñitas en Cabo Corriente and Tehuamixtle - Jalisco

 A recent Travel Channel special named Peñitas en Cabo Corriente and Tehuamixtle two of the best secret beaches in the world. Virtually unexplored, these beaches are located approximately 100 km south of Puerto Vallarta.

Peñitas en Cabo Corriente is located in a remote bay with a three km stretch of sand and boulders and is secluded among lush vegetation. Hook-shaped cliffs and pebble-lined beaches frame the calm waters. The route to Cabo Corriente is no less interesting as travellers looking for this out-of-the-way spot pass through miles of green vegetation, a fresh water river and several small villages.

Further south is Tehuamixtle, smaller than Cabo Corriente and a spot frequented by the local fisherman. This pristine stretch covers a short 100 meters and is a great locale for seafood lovers. Visitors can rent a panga, or flat-bottomed boat with an outboard motor, to catch their own dinner or enjoy local fishermen's catch of the day grilled and served right on the beach.

Puerto Vallarta's Banderas Bay boasts approximately 80 km of coastline. A half-dozen secluded beaches lay south of town and range from white sandy strips to mangrove-edged lagoons and tide pools. Visitors can choose to explore isolated beaches surrounded by jungle and private coves lodged between rugged cliffs, or simply to lounge on city beaches full of sun worshippers and vendors, lined with open-air cafes.


For more information on Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area, visit


Punta Arena near Mulege and La Paz - Baja California


Palm-thatched palapas dot the sands of Punta Arena, located on eastern shore

of the Baja California peninsula. Punta Arena, meaning Sandy Point, lies

approximately 1 km south of Mulege near the city of La Paz in Southern Baja.

Visitors to Punta Arena can enjoy a spectacular view of the Bay of La Paz

while taking in the tranquility of its calm waters and smooth white sand.

The secluded beach area was developed around the Santa Rosalía Mission,

established in 1705 by Jesuit missionaries. The charming nearby town of

Mulege is situated in a flower-filled valley nurtured by a stream that flows

to the ocean. Mulege is a favourite spot among anglers and divers who are

drawn by the area's rich marine life.


To the north of La Paz, along the Pichilingue Peninsula, are several beaches

with calm water and soft white sand, flanked by mangroves and cactus-studded

mountains. Pichilingue has several beaches to choose from, many of which

have open-air eateries serving up casual Mexican fare. One such beach is

Balandra, a quaint cove backed by mangroves and considered ideal for

kayaking, swimming and sunbathing, as well as for viewing the landmark rock

formation, El Hongo. Another beach is Tecolote, a pristine stretch of white

sand with one of the area's most beautiful islands, Isla Espiritu Santo,

located just offshore. Boats can be rented to make the approximate 6 km

crossing. Almost 10 km past Tecolote along a dirt road lies Coyote,

stunningly poised at the northern tip of the Pichilingue Peninsula and

facing the crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortes.


For more information on Baja California, visit


Zipolite and Salina Cruz - Oaxaca


On the Oaxacan coast, midway between Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, Puerto

Angel has become a favourite destination among those who shun more popular

tourist hot-spots. Zipolite, this charming village's beach, is unofficially

clothing-optional. Acommodations in Puerto Angel and Zipolite are

inexpensive and basic at best. Many day travellers pay a small fee to stow

their belongings in a local shop, and rent a hammock to relax and enjoy the

beautiful surroundings.


Salina Cruz lies on the Pacific side of the Isthmus of Tehuatepec, Mexico's

narrow waist. The women of Tehuatepec, famous both for their elaborate

dress (best personified by artist Frida Kahlo's self-portraits), and for

their matriarchal culture, are a big draw for many visitors. The hotels of

Salina Cruz are more upscale than those in nearby Tehuatepec and offer the

added incentive of being on the water, a stone's throw away from the beach.


The Oaxacan coastline offers an array of natural beauty beyond compare, with

panoramic scenic views and extraordinarily picturesque bays. The region

offers a delightful, tropical climate with an approximate annual temperature

of 28°C. Oaxacan beaches are known for their fine, white sand, beautiful

aquamarine waters and breathtaking sunsets. Some of the more well-known

beaches include Zicatela, a spot frequented by surfers; Escobilla, a turtle

breeding ground and Puerto Escondido or "Hidden Port" famous for its

international surfing championships. Because four of the eleven sea turtle

species come to Oaxaca to nest and breed, the state is home to the only sea

turtle research and preservation center in the world.


For more information on Oaxaca, visit



Bahia Soliman and surrounding areas - Riviera Maya



Discover the romance of a secluded bungalow on the beach. Visitors to this

isolated cove can escape every day worries and relax on the private,

undeveloped beach of Punta Bahia Soliman. Located just over an hour south

of the resort city of Cancun, Punta Bahia is characterized by its crystal

blue, tranquil waters and lush green vegetation. Beach goers can enjoy the

delectable cuisine of a picturesque restaurant known as Pepe & Lalo. Nearby

hotels include Bahia Principe Tulum, Gran Real Sole Tulum (five star), Blue

Fish Condominiums, and some smaller cabanas located about 2 km away from the



Approximately 45 km south of Cancun, beach goers can enjoy the beautiful

stretches of white sandy beaches of Playa del Secreto and Playa Paraiso.

Both destinations have basic services such as water, electricity and

telephones, and are still frequented by sea turtles and other marine life.


For more information visit


Mexico - Closer Than Ever...

No matter what you are seeking, Mexico offers a variety of experiences that

are close to home and difficult to match anywhere else. Where else can you

climb a pyramid in the morning, snorkel before lunch, shop for exquisite

crafts, dine on authentic Mexican cuisine and dance until dawn? From

excitement and fun to rest, relaxation, and reflection, Mexico offers it

all. For more information on Mexico's many destinations call

1-800-44-MEXICO or visit



- 30 -





For more information, please contact:


Shari Schwartz

Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc.

(416) 645-3667 <>


Kerry Patterson

Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc.

(416) 645-3646 <>









Year-round Festivals and Regional Music Invite Visitors to

Explore Mexico's Heritage


MEXICO - March 21, 2002 - Travellers to Mexico cannot help but be enamoured

by its rich traditions and customs, vibrant colours and lively sounds.

Whether a romantic jarocha serenade on a Veracruz beach or dancing in Mexico

City's historic center during a lively festival, the music of Mexico is an

integral part of the culture and colour of this top vacation destination.


This affinity to music and dance is noted in many of Mexico's vibrant

celebrations such as the Guelaguetza festival held each July in the Southern

state of Oaxaca. This regional folklore fiesta honours the gods of rain and

fertility, and highlights the region's cultural music and dance. Delegates

from Oaxaca's many indigenous villages come to the hillside amphitheatre

dressed in spectacular costumes and celebrate with singing and dancing.


In April, thousands descend upon Mexico City's Centro Historico (historic

center) for the Festival del Centro Historico de la Ciudad de Mexico. Now in

its 17th year, the festival has been part of a mission to preserve the

historic downtown area. From April 10 - 27, various performances by local

and international performers fill the capital city with music and dance.


Mexico's diverse history has given birth to various styles of music.

European, African and indigenous influences have fused to form the romantic

and lively musical techniques that are associated with the country today,

Jarocho, Mariachi and Marimba:


The Jarocho - Veracruz


The diverse state of Veracruz is located on Mexico's Gulf coast and is home

to some of the country's most dazzling natural attractions and

archaeological sites. It was in the southern region of Veracruz that 18th

century jarocho music emerged as a combination of Spanish, African and

indigenous sounds. The music is traditionally played by a trio of performers

playing the arpa jarocha, 36-string harp; requinto, four-stringed guitar

plucked with a pick; and jarana, a 10-12 string guitar.


Among the many places to listen to jarocho music in the capital city of

Veracruz is Los Portales, a series of tall arches housing several outdoor

cafes, perfect for a café con leche and featuring nightly live music

beginning at 8 p.m. The Villa Rica restaurant features an outstanding

seafood menu, along with afternoon strolling musicians that serenade diners.

On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights, visitors can stroll down to the

zocalo (main plaza) to enjoy performances by traditional dancers and


The term Jarocho comes from the residents of this southeastern Mexican

state. More ethnically diverse than many of Mexico's people, the inhabitants

of Veracruz have Afro-Cuban, Spanish and indigenous roots and are known for

being intensely fun-loving and lively people. These characteristics are

evident in the brilliant Carnaval celebrations rivaling those of Rio de

Janeiro and New Orleans, and held annually throughout the state.

A favourite destination among adventure travellers and eco-tourists,

Veracruz has much to offer visitors looking for an exciting journey

including mountain climbing on two of North America's highest peaks,

white-water rafting on four rivers, and basking in the sun on deserted


For more information on visiting Veracruz, visit and

click on "Idiomas" to select English as the language.


Mariachis - Guadalajara


Located in the Pacific coast state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is a

sophisticated metropolis and Mexico's second largest city. Throughout the

recent population boom, the city of roses has maintained its numerous

colonial treasures, fountain-filled plazas and wide tree-lined boulevards.

It was in Jalisco that the famed Mariachi music, along with tequila,

developed into one of the most recognizable features of Mexican culture.


Modern Mariachi music, a blend of indigenous and European sounds, was

developed in the late 19th century and later came to include the style known

as the son, reflecting a strong African influence. In the early 1900's,

Mariachi music was associated with the lower class farmers until 1936, when

former president Lázaro Cárdenas invited Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán to

accompany him on the campaign trail in an effort to unify the various

regions of Mexico with a common musical tradition.


Today's Mariachi ensemble is made up of six to eight violins, a guitarrón, a

vihuela, a guitar, and two trumpets. Hugely popular Mariachi bands, such as

Mariachi America, draw thousands of fans to concerts and performances

throughout the world. Young performers such as Alejandro Fernandez have

helped put Mariachi music on the map with nearly sold out shows at top US

venues, including New York's Madison Square Garden.


Among the many picturesque spots in the city is the Plaza de los Mariachi's,

an ideal spot to sip a cool drink and listen to various music styles,

including Mariachi. The annual Fiesta Internacional del Mariachi is held in

Guadalajara each September and brings together Mariachi musicians and fans

from all over the globe. For more information on the Fiesta, visit


For more information on Guadalajara and its attractions visit


Marimba - Chiapas


Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state, remains virtually undiscovered by

mainstream tourists, yet offers rich cultural and ecological attractions for

the more adventurous traveller. This mountainous region shares a border with

Guatemala and has retained much of its Mayan culture with dozens of distinct

villages scattered throughout the state. The state's musical tradition is

expressed through the sounds of the marimba, an instrument that has long

accompanied locals in religious celebrations and fiestas.

The modern marimba is made of rosewood with hollow tubes cut to play notes

at a range of five octaves. Although the origin of the marimba is a topic of

much discussion, most musicologists believe that it originated in Africa,

Indonesia or the Amazon region. Thanks to musicians such as Corazón de Jésus

Borraz and Zeferino Nandayapa, Chiapan marimba music has received

international acclaim from aficionados.

After exploring North America's only tropical rainforest or visiting the

famed archaeological site of Palenque, visitors in the capital city of

Tuxtla Gutiérrez should be sure to visit the Parque de la Marimba, a

flower-filled park where marimba bands serenade listeners daily.

For more information on Chiapas visit


Mexico - Closer Than Ever...

No matter what you are seeking, Mexico offers a variety of experiences that

are close to home and difficult to match anywhere else. Where else can you

climb a pyramid in the morning, snorkel before lunch, shop for exquisite

crafts, dine on authentic Mexican cuisine and dance until dawn? From

excitement and fun to rest, relaxation, and reflection, Mexico offers it

all. For more information on Mexico's many destinations call

1-800-44-MEXICO or visit


For more information, please contact:


Shari Schwartz

Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc.

(416) 645-3667 <>


Kerry Patterson

Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc.

(416) 645-3646 <> e-mail...subscribex