Lake Atitlan National Park, Guatemala

 

Lake Atitlan, volcano's and botanical garden

Lake Atitlan, volcano’s and botanical garden

If you happen to be planning a trip to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico don’t miss the chance to visit Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  Tour companies offer daily shuttle bus rides to and from Atitlan for a cost of only $50 dollars  round trip from San Cristobal.  This lake is considered to be one of the ten most beautiful in the world  and has been has been a national park since 1955. Besides the lake; the main outdoor attractions include the 3 volcanes that surround the lake and a nature reserve featuring a botanical garden, butterfly sanctuary, hiking trails and cascading waterfalls. Other recreational activities in the park include trails to the top of the volcano’s, rappelling, zip lines, hang gliding, canoeing and bass fishing. The lake also has several indigenous maya communities where it is possible to gain insight into the their culture and purchase traditional hand made arts and crafts at very reasonable prices.

 

 

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Mexico and Monuments

a tribute to the maya people and civilization

a tribute to the maya people and culture

Mexico loves it monuments and that’s why one of its most important  cities, Oueretaro, was inscribed as a historic monument  U.N.E.S.C.O. world heritage zone in 1996. A  tourist in Mexico can learn much about the history of this country  by simply visiting these monuments which can be found in most every large city and resort area. There are several kinds of monuments such as statutes  built as a lasting tribute to a person, a group of people or an event. Other kinds of monuments that are most common can be either a place, building site or structure that is preserved because of its historic culture and/or aesthetic importance. In addition to Queretaro;  most of the national monuments are found in Mexico city, Gaunajuato, and Guadalajara but there are many other significant monuments to be found in a variety of locations nationwide.The photo essay below shows a variety of these monuments including some of the most important and popular in Mexico.

Sculpture Park, Isla Mujeres, MX

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The Sculpture Park opened in 2001 on the same grounds where remnants of the Chac-MoolTemplo Maya Diosa Ixchel can also be seen by interested visitors. It is an open air musuem with a mayan related  theme. All together, there are 23 original pieces which were donated by local and foreign artists. The most well known of this group are Jose Luis Cuevas and Sebastian.The Timber Man

One of the sculpture’s, created by Sebastian, is called Chac-Mool; a name given to a type of pre-columbian, meso- american stone statute which depicts a human figure in a reclining position with the head up and turned to one side as seen in this abstract rendering. The original meaning of Chac-Mool, however, is unknown. The other piece featured in this post is the work of Jose Luis Cuevas and is named “El Tamborilero” which is almost like saying  Mr. Tambourine Man. If the tambourine man could sing a song today, it  would be about the rust and corrosion that will eventually destroy these sculptures if repairs are not made in the near future..Temple of Ixchel

The Art Institute of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende may be a tourist town but what attracts visitors to this area is the atmosphere created by the art institute and all its related activities. Although the art institute was created around 1950 by Enrique Martinez, a former governor of Guanajuato, his wife Nell Harris,  a retired Naval Officer named Sterling Dickinson and Peruvian artist and diplomat Cossio del Pomar, everyone seems to agree,  that Sterling Dickinson is most responsible for San Miguel becoming an international art center.

Initially,  the art institute  offered a master´s in fine art accredited by the University of Guanajuato but  over the years the institute has grown in size and scope and now offers  BA and AA degrees  in the visual arts along with workshops in painting, drawing, jewelry, weaving, photography and more. Additionally,  there are many spanish language learning

programs and an art school for children.