Mexico Today

Mexico Today Updates: August

Mexican Food Cart Makes 101 Best Places to Eat around the World:

A global survey deserves a global panel of judges. So when Newsweek decided to compile the finest, oddest, most memorable dining hotspots from Australia to Monaco, we gathered 53 luminary chefs to help us with the task. They’ve highlighted 101 eateries, from smoky Basque bars to bustling Asian markets. Read More >>

Mexico’s Aerospace Industry Rocketing:

From 2006-2011, Mexico’s aerospace industry more than doubled in size. Exports of aircraft and related parts topped $4.3 billion last year. Read More >>

BMW Delivers Electric Mini Coopers for Mexico City Project:

The German automaker BMW delivered 12 models of the electric Mini Cooper , Mini Es, to high profile individuals, such as government officials and researchers in Mexico City. Read More >>

Pueblos Magicos: The desert town of Cuatro Ciénegas sits near the beautiful oases of Coahuila:

The colonial town of Cuatro Ciénegas, a recent addition to Mexico’s Magical Towns, is located in the Northern Mexican state of Coahuila and sits next to a unique environmental landscape, known by biologists as “a showplace for biodiversity.” Early settlers named the town Cuatro Ciénegas, meaning “four marshes,” for its natural springs, which create an extensive area of wetlands located in the middle of the Mexican desert. Read More >>

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Mexico Today Updates: July

Pueblos Magicos: Pátzcuaro, Michoacán is Known as the “Door to Heaven”:

The natives from the area use to say that Pátzcuaro was the place where heaven’s doors opened and the gods ascended to the sky. Its original name Tzacapu-ansucutinpatzcuaro actually means “door to heaven”. Read More >>

Monterrey International City of Knowledge (MICK) Program to turn Monterrey, Mexico into a “knowledge based economy”:

The state of Nuevo León, Mexico is taking steps to modernize their technological and informational capabilities. Monterrey, Mexico the capital city of Nuevo León, has launched the Monterrey International City of Knowledge (MICK) Program in order to promote the development of innovative new ways of economic growth. Read More >>

BMW Delivers Electric Mini Coopers for Mexico City Project:

The German automaker BMW delivered 12 models of the electric Mini Cooper , Mini Es, to high profile individuals, such as government officials and researchers in Mexico City. Read More >>

Learning About Life on Mars – the Chihuahuan Desert:

Scientists turn to the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico to study Mars due to its comparable inhospitable features. The Chihuahuan Desert shares similar characteristics with the surface of Mars, such as extreme temperatures, high ultraviolet light and dunes are very similar to the area of Mars’ Gale crater, where NASA’s Curiosity rover will land in August. Read More >>

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Mexico Today Updates: May

Rare Jaguar Sighting caught on tape in Oaxaca, Mexico

A rare jaguar was spotted outside of Oaxaca City along with a whitetail deer – both extremely rare for the area. Read More >>

Cleantech Challenge Mexico Promotes Green Industry Development and Green Economy in Mexico

Now in its third year in Mexico, the Cleantech Challenge gives eco-entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their business proposals in order to compete for $30 million in funding. Read More >>

Day of the Dead Mexican Holiday Inspires New Pixar Film

The director/producer pair who’ve brought us some of the most beloved Pixar films (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and more) are in talks about creating a new animated film about the Mexican Holiday Day of the Dead. Read More >>

Inspirational Sailor Galia Moss Speaks to Mexicotoday.org about her Sailing Journey Across the Atlantic Ocean

Galia Moss is a talented young Mexican woman who has been sailing the world by herself. Recently, Galia did an interview with Mexico Today to talk about her journeys. Read More >>

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

#10MillionTourists Campaign

#10milliontourists

According to Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo, approximately 10.4 million travelers are expected to visit Mexico in the last two weeks of 2011. This number would represent a 4% increase in tourism when compared to the final two weeks of 2010.

In celebration, the Mexico Today Program has initiated the hashtag #10MillionTourists and are encouraging anyone who will be celebrating the holiday season in Mexico this year to share their thoughts, photos, video, and more on Twitter via the hashtag.

The initiative is not just for tourists, however. If you live in Mexico and would like to join the conversation, follow #MexicoToday and #10MillionTourists on Twitter!

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

 

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Puerto Vallarta Malecon Receives Huge Holiday Gift – Free Wifi


Keeping in the Holiday Spirit, the city of Puerto Vallarta recently gave its citizens and visitors an impressive gift: a kilometer’s length of free wireless internet on the famous seaside malecon.

On the surface, such a gift may seem like a novelty but to the local businesses of Puerto Vallarta, free Wifi on the malecon opens up a world of marketing opportunities. And in the current economic climate, any opportunity to gain more customers is just what the local businesses of Vallarta have been asking for Christmas.

Free Wifi in Puerto Vallarta

Joining Vallarta's Free Network

The free wireless internet offers speeds of up to 1Mb per second and is available for two hours of uninterrupted service at a time. According to the city’s tourism board, one may use more than two hours of Wifi by simply waiting five minutes after your first two hours expires. Connecting to the new wireless network is easy as there is no password required. Simply turn on your Wifi and select “Infinitum Movil.” Next, open your internet browser and you’ll be directed to an Infinitum Web page where you need to tap/click the “Acceso Gratuito/Free Access” button and you’re up and running.

So why is free Wifi on the malecon such a big deal? Graham Mattock of White Bulldog Media, a local marketing company, explains:

“Many local businesses have been anxious to leverage social media in order to gain new customers but have been hesitant due to a false belief that tourists don’t bring their smartphones/laptops/tablets with them on vacation because they don’t want to pay roaming charges. The free Wifi should be enough to nudge local businesses into the social sphere as a five minute walk on the new malecon will put any uncertainty to rest – lots of people are down there on their smartphones looking for information.”

One local restaurant in Old Town Vallarta recently had great success on a check-in based social network called Foursquare. Just over a month ago, Joe Jack’s Fish Shack had White Bulldog Media claim their Foursquare page and set up a check-in deal offering 50% off the individual tab of anyone who checks in for the first time. In just five weeks, Joe Jack’s has seen more than 70 people check into their location (a 70% rise in check-in since before the deal existed) and more than 50 of those were first-timers who unlocked the 50% off deal. Most impressive to the once-skeptical owner of Joe Jack’s is that more than 30% those who’ve checked in are 45+ years in age.

Mattock illustrated another interesting scenario the free Wifi offers the businesses actually located on the malecon.

“Picture this: you’re strolling the malecon and getting hungry. You look up and see a nice QR code hanging on the balcony of a restaurant. Knowing you don’t have to worry about roaming fees, you pull out your smartphone and scan the code which opens up an awesome 20 second video with vivid clips of steaming fajitas and salsa covered tacos. Boom. You’re heading up those steps for lunch.”

Arguably the most important tool for travelers has become Trip Advisor, a website where people leave reviews of the hotels and restaurants they visit during their travels. With free Wifi on the malecon, you can bet that visitors will searching for their next lunch/dinner stop as they walk.

It’s not just the downtown businesses that will benefit from the free wireless, though. One of the top activities on most popular social networks is the uploading of photos and video. Free Wifi means a huge increase in visual content from Puerto Vallarta being shared with people around the world. The idea that a friend of someone visiting Puerto Vallarta sees an incredible photo of the malecon on Facebook and decides to visit Vallarta next year instead of, say, the Bahamas is a quintessential example of why providing free wireless internet in public spaces is so crucial for a tourist town – especially in a county like Mexico whose been battling to rehabilitate it’s image in the American market.

In a digital age where more content is being produced in 48 hours than since the beginning of time until 15 years ago, progressive cities like Puerto Vallarta understand that people want access to their digital networks 24/7, no mater where they are. Bravo #vallarta!

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Virgin America Lands in Puerto Vallarta

mariachi player on virgin flight

photo via sfgate.com

Mexico Today: The much anticipated arrival of Virgin America in Puerto Vallarta occurred Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 to the delight of the city’s residents. This newest service from Virgin America is a non-stop, 3.5 hour flight from San Francisco (SFO) and contains all the perks millions have come to love/expect from what many consider the hippest company in the skies.

Greeting those invited for the inaugural flight out of SFO were a Mexican buffet, frozen margaritas, a Mariachi serenade, and a ribbon cutting ceremony lead by Ross Bonanno, the Vice President of Virgin. Once airborne, passengers enjoyed hot chocolate with Tequila and more live music from the Mariachis who joined the group for the flight.

I’ve yet to fly Virgin but their complementary services like free Wifi, TV, and music on the screens included in every headrest have me ready for a long weekend in San Francisco. You can order drinks from your headrest-screen and Virgin offers a free chat service enabling you to converse with that pretty girl in the next row. Those who follow Simply Vallarta know I already have the prettiest girlfriend in Mexico :) but on behalf of all my single friends, Virgin sounds awesome.

The people of Puerto Vallarta seem to agree. I asked the Young Professionals Group of Puerto Vallarta on Facebook what they thought of Virgin, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. One PV resident said, “I’ve flown on Virgin Atlantic a few times and the service is always incredibly attentive and friendly – very refreshing ***** (coach incidentally!).” Others added: “Quality customer service,” and “Virgin – always the best prices and service…..plus Mr Branson is the man!,” reflecting the internationally renowned reputation Virgin has achieved when it comes to pleasing customers.

In celebration of their new service, Virgin is offering round trip tickets between Puerto Vallarta and San. Francisco for as low as $316 usd if booked by Dec. 5th. One way tickets currently start at just $119. I think those in San Francisco will agree, Christmas has come early!

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

The Return of el Caballito Marks the Official Opening of Vallarta’s New Malecon

The Re-Opening of Puerto Vallarta's Malecon

MexicoToday: After months of construction, Puerto Vallarta’s new sea-side promenade, the malecon, is officially open to the public. The symbolic “re-opening” took place on Friday, November 11th, when the city’s beloved Caballito statue was unveiled after returning from restorations.

The statues of Vallarta’s malecon have become one of the cities chiefest charms including works from famous artists like Mexico’s Alejandro Colunga, who has sculptures featured in cities around the world. No sculpture is more important to the city, however, than el Caballito, which depicts a boy riding a giant seahorse, waiving at the city.

Puerto Vallarta Sea Horse StatueOriginally created in 1968 and seated on Los Muertos Beach,  the first seahorse sculpture was damaged by a storm and eventually lost after being sent away for restorations. In 1976, el Caballito was recreated and was the first sculpture to be featured on Puerto Vallarta’s malecon and has since become the city’s most significant symbol. When the new malecon project began in May, el Caballito was again sent off to be restored.

After a successful trip to Guadalajara, el Caballito returned just in time for the new malecon’s unveiling ceremony. Present at the event were city officials from both Puerto Vallarta and its sister city Santa Barbara, local residents, and passing visitors. Vallarta’s mayor, Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz, gave a spirited speech before removing the sheet covering el Caballito, which marked the official re-opening of the city’s famous promenade.

The day had been uncharacteristically dreary but just as the statue’s veil was removed, a rosy-red sun dropped below the clouds, shining light on the new malecon – hopefully foreshadowing a bright future for Puerto Vallarta’s newest attraction.

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

 

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Puerto Vallarta Ready for a New High Season

puerto vallarta in the high season

#MexicoToday: We’re at the time of year in Puerto Vallarta when, any day now, the humidity will drift away leaving us with six months of absolutely perfect weather. This annual exodus of heat usually attracts millions of visitors from the US and Canada, but media blitzes from American news outlets have caused a significant drop in travel to Puerto Vallarta in recent years.

Biased reporting can only hold water for so long, however, and thanks to large-scale efforts from city officials as well as the new online marketing campaigns from the city’s people, Puerto Vallarta is poised to have a come-back winter.

Most appealing for upcoming visitors is undoubtedly Puerto Vallarta’s new sea-side promenade, the malecon, which has been in the works for over four months. The old malecon is arguably the most representative symbol of Vallarta, and its renovation is expected to help renew the city’s image to that of a more modern and attractive destination.

Part of modernizing the malecon has come to mean making it more interactive. Many of the treasured sculptures of the malecon will now feature digital touch-screens that can be used to learn about both the sculpture and the artist who created it.

Like the new malecon, many businesses in Puerto Vallarta have taken a modern approach to attracting new visitors through various social media outlets. A quick search of #Vallarta on search.twitter.com will give you an idea of just how many local businesses are interacting with each other and with future travelers each day about the city they love.

Campaigns like the recently launched “I like Vallarta” have been drawing attention to city by achieving the status of “trending” on Twitter, which requires massive amounts of people to be tweeting about the same topic in a relatively short period of time.

On Facebook, a new group was started earlier this year called the Young Professionals of Puerto Vallarta, where locals share insight and offer advice covering a variety of topics such as places to eat, where to find reliable health care, where to find local deals, and more. In just a few months since its inception, the group has already grown to almost 400 members.

Popular restaurants like Joe Jack’s Fish Shack have been getting creative with what the smartphones that many visitors are now bringing with them on vacation can do for their business by implementing things like QR codes into their marketing efforts for the winter. Without spoiling the fun, let’s just say that waiting in line outside to be seated will be much less bothersome this year at Joe Jack’s!

No matter the social network, no matter the marketing tactic, one thing is clear: the city of Puerto Vallarta and its residents are excited to receive more visitors this winter than of those of winters past. If you’re ready to explore one of Mexico’s most treasured cities – chocked full of rich culture, incredible cuisine, and a bustling online community, Puerto Vallarta is ready for you!

 

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

New Indie Film Shot in Mexico Crowdsourcing on Kickstarter

#MexicoToday: A few weeks ago, I was contacted by First Breadth Films asking if I would be interested in promoting their newest independent film, Coyote Requiem, which was partially shot in Mixquic, an area of Mexico City.  I immediately agreed as I’m always eager to promote the incredible experiences Mexico offers, but what got me really excited about the project was that they had the project on Kickstarter – probably the coolest website I can think of.

Kickstarter.com is a place where people looking for funding for artistic projects create informative profiles and collect donations. In the vein of the “daily-deal” mentality, if a project doesn’t raise their target-amount of funding, none of the people who pledged money are charged.

The makers of Coyote Requiem have set a goal of raising $107,000 dollars (which makes the project one of the more expensive I’ve seen on kickstarter) but after just a few days, they’ve already raised more than $4,000. If Fist Breadth Films hits their goal, the money will be used to pay for the technical side of production. If I had to guess, I’d say that First Breadth is going to hit their goal as they seem genuinely passionate about their film and genuinely grateful to the people of Mexico who, in John’s words, “Blessed us with miracles large and small each day which made the film what it is.”

The mission statement of Fist Breadth Films is: “To build community and promote healing in the world through emotional and thought provoking films,” which they do in a very economical way. Their first film, GAIA was made for $28,000 and it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (one of the top film festivals in the whole world). Coyote Requiem‘s final budget will be under $300,000, and it is expected to land at a top festival as well.

I had the chance to ask John Gordon, one of the producers of Coyote Requiem, a few questions about his experience filming in Mexico. Here’s what he had to say:

SimplyVallarta (SV): What about your time filming in Mexico stood out most?

John Gordon (JG): The people, without a doubt! They were so giving to us. We had one family let us use their rooftop so we could film the church in Mixquic. They would not accept money, but we finally persuaded them to take some sweet bread on the last day. So many of the people in Mixquic, were just so nice to us. We went there, specifically to find the parade that goes around town, where the little kids hide in a coffin and wear skeleton costumes. We were staying in Mexico City, so we had to drive out to Mixquic each day! Each day we went back, no one we met knew exactly when or where this parade started. We thought it would be easy to find, since Mixquic is not very big. But we couldn’t find it; no one had any exact location or time – nothing. So, on the day the parade was to happen, we took a different route into town. We took our time, and ended up filming as we went. At this point, the sun was setting and we still hadn’t found this parade route or anyone involved in it. This small procession is THE MAIN REASON the three of us traveled from the US to Mexico, and why we specifically came to Mixquic. If we couldn’t find the precession, the whole trip would have been a total loss, for the most part.

Filming Dia de los Muertos in Mixquic, Mexico

Filming Dia de los Muertos in Mixquic, Mexico

We came to an intersection where we ran into our first couple (man and woman) who were decked out in Dia de los Muertos garb. They agreed to walk past our camera a few times and on the third take, a friend of theirs came walking up and starts asking what they are doing, and making jokes with them. Then he starts asking us who we are, what are we doing, how come we are taking pictures and all that. We tell him we are there getting some shots for a film, but we specifically came to find this procession and we have not been able to find it – not sure what time it is, nothing! And wouldn’t you know it, HE IS THE ORGANIZER OF THE PROCESSION! His grandfather had started the tradition some 50+ years prior, and now he and his brothers are keeping it going. They were going to start the procession in an hour, and the starting point was about 100 yards from where we were standing!

It was amazing: they let us film the whole thing, they gave us close up access to special parts of the procession, they even sold us a few of the costumes that some of the guys in the procession were wearing so we could use them in the rest of the film, which we of course did, and they invited us back to their home for the after party of the whole thing, and we had drinks with them and some food. It was amazing, a true miracle that we ended up on that street, at that time, with THAT GUY arriving and starting a conversation with us.

Beyond that, we would just meet people i the streets, and they were all try open to us filming them. we would always tip them or their children, but they were so open and so giving. We love Mexico for many reasons, but the people top the list, no doubt.

SV: During the filming, did you ever feel unsafe?

JG: Unsafe? The only time we felt unsafe was the first day we started driving in Mexico City! We are used to driving in America, where everything is so regimented and there are rules everywhere you turn. So, when we got there the first day, it was pure culture shock with the freedom that was allowed on the roads. It scared us at first but by the end of the first day, we were all fighting over who would drive because it had become so fun! It was like a game and our guide, Edurado Vertiz, quickly let us in on the rules of the road. Didn’t take him long since rules seemed to be minimal and common sense seemed to prevail. We all agreed that this is the way to drive, and we longed for some kind of relaxation of driving codes and standards in the US (though we know that will never come :-).

SV: How Much of the film was shot in Mexico?

JG: We shot in Mexico for four days and we shot many hours of footage but in the actual final film, we will probably have about 15% of the footage from Mexico (though I cannot be certain until we are complete). I wanted to quickly mention that we have two films we are lining up next, and one of them we will mainly shoot in Mexico. It is about a young man who has lost his way living in the US, and he is forced to illegally cross the border BACK into Mexico so he can bring his Grandfather to the town he was born in so he can die. The grandson has no respect for life, no respect for elders, and no respect for himself. As he travels back to the small village with his dying Grandfather, he learns to respect himself, his Grandfather, and his Life. It is a beautiful tale of initiation, and we can’t wait to come down there and start looking at locations!

Filming Coyote Requiem

SV: What have you most taken away from Mexican culture?

JG: From the context of “Culture,” we really learned about the Mexican attitude toward death, via the Dia de los Muertos. There is a healthy respect for the dead, but there is also a real dance with death an almost a laughing at death, even when you are still alive. Dia de los Muertos showed me how people can laugh at death and basically say, “I know you are there; I know we will meet one day, but I am not going to let you rule my life thinking about WHEN you will visit me. For now, I will enjoy life and I will laugh at you, knowing one day we shall meet.” It was beautiful to experience that and bring that home with me. For us as filmmakers, death is a big part of life, and the film is all about that, which is why we came to Mexico in the first place.

Coyote Requiem Teaser – Oct ’11 from First Breath Films on Vimeo.

If you’re interested in helping John and First Breadth bring Coyote Requiem to fruition, you can make a donation for the project at their kickstarter page. For just $2, you can help make this film a reality!

Category : Blog &Mexico Today

Mexico: The Royal Tour

If you live in the US and have a TiVo, set that baby now for PBS as Peter Greenberg’s The Royal Tour: Mexico airs tomorrow (September 22nd) at 8 pm ET and will, no doubt, be awesome. Unfortunately, those of us living here in Mexico have to wait until Friday the 23rd for a cable viewing (on Vme at 9pm ET).

If you’ve never heard of Peter Greenberg, let me save you some Googling – he’s a big, big-timer in the travel industry who has a series of “Royal Tours” in which he is guided on a private tour of a country by the country’s president or head of state. Greenberg spent 14 days traveling Mexico with president Felipe Calderón, making The Royal Tour: Mexico the grandest Royal Tour to date. Check out the trailer below for a preview of the cool stuff they did (anyone remember when they were here in Vallarta?).

A good friend and fellow MexicoToday member Craig Zabransky (aka @stayadventurous) was invited to The Royal Tour: Mexico premier last night in New York. Here’s what he posted on his Facebook about the program: “I went to the Guggenheim to see a sneak preview to The Royal Tour – Mexico (premiere is Thursday on PBS) and listened to Calderon tell an audience why he loves Mexico. He was both comical and passionate, just like he was in the show. He is a star. Be proud if you are Mexican (or want to be).”

After the endless stream of negative media in regards to Mexico, I’m pumped for The Royal Tour: Mexico to air. I think it will open a lot of eyes as to the beauty, the size, the safety, and the possibilities of Mexico. Be sure to spread the word!

Category : Blog &Mexico Today &Rants & Raves

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