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Kim Kardashian goes to the Riviera Nayarit yearly. Christina Aguilera got engaged there. And on the visit I finished last week, I shared the sands with the Presidents of Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Columbia and Mexico. (OK, I never actually saw any of them in their speedos and bikinis, but they were gathering in the town of Punta de Mita for a high-stakes meeting of the Pacific Alliance).

Yet ask the average North American where Nayarit is, and they’ll likely guess Africa. And that may be part of the reason you want to vacation here and do so soon.

The Riviera Nayarit is a 192-mile band of sand that’s closely backed by the Sierra Nevada mountains, a fact that keeps overdevelopment in check (the land behind the beach is often just too steep for skyscraping multinational hotels). Some 23 tidy little beach communities are strung along the sea, each cuter than the next. The sands tend to be a golden yellow, the seas teeming with critters (this is a major whale shark and whale watching destination come winter) and the people welcoming.

Over the next five weeks, I’ll post about my experiences on the Riviera Nayarit, one a week, so this column doesn’t get shanghaied by one small corner of the globe. I hope you’ll enjoy this series and I think you’ll be struck, as I was, by the variety of experiences you can have here. Along with this blog, I’ve posted a slideshow about the area (please click here for that).

[readon1 url="http://www.frommers.com/community/blogs/passportable/_trip-report-riviera-nayarit"]Source:www.frommers.com[/readon1]

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AVIATION PARTNERS BOEING

Puerto Vallarta, Jal.- Aeromexico will offer nonstop flights between Sacramento and Mexico City beginning April 6.

The flights from Sacramento International Airport to Mexico City will occur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, leaving at 1:10 a.m. Flights from Mexico City leave at 8:35 p.m. to Sacramento on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

The new flights will be made using Boeing 737 aircraft, seating 132 passengers, including 12 in first class. The flights to Mexico City will allow for one-stop connections to Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose in Costa Rica.

“We are very happy to get this entrée into Mexico City,” said Sacramento International Airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower. “It is obviously easy access to the capital city of Mexico, but also plugs in our passengers to all kinds of important Latin American routes and, of course, the resort communities of Mexico.”

Aeromexico, located in Terminal B, began offering nonstop flights between Sacramento and Guadalajara in 2011. Passenger traffic on the Sacramento-Guadalajara route increased 48.2 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to airport officials.

“With the start of these new flights, we now offer service to 29 different routes from the United States to Mexico,” said Aeromexico’s chief revenue officer, Anko van der Werff

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Air Canada new Boeing 767 will increase capacity out of Western Canada

Air Canada Rouge will be increasing its capacity in Western Canada by a whopping 242% when it starts flying a Boeing 767 from Vancouver this winter season.

As such, passengers will be able to fly non-stop from Vancouver to Cancun on Monday and Thursday, or to Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday and Friday. Plus, they can take advantage of increased capacity to Ixtapa on Wednesday, and Los Cabos on Sunday.

“Our partners have been asking us for more air from the West for a number of years and now finally we’re able to give them what they’ve been asking for,” said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Sun Markets, Air Canada Vacations. “We’re thrilled to be able to marry our great hotel product with both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge in Western Canada.”

Air Canada Vacations’ Sun packages include free connecting flights from select cities to gateways in Western Canada. Passengers can also take advantage of Air Canada’s extensive network and connect at competitive rates from any city.

More news: International tourism on the rise, says UNWTO

Free connections are available from Vancouver to: Castlegar, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Prince George, Quesnel and Victoria.

From Edmonton: Calgary, Cranbrook, Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Lethbridge, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Regina and Saskatoon.

From Calgary: Cranbrook, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Kamloops, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Nanaimo, Penticton, Regina and Saskatoon.

Free connections are also available from Winnipeg to Regina and Saskatoon.

Clients who book winter packages to Mexico or the Caribbean by Aug. 31, 2016 will save $800 per family ($250 per adult, $150 per child ages 2-12). Plus, they can take advantage of ACV’s Price Drop Guarantee; if the price drops after they book, ACV will refund up to $800 per couple.

Until July 31, 2016 travel agents can enjoy an exclusive reduced deposit, now $100 per person instead of $250.

Plus, they get $0 admin fee for Price Drop Guarantee. These offers are valid for departures between Nov. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017.

More news: Southwest says technology outage fixed but more flights cut

Also until July 31, travel agents can earn 4X ACV&ME Points on ACV’s most popular SUN destinations for departures between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31,2016. 50 passengers is enough points to redeem for $600 in ACV travel credit or a $500 VISA Cash Card.

 

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By Peter Gray

Photos by Bill Clark

On the morning of Thursday, January 25th, sixteen crew members from the CGC Active, led by the ship's captain, Cdr. Sean Burke, descended on the Los Mangos library with scrapers and pressure hoses to prepare the building for a fresh coat of paint. Having set up that effort, our local Navy League now has high hopes that another U.S. ship will arrive in the near future, to finish the job.

Just as importantly, the CGC Active unloaded a quantity of medical supplies, including wheel-chairs.
These will be allocated to appropriate local institutions by Dr. Peter Gordon.

The shipping of donated medical supplies, which are generally waiting for shipment in a warehouse in San Diego, is one of the main priorities (and logistical
challenges) which the Navy League undertakes, in coordination with the U.S. Naval base in San Diego.

The CGC Active called in at Puerto Vallarta last September. We were very glad to see it return again – this time bearing the medical supplies and a great band of volunteers ready to go to work.

The Active well deserves its nick-name of "Lil'
Tough Guy." The ship has been awarded many commendations for major drug-interdictions and for its work on the Prince William Sound oil-spill, caused by the ill-fated Exxon Valdez. Its home port is Port Angeles, Washington. This ship is the seventh U.S.
cutter to bear the name Active. Historically, not much has changed, because whereas the earliest cutters dealt with pirates – now it is narco-traffickers!

One of the ship's volunteers told me this was her first experience working on a Comrel project. She was enjoying it thoroughly and also looking forward to a similar experience waiting for her in Cartagena, Colombia.

Bill Clark later hosted a lunch for the volunteers at El Moro restaurant in Colonia Paraiso. The Puerto Vallarta Navy League is always glad to have the opportunity to entertain these volunteers and to show them a sample of what our city has to offer.

Should this account trigger your interest in learning more about the Navy League, visitors are always welcome at the monthly meetings, held in the Marriott hotel on the first Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m.

A group photo of the ship's crew and officers and Navy League members

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Eleven exotic animals including African Lions and other large carnivores were transferred from Mexico to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado after the animals were confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. The Lions and other carnivores made the 1,700 mile journey to The Wild Animal Sanctuary where they will be rehabilitated and allowed to live the rest of their lives in large natural habitats.

Working in cooperation with a Mexican organization known as Bioparque Convivencia Pachuca, The Wild Animal Sanctuary began planning the rescue in late 2013. All eleven animals were rescued and sent to Bioparque's newly-renovated Captive Wildlife Way Station located approximately 150 miles northeast of Mexico City.

Once all the animals were at the single location, The Wild Animal Sanctuary coordinated with the US and Mexican Wildlife Authorities and the Way Station to transfer the animals to the Sanctuary's 720 acre facility in Colorado. To date, the Colorado non-profit organization has rescued over 30 exotic animals from various places within Mexico, and has plans to return in early 2015 to retrieve a number of rescued Tigers.

About The Wild Animal Sanctuary:
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for large carnivores that have been confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. The Sanctuary is located 30 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado near the town of Keenesburg. The non-profit organization currently cares for more than 350 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores and provides lifelong care for its rescued animals. The Sanctuary is the oldest and largest carnivore sanctuary in existence, having been in operation since 1980. The facility is distinctive among others in that it provides large acreage natural habitats for its rescued animals to live in and roam freely. The Sanctuary is open daily to the public for educational purposes and features an elevated "Mile Into The Wild" Walkway that visitors utilize to see the animals living in their habitats.

[readon1 url="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/african-lions-rescued-from-mexico-981559336.html"]Source:www.prnewswire.com[/readon1]

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ALMA airlines increases its frequencies to PV

*Líneas Aéreas Mesoamericanas* (Alma de México) is reorganizing its operations starting this month, a reorganization that will benefit Vallarta.

The airline informed through its webpage of its increase of frequencies between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, plus a new daily flight from Puebla (Puebla is the capital city of the state with the same name and it is located about 50 miles from Mexico City).

According to the airline's official site ALMA will fly to Guadalajara at 8:35 a.m. from Monday to Saturday; daily at 12:35 p.m.; Sunday to Friday at 6:15 p.m.; every Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and will operate also one direct flight to Puebla at 12:35 p.m.

The Puerto Vallarta airport's administration mentioned that ALMA is not the only airline increasing its frequencies to Guadalajara, as Aerolitoral (Aeroméxico's subsidiary), will operate six daily flights to the "Pearl of the West," as many refer to Gudalajara.

José Gómez Díaz, Director General of the PV international airport mentioned that an interesting phenomenon is taking place, when the destination benefits from low-cost airlines bringing domestic tourism during periods of lower hotel occupancy.

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controWhat started as a tweeted “selfie” of President Enrique Pena Nieto with actor Kevin Spacey last week has devolved into a debate about politicians paying for positive coverage on social media.

In the photo (shown below), a relaxed Pena Nieto beams next to the grinning star of the Netflix television drama “House of Cards,” in which he plays Francis Underwood, a fictitious politician who moves into the White House.

“One of these Presidents is real. With President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico last night,” Spacey tweeted May 7 to his nearly 3.4 million followers.

Pena Nieto’s office later offered the photo to the news media, saying that the two had run into one another at a tourism expo in Cancun, the Caribbean resort city.

But it wasn’t long until a blogger for Forbes magazine reported that the meeting between the two was no accident: Spacey had been paid by the Mexican Tourism Board to attend the event _ and appear with Pena Nieto. That’s when some Mexicans took to social media to lambaste both the actor and the president.

“How much did the selfie of Pena Nieto with Kevin Spacey cost?” asked the news portal sinembargo.mx in a headline about the photo.

Forbes blogger Dolia Estevez said the head of the tourism board, Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, denied in an email to her a news report that Spacey had been paid $8 million to attend the event, declaring the sum “wrong and without a source.”

A spokesman for the tourism board, Eduardo Regules, did not respond to a telephone message and email.

A day after Spacey sent the tweet, he tweeted again saying that in the photo, “I was in character as Francis Underwood in House of Cards! I don’t know jack about Mexican politics. I should have made that more clear.”

Pena Nieto has 2.6 million followers on Twitter and knows a thing or two about image crafting. On his arm when he came to office in late 2012 was Angelica Rivera, a beloved television soap opera star whom he had married two years earlier.

Mexican fans of Spacey took to his Facebook page Friday to voice their discontent with his choice of “selfie” pals.

“Shame on you. How could you sell yourself to such a corrupt and illiterate president?” wrote Cata Lina on the page Friday afternoon.

“How much did they pay you for taking that picture?” added Jacobo Ricardo Barocio Santos earlier Friday.

One sociologist who studies political imagery, Nicolas Loza Otero, said the nitpicking is mere static to the benefit that Pena Nieto and other Mexican politicians receive by rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities.

“People who watch Netflix are middle class or higher,” Loza said. Of them, he added, “there are people who criticize this kind of thing, but I think that overall the balance is positive for Pena Nieto.”

Pena Nieto’s press office has refined the art of releasing seemingly spontaneous photos of the 47-year-old president, such as one of him leaping out of his seat in joy while watching a Mexican soccer match.

On March 14, his office released a selfie-like photo of Pena Nieto leaning toward the camera with Carlos Slim, the telecom tycoon who is one of the world’s richest men, surrounded by the stars of the Leon soccer team, which Slim owns. Slim’s son-in-law, Arturo Elias Ayub, took the photo.

Another expert on social media, Maria Elena Meneses, said Pena Nieto took a hit last month when some Internet users launched a campaign against framework legislation to a telecom overhaul that would allow authorities to block cellphone signals during protests, censor websites and track cellphone communications.

Legislators backed down, although Meneses, who is the coordinator of the Information Society Program at the Technological Institute of Monterrey, said the campaign against Pena Nieto on the legislation “was devastating” and “caused harm to his reputation globally.”

Using public funds to burnish the image of politicians is neither unique to Mexico nor limited to its leaders.

Recent mayors of Mexico City, one of the world’s largest metropolises, routinely have spent tax money to bring well-known artists to the mammoth main plaza for concerts free to the citizenry (but costly to the city till).

Last year, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera sponsored concerts by balladeer Chayanne and salsa singer Marc Anthony in February, and another by Spanish singer Miguel Bose in May. Each of the concerts drew more than 100,000 people.

His predecessor, Marcelo Ebrard, was pondering a run for the presidency in 2012 when he contracted Justin Bieber and Paul McCartney for separate concerts. McCartney drew 200,000 fans and Bieber brought out as many as 300,000 people.

[readon1 url="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/05/16/227713/actor-kevin-spaceys-selfie-with.html?sp=/99/117/490/"]Source:www.mcclatchydc.com [/readon1]

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tortThe event took place at El Naranjo Turtle Camp, located past La Peñita de Jaltemba. That evening seven survivors were released into the sea.

It was twenty years ago that the last black turtle nest was registered at El Naranjo Turtle Camp, located to one side of La Peñita de Jaltemba. Now on April 22nd, seven tiny black turtles were released in the Riviera Nayarit.

Forty eggs were reportedly found at the camp 84 days ago, which were duly taken care of until they hatched. From that total, only half of them actually hatched and only seven hatchlings survived. Normally, this species takes between 50 and 55 days to hatch, but the local weather conditions delayed the event.

“This is the second black turtle nest we were able to collect. It was a meter and a half in size and weighed 120 kilograms. It’s not very common for these turtles to reach our shores, as they usually prefer the beaches at Colola, Michoacán,” explained Ricardo Villaseñor, Secretary of the Nayarit Ecologists Group and part of the group that operates the camp.

Although it’s not a given that these cold-blooded reptiles return to nest in the place where they hatched, it could happen: it takes 20 years for a black turtle to reach its sexual maturity and one of the previous hatchlings could have returned to lay her eggs on the shores of the Riviera Nayarit.

“It’s a very important event for us, as we have already registered several species including the leatherback, Ridley, Hawksbill and black turtles. These are four out of the seven species that usually nest on this beach, already considered a very important sea turtle hatching area,” added Villaseñor.

The black turtle takes the longest to reach maturity. For example, the leatherback takes 10 years and the Ridley only eight. All of the sea turtles are endangered, but only the Hawksbill, olive Ridley and leatherback are critically endangered (two of these nest in the Riviera Nayarit.)

“When you see a turtle nest hatching please do not touch it and do not gather the hatchlings. What you need to do is simply observe them and ensure they make it to the water. When the turtle is actually laying her eggs the same notion applies: just observe and let her do her job,” recommended Richard.

This request to not touch them is not just to avoid harming the turtles, but also because people can be at risk of being contaminated with HPV, as reptiles are occasionally carriers of this contagious virus.

The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau urges the community to take heed of the recommendations posted by the authorities and not to forget that should anyone choose to disturb the cycle of nature they would be committing a Federal offense if they steal or harm any part of the turtle.

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IFC Cleft Lip & Palate Program Offers Free Care
By Patricia Mendez and Joann
Quickstad

For the past 17 seasons here, the International Friendship Club (IFC) has financed and organized the Cleft Palate Surgery program. The comprehensive program includes surgery, sppech therapy, dental and orthodontic care, and empotional counseling.

As you can see with the photos accompanying this article, the surgery program starts at 3-6 months with the first repair to the cleft lip and continues with the careful work of the orthodontist who forms the first of many *placas de obturcacíon.* The placas artificially cover the cleft in the palate so that the child can begin to eat, breathe, drink, and move his tongue to make sounds with a closed palate long before the surgeon can close it surgically.

The orthodontist works closely with the surgeon over the years to guide the shape of the growing bones and later the arranement of the teeth.

The surgical team which comes from Guadalajara four times a year to Puerto Vallarta consists of surgeons Dr. Ezequiel Fuentes and Dr. Rodolfo Becerra, their instrumentistas, Emma Gonzalez and Mari Alvarado, and anesthesiologist Dr. Emgidio de la Cruz Liontop.

We are fortunate in Puerto Vallarta to have the ongoing assistance of dedicated professionals that form the support services for this extensive program. Speech therapists Ma. De Socorro Galvan Canales and Olga Elvira Quintero, work with the kids to improve the formation of sounds as the children learn to talk.

Orthodontists Dra. Cecilia Hernandez, Dra. Luz Meda, and Dr. Marcelino Torres donate their dental and orthodontic work wit the patients of the program.

This last week, for the May program, the meals for the medical team were donated by Las Palomas Restaurant for breakfast on Friday, and Daiquiri Dick's for dinner on Wednesday night.

Peggy of Cyber Air personally cooked, delivered, and served lunch for the whole crew on Thursday, surgery day. Honorable mention goes to the staff and social workers of hte Regional Hospital who host this 3-day program every three months and have done so for the last 17 years.

We truly appreciate the immense effort on the part of everyone who helps to bring this altruistic endeavor for the children of Puerto Vallarta.

THE INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP CLUB OF PUERTO VALLARTA (IFC) is a non-profit volunteer organization founded in 1987. Our purpose is to solicit and distribute funds and materials in response to the humanitarian needs of our community and to promote friendship through social and cultural activities. The Mexican Government has granted the IFC Registered Charitable Status. www.ifcvallarta.com or www.childrenandfamiliesinneed.com or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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aeromexico 1

Aeromexico, Mexico's global airline, announced an increase in the number of flights it offers between Mexico City and major destinations such as Acapulco, Cancun, Huatulco, Los Cabos, Merida, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo in Mexico and Miami, Orlando and San Antonio in the United States, for this summer season

The airline will, therefore, add over 100 flights a week to its connectivity network, with more than 3,000 seats per week for the domestic market and over 2,000 additional seats for the international market.

Cancun is one of the busiest tourist cities in Mexico, so Aeromexico will add an average of four daily flights from Mexico City and six weekly flights from Monterrey to enhance its daily flight services.

Moreover, Aeromexico recently also reported an increase of its offer on international routes such as London, Madrid, Shanghai, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, reaffirming its commitment to create greater connectivity for Mexico.

About Grupo Aeromexico
Grupo Aeromexico, S.A.B. de C.V., is a holding company whose subsidiaries are engaged in commercial aviation, in Mexico, and the promotion of passenger loyalty programs. Aeromexico, Mexico's global airline operates more than 600 daily flights and has its main hub in Terminal 2 at the Mexico City International Airport. Its destinations network spans to 79 cities on three continents, including 44 destinations in Mexico, 16 in the United States, 13 in Latin America, three in Europe, two in Asia and one in Canada.

The Group's fleet of more than 115 aircraft is comprised of Boeing 787, 777, 767 and 737 jet airliners and next generation Embraer 145, 170, 175 and 190 models. In 2012, the airline announced the most significant investment strategy in aviation history in Mexico, to purchase 100 Boeing aircraft including 90 MAX 737 jet airliners and ten 787-9 Dreamliners.

As a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, Aeromexico offers customers more than 1,000 destinations in 178 countries served by the 20 SkyTeam airline partners rewarding passengers with benefits including access to 564 premium airport lounges around the world. Aeromexico also offers travel options through its code share partners Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Avianca, LAN, TACA and TAM with extensive connectivity in countries like the United States, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Peru. www.aeromexico.com and www.skyteam.com

[readon1 url="http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1994024]Source:www.digitaljournal.com[/readon1]

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The 34,658  site, between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande, is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave, shaped by the culture of the plant used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for at least 2,000 years to make fermented drinks and cloth. Within the landscape are working distilleries reflecting the growth in the international consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the agave culture is seen as part of national identity. The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave ‘pineapple' is fermented and distilled. The property is also a testimony to the Teuchitlan cultures which shaped the Tequila area from AD 200-900, notably through the creation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, ceremonial mounds and ball courts.

Outstanding Universal Value


Brief Synthesis

The Agave Region, in the Valles Region of the Jalisco State, is one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mexico, not only for the importance of the natural landscape that offers, but for the cultural tradition that has kept for several centuries and from which has arisen one of the main icons that identify this country: the tequila.
The 35,019 ha site, between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande River, is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave, shaped by the culture of the plant used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for at least 2,000 years to make fermented drinks and cloth. Within the landscape are working distilleries reflecting the growth in the international consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the agave culture is seen as part of national identity. The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave ‘pineapple' is fermented and distilled. The property is also a testimony to the Teuchitlan cultures which shaped the Tequila area from AD 200-900, notably through the creation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, ceremonial mounds and ball courts.

Criterion (ii): The cultivation of agave and its distillation have produced a distinctive landscape within which are a collection of fine haciendas and distilleries that reflect both the fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions of fermenting mescal juice with the European distillation processes and of local and imported technologies, both European and American.

Criterion (iv): The collection of haciendas and distilleries, in many cases complete with their equipment and reflecting the growth of tequila distillation over the past two hundred and fifty years, are together an outstanding example of distinct architectural complexes which illustrate the fusion of technologies and cultures.

Criterion (v): The agave landscape exemplified the continuous link between ancient Mesoamerican culture of the agave and today, as well as the contours process of cultivation since the 17th century when large scale plantations were created and distilleries first started production of tequila. The overall landscape of fields, distilleries, haciendas and towns is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement and land-use which is representative of a specific culture that developed in Tequila.

Criterion (vi): The Tequila landscape has generated literary works, films, music, art and dance, all celebrating the links between Mexico and tequila and its heartland in Jalisco. The Tequila landscape is thus strongly associated with perceptions of cultural significances far beyond its boundaries.

Integrity

The World Heritage property is large and encompasses the whole of the core of tequila growing landscape and most of the related elements and interdependent that characterizes the agave region. The area also includes all aspects of the tequila growing and distillation process, and the haciendas and factories and associated towns, thus encompassing an economic and cultural area.

In the municipalities of Magdalena, Tequila, Amatitán and El Arenal concentrate the tangible and intangible testimonies of different historical periods that favour the comprehension and appreciation as a whole coherent and vital. The inscribed property is the region of origin of the cultural process and therefore the one that better exemplifies its historical development.

The extension deployed on the municipalities of El Arenal, Amatitán, Tequila and Magdalena embraces a valley with geographical and agricultural continuity where most of the tangible elements of the occupation of the territory are located, represented by the archaeological vestiges, plantations and industrial facilities as well as the intangible ones, represented by practices and customs of the community that inhabits the region. They have been the support of the cultural process of the production of Tequila. These same elements can propitiate their long term conservation and their sustainable development. To the date, significant problems produced by the human activity that could commit the integrity of the site have not occurred.

Authenticity

In terms of the cultivated landscape, haciendas, distilleries and the centres of the urban settlements, there is no doubt of their authenticity as reflecting the way the landscape has been used and still is to grow and process the agave plant and distil tequila. The methods of cultivation and processing both retain their authenticity and there is still a defined link between where the agave plants grow and the distilleries to which they are sent: only tequila processed from agave pineapples grown in the inscribed property is eligible for a Declaration of Origin. The work in the agricultural field attests the survival of essential elements that have shaped the agave landscape from its creation and the continuity of an ancient cultural process.

The extensive cultivations and the old distilleries of the region of Tequila have a strong character of syncretism since in them fuse ancestral knowledge of the American and European traditions. The hefty character of the landscape is the result of the cultivation and domestication of the Agave Azul Tequilana Weber native plant of the region, through a long journey along the time. From it comes the genus loci that impregnates the site in a single way. It is characterized by countless undulant lines of agave that adapt to the irregular topography of the region. The outskirts of the urban areas have been subject to recent development and change and there is less well defined local building traditions and authenticity. In these areas positive programmes will be needed to manage change in a beneficial way. The Management Plan addresses this need.

Protection and management requirements

About 22% of the nominated area is owned privately; 44% is common land; the remainder, 34% is what is called mixed productive associations which are private investment on common land. Most of the factories still in production are in urban areas. Those in rural areas belong to private owners. Altogether there are 60 factories in the inscribed property.

Legal protection applies at Federal, State and Municipal levels. At the Federal level, there are different legal tools that pertain to the Tequila product itself, while heritage protection is granted through the 1972 Federal Law Regarding Artistic, Historical and Archaeological Monuments and Sites, the General Law in Human Settlements and the General Law of National Properties, the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection. With these tools, federal protection applies to historical monuments before the 20th century, designated towns and villages, archaeological and industrial sites and the relationship between natural sites and cultural ones. This covers the core of the towns and nominated factories and haciendas. At the State Level, the Law of the Cultural Patrimony of the State of Jalisco and Municipalities, the Regulations for the Cultural Patrimony of the State of Jalisco and Municipalities, the Law of Urban Development of the State of Jalisco, the Decrees of Natural Protection Areas, are tools to ensure the preservation of both cultural and natural patrimony and people’s culture. The State has responsibility for the preservation and restoration of historical, architectural and archaeological sites, urban and territorial development and the delineation of settlements. In particular it is responsible for the protected Tequila landscape through the Tequila Master Plan. Finally, at the Municipal level, the Regulations for the Protection and Improvement of the Urban Image of Tequila, Jalisco, the Partial Plan of Urban Development on the Historical Centre of Tequila, Jalisco, the Partial Plan of Urban Development for the Conservation of the Urban and Architectural Patrimony of the Historical Centre of Amatitán, Jalisco, the Plan of Urban Development of the El Arenal, Jalisco, the Model of Territorial Ecological Classification of the State of Jalisco, Region Valles, provide control over 20th and 21st century heritage building at the property.

The Management Plan for the Agave Landscape and the Ancient Facilities of Tequila is the main management and planning tool. Its implantation is centred on improving the quality of life of the inhabitant communities and to act as factor of integration of the diverse effective legal instruments and competent instances in the region. It also seeks to ensure that the conditions of authenticity and integrity of each one of the components of the Agave Landscape are maintained through its conservation, restoration and appropriate use. Likewise, it strives to stimulate a sustainable regional growth supported by the local cultural values. The implementation of the management plan sets out the provisions for the conservation and sustainable use of the ensemble of attributes of the property: the natural landscape, the agave landscape, the archaeological vestiges, the ancient industrial facilities and the traditional towns. It is also a tool to promote that the social sectors of less economic income are contemplated as high-priority groups for the benefits derived from the rescue and conservation of the Cultural Agave Landscape. As part of the strategy followed by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia and State Government of Jalisco to ensure the conservation and protection of the property through the sustainable regional development of the entity, the “Agave Landscape of Tequila” has been incorporated as a “Strategic Project for the development of Jalisco”.

Historical Description

The domestication of wild agave seems to have begun around 3,500 years ago. The wild plant may have originated in the Rio Grande canyon. The agave plant is ideally suited to the poor soil and rough terrain of the Tequila area.

Agave was extensively cultivated by the Teuchitlans and served to provide many basis necessities: its fibres were used for fabric, rope and paper, the flower stem provided wood for construction, the fleshy leaves were used as roof tiles and fuel, the spines for needles and arrow heads, the sap produced a type of honey and its juices were used for medicinal balm and fermented to produce an alcoholic drink. The leaders of the complex, stratified, Teuchitlan society created wealth from their apparent monopoly of the agave resources.

To transform the starches in the plant to sugar, for eating and fermenting into alcohol, the pineapples need cooking. There is archaeological evidence from nearby Lake Sayula (outside the nominated area) that the practice of cooking agave pineapples in open, conical ovens, made of volcanic stone, existed around 400 BC. These ovens were preheated with wood and the pineapples covered with branches and clay.

The Spanish priest, Friar Francisco Ximenez, wrote in 1615 how juice from the cooked plant was fermented to make wine flavoured with orange and melon rinds.
In the 16th century the area was conquered by the Spanish who established the town of Santiago de Tequila. The Caxcanes who were living in the areas gradually assimilated with the Spanish. In order to mitigate shortages of spirits from Europe, the Spanish experimented with local beverages and begun to distil the agave fermented juice to make vino de mezcal. At the same time rum was being developed in the Antilles and so the necessary equipment for the new agave spirit was introduced from the rum making areas.

The taxes levied on the new spirit produced a significant income for the Spanish government of Guadalajara. It funded a water supply and the government palace of Jalisco in Guadalajara.

At the end of the 17th century the first formal distilleries were established and the first intensive agave plantations created. During the course of the 18th century industrial facilities begun to be established within haciendas, and gradually agave cultivation spread out across the plain.

As the liquor became better known in the 18th century, so demand increased. Its growth was greatly helped by the creation in 1758 of the commercial route known as the Camino Real connecting Tequila to the port of San Blas on the Pacific Ocean, to Guadalajara and to Mexico City. The wine was transported by mule teams and donkeys along the new road and became the first export product from the region. The significant increase in production and consumption of this drink contributed to the development of a clear regional identity.

Overuse of the spirit became at times a cause for concern amongst the civil and religious authorities, and there were periodic, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to ban the drink, in spite of the loss of revenue, but these merely resulted in clandestine activity developing in remote areas. In 1795, after almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule, a regional producer, José Maria Guadalupe Cuervo received the first licence permitting the legal establishment of a mescal distillery.

In the mid 19th century, with the growth of the export trade, large distilleries were established in the towns, separating the production of liquor from the growth of the raw materials. This led to the decline of some rural distilleries and their haciendas begun to concentrate instead on producing raw materials for the urban distilleries, resulting in a rapid increase in land under agave cultivation.
The second half of the 19th century saw consolidation amongst the urban distilleries and the introduction of more efficient machinery, such as enclosed steam heated ovens and mechanical mills.

The Mexican Revolution in the third decade of the 20th century led to a temporary decline of the tequila production process as land attached to haciendas was reallocated to workers on a communal basis or became private property.

Today measures have been put in place, such as the renting of land, and the advance purchasing of the agave plants, to try and ensure continuity in production to meet the continuing high demands.

Agave Landscape Gallery

[readon1 url="http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1209/"]Source:whc.unesco.org[/readon1]

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I come from London, a city where buses have a 30 to 40 minute frequency and often, even that depends on luck.
It costs 40 pesos to get from one stop to another, regardless if that stop is just 10 minutes down the road. Therefore, when I came to Puerto Vallarta, I was astonished at how comparatively cheap the buses were and even more so, to find that tourists rarely used them. At a cost of 5.50 Pesos to any destination and a 5 to 10 minute wait at the stop, these buses seem to be the answer to a Londoner's problems and we should not forget the ease with which these buses can be used: with an option of either 'Tunel' or 'Centro,' it is difficult to get lost in small Puerto Vallarta.

However, I began to realize why tourists were so reluctant to use the buses after exploring their reputation and making use of the system myself.

Guidebooks constantly rant about how terribly dangerous they are and internet sites - if they mention them at all - describe them as an 'interesting experience'; enough to put any newcomer off this rollercoaster of a ride in a far-away land. And why should they not put people off? In Vallarta, price and frequency are not important parts of the equation. The primary issue is safety.

On my first bus experience, the driver simply sped off as I was still paying him. And within the first few seconds of the journey, he had counted my money, given me my change and handed me my ticket - all of that, while he was still driving! Then there was the issue of getting to a free seat without landing on someone's lap - either that, or falling outside backwards because the driver had been too lazy to close the door, which is most of the time. My journeys since have followed a similar pattern, although now I am more prepared to expect the unexpected.

Taking into mind the cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta, a bumpy ride is inevitable, yet a bumpy ride over the speed limit just seems inexplicable.<p<
Primarily, I was tempted to blame the drivers for their impatience and reckless driving. Was there a reason for their aggression? They work long, tiresome hours in all weather conditions, traveling from one place to another and back to the same place again. The only stimulation for their monotony is a family to feed upon their return home. Sometimes I wonder how their standard of driving ever allows them to return home at all. However, despite having such a wearisome occupation, these drivers cannot be excused for making the bus experience unsafe, one not only for passengers on the bus, but for pedestrians outside of the bus and passers-by who often fall victim to these rapid vehicles which unnecessarily do not stop for them. The frequency, at which the buses run, then seems incomparable to the frequency at which they kill. Bus accidents are one of the most frequent occurances in Puerto Vallarta.

When taking a look at the bigger picture, I can see that there are more people responsible for the appalling state of Vallarta's buses: Why do the police allow the speeding? Or do they simply pass off warnings? Has it become so naturalized that these road-raging drivers have just become engrained into Puerto Vallarta's culture? Surely not. Why are there not more random drug tests? Why do people inside the bus allow themselves to be put under the threat? After articles that have been published time and time again, of the next innocent victim of a bus driver's carelessness, why is nothing being done to improve the standards of our ridiculous system? All these are questions that remain unanswered and it worries me to see this beautiful destination becoming tainted with the blood of the next person who expects to return home at the end of the day, but forgets that here in Vallarta, a pedestrian seems to have no right.

I shall take home with me, the fond memories of my musical rides on the buses. the Mexican men playing their instruments with exotic sounds that penetrate through the windows and depict the paths of Vallarta. Their voices drown the safari into a faithful cultural experience and make me feel like I am truly on holiday. Yet I shall not forget the ease with which that experience can be ruined, as do other tourists who may see the sorry situation and do not wish to encourage it.